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A Scandalous Lie

Me: Is Harriet still refusing breakfast?

Nell: Yes, I’m afraid yesterday’s dance off was a dreadful shock.

Me: How did Harriet and Beauregard end up there? They danced so well.

Nell: Sometimes the public simply forget to vote. They think the couples are safe.

Me: And then Harriet had to dance against Jim the Farm Dog, her love.

Nell: Yes, most unfortunate.

Me: Both couples raised their game in the dance off.

Nell: They did.

Me: When Anton and Princess chose Harriet and Beauregard I thought they were safe, but then Lionel King chose Jim and Juanita.

Nell: No surprise to me. He hates Beauregard.

Me: And so you, as the head judge, had the casting vote and chose Harriet and Beauregard.

Nell: Of course I did. They were the better dancers.

Me: Lionel King shouldn’t have shouted ‘Typical Labs. Favouring their own.’

Nell: It was a scandalous lie.

Me: And the Daily Growl shouldn’t have published that interview with him either.

Nell: What interview?

Me: Never mind. You don’t want to read it.

Nell: Show me.

Me: If you insist, but you won’t like it.

Nell: That’s a photo of me in my tiara. It says: ‘Judge Lionel King accuses Head Judge Nell Martin of cheating after she put through her niece Harriet and international tiger burglar Beauregard in the Strictly dance off.’

Me: It’s a bit rich calling Beauregard a tiger burglar when he’s been retired for years.

Nell: That’s not the point. I’m not going to sit here and let that lion get away with this. Get the Daily Growl on my iBone.

Me: Wouldn’t it be better to ignore him?

Nell: My reputation is at stake here. And that of all Labradors. I will not allow such slander to go unchallenged.

Me: Of course not. Sorry.

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A Day of Rest

Me: Look at my Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He’s exhausted. Bless him.

Nell: Let him sleep.

Me: He and Rhubarb were amazing. She looked lovely in her tiara. Almost as good as you.

Nell: Tiaras suit us ladies of a certain size.

Me: Knitwear Wolf certainly swept Myfanwy off her feet.

Nell: I wouldn’t say that, but they were excellent.

Me: Lionel King was ever so rude. Roaring at everyone in a most unpleasant way.

Nell: He’s still smarting from the loss of the jewellery box.

Me: At least he’s stocked up on ready meals.

Nell: True.

Me: Poppy is cooking the roast in her ballgown. Maybe she’s finally discovered her feminine side.

Nell: I sincerely doubt it. She’s wearing a leather biker’s jacket over the top with ‘Boss’ sequinned on the back.

Me: Stephen Seagull lost a few feathers again but he held his own this week.

Nell: Waltzing with Poppy requires a certain amount of bravery.

Me: Especially when she’s carrying a sword in her teeth.

Nell: Yes.

Me: Who’s in danger of being in the dance off?

Nell: Manuel had trouble with his tentacles again so he has to be at risk and Jim the Farm Dog seemed a little distracted. I felt his heart wasn’t really in it this week.

Me: I think he might be a little jealous of Harriet and Beauregard.

Nell: Jim should know better. Harriet is not the kind of Labrador to have her head turned by a tiger.

Me: No. Her heart still belongs to Jim.

Nell: Anyway, enough talk of dancing. Let’s just enjoy the pleasures of a Sunday.

Me: Yes. The delicious smell of Poppy’s roast beef with just a hint of Yorkshire pudding.

Nell: I was talking about the sound of the Welsh Corgi Choir.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Suited and Booted

Me: How handsome is Dave? I’m glad he got his hat back from Arctic Bob. It didn’t look the same on a walrus.

Nell: David can carry off a top hat and so can Rupert. Some animals can and some really shouldn’t.

Me: Did you see Myfanwy’s ballgown? Pale pink with little stars. Gorgeous.

Nell: Costumes aren’t everything.

Me: They are quite a lot, though, Nell. Especially on Strictly.

Nell: Let’s wait and see how the dancing goes, shall we? Although she is in safe paws with Rupert. It’s the Viennese Waltz and he is the ballroom king.

Me: Do wolves have paws, or feet?

Nell: Both. Wolves have extremely large paws with long arched toes and they also have webbed feet.

Me: I didn’t know that.

Nell: Well, you do now.

Me: I’m not sure Poppy likes her dress very much. She’s more of a trouser suit type.

Nell: She can’t be the lead all the time. Stephen Seagull has to have a go now and again.

Me: He can’t wear a dress.

Nell: Of course he can’t.

Me: Unless he wants to, of course. We mustn’t be judgemental.

Nell: Yes, we must. I’m the head judge, in case you’ve forgotten.

Me: Never mind. I know what I mean.

Nell: Poppy looks lovely in her dress. I don’t know why she’s complaining.

Me: She’s wearing boots underneath it.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: And she’s frying bacon.

Nell: It’s Saturday. Weekends mean bacon sandwiches.

Me: But should she be wearing a ballgown in the kitchen? The Cat will have a fit.

Nell: Is she wearing her long apron over it?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Tied around the middle?

Me: Yes

Nell: Well then. If David doesn’t get his bacon sandwiches he’s never going to be able to perform.

Me: No. Sorry.

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Sherlock Martin Strikes Again

Me: Is something strange going on?

Nell: Why would you say that?

Me: There’s been an awful lot of noise this morning and the llamas are wearing sequinned dressing gowns.

Nell: A little impractical for dancing in a field, perhaps, but understandable in the circumstances.

Me: What circumstances?

Nell: Have you noticed anything different about me?

Me: Not really. You’re wearing a rather ostentatious crown for a Friday morning but I’m sure you have your reasons.

Nell: I do.

Me: Has it got something to do with Arctic Bob?

Nell: It has.

Me: And the fact he’s wearing Dave’s top hat and a feather boa.?

Nell: Yes.

Me: Did they find The Cat’s jewellery box?

Nell: Yes, Sherlock Martin, they did.

Me: That’s wonderful news. Lionel King must be furious.

Nell: It’s his fault for spending too much time in the ready meal section at Barks and Spencer.

Me: It’s easily done. So, what happened?

Nell: Knitwear Wolf and Beauregard chased the Beefies off the ship with the help of Owl Pacino and the Royal Owl Force.

Me: Good for them.

Nell: They sailed the ship back escorted by Arctic Bob, Princess and the Navy Seals.

Me: How did they get the box to shore?

Nell: Arctic Bob is very strong, you know. Once on land the box was placed in Rupert’s sidecar with Princess and he drove it home to The Cat.

Me: And tumultuous applause, no doubt.

Nell: Princess clapped all the way.

Me: It’s a seal thing.

Nell: Lionel had to take his shopping home on the bus.

Me: Does he even have a home?

Nell: Of sorts. He’s staying at the hotel on Burgh Island again.

Me: I wish I’d been there.

Nell: Our Penguin filmed it all. It’s trending on YouChewed.

Me: Of course. Sorry.

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Sea and Sandwiches

Me: Harriet is such a merdog. She just rushes in and joins the surfers.

Nell: She certainly loves the sea.

Me: You used to.

Nell: Nowadays I prefer the river. One can drink and swim and there are no waves.

Me: True.

Nell: Now, have you seen Dave’s top hat?

Me: I can’t say I have.

Nell: He was wearing it yesterday so it must be somewhere.

Me: I hope the Beefies haven’t stolen it.

Nell: It won’t fit them if they have. Nasty creatures.

Me: Arctic Bob seems to have settled in. I saw him sharing a couple of mackerel with Princess earlier.

Nell: Yes. I’m afraid her head has been turned by that walrus. It’ll all end in tears.

Me: You never know. Maybe Arctic Bob is ready to settle down and put his seafaring days behind him?

Nell: Nonsense. This is real life, you know, not one of your stories.

Me: Is there any news on The Cat’s jewellery box?

Nell: It’s definitely on Lionel King’s ship. Bob tracked it down. We are expecting him to sail into Dartmouth today.

Me: Dartmouth? Why?

Nell: There’s an excellent Barks and Spencer in Dartmouth and we know Lionel can’t resist their sandwiches.

Me: So what’s the plan?

Nell: Knitwear Wolf and Beauregard are going to take over the ship while Lionel is out shopping and sail it back here.

Me: He’s going to be furious.

Nell: By the time he realises the ship has gone it will be too late.

Me: So Strictly will be sparkly again this weekend?

Nell: Yes.

Me: I hope they’ll have enough time to steal the ship. Buying a sandwich doesn’t take very long.

Nell: It’s never just a sandwich at Barks. A basket soon becomes a trolley. You know that.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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An uninvited guest

Me: Why are you all looking at me like that?

Nell: Like what?

Me: Like I’m the uninvited guest at a party.

Nell: We’re in the middle of Morning Thoughts.

Me: Well, I just bumped into a walrus upstairs wearing Kev’s dressing gown.

Nell: Good. It’s dreadfully cold in the mornings.

Me: Does Kev even know about this?

Nell: Of course. It isn’t one of his dressing gowns. It’s a guest dressing gown. He found it on the door of the back bedroom.

Me: Hang on a minute. Has a walrus been sleeping in the back bedroom?

Nell: He has to sleep somewhere and he’s not any old walrus. He’s Arctic Bob. Do keep up.

Me: I hope he finds the ship and the box soon. We might need that room.

Nell: He will. Knitwear Wolf is taking Bob and Princess down to the sea after training.

Me: What dance is it this week?

Nell: It’s the Viennese Waltz so there’s been a lot of sickness. Malcolm is in an awful state.

Me: It’s all that spinning around, isn’t it?

Nell: In David’s case it’s an excess of Apple Strudel.

Me: Did you ever get your coffee and doughnuts, by the way?

Nell: What doughnuts?

Me: I thought Dave was sent to get some from Babycakes Gillespie.

Nell: They never arrived.

Me: Never mind. My mistake. Or rather Dave’s.

Nell: What? Anyway, Bob is fairly sure he can track the ship down and once he does he will alert the navy seals and go on board.

Me: How exciting. Have you noticed Princess is rather coquettish when she’s around Bob?

Nell: Well, I hope she doesn’t get her heart broken. Arctic Bob never stays anywhere for long.

Me: Does he have a seal in every port?

Nell: Enough.

Me: Sorry.

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Slay the Beast

Me: Harriet and Dave are fighting in the living room.

Nell: Are they?

Me: Harriet seems to have won. She was really fierce. My poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy didn’t stand a chance.

Nell: Of course he didn’t. They are playing ‘Slay the Beast’. Harriet has to win because David is the Beast.

Me: Why is Dave the Beast?

Nell: Don’t ask silly questions. If Harriet is going to defend herself in this big wide world she must learn to overcome obstacles large and small.

Me: Dave isn’t an obstacle.

Nell: And if David is going to be a gentle giant he must learn to succumb to those smaller than himself.

Me: He did.

Nell: Good animal. Sometimes winning is losing.

Me: I suppose it is.

Nell: Now, could you tell me if there is a walrus in the kitchen?

Me: I’ll go and look.

Nell: Thank you.

Me: Yes. There is.

Nell: What is it doing?

Me: Eating fish with Oliver and Malcolm.

Nell: Fresh, or tinned?

Me: It looks fresh to me.

Nell: Interesting. Is it talking in Inuktitut?

Me: I don’t know. It’s got its mouth full at the moment and I’ve never heard anyone speak Inuktitut before.

Nell: Never mind.

Me: In fact I don’t even know what Inuktitut is.

Nell: You’ve obviously never been to the Arctic.

Me: Neither have you.

Nell: This isn’t about me.

Me: I give up. Are you going to tell me why there’s a walrus in the kitchen?

Nell: It’s obvious, isn’t it?

Me: Not really.

Nell: It’s Arctic Bob. He’s here to help.

Me: Arctic Bob?

Nell: Stop repeating everything I say.

Me: Help with what? The dancing?

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous. Walruses don’t dance. He’s tracking the ship with The Cat’s jewellery box.

Me: Oh, I see. Sorry.

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What a difference a day makes

Me: It’s hard to imagine how lovely it was on the beach yesterday.

Nell: Yes, it’s miserable weather today.

Me: Still no sign of Lionel King’s ship.

Nell: Did you notice the necklace on that large Beefy with the eye patch?

Me: I thought it was a little inappropriate for daywear.

Nell: That’s not the point. It belongs to The Cat. Princess says she is going to call in reinforcements.

Me: Do we know what that means?

Nell: Navy seals I expect.

Me: I bet Poppy was relieved not to be in the dance off.

Nell: Yes, although Manuel was deeply shocked to be in it.

Me: He got his tentacles dreadfully twisted, Nell.

Nell: It was all that tin foil. As soon as he discarded it he was back to his usual self and performed excellently.

Me: Is Susan dreadfully sad to be eliminated?

Nell: No, not at all. Dancing isn’t her thing. Babycakes Gillespie is another matter. He loves dancing and he took the judges’ decision very hard.

Me: I saw him outside with his coffee cart just now. He was wearing a sou’wester and Wellington boots and looking awfully low.

Nell: We can’t have that. Mondays are bad enough anyway. Where are the llamas?

Me: Last seen Gliding with Gladys.

Nell: Well, ask them to come and see me. They need to get Babycakes dancing with them. In the meantime I’ll ask David to get coffee and doughnuts.

Me: Are you sure that’s a good idea?

Nell: Don’t start with the dieting thing again. Rainy weather requires sustenance of the sugary kind.

Me: No, I meant is Dave the right animal for the job?

Nell: David is cheerful and kind with a big heart and large paws. I can’t think of anyone better.

Me: You’re right. Sorry.

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Happy Birthday Alex

Nell: Is that Hattie Button?

Me: Yes, I saw her yesterday.

Nell: Where were you?

Me: I went out for lunch with my sisters. It’s Alex’s birthday today.

Nell: Happy Birthday Alex. Rumour has it that this was a dogless lunch.

Me: Yes, it was just we three sisters. Kev didn’t go either. You were all busy getting ready for Strictly.

Nell: It would have been nice to be asked.

Me: So, what did you think of yesterday’s performance?

Nell: Considering the challenges faced by the wardrobe department it went really well.

Me: It’s quite amazing what can be done with some tin foil and glitter. The Cat should be proud.

Nell: It’s exhausted.

Me: I thought Malcolm and Alejandro stole the show. The way Malcolm displayed his feathers like a cape and Alejandro bared his teeth.

Nell: Yes, that was impressive but Poppy and Stephen Seagull are going to be hard to beat.

Me: Poppy certainly makes a marvellous matador and Stephen as the flying cape was amazing.

Nell: Yes, the Pasa Doble was bound to favour our feathered contestants.

Me: Lionel King gave them a 10.

Nell: I’m seriously considering taking that lion’s voting paddles away. Beauregard and Harriet were much better than a 3 and a 1 for Rupert and Myfanwy was grossly unfair.

Me: It wasn’t really their dance though. Rita and Manuel struggled too.

Nell: Manuel had a problem with his tentacles. We shall have to hope the public vote will save them. Did you see Princess throwing fish at Count Bingo Flamingo?

Me: He caught them all.

Nell: That’s not the point. It’s unseemly behaviour for a judge.

Me: Well, I loved every minute and Henry and Horst were little stars. See what I did there?

Nell: Just pour the tea.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Tony is back again

Me: It was lovely to see Tony again, wasn’t it?

Nell: I told David not to jump up as Tony has bruised ribs and he still did.

Me: He can’t help himself. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He loves Tony so much.

Nell: Fortunately Tony was prepared and managed to hold his paws.

Me: He didn’t mind at all.

Nell: I wish David would listen. He’s such an impulsive animal.

Me: Has there been any news on The Cat’s jewellery box yet?

Nell: There have been suspicious sightings.

Me: Of the box?

Nell: No. Several Beefies in sparkling hats were seen eating chips on the quay in Kingsbridge.

Me: The cheek of it.

Nell: And my friend Dorothy said a long haired Beefy in a sequinned caftan bought the last scotch egg at the delicatessen.

Me: How does a seagull even wear a caftan?

Nell: With difficulty. But that’s not the point.

Me: No.

Nell: The Cat is completely beside itself about tonight’s performance.

Me: You can’t have Strictly without sparkles.

Nell: I’m afraid it has had to resort to tin foil and glitter.

Me: That sounds a little uncomfortable.

Nell: One must expect to suffer in the pursuit of one’s dream.

Me: I suppose so. Tin foil is a little restrictive for dancing.

Nell: Count Bingo Flamingo says being wrapping in foil is making him feel like an oven ready turkey.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: All I can say is thank goodness for Henry and Horst.

Me: Why?

Nell: They’re going to sit on the contestants’ shoulders in their sequinned jackets to add a little sparkle.

Me: It will be a very little sparkle, Nell. They’re only woodlice.

Nell: Only woodlice? How dare you? Henry and Horst are beacons of hope in a dark world.

Me: Of course. Sorry.