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Something is going on

Me: Something is going on, Nell. Dave has mud on his nose and cheeks and Gladys is wearing Poppy’s suit of armour.

Nell: Well spotted, Sherlock Martin.

Me: And there is something very strange about Terry.

Nell: Tell me.

Me: He has a hole in his nose.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: And he really smells of seaweed and not in a good way.

Nell: Interesting.

Me: What if they do the same to Poppy? What if she comes back all quiet and shy with a hole in her nose smelling of seaweed?

Nell: Calm down. Now, I am going to tell you something and you have to promise me that this stays between us.

Me: I can’t. I know everyone will keep quiet about it. Is it about Poppy?

Nell: Indirectly.

Me: It’s about Terry, isn’t it?

Nell: Yes. And bacon.

Me: Bacon? I can’t believe we are discussing bacon at a time like this.

Nell: You know I said Squawk had stolen the bacon when he attacked Terry?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Well, that was because Terry had no bacon on him when he arrived here. But when questioned by Sally, Terry had no knowledge of any bacon.

Me: A bang on the head can do that to you, Nell.

Nell: Yes. Terry seems to have forgotten himself completely, doesn’t he?

Me: He’s certainly asking a lot of questions.

Nell: That’s because Terry isn’t Terry.

Me: What?

Nell: We have reason to believe that Terry is Squawk and the real Terry is imprisoned somewhere with Poppy.

Me. And the bacon?

Nell: Exactly. So, David is going to find her. He is camouflaged and ready with Gladys by his side.

Me: Don’t you think Knitwear Wolf might be better?

Nell: David is doing this his way.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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No Sign

Me: Any sign of Poppy yet?

Nell: No. We looked everywhere.

Me: Have a cup of tea by the fire.

Nell: I can’t rest. I need to be out there searching. Where is Terry?

Me: He’s with PC Panda and Sally going through his statement again.

Nell: I can’t believe Squawk would attack his own brother.

Me: They don’t get on, Nell.

Nell: I don’t get on with Majorie Poops, but you don’t see me hitting her with my handbag.

Me: Squawk doesn’t have a handbag.

Nell: You know what I mean.

Me: Who is Majorie Poops by the way? It’s an unfortunate name.

Nell: Agony aunt for The Growl on Sunday. Goes to my Pilates class.

Me: So, what did Terry say?

Nell: He was on his way to meet Poppy when Squawk burst out of the bushes and attacked him.

Me: Did he steal the bacon?

Nell: Of course.

Me: But what about Poppy? Do you think she saw the attack on Terry?

Nell: Maybe. I wonder where Squawk has taken her.

Me: He’s going to regret it. Poppy is not someone to be pushed around.

Nell: I’m glad she has her long hair at the moment. Better to be scruffy and warm.

Me: It’s odd to see Terry looking all scruffy and smelling of seaweed. He is usually so pristine.

Nell: Yes. He’s not himself at all.

Me: Why is it taking so long?

Nell: Sally is very thorough.

Me: There she is, Nell. She’s waving at you to join them.

Nell: Perhaps there’s been a breakthrough.

Me: You’ll let me know what they say, won’t you? I don’t want to be kept in the dark. She’s my darling Poppy too.

Nell: You are coming in there with me. You and me. Always. Remember?

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Gone

Nell: What do you mean she wasn’t there?

Me: Just have a sip of tea. Malcolm has added a little sugar.

Nell: I don’t like sugar in my tea. Poppy knows that.

Me: Poppy isn’t here, Nell. When they got to the field she had gone.

Nell: But she can’t have gone. What did Terry say?

Me: Terry wasn’t there either.

Nell: I need to talk to Rupert.

Me: Knitwear Wolf is in a meeting with Sally and Harriet. I’m sure they will update you when it’s over.

Nell: No. I’m not going to be updated. This is my fault. I need to be in that meeting too.

Me: They will find Poppy soon. I’m sure of it.

Nell: She doesn’t even have her sword.

Me: Poppy doesn’t need a sword. She might be small but she is fierce.

Nell: What is all that weeping and wailing?

Me: It’s Babycakes Gillespie. He can’t stop crying. He brought you some bagels but they are a bit wet, to be honest, and salty.

Nell: I couldn’t eat anything.

Me: It’s having the opposite effect on Dave. He’s had four bowls of cereal already and he doesn’t even like it.

Nell: Is John the Doberman here?

Me: Yes. Knitwear Wolf called him. Everyone is here. The fields are full of animals searching.

Nell: They all love Poppy.

Me: Try not to worry. I’m sure Sally will know what to do.

Nell: Do you think this has something to do with why Sally is here?

Me: Maybe.

Nell: I heard a knock. Is that someone at the door?

Me: I’ll go and see.

Nell: Who is it? Why are you looking at me like that?

Me: It’s Terry. He looks very bruised and battered.

Nell: Is Poppy with him?

Me: No. She isn’t. Sorry.

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Trapped

Me: What’s the matter?

Nell: Poppy is trapped. Knitwear Wolf and David have gone to rescue her. Squawk is involved.

Me: What do you mean trapped? What is Squawk doing there?

Nell: I hope they can get her out.

Me: What happened?

Nell: We were out walking in the fields when we heard a strange noise.

Me: What kind of noise?

Nell: Wounded animal.

Me: Why were you out walking alone?

Nell: I had arranged to meet Terry, and Poppy insisted on coming with me.

Me: Why didn’t Terry come to the house like he usually does?

Nell: It was a special delivery.

Me: To a field? What on earth was Terry delivering? A picnic?

Nell: No. Bacon.

Me: Bacon?

Nell: Yes.

Me: You know bacon is off the menu at the moment, Nell.

Nell: Yes. I know. Poppy was furious when I told her. She said I was ruining her carefully planned healthy eating regime.

Me: Were those really her words?

Nell: She called me a dastardly Diet Breaker.

Me: That sounds more like Poppy.

Nell: She said Terry could keep his wretched bacon and that’s when we heard the noise.

Me: The wounded animal?

Nell: Yes. Poppy didn’t have her sword with her, so she grabbed a sharp stick and went to investigate.

Me: Typical.

Nell: I told her not to go alone, but she insisted.

Me: She’s such a fearless little thing.

Nell: The next thing we knew, the gate slammed shut with Poppy trapped behind it.

Me: Oh no.

Nell: I tried to open it but I couldn’t. I shouted for help and that’s when I saw Squawk.

Me: With the bacon?

Nell: That’s not the point. He was hiding in the bushes. Poppy is trapped, Squawk is involved and where is Terry?

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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No Bacon Faces

Me: You and Dave are looking a bit down in the mouth.

Nell: These are our No Bacon faces.

Me: It’s just for now, Nell.

Nell: It’s Sunday. Sunday is a day for bacon and roast dinners.

Me: You never know you might actually enjoy the venison casserole.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: It is delicious at this time of year, especially with cranberries.

Nell: Cranberries? Are you saying there’s no roast either?

Me: Venison is a lean meat. Poppy has a wonderful recipe and there will be lots of lovely vegetables. I think you might be surprised.

Nell: I was surprised at a thin dry piece of toast and no marmalade.

Me: There’s a huge selection of fruit and cereals.

Nell: I’m leaving those to our feathered friends, thank you.

Me: Talking of feathered friends, did I see Terry here earlier?

Nell: Terry?

Me: Yes. I was surprised as it’s Sunday.

Nell: He was probably here for Sunday Songs.

Me: No, he left before they started.

Nell: ‘Singing in the Rain’ isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

Me: Did Princess mean to roll down the hill?

Nell: Who knows. She clapped herself afterwards, but that might have been relief.

Me: It’s a seal thing. I’m sure I saw Terry coming out of the living room.

Nell: I’ve allowed David to rest on the warm blanket. He is still recovering from his bumped leg.

Me: Are you changing the subject?

Nell: We will enjoy a nice cup of tea together.

Me: Did you Book a Beefy?

Nell: I presume Earl Grey is still allowed.

Me: If you’ve sent Terry off to get you treats, I will find out.

Nell: Did you hear David’s tummy rumbling? Maybe you could get him a carrot. He’s obviously struggling.

Me: Yes, of course. Sorry.

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Seriously?

Me: Why are you looking at me like that?

Nell: When were you going to tell me?

Me: Tell you what?

Nell: That I was going to be put in that box full of water again and made to walk for hours.

Me: It wasn’t hours, Nell. It was your hydrotherapy and Chloe gave you a lovely massage.

Nell: It doesn’t feel that lovely this morning.

Me: You’re just a bit achy. Chloe says you have to lose weight.

Nell: I know. I was there when she told Kev.

Me: Poppy knows all about it, so there aren’t going to be any scones, or bacon sandwiches for a while, just lots of vegetables and fresh fruit.

Nell: Fresh fruit? I suppose I could manage a little apple crumble with custard, or cream.

Me: No crumble, Nell, and definitely no cream.

Nell: If you think I am going to stand by and nibble on a carrot while everyone else wallows in cake and trifle, then you are sadly mistaken?

Me: Trifle? We haven’t had trifle in ages.

Nell: Exactly.

Me: We’re all going to try and eat healthily.

Nell: David is never going to survive without bacon.

Me: Let’s see, shall we? How about joining in this morning’s Glide with Gladys?

Nell: Do I look like I want to be gliding anywhere?

Me: You will be pleased when you’ve done it. The llamas are in fine form today. They have colourful umbrellas and Wellington boots.

Nell: So, instead of settling down in front of the fire to watch Saturday Kitchen with a cup of Earl Grey and a shortbread biscuit, you think I’m going to put on lycra and start leaping around in the rain with umbrella wielding llamas?

Me: Yes.

Nell: It is never going to happen.

Me: No. Sorry.

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Frothy Sea

Me: The sea was really frothy yesterday.

Nell: Yes.

Me: Like a bubble bath. It made me want to jump right in.

Nell: I wouldn’t. It’s extremely cold.

Me: The kite surfers didn’t care.

Nell: They’re wearing wetsuits.

Me: Harriet doesn’t care either.

Nell: Harriet is an extreme swimmer.

Me: You used to go in more. You’re a little wary now.

Nell: I am a Labrador of a certain age.

Me: True.

Nell: One thinks twice about running into freezing water.

Me: You didn’t think twice about running into that bulldog.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: He was coming over to say hello and you body checked him.

Nell: I merely gave him a little nudge in the right direction. He wasn’t adhering to the social distancing rules.

Me: It wasn’t very friendly. You’re becoming a bit grumpy in your old age.

Nell: I shall be 9 next month and deserve a little respect. I don’t appreciate being bounced.

Me: You had better tell Poppy then.

Nell: Yes. Poppy never gets tired of bouncing people.

Me: Poppy is a disgrace on the beach. Shouting at everyone and trying to chase dogs of all shapes and sizes. Thank goodness the puppies are friendly.

Nell: Or even over friendly in David’s case.

Me: He’s going to love it when we can have friends and family to visit us again, isn’t he?

Nell: We are all going to love it.

Me: Yes.

Nell: You aren’t the only one who’s been missing them, you know.

Me: Well, that’s good because I was talking to my sister Charlotte and her three boys are coming to spend the day with us next Friday.

Nell: Are you talking about Naughty Nigel, Seamus and Boo?

Me: Yes, isn’t that lovely?

Nell: The whole day?

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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It’s the thought that counts

Me: Could we discuss muddy paws, please?

Nell: Can’t we talk later? David and I are enjoying the early morning sunshine.

Me: I only just cleaned the floor and look at it now?

Nell: I don’t know what you expect us to do.

Me: Couldn’t you wear slippers like Kev and I?

Nell: I beg your pardon? We aren’t all llamas.

Me: What does that mean?

Nell: Haven’t you noticed their slippers?

Me: No.

Nell: We can’t take our paws off at the door.

Me: I know that. But you can wipe your paws on the mat.

Nell: We do.

Me: You most definitely don’t.

Nell: Sometimes we simply don’t have the time.

Me: Everything is covered in mud. Even the chairs.

Nell: Stop making such a fuss. It’ll rub off eventually.

Me: I know it will. On me and Kev.

Nell: Perhaps you can provide towels and warm water and wait at the door to wash and dry our feet as we come in?

Me: I’ll be there all day then, Nell. There are so many of you. If you could just wipe your feet on the mat.

Nell: We are certainly intending to do that, so the thought is there.

Me: Intending isn’t doing.

Nell: Don’t you always say, ‘It’s the thought that counts’?

Me: That’s something else entirely.

Nell: Maybe slippers are the answer. We would need them in a wide range of sizes, of course, and labelled with each animal’s name.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: There would have to be pairs at the front and back doors and a place to store them. I’m sure Poppy won’t mind them cluttering up her kitchen.

Me: I give up.

Nell: Was that all? Only David and I want to make the most of the sun.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Sunny beaches and Missed Messages

Me: It was beautiful down on the beach yesterday, wasn’t it? Sudden blue skies after all the rain.

Nell: Yes. So many people are dealing with the cold and snow at the moment that I thought a few sunny photos might cheer them up.

Me: Good idea. We also wanted to say that for some reason we have missed some of your messages recently. We don’t know why.

Nell: So a great big belated Happy Birthday to Tracy Woolliscroft.

Me: Yes, and a huge hug to Glenys Williams. Keep writing those poems. We love them.

Nell: And even if we don’t see your messages immediately we will always respond when we do.

Me: Yes. So please keep writing to us. We are always here for you.

Nell: David has asked for extra bacon today after surviving that traumatic trip to the vets.

Me: It wasn’t a traumatic trip, Nell. Dave bumped his leg and it was a little sore so we wanted them to check it. Just in case.

Nell: They took him away. On his own.

Me: They have to do that at the moment because of COVID19. You know that.

Nell: Yes, I know that, but David doesn’t. You should have allowed me to accompany him.

Me: He was fine, Nell. Kev waited for him outside and he wasn’t in there for very long.

Nell: They stuck a needle in him.

Me: It was just antibiotics.

Nell: Well, I think bacon is a reasonable request for all concerned.

Me: What do you mean by all concerned? Are you angling for bacon too? It was only Dave who went to the vets. You all stayed at home by the fire.

Nell: But we were all concerned. Very concerned, if you must know.

Me: Yes. I suppose you were. Sorry.

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Pancakes and Snow

Me: It’s Chris and Marvin. How lovely to see them.

Nell: Yes. I was chatting to young Marvin in our WoofsApp group and he sent over these photos from Toronto for us all to see.

Me: It looks really cold there, doesn’t it?

Nell: Yes, it’s very cold in many places. Aphrodite said they were shovelling snow in Athens.

Me: Aphrodite the Goddess of Love?

Nell: No. The Cretan Hound from my Pilates class.

Me: How can that be happening?

Nell: It’s the change in the climate.

Me: I meant is Pilates still allowed?

Nell: It’s all online. Do keep up.

Me: I thought I saw Gladys and the llamas in the field.

Nell: You did. Our Penguin is filming their class outside. Gladys thinks it will lift morale if people can see the countryside and the llamas need space to express themselves.

Me: I see.

Nell: Rupert has provided them all with warm undergarments, so they are perfectly warm.

Me: He is such a kind wolf.

Nell: Yes. I really don’t know what I would have done without Rupert’s support since I lost Charlie. He is a dear friend.

Me: Yes, he is.

Nell: Why are you looking at me like that?

Me: Nothing. Just wondering to myself.

Nell: Well, don’t. Now, today is Pancake Day and this year Manuel is in charge. He has four frying pans on the go and is taking orders. Savoury, or sweet?

Me: Sweetish.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: Lemon juice with a little sprinkling of sugar.

Nell: David is having his with bacon.

Me: No surprises there. I suppose Manuel will be able to toss several pancakes at once with those tentacles.

Nell: You’d still better get in the queue. The larger animals will be joining us soon.

Me: Yes. Sorry.