It's all over, the final curtain is about to come down. Ted has daubed the last lick of paint, smoothed the last bit of wallpaper, varnished the last door. The cat has caught the last shroud mouse. Our bank account has whimpered as the last dollar has been wrung from its innards. Our bank manager has given us the last sad glance.
Ted has been removing his painting gear and taking away planks and ladders. A lonely saw horse sat on the lawn and as Ted picked it up the cat made a last assault. At the moment Ted was lifting the saw horse the cat tore across the lawn meaning to land on its top. Only there was an empty space where the horse should be and the cat landed in a crumpled heap on the lawn. He was furious and glared at me and yelled as if I'd shifted the horse. Of course, Ollie would never blame the real culprit. Ted picked him up and murmured sweet nothings in his ear.
The roof is Ted's masterpiece. It will last forever, he assures us - after all, why wouldn't it. Ted had built the roof in the first place. The next-door-neighbour spoke to me the other day as he surveyed the masterpiece. "Your builder/painter chap has been here a long time. Is he also building on new rooms or something?"
I bridled at a faint hint of criticism - but how could I tell him about Ted's love affair with the cat. "Ted works glide time," I told him.
"He's been working here for about 18 months," said the neighbour. The man seemed bewitched by the glittering metallic blue of our roof.
I counter-punched. "You have a bad dose of rust in your guttering," I observed. "You should do something about it."
The neighbour looked gloomy. "I know, and my roof is in shocking condition. I must get up there and paint it." He wandered off shaking his head. Then I realised something. The man was jealous - all the neighbours were. Here was our roof, a shining thing of beauty, a star in the firmament - created by Ted.
But the cat will miss Ted. Oh, it's all so sad. Mind you Deanna is coming back and there is the joyful prospect of a visit from Mr. Tapps who seems to have forgotten that he has only half finished his plumbing job. As I walked down the drive I could hear Ted talking. He was wearing Ollie around his neck and the pair were looking at the window sashes. "The windows are badly in need of a coat of paint," Ted was telling Ollie "and the paintwork on the eaves and the garage is peeling."
I sighed - the final curtain. Who was I kidding!!