Me: Good swim?

Nell: Yes. Invigorating. Harriet’s retrieving skills are excellent.

Me: What about Dave?

Nell: He was off playing tag with Freddy Fulmar and the seabirds.

Me: Do I know Freddy?

Nell: He’s a baby faced bird. Plays in a local band.

Me: No sign of the Beefies then?

Nell: Not one. The owls have done an impressive job.

Me: I must say when I saw the owl formation flying over the hill yesterday I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Nell: Yes. The Royal Owl Force is certainly a sight to behold.

Me: It is. When the Beefies saw them coming they fled for the hills.

Nell: Not the hills. The sea. But Wing commander Owlgernon Featherby-Fortescue and his squadron were not going to let them get away without a fight.

Me: Yes. There were masks and wigs everywhere.

Nell: Owl Pacino was right to call them in. When I explained about your birthday and Jonathan’s visit he acted quickly.

Me: It’s a great relief. Did you say they were coming to the party tomorrow?

Nell: Obviously we can’t entertain the whole Owl Force but the Wing commander and his squadron leader Owlbert will be joining us along with Robin Hoot, Tawny Tim and Barney, of course.

Me: Is there anything I can do to help with the preparations?

Nell: Certainly not. Poppy has the catering under control. Malcolm is knee deep in macarons although I’m not entirely sure that flamingos have knees.

Me: Neither am I.

Nell: David is organising the entertainment. There will be a few surprises. All of them good ones, hopefully.

Me: Yes.

Nell: You haven’t seen a minibus arrive yet have you?

Me: No.

Nell: Only The Whippets Institute were supposed to be collecting the Dartmouth Dachshunds and the Welsh corgi choir for a rehearsal.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: Now, I know a sequinned cloak isn’t usually your thing but when The Cat gives it to you just smile and put it on, please.

Me: As long as I don’t have to wear a hat.

Nell: Of course you will be wearing a hat. Don’t be silly.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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