Happy Halloween

Me: Happy Halloween. I hope I didn’t wake you with my coffin.

Nell: What are you doing downstairs and what are you both wearing?

Me: Dave and I took a quick selfie.

Nell: Those aren’t the hats we chose for you.

Me: Dave wanted feathers.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Anyway, what do you say when a skeleton comes to dinner?

Nell: I don’t know.

Me: Bone appetit.

Nell: That’s dreadful.

Me: I knew you wouldn’t find it humerus.

Nell: Have you got this out of your system now? Only I have a lot to do before the opening and Harriet is waiting.

Me: Just trying to creep it real.

Nell: Poppy, Malcolm and The Cat are already at the cafe making the final preparations.

Me: Gourd for them.

Nell: You need to be quiet.

Me: You mean don’t spook unless I’m spooken to?

Nell: I’m leaving for the cafe soon with David and the dancers. I expect you to be wearing your costume when we start the live link this afternoon.

Me: Yes. Let’s get this party startled.

Nell: In the meantime please get some rest. Mutley has agreed to sit with you for a while. I really have to go.

Me: Save me some cake and a sand witch.

Nell: Back to bed right now.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Final preparations

Me: How are you feeling today?

Nell: A little better. There is far too much to do for me to languish around like some people.

Me: I am supposed to rest.

Nell: So, Harriet and I cornered David and made him see the error of his ways.

Me: He was ever so naughty.

Nell: He says he didn’t run away. He was out walking and playing It with some sheep when the next thing he knew a farmer had tied him up and Kev appeared on a quad bike.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Harriet and I explained that you must never play It, or Shenanigans, or anything at all with sheep, or cows. They are to be left completely alone.

Me: Quite right.

Nell: It doesn’t matter how many times they shout at you, or call you names. A good labrador turns the other jowl and walks on by.

Me: Did Dave understand?

Nell: I certainly hope so. I threatened to exclude him from tomorrow’s activities.

Me: Good idea.

Nell: Now, you are confined to bed but fortunately there will be a live link to the cafe so you can still wear your costume and join in.

Me: Oh. What about you?

Nell: I shall be there, of course, but I’m not going to parade down the streets with the others.

Me: Probably wise.

Nell: David will lead the procession followed by Gladys, Rita and the dancing chihuahuas. The Dartmouth dachshunds are still a question mark as one of them slipped a disc.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: We have the Beagle brass band from Buckfastleigh and Malcolm has organised a flamboyance of flamingos led by Count Bingo on the steel drums.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: Yes. I was surprised when Count Bingo agreed but he is quite taken with Gladys, apparently.

Me: It sounds amazing.

Nell: I am quietly confident.

Me: About my costume though, Nell.

Nell: Don’t argue. If I can wear it then so can you.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


What a morning!

Me: We have had quite a morning, haven’t we?

Nell: I have a perforated ear drum. You have a bad cold.

Me: True. You definitely win.

Nell: I was denied an evening treat and denied breakfast.

Me: I know. We had to keep you safe because of the anaesthetic.

Nell: Did you have breakfast?

Me: Yes, but I went to the doctors too you know.

Nell: You knew you were going. It wasn’t just an unpleasant surprise.

Me: I didn’t want to worry you. Anyway, you are home and safe now with clean ears. Tom says it will heal.

Nell: Oh good.

Me: And the good news is that I am on bed rest too, so we can spend lots of time together.

Nell: I dread to think what the bad news is.

Me: David ran away but the farmer caught him and tied him up. He took Kev on his quad bike to get him.

Nell: What?

Me: I’ll tell you about it later. Sorry.


Sunday morning snuggles

Nell: Don’t disturb the twins. I said they could have a lie-in as the clocks have gone back.

Me: Yes, they are upstairs snuggling by the window.

Nell: Will you join me for a cup of Earl Grey by the fire? Malcolm is preparing scrambled egg with smoked salmon for breakfast. Poppy is rushed off her paws with all the preparations.

Me: That would be lovely, Nell.

Nell: Yesterday went surprisingly well I thought.

Me: No arguments?

Nell: Mr Kipling kept a tight rein on proceedings.

Me: Did he bang on the table with his hammer?

Nell: It’s called a gavel and we were not at an auction. Malcolm was a huge asset.

Me: I thought he would be.

Nell: Yes. As each cake was brought in, he introduced it quietly and discreetly. Unlike The Cat of course, who was carrying it wearing what can only be described as a showgirl’s feather headdress with fruit.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: David was serving in a rather smart top hat and tails. He said the slices were only small but I think some of it got lost on the way. Harriet poured the tea. Hollywoof asked for a cappuccino but Mr Kipling gave him a hard stare.

Me: Good for him.

Nell: Gladys and her pumpkin were centre stage as the table decoration. We’ve managed to organise those dancing chihuahuas for the opening on Wednesday. They are each going in a pumpkin on the tables.

Me: That’s a novel idea.

Nell: The Cat thinks it will work.

Me: Did you all agree on the selection?

Nell: Poppy’s scones, Malcolm’s macarons, Victoria sandwich, coffee and walnut, lemon drizzle, carrot cake, apple turnovers, flapjacks and doughnuts.

Me: Doughnuts?

Nell: Hollywoof says they are always big sellers.

Me: I do like a good doughnut.

Nell: So, it’s just the costumes now and we are ready to go.

Me: Costumes?

Nell: The opening is on Halloween.

Me: True.

Nell: Your fitting is this afternoon at 3pm. Any allergies?

Me: Why? What on earth am I wearing?

Nell: I have no idea. The Cat wanted to know. Stop fussing and don’t be late.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


We can’t have a seagull on the panel

Me: Where is Malcolm?

Nell: He’s talking to The Cat about the tasting for this afternoon. Poppy doesn’t want any sequins.

Me: Why Malcolm?

Nell: He’s finished making his macarons and he’s good with The Cat. It likes his gentle ways.

Me: Malcolm is excessively polite. He bowed to me this morning.

Nell: Malcolm bows to everyone, it’s a habit.

Me: Oh.

Nell: I’m not talking to The Cat.

Me: Why? It was kind of it to organise the panel.

Nell: How could it invite Tall Hollywoof that Giant Schnauzer with the piercing blue eyes to be a judge?

Me: He does run a bakery in Kingsbridge.

Nell: Yes, but he pretended to have a dalliance with Poppy and nearly caused a rift between her and John the Doberman last summer.

Me: I remember now. The puppies ate too many of his doughnuts and you said he had nice buns.

Nell: I said he made nice buns, actually. That’s not important. He works with Prue Beef and she is in league with the Beefies.

Me: I think she might be on the panel too.

Nell: What? Beary Merry is chief judge. She is not going to be happy. We can’t have a seagull on the panel. Especially one who wears clunky jewellery.

Me: I think you will find Beary Merry will rise above all that. She is very wise.

Nell: Well, all I can say is thank goodness for Mr Kipling.

Me: I beg your pardon?

Nell: Mr Kipling is overseeing proceedings.

Me: Because we all know he makes “exceedingly good cakes?”

Nell: What are you talking about? We know nothing of the sort. Mr Kipling is not a baker. He is a Bichon Frise from Buckinghamshire.

Me: Are you sure?

Nell: Of course I’m sure. Honestly, I worry about you sometimes. Mr Kipling is Mutley’s business advisor.

Me: Oh. Sorry.


Mutley wants to be alone

Me: What’s the matter with Mutley?

Nell: He has rolled himself up in a throw.

Me: Yes, I know, but why?

Nell: He needs to be alone. Haven’t you ever wanted to roll yourself up in something?

Me: I can’t say I have.

Nell: Interesting. I, myself, often retire to the back bedroom, as you know, and roll myself under the coverlet

Me: Well, you certainly mess the coverlet up.

Nell: It is a form of protest. Please take it seriously.

Me: What is Mutley protesting about?

Nell: Annoying birds.

Me: Of the feathered variety?

Nell: Of course. You don’t think I would refer to ladies as birds, do you? I’m not from London.

Me: My mistake.

Nell: Seagulls, pigeons, flamingos and now chaffinch.

Me: Chaffinch? Are they planning a hostile takeover too?

Nell: No. But they won’t stop arguing about the bird bath.

Me: Oh.

Nell: It’s a constant chirp from morning until night. They queue on the fence and then someone pushes in, or takes too long in the bath.

Me: I know that feeling. Queuing for the bathroom is so annoying.

Nell: Yes, but there is no need to constantly chirp while you are waiting. Mutley wanted to nap outside on the terrace but the noise was simply too much.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: David took matters into his own paws at one stage and drank the whole bath but Kev refilled it.

Me: Do you know the odd thing about all this, Nell? Mutley is deaf.

Nell: He is selectively deaf. Just because we don’t always react to you doesn’t mean we can’t hear.

Me: Ha. You’ve finally admitted it.

Nell: Would you pass the shortbread, please?

Me: I know you heard me.

Nell: And a plate. We have standards.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Autumn walks

Nell: It was a wonderful light on our walk yesterday.

Me: Yes, I can see.

Nell: Beautiful colours and unseasonably warm. Kev took a photo.

Me: Lovely.

Nell: Did Malcolm take care of you?

Me: Yes. Kev had made a fire and Malcolm, Mutley and I just relaxed together.

Nell: I think that young flamingo is going to blossom with us. He wasn’t cut out for a soldier’s life.

Me: I agree. Mutley was telling us about his time in the Royal Navy.

Nell: Ah yes. He saw some sights. He trained at Dartmouth, of course.

Me: I didn’t know.

Nell: Well, there’s a lot you don’t know. Life is one big discovery which is just what it should be.

Me: I suppose so.

Nell: Now, David has some homework from Dogs School. They wanted to know if he is still Marvellous.

Me: Yes, he is. Extremely.

Nell: Apparently he needs to work on his anxiety.

Me: He is still afraid of the dark. Harriet always goes out with him if she can. She is fearless.

Nell: I’ve noticed he has taken to carrying Gladys with him in her pumpkin when he goes out at night. She uses her iBone as a light.

Me: Does she?

Nell: Yes, the effect is rather spooky, especially when David wears his tall hat and the cloak The Cat made him.

Me: So that’s what it was. It all makes sense now.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: I thought I was delirious when I looked out last night. I didn’t tell you because I knew you wouldn’t believe me.

Nell: Can you blame me? The fantasy world you live in.

Me: I know. Sorry.



Nell: So, I’ve been checking your notes and Nurse David is not happy with your progress.

Me: It’s only a cold, Nell.

Nell: It says here: “The patient keeps sneezing and is very sniffly.”

Me: Yes.

Nell: “And also has an annoying cough.”

Me: That’s not a very caring remark if I may say so.

Nell: “The patient is grumpy and easily annoyed.”

Me: Dave woke me by licking the side of my face.

Nell: He was checking your temperature. It is part of his duties.

Me: But I was asleep.

Nell: Nurse Harriet is taking over now. Malcolm has made you a light chicken broth for lunch. Poppy would appreciate your comments on presentation, texture and flavour.

Me: Can’t I just eat it? I’m not well.

Nell: Malcolm has spent all morning preparing it. I would have thought giving a little feedback is the least you can do. Greg Walrus and John the Toad do it all the time.

Me: I’m not a Masterchef judge, though, am I?

Nell: For that we are most grateful. There will be home made ice cream and jelly for dessert. Gentle on the throat.

Me: That sounds good. Thank you.

Nell: Finally some appreciation. Nurse Harriet will tend to your needs and Doctor Mutley is on call.

Me: At least The Cat and Gladys aren’t part of the medical team.

Nell: They are restricted to visiting hours and will be here this afternoon. I believe The Cat has made you a sequinned blanket and Gladys is performing a soothing dance.

Me: I can’t wait.

Nell: I shall be popping in and out as required. Now drink your tea and let us look after you.

Me: Yes. Sorry.



Me: Nell, can I have a word?

Nell: I’m resting in the broken chair.

Me: I know, but I wanted to hear about yesterday’s meeting.

Nell: Well, the first shock was Count Bingo’s size.

Me: Was he dreadfully portly?

Nell: Good grief. Have you ever seen a portly flamingo? They are all feathers and spindly legs. No, he was extremely tall.

Me: Gosh. And Malcolm is so small.

Nell: Malcolm is a lesser flamingo. I confess I wasn’t expecting Count Bingo to have a French accent either, or that he would be wearing a monocle.

Me: I suppose that is a little unusual.

Nell: Anyway, Poppy presented her case, explaining that Malcolm’s heart wasn’t in fighting but he had a passion for cooking and she was willing to take him on as a trainee sous chef.

Me: Where was Malcolm?

Nell: Hiding behind John the Doberman in a bullet proof sequinned vest made by The Cat.

Me: What did Count Bingo say?

Nell: He was not best pleased until Harriet offered him a macaron and David started singing “Non, je ne regrette rien.”

Me: I didn’t know he could sing in French.

Nell: Yes. David has a vast repertoire. When he moved on to “Joe, le taxi” and Gladys began her contemporary dance the Count was completely mesmerised.

Me: I bet he was.

Nell: Gladys was wearing pink feathers which was a clever idea.

Me: Yes.

Nell: And then something strange happened.

Me: Surely not.

Nell: Count Bingo joined in, whirling Gladys across the floor.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: And then he stopped. Put his monacle back in his eye, bowed and left.

Me: So is Malcolm free?

Nell: A young flamingo brought a letter this morning confirming Malcolm’s release and requesting the pleasure of our company at the Flamingo ball.

Me: I didn’t know there was a Flamingo ball.

Nell: Of course there is. It happens every year in Torquay at the Imperial Hotel. Do keep up.

Me: Sorry.



Me: Where is Poppy?

Nell: Having a lie in.

Me: Poppy never has a lie in and it’s Monday.

Nell: She and Malcolm were up until the early hours making macarons.

Me: I’m glad we decided that Malcolm can stay.

Nell: Yes. We still have to meet with the Count to secure Malcolm’s release.

Me: Why? Was Malcolm a prisoner?

Nell: No. Malcolm foolishly signed up to the Flamingo foreign legion.

Me: He did?

Nell: Yes, I cant think what possessed him to do such a thing. They are renowned for their brutality.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: Malcolm’s father and brothers served so I presume it was expected of him.

Me: I’m surprised he got in.

Nell: True. Anyway the Count has agreed to meet us this afternoon.

Me: Who is the Count?

Nell: Do you mean you have never heard of Count Bingo Flamingo?

Me: No, and it’s a very silly name.

Nell: Bingo is greatly feared and a ruthless soldier.

Me: Do you think the Beefies have employed Bingo’s flamingos to help them take over Pupways?

Nell: Probably. Don’t call them that. It’s not a laughing matter.

Me: What if Bingo refuses?

Nell: He won’t. Mutley and I will see to that and Poppy has her sword with John the Doberman on stand by.

Me: No wonder she is having a lie in.

Nell: Malcolm is extremely nervous so no silly talk.

Me: Where is he?

Nell: Harriet is teaching him how to knit, she learnt it from the Welsh corgis in the summer. She will be at Malcolm’s side during negotiations.

Me: Will Dave be on his other side?

Nell: Certainly not. David will be singing and Gladys will perform a contemporary dance.

Me: Of course. Sorry.