Table Number Four

Abbey Café Tea Selection © David Forward

Abbey Café Tea Selection © David Forward

Episode 5

Duckworth-Lewis Method

Stella was a million miles away, deep in thought, at her deepest thought setting – was it a no ball or a wide, had the umpire fallen asleep under the weight of thirteen slipovers – Annetté brushed past in the narrow passageway dropping a crumb to the floor. Stella’s multiple, multi, multiple, multi tasking brain, subconsciously detects the thud of wasted food striking the floor, Stella awoke in a flash and demanded to know which customer had the audacity to leave such evidence of such a fine meal upon their plate. Annetté replied with – ’twas that Blaberen Barmpot who did Blether the want of a Dollop of Faggots. Stella sharply replied with – I see!

It was just approaching 12:29 and 30 seconds when Sarah arrived at the serving counter and took off her coat, slinging it onto the hook next to the fridge. And where have you been, demanded Stella of an answer. What, what, what, replied Sarah looking at her phone to check the time. Nah yer daft twassock, where were you yesterday, someone said you’d been to Scotland and then you made an appearance in that TARDIS, whilst I was out here spinning plates onto the off stump. Oh that, its nothing, its something I learned in Malvern. Yes but you had that fella with you, that Lorenzo what’s it, the Scottish Geezer? Oh him, he’s got himself a job sorting baked bean cans at the food bank.

Alice says Lorenzo’s staying at her place and going back oop north of tha border on the weekend to collect his motorbike or something. Yes that’s right, it’s at the police station in Moffat, I’m going with him and riding back with him, he’s decided he wants to stay around here for a while, and learn to speak English just like Annetté. You are joking Sarah. No he’s fallen in love with the Giant Chickens and wants to teach them several Scottish Folk Songs for their Glastonbury Gig. So Michael Evis answered the call then? Yes Mr Evis is coming here next week with Lion Tours to have a poke around our Abbey. I tipped off Peter Gabrielle down at the studio in Box and he’s coming too!

Wooden Floor Malmesbury Abbey © David Forward

Wooden Floor Malmesbury Abbey © David Forward

Hey up! here’s Rob. Howya doin Rob, busy? Yep, too many clients wanting Church of England Rates. Coffee Rob? Yea usual Stella Please. BANG BANG BANG, Stella removes the old coffee and steams out a fresh one all frothy like Ruth’s experiment with the washing up liquid. Sarah! put some bacon on will you please. Sarah turns in one direction then spins on her heal to the other, repeats, and heads off on a reciprocal course to the kitchen, muttering, Bacon Bacon Bacon Bacon Bacon. I’ll bring your cake around to you Rob, says Stella. Rob with a bewildered look on his face thinks to himself, I never have cake!

So Sarah, where are the chickens now then, asks Stella. They are outside in the Cloister Gardens singing rude ditty’s to Barbara Pollard over the hedge. Oh blooming hell, she’s gonna love that, chuckles Stella out aloud, startling a group of customers approaching the Café. What’ll it be then darlings, greets Stella to two elderly couples heaped upon their walking sticks, gazing in puzzlement at the Café Blackboard. Do you do tea asks the first old lady? Stella beams a grin as if to say, you ain’t knocking my Bails off love! We’ve got eleven types of tea, with or without sugar, brown or white, with or without milk, green or blue, large cup, small cup, mug or bucket – which would you prefer?

With the two elderly couples now safely sat at table number four, and all drinking Coffee, Stella interrogates Sarah further about the chickens. So – Sarah, them being Polish and all that, I suppose you have spoken to them in their own lingo like? What have they got to say about this Dr. Robert bloke you was tellin us about then? Funny you should ask that Stella, they took one look at our Robert The Book Boffin when they came out of the TARDIS yesterday, and immediately chased him into the Parvis, luckily they couldn’t follow, because they looked as if they were going to peck him about the ears, you should have seen him, he had his usual hen pecked look about him, only ten times worse. He hasn’t come down all day.

Sarah!, said Stella, all drawn out and slow as she does, how are you going to get the chickens back to Charlton Park. Oh no problem, we’re flying them back, we’ve got clearance from Fairford to use controlled air space, and we’re going to land on the strip just over the road. I’m riding on one and Lorenzo’s coming on another one, and Mike Langtree is going to meet us there with half a tonne of unwanted baked beans from the food bank, the chickens love them. What does Dwight say about all this then? Oh he’s okay about it, he said something about “Drumsticks.”


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“Any resemblance between the characters in this story and any persons, living or dead, is a miracle.”

11 October, 2017
All images and written works by David Forward are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License