With less than three weeks to go until the grand opening of Agar Hall by Her Majesty the Queen, last-minute preparations continued apace.
“Well now, there’s lovely,” lilted Mrs Owens as she turned to admire the curtains she, Joyce and Flora had just hung.
The three ladies stood back to admire their work. “Yes, they do look nice don’t they?” said, Joyce . “Aye, one window doon, and only eleven more to go,” joked the ever-cheerful Flora.
Joyce wan’t amused, the huge list of things to do before the end of the month was no joke. “Let’s have a cup of tea,” she said.
Passing through the residents’ lounge on their way to the kitchen, Joyce suddenly felt overwhelmed. “Oh my goodness, all those curtains to make and look at this room! If this is where we’re going to serve tea to our guests we need more chairs and we need a coffee table. Oh and so many pictures to hang..!”
“Aye, includin’ this wee one here, sent over by Her Maj. So good of her, wasn’t it?” the three ladies laughed and Joyce felt a little better – Flora and Mrs Owens had been enormously helpful and she knew they wouldn’t let her down.
“Sill, it’s nice to see the hallway finished isn’t it,” remarked Mrs Owens, trying to keep Joyce’s spirits up.
But as they entered the kitchen, they found Mrs Owens’ cats fussing around the broken water boiler, as if to remind them that there really was still lots to be done.
Outside, the hall was looking good. The render was all freshly painted and the windows had all been restored. Only the masonry in the centre of the roof needed attention, it was ready and waiting for assembly but Rabbie had yet to get around to fixing it in place. Ophelia had decided to take Smokey for a walk to monitor progress.
At the kitchen window Rabbie was hard at work fixing the very last shutter in place under the watchful eye of Scrag.
Ophelia, who had always had a soft-spot for her niece’s hard-drinking and handsome husband, stopped to say hello.
“Och, Ophelia, that’s gude timin’, could ye hand me that wee hammer from doon there on the wall?” said Rabbie, balancing precariously on the ladder as he held the shutter aloft.
But just as Ophelia reached up to hand the hammer to him, a strong gust of wind swept past…
…and unbalanced Rabbie who fell from the ladder…
and crashed down onto the wall, knocking Ophelia clean off her feet in the process.
Rabbie had managed to break his fall by grabbing the side of the porch and was, mercifully, unhurt, “Are ye aall reet, Ophelia?” he shouted.
Luckily, Ophelia wasn’t injured either, only somewhat shaken up. “Are ye sure ye won’t come inside for a wee dram, Ophelia,” said Rabbie once order had been restored. “Oh, no, um, I’ll just be on my way, um, Rabbie. Now if I could just have my hat I’ll be off,” she said, blushing furiously and acting very out of character in passing up the offer of a snifter.
Hat fixed firmly back in place, Ophelia hurried away feeling decidedly flustered. Despite her advanced years and worldly experience, what she’d just seen under Rabbie’s kilt when he fell had completely thrown her; she doubted she’d ever be able to look the lad in the face again…
© 2017, Zoe. All rights reserved.