Penny couldn’t remember a time when she didn’t want to be an actress. She guessed she’d been born at the right time. When she was a teen British culture was really starting to take shape. Rock and roll, The Beatles and Monty Python. Penny adored Monty Python, especially Michael Palin who she fancied a lot more than she’d care to admit!
She’d been given the chance to appear as an extra in a medieval film about the search for The Holy Grail. Though being a history graduate, she was well aware that The Grail was a legend but had some historical truth.
It was a nice change from her stuffy flat in Birmingham, though she wasn’t prepared for the rain in Scotland… Rain was particularly notorious for frizzing up Penny’s wavy hair. However what she really wasn’t prepared for was the cast members for this film.
Penny made the drive up to Scotland in the late April of ‘74. There she met with the director or directors as she later discovered.
She waited outside the hotel where she was told the cast were meant to be staying and who did she see coming towards her? Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam.
Oh my god I’ve only landed myself in a bloody Python film… Terry fucking Jones and Terry fucking Gilliam are coming right towards me. Stay calm Penny, stay calm.
“Hello there I’m Terry Gilliam and this is Terry Jones, we’re the directors of this film.”
“Yes I know who you are. I’m a big fan of Python. I actually can’t believe I’m in a Python film, in the audition all they said was that it was a medieval film about The Holy Grail. Though that’s not strictly true as The Holy Grail is only a legend but with some historical truth.”
“Oh look out Terry, we’ve got a history expert. Mike will love you…” said Terry Jones with a grin.
Oh god they mentioned Michael Palin, I’m gonna be meeting my crush. I can’t do it I’ll just end up embarrassing myself in front of him. I’ll probably blurt out that I love him or something. That’ll certainly scare the poor guy off.
“Anyway, joking aside what’s your name?” said Terry Gilliam trying to act serious but failing miserably.
“Penelope but you can call me Penny.”
“Penny as in?” said Terry Jones.
Both Terry’s started singing Penny Lane at her much to her disgust. Oh the amount of times she’s had people sing the song since the song was released back in ’67. She rolled her eyes.
“Yes as in the song…”
“Ah sorry Penny we won’t annoy you any further with singing the song. Looks like you’ve heard it a few times already…” said Terry G.
“Just a bit.”
“Tell you what, we’ll give you chance to check in and unpack then if you could get to Castle Doune in the next hour or so that would be great! Here’s the directions and we’ll give you chance to read the script. Do you know what part you’ll be playing?” said Terry J.
“Uh no I don’t.”
“I’ll tell the girl Jonesy. You’ll be playing one of The Castle Anthrax girls, who pine after Mike’s character Sir Galahad the chaise.”
Sounds like heaven to me, not much acting involved there…
“So we’ll see you in an hour or so?” said Terry J.
“Yes see you Penny.”
They went off singing very loudly Penny Lane, Penny felt like strangling them.
If they sing that once bloody more… Bloody Pythons.
Penny soon checked into the hotel, would she be near the Pythons? She started to unpack, hanging up clothes in the wardrobe and then freshened herself up in the bathroom. She got into her car and studied the directions the two Terry’s had given her. Well they seem straight forward enough.
By the time Penny got there, she saw the Terry’s testing the cameras and it seemed they were already squabbling. She tutted and rolled her eyes. She knew she had to go over to them and ask for a script.
“Oh Penny you made it! What’s up?” said Terry G.
“Um, I need a script?”
Terry Jones tutted at Terry Gilliam.
“Oh god yes of course you do, here you are. We’ve just been testing the cameras to see if they work, we’re starting on the Bridge Scene today. That’s one of the last scenes in the film. Tell you what while we’re filming that, why don’t you have a read of all the script? You could perhaps give us some pointers on historical accuracy? What with being a history graduate and all. Besides it would be nice to hear a different more pleasant voice than Mike helping us with the history side of the film!”
She went to find a seat to sit on. She admired the scenery for a moment. Doune Castle really was beautiful. She supposed that was the inner historian talking. She began reading the script and before she knew it she was roaring with laughter. The argument at the beginning of whether coconuts migrate, The Black Knight, the Constitutional Peasant, the dashing Sir Galahad and Tim the Enchanter, she imagined that this would be a firm comedy favourite for years to come.
She got to her scene where Michael nearly doesn’t resist temptation. It was such a typical Michael scene. How could the character Sir Galahad remain chaise in a castle full of beautiful girls?
The sun started to peek through the clouds and Penny smiled. Is it possible for it to be ever sunny in Scotland? The clouds were still dark so Penny wasn’t expecting the sun to last for long…
She carried on laughing to herself till she heard a voice out of the blue.
“Having fun there?”
She looked up from her script and it was Michael Palin. THE Michael Palin. She blushed furiously.
I’ve just acted like a complete tit in front of Mr Michael ‘Sexy Pants’ Palin for that was Penny’s nickname for him. Not that he’d ever find out this nickname…
She jumped slightly.
“Oh. I didn’t see you there.”
“It’s alright, I could see you were reading the script so I didn’t want to disturb you. I don’t think we’ve met have we?”
“No, no we haven’t…”
Penny looked at the ground. She didn’t know the right way of acting in front of Michael. If she acted herself she’d come across as a crazy fangirl, the last thing she wanted to do was scare him away.
“I’m Michael, Michael Palin. What’s your name?”
“Penelope but you can call me Penny.”
“Penny as in—"
“Yes Penny as in Penny Lane…”
Oh man that sounded really rude, now he’s gonna think I’m a right bitch.
“I’m guessing the Terry’s have already graced you with a rendition of Penny Lane?”
“Unfortunately yes. I wouldn’t mind it so much if people hadn’t done it for the past 7 years…”
“Yes I can imagine it would get pretty annoying. So Penelope, what made you want to take part in this frankly ridiculous film?”
Penny squirmed when Michael called her Penelope, it reminded her of when her mother would tell her off for every little thing she did wrong. Penny was glad to get away from it all.
“Well I didn’t even know it was a Python film, it was advertised as a medieval film about the quest for The Holy Grail. Though as I said to the two Terry’s, it’s not strictly true as The Grail is only a legend with some historical truth.”
Michael nodded slightly, he seemed impressed by Penny’s historical knowledge. Michael being a history graduate himself, he understood the importance of getting everything in this film historically correct.
“You know your history! Is that what attracted you to the film, the history side?”
“Well I am a history graduate… So yes that was what initially attracted me to the film. Then I found out I was going to be working with the Pythons. I’m big admirers of you guys, you make me laugh so much.”
“I gathered that when I saw you laughing at our script! Just wait till you see it acted out!”
“Yes I can’t wait. How did the first bit of filming go? Terry Gilliam said something about you filming a Bridge scene?”
“Oh yes it went relatively smoothly, though the directors aren’t 100% happy with it so we’re going to have to film the bloody scene again a bit later. Much to John’s disgust, god it’s only the first day and already John’s getting restless.”
Penny was well aware of John’s reputation for being difficult to work with. Still Penny considered him a very funny and talented man. Though not quite as good as Michael.
“Oh dear well you have my sympathies.”
“Do you have to call me Penelope?”
“Why? Don’t you like it?”
“No I hate it, it just sounds so posh and gives the impression I’m snobby.”
“Well it’s either Penelope or a week of me singing Penny Lane at you.”
“On second thoughts, probably best you stick with Penelope.”
She loved Michael’s teasing. He was single right? She knew he’d had a string of failed relationships, bit like herself. Come to think of it, it was rare she got on with anyone. She realised she much preferred her own company. However she was enjoying Michael’s company, he was the exception.
“Ha thought you might say that! So what part are you playing in the film?”
“Oh one of the girls in Castle Anthrax?”
“Ah one of my scenes! Well I look forward to working with you.”
“Mike! Where the bloody hell are you? We’re starting shortly and we’re waiting for you!” screeched Terry Jones.
“Sorry Penelope, the screaming Welshman wants me so I better get going! You don’t want feel the wrath of a crazed Welsh person, see you later!”
He gave Penny a little wave and headed off in the direction of Terry Jones’s voice. Once Michael had gone, Penny felt a little lightheaded.
I’ve just spoken to THE Michael Palin, THE Michael Palin! God I need a drink.
She carried on reading the script and by the time she’d finished the entire thing, they still hadn’t come back from filming. She could tell that they were going to be many arguments amongst the Pythons… Most likely caused by John. Then she heard a loud voice.
“Oh for christ’s sake Terry this is ridiculous. We’ve done five takes on the wretched thing and you’re still not satisfied with it?”
She noticed that behind John was Eric Idle who gave her a cheeky grin then rolled his eyes at John. It seemed that John had been like this through the entire process of shooting the scene. He made his way over to Penny.
“Alright there darlin’? Excuse Mr Cleese, he’s been like this all day… What’s your name squire?”
“Penny and yes as in the song.”
“But John, I can’t help it if the smoke got too heavy and started Eric on a coughing fit!” said Terry Jones.
“Can’t you use a previous take or something? Because frankly we’re sick to death of filming the bloody scene.”
Actually it was quite amusing for Penny to witness the Pythons arguing, she started giggling to herself.
“Enjoying the show?” said John.
“Oh no, no not at all.” Said Penny, she starts to giggle again.
“Come on guys let’s take a break. Let’s not bicker and argue already. Fancy some lunch Penelope?”
“Oh Penelope eh? Oh we aren’t half posh! Where’s Gray anyway?”
“Dunno, I thought he was behind me. I’d better go and find him, when he’s had a few he could be anywhere!” said Eric.
“Yes I’d love lunch, thank you Michael.”
Michael Palin is taking an interest in me, ME of all people!
To be honest Penny was quite glad to get away from the Pythons, they didn’t half bicker like school children…
“Sorry about the others. They’re just all a bit stressed out because our Directors are such perfectionists! Hope you haven’t been put off too much working with us.”
“Oh no, not at all. Actually I found it quite funny.”
“Well I can assure you, we’re not always at each other’s throats. I suppose it’s like siblings really.”
“Yes I suppose so.”
Penny wouldn’t know that feeling. Being an only child and all.
“Anyway, what did you think of the script?”
“Oh I love it. I can’t wait to see it acted out!”
Penny tried to hide her obvious love for the Python’s work but it was no use. It was plain as day. Michael smiled. He obviously wasn’t creeped out by her obvious love for all things Python.
“You’re not very good at hiding your love for our show are you?” said Michael with a grin.
“No it seems not. I just don’t wanna freak you out.” Said Penny with her head down.
She was embarrassed again. Normally she was quite vocal with other people but when she was around Michael she felt like a giddy school girl.
“Oh don’t be silly Penelope. Don’t worry we’ll be doing the Castle Anthrax scene later. I think the guys will be quite glad not to see another bridge again!”
“You die in that scene right?”
“Yes poor Sir Galahad snuffs it. Though in the original draft he actually accompanies Arthur and Bedevere!”
“Palin! You’re needed for this fucking Bridge scene!” shouted John.
“Oh dear I’d best answer Cleesey’s call! See you later Penelope.”
The more Michael called Penny by her full name, the less squeamish she found it. Now it just seemed completely natural. Michael really was the exception.
“So who was that girl you went off with Mike? One of the extras?” said John.
“Yes her name’s Penelope but she does prefer to be called Penny and yes as in the song Penny Lane.”
“Alright Mike no need to get your knickers in a twist. She a, uh, goer?” said Eric going into his famous Nudge Nudge sketch.
Michael rolled his eyes. He didn’t know why he was so bothered about people keep singing Penny Lane every time she said her name. Maybe he just didn’t like to see her angry or anyone angry for that matter.
“Oh for goodness sake Eric, course she isn’t! I hardly know the girl!”
“I say chaps, Mike is getting awfully defensive isn’t he?” Piped up Graham.
Michael sighed, Graham didn’t know half the time what was going on how could he comment?
“Can we get on with this scene?” said Michael.
Penny meanwhile was bored out of her brains. There was only so much of script reading she could do before the stuff became unfunny. She saw a blonde woman walking towards her, it was Carol Cleveland.
“Hello there I’m Carol, I hear you’re in a scene with me?”
“Yes The Castle Anthrax one.”
“I gathered your name is Penny?”
“Yes or Penelope according to Michael.”
“Oh that’s just typical of Michael, calling people by their full name! I’m sorry that the lads have been giving you a hard time with singing Penny Lane at you, sometimes they really can be such arses!”
“Oh no it’s alright, should have expected it from them really. They are rather silly people.”
“That’s no excuse to act cruel! I bet you hate the song now don’t you?”
“Oh I loved it when it first came out, then all I got from my classmates at university was a rendition of the song every day. No wonder I didn’t make many friends at university…”
Come to think of it Penny had, had a pretty lonely childhood and adulthood. Now, at the age of 25 for once in her life, she didn’t feel alone. Carol was a breath of fresh air and she told Penny about how great the Pythons were to work with. Yes they played a lot of jokes on her but she knew that they loved her dearly.
“You know Michael isn’t the saint you might think he is! He plays his own little part in teasing me but it’s all part of the charm.”
Penny had been full witness to the Palin charm, it was very hard to resist! Though Penny didn’t think he was being especially nice to her. She knew it was Michael’s nature.
She had a really nice chat with Carol and she had suggested that Penny ought to meet Connie Booth, the witch in the Witch Village scene and John’s wife. Penny knew Connie as being in How to Irritate People (a precursor to Monty Python) and as Michael’s best girlie in The Lumberjack Song. Oh how she loved that song, she would sing it whenever she felt down which was pretty much all the time.
“Hey Penny, Carol, we’re ready for you!” shouted Terry Gilliam.
By the time the castle was all set up, they were ready to shoot. This was it. She felt sick. Before she knew it Terry Jones had said action and they were filming the scene.
Michael came into the castle soaking wet. Penny felt sorry for him, she was worried about him catching a cold.
“Honestly I can handle this lot easily.”
“Yes let him handle us easily!”
“I can defeat them, there’s only 150 of them.”
“He’ll beat us easily, we haven’t a chance!”
Penny’s job was just to repeat what Carol had said such as we haven’t a chance and he’ll beat us easily. It was quite simple really.
God I wish Michael could handle me easily and spank me!
For that was also one of the lines Penny had to speak too. Though she could claim that she had been acting, she had meant every bit of it.
Michael came up to her after the first take had been shot. He was fiddling with his parting which due to it being wet was all messed up. Penny smiled to herself, she loved Michael’s hair that length. She had this uncontrollable urge to stroke it. It looked so soft.
“Well done on your first big acting break, now you’ll never work again. It’s the curse of working with The Pythons!”
“Oh look at you, you’re soaking wet!”
“Oh that’s the least of my worries, it’s the allergic reaction I have to watch out for!”
“Yeah I’m allergic to wool but don’t worry I’m taking something to ease it.”
Penny noticed that Michael’s entire costume was made of wool, it must have been an absolute nightmare for him! However to her, Michael looked very handsome even if he was feeling very uncomfortable.
“Well please be careful.”
She couldn’t help but be concerned. Michael was rather flattered that Penny cared so much about his wellbeing.
He hadn’t realised before how pretty Penny was. She had brown wavy hair just below her shoulders and hazel eyes, he hadn’t really noticed how striking her eyes were before. The headdress she was wearing covered her hair. As her hair was a bit too short to fully tie up.
“Penelope, I’m flattered you care so much about my wellbeing but honestly I’ll be fine. I’m a grown man, nearly 31!”
Although Penny already knew Michael’s age (it was in one of those magazines she’d read, sort of like a pop profile?) she thought he looked her age. Michael had always looked younger than he actually was all the way from when he first came on television.
Just when Penny was about to compliment Michael, John interrupts.
“Madam, can you forgive me for taking the piss out of your name? I really am a pompous arse when stressed!”
“Can we have that in writing John?” cracked Terry G.
John shot him a dirty look.
“Honestly John, it’s fine, if it helps I think my name sounds posh that’s why I hate it.”
“Jonesy? Is this girl in any other scenes?” said John.
John had taken a shine to Penny, he wasn’t sure whether it was her down to earth nature that intrigued him or her pretty face. It was no secret that John liked women, in fact all the Pythons did. Except Graham of course.
“No only the Castle Anthrax scene.” Said Jonesy.
“Get her in a couple more scenes, this girl has talent.”
Penny smiled though she wished Michael was saying this to her.
“Oh no honestly guys that’s too much. I’m grateful enough as it is you’ve given me this small part!”
“What scenes do you suggest John? Honestly Penny, we don’t mind fitting you in a couple more scenes you’re certainly one of the best extras we’ve had!” said Terry G.
“Well I think she should be in The Witch Village scene and one of the guests at the wedding of Prince Herbert.” Said John.
She knew these were scenes with mostly Mike in them, she froze for a moment. It was bad enough having to deal with Michael as Sir Galahad without subjecting herself to more torture!
“Guys, guys let Penelope make a choice of whether she wants to do any more scenes or not!”
She was flattered Michael came to her defence. Michael was the only one who saw this from her perspective, well sort of.
“I’m really flattered that you think so highly of me. I feel you’ve overestimated my acting ability but if you really think I’m up to the job then I’d love to take part in those scenes you’ve mentioned.”
Penny knew that in this business, it pays to be brave and try new challenges. Michael grinned at her. She reckoned that secretly he wanted her to film more scenes. On the whole The Pythons had taken such a shine to her, she couldn’t quite believe it!
“Jolly good to hear that Penny.” Graham slurred.
She was impressed Graham could even remember her name in his state, was she really that special?
“Thanks Graham. So is filming wrapped up for today?”
“It certainly bloody is! We all need a good shower!” said Eric.
The Pythons rushed to their cars and headed for the hotel. As Penny later discovered, there was very limited hot water at the hotel and it was a great rush to have a shower before it went cold. Penny only found this out when having a shower herself, she didn’t need a quick shower either. It was a full shower session! She screamed very loudly when the cold water hit her.
“Ah! Jesus Christ!”
The sad thing was, she just had to deal with it. All the product that was applied to her hair had made it incredibly greasy and she wanted to wash it out.
She heard a gentle knock on her door. Luckily she had just finished washing her hair so wrapped a towel around her body and her hair in a towel. By the time she’d done all that, the door knocked again. This time more erratically.
Fucking hell give me chance to answer…
She was ready to give the person on the other side of the door a piece of her mind until she realised that it was Michael who had been knocking.
“Oi—oh Michael it’s you.”
She held onto her towel self-consciously. She really didn’t look her best, her mascara had run all on her face and she knew if this towel came off, Michael would see everything. If it was any of the other Pythons seeing her like this, she wouldn’t care but she wanted to make a good impression on him.
“Sorry to disturb you Penelope, I heard some screaming are you alright?”
“Oh yeah I’m fine, it’s just the water was freezing.”
“Ah yes, forgot to mention that there is very limited hot water in this hotel and once all the Pythons have been in, there’s not much chance of getting a nice hot shower!”
“Ah that explains it then. Anyway, I um, better sort out my hair.”
“Oh yes of course. Oh before I forget, the lads wanted me to ask whether you fancied going to the pub with us a bit later?”
“For drinks, food or both?”
“Well both if you like. The others have already eaten you see so they’ll probably just have drinks!”
“Okay sounds great!”
“So see you in about an hour or so?”
“Yes see you in an hour.”
She immediately started to dry her hair and put on a suitable dress.
God this is silly, why am I bothering to make all this effort for a man like Michael? He’s famous and lovely and handsome and kind and so out of my league…
Penny wore a long flowery dress and shoes with a slight heel. Michael came knocking on her door again and just stared at her.
“You look, um, nice Penelope.”
To Penny it sounded like a reluctant compliment but really he was just shy. He didn’t want to scare her off. He had to be subtle in his approach.
“Thanks, you look nice too.”
However what Penny really wanted to say, was that he looked absolutely bloody gorgeous.
Man it’s a good job he can’t read my mind…
The evening went very well, Michael was cracking jokes left, right and centre and the other Pythons seemed very interested in Penny’s personal life. Though she claimed incessantly there wasn’t much to tell, they weren’t convinced. Therefore Penny only went into a brief summary of her life, such as her time at university, how she got into acting and what her hobbies and interests were.
She didn’t mention her parents at all, well to Penny they were barely even parents…
“But Penny, surely you do more than just sitting watching telly in your flat?” protested Eric.
“I don’t exactly have any friends to go out with. Surprisingly enough I’m not a very likeable person.”
“Oh well I wouldn’t say that Penny…” said John with a wink.
Was she imagining that John liked her a lot more than she should? She knew that her heart belonged to Michael in some strange, obsessive way. He was the perfect man. Why would she want anyone else when the man of her dreams was sat right next to her?
“Trust me, I was horrible to everyone at university. The only reason why I’m being nice now is because I admire you so much. Honestly you’ve been my only friends one way or another.”
“Well we’re glad to be of assistance Penny!” said Terry J.
She had to admit she was a little worried about the amount of alcohol Graham had already consumed. She made a mental note to ask Michael later if he was aware of Graham’s excessive drinking.
“Were the people at your university not very nice to you?” said Michael.
Michael seemed the most intrigued by Penny’s past. He sensed a dark past and a dissatisfaction with her life. He thought that her being offered to work with him and his closest friends was the best thing to happen in her life. He was determined to make her life so much better. Somehow.
“They weren’t so bad, I was just focusing on my career ambitions. Though when I was in the Drama Society performing the end of year plays I did meet some good people, well talented people in any case. I noticed that in the acting profession, it’s survival of the fittest. So much bitchiness around, so you could say I’ve always been alone. I’ve always been the person I can most rely on it seems.”
The Pythons seemed a bit surprised about Penny’s life experiences, they knew she wasn’t very old and already she’d been fucked around a lot. However Michael had this urge to give her a hug and assure her that she wouldn’t be alone any more.
After a couple more hours in the pub, they all headed back to the hotel and Penny could safely say she was ready for bed. She said her goodnights to the other Pythons as they headed into their rooms, until Michael was the only one left.
“Well thank you for an enjoyable evening. It’s been the most fun I’ve had in a while.”
“Our pleasure Penelope. I just want to say on behalf of all of us that whenever you’re feeling alone that we’re all here to listen and help. Even though we’re a group of silly sods we do have a heart.”
“Thanks Michael I really appreciate it, well goodnight.”
They walk up to each other as if they’re about to hug but stop. They smile at each other and head into their respective rooms.
Oh damn was meant to ask Michael about whether he was aware of Graham’s drinking problem. Oh well something to ask another day…
Michael had really enjoyed spending the evening with Penelope, it made a refreshing change from hanging around with The Pythons all the time! He went peacefully to sleep with the thoughts of tonight’s events.
The next few days were quite relaxing for Penny as she wasn’t needed for any scenes.
It was sort of nice to get a break from The Pythons. She didn’t want to disturb them too much with her presence anyway!
She decided to fully embrace the Scottish history and visit all the castles and museums that were in reasonable driving distance from where she was staying. Luckily she had brought her camera with her so took plenty of pictures.
The Scottish countryside really was beautiful. So much greenery. So peaceful. She had made a picnic basket for herself and laid a blanket on the grass. She lay on the blanket for a while contemplating the last day or so of being here.
She lost track of the time after a while until she heard a voice coming from above.
“Didn’t expect to see you here…”
She got up suddenly.
“Oh hi John, finished filming?”
“Yes just finished, thank god. We missed your presence on set today actually, well I did.”
Penny was of course flattered but she really wasn’t interested in John. She hoped he realised that.
“I’m flattered. To be honest I’ve been enjoying the peace and quiet. The countryside has that kind of effect on you, doesn’t it?”
“Ooh no I find the countryside dreadfully boring. It’s Mike and Terry who are into that kinda stuff.”
Another reason to like Michael. He loved nature and appreciated the beauty of it.
“So you, uh, ready to head back?” said John.
“Yeah sure.” Penny said with a smile.
She was looking forward to seeing Michael, she couldn’t wait to hear about his day.
Michael saw Penelope coming towards him accompanied by John. A feeling of jealousy came over him.
Oh come on Mike, she wouldn’t be interested in John he’s married for a start! But John is so bloody charming. He has a way with women. They all fall at his feet. Why don’t I have that sort of luck?
“Look who I bumped into on my travels!”
“Alright Penny, fancy seeing you here!” said Eric.
“Hello. I’m afraid John interrupted my peace and quiet for the day!” Penny said with a wink.
“Oh John! Couldn’t you give the girl a bit of peace for one day?” said Michael.
Penny loved it when Michael defended her. It was quite attractive!
“I didn’t exactly seek her out Mike. How was I to know she was going to be there?” said John.
“Alright, alright let’s not start arguing. We’ve had a really good day of filming, let’s not spoil it with pointless bickering.” Said Terry J.
It was quite ironic that in this case Jonesy was trying to be the mediator when he’d locked horns with John on more than one occasion!
“Well I don’t know about you guys but I’m ready for some food, fancy joining me Penny?” said John.
Penny noticed Michael shot John a dirty look. Could it be that Michael was jealous?
All the Pythons turned to look at her. Now she really felt under pressure! They knew that refusing John would be a big mistake on her part! However Penny didn’t want him to get the wrong impression.
“Better say yes Penny otherwise you’ll never hear the last of it! The day you refused THE John Cleese!” said Eric with a laugh.
“Oh shut up Idle. So, Penny, made a decision yet?”
“Uh, well, I don’t want to upset you by saying no as it’s very kind of you to ask and everything…”
“Jesus Christ guys am I that bad to hang around with?”
The Pythons all looked at each other. Who was going to be the one to have the balls to tell John how intolerable he could be to hang around with sometimes?
“Well John sometimes you can be a bit, well, difficult to be around. Especially if you’re going through your questioning phase…” said Michael.
Penny smiled. It was rare Michael was the confrontational type as he had been described by his fellow colleagues as a bit of a pushover. There was a reason why he had a reputation of being the nicest man. A title Michael really hated but Penny knew full well it was true.
Penny reckoned that Michael knew he could get away with saying it because John liked him so much. After all it was John’s desire to work with Michael that got Monty Python together in the first place…
“Alright, Penny I won’t force you to have food with me it is entirely your decision.”
“Okay well as much as I would like to take up the offer, I would like to continue with my original plan of having my own space which includes eating on my own.”
“Well, alright. See you tomorrow at filming then Penny?”
“Yeah see you later.”
She said her goodbyes to the guys and headed off. Luckily she knew her surroundings and got back to the hotel okay. She did want a quick shower as it was actually reasonable weather today but she knew as soon as The Pythons got back, hot water would be none-existent.
Luckily a cold shower could be the ideal thing right now.
She was right. The cool water was refreshing and she was looking forward to grabbing a quick bite to eat and settling down for the night.
After having something to eat which was surprisingly very filling, she put on her dressing gown and lay on the bed. She grabbed a book from the bedside table and started to read. She’d been wanting to finish this book off for a while so it was a relief to be finally getting near the end.
Just as she was getting into it, there was a knock on the door. She checked the clock on the table, it was nearly midnight. She sighed.
Oh well, I suppose I can finish it another day. Story of my life.
She opened the door to find Michael standing there.
“Oh Michael hi.”
“Sorry Penelope were you asleep?”
“Oh no I was reading. What can I do for you?”
“I know you said no to John because you didn’t want to lead him on. I mean he is a married man so he shouldn’t really be how he is with you. Anyway, I’ve hardly saw you all day so I wondered if you fancied a walk with me?”
“What in our pyjamas?”
“Yeah why not? Scotland is so beautiful at night and I thought it would be relaxing.”
“With the others?”
“No just me and you.”
Penny liked the sound of that. Michael seemed to have gained some confidence in expressing his feelings lately. It helped Penny start to understand exactly how Michael felt about her.
“Okay sure, sounds fun!”
“Great, come on I know just the place we can go.”
The excitement of not knowing where she was heading filled her up inside. God Michael even looked attractive when driving. Was the man ever not attractive? Luckily Michael was a good driver so felt comfortable in his car.
So comfortable that she fell asleep for the duration of the journey. She was awoken by a gentle tap on her shoulder.
“Penelope? We’re here.”
The view she woke up to was truly spectacular. The moonlight silhouetted against the mountains, in the distance was Doune Castle. Where Michael had decided to take her seemed so far from anywhere, from anyone.
Finally some time together without any Pythons ruining it…
Michael could see Penny was admiring the scenery intently. She was sat on the grass taking in the surroundings. Nature could be so beautiful sometimes.
“Beautiful isn’t it?” said Michael.
“Yes it is.”
Penny thought he was talking about the scenery but in fact he meant her. The light emanating from the moon really brought out her eyes. They glowed brightly. Her hair looked so golden, natural light really brought out a person’s beauty.
Could it be that Michael was beginning to fall in love with Penelope?
“Isn’t it nice to be somewhere without those pesky Pythons getting in the way?” said Michael.
“Yes it is.”
“I mean don’t get me wrong, they’re like brothers to me but it’s nice to get away from them for a little while. Besides they probably find me annoying too and I’m classed as the nice one!”
“I don’t think anyone could ever be annoyed with you.”
“Ah you’re so kind Penelope but I sense an inner sadness. You’ve seemed so happy since you came here. Is life at home not worth going back to?”
“Well my flat isn’t so bad, well it’s comfortable enough but incredibly isolated. I used to love living on my own but being with you guys, I dunno it’s just changed all that.”
“We’re always here for you, you know that. I know we’re not gossipy girls well except Gray or when we’re the Pepperpots but we’re always there to listen.”
“I’d always wanted a girlfriend, like a best friend who could listen to me as well as advise. I find it so difficult to make friends because I find it hard to trust people. But with you guys I trusted you right away. Strange really.”
“What about your parents? They must advise you on things.”
“Pft them. Parents is the loosest sense of the word.”
“Oh. Want to tell me about it?”
“Oh Michael believe me you do not want to know about my problems. Besides it’ll spoil a perfect night me depressing you.”
“I want to know. Honestly I don’t mind if it depresses me. I care about you. You know that.” Said Michael with a smile.
She sighed. Talking about her ‘parents’ was always a bit of a sore subject for her but she wanted to tell Michael.
“Well okay then. Basically I’m an only child which usually means you get spoilt. Okay I was spoilt but not with love. My parents are well off hence the posh name that I detest so much, instead of giving me attention they’d just shower me with gifts and toys. My mother was the worst, the only time she’d speak to me was if I’d done something wrong or she believed I’d done something wrong. She’d screech Penelope! Such a horrible sound, so you see why I hated you calling me Penelope, just brought it all back to me. Anyway as I got into my teens my parents would just leave me alone at weekends, they’d go on these weekends away. Luckily I knew how to look after myself. I wasn’t abused by them, I mean my Dad showed some love towards me but he just let my Mother knock my confidence down to nothing. So yeah that’s the story of my life, I don’t want any pity, I’m so over it.”
Michael listened intently to what Penelope had to say. He had to admit it was very upsetting to hear that she had never been loved which would explain her coldness towards other people. He, on the other hand had seen a different side to her character. A softer, more vulnerable side. All he wanted to do was hold her.
However for fear of scaring her off, he put his arm around her. She responded by snuggling closer to him, her head resting on his shoulder.
“Thank you for listening Michael. I appreciate it.”
“Well I’m not here to judge and I’m flattered you’re not cold towards us Pythons no matter how annoying we are most of the time!”
“Are you gonna tell the others?”
“Only when you’re ready to tell them.”
For a while they just sat there, with Penny’s head still on Michael’s shoulder, both of them looking at the stars. How pretty they were.
“Do you ever wonder if there’s life beyond that sky?” said Penny.
“Oh I think there’s enough beauty to see down here first before we venture into outer space!” Michael laughed.
Penny loved it when Michael was being philosophical, he was so intelligent. For once in her life she felt loved, safe in Michael’s arms. She felt so relaxed she fell asleep.
The wind gently blew and Penelope’s hair fell into her eyes. Michael smiled to himself and moved the hair out of her eyes. She looked so peaceful next to him, he didn’t want to disturb her. However there was a reason why he brought her out here…
After a while sitting on the grass, Michael gently woke Penelope up. It was nearly 2 o’clock in the morning.
“Bloody hell you sleep a lot!”
“Sorry I keep falling asleep on you Michael. I’m a very sleepy person!”
“It’s okay honestly I’m only teasing. Anyway I brought you here for a specific reason.”
“Oh yeah? Why’s that?”
“Well we don’t get that much time alone together and I wanted to get to know you better. The real you. I also wanted to be honest with you, completely honest.”
“Well about me. You see people have painted this picture of me as the Nice Python and the Cute Python—"
“All of which is true…” Penny said with a wink.
“See you think that because everyone says it, it’s true. I mean yes I am the nice one because I’m not a confrontational person, I don’t like arguing and I probably am a bit of a pushover but there’s so much more to me than that.”
“Michael I know trust me. Look I know what it’s like for people to just see one side of you, god knows I’ve been labelled a cold hearted bitch enough times but I suppose it’s because people don’t take the time to get to know the real me. You and the guys are the only ones who have ever given me a chance and I’ll forever be grateful for that.”
“It’s so unfair isn’t it? To be constantly labelled as something. I trust you Penelope and it’s strange because I’ve only known you a few days but it feels like I’ve known you for years. I didn’t have the upbringing you did, my parents were very loving well my mother was. My dad well you know what fathers are like. Not ones for showing emotion and he can’t speak very well, has an awful stutter like George VI had. I was a bit of a loner child, very shy and just watched the trains go by. I remember wanting to be a train driver at one point! Then I went to a public school in Shrewsbury, I think I discovered then I wanted to make people laugh because I was strange but funny. Maybe one day I’ll stop being a silly person and go travelling maybe even make a job out of it.”
Penny found it fascinating hearing about Michael’s life, boy could the guy talk when he got going! But Penny didn’t mind. She found him an incredibly interesting guy. She was kind of jealous of Michael’s upbringing, it was so happy and loving. She’d love to meet Michael’s parents, they sounded so nice. Ha, who was she kidding? It’s not like she was going to end up in a relationship with him…
“Well you do whatever makes you happy. That’s my motto in life. I mean I could have done anything with my history degree but I chose to become an actress. One of the most unreliable jobs! Think my parents would be ashamed of my career choice.”
“Have you not seen them recently?”
“I moved out as soon as I went to university. Got a part time job to support myself and been living in the apartment since I graduated ever since. I don’t just act though because well it’s not the most stable job and I’m only just starting out and I don’t expect you Pythons to pay me very much!”
“Oh I don’t know I’m sure we can arrange a decent wage packet for you!”
“Well that’s very generous of you.”
Penny sensed flirtation on Michael’s part. She loved that he was so interested in her life, she’d never known anyone be so intrigued by her. The more she told him about her life, the more she felt she was falling for him.
He loved hearing about her life, though it was sad to hear. Would he ever get to meet her parents? They didn’t seem very nice.
“So you haven’t seen your parents for 7 years?”
“Nope and I have no intention of seeing them any time soon.”
“What work do you do alongside acting?”
“I work at my local library as an assistant. Nothing extravagant.”
“Well as long as it pays the bills.”
That’s what she loved about Michael, he wasn’t judgemental. Was there anything that she didn’t love about this man?
“Honestly Michael you’re the kindest man I’ve ever met. You’ve listened to me going on about my fucked up life and you haven’t judged me, you’ve just listened and no one’s ever done that before.”
“When I say I care about you, I mean it. I mean you didn’t have to listen to my ‘perfect’ childhood but you did. You care not just about the Python Michael that all the fangirls love but the other side of me. Don’t think I’ve ever met a girl like you before.”
Penny scoffed. Somehow she didn’t believe he hadn’t said this to another girl before. She wasn’t that special.
“Oh Michael, I bet you say that to all the girls…”
“Penelope, I’ve been out with a few girls over the years and all of them were interested in one thing. My money and fame. They were only interested in me because I’m a Python. Whereas you, yes you’re a big fan of Python but you don’t switch off when I don’t talk about Python. Trust me, you’re different.”
Penny blushed furiously. Was he really saying this to her? Maybe the moonlight has that effect on people.
“Oh Michael you really are the nicest man in the world.”
Michael got closer to her face, Penny started to get butterflies in her stomach. Was he about to kiss her? THE Michael Palin? THE Mr Michael ‘Sexy Pants’ Palin? She made a note to herself not blurt out to Michael her nickname for him.
The wind again blew Penny’s hair into her face. He gently moved it out of her eyes. Was this it? Was this the moment? His face turned away from her for a moment.
Then his fringe started to go all over the place, moved by the wind. Michael was clearly very cross about this. It ruined the special moment for him.
“Oh! Damn hair!”
Penny giggled a little. Michael was so adorable angry.
“Here let me have a go at sorting it out for you.”
Man his hair feels so soft. I’m surprised he’s even let me touch his hair! His hair is definitely his best feature! If only he’d kept his sideburns.
Michael quite enjoyed Penelope’s hands in his hair and he’d never let a girl touch his hair before!
“Don’t you miss your signature sideburns? They really were huge at one point!”
“In some ways I do but they weren’t around in the medieval times! Who knows I might grow them back at some point?”
“Haha I think your hair suits you long.”
“Oh yeah it’s brilliant when my fringe goes in my eyes, very annoying!”
“Well you can just get it cut can’t you? Bloody hell you don’t half do some moaning!” Penny teased.
“I suppose you’re right Penelope. Sorry if I’m annoying you moaning.”
“Oh Michael you’re not annoying me, far from it! I’m only teasing.”
“I know Penelope. I guess I just feel I’m a bit boring. I’m the boring Python!”
“No you’re not. So was this the only reason why you brought me out here? To expose the real you to me?”
“No it wasn’t the only reason…”
Michael suddenly went all shy. He worried about rejection. What if he’d read the signals all wrong? He put his hand in his pocket and felt the small box. Was it even the right time?
“Come on Michael, I’m intrigued what else have you got planned?”
He was quiet for a few minutes. The butterflies entered his stomach. He realised how inexperienced he was in these matters. Yes he’d been with girls before but Penelope wasn’t like them. She deserved somebody perfect. And he was far from perfect.
“Will you walk with me Penelope?”
They walked further along the mountains, the moon shining ever brighter. Michael was trying to find a suitable spot. He wanted it to be just perfect.
Penny didn’t mind all the walking, she loved nature but she just wished Michael would get on with whatever he’d got planned. She didn’t exactly have much patience!
Finally Michael had found the perfect spot. Well he hoped. The moon in this spot was really shining against the mountains. The hill wasn’t too sloped down which meant Michael wouldn’t fall flat on his arse at any point. A big relief for him as he didn’t want to make a fool of himself!
“Michael I don’t mean to sound like a complete bitch but can you please tell me what’s going on?”
“All will be revealed soon…”
“Yes but how soon? I mean I’m filming tomorrow and I don’t want to get in trouble with the two Terry’s for cocking up my scenes!”
“Penelope, don’t worry I’ll sort them out. I’m sure you can deliver a scene on limited sleep!”
“Hm I suppose so, or maybe you just overestimate my acting ability! Michael I really don’t mean to be rude especially when you’ve gone to all this effort for me but I hear my bed calling me so can you just tell me, please?”
“Come and sit next to me.”
They both sat on the slightly damp grass, much to Penny’s annoyance!
“Penelope, you know I care for you a great deal and even though I’ve only known you a short amount of time I can’t really imagine a life without you in it. It’s silly really.”
He got up suddenly and pulled out a box from his pyjama pocket.
Oh my god is that what I think it is? It can’t be can it?
Michael went down on one knee and opened up the box.
“Marry me Penelope.”
The box contained a beautiful, intricate diamond ring. Simple but beautiful.
She had to make sure she’d heard him right.
Wait a minute is THE Michael Palin proposing to me? Me?????
She felt extremely light headed all of a sudden.
Oh god I’m gonna faint!
“You’re asking me to marry you?”
Talk about being in a state of shock!
“I know it’s a bit, well, spontaneous but I’ve just really fallen for you. I don’t know how it happened. You’re just so down to earth. And I know you’ve been alone all your life but I want to make a lifetime promise you won’t be alone any more. I know I’ll be busy with all things Python the next few months but I’ll always have time for you. I promise to look after you, spoil you, and shower you with love always.”
Penny was speechless. She couldn’t believe this was happening to her, her of all people!
“Oh Michael don’t know what to say!”
“Say yes maybe?”
“I just can’t believe this is happening. I’m not special and you deserve someone better than me. But it’s true I’ve always liked you a lot, not just for Python. The more I got to know you, the more I fell for you. I mean it is about time I settled down, I am 25 so yes I will marry you Michael.”
Michael proceeded to slowly put the ring on her finger. He looked into her eyes and put his hands on her waist.
“God you look so beautiful in the moonlight.”
He kissed her deeply. It was something he had been wanting to do for days and he certainly showed it!
“Well we’d better get back my love, as you said your bed’s calling you! Wonder what the others will say when we tell them the news?”
“Probably go into a state of shock like I have?”
So they set off back to the hotel, Penny again falling asleep in the passenger seat. Michael looked over at her momentarily and smiled.
“I can’t believe I’m going to be marrying such perfection.” He said to himself.
Penny mumbled in response.
They soon got back to the hotel and Penny was about to head back to her room until Michael pulled her back.
“Why don’t you sleep in my room tonight?”
“Um okay? Sure.”
“You don’t have to if you don’t want to.”
“Michael don’t be silly. Course I’ll sleep next to you tonight, sorry I’m still in shock about all this!”
“I suppose it is hard to take in! Don’t worry I won’t try anything, I’m pretty tired myself!”
Michael and Penny soon got into bed, Penny was feeling a little cold so snuggled up close to Michael.
“Well goodnight then Penelope.”
Michael planted a small kiss on Penny’s cheek and they both drifted off to sleep.
A few hours later, both were awoken by loud knocking on the door. Michael sighed.
“I bet that’s Terry, wait there Penelope, let me handle this!”
Michael slowly opened the door and saw that it was indeed Terry Jones. Michael rubbed his eye out of tiredness.
“Come on Mike we have to get cracking on the filming, I did knock on Penny’s door but she didn’t answer.”
“She’s probably a really deep sleeper! Anyway, we’ll—I’ll be out in a few minutes just give me chance to get washed, dressed and into my costume.”
“Don’t be too long!”
“Yes sir!” Michael said with a mock salute.
Terry wasn’t very impressed.
Michael turned back to Penny who was sat up in bed with a big smirk on her face.
“I’m guessing you heard all that?”
“Right well you’d better get dressed love, Hazel will probably sort out your costume for you!”
Penny kissed Michael on the cheek before heading back to her room to get washed and dressed. The door was gently knocked and of course it was Michael, armed with a small breakfast. He really was a sweetie.
“Thought you might like some breakfast love.”
“Ooh yes that would be lovely thank you Michael!”
Michael cheekily nicked some of Penny’s breakfast. She tapped him on the arm.
“Oh it’s alright Michael you just help yourself…”
“Sorry love couldn’t help myself! Right I’m off to meet Terry so I’ll see you in a bit?”
Michael darted out of her room so quick, she didn’t even get a kiss off him! She didn’t see what costume he was wearing so she guessed she’d find out when she arrived at the set what scene they would be filming first.
Penny finished off her breakfast and drove to the castle. She saw Michael was dressed as what she thought was King of Swamp Castle. He was having the finishing touches put on him, the wig and thick beard. Not one of Michael’s best looks!
She sniggered to herself as she got closer to him. Michael had soon noticed that Penelope was laughing at him.
“Ah you made it then?”
“Of course. Nice look you got going there.” She said whilst laughing.
“Hey I wouldn’t start laughing if I were you, you haven’t seen what you’re going to be wearing yet!”
“That’s true! Oh well I’ll leave you to it!”
Terry Gilliam came over to Penny, it looked like he was positively beaming!
“Oh hi Penny you made it! Jonesy was saying he couldn’t wake you up earlier! Sadly this role you’re doing today, the Prince Herbert wedding scene is a non-speaking part but at least your costume will be nice!”
“Oh no Michael told me you were after me but yeah I don’t mind a non-speaking part if as you say there’s a nice costume! I’ve just had a right laugh at Michael’s costume!”
“Yes it is very, uh, hairy? Anyway I’ll let Hazel sort out your costume and that!”
Penny’s costume obviously followed the theme of a wedding which consisted of pretty flowers in her hair and a plain dress.
Michael spotted straight away what Penny was wearing and became very captivated by her appearance.
“Wow Penelope you look beautiful, is this a sneak preview to how you’ll look on our wedding day?”
Ah yes the wedding. How quick does he want to get married? I mean I know filming probably won’t be wrapped up till June so is he hoping to get married after they’ve finished filming? Must discuss this with Michael later.
“Ah who knows? Guess you’ll have to wait and see.” Penny said with a wink.
Filming soon starts and Penny had to stop herself from corpsing at Michael’s appearance, this means that they have to do a number of takes much to the annoyance of the Directors and John.
“Penny look I get Michael looks funny but we really want to get this scene wrapped up sometime soon!” said Terry G with some degree of annoyance in his voice.
“Yes I understand, sorry.”
Unfortunately for everyone else Penny had got the serious case of the giggles and the take was ruined again.
“Penny for Christ’s sake can you pull yourself together?” Shouted Terry J.
“Oh come on Terry don’t speak to her like that, just let her compose herself for a few minutes then do another take.” Said Michael.
“Mike, we’ve done seven takes on this now, it’s getting beyond a joke to be quite honest.” Said John.
Penny felt awful. She’d pissed off all the Pythons, well except Michael and Graham who wasn’t in this scene. He was probably off drinking somewhere! She didn’t even realise she’d started crying until Michael pointed it out.
“Now look what you’ve done with your unnecessary shouting!”
“Alright Palin calm down, why you so concerned about us supposedly upsetting her?” said John.
“Because she’s my fiancée and we’re getting married that’s why!”
All the Pythons looked in shock at Michael, mouths fully open. Had Michael really said that? Had he finally found himself a decent woman?
“What did you say?” said Eric.
“I said she’s my fiancée.”
“Oh Mike this is brilliant news!” said Terry J in a very excited, high pitched voice.
He went over to Michael and gave him a great big hug. Michael thought he was going to die from lack of breath due to Jonesy squeezing him so hard!
“Well Mike this is a surprise, congratulations are in order!” said John.
He shook Michael’s hand then turned to Penny.
“Well Penny Michael has stolen your heart eh?”
“Yes it seems so.”
“And I have no intention of taking it back!” said Michael jokingly.
Penny felt uncomfortable when John was talking to her. She got a sense that John wasn’t too keen on Michael having feelings for her. If that was the case, it meant that things between John and Connie were not good.
“Uh guys? As lovely as this is, can we get on with this take?” said Eric.
“Oh yes of course, places everyone!” said Terry Jones.
Finally they got the perfect take and it meant they could have their lunch, which everyone was quite relieved about!
Penny went to the costume tent to put on her normal clothes and just when she’d finished putting them back on, she felt a presence behind her. At first she thought it was Michael but when she turned round it turned out to be John.
“Oh John hi, you alright?”
“Oh I’m fine yeah, just a bit surprised about this, how shall I put it? Whirlwind romance between you and Michael.”
“Well there are such things called love at first sight…”
“I suppose so if you’re a soppy sod like Michael.”
“Can’t you just be happy for Michael? It’s not our fault things aren’t great between you and Connie.”
“Alright I admit it. I like you, probably a lot more than I should and yes things aren’t great between me and Connie. I suppose we’ll get through it like most couples do.”
“Look I’m sorry that things are a bit shit right now but my heart belongs to Michael, it always has.”
“So nothing I can say that can make you change your mind?”
“John you’re married and I’m engaged. You’re a lovely man but you’re not, well…”
“Yeah exactly, you’re not Michael and he’s all I want.”
“Well can’t say I didn’t try.”
Penny put her hand on John’s shoulder and smiled.
“I hope you manage to work things out with Connie, she seems a lovely woman.”
Michael then popped his head into the tent. Of course he had heard every word that John had said. He knew that Penelope was fully committed to him.
“Everything alright John, Penelope?”
“Oh yes fine Mike, right, well, I’d, uh, better get going! See you later at the pub?”
“Yes we’ll see you there John.”
John made a swift exit out of the tent and left Penny and Michael on their own. He hoped that Michael hadn’t managed to overhear what he’d been saying to Penny. As Michael would be very cross with him and the last thing John wanted to do was fall out with Michael.
Michael put his arm around Penny. Penny had noticed that Michael was out of his King of Swamp Castle costume and now looked relatively normal. Well actually to her, he looked incredibly handsome.
“Yeah I’m fine, I’m guessing you heard everything John had said to me?”
“Unfortunately yes. Course we’re all aware of the rough patch him and Connie are going through but that’s no excuse to try it on with you. Anyway I won’t let on that I know, we’re at each other’s throats as it is without another argument being added to the mix. I’m proud of you Penelope. You showed to me your full commitment.”
Penny wrapped her arms around Michael’s neck.
“Well I only want you…”
She reached up and kissed Michael deeply.
“Cor blimey get a room you two!” said Eric.
Penny and Michael suddenly jumped.
“Well we were under the impression we were on our own…” said Michael.
“Oh don’t think I got chance to say congrats to you both. Nice one Mike you’ve certainly bagged yourself a nice one there, eh? Know what I mean?” said Eric.
Penny started laughing at Eric’s Nudge Nudge impression. It was one of her favourite Python sketches. Which was surprising considering most of her favourite sketches had Michael in them!
Michael rolled his eyes as Eric had an annoying habit of going into the sketch pretty much every day…
“See Mike your girl has good taste, she likes my Mr Cheeky character!”
“That’s probably because she hasn’t had the pleasure of hearing it every single day…”
“Alright, alright, anyway seriously Mike I’m really pleased for you. If you need any help with picking a suit or how to have your hair I’m your guy! Said Eric with a wink.
“Thanks Eric.” Said Michael.
“So, uh, I’ll see you at the pub later?”
“Yeah we’ll see you at the pub later. Then we can go into more detail about our news!” said Penny, she put her hand on top of Michael’s as she said this.
Eric left them in the tent on their own.
“Honestly we can’t have some time on our own without some Python interrupting eh?” said Michael.
“It seems not love.” Said Penny.
“Hey are you guys still here?” said Terry G.
Michael and Penny looked at each other and grinned. Yep The Pythons really were the ultimate cock blockers.
“Yes it seems we are.” Said Penny.
“Well hurry up lovebirds we’re off to the pub soon!”
“We’ll see you there.” Said Michael.
Once Terry G had gone Penny started to laugh.
“Yep the Pythons are officially cock blockers!” said Penny.
Both Penny and Michael headed off to their respective rooms and had a shower. Michael heard a scream coming from Penny’s room and knew that she’d experienced yet another cold shower. Michael laughed to himself.
Penny on the other hand after she’d had her shower, a not very nice one at that, put on minimal makeup with some jeans and a t-shirt. She was just about to head out when she remembered she hadn’t put on her engagement ring.
Man I have to get used to wearing a ring…
Michael had also chosen to go casual in his clothing. He’d started going through wedding dates in his mind. He knew it would have to be after he had finished filming The Holy Grail. He didn’t want the engagement to be long. He wanted Penelope to have stability as soon as possible.
Michael knocked on Penny’s door to check that she was ready.
“Well, well, doesn’t my fiancée look absolutely gorgeous?”
“Well, well, doesn’t my fiancé look completely and utterly handsome?”
Michael held her hand and admired her ring. A good choice even if he said so himself.
“That ring suits you.”
“You still haven’t told me when you got the ring.”
“I got it when on one of your day offs during a lunch break.”
“Without the others knowing?”
“Yes I was quite surprised about that. I think they’ve been that occupied with arguing with each other, their observant skills must have slipped!”
Michael and Penny made their way to the local pub and spotted the other Pythons in their usual spot at the back of the pub. They soon spotted them and came up to Michael and Penny hugging them and kissing them on the cheek. Penny that is, not Michael.
“I hear congratulations are in order Penny and Michael, jolly good news to hear!” said Graham.
It seems one of the Pythons had told Graham the news, it looked as if he’d had enough to drink already!
“Thanks Gray.” Said Michael.
Throughout the entire night, the Pythons were very intrigued as to how this romance between Michael and Penny had blossomed as they thought it had all happened so fast! Of course they were happy for them it was just a big surprise for them.
Penny grew increasingly worried about Graham’s alcohol consumption. Surely The Pythons were aware that Graham’s drinking was becoming a problem? They couldn’t just turn a blind eye to it?
Yep definitely going to speak to Michael about this later. Wedding talk can wait, Graham is the priority.
The Pythons proceeded to try and embarrass Michael by telling Penny humiliating stories about him. Michael was turning red but Penny just found them hilarious. Michael really was a sensitive soul but that was one of the many things Penny loved about him.
“So Michael really hid in Carol’s wardrobe?”
“Yes, he was after some prop or something so he says and because he didn’t want to wake Carol he stayed in the wardrobe all night!” said Terry J.
“Oh Michael what are you like!” said Penny, she squeezed his dimples.
“Oh well, least you know what you’re getting yourself into marrying me!”
“Yes I’m marrying a very silly man! What complete torture!”
Penny loved hearing stories about Michael, she’d probably end up hearing stories from Michael’s mother when she meets her! That was something Penny was feeling very nervous about!
After a good few hours in the pub, the Pythons and Penny headed back to the hotel.
“Sorry if the guys were bombarding you with questions and telling you embarrassing stories about me. Honestly I could swing for them sometimes!”
“Michael it’s fine, I can deal with them you know. So am I sleeping with you tonight?”
She put wrapped her hands around Michael’s waist.
“Only if you want to.”
“Course I do.”
“Well that settles it.”
Michael and Penny were soon lying in bed. It seemed Michael wanted to talk about wedding dates but Penny wanted to first address Graham’s drinking problem. His extremely evident drinking problem.
“So! Wedding dates.”
“Can we hold the wedding talk just for a few minutes?”
“Uh yes, of course what did you want to talk about instead Penelope?”
“You guys are aware of Graham’s drinking problem right?”
“Ah that. Well we know Gray likes a drink a bit more than us and that…”
“Michael, the guy’s an alcoholic! He slurs his words, he forgets his lines, he needs help darling.”
“What can we do? It’s not really our place to say anything.”
“Not your place to say anything? You’ve been working with him for the past 4/5 years! If you can’t say anything, who can?”
“Well I suppose David could have a word with him.”
“David being his partner right?”
“Yes he could try and talk some sense into him.”
“And what happens if that doesn’t work? You just let him drink himself into oblivion?”
“Alright Penelope, calm down.”
“Look darling I’m sorry for going on a rant but I know you care a great deal about him as do the other guys and I don’t want Graham to ruin himself just because of you lot trying to be all bloody macho!”
This was why Michael was marrying Penelope. Because she knew how strong the friendship was between the Pythons and cared about Graham even though she hardly knew him.
“Well I suppose I could say something to him…”
“Look Michael I know you’re not the confrontational type but you have to be there for him, otherwise it’ll be too late and all that wonderful talent Graham has will have gone to waste.”
Michael held her face and smiled.
“God I love you Penelope, you’re so kind and caring.”
“I love you too Michael. Now what was this talk about setting a date for the wedding?”
“Oh yes the wedding! Well I was thinking we finish filming 2nd June? So we could make the wedding 10th?”
“Yes that sounds great!”
“Wonderful, well I’ll ring my parents to tell them the good news!”
“Sounds great, well, goodnight Michael.”
Penny kissed him on the lips.
Penny went to sleep with the thoughts of an upcoming wedding. She was expecting to wake up and find that it had all been a dream. To her surprise, she woke up and Michael was sleeping next to her, snoring slightly. She laughed to herself.
God he even looks cute asleep.
She moved a piece of hair from his eyes and kissed him on the cheek.
“God I love you Michael.”
She was just about to go back to sleep for a bit when someone knocked on the door.
Surprisingly enough the knock didn’t wake Michael up so Penny had to answer the door. It was John.
“Oh Penny wasn’t expecting you to answer the door.”
“Yeah I’ve slept with Michael the past couple of days. You okay?”
“Oh yeah, fine, fine. I’ve been summoned by Terry, well Terry Jones to get you and Michael up. Apparently we’re filming The Witch Village Scene so that’ll please Mike.”
“Why would it?”
“Well the scene involves having our faces covered in dirt, I suppose it won’t be too bad.”
“Oh no, well people in the medieval times were quite dirty! Hygiene was limited after all!”
“Yes, yes that’s very true. Anyway I’d hurry up getting ready if I were you, you know what Jonesy’s like for punctuality!”
“I will do, see you in a bit John.”
To her surprise, Michael was still asleep so had the job of waking him up. She really didn’t want to disturb him!
“Michael? John’s just been at the door, we gotta get up now. Terry Jones’s orders!”
“Mm? Oh okay love I’ll let you go and get ready.”
Penny went to go and get ready in her room and accompanied Michael in the car to the film set.
“Ah there you are Mike, Penny. Mike I want you to put as much dirt on your face as possible and Penny if you can go to Hazel, she’ll sort you out with your costume for today.” Said Terry J.
Penny’s costume didn’t look particularly flattering but the thing she really wasn’t looking forward to was having her face covered in dirt! She put the bare minimum of dirt. When Michael came up to her, she laughed in his face.
“Michael I get people in the medieval times were dirty but don’t you think you’re going a little overboard?”
She noticed that John too had gone a bit crazy with the dirt whereas Eric on the other hand had like her put the bare minimum of dirt on his face.
Penny’s lines were simple in this scene. She had to shout lines like a witch, a witch! And burn her, burn her!
Today however Eric, John and Michael had got the serious case of the giggles to the point where Eric had to bite into his scythe to stop himself from laughing! Penny for once was being completely professional although it was hard not to join in with the giggling!
She hadn’t got a clue what they were even laughing at but it was nice to see them having fun for a change as opposed to bickering at each other.
Still they managed to film the scene in one take so filming was over pretty quickly. Penny couldn’t believe it was going to be her last day in Scotland. Back to her dreary flat for a few months…
She supposed the wait would be worth it since she was going to marry THE Michael Palin. She wondered what kind of house Michael lived in. Probably a lot nicer than her flat! That wasn’t exactly difficult.
“Honestly what is up with you guys? You’ve been giggling throughout this entire take!”
“Well gotta make light of the situation!” said Eric.
Michael was also aware that this was Penelope’s last night here. He wanted to make sure it was one to remember.
With thanks to a recommendation from Eric on a French restaurant complete with the perfect romantic ambiance, Michael treated Penny to a posh meal topped by a romantic walk by one of Scotland’s many lochs.
Like where Michael proposed to Penny only a couple of days ago, they had the loch to themselves.
“Can’t believe you’re going back home tomorrow…”
“I know. The time has gone so fast but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
“I’m glad love. I will miss you Penelope. When I want to really strangle the guys I’ll be thinking of the next time I see you.”
“I’ll miss you too Michael. When I’m stuck at a boring desk having to deal with silly members of the public, I’ll be thinking of you always.”
“Oh, well since we’re here do you fancy a dip?”
“Uh with our clothes on?”
“No naked silly…”
“I don’t know Michael…”
“What you scared of? The Loch Ness monster?”
“No for goodness sake Michael, that’s only a legend and even if it was real it’s been sighted in the Scottish Highlands not round here…”
“You know sometimes Penelope you really put me to shame with your historical knowledge. What period of history did you study in your degree?”
“Modern history like yourself I believe?”
“Yes I did study modern history. Though who knows? In about 30/40 years time, people at university studying history could be learning about the Two World Wars.”
“So you gonna join me for a quick swim?”
“Won’t it be cold?”
“Well yeah a bit but I’ll keep you warm.”
“What if someone comes?”
“Penelope no one will come, we’ve got this place to ourselves!”
Michael at this point had started to undress himself until he was completely naked. Penny marvelled at the sight. And it was all hers to enjoy…
Michael jumped in and flinched out how cold the water was.
“Bloody hell it’s as cold as the shower at the hotel! Come on Penelope, you know you want to…”
Michael’s tone of voice had immediately convinced her.
God damn it why did he have to be so persuasive?
Penny slowly took off her clothes, looking each direction to see if anyone was coming. It seemed Michael was right and they’d got the place to themselves.
“Wow my wife-to-be really is a sight to behold!”
Penny slowly jumped in and was caught smoothly by Michael.
“Oh my god, oh my god Michael! It’s so cold!”
Michael wrapped his arms around Penny’s waist pulling her close to him.
“I know love but you’ll soon get used to the temperature.”
“Do you usually do completely mad things?”
“No only when I’m with you. It seems you have that effect on me…”
“Well I’m flattered Michael but I guess I already knew you were completely and utterly mad!”
Michael encouraged Penny to swim with her and after a while she didn’t feel so cold. Begrudgingly she accepted Michael was right.
She quite enjoyed the swim, it had been ages since she had been swimming! Swimming was one of her hobbies when she was at university. The only good thing her parents ever did was invest in some swimming lessons for her!
“Well, well Penelope I have to say I am impressed by your swimming technique!”
“Not bad for someone who hasn’t swam since she left university! Probably the only good thing my parents ever did was to pay for me to have swimming lessons!”
Just as they were getting into the groove of swimming a few lengths in the loch a torch shone in both their faces.
“Everything alright, sir? Madam?”
It was a police officer. Penny gave Michael the dirtiest look ever.
I’m going to kill you Michael.
Penny let Michael do the talking.
“Um yes, yes everything’s fine officer.”
“Hey don’t I know your face from somewhere?”
“Umm you might do?”
“Yeah I know your face, you’re from that TV programme Monty Python! You’re Michael Palin aren’t you?”
“Yes yes I am. Are we trespassing officer?”
“Oh no, no not at all. I was just checking that your wee lass wasn’t injured at all!”
“No no I’m fine we’re just um, going for a quick dip?” said Penny.
“Aye so I see… Well I’ll leave you two lovebirds to it then.”
As soon as the police officer had gone, Penny punched Michael in the arm hard.
“Ahh that hurt!”
“Oh there won’t be anyone about, goes to show how much you know! I had visions of us being arrested for indecent exposure! That would have looked good front page of the newspapers, Python Michael Palin arrested for skinny dipping in Loch! Honestly Michael I could have killed you.”
“Oh calm down Penelope, you have to admit it was quite funny.”
“Oh well I’m glad you found it so amusing!”
Michael then started to laugh uncontrollably. Michael’s laugh really was infectious so Penny found herself laughing with him till she too couldn’t stop laughing.
“Honestly Michael you’re such an idiot.”
“Ah but you love me.”
“Yes I do, very much!”
She kissed him on the lips and wrapped her legs around his waist.
“You really shouldn’t do things like that Penelope…”
“Oh yeah? Why’s that?”
“Because it’ll be very hard for me to resist temptation!”
“Oh well we can’t have that Sir Galahad can we?”
Penny wrapped her legs even tighter around Michael’s waist, she started stroking Michael’s now wet hair.
“No I’m sworn to chastity!”
Michael and Penny had promised each other that no sex would happen until they got married which was very hard when one was prone to tease the other. Penny didn’t want any unexpected surprises before she got married!
“Well Sir Galahad we’d better get back to the hotel, early start and all!”
“I agree my fair maiden! Right well I uh better get the towels out of the car.”
“What like this?”
“It’ll be fine, it’s not like anyone will be about.”
“You said that last time and you saw what happened…”
To Penny’s surprise, Michael came back with the towels without anything out of the ordinary happening. Penny breathed a sigh of relief!
Penny and Michael dried themselves off with a towel and put their clothes back on. They headed back to the car and straight to bed.
Both woke up relatively early so Michael could help Penny pack and load up her car.
“I don’t really want to say goodbye.” Said Michael.
She put her hand on top of his and squeezed it tightly.
“Don’t miss me too much!”
“I’ll try not to.” Said Penny.
“Make sure you tell your mother the good news.”
“I will love.”
Penny got into the car and wound the window down. She reached over to Michael, gave him a kiss and drove off.
The next few months were pretty boring for Penny. She worked a lot of hours at the library even though she got quite a good wage packet for her part in The Holy Grail. Probably down to Michael, she thought.
Michael also had a boring few months. The arguing amongst the Pythons had gotten worse, especially between the two Terry’s and John and Terry G. It had got so bad between John and Terry that John had told him to piss off. So for a while they stayed out of each other’s ways!
So Michael was quite glad when his scenes were over and he could go and visit Penelope. Before she went Penny had given him her phone number and address.
Therefore when Michael got back home he rang her up straight away.
“Oh Penelope am I glad to hear your voice!”
“Michael hi! God I’ve missed you. You okay?”
“Yeah I’m fine, just glad to be home!”
“I bet! So when are you planning on coming over?”
“Tomorrow if that’s okay?”
“Sounds great, any idea what time?”
“Okay well I’ll make sure I’m up early! Can’t wait to hear about the rest of your filming!”
“Mm I bet, anyway love I’d better go as I’ve just got in and I want to unpack and have a proper shower!”
“I understand that completely love, see you tomorrow!”
Penny put the phone down and smiled. How she loved hearing Michael’s voice, she couldn’t wait to see him tomorrow.
She immediately started tidying up the apartment the best she could, dusting, hoovering and cleaning the kitchen and bathroom. She didn’t know why she was making such an effort for him… Like he was going to notice!
She supposed it was because she wanted to prove to him she was capable of making a nice home for him. Though Michael didn’t give the impression he wanted her to be a housewife!
Michael couldn’t wait to spend a few days with Penny, he deserved a break after putting up with the Pythons for the past two months! The wedding was already booked, the honeymoon too now all they had to sort out was what they were wearing!
However Michael wanted to make the next few days absolutely perfect for Penny. He knew she had been working really hard as of late and wanted to treat her. The big problem was, he wasn’t too familiar with Birmingham so how could he spoil her if he didn’t know where to take her?
He reckoned Eric might know of good places to take her as he was pretty knowledgeable on the best places to take girls! There was a reason why Eric had a reputation for being a lady’s man!
So he decided to ring Eric up.
“Hi Eric it’s me.”
“Oh hi Mike, got back alright then?”
“Oh yeah fine, listen Eric I need your advice.”
“Go ahead Mike I’m all ears!”
“Well I’m going to see Penelope up in Birmingham for a few days and I want to treat her and—"
“You don’t know where to take her?”
“Well I know there are probably some nice restaurants in The Bullring you know the shopping centre?”
“What about local attractions?”
“Well you could take her to see a show? There’s the Birmingham Hippodrome and since you’re both into history take her to Kenilworth Castle, that’s not far from Birmingham.”
“Thanks Eric, I just want to make the next few days really perfect for her.”
“I understand Mike, well I’ll see you soon!”
Perfect. Michael had got the next few days all planned. Tomorrow night he’d take her to a fancy restaurant, maybe a bit of shopping, the next day take her to Kenilworth Castle then a show of her choice at The Hippodrome and finally to Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-upon-Avon.
The last day would be spent sorting out their wedding outfits. Maybe they were leaving it a bit last minute but they had been so busy with work, they just hadn’t had the time to find a dress and suit.
Penny still hadn’t sorted out her bridesmaids. It was a difficult job as she hadn’t got any friends. Well except Carol and maybe Connie.
She decided to ring up Carol first.
“Hello is that Carol? It’s Penny.”
“Oh hi Penny, I heard the good news. Congratulations! You’re certainly a lucky girl bagging Michael!”
“Thank you. I’m very lucky! Anyway I wanted to talk to you about the wedding.”
“Well I’m estranged from my parents and I haven’t really got any friends so I wondered whether you wanted to be my bridesmaid and help me find a dress?”
“Why Penny of course I will! What day were you thinking of buying a dress?”
“Friday morning? I imagine Michael will be sorting out his suit on the same day as well. I think he’s asked Eric to help him.”
“Yes that sounds fine.”
“Great well I’ll see you Friday then! Oh don’t suppose you could meet me in Birmingham? I can just meet you at the train station and we’ll go to The Bullring?””
“Yes yes of course, Birmingham New Street right?”
“Yes that’s the one.”
“Yep so meet you at the station at about quarter past 10?”
“Yes that sounds great!”
Penny put the phone down and called Connie. She really hoped John wouldn’t answer the phone… She hadn’t told Connie about John having some form of feelings for her as it wasn’t like he’d tried it on with her.
“Hello?” answered a soft American voice.
“Hi is that Connie? It’s Penny, Michael’s fiancée?”
“Oh yes hi Penny. What can I do for you?”
“Well I was wondering whether you’d be one of my bridesmaids? I’ve already asked Carol you see and well you’re the only friends I’ve got other than the Pythons.”
“Why yes I’d love to Penny!”
Penny definitely felt more organised now. She ran herself a hot bath before heading to bed. She fell asleep with the thoughts of seeing Michael again and becoming his wife.
Michael couldn’t sleep as he was too excited about seeing Penny tomorrow. He remembered that he hadn’t sorted out who was going to be his Best Man so he rang up Terry J.
“Mike why on earth are you ringing at this time for? It’s nearly midnight!”
“Sorry Terry, having trouble sleeping I’m seeing Penelope tomorrow you see so I’m really excited! Anyway the reason why I was ringing is I wanted to ask you whether you could be my Best Man?”
“You rang me up at this time to ask me to be your Best Man?”
“Yes I know it’s late but I just wanted to feel organised. Penelope will go mad if I haven’t sorted out one of the most important parts of the wedding!”
“Mm but Mike you don’t even need to ask course I’ll be your Best Man, now go to sleep!”
Michael and Penny were up very early, with Michael making the drive to Birmingham from London and Penny doing some last minute cleaning of the flat.
To make the long journey more bearable, Michael blasted some tunes with the windows down. Before he knew it he’d reached Birmingham. He spotted Penny’s car a mile off and parked next to it.
He walked to the building and pressed the buzzer.
The buzzer went and Penny immediately knew it was Michael. She gave him a few minutes to come up the stairs and he gently knocked on her flat door. She let him in.
He was stood at the door in a white shirt and flared trousers. His hair looked like it needed a bit of a cut as his fringe was longer than ever. She went up to him, wrapped his arms around his neck and kissed him deeply.
“Bloody hell give me chance to get through the door!”
She started to mess with his hair.
“Your hair needs a cut. Hope it’ll be cut in time for the wedding!”
“Don’t worry love it will be.”
Michael inspected the flat. It looked immaculate but then again he didn’t expect anything less from Penelope. Everything was all open plan which made the flat feel bright and airy.
“Wow Penelope it looks very tidy in here!”
“Haha you sound surprised! Actually it’s extra tidy today because I wanted to make an effort for you.”
“So just a one bedroom is it?”
“Yeah I have no need for another bedroom well except for like a storage room or something. But I don’t have that much stuff so moving out should be easy.”
“Mm so can I have a grand tour?”
“Of course dear.”
Though there wasn’t much to see Penny gave as much of an extensive tour of the flat as she possibly could. Then she got to her bedroom. Oh shit, she forgot about the many Michael posters on her wall…
“Well, well this is a turn up for the books. It seems I’m marrying a woman who is completely and utterly obsessed with me.”
“I was going to take the posters down before you came but it just completely slipped my mind. I was worried you’d think I’d got a screw loose somewhere.”
“Now why would I think that?”
He put his hands around her waist.
“I don’t know because I’m worried about losing you?”
“Penelope I love you for god’s sake. Actually I’m rather flattered if not slightly embarrassed that my future wife has pictures of me in her bedroom. Well least I know you’re definitely in love with me!”
“Of course I am Michael. Now what did you want to do today?”
“Well first my love I want to unpack then you could give me a tour of your hometown?”
“Alright then, sounds good!”
So Penny helped Michael to unpack and they set off into the city centre. Penny quite enjoyed giving Michael a guided tour as every time she went past a building of significance Penny told Michael about the history of the place. Local history was Penny’s speciality!
After the sightseeing, they went into The Bullring only for some window shopping because Michael wanted to spoil her later after the meal then they headed back to the flat to chill for a few hours.
Penny put the television on and they both sat on the sofa. Michael put his arms around her and started to gently stroke her shoulder.
“You know if someone was to say to me a month ago that I would be marrying my favourite Python I’d think they’d gone mad!”
“Well I suppose it has been a bit of a whirlwind romance hasn’t it?”
“Yes it has but I don’t regret any of it!”
They sat watching the telly for a while until Michael said that he was taking her somewhere nice for dinner.
Penny therefore made a great deal of effort in her makeup and outfit choice. Michael did the same, he was fully suited and booted!
She’d never seen Michael in a suit in person before. Of course she’d seen him wear one in many of the Python sketches but seeing him wear one in person was much nicer!
“Mm aren’t you the most handsome man in the world?”
“Mm aren’t you the most beautiful woman in the world?”
Penny tousled up his hair.
“Oh Michael you’re so sweet!”
Luckily Penny’s flat was within close proximity from the city centre so they just walked there. Penny had never been to the restaurant Michael was taking her probably because she couldn’t afford it. She wondered how Michael even had knowledge of restaurants in Birmingham then she guessed that Eric might have had something to do with it.
Michael insisted on paying for the meal, saying that she deserved to be treated.
“Honestly Michael this is the nicest meal I’ve ever tasted but you should have let me pay my half!”
“Penelope I’ve told you, this is my treat!”
“Hm well okay Michael.”
Then they went shopping, Michael took Penny into a jewellery shop and told her to pick any piece of jewellery she wanted. After much reluctance from Penny that she wasn’t worth spending this much money on, she decided on a necklace. A gold necklace with a love heart on it. It was quite expensive!
After some more shopping, they headed back to the flat. It gave Penny chance to try on her new necklace.
Michael did the honours of putting the necklace on Penny, he started to kiss her neck delicately. She had to admit she was pretty turned on!
“Oh Michael don’t do that…”
He carried on kissing her neck, slowly and softly. Honestly he was such a tease!
“Why not? I know you love it.”
“Yes I do but how am I meant to save myself until marriage if you tease me like that?”
“Alright love I’ll stop. That necklace suits you, didn’t think you could look any more beautiful but as usual you surprise me.”
“It’s beautiful Michael but so much money. You shouldn’t be wasting your wages on me.”
“If I can’t spend money on my fiancée then what can I spend money on?”
“You’ll have to let me make it up to you.”
“Well that’s up to you love but you don’t need to buy me expensive gifts to prove you love me.”
She stroked his face.
God he really was perfect.
“Hm okay then, well we’d better get off to bed!”
“Yes I am feeling pretty tired and Penelope darling?”
“Can you perhaps get rid of that picture of me right by my side of the bed? I don’t want to wake up in the middle of the night to my face staring back at me.”
“Haha okay love.”
Penny put what she considered a very cute photo of Michael back in her drawer.
Well I suppose I don’t need all the photos of Michael if I’m going to be marrying the guy!
Both headed to bed straight away, it had been a long day!
They woke up mid-morning and had a shower. Luckily Penny’s flat had an ensuite in her room and a separate bathroom! Michael had been quite secretive of what their plans were for the next few days. This morning all he had said was that they were going to be experiencing some local culture!
She realised where she was straight away. Kenilworth Castle. Although Penny was interested in local history she’d never been to the castle before and had always wanted to go.
The place was stemmed with so much history and Michael took a lot of photographs of the castle and of Penny outside the castle. She really enjoyed herself and being with Michael had made the day pretty perfect.
It had been really nice weather which was to be expected in June. However they were in Britain, where the weather was very unpredictable!
Michael and Penny had even got a slight tan from being out all day. They got back to the flat and Penny decided to cook them both a meal. It was her way of making it up to Michael for spending so much money on her.
Although Michael spoilt her out of love, she was so used to being spoilt as a way of shutting her up. So it was safe to say she wasn’t a fan of people treating her.
They were lying in bed when Penny decided to ask Michael about how the last bit of filming for The Holy Grail went. She was surprised he hadn’t mentioned it earlier! Which made her think that the experience hadn’t been very enjoyable.
“You haven’t told me about how filming went yet, thought you’d be dying to tell me!”
“Ah well the experience hasn’t exactly been the most pleasant. I mean Terry G tried to get me to eat mud for one scene!”
Penny raised her eyebrow slightly.
“Yeah I was meant to be a mud eater and they were like oh you don’t have to eat real mud we’ll put some chocolate there for you to eat. I went how am I meant to know which is the mud and which is the chocolate? And Terry was like oh you’ll know and I thought what is the point? We had to do so many takes for the bloody thing and I just lost it. Jumped into the mud, started throwing my fists about shouting what is the fucking point. Course Gray and John found it hilarious and started clapping. Don’t think they’d seen me so angry before!”
Even Penny found it funny as she was laughing very much. She wished she’d been there to see it!
“Oh dear, poor baby! So I’m guessing the tensions between you lot hadn’t improved?”
“No, John got even more difficult to work with. Him and Terry G fell out completely at one stage! It’ll be weird doing Flying Circus without John.”
“Well you don’t have to do another series do you? I mean your last series was very good!”
“No but I suppose once it’s out the way I can spend more time with you. We’ve only got enough material for six episodes anyway so it’ll be over before you know it!”
“I think it’s because you’ve been in each other’s pockets for so long you’re sick of each other’s company. It’ll probably do you good to have some space from each other.”
“Yeah I think you’re right love. So do you fancy going to the theatre tomorrow?”
“Ooh yes I’d love to! Haven’t been to the Hippodrome in years! But what do you want to see?”
“Whatever you want to see.”
“Hm well I really want to see Phantom of the Opera.”
“My you are a depressing soul!”
“Oh shut up, the book is really good, so full of emotion and well I like my musicals.”
“Alright well Phantom of the Opera it is!”
In the morning Michael cooked themselves a nice breakfast. To Penny this meant he was very self-sufficient! Was there no end to his talents?
“Right well I’ve booked the tickets for the theatre. 2:30 matinee, thought it would be better for you than in the evening.” Said Michael.
“Oh Michael you’re a star!”
“Yes I suppose I am being a Python!”
“Anyway have you sorted out Terry being your best man?”
“Yes I sorted it out a couple of days ago my love. What about you? You sorted out your bridesmaids?”
“Yep Carol and Connie are going to be my bridesmaid. I’m meeting Carol on Friday to sort out a dress.”
“Connie eh? You might be able to find out what’s going on with her and John when you meet up with her to sort out her bridesmaid’s dress.” Michael said with a wink.
“Michael! I will do no such thing! That’s John and Connie’s business, nothing to do with us. Honestly you’re like one of the Pepperpots wanting to know all the gossip!”
Michael had reminded Penny to contact Connie in the next few days about sorting out a bridesmaid’s dress. Come to think of it, she wasn’t sure what kind of wedding dress she wanted let alone what the bridesmaids should wear!
“Ooh don’t I know it love?” said Michael in his best camp voice.
Even when Penny was slightly annoyed with Michael, his impressions always made her laugh. She always thought Michael was the best out of the Pythons to play a wide range of characters. Or maybe she was just completely biased about her future husband’s talents?
They decided to get some food before they headed to the theatre, luckily there were quite a few restaurants within the vicinity of the theatre. Michael again wanted to pay for the meal but Penny insisted on paying for herself. Michael knew not to try and change her mind!
“Penelope you really don’t have to pay for yourself. I told you, I want to spoil you.”
“I want to. Thing is Michael I have a problem with being spoilt. My parents did it all the time to shut me up. I know you do it because you love me but I just worry if you do it too much you’re doing it because you feel guilty about something.”
She started to look down at her feet. It didn’t matter how often Michael told her he loved her, she was still terrified about losing him. He was famous and what was she? Just a wanna-be actress. He deserved so much better. She worried that he’d meet someone prettier and more talented than her and just leave her. Then she’d be all alone. She couldn’t bear that again.
Michael grasped her chin so she had to look into his eyes.
“Penelope, I know you worry about being alone again but believe me I’m here to stay. You won’t ever, ever be alone again. Anyway why would I want to look elsewhere when I’ve got the most beautiful woman in the world?”
He kissed her deeply. She knew he was right but there were still things that Penny hadn’t told Michael about herself yet. The time would be approaching where she had to tell Michael everything.
“Why have you always got to be right?”
“Because I’m Mr Michael ‘Sexy Pants’ Palin!” Michael said with a wink.
Penny looked at him in horror.
“How did you—"
“Darling you talk in your sleep. I mean I’m presuming you mean me when you say Mr Sexy Pants…”
She turned bright red. She wished the ground would come and swallow her up.
Shit he wasn’t meant to know about that nickname!
“Oh bloody hell now I feel a right idiot.”
“Aw actually I found it rather cute. Well makes a change from being called The Nice Python!”
Michael got them front row seats which meant they had the perfect view. The musical was spectacular though it wasn’t Michael’s cup of tea. He preferred more cheerful musicals and plays. Penny was in tears. She loved every minute of it.
Every time Penny reached for her handkerchief and blew her nose, Michael rolled his eyes.
“Did you actually enjoy that? You were blowing into your handkerchief every time I looked at you!”
“Yeah course I was! I told you it’s a very emotional story.”
“If you say so love.”
“So who’s cooking dinner tonight?” said Penny.
“Well I can if you like?”
“Yeah okay sure. I don’t think I’ve got much food in though.”
“Ah don’t worry about that, leave that to me!”
They quickly head back to the flat. Penny gave Michael her flat key as he was going to the supermarket to buy some food. She didn’t have a clue what he was planning on cooking her, all he said was to trust him on this.
In the meantime Penny decided to ring up Connie to sort out a bridesmaid dress for her.
To her surprise John answered the phone this time.
“Oh John hi, is Connie there?”
“Yes yes she is. Good to hear from you Penny, how are you?”
“Yeah I’m great thanks. Michael has just gone to the supermarket to buy some food for our dinner tonight.”
John seemed to ignore what she’d said about Michael.
“Good well I’ll go and get her for you. Connie? Penny’s on the phone.”
“Penny hi, hope John wasn’t being too much of a pain.”
“Oh no not all. I wanted to know when you were free in the next few days as I wanted to sort out the bridesmaid dress. As Carol is helping me find a wedding dress, I’ll sort out her dress on the same day.”
“How about Sunday?”
“Yeah sounds great. Are you okay with meeting in Birmingham, say the train station?”
“Yes that’s fine, about 12ish? We could grab some lunch as well?”
“Yeah okay, see you then!”
She hung up before John could try and talk to her again. Penny set the dining room table up to give her something to do.
After another half an hour had gone by, Michael finally returned.
“Bloody hell Michael you were gone for a while. What did you do raid the whole supermarket?”
“Had to get the right ingredients love.”
“I see. Oh I’ve just been on the phone to Connie and I’m meeting her on Sunday to sort out a bridesmaid dress for her.”
“Ooh you are being organised!” Michael said, teasing her slightly.
“Yeah so organised I haven’t a clue what type of wedding dress I want!”
She had to admit it was stressing her out a bit. The wedding was next week!
“Don’t stress Penelope, I’m sure you’ll know when you’ve found the right dress.”
Michael stroked her hair and put his arms around her. It always felt good for her to be Michael’s arms. She felt safe and, well, not alone.
Michael’s preparation on their dinner took a lot longer than expected which meant Penny was absolutely starving. It seemed making food from scratch wasn’t Michael’s forte!
Luckily Penny came to the rescue and dinner was finally served, at 9 o’clock.
“I’m sorry that dinner took so long love, I just wanted to make a really nice dinner for you.”
“I know darling but seriously Michael, you don’t have to put so much effort into impressing me. You impress me enough by being yourself.”
“I suppose I’m making up for the last two months of not seeing you!”
“I know and it’s really sweet of you to make so much effort but you’re not Delia Smith dear. Maybe stick to less complicated dishes?”
“Hmm may be a good idea! So who answered the phone when you rang Connie?”
“Ah he must be back from Scotland then.”
“Yeah I was telling him you were out buying food for dinner and he just didn’t respond at all when I mentioned you.”
“Hm sounds like things between him and Connie aren’t improving. His mood did seem to get worse when you went.”
“Have you spoken to him about his feelings for me?”
“God no, things were tense enough as it is without something else kicking off!”
After Penny washed up the dinner plates and Michael dried them, they were ready for bed.
It was getting closer to when Penny had to tell Michael everything. It was only fair she was completely honest with him. I mean she was going to be his wife in a matter of days!
Penny woke up the next morning earlier than Michael and opened up her wardrobe. The top of her wardrobe was where she kept important documents. There were some documents that were very important indeed. She reached up and got them. She checked to see if they were all there. To her relief they were. She put them back where they originally were.
Michael stirred from his sleep. By this point Penny had closed the wardrobe door and was sat on Michael’s side of the bed watching him sleep.
“Penelope? What you doing?” he said sleepily.
He rubbed his eyes. Penny smiled. His voice sounded even cuter when he was sleepy.
“Sorry darling did I wake you? I had to go to the toilet then I thought I’d watch my cute husband to be sleep.”
She stroked his hair, moving a piece of hair from his eyes.
Man he really needs have a haircut!
“I see, in any other situation I’d call that creepy but since you’re my fiancée I’ll let you off.”
Penny made her and Michael a cup of tea, had a quick breakfast and were ready to set off on another adventure.
Penny wanted to drive for a change as she felt bad that Michael had been doing all the driving lately. After much persistence on Penny’s part, they went in Penny’s car and drove to Stratford.
It was certainly an experience for Michael as he’d never seen how Penny drove before. Michael thought she was a good driver but had got the feeling that she hadn’t had the car very long. Her clutch control was a bit woolly at times!
“Penelope you didn’t have to drive you know, I wouldn’t have minded driving again.”
“I know but I felt bad that you were doing all the driving. Also it’s one way of getting used to your future wife’s driving!”
Michael did a very successful job of directing Penny to Stratford as she had never been before. She did love Shakespeare though.
Penny spoke about her favourite Shakespeare plays and her memories of studying Shakespeare when she was studying for her O and A Levels.
“God isn’t this place really beautiful?” said Penny.
“Yes, shame you can’t visit the place where Shakespeare wrote his plays.”
“Yes that is a shame, well maybe one day we’ll be able to.”
Michael loved to take pictures of places he’d visited. Though his favourite subject was always Penelope. She was so photogenic and had the most beautiful smile.
“Michael! Are you going to take some photos of the landscape and buildings or you just going to be taking photos of me?”
“I’m not just taking photos of you, you vain creature! Though what can I say darling you were born to be on camera!” Michael said in a camp voice.
He was such an idiot sometimes but Penny loved him even more when he was being very silly. Maybe he was just born to be a very silly person?
After they’d finishing going round the house, they explored the town of Stratford. It was a pretty village. It was somewhere Michael envisaged him and Penelope living in the future. It was quiet and picturesque place to bring up children.
“You know I wouldn’t mind living somewhere like this in the future.” Said Penny.
“Mm I was thinking the same. It’s so quiet isn’t it? And plenty of pubs!”
Penny laughed. She knew Michael liked a drink or two and drank pretty much anything. However Penny had no cause for concern because Michael knew his limits.
They headed back home as Penny wanted Michael to sample the pubs around Birmingham. Before they knew it, they had got pretty drunk though Michael was worse than Penny! Well someone had to be the more sober one!
“Nice place int’it luv?” said Michael.
It seemed Michael let out his inner Yorkshireman when drunk.
“Yeah it’s great. But maybe it’s time to go home.”
“Aww but I’m enjoying myself so much darlingggggg”
Penny rolled her eyes, god he was embarrassing drunk. But hilarious at the same time.
“I know but you can enjoy yourself at home too. Come on we can grab something to eat on the way back.”
“Aw you’re no fun anymore!”
God now he’s making Python references, definitely time to go home!
They stopped off at the local chippy and as soon as Michael got some food down him, he felt sober.
“I embarrassed you didn’t I, in the pub?”
“Hm maybe a little.”
“I’m sorry Penelope, sometimes I go a bit overboard with the drinking sometimes!”
“Michael it’s fine, you are allowed to let your hair down every now and then. I’m not going to stop you from having fun.”
They settled down on the sofa for the night and finally discussed some of the honeymoon plans Michael had arranged. Michael after all had been quite secretive about where they were going. All he’d told Penny was that they were staying somewhere in this country for the first week and the next week they were going somewhere exotic.
“So am I going to find out any more about this honeymoon? You’ve been very secretive about it!”
“Well I was thinking we could go to this little Caravan Park in Devon then the week after somewhere nice and hot.”
“Yes but where?”
Michael tapped his nose.
“Ah you’ll have to wait and see.”
As much as Penny liked surprises, she didn’t like being kept in the dark about her honeymoon! But she trusted that Michael had picked somewhere they would both love.
They had an early night as tomorrow was a very important day.
“Have you rang Eric about meeting tomorrow to get your suit?”
“Shit, knew I’d forgotten something.”
Penny sighed and handed Michael the receiver for the phone in their bedroom.
“Well do it now. Honestly Michael you’re so forgetful sometimes…”
She left Michael to speak with Eric, as she knew how annoying Michael found people telling him what to say whilst on the phone.
She hadn’t fully witnessed the Palin wrath yet but there had been times when Michael had lost his temper a bit.
It was usually the little things that annoyed Michael, well he was a sensitive person.
Penny still had no idea what kind of wedding dress she wanted. Well Carol’s presence would be useful as Penny wasn’t the best on knowing what style best suited her figure. Maybe Michael was right that she’d know when she’d found the perfect dress.
Michael came out of the room to indicate that he’d sorted out meeting with Eric tomorrow.
“Yep. You didn’t have to go out the room you know.”
“Well I know you get annoyed when I try and tell you what to say whilst you’re on the phone. One of your pet hates!”
“Oh yes that’s true. You do have a habit of doing that!”
Both fell asleep straight away but Michael and Penny were both very nervous about tomorrow.
Penny was up earlier than Michael and went to meet Carol at the train station.
They went round a number of bridal shops but still Penny couldn’t find the perfect dress. On the plus side she had managed to help find Carol a bridesmaid dress. A yellow coloured shift dress with small white flowers around the neck. Well Carol had got the legs for it…
Penny wasn’t quite sure if that type of dress would suit Connie but she hoped it would. After all the bridesmaids had to wear the same style dress!
Michael on the other hand was having much better luck than Penny, the only difficult decision he had to make was what colour tie to wear!
“What do you think Eric pink or blue?” said Michael, holding a tie in each hand.
“Pink’s a bit bright for a wedding Mike!”
“I thought the colour suited me.”
“You want something a little subtle otherwise you’ll outshine the bride and, well, you can’t have that!”
“Mm you’re right Eric, well blue it is then! Fancy a pint after I’ve paid for this?”
“Thought you’d never ask Mike!”
After a good half an hour browsing through the shop, Penny thought she’d found it. The perfect dress. It was made out of chiffon with crochet lace around the chest, neck and bottom of the dress. It looked quite vintage which was perfect for Penny as she’d always loved clothes from the past.
Carol urged Penny to try it on and it really suited her. She bought a petticoat to emphasise the fullness of the skirt. She complimented the look with a longish veil.
“Oh Penny you’re going to look absolutely stunning in that dress, it’s just so you!”
“Thanks Carol. I wonder if Michael has managed to get a suit yet?”
“Oh I suspect that him and Eric are in the pub now!”
Penny could probably guess which pub he’d taken Eric as him and Penny did have a sort of regular pub they’d go to after they’d been out somewhere.
Carol accompanied Penny to the pub that she suspected Michael and Eric were in and her suspicions were proved correct.
“Penny! Carol! Good to see you both. How did you know we were in here?” said Eric.
“Well let’s just say my fiancé is very predictable in terms of what watering holes he samples.” Penny said with a wink.
Penny sat next to Michael, her arm around his neck.
“So how did you get on love? Managed to get a dress in the end?”
“Yes eventually. Got a lovely bridesmaid dress didn’t we Carol?”
“Oh yes, though not as lovely as the bride’s dress!”
“When do you collect it?”
“Sunday. What about your suit?”
Penny started stroking his hair. She was hoping Michael was going to go to the hairdressers sometime soon!
“I do hope you’re going to have your hair cut sometime in the next few days!”
“Don’t worry my love, I’m going to sort that out tomorrow.”
“Well make sure you do!”
Eric and Carol looked at each other and smiled. They really were a cute couple both of them thought.
“Bloody hell she’s nagging me already!”
“Ha well me and Carol will take that as our cue to leave! Don’t want to be caught up in the middle of a domestic! See you Penny see you at the wedding!”
Penny gave Eric and Carol a hug and a kiss on each cheek before they headed to the train station.
They walked back to the flat hand in hand. It had been a pretty productive day for both of them.
“Oh Michael forgot to say that work rang me whilst you were asleep. They want me to do a shift tomorrow and on Sunday afternoon. I said I’d do it because well it’s good of them to give me so much time off work for the wedding and honeymoon.”
“Yeah that’s fine love, gives me time to sort out a few things for the wedding. Like a haircut for instance?”
She kissed Michael on the cheek.
“Thank you dear.”
It was getting even more difficult for Michael and Penny to save themselves till Monday, Penny wanted Michael and Michael wanted Penny.
Though Michael might not want her after she told him everything.
Penny had to be up early for work so left Michael in bed as he looked too peaceful for her to wake him up. She was doing a full shift today but as the library was closed on Sundays she only had to be in on the afternoon tomorrow to help sort out the new books that had come in.
So Michael was left to his own devices all day Saturday. He decided to get his hair cut. As he knew if he didn’t, he’d have Penelope on his back! He also went to collect his suit and hung the bag the suit was in, in his side of the wardrobe.
He’d told the barber that he only wanted a trim as ‘his girl liked it long’.
Penny meanwhile was busy dealing with ‘wonderful’ members of the public. Well when she meant wonderful she was being sarcastic. She had one person who just couldn’t accept that there wasn’t a book that they wanted in the library. She made Penny check multiple times to find this book, believing it was an error on the library’s part, that it had been put in the wrong section. Even when Penny said to her politely that they didn’t have that book and that she’d have to try another library, she wasn’t having any of it.
Penny felt like strangling her.
God kill me now! I bet Michael is having a much better time than me! Wonder if he’s missing me as much as I’m missing him?
Michael however was pretty bored. There was only so much watching telly he could do! He thought about doing something useful but what?
He tidied up the flat a bit though to be fair it was pretty clean anyway. He knew that Penny finished at half 5 so wanted to make sure dinner was ready for her by the time she got back. After last time’s experience he knew not to make anything from scratch!
After that pesky customer eventually went away, the rest of the day was pretty good. She liked helping people find a good book, especially books that were historical. She also enjoyed recommending similar books to what they had borrowed. She’d certainly read a few books in her time!
She knew that Michael was an avid reader too, he really was her soul mate.
Michael quickly went to the local florist and bought a bouquet of roses. He found a clear vase and put one of the roses in it. He placed the vase in the middle of the dining room table. Was Penny even a flower person? He just wanted to show his love for her without overdoing it. He knew how much she hated being spoilt!
Finally her shift ended and she could get home! She’d missed Michael so much and was looking forward to seeing him again. The poor guy must have been so bored all day!
She turned the key into the front door and opened it. The smell of food hit her and she looked over to the dining room table where there were two plates of food not long come out of the oven. In the middle of the table was a bouquet of flowers with a small piece of paper attached.
She dropped her handbag on the sofa and picked up the paper.
Thought you’d might like these flowers and your tea on the table when you got back from work. Just popped to the shop to get something.
All my love,
Man he really is the most adorable man in the world.
She sat at the table and waited for Michael to return. He came back a few minutes later with a bottle in his hand.
“You read my note then?”
“Mm I did, what’s the special occasion?”
“Well there is our upcoming wedding and I thought you’d had a hard day so thought I’d treat you. I took on board the fact that you don’t like to be overly spoilt so I thought I’d be more subtle.”
“The flowers are beautiful, thank you Michael and the food looks good too!”
“Well only the best for you love. So shall I crack open the bottle?”
“Yes please! I think I need a glass or two after the day I’ve had!”
“Oh dear has it been a bit of a day for you?”
“Just difficult customers from time to time! Other than that, it hasn’t been too bad of a day.”
“Well you’re home now and you can relax.”
“Very true my darling!”
Penny and Michael had a few glasses of white wine between them which of course made them very sleepy. Michael was holding Penny in his arms when she fell asleep.
Michael woke up suddenly and saw Penny in a deep sleep, her hair messy and mascara under her eyes. She looked absolutely shattered. Michael moved a strand of hair from her eyes and kissed her forehead.
“My angel.” Michael said to himself.
Eventually Michael carried Penny to bed and then went to sleep himself. Tomorrow would be his last day as a bachelor.
Penny although excited that she would be finally getting rid of her awful parents’ surname, was worried after what she was going to tell Michael tomorrow. He may not even want to marry or even be with her any more.
Penny went to meet Connie and surprisingly enough Connie was happy to wear that style of dress, much to Penny’s relief! Penny also went to collect her wedding dress. Much to Michael’s disgust, Penny kept it very secret the style of dress that she’d chosen!
Although Penny didn’t know Connie as well as she knew Carol, Connie was being surprisingly open about her marital problems.
She knew Michael was dying to know the gossip, so quickly told Michael before she headed into work for a few hours.
She couldn’t completely concentrate at work, she was trying to work out how to explain it to Michael. Well he was a pretty intelligent man so he’d probably understand.
Penny soon finished work and felt completely ready to tell him.
She came in the door and Michael gave her a big hug.
“Really missed you today love, I’ve been bored stiff! Oh Terry rang earlier about a sort of stag do the guys have organised tonight at his house or something so it means I have to travel back to London. But don’t worry I’ll be back early hours of the morning. I’m a bit worried as I’ve got no idea what they’ve planned!”
“Well knowing the Pythons something very wacky indeed! Anyway Michael I need to tell you something, will you sit down?”
They both sat down on the sofa. She held his hand tightly.
“Go on love, I’m all ears!”
“Well I haven’t been entirely honest about my personal life. Yes I was treated like shit by my parents and people were horrible to me at university but well, I don’t know how to put this but I’m not from this time, I’m from the future.”
Michael started to laugh. Obviously he thought Penny was joking.
“I think you’ve been watching too much Doctor Who darling, what do you mean you’re from the future? You’re 6 years younger than me!”
“It’s probably best to start from the beginning. You see I hated my life before, my parents didn’t give a shit about me, I had no friends and I wasn’t exactly getting acting jobs left, right and centre. The only thing that kept me going was watching Monty Python, you guys made me laugh and made me think is life really that bad? I begged to be taken back to the 70s, become friends with you guys then I’d be happy. The Doctor answered my call, yes The Doctor. He said he could take me back to 1974 during the filming of The Holy Grail and I could be friends with you guys. He knew of my crush for you but you see in my world in 1974 you’re married with children and I was told by The Doctor that I couldn’t jeopardise that otherwise it could affect events in the future. I also couldn’t tell you guys what was going to happen in your futures. However things went wrong…”
Penny was now in the TARDIS with The Doctor and his current companion Nardole. Her and The Doctor were discussing their favourite Monty Python sketches. Nardole had been instructed to keep his finger on a button. Trouble was, he’d been stuck like this for at least half an hour.
He felt like he had been forgotten by The Doctor and Penny.
“Yes Nardole what is it?”
“Well you instructed me sir to keep my finger on this button, so can I let go now?”
“Are you still doing that? Should have told you 10 minutes ago to let go!”
Nardole let go of the button and the TARDIS started to make a funny noise. It jolted all over the place.
“You see The Doctor discovered that we had landed in an alternative 1974 universe. He found out that you were still single so I could become closer to you but couldn’t tell you about your future. So the TARDIS was stuck for a while till The Doctor managed to fix it. He gave me the choice of whether I wanted to stay in this universe or try to get back to my version of 1974. I said I wanted to stay here. He wanted to make sure that I really wanted to stay here as once I was here I couldn’t go back. I’d never see my parents again. I said there was nothing to keep me in the present so I’ve been here for about eight months or so, I think.”
Michael listened intently to everything she was saying. Penny wasn’t sure whether he believed her or not. Then she knew the proof she could provide.
“But your birth certificate and qualifications they say you were born 1948 and you graduated in 1970!”
“Yeah The Doctor forged the certificates, so I’d blend in. I still have the originals.”
She rushed into her bedroom and reached for all her certificates.
She passed them to Michael. It confirmed what she was saying. Her birth certificate said she was born on 20th September 1991 and that she’d graduated from university in 2011. How was this even possible? The fact that Penny had lied to him about this hurt him, the anger built up inside him.
“Why didn’t you tell me this before Penelope? Why wait till the night before our wedding to come clean?”
“I didn’t think you’d believe me for one. I was scared you wouldn’t want to be with someone who is technically 48 years younger than you.”
“I need to think. I’m going out.”
Michael grabbed his car keys and coat. Penny was worried, he wasn’t going to leave her was he?
“Please just let me process this. I’ve got to go out anyway.”
Michael slammed the door shut. Penny collapsed on the floor in tears. She’d lost him. The only man she ever wanted. Why didn’t she just tell him from the start? She’d never seen Michael like that before. He was so angry and hurt.
Michael was driving to London with tears in his eyes. He loved Penelope so much but how could she lie to him about this? He supposed she was right about her worrying that he wouldn’t believe her, it was very difficult for him to take in.
Yes he’d watched Doctor Who but that was fiction! All this talk about parallel universes was just theory! But he’d seen the proof. It had been right in front of him! Still he was looking forward to seeing the Pythons as they would cheer him up!
Of course he still wanted to marry Penelope, he just needed some space. He didn’t want to get angry with her.
Penny had been crying for about an hour now. What if he didn’t come back? Then the phone rang. It was Carol.
“Hello?” said Penny as she sniffed loudly.
“Hi Penny it’s Carol. Are you alright?”
“No not really. Me and Michael have fallen out and he stormed out the flat. What if he doesn’t come back?”
“Oh Penny, I’m sure he’ll come back. He’s gone to meet the guys for a sort of stag do hasn’t he?”
“Yes but I’m worried he’ll stay there and not come back. I can’t lose him, I love him so much.”
Penny started crying again.
“Oh don’t worry, Michael does tend to go off somewhere when he’s annoyed or upset, it’s because he doesn’t want to lose his temper with you. Do you fancy going out somewhere? Might cheer you up a bit?”
“Yes I’d like that.”
“Good, now you go and get ready and I’ll see you in about a couple of hours or so?”
Meanwhile Michael had arrived in London, he had no idea what the Pythons had got in store for him.
He soon found out that they hadn’t hired a stripper but instead they subjected Michael to a strip tease, well up to their underwear. It was like something out of one of their sketches. It was safe to say Michael would not be able to get the image out of his head…
Carol had decided to take Penny to a cocktail bar which made Penny take her mind off Michael for a while. Carol said that there was a surprise back at the flat for her and when she came back there were a couple of people there. She recognised Connie but not the other woman.
The woman reminded her of Michael. Then she realised that the woman of course was his mother. She came over to Penny.
“Penelope, wonderful to meet you at last! You don’t mind me calling you Penelope do you?”
“Well Michael calls me Penelope so I’m used to it by now! So you’re Michael’s mother?”
“Yes I am and I have to say he’s very lucky to have a girl like you! Oh he wouldn’t stop praising you when he spoke to me!”
“Of course, he’s always been very shy when it comes to girls so I’m pleased he’s finally found someone!”
Mary Palin and Penny chatted for a while, with Penny telling her about her love of history and her job at the library whereas Mary was telling her about what Michael used to be like when he was little. She even showed Penny some old photographs of him. It seemed Michael was a cutie even when he was little but that was no surprise to her.
The Pythons on the other hand had ordered a takeaway and were reminiscing about old times.
“So you sure you don’t want to film this series with us John?” said Eric.
“My mind’s made up. I told you, I feel that we’re just using old material and changing it slightly. I can’t keep doing Python the rest of my life.”
“He’s right you know, we can’t keep doing Python forever. We’ll take a few years off, spend more time with our families, probably do us the world of good!” said Terry J.
Michael was quiet. He was worried about Penelope. She must be so upset. Still by the time he’d get back, it would have given him time to get his head around it a bit more.
“Mike you alright? You’ve been a bit quiet tonight.” Said Terry G.
“Oh no I’m just thinking about Penelope.”
“Penny eh? Thinking about taking her to bed tomorrow are you?” said Graham.
The guys started teasing him about him consummating the marriage tomorrow. That was when he started making his excuses to go back as he didn’t want Penny to be on her own for much longer.
Connie had told Penny that things had slightly improved between her and John and that they were working through their problems for their daughter’s sake. Penny was happy for her because it meant that John was less likely to do something stupid.
They soon said their goodbyes and left Penny on her own. She hoped Michael would be back soon.
Then before she knew it, the flat door opened and there was Michael standing there. Penny was sat on the sofa, she had been crying some more so the mascara was all under her eyes. They were also red raw.
“Can we talk?” said Michael.
He sat next to her on the sofa but not as close as he usually was.
“So what you’re telling me that there are different alternative universes and in your world in this year I’m already married with two children?”
“Michael I’m sorry I didn’t tell you earlier.”
“I get that you were worried I’d think you’d gone mad but you should have trusted me. If you’d have told me earlier I’d have had a few more days to wrap my head around it. But you wait till the day before our wedding, why Penelope?”
“I was scared. I was scared of losing you. You’re the most perfect man in the world and I thought you were so out of my league then I got the chance to go back in time and meet you. I didn’t think you’d ever fall for me, I mean look at me. Do you know how hard it is for me not to tell you about your future? I know so much and I can’t even tell you. Every day is a struggle not to spill secrets. I’m—I’m so sorry Michael.”
She burst into tears. Michael grasped her by the chin.
“Please don’t cry. It doesn’t bother me that you’re 48 years younger than me in reality, the thing that made me cross is that you didn’t tell me earlier. I love you so much and I told you, that you would never be alone. I keep my promises.”
He wiped the tears from her eyes and kissed her slowly.
“I love you.” Said Penny.
Penny blew her nose into a tissue and smiled. All was well.
“So how was your night with the Pythons?”
“Oh a night to remember! How about you love?”
“Well had a few drinks with Carol, she came back with me to the flat and she’d arranged Connie and your mother to come over for a sort of tame hen night?”
“Bloody hell my mother? I bet she’s been telling you some right embarrassing stories!”
“No they were really sweet and she showed me some pictures of you when you were little. Weren’t you a little cutie?”
She squeezed his dimples.
“Well as long as she likes you, that’s the main thing!”
“I think she does, she’s just glad you’ve finally found someone!”
“Yes that’s true! Penelope I know you can’t go into detail about future events but I did notice you were a bit rusty driving your car, are cars a lot more advanced in the future?”
“Yes they are and you have to wear your seatbelt now! So driving is a lot safer!”
“Well that’s good, so what year are you actually from?”
“Wow very far in the future, don’t worry I won’t pester you about what the future has in store for me, the future is meant for the future after all!”
She was relieved that Michael was so understanding. Well she didn’t expect him to understand the physics behind how she managed to time travel and end up in a parallel universe. However the main thing was, he accepted it.
“Hadn’t we better go to bed? Busy day tomorrow and all…” said Penny.
“Mm I agree love. God I can’t wait for you to be my wife tomorrow…”
Penny slept a lot better this time, as she had been completely honest about herself. Though she hated the fact she couldn’t tell Michael about what the future had in store for him. She was happy that she was going to be part of his future, she loved his travel programmes and couldn’t wait to support him during that time.
Penny and Michael set off early to London, as that was where they were going to get married. Luckily the wedding was in the afternoon! Michael dropped Penny off at Carol’s house so she could get ready there. Michael put his suit on at his house.
Carol helped Penny with her makeup and curled her hair at the ends, she even helped her into her dress! The shoes Penny had chosen were white with a slight heel as she was known to be accident prone.
“How you feeling Penny?”
“Nervous! Especially when Michael is being so secretive about our honeymoon!”
“Oh I wouldn’t worry about that! I know that where Michael is taking you, you’ll just love it!”
“Hm okay then!”
The wedding was a quiet affair, only Michael’s family and friends were the guests but that was okay for her.
The wedding march started and Michael turned round and saw Penny looking absolutely stunning. She really was the most beautiful woman in the world and she was going to be his wife!
When Penny was stood next to Michael, he held her hand and whispered in her ear.
“God you look so beautiful.”
Penny saw how handsome Michael looked and she finally noticed he’d had his hair cut! Only a trim but she loved Michael’s hair that length anyway.
“And you look very handsome!”
“Do you Michael Edward take Penelope Lucy to be your lawful wedded wife?”
“Do you Penelope Lucy take Michael Edward to be your lawful wedded husband?”
Michael held her face and kissed her deeply. Penny couldn’t believe it, she was THE Mrs Palin! None of it felt real but as soon as she saw that ring on her finger, it was confirmed.
The reception was a little messy with plenty of alcohol! Penny found herself chatting mostly to Michael’s mother and father. His father was very quiet so only asked Penny a few questions about herself.
Michael was busy chatting to the other Pythons until the dreaded wedding dance came up. Problem was, Penny didn’t know the song at all and it seemed everyone knew it!
Michael held Penny by the waist and smiled. He could tell a mile off Penny didn’t know the song!
“I’m guessing you’re not familiar with the song?” Michael whispered in her ear.
“No, it’s not really a song that’s played at wedding receptions these days!”
“Don’t worry love just follow my lead!”
Penny smiled to herself. Michael had unintentionally quoted some lyrics off a song by Ed Sheeran, Shape of You.
She’d have much preferred dancing to Perfect by Ed Sheeran but this was the 1970s! Ed Sheeran wasn’t even born yet! Ed was in fact Penny’s age, shame she couldn’t tell Michael about his music as she thought it would be the kind of music he liked.
The reception finished and they headed back to Michael’s house. Strangely enough it was the same house that in her time he lived with Helen and his three children.
“Welcome home Mrs Palin!”
Michael picked her up and carried her over the threshold. It was a wonderful feeling. She’d never seen Michael’s house from the inside before but it was everything that she expected. Tidy with lots of books!
“God that’s wonderful to hear you say that!”
“Oh I bet, so what do you think of your new home?”
“Very nice! And very clean, you really are self-sufficient!”
“Well I’m a man of many talents! Right we’d better get changed!”
He kissed Penny on the cheek then ran upstairs. She followed suit.
It seemed that this was going to be their bedroom, it was very large with a king size bed and a spacious wardrobe. It was just perfect.
Michael and Penny after getting changed into their normal clothes and Michael sobering up with drinking plenty of water set off to Devon.
The Caravan Park was very nice, not too far from the beach and plenty of entertainment for children. The weather was warm but not as warm as it would have been if they were in another country. They spent a lot of time taking romantic walks on the beach, going on walks through the countryside and swimming in the indoor pool. Michael was quite a good swimmer and he loved to see Penny in her bikini!
The day after they returned to London, they were off somewhere else. All Penny knew about this next destination was that it was very romantic. So it was a tossup between Paris and Italy.
The taxi pulled up to take them to Heathrow Airport. Michael locked the house and put their luggage in the boot.
After checking in, Penny looked at the scheduled flights, she saw the only flight that was flying the time Michael had told her was Rome.
“We’re going to Rome?”
“Told you we were going somewhere romantic!”
As expected on the night of their wedding Penny and Michael finally gave into their temptations and boy did it feel wonderful!
They were lying in bed together, Michael had his arm around her and was stroking her shoulder.
“Worth the wait?” said Michael.
“Oh god yes!”
She knew she was wise to trust Michael on planning their honeymoon!
Rome was a lot warmer than Devon which meant they could get a good tan! They enjoyed visiting historical places like The Colosseum, The Roman Baths and the beautiful scenery. Naturally they sampled many cocktails too. They even managed to go on a few walks in the countryside and on the beach.
It was on one of their beach walks that Michael pressed Penny for more information about her origins.
“What was it like growing up in the 90s? Was it very different from my childhood in the 40s and 50s?”
“I was very lucky in the sense that I didn’t live through a war. I don’t imagine you remember much about the war, I mean you were only 2 when it ended but I know rationing went on for a long time after the war, I think it was abolished 1954? I was always well fed, I just wasn’t shown love. I was from the era where kids didn’t play outside as much, they were stuck inside watching TV.”
“No I don’t remember much of the war but yes I do remember the rationing. You seem to know a lot about the war, did you learn about it at school?”
“Yes I learn about The First and Second World War at university. Seems you were right about people at university learning about the Two World Wars in the future.”
“Well it’s a useful thing to learn about. It’s a shame that children don’t play out as much, I want my children to play outside, appreciate nature and the countryside.”
Penny put her hand on top of his and smiled.
“Don’t worry our children will not be stuck inside watching TV!”
Penny felt like telling Michael about the development of game consoles like The Gameboy and Play Station 1 but she knew once she started talking about the future, she wouldn’t be able to stop. The Doctor’s warning echoed in her mind.
“If you tell Michael about the future, I’ll know and I will find a way to get back to this universe and take you back to your time.”
It seemed the romantic ambiance that Rome glowed certainly had an effect on their, ahem bedroom performance.
The honeymoon went so fast that before they knew it, Penny was back at work and Michael had started filming Series 4 of Flying Circus. Penny luckily had managed to ask for a transfer to work at a university library in London which allowed her to do a qualification paid by the university to become a librarian.
Sadly their busy schedules meant that Penny and Michael didn’t see each other that much during the day. However Penny made a few cameos in Python! She soon realised that being a television actress wasn’t her scene, as she only wanted to work alongside Michael and the gang. She wanted to go back to her university days, being on the stage. She missed performing on stage.
Therefore whenever Michael was busy at the weekend filming Python, Penny took part in performances at small theatres. She knew that her true love was history and working in a library, specifically in the humanities section was her dream job. There was a sense of equality in their marriage. Penny accepted Michael’s commitments to Python and he accepted her love for history and the occasional stage performance!
Michael was so proud of Penny’s acting achievements on stage that he attended every performance of hers.
After the filming of Python had ended, Penny saw a lot more of Michael (in more ways than one!).
Although Michael had taken a break from Python, he was still busy in acting roles.
“I’ve got some good news love.”
“Oh yeah what’s that?”
“I’m going to be an adaptation of Three Men in a Boat with Stephen Moore and Tim Curry, my first big role outside of Python!”
Penny was expecting Michael to tell her about this role sometime soon. Three Men in a Boat was one of her favourite Michael roles and she was a big fan of Tim Curry too! Not only did Michael look drop dead gorgeous with a moustache but he was brilliant as Harris!
“Oh yes I had been waiting for you to tell me about this. You’ll have so much fun and you’re so lucky that you’re going to be working with Tim Curry, he’s one of my favourite actors!”
“Tell you what why don’t you come along to the set when we start filming and I can introduce you?”
Penny smiled widely.
“Oh my god really? Oh Michael you’re the best!”
She jumped into his arms and hugged him tightly.
However she felt that something was missing in both their lives…
Penny knew that Michael wanted children (well he wasn’t getting any younger!) and there was nothing she wanted more than to be a mother, so she brought up the conversation of trying a baby to Michael.
“How about us trying for a baby?”
“A baby? What’s brought this on Penelope?”
“Michael I know you want children and so do I, so let’s try it.” Said Penny with a wink.
“Well okay then, only if you’re ready love.”
“Course I am, I’ve been wanting to have your children since I was 16 years old…”
Trying for a baby wasn’t as difficult as they imagined as Penny was still quite young (26 years old!) and by early November of ’74 Penny was pregnant.
She couldn’t believe that she hadn’t asked Michael about her reading his diaries yet! Of course she had read the published diaries when he was with Helen but not in this universe. She knew Michael was writing a diary as it was something he did before he went to bed every night.
So before Michael went to bed, Penny decided to ask him about them.
“Still write your diary then?”
“Oh of course! I’m presuming you’ve read my diaries?”
“Yes but not this version. Can I read them?”
“Of course but aren’t you tired?”
“A bit, I feel sick more than anything and reading will take my mind off the sickness.”
Michael stroked her stomach slightly and smiled.
“Okay then love.”
Michael opened the drawer in his bedside table and got out his diary. He flicked to the pages where he’d wrote about Penny.
It was so interesting to read. It seemed he’d fallen for her pretty quickly. Sadly the sickness had gotten worse whilst she was reading so Penny had to make a quick exit to the bathroom.
Michael heard Penny retching and came to the bathroom door to check if she was okay.
“Penelope? Are you okay?”
“Yeah I’m okay. Just wish I could stop being sick!”
“It’ll soon be over love.”
Before Michael started filming on Three Men in a Boat in the summer of ’75, Michael went to New York with the two Terry’s but felt awful about leaving Penny whilst she was pregnant. It was one of the last appearances of Michael with long hair!
Penny felt quite emotional about Michael having his hair cut for the role of Harris in Three Men in a Boat but to her, he still looked gorgeous!
So she met Tim Curry and as she expected he was very pleasant. Penny was proud of Michael acting in programmes outside of Python but she already knew how talented he was.
As Penny was ill during most of the pregnancy she had to take more time off work than she fancied, Michael whose schedule was pretty free now (except him writing what was to become Ripping Yarns!) tended to her every need which Penny was very grateful about!
Penny gave birth to a little boy who they named William. She couldn’t believe that she’d had Michael Palin’s baby, it all felt so surreal. The baby was the spitting image of Michael and perfect in every way.
“Do you want to hold him?” said Penny.
“Yes I do.”
Michael held the baby in his arms. He was instantly in love with the little chap. His eyes reminded him of his own but his features looked similar to Penelope’s. He was finally a father.
Penny could see that Michael was completely in love with his son. She started crying, not with sadness but with joy.
“What shall we call him?” said Penny.
“What about William?”
Penny smiled, William was the second child of Michael’s in her world but the name suited her son perfectly.
Penny was waiting to hear about Terry Jones and Michael starting filming Ripping Yarns and finally the time came.
“I think me and Terry J have got something lined up for next year.”
“Oh yes? What’s that?”
She was sat on Michael’s lap and was stroking his hair. William was fast asleep in his cot, thankfully.
“Well it’s this show called Ripping Yarns, the episodes are like schoolboy tales I’m writing most of it though.”
Penny of course had heard of Ripping Yarns and knew it was going to be a success, Michael looked so cute in it as well!
“Michael darling you forget that I’m from the future, I already know what the show’s about!”
“Oh yes of course, sorry love! It’s because you blend in so well in this time!”
He tapped her nose.
“So does that mean I’ve got you to myself for a while now that you’ve finished Python?” said Penny.
“Mm it seems so!”
He wrapped his arms around her neck and kissed her. He knew she was in the mood and with William fast asleep it was the perfect opportunity to enjoy themselves…
Penny took a couple of months off work as there wasn’t a thing called maternity leave in 1975! Michael had spent those two months filming Ripping Yarns with Terry Jones but still played a major part in William’s life.
Once Penny had returned to work, Michael took over babysitting duties and even took William and Penny to the various premieres of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It seemed the film had done very well, especially in America but Penny already knew how successful the film was going to be.
“Oh Michael I’m so proud of you, The Holy Grail has done so well!”
He kissed Penny on the cheek.
“Thank you my love, though of course you already knew that the film was going to do well?”
“Of course but I didn’t want to spoil it for you, The Doctor’s rules and all that!”
None of the other Pythons knew of Penny’s true origins and Penny and Michael settled into married and family life very well.
Michael recorded in his diaries William growing up such as when he learnt how to walk, his first word and took plenty of photographs!
Penny didn’t regret going back in time, she felt right at home here. At times she did miss her laptop, mobile phone and Sky TV but she knew that was to come and she just had to be patient.
Married life wasn’t without its tough times, sometimes Michael would annoy Penny with his constant talking or being overly sensitive over everything. However Penny knew that even THE Michael Palin wasn’t perfect though he was pretty close.
“Don’t you ever miss being at home Penelope?”
“I don’t miss the people no. The only things I miss are the materialistic things, technology will be moving so fast Michael, even I couldn’t keep up with it at the time!”
“I just want you to be happy love.”
He stroked her hand.
“Don’t worry Mikey I am, I’ve got the most wonderful husband and a beautiful child what more could I want?”
“Mikey eh? What’s brought that nickname on?”
“It’s a cute nickname like you.”
She stroked his cheek and kissed him on the lips.
“You’re such a sweetheart Penelope. Don’t you think William is coming on a treat?”
“Yes he is, he’s a clever little boy just like his father!” Penny said with a wink.
Michael knew she was making a reference to a sketch he’d done in drag in Series 3 of Flying Circus.
“Oh darling you’ve definitely watched too much Python!”
Michael tapped her nose playfully.
“It’s true I’m completely and utterly obsessed with all things Python, especially a certain member who I call Mr Sexy Pants…”
They put their arms around each other and started kissing passionately. Then William started crying. Michael and Penny sighed.
“Shall I go love?” said Michael.
“No I think it’s my turn, you go to sleep if you want, you don’t have to stop up on my account!”
“If you’re sure love, goodnight.”
He kissed Penny on the cheek.
Although her and Michael had not had much sleep for the past few months, being parents was one of the best feelings in the world to them.
Even though Michael had taken a break from doing Python related things, he was still very busy taking part in other acting roles but Penny didn’t mind. Although she missed him like mad, she knew it would be selfish to stop him from doing something he was passionate about. He was happy and all she ever wanted was for him to be happy.
Sometimes Penny wondered if her parents were worried about her. As she told Michael she moved out of her parents’ house when she went to university and found an apartment to live in after graduation. Her parents did however attend her graduation but that was only because Penny had achieved a first in her degree. So Penny had lied to Michael about the last time she had seen her parents but it wasn’t like she spoke to them at the ceremony!
After Penny graduated and she’d got a job working on reception at the local Art Gallery, she never saw her parents again. So she doubted that they had reported her as missing!
For once in her life, Penny was feeling hopeful about the future.
Christmas in The Palin Household, 1978…
Michael had been very secret about what presents he’d got Penny for Christmas, one present in particular would be one that he knew she’d definitely like!
Penny on the other hand felt like she’d got the perfect presents for him. A book he’d been wanting for quite a while and the biggest present yet, an Apple II computer so that it would make it easier for him to type up scripts and edit them!
She’d giggled to herself when she went to buy the computer as they were very different from the computers and laptops in her era! Though she remembered at school the large monitors and the paper clip on Microsoft Word in the Millennium Year! It had cost her a lot of money so she hoped he’d like it!
As per the tradition since they had William, Penny and Michael chose his presents together. They had decided to buy William a model train set, a suggestion put forward by Michael but Penny suspected that he only wanted to buy William one so he could play with it himself!
William like every Christmas morning ran into his parents’ room at 3 o’clock in the morning. He jumped onto the bed and started bouncing up and down. Penny and Michael groaned.
“Mommy, mommy wake up it’s Christmas! Daddy, daddy wake up it’s Christmas!”
Penny looked at the clock on the bedside table, of course it was 3 o’clock. She groaned again.
“Willy it’s 3 o’clock in the morning, can’t you wait another hour or so? It’s still dark outside…”
“But mummm, I want to see what Santa’s brought meeee! Daddy won’t you let me open my presents now?”
Michael looked at Penny and smiled. If William thought he could get around his father, he was very wrong indeed.
“Willy you heard what your Mother said, you just have to wait a little longer. It’ll be worth it I promise.”
He ruffled up William’s hair.
William responded by crossing his arms in a sulk.
“Fine! If you won’t let me open my presents now, can I sleep with you and Mommy?”
“Course you can! Come here.” Said Michael.
William snuggled up to Michael in the bed, he responded by putting his arm around him and pulling him closer to him. It was times like this that Michael felt completely content. Being a father was one of the best feelings in the world.
William, Penny and Michael fell asleep and woke up again a few hours later. Penny and Michael were grateful for the three hours extra sleep!
It was always a lovely time for the couple, Christmas time especially with William growing up and at the age where he still believed in Santa.
William opened his presents first and seemed to love his model train set!
“Daddy daddy daddy can we play with the model train set yet?”
William was certainly at the age where he was incredibly impatient!
“In a minute Willy, Mommy hasn’t opened her presents yet!”
Penny then proceeded to open her presents. The first being a ruby coloured eternity ring, a charm bracelet and the album Out of the Blue by ELO in vinyl form! She hadn’t had the pleasure of listening to many vinyls as she was of the generation of cassette tapes and CD’s! She had proudly got Michael into the music of ELO and even William had a boogie around the lounge when Penny played it on the record player!
The final present off Michael was quite small, in an envelope of some sorts, when she opened it, she realised it was two concert tickets. She inspected them more closely and she realised they were for the Kate Bush Tour of Life concert!
She went up to Michael and hugged him tightly.
“Mikey thank you so much for this! You know how much I’ve wanted to see Kate Bush! Didn’t think you were a fan?”
“Well when my wife plays The Kick Inside and Lionheart around the house whilst she’s doing housework, it’s bound to have an effect on the husband!”
Penny squeezed his cheeks slightly.
“This is very true darling, honestly thank you for this. You’re the best!”
She kissed Michael on the cheek.
“Errr get a room!” said William.
Michael and Penny laughed.
Michael finally opened his presents and loved the computer off Penny, he was just not looking forward to setting it up later!
Instead he set up the model train set and started playing with it, occasionally letting William have a go. Penny watched them and smiled.
How she loved the two best men in her life.
Later on after they’d had their Christmas dinner, watched The Queen’s Speech, briefly went to see Michael’s parents and sister in Southwold, Michael finally set up his computer in his study.
Penny kept well out of the way and instead played with William and his new toys. She could hear some gentle swearing coming from upstairs.
She laughed to herself.
When it was time for bed, Penny and Michael sat up in bed for a while. Having put William to bed a couple of hours before, he was now sound asleep thankfully.
Michael had got his arm around Penny and was stroking her shoulder gently.
“Been quite a long day hasn’t it love?” said Michael.
Penny yawned in response.
“Yes but a most enjoyable one. Honestly I wasn’t expecting the Kate Bush tickets, a really lovely surprise Michael!”
“Well I got them whilst you were out working! I’m quite looking forward to the concert, it’ll be nice to do something together.”
Michael kissed the top of her forehead. She responded by putting her head on his shoulder.
“Yes it will. It was lovely seeing you and William playing together. Though I still think you bought that train set mostly for yourself!”
“Don’t know what you’re talking about Penelope, I got that train set just for William…” Michael said with a smirk.
Penny lifted her head up and looked into his eyes. She put her hand on his face.
“Now I don’t believe that for a minute you big kid!”
She then kissed him deeply.
“Anyway I’ve got another Christmas present I know you’ll like.” Penny said seductively.
Michael knew exactly what Penny was insinuating.
9th November 1979, the day of Friday Night Saturday Morning. John and Michael were going to be discussing Life of Brian on the show.
Penny knew what was to come. Michael and the other Pythons were expecting Christians to be offended by the film but this debate was going to be very serious indeed. Michael the night before had read all his theology books as he was expecting it to be quite a religious debate. Michael felt like he was at school all over again!
“Michael do you really need to do that much research for this television debate?”
“Well it’s a Bishop and Malcolm Muggeridge, we have to go in prepared!”
Penny rolled her eyes. She knew exactly what Mervyn Stockwood and Malcolm Muggeridge were going to be like towards Michael and John and she wasn’t looking forward to it one bit. John offered to take Michael to the BBC studios and soon came knocking on their door. Penny answered the door.
“Good morning Penny and how are you?”
“I’m fine thank you and you?”
William came running to the door. He loved seeing ‘Uncle John’ as he called him.
“Uncle John!” said William excitedly.
John picked William up. Penny let John in. Michael was sitting in the lounge, doing some last minute preparation.
“Hello Will! You alright?”
“I’m great! You will look after Daddy won’t you?”
“Course I will! You alright Mike?”
Michael looked up from one of his theology books and waved.
“Alright John, sorry I’ll be ready in a minute, just want to finish this book off!”
“Take a seat John. He’s been like this for days, doing all this research. He’s taking this ever so seriously!”
John put William down and sat on the other sofa.
Before they knew it, Michael and John were on the television talking to Tim Rice.
Penny and William were sat watching the television.
Then came the dreaded altercation with The Bishop and Malcolm Muggeridge. They didn’t give poor John and Michael the chance to even speak and when they did they would shoot them down! John and Michael just couldn’t get it into their heads that Brian and Jesus were different people and they were not ridiculing Christ but instead religious followers and their closed mindedness.
Penny could see Michael growing more and more annoyed. She just wanted to give him a hug. She knew that Michael was going to come back in a foul mood and understandably so!
“Daddy looks very cross doesn’t he?”
“Yes he does, those two silly old men are being ever so rude to Daddy and Uncle John aren’t they?”
“Yes they’re horrible!”
Mm that’s the polite term…
The fact that Malcolm Muggeridge kept saying that it was such a tenth rate film made Penny smile. She knew the success of The Life of Brian, it happened to be her favourite Python film! Those silly old men would just be known for making a fool of themselves on National TV, Michael and John were going to be known as comedy legends!
“Right darling, it’s time for bed!” said Penny.
“Oh but mummm! I wanted to see Daddy before I went to bed!”
“You’ll see Daddy tomorrow, I don’t think you’d wanna see Daddy cross would you?”
“Hm okay then!”
Not long after Penny had put William to bed. She heard the door being unlocked and the door being slammed. It was safe to say Michael was fuming.
She came downstairs and saw Michael’s face. That said it all.
“Is William in bed?”
“Yes he is, oh Michael I’m so sorry!”
She gave Michael a big hug.
“The entire thing was just a fucking slanging match! They were so bloody rude and you know what me and John found out later? The stupid gits missed the first 15 minutes of the film when it’s established Brian and Jesus are two different people! You knew what was going to happen, if you’d have warned me, I wouldn’t have bothered with the stupid debate!”
“You know I can’t tell you future events! Besides you should have expected some form of backlash from religious people …”
“Oh so now you’re on their side?”
“Michael of course not. But you know what religious people are like, as soon as you have Jesus in a film they’re immediately offended. They’re so narrow minded they just think you’re taking the piss out of Jesus and God when in fact they’re exactly the type of people you are ridiculing!”
“See you understand the message we were conveying in the film!”
She put her hand on top of his and squeezed it tightly.
“Michael of course I do because I’m not bloody stupid and I’m on your side you know that!”
“I know I’m sorry Penelope I didn’t mean to take my anger out on you. They just pissed me off so much.”
“I know I could tell on television! Even William said that Daddy looked very cross!”
“Oh dear, well as long as I didn’t make a fool of myself on television!”
“Oh no I think it was those two twits that made a fool of themselves! I was very proud of you staying so composed.”
She touched his cheek and kissed him.
“Thanks for putting up with me even when I’m insufferable! I know you couldn’t tell me about how it was going to go, it was selfish of me to even say that.”
“It’s fine Michael. Honestly if I could have told you, I would have done. It’s just one of the consequences of choosing to live in this time.”
Although Penny and Michael had spoken about having another child sometime in the future, they weren’t sure when exactly in the future. Michael really wanted a girl as he wanted to spoil her rotten and Penny was now 30 and she knew that if they waited much longer, it would be much harder for them to conceive.
“What do you think about William having a little brother or sister?” said Penny.
“Well I think that would be wonderful! I think William would quite like it too!”
“Mm I think so too!”
So in December of ’79, they tried for another baby. By the beginning of January 1980 they found out Penny was pregnant. Though they said that they wouldn’t be bothered about what gender the baby was as long as it was healthy, secretly they wanted a little girl and so did William!
It was quite frustrating that she couldn’t find out the sex of the child, this was when she missed being in the future!
“Oh Michael it’s so annoying that we can’t find out the gender of the baby, we can tell William then and decorate the room accordingly!”
“I know it’s frustrating love but I’m sure they’ll be worth the wait! You know you look so beautiful when you’ve got that pregnancy glow!”
“I don’t bloody feel it, I just feel like a whale! I’m not gonna keep getting pregnant to get that ‘glow’ Michael!”
“Oh Penelope don’t be silly, you know I think you always look beautiful and I don’t see you as a baby making machine. I think we’ll have our hands full enough with two children!”
November 1980, the day before the filming of Confessions of a Train Spotter… Penny, Michael, William and their new baby were now living in Stratford-upon-Avon. Though a distance from the other Pythons and Michael’s family, it was a lot nicer place to bring up a family than London.
“Michael it will be fine.”
Michael and Penny did end up having a little girl who they named Scarlett. She was a few months old now and Michael and William were extremely protective of her! It was going to be the first travel documentary Michael had presented and he was certainly feeling the pressure!
“I know but I don’t want to leave you on your own with William and Scarlett. What if it gets panned? I mean I’ve never presented a travel documentary before, I’m a comedian not a travel presenter!”
Penny knew that this would be the start of Michael’s travelling career. Since marrying Michael her professional name became Penny-Lucy Palin, so maybe she could accompany Michael on the train? Since the birth of their children, Penny and Michael didn’t have much time on their own and Penny did love her travelling as much as Michael!
“Trust me Michael, I think it could be the start of a whole new career for you.” Penny said with a wink.
Michael took this as meaning it was going to be something he’ll be doing for a long time…
“I’m just worried about leaving you on your own. I think I’ll miss you and the kids too much!”
“Well I could always come with you? I mean that’s if you want me to…”
“Of course I do but what about William and Scarlett?”
“Well your mother could look after them couldn’t she? You know she loves seeing them!”
“Yes I suppose so, if you’re sure love that you want to do this.”
“Darling I wouldn’t have suggested it if I didn’t want to…”
So William and Scarlett went to Michael’s mother’s and Penny co-presented Confessions of a Train Spotter with Michael. Her appearance on the show made it very successful indeed!
When they got back from Scotland, they had the day to themselves as they weren’t due to collect the children from Michael’s mother’s until tomorrow.
“Isn’t it nice be in a kids-free house?” said Penny.
“Mm it is, though I do miss them.”
“Oh I do but it’s been a few years since we’ve had some time on our own!” said Penny.
She rested her head on Michael’s chest. He responded by putting his arm around her and kissed her head.
Penny had been trying to lose some weight since the birth of Scarlett but since she was now 32, losing weight was getting a little harder! Scarlett’s birth had been difficult, an emergency caesarean so she did feel a bit self-conscious about showing her body to Michael because of the scar on her stomach.
In the evening they were going to head out to dinner somewhere. As Penny had put on a bit of weight when she was pregnant with Scarlett, she had trouble fitting into a dress she’d got.
“Oh I wish I wasn’t so fat! I could fit into this dress before I became pregnant!”
“Oh Penelope you’re not fat! Here let me help you.”
Michael hated it when Penny put herself down. He of course always found her beautiful even if she had put on a little weight.
They went out to dinner then to the pub for a few hours.
“Thank you for coming with me these past few weeks. You know you didn’t have to.”
“I know but I wanted to. I quite enjoyed myself! But did you really have to bring back that sign?”
“Well I thought it would go quite nicely on the wall in the back garden…”
Penny had seen the photo of the sign he’d got from a train station in Scotland taken with him, Helen and their three children. She remembered his very tight trousers on the photo, he was wearing the very same pair tonight. And boy did he look good!
“Mm if you say so… Did I say how good you look in tight trousers?”
She put her arms around his waist. Michael could tell she was in the mood, these days it had been difficult for them to do anything in that department what with Scarlett crying most nights!
“Mm I don’t think you did. Did I say how good you look in that dress?”
Although Penny was definitely in the mood, she just didn’t want to show all of her body to Michael. She told Michael she was going to get undressed in the bathroom.
“Penelope why don’t you want to get undressed in front of me, you used to before—̎
“Yes before I was pregnant Michael. Having two kids takes its toll on your body. I don’t feel sexy at all, I’ve put on so much weight and I can’t seem to shift it. Then I’ve got that scar on my stomach, I just hate how I look.”
Michael put his arms around Penny and held her tightly. He started stroking the back of her head tentatively.
“Oh my darling but you are sexy and beautiful and drop dead gorgeous. If you’re really bothered about your weight then we can start running in the morning together and eating more healthily?”
“Would you do that for me?”
“Course I would, I’d do anything for you. I just want you to be happy.”
Penny hugged him tightly. He kissed the top of her head.
3rd September 1985…
Penny had the day off work as it was Scarlett’s first day at school. It had come around so fast. It made Michael and Penny feel a bit old now that their youngest child was off to primary school!
William who was going into his last year of primary school in his usual big brother protective manner insisted on walking Scarlett to school and back. However Penny because she was worried about how Scarlett would react going into school for the first time wanted to accompany William and Scarlett to school.
“But mum, I can walk Scarlett to school!”
Penny put her hand on her hip and sighed.
“You don’t know how she’s going to be Willy about starting school, she might feel a bit better about going if I come with you.”
“But I’ll look after her!”
Scarlett was sat at the breakfast bar with Michael, they were eating their cereals quietly, ignoring the argument brewing between William and Penny.
“Willy why have you got to argue with me? I booked this day off work for a reason…”
“God mum why don’t you trust me?”
Michael and Scarlett looked up from their cereals for a moment. Michael looked at Scarlett and rolled his eyes. She smiled.
“Right Scarlett I’d better sort this out before it turns into a full blown argument!”
Michael went into the lounge, Penny sensed his presence.
“Michael will you tell William to just let me walk them to school today?”
Penny gave a look as if to say “you’re taking my side on this Michael and you have no choice in the matter”.
“Willy I understand you want to be protective big brother but let your mum walk with you today. It’s only today after all.”
William crossed his arms.
William walked off in a sulk and went to fetch his schoolbag from his room.
Penny looked at Michael and rolled her eyes.
“Since when did we have a stroppy teenager?” said Penny.
Michael walked up to Penny and put his arms around her.
“Well he is growing up now Penelope…”
He kissed the top of her head.
Michael let Penny walk the kids to school whilst he tidied up the house and did some reading of a script he’d been working on, based on holidays in Southwold with his parents. He decided also to edit bits of it that he wasn’t too happy with. He felt there was a lot of work still left to be done on it!
Michael heard the front door unlock and open, Penny walked into the lounge.
Michael turned round to Penny.
“The children safely deposited to school?”
Penny sat next to Michael on the sofa.
“Yes, Scarlett seemed very eager to go to school actually, she walked hand in hand with Willy and didn’t turn to look at me at all! She’s better than I was when I first started school!”
Michael put his arm around her and smiled.
“See, I told you there was nothing to worry about love. She’ll be alright you’ll see and with Willy looking after her at school, he’ll make sure no one teases her!”
“I knew she’d be alright, it’s just she’s my baby and I worry about her. She’s a sensitive soul like her father!”
“And like her mother, you’re a sensitive soul too my darling. Do you want me to pick them up later?”
“Yeah if you don’t mind dear, I’ll do some shopping whilst you do that!”
“So you hated school that much eh?” said Michael.
“Yeah I used to cry on the way to school every day, my mother would just tell me off for being so stupid. She didn’t realise that I was bullied at school, not that she’d care. I’d come back from school after being bullied all day and come back to more bullying at home.”
Michael put his arm around her and kissed her forehead deeply.
“Well that’s all in the past now, well your past, though technically it’s the future!”
Penny started to laugh, all the memories of her childhood faded away.
Penny could see that there was a piece of paper on the coffee table.
“Is that the script you’ve been working on?”
“Yeah I’ve just been reading and scribbling on it whilst you were out. I’m not very impressed by it.”
Penny had some inkling of what he was writing. In her world it was to be called East of Ipswich and mirrored his first meeting with Helen, maybe this version of the story was destined to be on the rubbish pile?
“I see, want me to take a look at it?”
“Yeah sure, be good to get a different opinion on it other than my own!”
Penny studied the script carefully and she had to agree with Michael it wasn’t very good. Any other time whatever Michael wrote she loved but it just didn’t have a very interesting plotline.
Michael could tell by her face that she was about as impressed as he was with the script!
“You didn’t like it did you?”
“I’ve read better things by you Mikey. I dunno it just doesn’t have that charm like other stuff you’ve written in the past. It’s not really that interesting a topic to focus on in a screenplay format. Like if you wanted to make it really interesting you’d have to add some conflict, maybe a little romance, some comedy but of course what do I know I’m not a famous writer!”
“Actually Penelope you’re right but since this mirrors my own life I don’t want to have a little holiday romance in it because well I didn’t meet you in Southwold though I wish I’d have known you a few years earlier…”
No you just met your future wife there instead…
So that was the end of that script!
Michael at 3 o’clock set off to collect the kids from school, Penny a few minutes later went off to do some food shopping as well as get a little early birthday present for Scarlett.
Michael happily listened to Scarlett tell him all about her first day at school. She didn’t let poor William get a word in edgeways! She gave a blow by blow account of her day such as what she learnt at school, what she got up to at break and lunchtime and finally the new friends she’d made. Michael was beaming with pride and knew that Penelope would be too after she’d heard what a good first day she’d had!
William after his sister finished talking was telling his father about how he’d protected his little sis from the boys in her class and above taking an interest in her! His day had been pretty average, it was the boring subjects today but he was happy that Scarlett had such a good day.
Michael had never been so proud of his kids than on this day.
When Michael and the kids returned home Penny was just packing away the shopping. Scarlett rushed into the kitchen and hugged her mother tightly.
Penny started stroking her hair.
“Hello sweetheart, you look happy, you had a good day at school?”
“Yes it’s been great! I’ve just been telling Daddy all about my day!”
Penny picked Scarlett up and held her in her arms.
“Right well you can tell me all about your day too!”
Scarlett repeated what she’d told Michael to Penny and as Michael expected, Penny was bursting with pride. Of course she didn’t neglect William and asked about his day too. Once she found out about him protecting Scarlett she was proud of him too. In fact she was super proud of both of them. They reminded her so much of Michael.
“Willy I’m very proud of you looking after your sister on her first day at school.” Said Penny.
She went up to William and hugged him tightly.
“Oh god Mum stop it! You’re such an embarrassment!”
Penny looked at Michael and laughed.
A sign that she was getting old, when the children got to the I’m embarrassed by my parents age!
She gave both William and Scarlett a present. It was nothing extravagant but something that they both would cherish. She bought William a toy car and Scarlett a doll.
Later that night, Penny and Michael were sat in bed. Michael was reading the newspaper, a certain article caught his eye.
“Look Penelope a glowing article about Brazil, especially my performance as Jack Lint!”
“Well you were the star dear…”
She kissed him on the cheek.
“Weren’t the kids wonderful today?” said Michael.
“Yes they were, I nearly started crying I was so overcome with pride!”
“One of the many joys of being parents darling.”
“Indeed and you as always were brilliant Michael, they’re so much like you.”
“Oh I don’t know you have to take half the credit for them turning out so well Penelope.”
“Mm I suppose you’re right, I did play some part in bringing them up!”
“So where’s my present for being a good husband?”
He reached over and kissed Penny deeply.
29th May 1987…
Penny answered the phone. It was what she had been dreading. For days she’d been on edge thinking about it, tempted to tell Michael because she didn’t want to see him suffer but the rules set by The Doctor were clear.
Michael had not long got back from picking clothes for his character Ken Pile in the film he was soon to be shooting A Fish Called Wanda. The clothes were not the most flattering but it was all part of his character.
He was in the living room reading the newspaper, the children were in their room presumably doing their homework.
Penny called out to Michael from the conservatory.
“She’s done it.”
Michael immediately knew what she was referring to. He put the newspaper down on the coffee table and rushed into the conservatory.
“So that’s why you’ve been in a funny mood these past few days. You knew that this was going to happen.”
“Michael I—" She began to say.
She felt Michael’s anger.
“So you knew my sister was going to commit suicide and you didn’t think to give me a few days warning? I could have saved her if you’d’ve told me. This is a mess a complete fucking mess. What kind of a marriage is this if the wife can’t be honest with their husband?”
“Don’t you think I wanted to tell you? I was so close to telling you because I didn’t want to see you upset, I knew how it would affect you but I’m not allowed to. Even if you did manage to save her this time, people in that state of mind will just try again and the next time you might have been too late.” Said Penny in between tears.
He saw how his lashing out at Penny had made her feel. She was crying and he hated seeing her upset, especially when he’d caused it. He started to break down in tears.
“Penelope I’m so sorry, what a rubbish husband I am reducing my wife to tears. I know there’s nothing I can do about it and I know you couldn’t tell me, I’m sorry for lashing out at you. I just—I just don’t know how to feel. Part of me knew it was going to happen at some point, the other didn’t expect it to happen today. You saw how she was earlier, she was full of high hopes and I felt hopeful that maybe she was getting better.”
“Michael it’s fine, we’ve all lashed out at people we care about. We’re only human, it’s a natural reaction. It’s just a shame that she felt she had to commit suicide, like us and Veryan and the kids were not enough for her. Maybe one day they can help people in that state of mind and reduce suicides significantly. I mean even in my time, suicide has never gone away completely but the treatment advancements are helping a little. I’d got really close to her these past few months as well, it’s just a shame.”
Michael reached out his arms and held Penny. They both cried in each other’s arms.
“Oh Penelope where would I be without your support and common sense?”
“Listening to the Pythons advice?” she said with a slight grin.
“Did Veryan say how she, um, died?”
“Yes she’d gone to see her therapist then went back home, went into the garage and killed herself by carbon monoxide poisoning.”
“God poor Angela. I’d better go and see my Mother, it’s a big shock for her especially the age she is.”
“Good idea, do you want me to come with you?”
“No it’s best I go on my own. You stay here with Willy and Scarlett, they’re probably wondering what all the shouting was. I think they’ll be pretty upset themselves!”
Michael squeezed Penny’s hand tightly.
So Michael headed off to Southwold, no radio or music on, just silence. He was on autopilot, just driving and not thinking about anything.
Penny broke the news to the children and they all had a little cry. They were worried about how Granny would take it and of course worried about their father. But Penny told the children that the best thing to do for ‘Dad’ was to just be there for him.
Michael’s mother had taken to the news remarkably well, she expected it really but Michael sensed she was still upset. They spent the next few hours just talking about Angela, it was a nice feeling. Thinking about the good times which is all that’s left of her. Memories are precious and you must cherish them. In the end it’s all you have left.
Michael came back early hours of the morning, the kids were fast asleep. Penny had stayed up for him. When he came through the door, she walked up to him and gave him a big hug.
It was just what he needed.
They sat up in bed just talking about Angela, it was his way of dealing with the grief.
“So how did Willy and Scarlett take it?”
“Remarkably well, course they had a cry but I think they were worried about how you were and Granny!”
“Ah they’re good kids. How are you anyway? I’m surprised you haven’t kicked me in the balls for being such an arse earlier.”
“I’m okay yeah, just was worried about you.”
“Oh Penelope don’t worry about me, with you I think I can deal with anything.”
Penny squeezed his hand tightly. She put her hand on his face and kissed his cheek.
“Well you know I’m always here to talk to. How was your Mother?”
“Oh you know, upset but she’s taking it very well. I don’t know how Veryan will be tomorrow though.”
“You going to see them tomorrow?”
“Yeah then I think I’m gonna spend some time with Terry and Alison, think it’ll do me good.”
“Do you want me to come with you to see Terry and Ali? Feel like I haven’t seen them in ages!”
“Sure if you want to. Bring Willy and Scarlett too, you know how they like hanging out with Sally and Bill!”
30th May 1987
Michael went early to visit his brother-in-law. Penny with it being a Saturday took the kids to the zoo.
Veryan was obviously upset but him and Michael spoke fondly of Angela.
“How’s Penelope taking it?”
“Oh you know, she’s putting on a brave face for me. Don’t know what I’d do without her, she’s just so strong, wish I could be like that.”
“Well it’s only thing she’s ever known, what with how her parents treated her. All she learnt from them was how to be strong.”
“That’s true, I’m a very lucky man.”
Once Michael got back from Southwold, him, Penny and the kids got ready to go to Terry J’s house. It was a lovely distraction. Course Terry and Ali spoke to Michael about Angela but it wasn’t painful to him. He wanted to talk about her, it was all part of the grieving process.
The kids were upstairs playing with The NES system. Penny remembered for a moment what her first games console was. A Gameboy Colour. Christmas 1998 when she was 7. A way to keep her quiet but she enjoyed playing on it, it made her forget about her rubbish life for a while, like her books. For hours she’d spend her time in the local library, reading books, doing her homework. An escape from the realities of life.
Penny also spoke to Alison for a while, about how she was worried about Michael and how he was going to get past this. Alison just reaffirmed what Penny had thought all along, just be strong for him. A feeling she had grown accustomed to since she was a little girl.
Michael had enjoyed the company, he felt he was going to get through this. With the help of Penelope, his family and children. His rocks.
4th October 1989
Penny and Michael were sat on their balcony enjoying the rare October sun. Michael heard the phone ring and rushed in to answer it. Penny knew what the phone call was about. This time the news wasn’t unexpected, Michael knew things weren’t too good for Graham, he was expecting the worst.
A few minutes later Michael went back onto the balcony, he was rubbing his nose as if he had just been crying but didn’t want Penny to see.
“Is it Gray?” said Penny.
“Yes, John says that he’s only got a few hours left to live. Do you think I should go and see him? I feel it should just be David and John his brother there at his side.”
“I think you should go, you’ll only regret not saying goodbye if you don’t. I think Graham would want you there, you’re his best friend you have every right to be there.”
Penny squeezed Michael’s hand and smiled.
“Yes you’re right thanks love.”
He kissed the top of her head.
Penny not long after Michael had gone headed into work. She thought about the news she was going to come back to. She remembered so clearly reading the long entry in the diary, feeling Michael’s pain. She even shed a tear whilst reading it. The pain of losing Graham seemed stronger now she had got to know him on a personal level.
Michael along with John Cleese were at Graham’s bedside. They were both trying to hold back the tears, Michael held Graham’s hand and declared how much The Pythons all loved him.
Soon enough Graham’s breathing had stopped and he was gone. John and Michael went outside and let the tears out, they pulled themselves into a tight hug something they never did.
Before Michael headed back home, he stopped off at Terry J’s house. For a while they spoke fondly of Graham and Terry J concluded that Gray was the biggest party pooper. Right on the eve of the Python 20th Anniversary!
Naturally the scheduled anniversary party was cancelled, well none of the others felt like celebrating anyway.
By the time Penny got back from work, Michael was sat in the lounge telling the children about Graham’s passing. Immediately they gave him a big hug. A sense of pride came over Penny. She was so proud of Will and Scarlett.
As soon as they spotted their mother, the children took it as their cue to go to their rooms. They knew that their parents wanted some alone time together.
“Thanks kids, once I’ve spoken to your Dad you can tell me about your day.”
“Okay mum!” the kids said in unison.
Penny sat on Michael’s lap and put her arms around his neck. She started stroking his hair.
“You okay darling?”
“Yeah I’m alright, me and John had a good cry, god it sounds pathetic two grown men crying in each other’s arms.”
“Mikey it’s not stupid, men are allowed to cry you know. Did you go and see Terry J on your way home?”
“Yes he called Gray a party pooper for dying the day before the Python anniversary! More importantly Penelope, are you alright?”
He moved a piece of hair from her eyes.
“Well I got upset during my break at work, thought about how you would take it but you’re strong darling so we’ll get through it, we all will.”
Penny ran her fingers through Michael’s hair and kissed him.
“Well with you my darling I can get through anything.”
“So how did the children take the news?”
“They were upset but they’re more worried about me I think!”
“Sensitive souls like their father!”
“And their mother. I suppose you had more time to accept the news of Graham’s death since you knew it was going to happen.”
“Yes I was dreading the day, I’m sorry I couldn’t tell you.”
“Love it’s fine, we all expected the worse, I’m just glad Gray is at peace. Damn and I never got to find out what he thought of Around the World in 80 Days, could have waited a bit longer selfish bastard.”
“Well I think it will be a great success, I’m very proud of you. Now all you have to do is start filming American Friends!”
Michael put his hand around Penny’s waist.
“Fancy an early night?” said Michael with a raised eyebrow.
“Yes once I’ve spoken to Will and Scarlett.” She said with a wink.
Although Michael had, had a tough few years Penny knew there was much to look forward to. She couldn’t wait to experience it all!