Me: You did it! She is free!
Nell: When she came running along the beach towards me my heart stopped. It was wonderful. My darling Harriet. Where is she now?
Me: She’s with Dave and the others in the kitchen. She is quite safe. She has a soft blanket and Dave to cuddle. You sit down and I’ll get you some tea. You look exhausted.
Nell: I am, but a cup of Earl Grey and one of Poppy’s scones will soon sort me out.
Me: Poppy says she will bring a tray in. She is just making Harriet some warm milk. Dave drank the first bowl by mistake.
Nell: It’s been a long week. Is Charlie still here?
Me: He and the head Doberman have a few things to sort out. He said he will be in touch.
Nell: Yes. John is a charming Doberman. Very polite and softly spoken.
Me: Are you able to tell me what happened?
Nell: I hardly know how to put it into words. The shock. The awful shock when he came towards me with Harriet.
Me: Start at the beginning.
Nell: James dropped me off and I walked down to the beach. I could make out some figures at the other end and so I started walking towards them. The sea mist was quite thick so I couldn’t see them properly. I was holding the cufflink as agreed.
Me: You must have been terrified.
Nell: I was. As I drew nearer I saw Harriet. She had a rope around her neck and he was holding it in his teeth.
Nell: Richard Price! It was Richard Price!
Nell: He was surrounded by hissing cats. I could hardly breathe but I kept on walking.
Me: So brave.
Nell: Suddenly there was the sound of barking and Charlie leapt out of the sea followed by a whole army of Dobermans. They had been hiding behind the rocks.
Me: Good for Charlie!
Nell: The cats fled when they saw the Dobermans and Richard Price dropped the rope. That’s when Harriet broke free and ran towards me.
Me: Oh my goodness. Did he chase her?
Nell: No. He didn’t get the chance. Charlie pinned him to the ground and the Dobermans formed a circle around them. Richard Price wasn’t going anywhere.
Me: The villain!
Nell: Yes, Charlie tied him up and he and the Dobermans took him away. Harriet and I just clung to each other.
Me: I bet you did.
Nell: We were watching them go when there was a triumphant bark behind us and David came rushing over the sand dunes wearing his hat.
Me: Bless him.
Nell: Closely followed by Poppy with her sword.
Me: Of course.
Nell: And Mutley in his DJ carrying a picnic basket. It was a wonderful sight. Harriet burst into tears and so did I. David knocked her over with kisses as usual but she didn’t care.
Me: What a relief.
Nell: Fortunately Poppy had a flask of sweet tea in the basket and the birthday cake she made yesterday. Harriet wolfed it all down with David’s help. The poor little thing was starving.
Me: I bet she was.
Nell: I could only manage some tea. Mutley fortified mine with a little brandy and drank his straight from the bottle.
Me: I’m not surprised.
Nell: We all just sat on the beach together looking at the sun over the sea and holding Harriet close. A special moment.
Me: I can imagine.
Nell: But what were they all doing there? I told them not to come.
Me: We were never going to let you go alone, Nell. Charlie told us what to do.
Nell: You just don’t listen, do you?
Me: Not this time and No, I’m not sorry.