This story is for ABCGirl, who said, "Wink."
Some might say that the Pertwees’ visit with Tamar and Zev had been a failure. After Tamar and Zev arrived from the City, they had proceeded to make snide comments about the furniture and the state of the pantry. Dinner was abysmal, and afterward, when Miss Virginia attempted to entertain her half-siblings with a rendition of “Black, Black, Black is the Colour of My True Love’s Hair” played upon the pianoforte, Zev had the effrontery to suggest that Miss Virginia’s playing was a bit wooden. Then, Tamar accidentally set fire to the house with her cigarillos. Even though she later claimed that sitting by the chimney meant the smoke wouldn’t get into the rest of the house, when Tamar was done with her cigarillos, she threw them into the fireplace and left the main living room. However, she had neglected to check to see if the chimney was actually working. By the time the fire trucks arrived, the whole east wing of the house was a smoldering mess of cloth and particle-board.
A few days later, Mr. Pertwee said to Mrs. Pertwee, “Don’t you worry, we’ll have this house rebuilt again in a wink and a jiffy.”
Mrs. Pertwee gave her husband a wan smile. “Perhaps now we can build some stairs to the upper floors,” she said.
Meanwhile, Tamar and Zev were scrubbing down the walls. Tristan and Virginia (who had begged that their older half-siblings stop calling them “Master” and “Miss,” as it sounded terribly affected) were repainting the grille. There was no talk of disparaging the furniture, for much of it was ruined, and the family had to use sleeping bags. The family had rapidly devoured the remaining food in the cupboards, and friends from across the way brought covered dishes filled with hot dinners and chilled desserts.
“I’m sorry about the pianoforte,” Tamar said to Tristan as they washed the dishes in the stream.
“It’s no problem at all,” Tristan said. “Virginia hated the pianoforte. She’d always wanted to play bagpipes, but Dad said that they were not good for playing indoors.”
“I’ll send her a set after I return to the City,” Tamar said.
Some might say that the Pertwees’ visit with Tamar and Zev had been a failure. However, Virginia said that for the loss of the pianoforte and the gain of a set of bagpipes, the whole ordeal had been worth it. Mr. and Mrs. Pertwee begged to differ. While the restoration of the house had indeed brought about a few improvements, the maintenance of a large house in which the pipes rarely worked and the electricity was erratic at best had begun to dull their appreciation of the country life.
It was about that time that the Pertwees began to talk of going abroad.