Me: You lot are a bit jumpy this morning. Have you been gossiping again?
Nell: We do not gossip. We discuss. The scaffolders will be arriving at any moment and we are on alert.
Me: Do I have to wear my hard hat everywhere? Only I’ve got to pop into Kingsbridge later.
Nell: I despair of you sometimes. I really do. Do you see surfers wearing unnecessary wetsuits in town? Or me in an unnecessary boy’s collar and lead?
Me: Actually, Nell, there have been some rolled down wetsuits worn off the beach and you have worn a boy’s collar and lead when you weren’t spying.
Nell: You know what I mean. Hard hats and safety vests are only necessary on the building site.
Me: That’s a relief. I wonder why the Beefies are wearing hard hats then.
Nell: Wretched creatures are probably trying to sabotage the roofing.
Me: Or steal one of Poppy’s bacon sandwiches. Dave says they are particularly good today. He’s had three already.
Nell: He doesn’t deserve any after his disgraceful behaviour yesterday. Bouncing your friend Irene like that when we were in the middle of a delightful conversation about Tai chi.
Me: She was fine about it.
Nell: Fortunately. Now where did you see the Beefies?
Me: They were throwing mackerel at Malcolm in the garden again. Poppy says it’s the limit and she’s going to sort them out.
Nell: Was she carrying a pistol?
Me: Goodness me. Do you think it’s reached that stage?
Nell: No. A water pistol. She was wondering if maple syrup might work. Sticky feathers prevent flying.
Me: We don’t want maple syrup on the scaffolding, though.
Nell: Poppy is an excellent shot. Terrier champion two years running.
Me: Of course. Sorry.