"You shouldn't put a full litre bottle of milk beside the lounge window," said John. "If Ollie comes in he'll knock it over."
I shifted the milk to the low table between us. "If you get the flu you'll know all about it," I moaned. "I need something soothing to wash down my tablets and I haven't the strength to keep running to the frig."
Shortly thereafter John let Ollie in through the window. That cat took one look at my pallid face and decided I needed a dose of cat love. He sprang from John's lap to mine. There was something quite beautiful in the way the milk arched over in a white waterfall, eluding our frantic hands. Ollie was enormously impressed by the huge white edible lake that had appeared on the pale carpet. He lowered himself down from my chair and began to drink.
Buckets of water later we were limp and exhausted. "Perhaps it won't stain," I said squeezing out the last of the towels. I'll say one thing for John - he didn't say 'I told you so'. Didn't dare!!!
The smell hit us by the end of the following day. It was a smell similar to rotten eggs. We moved into the bedroom. Visitors stayed only seconds and said they had only "just popped in." Even Ollie wrinkled his nose and stayed outside.
The stain was large and horrendous. It was time for the professionals. Mr Busy Bee, the carpet cleaning man, was cross with us. "You should have rung me immediately," he growled.
"It was 10 o'clock on Sunday night," I protested.
Mr. Bee wasn't listening. "You've put carpet shampoo on the stain," he accused. "And you've cooked it in with the heater." He obviously had a poor opinion of us.
I tried to explain. "The cat did it. And he's not even our cat!!"
Mr. Bee didn't even bother to answer that. He was busy sprinkling smell remover.
The stain withstood Mr. Bee's efforts although it didn't smell quite as bad. The insurance man arrived and sat with pen poised over paper.
"And how did this happen?" he said.
I shuddered. Oh God, it was happening again. He would never believe me.
"The neighbour's cat did it," I said. It sounded like a lie, even to me.
My excuse was so bizarre that the insurance man actually believed me. We were granted new carpet for the lounge and the dining-room as the two rooms adjoined. Suddenly Ollie became a hero. We had a fabulous new carpet!!! Friends said "You lucky devils. Wish we could get a new carpet out of the insurance company."
I said "No problem", I pointed at Ollie who was rubbing the new carpet adoringly. "We're starting up a new service called 'Rent-a-Cat'."