The Little Willowford Mission (8)

Report Eight

Commander, I beg you! Please do not terminate my role in this mission! To return after such a short sojourn would bring upon me great shame and ridicule from my peers. Indeed, I am becoming quite accustomed to this body, despite its inadequacies, and I fear I would miss it greatly. Commander, I promise never again to throw doubt upon the great collection of knowledge that has enabled this most illustrious mission. There can be no explanation other than that I misunderstood the woman in the library. I was quite overwhelmed upon finding this extraordinary collection of books in such an unexpected venue. I promise never again to question the great Earth historians and commentators. I truly revere Austen, Scott, Shelley and all those others chosen to be our guides, many hundreds of cycles ago, by our own most learned forebears.

If you are so beneficent as to forgive me, Commander you will not regret it. In anticipation of your approval, I have re-established my relationship with Pam and this, I believe, will begin to provide us with most useful information. I will recount the means by which this occurred:

It was a fine day, so I put aside my anguish at your communication and carried outside one of the chairs from the dwelling. There I sat, in a shaft of warm sunlight, enjoying a drink of tea – for which I confess I have developed quite a liking. I had not thought to be disturbed, so I was greatly surprised to hear a call from the direction of Pam’s garden.

‘Hello there! Could you make use of a little table? The Old Man was about to take it to the tip, but you can have it if you like.’

I jumped up and hurried to the fence. This was indeed a fortuitous turn of events. I conveyed my gratitude to Pam and asked her to pass on also my thanks to The Old Man.

‘You can tell him yourself,’ said she. ‘He’ll bring it round now.’

Commander, you can imagine my confusion when I opened the door to find Pam’s husband standing there. It would appear that he and The Old Man are one person. I have yet to discover why he has two identities or whether this practice is widespread amongst humans.

‘Here you go, love,’ were his only words. ‘Shall I carry it through for you?’ Without waiting for my reply, he marched through the house and assembled the table on the concrete area outside. The table was neither heavy nor difficult to erect, but the act appeared to give him pleasure so I said nothing until the task was complete.

‘My dear Old Man,’ said I at last. ‘Allow me to thank you for your kindness. This is a most welcome addition to my garden.’

Later, I reflected upon this interaction and determined that there was much to be learned from it. It would seem that the passing of time has eroded many of the social conventions my training had taught me to expect. That is why, my most esteemed Commander, it is so important that I am allowed to continue my mission. A close relationship with Pam and The Old Man will provide me with first hand experience it would be most difficult to obtain otherwise. With that in mind, I set about creating a plan and I am delighted to report this has already begun to bear fruit.

Commander, I know not how many hours and minutes I spent at the back window upstairs in my dwelling. I observed a great number of birds and other creatures that visited my garden and that of my neighbours, but these were not the object of my attention. No, at last she appeared, and I hurried downstairs and into my garden with such haste that it was hard to regulate breathing.

‘Pam!’ I called. My quarry looked up in surprise. It is possible that some of my excitement had transferred to my voice.

‘Oh, hello,’ said she, without ceasing to peg a variety of garments onto a revolving structure I had not noticed before.

‘I am much obliged for your kind gift of the table,’ I said, ‘and I would be delighted if you would take tea with me this afternoon or at another time convenient for you.’

Pam ceased her toils with the laundry and approached the fence.

‘Well, that would be very nice, I’m sure,’ said she. ‘Shall I pop round about 3?’

Now, Commander, I must impart the most important news. Pam’s visit to my dwelling was excessively successful. Although I had already consumed a great quantity of my purchases from the ASDA, there were a few remaining and Pam was most pleased to partake of them.

‘Oh, I’ve never seen so much chocolate!’ she declared. ‘You’ll be the death of me!’

Naturally I reassured her that her death was very far from my intention and she laughed merrily at my words. Indeed, she laughed considerably throughout the time we were together. At last it was time for her to leave and tend to The Old Man who, she said, was incapable of boiling an egg. It occurred to me to suggest an alternative meal for him, but she rose and hurried to the door before I could speak.

‘That was lovely,’ said she as she left. ‘We must do it again soon.’

Thus, Commander, it is clear that this relationship will continue, if only you allow it. I await your reply with hope and trepidation.

Your most devoted servant,

Jane Brown (Mrs)

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