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Who ate the cheese?

Me: Somebody ate the cheese while we were out yesterday.

Nell: Don’t worry it is being dealt with.

Me: There was a cheeseboard with all different kinds of special cheeses on it.

Nell: Yes. I know what a cheeseboard is.

Me: But it’s gone.

Nell: These things happen.

Me: Well, I think you three Labradors look very guilty.

Nell: No. We look concerned.

Me: Dave looks very concerned.

Nell: Well, that’s because David does not have a good record when it comes to food going missing.

Me: You can say that again.

Nell: Mistakes have been made in the past and deeply regretted.

Me: Harriet has got her worried look.

Nell: Harriet doesn’t like to see you distressed.

Me: And you look shifty.

Nell: Shifty?

Me: You are definitely hiding something from me.

Nell: Well, I can assure you that it is not a piece of cheese. Anyway, did you enjoy your dinner?

Me: We did, thank you. It’s lovely to see Linda and Graham again.

Nell: And I thought Linda was looking particularly lovely.

Me: I know what you’re doing, Nell.

Nell: And did you notice David’s exemplary behaviour? He respected Graham’s age and greeted him quietly and with respect.

Me: Yes. He was a Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: I’m not sure he needed to clean Graham’s beard quite so thoroughly but fortunately Graham didn’t seem to mind.

Me: No, he has a soft spot for Dave.

Nell: I think Harriet and I made a good impression too.

Me: I haven’t forgotten the cheese, Nell.

Nell: In my experience there are times when you just have to let things go and move on.

Me: Someone ate the cheese.

Nell: Life is not meant to be travelled backwards.

Me: True.

Nell: And cheese can be replaced.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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A touch of the Mondays

Me: Has Poppy calmed down after yesterday?

Nell: Yes, but she is having a touch of the Mondays, so I am watching over her.

Me: The Mondays?

Nell: Yes, we all have them now and again. Beginning of the week, lots to do, slight disgruntlement. You know the feeling.

Me: Yes, I do. Is Malcolm forgiven?

Nell: Yes. He’s promised not to let Knitwear Wolf near the kitchen again.

Me: I’m sure Rupert meant well. He is a really friendly wolf.

Nell: Yes. He appears to regret yesterday’s mishap. He brought Poppy a flower with the papers this morning.

Me: Yes, a knitted poppy. So thoughtful. I wonder who is doing the knitting, though?

Nell: I have no idea. The Welsh corgis are denying any involvement but Myfanwy has a sly look about her.

Me: I saw Henry the woodlouse just now and he looks twice the size.

Nell: That will be his brother Horst then. They look very similar. Although David says Horst can be a little standoffish.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Now, Kev’s 60th Birthday celebrations are continuing today so what time are our visitors expected?

Me: About 4:30.

Nell: Cream tea time. Poppy’s made some fresh scones and Gladys can pick up the clotted cream after her class.

Me: Class?

Nell: She and Alejandro are booked in for a dance class at 2pm.

Me: Ballroom?

Nell: Yes. Alejandro needs to work on his Foxtrot.

Me: You’d think the trotting part would be easy for him with his hooves.

Nell: What are you talking about?

Me: But there is nothing foxy about an alpaca, is there?

Nell: It’s got nothing to do with foxes. Go and check on the jam situation. David ate a jar by mistake and it might have been the last.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Poppy is not amused

Nell: That’s Poppy in Kev’s pocket.

Me: Yes, she was about 10 weeks old and so tiny. I came across the photo and thought she’d like it. Wasn’t she gorgeous?

Nell: I wouldn’t show it to her now.

Me: Why?

Nell: She’s wearing one of her ears back.

Me: Oh no. That’s never a good sign.

Nell: And she’s gone back to bed.

Me: Well, it is Sunday.

Nell: She wants to be alone.

Me: Why?

Nell: Malcolm was serving mackerel for breakfast.

Me: But Poppy loves fish and she’s usually open to new ideas.

Nell: Not this time. Knitwear Wolf told Malcolm about a recipe with fish and rice.

Me: Kedgeree?

Nell: Bless you. Allergies again?

Me: No, it’s the name of a breakfast dish.

Nell: Anyway, Poppy came into the kitchen and found Knitwear Wolf cooking at her stove.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Using her vegetable knife to debone the fish.

Me: That will never work. You need a long bendy knife.

Nell: That’s not the point. And wearing a knitted apron and hat.

Me: What a silly idea.

Nell: Well, you know what Poppy is like about hygiene?

Me: Yes. She has five stars. Hard earned.

Nell: Quite. So she threw the wolf out and banished the flamingo.

Me: Not something you hear every day. So who is cooking breakfast?

Nell: David.

Me: Goodness me.

Nell: He’s making bacon sandwiches with a choice of red or brown sauce and builders’ tea in mugs.

Me: Sounds delicious.

Nell: Harriet has prepared a fresh fruit salad for the vegetarians and health conscious.

Me: No one will want that.

Nell: Walter Pigeon said he would give it a go.

Me: Is he even invited?

Nell: Of course he is. Sunday breakfasts are for sharing. You know that.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Don’t underestimate a woodlouse

Me: Is Dave still asleep?

Nell: Yes, with a smile on his face.

Me: Well, Sally turning up like that was a wonderful surprise.

Nell: I don’t think Rhubarb would agree with you.

Me: No. She looked a little crestfallen.

Nell: Yes. Our Canadian Bernese appears to have developed rather a crush on David.

Me: And Sally is such a classic beauty. She can be a little intimidating. She reminds me of Grace Kelly.

Nell: You mean the Golden who married that Prince?

Me: Personally, I wouldn’t have referred to her as a Golden but, yes the Hollywood film star.

Nell: I wouldn’t have referred to her as a film star. She’s a pretty Golden Retriever from Torquay who fell in love with a pug called Prince. She might have done some acting, I suppose.

Me: Never mind. Dave is happy which is the main thing.

Nell: Kev enjoyed his party, didn’t he? Although Knitwear Wolf spoilt the ambience. Who arrives at a party in a knitted caftan carrying a fish?

Me: He caught it himself.

Nell: It was just a mackerel.

Me: It’s the thought that counts. I must say I’m aching a bit today.

Nell: I told you not to go on that trampoline. At your age and with your little legs.

Me: It reminded me of my youth on the Isle of Wight. My sisters and I would go to Ryde and bounce on the trampolines.

Nell: Well, I’m sorry but your bouncing days are over. Have you seen Henry?

Me: The woodlouse?

Nell: Yes, What other Henry do we know? David was looking for him. Is he hiding in the downstairs facilities again?

Me: Yes, he was half way up the wall which is unusual.

Nell: Henry gets around. Never underestimate a woodlouse.

Me: No. Sorry.

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Kev is 60 today

Me: I love this photo of you and Kev.

Nell: Yes. Is the Birthday Boy enjoying his special breakfast?

Me: Yes. Poached eggs on toast and a mug of tea.

Nell: There were supposed to be sausages but David ate them by mistake.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Now, there was a minor mishap with the trampoline last night but fortunately no one was injured.

Me: What happened?

Nell: Mutley and Alejandro had a few ports too many and decided to go trampolining.

Me: I don’t think it was made for an alpaca.

Nell: No. Gladys is not amused and spent the night in my handbag.

Me: I wondered why Mutley was wearing sunglasses.

Nell: Anyway, I have written a poem for Kev. Would you like to hear it?

Me: Yes, please.

Nell: ‘You are 60 today

We can’t believe that it’s true.

You don’t look any different

You just look like you.

We don’t want you to change

So stay just as you are.

Best beloved Kev

Our shiniest star.

We love you so much

More than hot buttered toast

More than bacon and sausages

Or even a roast.

So let’s all just party

As we Martins can

And celebrate Kev

The head of our clan.

I’ll say this again

From all of the crew

We love you dear Kev

Because you are you.’

Me: Perfect.

Nell: Oh dear. Ron Gilbert is stuck in traffic. He was due hours ago.

Me: Why?

Nell: He’s putting up the circus tent. Do keep up.

Me: A tent?

Nell: Where do you think the trapeze was going? They can’t perform in the rain.

Me: Do you mean Gladys?

Nell: Certainly not. The Whippets Institute minibus will be arriving shortly. They can turn their paws to most things when challenged.

Me: Of course. Sorry.

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What if

Nell: Little Marvin is doing well.

Me: That’s very good to hear. Look at his sweet little face. Bless him.

Nell: You are not getting a puppy.

Me: I know.

Nell: It’s bad enough that we seem to have acquired a wolf.

Me: That’s different.

Nell: It certainly is.

Nell: I’m also beginning to think the pigeons might be in league with the Beefies.

Me: I suppose they are all birds.

Nell: There have been reports of an elderly seagull sporting a tweed cap in Wales.

Me: Was it wearing socks?

Nell: Possibly.

Me: Only Romeo flew by in socks this morning when he was serenading Susan.

Nell: He’s been told to stop doing that. He keeps waking the neighbours and Malcolm is becoming irate.

Me: I can’t imagine Malcolm getting cross. He is such a gentle flamingo.

Nell: Did you notice if the socks were soft?

Me: I can’t say I did.

Nell: I wonder who’s doing all the knitting?

Me: Oh my goodness. I’ve just had an awful thought.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: What if the Welsh corgi choir have defected and gone over to the Beefies?

Nell: Don’t be silly.

Me: And what if Myfanwy is actually a double agent?

Nell: Myfanwy wasn’t an agent in the first place so she can’t be double anything.

Me: Sally has her paws in more pies than we can count. Maybe Myfanwy was undercover.

Nell: You need your breakfast. You always start fantasising when you have a sugar low.

Me: It was just an idea.

Nell: If a badger with a barrel knocks on the door send him through to Poppy.

Me: A badger?

Nell: It’ll be Bob from the brewery about Kev’s party. Now, go and eat. Tony the Postman brought us some fresh eggs.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Harriet is concerned

Me: Harriet looks concerned.

Nell: There’s a Beaky Blinder looking through the window.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: If you ask me those pigeons are just showing off with their tweed caps and knitted socks.

Me: Knitted socks?

Nell: Yes. I thought the wigs were silly enough but now they are all wearing socks.

Me: Maybe this is part of Knitwear Wolf’s marketing campaign.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: You know he and The Cat want to launch the Prince Rupert line?

Nell: If I was looking for models for my socks, pigeons would not be my first port of call.

Me: No, I suppose not.

Nell: Anyway, I happen to know Rhu the Bernese Mountain Dog has already secured the modelling contract.

Me: Really?

Nell: Yes. According to The Cat her sturdy legs are ideal for socks and she can carry off a knitted cardigan with ease. Now, are you all ready for Friday?

Me: Why?

Nell: It’s Kev’s 60th Birthday.

Me: Oh yes. Well, I’m getting there.

Nell: What on earth does that mean?

Me: I’ve still got to pack a few things.

Nell: You are best off asking Malcolm and Susan to do any packing. They are very neat. It’s a beak thing.

Me: Have Dave and Gladys sorted out the entertainment?

Nell: Yes. They’ve organised a trampoline.

Me: I don’t think I want to know why.

Nell: Yes. Best not to ask. I know Gladys is going to ride round the ring standing on Alejandro’s back.

Me: What ring?

Nell: I think it’s circus themed.

Me: That explains David’s top hat. You know Kev asked for a quiet birthday with no fuss?

Nell: That was never going to happen. He’s Kevin Martin and he’s going to be 60. There is nothing quiet about that.

Me: No. You’re right. Sorry.

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You can’t just give yourself a title

Nell: That’s my sister Daisy when she came to visit me 7 years ago. We are playing Bitey Faces.

Me: I know. You were so pleased to see her.

Nell: Yes. We were only 5 months old. Daisy was always much smaller than me.

Me: Yes. Like Dave and Harriet.

Nell: I beg your pardon? We’re nothing like David and Harriet. I am not twice Daisy’s size.

Me: No. Of course not.

Nell: As if I don’t have enough to deal with today.

Me: Why?

Nell: Little Marvin is on antibiotics.

Me: Yes. He had a rough start in life but he is safely with Chris and Shannon now.

Nell: And Knitwear Wolf is a Canadian prince.

Me: Yes, that was a bit of a surprise. I don’t think he is an actual prince though, Nell.

Nell: Why is he called Prince Rupert then? You can’t just give yourself a title, you know.

Me: I think he is named after the area he comes from. Prince Rupert is a port in British Columbia.

Nell: If Shel and Jaime hadn’t been here Knitwear Wolf might have remained in disguise.

Me: Yes. It was when they were discussing fish and swimming that Prince Rupert revealed his identity. He was so pleased to meet some fellow Canadians.

Nell: I’m sorry. I’m not calling that animal Prince. It’s Knitwear Wolf, or Rupert. Who pretends to be Alaskan, anyway?

Me: To be fair it wasn’t Rupert who did the pretending. We thought he was Alaskan.

Nell. Anyway, he’s got a meeting with The Cat later about a possible knitwear line. Apparently Alejandro and the Welsh corgis are on board.

Me: Alejandro and the corgis? Have they started a band?

Nell: No. Alejandro has the wool and all corgis knit. Do keep up.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Big News

Me: Isn’t Marvin gorgeous?

Nell: Why didn’t you tell me Chris and Shannon were rescuing a puppy?

Me: We were waiting to see if it all went through. He’s from the United States so they drove over to collect him yesterday.

Nell: He’s tiny.

Me: He’s only 9 weeks old. They were 4 days away from losing him.

Nell: But he’s safe now.

Me: Safe and loved.

Nell: David wants to know if he’s still your Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Me: Of course he is.

Nell: Quite. There’s plenty of room in the family.

Me: I wish Shel and Jaime didn’t have to leave.

Nell: You know perfectly well that we’re just one stop on the Sticky Toffee Pudding Tour and they have lots of other friends and family to visit.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Talking of visits, Chris is flying over soon.

Me: Yes, he is.

Nell: And Alice is bringing the children over in October. Their flights are booked.

Me: Yes, it’s so exciting.

Nell: So, shall we address the Great Dane in the corner?

Me: Do you mean the elephant in the room?

Nell: I do not. I want to discuss the subject you’ve been avoiding, not creatures from the jungle.

Me: What subject is that?

Nell: Unwelcome guests.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: In knitted suits.

Me: He feels the cold.

Nell: With winning smiles.

Me: He has a lovely smile.

Nell: Wolves are not supposed to smile. It’s disconcerting.

Me: The thing is. I just couldn’t let Knitwear Wolf eat his cheese sandwich out in the cold and rain. His bread had gone soggy.

Nell: Absolute nonsense. That wolf has been eating fish and chips from the Codfather all week. Freshly caught with mushy peas on the side

Me: Yes. I just wanted to meet him. Sorry.

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What a ridiculous idea

Nell: I don’t know what the world is coming to?

Me: What’s wrong?

Nell: I do not expect my Sunday newspapers to be delivered by a wolf in knitted pyjamas.

Me: Yes. Malcolm was a little taken aback when he saw him through the kitchen window. He was making scrambled eggs at the time.

Nell: Why on earth was he doing that?

Me: Well, he is the Sous Chef, Nell, and Poppy’s gone jogging with Gladys.

Nell: No. Knitwear Wolf. Why is he delivering newspapers?

Me: Everyone needs to make a living, Nell. It’s probably a holiday job.

Nell: But you can’t just waltz around in pyjamas. Knitted, or not. It simply won’t do.

Me: Sundays are pyjama days for me, too. If I don’t have to go anywhere it’s lovely to lounge around.

Nell: You’re still not well, so pyjamas are allowed.

Me: I wonder if Malcolm noticed the quality of the wool.

Nell: I doubt it. Wolves and flamingos aren’t traditionally close so I think Malcolm kept his distance.

Me: Timothy nearly had a heart attack.

Nell: Turkeys are easily startled.

Me: By the way, Malcolm says we are out of bacon, so it’s smoked salmon with scrambled eggs for breakfast and wholemeal toast.

Nell: What happened to the bacon?

Me: David ate it by mistake. What are the plans for later?

Nell: A walk by the sea. Poppy is cooking roast beef and Yorkshire puddings for our Canadian visitors later.

Me: A meal like that is meant to be shared, isn’t it?

Nell: Of course.

Me: Might there be room for one more?

Nell: Why?

Me: Roaming the countryside in knitted pyjamas can’t be much fun.

Nell: You are not inviting Knitware Wolf to dinner. Lonely, or not. It’s a ridiculous idea.

Me: You are right. Sorry.