He always said the walls were paper thin. Bless him. I used to laugh when he said that. It doesn’t seem funny now that Ted’s gone. He sat in his favourite armchair chair one day and simply didn’t get up. Snuffed it. Just like that.
“Don’t be silly, Ted. Walls can’t be made of paper,” I’d say.
“Well it sounds like it woman. I can hear thumping and banging. Hear when they have an argument. Hear when the coals are being heaped on the fire at night.“
He was right there. The people next door shared a common wall with us, semi-detached we were, see. Two houses the mirror of the other. Turn ours over the other way and they would fit together perfectly like jigsaw pieces.
Since the new people moved in I’m telling Ted he was right.
“There’s this kid, Ted, must be about twelve I reckon from the look of him. Skinny kid. He’s learning the piano. Up and down the keyboard with the scales, ascending and descending. Thumping the notes.“
What would Ted have said I wonder? Probably marched in next door and told them to stop.
“After a bit the scales become less and less even. The heavy touch of his fingers is apparent. It’s wearing me down Ted. All hours he’s at it.“
“Don’t be silly, luv. Don’t be getting in a take, have one of your turns,” Ted’s voice seemed to say.
“It’s alright for you. No need to bang on the walls like you used to. Mind you the Jones’s, before this lot, were quite alright weren’t they? Just got a bit loud when they’d had too many bottles of stout. Still you could at least talk to them. Not sure the new neighbours even talk the King’s English where they come from. Not that you can say that these days of course.“
“Now, now, luv.”
“Yeah, alright Ted. I’ve got to do something though. Wait a minute I’ve had an idea.”
Ted would probably have told me to stop and think. Always said I did things in a rush. Well this time I didn’t care. Putting on my hat and coat, setting off for the High Street shops, my mood had lifted.
* * * * *
Two days later a van drew up outside the front of the house.
“Were you watching Ted?”
Three men carried various boxes inside and placed the contents next to the party wall in the back room.
The next day, when the piano practice finally ended, it was time to put my plan into action.
Seating myself comfortably on a leather swivel stool, feet firmly planted on the floorboards, my complete concentration was on the array of different sized timpani mallets lying beside the copper kettle drums.