My friend Dave had a lot of contacts at Aphrodite Hills and there was always some painting and decorating work if I wanted it. While carrying out the restoration of a villa up there, I was approached by Mrs. Drew. She wanted the outside of her property restored and repainted ready for sale.

We agreed a price and I told Dave that I would be tied up for a week. He asked who I was working for and a look of horror came over his face when I told him.

    “Oh No! Not her-she’s a dragon. Nothing will ever be good enough, she’s a nightmare!”

That took the wind out of my sails and it was with trepidation that I turned up at Mrs. Drew’s house the following Monday.

I rang the doorbell at 8.00 am and Mr. Drew opened it.

     “Mrs. Drew” he called up the stairs “Mr. White’s here” back came the reply.

    “Alright Mr. Drew, tell Mr. White not to start until I come down”. When she appeared I had to explain exactly what I was going to do and how I was going to do it. Eventually I got started and the day went really well. Regular cups of tea with a biscuit were supplied – made by Mr. Drew of course.

The next morning Mrs. Drew was waiting in the garden.

    “Good Morning Mrs. Drew” I said “What have you spotted that I missed?”

Somewhat taken aback she said

    “Well there is a bit up in that corner and round the side needs a bit more rubbing down.”

Attack being the best form of defence, the strategy seemed to work very well and the days went quite smoothly. When I was at the top of the ladder working on the parapet, an Easyjet airplane which was landing at Paphos came over so low you could see the colour of the pilot’s eyes. After it passed by, Mrs. Drew came out into the garden.

    “Those planes are the bane of my life” she said “I’ve written to the airport and asked them why they have to come over MY house.”

From my elevated position on the parapet I said

    “Don’t you know about this big yellow cross on your roof?” 

I thought she was going to explode with rage as she stormed back into the house. I came down the ladder and explained that I was only joking, good job I did because she was just about to phone the airport manager. Things went a little bit quiet from then on but I was due to finish the next day.

That evening the phone rang. It was Mrs. Drew.

    “Mr. White, I have to leave early in the morning for Nicosia. I have left a list of things to be done with Mr. Drew and I have authorized him to issue a cheque to you when everything has been completed. Thank you”.

The next day Mr. Drew met me at the door with the list in his hand.

     “Come in Mike” he said “let’s have a cuppa before you start.” He came through to the lounge with two huge mugs of tea, sat on the sofa and put his feet up on the coffee table. Reaching into his pocket he took out a packet of cigarettes and lit one. Lying back on the sofa he blew the smoke into the air.

    “How long have you been here?” he asked.

    “Three years” I replied “What about you, what brought you to Cyprus?”

He took a deep breath.

    “Mrs. Drew brought me to Cyprus, I had a successful Opticians business in St Albans for forty years. Mrs. Drew was my receptionist, company secretary and accountant. On retirement Mrs. Drew decided that we were going to live in Cornwall in a restored Victorian farmhouse. It was fine but Mrs. Drew complained to the farmer constantly about animal noises early in the morning. He only had to start his tractor before 8.30 and she was on the phone complaining.”

He sighed.

    “Mrs. Drew decided that we would be better off in a Mediterranean country on a golfing estate and here we are. As you know the airplanes give her ample means for complaint and as for the golfers, one swear word after a missed putt prompts a phone call to the club secretary. Mrs. Drew has now decided that we would be better off in Australia of all places, she is in Nicosia today sorting out what we need to get there.”

Taking one last puff on his cigarette and slurping his mug of tea he looked at me with a triumphant grin and said.

    “What Mrs. Drew doesn’t know is that I have decided that I’m not going anywhere!!”

I finished my tea, took the list from his hand and finished what had to be done. On completion and inspection by Mr. Drew, he handed over the cheque, signed by Mrs. Drew of course. I cleared up my equipment and loaded the van. As I left, Mr. Drew was opening windows and spraying air freshener around.

The house went on the market the following month, and sold quickly, they were gone to Australia. Poor Mr. Drew he had his moment of defiance, it’s a shame Mrs. Drew wasn’t there to see it!

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