Book a Beefy

Me: I love your grey chin.

Nell: Stop taking photos of me when I’m asleep.

Me: It makes me want to give you a great big kiss.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: It makes we want to bury myself in your gorgeous Labradoriness.

Nell: There is no such word.

Me: There is now.

Nell: Well, go and bury yourself in David’s gorgeous Labradoriness then because I’m resting.

Me: I will. My Big Brave Beautiful Boy is always up for a cuddle. Unlike you.

Nell: I don’t like people invading my personal space. You know that.

Me: I’m not people, Nell. I’m me.

Nell: Well, I’m completely awake now so I hope you are pleased with yourself.

Me: That’s rather odd. I wonder what they are up to now.

Nell: What are you talking about?

Me: The Beefies. They seem to be filming the Welsh Corgi Choir at Sunday Songs. I thought Our Penguin was in charge of streaming it on YouChewed.

Nell: He is.

Me: But look. They’ve got cameras on their heads.

Nell: The scoundrels. This must be part of their latest venture.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: Haven’t you seen the adverts?

Me: No. I never really go out anymore. We’re in lockdown.

Nell: They are online. You must have seen them. ‘Disappointed in your Drone? Book a Beefy.’

Me: Book a Beefy?

Nell: Yes. They are breaking the laws of privacy, of course. Filming what they like, where they like, and selling it on.

Me: Does PC Panda know about it?

Nell: Poppy has invited him to Sunday lunch so we can discuss it then.

Me: Roast Beef?

Nell: It’s a stir fry I’m afraid. You know how Armando loves his bamboo shoots. Poppy says there will be a proper roast next Sunday.

Me: I see. Sorry


It’s Saturday

Me: Cheeky Animal. I won.

Nell: I’m afraid David is always getting caught. He does everything with his whole self. He simply can’t do otherwise.

Me: That’s why he is my Big Brave Beautiful Boy. All 47kg of him.

Nell: You know Emily the Vet says Harriet needs to lose weight.

Me: Really? But she only weighs 27kg.

Nell: According to Kev, Emily would like her to weigh 23kg.

Me: She’ll waste away. She’s only a slip of a thing. Goodness only knows what Emily is going to say about you and Poppy when you go next week.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: Well, you are definitely rounder than Harriet.

Nell: Rounder? Poppy and I are curvaceous and we are also ladies of a certain age.

Me: Aren’t we all?

Nell: Exactly. All I can say is I shan’t be giving up scones any time soon.

Me: Especially during a pandemic.

Nell: Quite. In fact Poppy is baking a lemon drizzle cake as we speak.

Me: Are we expecting guests?

Nell: No. It’s Saturday. One has to have cake on a Saturday.

Me: I had a lovely message from someone who had just finished listening to the audio book. She said she and her dogs enjoyed it tremendously.

Nell: That’s nice. Have you told everyone it is out on Audible now?

Me: Yes. I hope people will want to get it.

Nell: I’m sure they will. It’s just the thing to listen to during these difficult times.

Me: Especially in front of the fire with a cup of tea and a piece of homemade cake.

Nell: Or a scone.

Me: I suppose we could consider a bowl of fruit instead.

Nell: A bowl of fruit? On a grey Saturday? In January? During lockdown?

Me: No. Of course not. Sorry.


In Cahoots

Me: There’s really nothing like a walk along the beach is there? Especially with the sun going down and the wind in your hair.

Nell: Here we go. The wind is a little too strong for my liking, if you must know, and the sea is rather cold on the paws.

Me: Just embrace it all and listen to the gentle sound of the waves and the calling of the seagulls.

Nell: The calling of the seagulls? What on earth is wrong with you? Didn’t you hear what those Beefies were saying?

Me: Evil Mrs Poppy Snow?

Nell: Apart from that

Me: No. What were they saying?

Nell: ‘Dastardly Dave.’

Me: My Big Brave Beautiful Boy is not dastardly. He is a darling.

Nell: I know that. They are trying to cause trouble. If you ask me, the Beefies are in cahoots with Russell.

Me: I love that.

Nell: Excuse me?

Me: In cahoots. Did you know it comes from the French word ‘cahute’ meaning cabin?

Nell: I don’t care where it comes from. Russell is working with the Beefies.

Me: Well, that won’t do. The Cat has to apologise and give up writing the column.

Nell: Cats never apologise.

Me: Why can’t it write its own column? ‘Ask The Cat.’

Nell: That’s an excellent suggestion.

Me: Yes, and it might even be quite popular.

Nell: I’m not so sure about that. Cats don’t care what people think, you know.

Me: Exactly. They tell it like it is. How did it start writing Dave’s column in the first place?

Nell: The Daily Growl told him he couldn’t mention bacon so he ran out of ideas.

Me: I see. I suppose he was suggesting bacon sandwiches were the answer rather often.

Nell: That’s because they are.

Me: Yes, of course. Sorry.


David Needs Your Help

Me: Why are you three sitting by my bed? It’s still early and I’m writing.

Nell: David needs your help.

Me: With what?

Nell: His defence.

Me: Is he going to court?

Nell: We don’t know, but after yesterday’s performance he might be.

Me: Tell me what happened.

Nell: Well, Russell was having tea with Poppy and I. He seemed a little tense, which was probably down to Poppy’s sword.

Me: Was she waving it?

Nell: No. She used it to pass him a scone.

Me: Why?

Nell: She had to maintain social distancing.

Me: Yes. Of course.

Nell: She’d polished it, however, so it kept glinting and she was smiling in a threatening way.

Me: I hate it when she does that.

Nell: Yes. I tried distracting him with a little gentle conversation about the weather, but he wasn’t interested.

Me: Silly animal. Conversations with you are always delightful.

Nell: You are too kind. Fortunately David bounded in with his usual exuberance. He was explaining that the advice about pushing Russell off the wall was just a joke when The Cat arrived.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: It was wearing a feathered hat and a sequinned cloak.

Me: That’s always worrying.

Nell: Quite. Anyway, it sauntered over to Russell and said, ‘Are you the terrier who criticised the Afghan’s luscious locks?’

Me: No beating around the bush there then.

Nell: What bush? We were in the living room.

Me: Never mind.

Nell: Russell said, ‘It pushed me off the wall.’

Me: Did The Cat reply?

Nell: Yes. It said, ‘Good. Mind your manners in future, or it will happen again.’

Me: Gosh.

Nell: Then it pushed the scone off his plate and left. Russell was furious.

Me: Did it fall jam down?

Nell: That’s not the point.

Me: No. Sorry.


It’s a Terrier, not a Dogue de Bordeaux

Nell: If that’s an angry terrier called Russell at the door, tell it to go away.

Me: Why?

Nell: It’s trying to sue David for damages.

Me: Gosh. What did Dave do?

Nell: It’s that wretched column. The Afghan went and pushed it off the fence.

Me: Oh no. It’s got a black eye, Nell.

Nell: Let me see. That’s not a black eye. That’s just its colouring. It’s a terrier. Good grief.

Me: What about the walking stick?

Nell: Just for show.

Me: We can’t leave it on the doorstep. Shall I get Dave?

Nell: No. On reflection, Poppy is probably the best one to deal with this.

Me: I thought you didn’t condone violence.

Nell: I don’t.

Me: Poking it with her sword is only going to make matters worse.

Nell: I’m talking about scones, not swords. Terriers are partial to a good scone. Everyone knows that.

Me: I didn’t.

Nell: Poppy can settle it down in front of the fire with a nice cup of tea and a scone.

Me: And they can have a good old chinwag.

Nell: What are you talking about? It’s a terrier, not a Dogue de Bordeaux.

Me: It’s just a saying.

Nell: Anyway, once it is comfortable, we can go and get David and The Cat.

Me: I don’t know if that’s a good idea, Nell.

Nell: The Cat needs to explain itself.

Me: This has disaster written all over it. The Cat never explains itself.

Nell: It has to. We can’t have law suits going on.

Me: In the meantime the terrier is still outside.

Nell: Stop chatting and go and get Poppy, while I ask Kev to build up the fire.

Me: Do you think Gladys should do a contemporary dance?

Nell: I shall ignore that.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Grey Tuesday

Me: Look at my darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: David is exhausted. Let him sleep.

Me: Why is he so tired, Nell?

Nell: It’s a very grey Tuesday.

Me: I know it is, but why on earth would that make any difference?

Nell: David is responsible for Keeping Our Spirits Up.

Me: He is?

Nell: Yes. He seems the obvious choice with his counselling skills and his Ask Dave column in the Daily Growl.

Me: Except he doesn’t write it. The Cat does.

Nell: The Cat can’t possibly be responsible for keeping anyone’s spirits up. It doesn’t care.

Me: It must, if it writes the column.

Nell: Have you seen the latest one?

Me: No.

Nell: Anxious Afghan from Aylesbury writes: ‘Dear Dave, my next door neighbour, Russell, is a very rude terrier who keeps leaping on the garden wall and laughing at my long hair. Now I’m afraid to go outside. What can I do?’

Me: What is the advice?

Nell: ‘Dear Anxious, get over yourself. The annoying little thing is just jealous of your luscious locks. The next time it jumps on the wall, push it off.’

Me: That’s not very nice.

Nell: No. Violence is never the answer. David needs to start writing it himself again.

Me: Yes. Why is he so tired, though?

Nell: I think he is feeling a little full after breakfast. He asked Poppy to make us heart shaped toast with our boiled eggs. When she refused, he had to do it by himself, which meant eating the bits left over.

Me: It was a lovely thought.

Nell: Yes, although the pieces of toast were rather small and not particularly heart shaped.

Me: It’s the thought that counts.

Nell: Not when you have nothing to dip in your egg.

Me: No. Sorry.


Monday Gliding with Gladys

Me: What are Harriet and Poppy doing? They seem extremely focussed.

Nell: Watching llamas.

Me: In pyjamas?

Nell: And dressing gowns. Do try and be a little realistic.

Me: I wouldn’t have thought a dressing gown would be warm enough in this weather.

Nell: They are Gliding with Gladys.

Me: Is Gladys doing her classes outside?

Nell: Yes. Since lockdown. Our Penguin is filming them. Gladys has quite a following you know.

Me: It’s important to keep active during this difficult time.

Nell: Yes, personally I prefer a walk in the countryside, or on the beach.

Me: Me too. I’m not a glidey sort of person.

Nell: I don’t think there is such a word as glidey, but I know what you mean.

Me: Is that Princess rolling down the hill?

Nell: Let me see.

Me: It looks like a seal from here, but it might be a sheep, I suppose, or a cow.

Nell: Cows don’t roll down hills and neither do sheep. And they’ve got legs.

Me: The rolling might be part of Glide with Gladys.

Nell: It’s definitely Princess and she’s taking a few of the Welsh corgis with her.

Me: Oh my goodness. That’s hilarious. It’s like watching a bowling ball. I hope Our Penguin is filming. This is going to go viral.

Nell: Is that all you care about? Innocent corgis are being swept off their feet by a huge seal and you want it on camera.

Me: They seem fine, Nell. They’re all standing up again.

Nell: Like skittles?

Me: You said it.

Nell: I knew that was what you were thinking.

Me: Well, that’s made my morning.

Nell: Stop laughing and go and tell Poppy to make some hot sweet tea. The corgis are going to need it after that.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Sunday Grumpiness

Me: Can I just say that trying to make yourself small doesn’t mean I won’t notice you’ve taken my chair again?

Nell: Could you keep your voice down, please? It’s Sunday morning and some of us are still trying to rest.

Me: But it’s my chair.

Nell: You need to let this selfishness go. Life is for sharing. You are behaving like a Beefy.

Me: Like a Beefy?

Nell: Flying around shouting ‘Mine’ at every available opportunity. It’s most unbecoming, you know.

Me: I give up.

Nell: That’s wise. Go and get yourself a cup of tea and try one of Malcolm’s Sunday pancakes. They are delicious.

Me: Don’t you want to try one?

Nell: I had some earlier, thank you. Now I just want to rest.

Me: In my chair.

Nell: I shall ignore that.

Me: What about Sunday Singing?

Nell: That’s not until later and I may just listen from here. I haven’t decided yet.

Me: I know what you’re doing.

Nell: And what is that exactly?

Me: You are hogging my chair until another one of you arrives and you can swap.

Nell: I think somebody got out of the wrong side of the bed this morning.

Me: That’s because my bed was full of dogs.

Nell: So it’s your bed and your chair now, is it?

Me: Yes, it is, actually.

Nell: That’s it. This Sunday grumpiness has to stop. You’ve been thinking too many thoughts again, haven’t you?

Me: I might have been.

Nell: Been trying to see the bigger picture but lost your way?

Me: Maybe.

Nell: And now you are feeling overwhelmed?

Me: A bit.

Nell: You had better have breakfast in your chair by the fire then.

Me: Is that ok with you?

Nell: You only needed to ask.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


We all need some fun in our lives

Me: Wasn’t it beautiful down on the beach yesterday?

Nell: It was glorious. Just what we all needed.

Me: Yes. Hardly any people around and so peaceful.

Nell: Apart from that persistent little puppy who kept asking his brother to play.

Me: Yes, the darling pup was so excited.

Nell: Shouting ‘Play! Play!’ over and over again at a senior dog isn’t going work. Trust me.

Me: There’s nothing like that salty tingling on your face after a beach walk, is there?

Nell: Here we go.

Me: It’s so invigorating. It makes me want to burst into song.

Nell: Good grief. Please don’t. I have quite enough to cope with since Manuel discovered the Gipsy Kings and everyone started dancing flamenco.

Me: I love the Gipsy Kings.

Nell: Nobody wants to listen to ‘Bamboleo’ all the time.

Me: Apart from Gladys and the llamas.

Nell: Any excuse to break into dance.

Me: And Alejandro and the larger animals.

Nell: They’re easily led astray.

Me: Not to mention most of the corgi choir.

Nell: What are they doing here? It’s Saturday, not Sunday.

Me: And we mustn’t forget the Whippets Institute.

Nell: I couldn’t believe it when I saw their minibus arrive.

Me: We all need some fun in our lives, Nell. Even Malcolm is kicking up his heels in the kitchen.

Nell: He’s cooking paella.

Me: How wonderful.

Nell: John the Doberman is awfully light on his feet for such a large animal.

Me: He makes an excellent bull.

Nell: I could do without the Beefies shouting ‘Olé‘ every few minutes.

Me: They adore Poppy. That costume could have been made for her.

Nell: It was. We don’t have matador costumes lying around in her size, you know. The Cat spent hours sewing on those sequins.

Me: Of course. Sorry.


Strengths and Weaknesses

Me: My chair doesn’t belong to me at all anymore, does it?

Nell: It belongs to whoever needs it most. That is the way of the world.

Me: The way of the world?

Nell: Yes.

Me: What nonsense. Harriet and Poppy know I want to sit there.

Nell: They want to sit there, too. In fact, they need to sit there after the latest news.

Me: What’s happened?

Nell: Poppy was due for a haircut but now her groomer tells us she’s closed because haircuts are not essential.

Me: I could have told her that.

Nell: But you didn’t.

Me: I thought she knew. Anyway, I rather like Poppy’s wild hair. It goes with her personality.

Nell: She can’t see.

Me: We could tie it back.

Nell: Tie it back?

Me: Yes. In a little top knot.

Nell: This is Poppy we are talking about here. She doesn’t do top knots.

Me: Well, if necessary, I’ll give it a trim.

Nell. You will certainly not. If anyone is trimming anyone it will be The Cat.

Me: The Cat would never let anyone trim it.

Nell: No. The Cat can cut Poppy’s fringe. It’s very good with scissors.

Me: You know that Poppy will never let The Cat anywhere near her with scissors.

Nell: Then it will have to be Kev.

Me: Why not me?

Nell: How many times have I told you it’s important to recognise your strengths and weaknesses? You wouldn’t ask a llama to sing.

Me: I suppose not.

Nell: You are not practical and Kev is. Poppy trusts him.

Me: You know who should really be doing this?

Nell: Here we go.

Me: Manuel the Octopus. He’s ever so good in the kitchen.

Nell: We are talking about cutting Poppy’s hair not peeling potatoes.

Me: Yes. Sorry.