Ben had one week to clean out the sub, cut up an old gold statue of Adolf Hitler under the water and get some gold casting done before Aubrey and baby Zara came home. It was going to be tight but he had timed how long it would take to melt and create the blocks of gold from all the coinage in the submarine and had started working on a big cast as a surprise for the Merrows... after talking to Cleodora and Lanthe in between jobs. Now in all this time as Ben was hustling around his home like a man possessed Fiona who looked after the dining room, the coffee machine and making beds came very quietly up to Ben and said...... ‘You’re doing it all wrong, my dad was a blacksmith and I learned from him how to do it, let me hulp yoo Ben.’
And so Ben listened and learned then pretty soon he had a good stack of gold bricks in the cellar behind each wine bottle in the wine racks. The jewels such as emeralds, rubies, diamonds and fine stoneware were collected almost vacuumed out of the sub and the sub cleared of all the silt and rubbish inside. Two of the Merrow men sat at the back of the sub and waved their rather impressive tails and at once the silt, built up rust and things that were loose inside the sub came out of the hole in the front that the mine had made. Ben gave the Merrows some stainless steel work tools to dig up the glow worms they needed and they were very happy with their presents.
Ben put those jewels into an old chest he found and kept in the linen cupboard because he couldn’t stand to throw it away as it was old and looked great. So he filled it with the jewels like a pirate’s chest and hid it in his room.
Now, all the gold that Ben could find in the sub was in brick form and out of the way. The cast he had been working on at night could be filled and made ready two days before Aubrey came home. It was to be a grand creation and being made from gold it would never rust. He would need to use maybe ten gold bricks to complete the task from what Fiona told him so the job began late on Thursday night.
Aubrey was coming in on Sunday in the afternoon from Australia and would be tired but glad to be home. Everything had to be ready. Ben had planned some special ‘welcome home’ treats as he put it but his main job was to finish casting his surprise for the Merrows.
Ben and Fiona worked on it night, melting brick after brick until they had ten gold bars melted by about 3 am. It was then that they poured the gold into the cast and watched as it filled up. The gold that was left in the wok was turned back into two bricks again and cooled by the water’s edge. The cast was cooling in Lamb Shanks old kennel. Ben, Fiona and Agnes who just got up to start the day’s work were having coffee and toast in the warm glow of the cooling wok.
‘You lad and lassie have been busy all night I see,’ said Agnes who was first on her feet and as soon as she stood to go back inside Zara sat in her spot and looked at both the workers whose eyes were shutting because they were so tired.
‘Come on you two let’s see if the cast is cool enough to lift down to the water’s edge and to make sure no one sees it. Ben grab a big towel from the kitchen could you as I know there are eyes on the castle and you two, even now as we speak.’
The sun was just coming up and the Dunmours, Zara, Ben, Agnes and Fiona lifted the cast all the way down the steps to the water’s edge. As there was going to be some mess from the cutting of the cast away from the gold inside it, Ben put three big bed sheets down first and made Agnes and Fiona hold up a bed sheet around the cast so as no one could see what he was doing from the water. Then, as soon as it was done, they could drop the sheet onto the gold casting and walk it back inside. Ben started to tap away at the casting and little by little his work of art came into view. It needed some touching up but not much and as the last of the casting fell away Agnes and Fiona dropped the sheet over the creation and they all carried it back to Ben’s room.
Then Ben came back and cleared away all the debris and castings left behind.
It had worked.
He was so excited.
It was now time to tell Cleodora and Lanthe to assemble the Merrows on Sunday night for the arrival of his wife and child home from Australia. He wanted them to witness the celebration of their homecoming. It was to be a very special occasion. It was Friday now and he was exhausted with all the worry, time and effort he put into the creation. Now it was time to set up the celebration and home coming.
Once again a familiar bleating horn sounded on the Loch and he knew it was D-Mac with the second set of supplies needed to complete the night’s festivities. This made Ben hurry around and get even more excited than he already was. Ben decided a swim was in order to wake up his weary body. He put on his wetsuit, with his goggle and flippers and dived into the water. Sure enough, as soon as the bubbles cleared two Merrows waved at him and bowed under the water. Ben always bowed back in respect and pointed to the surface. They followed Ben up and he asked if he could see Cleodora and Lanthe to tell them what was going to happen on Sunday night. It was of great importance to see them and for Queen Zillath to be there. Both Merrows nodded and Ben watched as they sped into the Dx4H and disappeared.
The wheels... I mean tails...were in motion.
Ben went inside as he knew it would take a while for his friends to return to the surface and he made himself an abnormally strong coffee by any standard so he could keep going. It worked, it was only about three hours instead of a day and he went outside with two big tunas that D-Mac bought with the last lot of supplies and sure enough, up popped Cleodora and Lanthe. They were smiling at him and by now their set of teeth didn’t bother Ben at all, he was glad to see them.
‘My friends I have great news, my wife and child are coming home on Sunday and I have a creation to present to your Queen on the same day. I also have some things I want you to see that will be in the sky as well,’ and Ben pointed to the clouds above his head as he said this to them. He then handed them the two tuna fish and they gladly ate them. This was not so pretty and he really wished he hadn’t watched them do that at all.
‘What is it land person Ben?’ asked Lanthe who splashed in the water with her webbed hand frustrated at not knowing what was going to happen and cleaning off the fish scales and bits on her fingers.
‘It’s all good,’ said Ben, ‘...and nothing to be scared of, so could you ask Queen Zillath and all of the Merrows to assemble here on Sunday night for the surprise and hand over?’
‘We would be honoured Ben,’ and having said that they finished the two tuna in record time then they dived and were gone back on their way to pass on the good news to Queen Zillath.
Ben ran inside and began working on fixing certain bits of his new creation on his bed. There was drilling, filing and hammering heard from his room by the guests and staff and occasionally Zara would float in and out of there smiling each time she saw what he was doing. Gold dust was everywhere and Ben had seen so much gold of late he was a bit complacent about it and didn’t think to clean it up off the floor, he just wanted his creation to be ‘just so’ for his friends. Finally at about 2pm he stood back from it and smiled at it then sat downstairs in front of the fire and talked to Raphael about everything. Then Ben fell asleep for three hours waking up with Agnes holding a tray in front of him with Lunch/Dinner on it. ‘Thanks Agnes...not so scary this time now that I have clothes on right?’ and Ben laughed.
‘Please don’t go there Ben, I’m visual remember?’ said Agnes and she walked away half smiling.
It was Friday night and things still needed to be set up for the welcome home and presentation so as soon as Ben finished everything on the dinner tray he was off again at breakneck speed to assemble the next thing that needed doing in his long list of duties. It was going to be a wonderful night seeing his wife again and little Zara. Ben couldn’t wait.
(Neither can I, it’s going to be a hoot. What should I bring, wine and cheesecake?
Ben’s Note: Just you mate, that’s all!!!
I hate it when people say that I feel guilty as hell showing up with nothing. I’ll bring a baked chocolate egg custard that’ll do it!!!!!! In a 44 gallon drum, hahahaha, it’s that good...so don’t knock it unless you have tried it.)