Ted is in the final stages of painting the kitchen and one of his last acts was to call on the services of his plumber friend, Mr. Tapps. Ollie was thrilled. Mr. Tapps immediately went to the top of the cat's popularity poll. For a start he had a van which had to be inspected. Mr. Tapps also told me he liked cats.
Mr. Tapps was to replace the kitchen taps, crawl around under the house doing strange things to the bottom of the hot water cylinder and to solve the mystery of why the spa bath dribbled water into the bath instead of gushing it out. It was a joyous time for the cat. The door under the house is always closed and he'd being dying to investigate. He accompanied the plump form of Mr. Tapps as he struggled under the house. There is little room under the floorboards and people have to struggle along on their hands and knees or wriggle on their tums. It was Ted's job to tap on the floor, thereby helping Mr. Tapps to find the location of the bottom of the cylinder.
Strange things happened under the house. Muffled curses emanated from Mr. Tapps and helpful howls from Ollie When the pair emerged from under the house, a disheveled Mr. Tapps has gone off cats. "That bloody cat," he shrieked, "I couldn't get a thing done. He sat on my face. He wouldn't stop playing with the cord of my drill. Can you keep him inside please?"
I picked up smirking Ollie and locked him in the bedroom - at least I thought I had. Unbeknown to me John had heard him yelling and kindly let him out. The cat went straight back to the job of helping Mr. Tapps. By this time the front of the spa bath was off and Mr. Tapps was somehow encased in the innards of the bath behind the pipes. Ollie let out a yowl of delight and before I could stop him shot into a small hole behind the pipes. The yell of horror from Mr. Tapps was something frightful. "Jez, you've got rats or something in here" he bellowed. There was an eruption from under the bath, and a heaving and gasping and Mr. Tapps emerged, scarlet and seemingly on the verge of a heart attack. The man wasn't thrilled when he saw that Ollie was the rat.
I started apologising. "I'm so sorry. He got out. He usually doesn't annoy people like this." The lies tripped off my tongue. I made a grab for the miscreant but he was far too smart to be caught again. He leapt in the air and cavorted sideways out the door.
Mr. Tapps had a soothing cup of tea before he went home. Then he went off saying he'd be back the next day with the new taps. He was back in a trice. "That bloody cat" he yelled. "He got in my van and peed on my tools and my sheepskin seat covers."
I hung my head in shame and slunk off to find the disinfectant. How could I tell him that Ollie had offered the plumber the ultimate - the cat's seal of approval.