We’re fine

Me: Why are you waiting outside the bedroom door with that look on your face?

Nell: You’re writing.

Me: You’re welcome to join me as long as you don’t get all barky with next door’s dogs.

Nell: Barky?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Are we talking about the farm dogs?

Me: Not only them. Any neighbouring dog seems to annoy you.

Nell: If you mean that I sometimes feel the need to raise my voice to remind other dogs of their boundaries then I agree, but I refuse to be silenced.

Me: They’re just innocently walking around their own gardens.

Nell: There’s nothing innocent about it. Ask Poppy. She had a dreadful altercation with an agitated boxer the other day. It was lurking by our fence.

Me: Poppy is even worse than you and as for the Puppies.

Nell: They are going to be 4 on Saturday.

Me: I know. How time flies.

Nell: It’s Sunny’s birthday today.

Me: Yes. I sent her a message. She played you so wonderfully in the audio book. She got your bossiness just right.

Nell: Bossiness? I just like to speak my mind.

Me: You certainly do.

Nell: So, when were you going to tell me about going down to the beach?

Me: I went for a quick swim with Charlotte and Scarlett.

Nell: How was the sea?

Me: Refreshing. Cold at first, but then lovely.

Nell: I remember.

Me: I can’t manage all you dogs on the beach at the moment. As soon as Kev is better we will take you down to the sea again.

Nell: Don’t worry about us. A walk around the orchard is fine.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: It really is. We are all happy to look after Kev while you swim. We’re in this together you know.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Disgraceful Behaviour

Me: Why is Dave outside staring at the sky?

Nell: Something absolutely disgraceful has happened.

Me: He’s standing on his lounger.

Nell: Of course he’s standing on his lounger. He’s not going to let them do it again.

Me: Do what?

Nell: I can hardly bring myself to tell you.

Me: Oh my goodness. What’s happened?

Nell: Somebody has soiled David’s lounger.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: And when I say ‘somebody’ I am referring to creatures of the feathered variety.

Me: Malcolm would never do such a thing.

Nell: Of course he wouldn’t. The mere suggestion.

Me: It wouldn’t have been an owl.

Nell: How dare you suggest a member of the Royal Owl Force would stoop so low?

Me: I wasn’t. I suppose it might be Walter Pigeon.

Nell: Walter is a possible suspect but I believe even he would draw the line at that.

Me: Yes, he much prefers playing Cowardy Custard.

Nell: Exactly. There is only one dastardly gang that would do such a thing. A gang with no morals. A gang full of rascals and hooligans and absolute reprobates.

Me: Are we talking about the Beefies here?

Nell: Of course we are. Wretched creatures. It has all the hallmarks of a Beefy attack.

Me: My poor darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He loves resting on his lounger.

Nell: Yes, he does and the Beefies know it.

Me: Fortunately it’s nothing that a bit of soap and water won’t fix.

Nell: You say that, but how can David feel safe on it again?

Me: He might have to start wearing a hat.

Nell: It’s a sad state of affairs when an animal can’t even lounge outside its own home.

Me: Yes. Truly fowl behaviour. See what I did there?

Nell: I shall ignore that.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Poppy is 8 Today

Me: I’m not sure Poppy likes either of the birthday hats The Cat chose for her.

Nell: Can you blame her?

Me: They are a little over the top. Yours suits you.

Nell: I thought it might make Poppy smile.

Me: Did it?

Nell: Slightly. We had a quick game of Cheeky Animals.

Me: Did she win?

Nell: Yes.

Me: I thought Poppy’s Pageant this morning was amazing.

Nell: I enjoyed the Welsh Corgi Choir but we could have done without Gladys and the llamas doing an interpretive dance.

Me: Poppy loved the sword fighting. She raised a paw and waved.

Nell: Thank goodness they were made out of papier-mâché.

Me: Why were they attacking Beauregard?

Nell: Because he was the evil tiger.

Me: But he was smiling.

Nell: Real baddies often do.

Me: Why was Oliver wearing a crown?

Nell: Oliver was the young prince who tamed the evil tiger.

Me: That’s probably why Beauregard was smiling. He wasn’t evil any longer. He was tame.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Princess and Our Penguin were wearing crowns too.

Nell: Yes. They were the King and Queen.

Me: Princess does enjoy performing.

Nell: I know. The clapping gave it away.

Me: It’s a seal thing. Babycakes Gillespie’s Birthday Bagels were delicious and just the thing for a birthday breakfast.

Nell: Yes. John the Doberman provided the coffee from Starbarks as it’s Poppy’s favourite.

Me: Everyone is helping today.

Nell: Yes. We don’t want Poppy to be stuck in the kitchen. Malcolm is doing lunch and dinner will be a barbecue organised by David and Harriet.

Me: It all sounds wonderful. Will there be cake?

Nell: The Whippets Institute are popping over with one this afternoon.

Me: A perfect day of celebration then?

Nell: Poppy deserves nothing less.

Me: Of course. Sorry.


Sunday Goofy Face

Me: It’s going to be another hot day.

Nell: I know. The puppies and I just got back from a gentle stroll around the orchard before Sunday Songs.

Me: Sweet Harriet has her goofy hot face. Bless her.

Nell: It is not a goofy face. You have taken the photo from an unflattering angle.

Me: I think she looks adorable.

Nell: Now, we have another week of birthdays coming up.

Me: Yes, we have.

Nell: Poppy’s tomorrow, your sister Charlotte’s on Thursday and the Puppies’ on Saturday.

Me: I can’t believe Poppy will be 8 and the Puppies will be 4. I used to be able to hold Dave in my arms.

Nell: A strange thought.

Me: Yes. When Scarlett took him out for me yesterday she said it was like walking a small pony.

Nell: It was very kind of Charlotte and Scarlett to come over and help with our walk. I needed no help, obviously, but David and Poppy can be a handful.

Me: My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy is just over enthusiastic but Poppy is wild.

Nell: Yes. I don’t think being 8 is going to change that. Poppy’s cooking roast chicken today, by the way, but not until the evening because of the heat and the football.

Me: Oh yes.

Nell: England are playing at 2pm, so no distractions please. We will all gather in the living room at precisely 1:30.

Me: When you say ‘all’ you don’t actually mean ‘all’, do you?

Nell: I’m not expecting the Welsh corgi choir or the Whippets Institute to be there, if that’s what you mean, but I’m afraid that tiger will be joining us. He and Oliver are inseparable.

Me: I didn’t know tigers were interested in football.

Nell: England are playing.

Me: Yes, of course. Sorry.


But nobody else is playing

Me: What’s Dave doing?

Nell: Sitting in the yellow chair.

Me: He’s got one eye closed.

Nell: Yes, it’s perfectly obvious.

Me: No, it isn’t.

Nell: He’s playing ‘I Spy’.

Me: For Sally? I didn’t know Dave was one of her spies. I thought it was just Harriet and Roley Moley. Although I’m not entirely convinced that Beauregard isn’t involved in some way.

Nell: What are you wittering on about?

Me: Dave being a spy.

Nell: David is playing the game ‘I Spy’. The puppies love it.

Me: Why is he closing his eye then?

Nell: ‘I spy with my little eye’. Do keep up.

Me: We never close one eye when we play it.

Nell: Then you’re not playing it properly.

Me: But nobody else is playing with him. My poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He looked over at you and you were just sleeping.

Nell: I was pretending to be asleep.

Me: Why?

Nell: It gives me time to think of the answer. Honestly you really don’t know how to play, do you?

Me: But how is Dave to know you are playing?

Nell: David has to wait. He must Exercise Patience.

Me: That’s ever so boring.

Nell: No, it isn’t. You never know when the answer is coming and you never know where it is coming from.

Me: It will be coming from you, Nell. There’s nobody else in the room.

Nell: You’re here.

Me: Yes, but I’m not playing.

Nell: David doesn’t know that.

Me: I didn’t even hear what the something begins with, Nell. I don’t have a chance.

Nell: That’s your own fault.

Me: No, it isn’t.

Nell: You need to listen more. ‘Bacon!’

Me: Why did you suddenly say that?

Nell: The answer is always bacon. David sees it everywhere.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


David gets in the way

Nell: The patient is doing well.

Me: I noticed you and Kev having a special moment together.

Nell: Which David ruined by arriving with a tea towel.

Me: He was just bringing you a gift.

Nell: He was supposed to be helping Manuel dry the dishes.

Me: My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He can’t help being affectionate.

Nell; David has been told to Tone it Down and to Exercise Restraint.

Me: It’s not in his nature.

Nell: It’s not in that tiger’s nature either. Who wants to be woken up by a tiger playing the trumpet?

Me: It was a bit loud.

Nell: And who booked the Welsh Corgi Choir? It’s Friday not Sunday.

Me: I think they just wanted to show Kev they were thinking of him.

Nell: I am organising his convalescence and Kev needs rest.

Me: Yes, he does.

Nell: Which is why we’ve postponed The Growl on Sunday to the weekend after next.

Me: We’re very sorry that it has been delayed.

Nell: Everyone will understand. Having to wait will make it all the more enjoyable.

Me: I hope so.

Nell: So there is still time for people to sign up or contact us with any questions.

Me: Absolutely. I know Jamie and Kev love hearing from our readers.

Nell: Now, Poppy says Kev has requested spaghetti bolognese for his dinner.

Me: Yes, it’s what he felt like.

Nell: I’m afraid tigers are not allowed to eat in the house so Beauregard is going to have to take his dinner up to the tree house.

Me: That’s a bit harsh.

Nell: Did you see the amount of butter that animal managed to spread about the house?

Me: It was a lot.

Nell: Just imagine what he could do with spaghetti bolognese.

Me: You’re right. Sorry.


Kev has an operation

Nell: I can’t believe you didn’t tell us.

Me: We didn’t want you to worry.

Nell: Kev has to go into hospital for an operation and you don’t tell us.

Me: It was a minor operation and he didn’t have to stay overnight.

Nell: The first we knew was seeing Kev going out of the door with a case and you with a huge bag of everything.

Me: I knew I would have to wait there all day and they might have had to keep him in so I took what I could.

Nell: What about us?

Me: Tony and Sue and Charlotte and Scarlett were on standby in case it took longer.

Nell: I can’t begin to tell you the worry we have been through.

Me: It wasn’t a bag of laughs at the hospital either.

Nell; Leaving me with a house full of butter.

Me: Yes, that was unfortunate. I didn’t know it was going to happen.

Nell: I have to say Knitwear Wolf was amazing. So calm and dependable.

Me: I had to tell someone.

Nell: You mean Rupert knew?

Me: Yes. I knew he’d look after you.

Nell: I see. He certainly got the house sorted. When the Whippets Institute minibus turned up I was so relieved.

Me: The Whippets Institute?

Nell: Yes. With mops and buckets and several flannels to clean that tiger’s feet.

Me: Did Beauregard mind?

Nell: He loved it. Stretched out in the kitchen like a king surrounded by cleaning whippets. Who wouldn’t enjoy that?

Me: I’m not sure everyone would. Anyway, the main thing is that the operation went well.

Nell: Yes.

Me: Kev will have to take it easy for the next few weeks.

Nell: That’s fine. We’ll get through this together. You and me. Always. Remember?

Me: Yes. Sorry.


We live in a beautiful place

Me: We live in a beautiful place, don’t we?

Nell: We certainly do.

Me: The sea was sparkling away in the sunshine today.

Nell: It was.

Me: Watching you all enjoying yourselves is such a joy. It gladdens the soul.

Nell: What would gladden my soul is knowing who cut my toast into heart shapes this morning.

Me: Heart shapes?

Nell: Yes. And spread them with Poppy’s marmalade.

Me: You love Poppy’s marmalade.

Nell: I know I do, but I’m quite capable of spreading it on my toast myself.

Me: I think it’s rather romantic.

Nell: Stuff and nonsense.

Me: Was Knitwear Wolf at breakfast?

Nell: Rupert had an early breakfast with David. He had the papers to deliver and my friend Dorothy’s cousin caught a chill so he wanted to bring her a soft blanket.

Me: He is such a kind wolf.

Nell: Yes.

Me: Is that Dorothy the Salcombe Setter?

Nell: Yes? Of course it is.

Me: The one who sails?

Nell: All Salcombe Setters sail. It’s in their blood.

Me: Is that what Dorothy’s cousin was doing when she caught a chill?

Nell: Probably. Why are you so interested?

Me: I used to go sailing in my youth and it’s a lot colder and wetter than people think.

Nell: I know. I’m a member of the Salcombe Yacht Club.

Me: Oh yes. Anyway, was your toast cold?

Nell: Of course it was cold. It had been left on my plate.

Me: And was there anyone else around?

Nell: Only David having breakfast with that tiger and Oliver.

Me: I thought you said Dave had breakfast with Knitwear Wolf.

Nell: David has to have at least two breakfasts at the moment.

Me: Why?

Nell: Tony is on holiday for 2 weeks. Do keep up.

Me: Oh yes. Sorry.


Faking Ignorance

Nell: You are not going to believe this.

Me: I just might.

Nell: It’s absolutely outrageous.

Me: Has it got something to do with the slippery floor?

Nell: It certainly has.

Me: Only I nearly went flying just now and Manuel can’t get across the kitchen. He just slides around. It’s hilarious.

Nell: Well, Gladys is making the most of it. She’s been Gliding with Alejandro since first thing this morning.

Me: They’re awfully good.

Nell: Who do they think they are? Torvill and Dean?

Me: The llamas cheered.

Nell: What are they doing in the kitchen? I hope they are wearing pyjamas.

Me: Yes, and dressing gowns.

Nell: David and Oliver are to blame for this, you know.

Me: Surely not. I just saw Dave sitting quietly in the yellow chair.

Nell: David is Faking Ignorance.

Me: Are you sure?

Nell: Yes. I know when an animal is pretending. Anyway, Oliver can’t have done this on his own.

Me: Done what?

Nell: Buttered Beauregard’s paws.

Me: Beauregard the tiger?

Nell: How many Beauregards do you know?

Me: Why on earth would they butter a tiger’s paws.

Nell: They want him to stay.

Me: Here?

Nell: Yes. You know you are supposed to butter a cat’s paws if you don’t want them to stray?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Well, that’s what they’ve done.

Me: But Beauregard is a tiger.

Nell: He’s still a cat. Albeit an exceptionally big one.

Me: That’s awfully clever. No wonder my Big Brave Beautiful Boy is looking pleased with himself.

Nell: He has no right to be. The floor is all buttery.

Me: Beauregard didn’t mean to make a mess.

Nell: You won’t mind a buttery bed then.

Me: What?

Nell: That tiger is asleep on your bed. Still think it’s awfully clever?

Me: No. Sorry.


Pointless Waiting

Me: Why is Harriet sitting in the doorway?

Nell: She’s waiting for Tony.

Me: That’s pointless. Tony is on holiday for the next two weeks.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: I told you.

Nell: You did not. If you’d told me I would have put it in my diary and marked it on the calendar.

Me: I thought I did.

Nell: I don’t know how I’m expected to run this household if I’m not kept properly informed.

Me: You probably weren’t listening. You know what you’re like. You have Selective Hearing.

Nell: Would you pass the marmalade, please?

Me: See, you’re doing it again.

Nell: And the butter.

Me: Whenever it’s something you don’t want to hear you pretend not to.

Nell: Somebody has left a paw print in the butter. A small paw, so it might be Oliver, although what an opossum was doing with butter I dread to think.

Me: Making a sandwich?

Nell: Possibly. I suppose we should be thankful that tiger wasn’t making the sandwich or we wouldn’t have any butter left at all.

Me: So, you can hear me again? Why is Harriet waiting for Tony?

Nell: She wants to apologise for the ice cream incident.

Me: She was rather naughty.

Nell: What on earth am I going to do about David?

Me: Dave hasn’t been naughty.

Nell: When he hears Tony is going to be away for 2 weeks he will be devastated.

Me: Dave is devastated if Kev goes to the village shop.

Nell: David likes his people to stay close. You really should have told me about this, you know.

Me: What can we do? Call Sally?

Nell: Yes, we need to talk to her about Beauregard anyway. I just hope we have some bacon in the house.

Me: Yes. Sorry.