Book · Summer · Treasure Island

A letter for Dave

Nell: Tony’s here. He’s got a letter for David.

Me: Oh no! It’s the Black Bowl.

Nell: Would you please calm down?

Me: Dave is going to have to go on the run.

Nell: Firstly, David is not a pirate, or a traitor. Secondly, as far as I know from Poppy, the Black Bowl is always handed over personally from one pirate to another and Tony is not a pirate either.

Me: He sings sea shanties.

Nell: Enough. It’s probably just David’s latest bank statement.

Me: Barklays?

Nell: No. We prefer Lloyd’s Bark. Bring me the letter.

Me: Dave says it’s from Beagle Bones.

Nell: Now, this is interesting. It’s a map. A really old one.

Me: Why would Bones send it to Dave?

Nell: This is a very special map. Very special, indeed. I’m calling a family meeting and make sure Alice and Jonathan attend. We need as many involved as we can.

Me: I’m quite good at map reading.

Nell: I would prefer you to listen. I’m afraid less is more in your case. We don’t need you confusing the issue with your over active imagination.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

Book · Summer · Treasure Island

The Pirate Code

Nell: Well, Harriet and I could have saved ourselves hours of research.

Me: Why?

Nell: We’ve been scouring the internet trying to find out what the Black Bowl means.

Me: The one the short sighted pug with a very small monkey on its shoulder gave Bones?

Nell: Of course. How many elderly pugs do you think there are walking around Dartmouth with very small monkeys on their shoulders? We don’t know if it was short sighted, by the way. It just needed glasses.

Me: True.

Nell: Anyway, Poppy came in with our elevenses, glanced at the drawing of the Black Bowl and said: “Ah, I see Bones is a traitor.”

Me: How did she know?

Nell: From her time as a cook on a pirate ship. Do keep up.

Me: Gosh!

Nell: Anyway, according to pirate code Bones has betrayed someone.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: I just hope David isn’t at risk.

Me: So do I? Where is he, by the way?

Nell: He’s gone with Kev and Alice to get Jonathan a wetsuit.

Me: So, Dave’s not grounded anymore?

Nell: No, you can’t ground a young animal for long in this weather. Not when family are visiting. You should know that.

Me: Yes, sorry.

Book · Summer · Treasure Island

The Black Bowl

Me: Why is Dave sulking?

Nell: He has been grounded.

Me: What happened?

Nell: Have you seen today’s Daily Growl?

Me: No.

Nell: David has made the front page.

Me: What has he done?

Nell: He caused a scene at the Admiral Inn in Dartmouth yesterday. Here, read the paper.

Me: “Dog about Town, Dave Martin, and his sidekick, Beagle Bones, entertained holidaymakers yesterday with their singing and dancing. Chairs were overturned and tables were broken.” Oh dear.

Nell: Look who is in the background. The Cat. Wearing feathers.

Me: “When asked about the damage caused, Dave Martin replied: “We were just having fun.”

Nell: Well, David is facing the music alone because Beagle Bones has left town.

Me: Why?

Nell: Apparently after all the kerfuffle David and Bones were enjoying a drink when an elderly pug wearing thick glasses carrying a white stick came in and gave Bones a letter

Me: Excuse me?

Nell: Bones opened the letter. Turned white, which is actually quite difficult for a Beagle, and ran off.

Me: What was in the letter?

Nell: A black bowl.

Me: A black bowl?

Nell: Yes.

Me: How did it get in the letter?

Nell: Not a real one. A drawing of one. Do keep up.

Me: And that frightened Bones so much he ran away?

Nell: Yes. I don’t know why but I mean to find out.

Me: Sherlock Martin strikes again.

Nell: Don’t be silly. Tell Poppy, Jonathan likes his eggs soft boiled, please and ask David to come here as I need a word with him immediately.

Me: Yes, sorry.

Book · Summer · Treasure Island


Nell: What is Jonathan doing?

Me: He and Seamus were searching for Petunia. She needed to go to bed.

Nell: Was she a guest of your sister’s too?

Me: No, she lives there.

Nell: When are you all coming home?

Me: We should be back by the afternoon. Any news?

Nell: Mutley managed to ward off Barker King but now he is having issues with his hypermarket.

Me: I didn’t know he had one.

Nell: Walbark. You might have heard of it. Anyway, apparently he told the shareholders he was sorry but Jonathan was visiting and he needed to get home. He has his priorities right.

Me: Yes.

Nell: David has a new friend in Dartmouth. A young Beagle by the name of Bones. Harriet says he is trouble and a bad influence.

Me: Is she okay?

Nell: Yes, she and Jim have gone to the beach. Oh, the big news is John proposed to Poppy.

Me: No!

Nell: Yes, but she turned him down. Said she wasn’t ready.

Me: Is he awfully disappointed?

Nell: He says he is prepared to wait. Did Jonathan find Petunia?

Me: Eventually. She was under the shed. She refused to come out. Alice poked her with a stick. We had to leave her there overnight.

Nell: I’m not sure that is the way to treat guests.

Me: Petunia is a chicken.

Nell: You could have mentioned that before. Just drive home now, please. We miss you.

Me: Yes. Sorry.



Me: So where were you when I called?

Nell: James and I popped into Torquay and went to the computer shop.

Me: Really?

Nell: Yes, Charlie said my old laptop was positively prehistoric so I decided to upgrade.

Me: Good for you.

Nell: A nice young man called Alex went through it all with me and the upshot was I chose one of those fruity ones. Ample Mac Bear or something similar.

Me: What?

Nell: You know the ones. The same as my iBone.

Me: Oh yes.

Nell: Apparently the Bear and the Bone talk to each other because they are both Ample which is very convenient and reminds me of us.

Me: I know what it’s like to be ample. In fact sometimes I wish I was a little less ample to be honest.

Nell: You and me both. Anyway, I just have to type something in the Bone and the Bear has it too.

Me: Amazing.

Nell: Where are you?

Me: At the airport waiting for them to arrive.

Nell: Did Mutley catch his plane?

Me: Yes. Just. He was quite relaxed and excellent company on the journey.

Nell: As a Frequent Flyer he often gets upgraded and they know him well.

Me: Can you thank Poppy for the picnic? The sandwiches were delicious. So tiny with the crusts cut off.

Nell: You didn’t eat them, did you?

Me: I’m afraid I did.

Nell: They were meant for Jonathan. Honestly, you really are the limit. Go to Barks and Spencer and get some fresh ones before they arrive and stop worrying. They will land soon.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Getting ready

Me: What are Kev and Dave doing out there?

Nell: Getting the front garden ready for grandson Jonathan’s visit. He hasn’t been walking that long so we are worried he might fall.

Me: That’s kind.

Nell: David offered to help as most of the holes are down to his and Harriet’s over enthusiastic gardening.

Me: True. You had a lovely day with Charlie yesterday, didn’t you? Where is he off to now?

Nell: You know he can’t talk about work.

Me: It’s a shame he couldn’t stay longer. You two seemed to be getting on so well.

Nell: It was lovely to see him again but he is needed elsewhere. Duty calls.

Me: I suppose that’s the downside of dating James Bond.

Nell: Just concentrate on your daughter and grandson’s visit and stop interfering in my love life. What time are they arriving at Heathrow tomorrow?

Me: Lunchtime. I will leave first thing.

Nell: Poppy will pack a picnic. Jonathan is nearly two now so he will appreciate cake.

Me: Yes, and so will Alice.

Nell: Harriet has drawn a picture and David has made him a hat. I’ve removed the sequins.

Me: Perfect.

Nell: Can you drop Mutley off at The Queen’s Terminal please before you collect Alice and Jonathan. He has to fly to New York. Barker King are trying to muscle in on one of the Pizza Mutt deals.

Me: How rude. Yes, of course.

Nell: The puppies are over excited about this visit. I asked them for ideas. Harriet wants to take Jonathan to the beach and Jim wants to show him the farm tractors.

Me: Good.

Nell: Yes. David, however, has suggested kitesurfing and a night out on the town with The Cat. Ridiculous.

Me: Jonathan likes cats.

Nell: Well, he is still very young so we must make allowances. Poppy will teach him baking and Mutley will read stories in the hammock.

Me: And you?

Nell: I shall watch over him. It’s what I do best. You know that.

Me: Yes, I do. Sorry.


Together again

Nell: It’s good to be home. Pass me the Sunday papers would you? I must say Poppy has excelled herself with these croissants. Delicious.

Me: Yes. The jam is yummy. Is it Poppy’s?

Nell: No. Farmers Market. There’s a very pleasant Golden Retriever who grows her own fruit.

Me: Well, it’s lovely.

Nell: I am looking forward to a quiet day and Poppy’s roast. I chose chicken. Organic, free range.

Me: Farmers Market?

Nell: No, from the farm next door.

Me: Jim will have made sure it’s a good one. He always wants the best for Harriet.

Nell: She is still very young and he is a farm dog. They come from two different worlds.

Me: We had a lovely time on the beach yesterday evening, didn’t we? Dave just ran and ran. He was so happy.

Nell: Yes. David was in his element. Exciting as it is to travel there is nothing like coming home.

Me: Very true.

Nell: As I said to the puppies: “Home is not a place. It’s a feeling.” However far away we might travel, our hearts will always be here.

Me: You are right. My heart has always stayed in Devon and when we moved here it felt like coming home.

Nell: Exactly. On another note Mutley hasn’t invited The Cat again, has he? Only last night’s karaoke was too much. Whatever possessed The Cat and David to sing “Barcelona”?

Me: I quite liked it.

Nell: But all those sequins and David was wearing a moustache? Whatever next?

Me: Don’t worry. The Cat is visiting an aunt in Truro.

Nell: Just us then. Perfect.

Me: Actually there is someone else. He called while you were away and I suggested he visited today.

Nell: Who?

Me: Charlie.

Nell: Where’s my handbag? I need to look my best. Stop smiling like a dog who’s got the biscuit. Tell Poppy we have an extra guest for lunch and ask Harriet to come and brush my hair. You had to interfere, didn’t you?

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Wimbledon Ladies Final

Me: Where are you now?

Nell: We are on our way to Wimbledon. Meghan and Kate are meeting us there. I want to stop off at Harvey Tickles for a few items and we may take tea at The Pawchester if we have time.

Me: Good.

Nell: It’s a shame the boys can’t make it. Harriet was so hoping to see Harry again and William is such a dear responsible boy.

Me: Yes. Will you be cheering for Serena?

Nell: May the best player win. I will be delighted if Serena wins as she is a friend, but if Angelique defeats her then the title is rightfully hers.

Me: Very diplomatic. How did it go at lunch yesterday?

Nell: There were a few awkward moments. Unfortunate remarks had been made to the Press. Fortunately I managed to diffuse the situation.

Me: How?

Nell: Devon fudge. Poppy’s recipe. I always carry a few boxes in my handbag. Made with clotted cream of course.

Me: Naturally.

Nell: One cannot talk when chewing fudge. The perfect distraction. Donald had never tried it before so I gave him a box to take home. I think Melania will appreciate it.

Me: Do you know when you will be home?

Nell: James will collect us straight after the match so we should be back by this evening. Gareth knows I am going to have to watch the football later but he is going to update me by text.

Me: Then you can relax.

Nell: Hopefully. Anyway, I can’t chat as I’ve got Rafa on hold.

Me: Do you mean Rafa Nadal?

Nell: Of course, I’ve been advising him for years and his match with Djokovic starts again at 1pm. Do keep up.

Me: Yes, sorry.


Lunch with Donald

Me: How is it going?

Nell: Well, Harriet and I had a pleasant journey. Poppy packed us some delicious pastries and a flask of tea. Those Little Sheps have gone downhill since the collies took over so I don’t like to stop there anymore. You used to be able to get a decent all day breakfast.

Me: Yes, I remember.

Nell: Anyway, we dropped Harriet at your sister’s. James will drive me back there after lunch.

Me: Have you talked to Donald yet?

Nell: Yes, we exchanged a few words.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: No, nothing particularly controversial. We discussed golf. I was telling him he can’t expect to reduce his handicap if he isn’t prepared to listen and learn.

Me: Oh dear. Are you qualified to be giving advice?

Nell: I think my years as a golf pro speak for themselves.

Me: I didn’t know you played.

Nell: Of course. Ellesborough Golf Club is just near Chequers. In fact I may well pop in after lunch and say hello to the girls.

Me: Where are you now?

Nell: Jeremy Hunt just arrived so I thought I would take some air. I hope they haven’t seated me next to him at lunch.

Me: I’m sure you will cope. You would have made an excellent Foreign Secretary.

Nell: Yes, I know but I had to turn it down.

Me: You mean Theresa offered you the job?

Nell: Of course she did. You can’t possibly think Jeremy Hunt was first choice.

Me: No. Sorry.



Me: Are you ok, Nell?

Nell: Yes. A little tired to be honest and my heart goes out to Gareth and the boys. I should have been there to comfort them.

Me: You can’t be everywhere.

Nell: You are right. We are all disappointed but life goes on and we have a great deal to be thankful for, including an England team we can be proud of.

Me: Exactly.

Nell: Also David and the others will be home soon.

Me: Yes.

Nell: And Mutley’s business lunch went well. Taco Ball were close but Pizza Mutt landed the deal.

Me: Good.

Nell: In the meantime I need to call Theresa about timings. She wanted me to join her at Blenheim Palace for dinner with Donald this evening but I had to decline.

Me: Why?

Nell: I need to be here for a family dinner with David. I suggested lunch at Chequers tomorrow.

Me: You mean the prime minister’s residence in Buckinghamshire?

Nell: Of course I do. It’s a more intimate setting and I have a few issues I need to discuss with Donald in private.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: He finds me amusing for some reason.

Me: I’m not sure he still will after tomorrow.

Nell: Now, your sister lives near Chequers doesn’t she?

Me: Yes.

Nell: I was wondering if Harriet and I could stay with her tomorrow.

Me: Is Harriet going to Chequers too?

Nell: No, of course she isn’t. Harriet is a young labrador. She isn’t invited to lunch with the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and the President of the United States. Good grief.

Me: I thought not.

Nell: Harriet and I are going to the Ladies Final on Saturday as guests of the Royal Family so we will need to be near London. Staying with your sister makes sense. Do keep up.

Me: Yes. Sorry.