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It’s simply not happening

Nell: It’s too much, isn’t it?

Me: Well, I think it might be.

Nell: I told The Cat that hat was over the top even without the wig, but would it listen?

Me: Obviously not.

Nell: It said it loves the way the blonde hair frames my face.

Me: It’s dreadful, Nell.

Nell: I agree. It’s simply not happening. A few fresh roses in my summer hat are going to have to do for the Easter parade.

Me: Yes.

Nell: I’m leaving the wigs to David and Gladys. They love the things. You know that Beefy still flies around wearing David’s long black wig?

Me: What did Charlie say?

Nell: He hasn’t stopped laughing since he saw me and Mutley choked on his scrambled egg.

Me: You have no need for adornments. You are a classic beauty.

Nell: Kind of you to say so.

Me: It’s true.

Nell: There, I’ve taken it off.

Me: Much better. I couldn’t really have a serious conversation with you wearing that thing.

Nell: When do you have serious conversations?

Me: I’ve been known to.

Nell: Tell me that David didn’t just walk past carrying Gladys in my handbag and wearing my blonde wig?

Me: He did. I must say he can carry it off with style.

Nell: Is Gladys wearing that awful pink hat?

Me: I’m afraid so.

Nell: And does it actually suit her?

Me: Yes, it sort of does. Sorry.

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Getting into Character

Me: Poppy stuck her tongue out at me. She was in the meadow gossiping with Harriet and she just stuck her tongue out when I took a photo.

Nell: Don’t worry. She is getting into character.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: She is playing the Easter Terrier in the Parade on Sunday.

Me: I hope she isn’t going to be fierce all weekend.

Nell: It’s possible. Easter is a busy time and she has been baking all morning.

Me: Probably Hot Cross Buns.

Nell: Very funny.

Me: Now, this is going to sound a little odd but did I hear Dave speaking Spanish on his iBone?

Nell: He was probably talking to Antonio.

Me: Banderas?

Nell: Bless you. I’m talking about Antonio the Podenco Canario. He sells ice cream down at the quay.

Me: Why would Dave be talking Spanish?

Nell: Antonio is Spanish. Do keep up.

Me: I never knew Dave spoke Spanish.

Nell: It’s all part of his training as an international spy.

Me: You’ll be telling me Gladys speaks Portuguese next.

Nell: No. She has basic Italian but no Portuguese.

Me: Is Gladys a spy too?

Nell: Certainly not. I’m declaring Easter weekend a spy free zone. No intriguing.

Me: It’s not me, Nell. It’s almost everyone else.

Nell: Now, The Cat has made you a very special hat.

Me: I’m not wearing sequins.

Nell: It’s an all encasing pansy hat.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: You will look dreadful in it but you will wear it with pride.

Me: I will?

Nell: It’s the thought that counts.

Me: It’s easy for you to say.

Nell: Remember. ‘Don’t look a gift cat in the eyes.’

Me: Don’t you mean ‘Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth’?

Nell: Certainly not. Why are you bringing horses into this? Just be thankful and wear the hat.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Talks with Tony

Me: Is Tony still with Dave?

Nell: Yes. You know Talks with Tony are an important part of David’s day.

Me: Are they discussing Morris Dancing?

Nell: No.

Me: Sea shanties?

Nell: No, although I believe David may be auditioning for Tony’s crew soon.

Me: Is it about Sally then? I know Tony has given Dave good advice in the past.

Nell: No, it’s about flower costumes for the Easter Parade. David is going as a sunflower by popular demand and Harriet is a tulip.

Me: I wonder what flower I would be? You would be a rose. Beautiful, but with thorns.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: You can be quite sharp at times, you know. Especially with me.

Nell: Sometimes tough love is the only way. Gladys is going to be a sequinned daisy.

Me: Yes, The Cat says the sequins are like morning dew on the petals.

Nell: Good grief. Malcolm is a pink gladioli and Susan is an Iris Florentina in soft grey seagull colours.

Me: What about Poppy?

Nell: She is still going as the Easter Terrier with Mutley as Father Time.

Me: This is getting a little random.

Nell: Timothy is steering clear of proceedings.

Me: Probably for the best. Will Charlie be joining you?

Nell: No. He has his iBone and I will send photos.

Me: My mother always said I was a pansy because of my eyes.

Nell: You are missing her, aren’t you?

Me: Yes. She loved this time of year.

Nell: How about a walk in the meadow? Just you and I?

Me: I would love that. I know Dave has his Talks with Tony but Conversations with you, Nell, make my day.

Nell: Mine too. Always.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Love is

Me: Love is you and Kev in the sunshine.

Nell: We were simply enjoying some quiet time by the beach.

Me: And a sausage sizzle.

Nell: Grilled sausages in a fresh bap might have been involved.

Me: Everyone deserves a treat now and again.

Nell: Yes, all Labradors know that treats are meant for sharing.

Me: You certainly do.

Nell: Now, we need to talk about costumes. I’ve managed to steer David and Gladys away from dressing up as chicks for Easter. We have enough birds in our lives without pretending to be one.

Me: Yes. The Beefies were shouting at tourists again down on the quay.

Nell: They have turned nasty since the French rooks left. Planning their next evil campaign no doubt. The devil finds work for idle beaks.

Me: You mean hands.

Nell: No, I don’t. Poppy thinks it’s going to be pasties.

Me: Pasties?

Nell: Yes. The tourists love them. Rumour has it that the Beefies are launching fish Pasties from their Starbeaks cafe in Salcombe.

Me: They sound rather tasty.

Nell: You know the fish will be stolen.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Out of bins as well as off boats.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: And the pastry will be shop bought not homemade like Poppy and Malcolm’s.

Me: Why doesn’t Poppy launch her own version with prawns? Malcolm loves prawn shells. They keep him pink.

Nell: Poppy’s Prawn Pasties? You might actually have a good idea there.

Me: I do sometimes you know.

Nell: But not always. Were you involved in the Easter flower costumes?

Me: I may have been.

Nell: Harriet is a beautiful tulip and Gladys can pass as a daisy if pushed, but David will never be a daffodil. If he is going to be a flower he will have to be a giant sunflower, or a hollyhock at the very least.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Flapping ears

Nell: Have you got a theme going on?

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: Sandy faces yesterday and flapping ears today.

Me: I can’t resist the puppies’ happy ears.

Nell: They are going to be two in June you know. Not puppies anymore.

Me: Yes. It’s hard to believe.

Nell: We are seriously considering Morris Dancing, by the way.

Me: I beg your pardon.

Nell: David discussed it with Tony as he used to be a Morris Dancer before he sang sea shanties.

Me: And became a postman.

Nell: One does not rule out the other. Tony is multitalented.

Me: Indeed. Who is going to dance?

Nell: Everyone.

Me: Not Mutley?

Nell: He is prepared to wear bells on his ankles.

Me: But Malcolm is shy.

Nell: Malcolm is surprisingly keen. He is even wondering about us performing at the wedding.

Me: What wedding?

Nell: Malcolm and Susan’s wedding in July. Do keep up.

Me: I didn’t know.

Nell: It says the Flamingo/Seagull Wedding on the calendar. How many flamingos do you know?

Me: Quite a few actually if I am honest and that’s not something I ever thought I would say.

Nell: Not shy ones marrying quiet seagulls.

Me: It doesn’t say that on the calendar.

Nell: Anyway, Count Bingo is hosting the wedding and Poppy is catering.

Me: I can’t wait. Where are my bells?

Nell: You definitely won’t be dancing. I’ve told you many times that you are best observing and writing.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Please tell me David didn’t just walk past in a crown of feathers wearing a large beak and carrying Gladys in my handbag dressed as a yellow chick?

Me: It’s just one of their ideas for the Easter parade.

Nell: I need a cup of Earl Grey and a face flannel.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Sandy faces

Me: Look at your adorable sandy faces.

Nell: Yes. It certainly made Charlie smile.

Me: The perfect way to lift the Monday blues is to see happy sandy dogs.

Nell: It was an extremely enjoyable walk.

Me: And everybody came. Fortunately the beach was empty as the sight of seven dogs, a cat, a flamingo and a turkey might have drawn attention.

Nell: I can’t think why. You see all sorts on the beach.

Me: True. I’m glad Charlie was able to join us.

Nell: We are treasuring each moment.

Me: I know.

Nell: Now, we have been discussing hats for the Easter Parade.

Me: What Easter Parade?

Nell: It’s on Easter Sunday. Do keep up.

Me: I didn’t know.

Nell: The Cat feels we should go big and bold this year and I am inclined to agree.

Me: I’m not sure big and bold is quite me.

Nell: Poppy wants to go as the Easter Terrier but that’s far too scary.

Me: The Easter Terrier?

Nell: I told you about this last year. Easter is a particularly dangerous time for dogs because of all the chocolate.

Me: Yes, it is.

Nell: So the Easter Terrier protects us all by boxing the Easter Bunny’s ears if it gets too close.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: David wants to play the Easter Bunny. He thinks fighting with Poppy would be fun. Foolish animal. Poppy is a black belt.

Me: It would certainly be exciting.

Nell: It’s not happening. Now, what about you?

Me: I could wear my all encasing hat.

Nell: It is about celebrating not keeping your ears warm. Good grief.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Welcome Home Dave

Me: Dave is lying on the floor upstairs with Harriet’s head is in his mouth and his arm around Poppy.

Nell: Yes, it’s fine. All part of Welcome Home Fighting. Sometimes gentle biting is the only way to show affection.

Me: I am so glad they are safely home.

Nell: Yes. David was very naughty to turn his phone off. Apparently The Cat flew he and Sally to Cannes for the evening.

Me: How romantic.

Nell: Yes. They dined by moonlight to the sound of the violin.

Me: Was Gladys dancing?

Nell: Yes, on the beach to quite an audience apparently.

Me: So we can actually enjoy a quiet Sunday?

Nell: Yes. Poppy is preparing a roast for lunch and Timothy is back from his painting retreat so we shall all be together.

Me: I never thought of turkeys as being particularly artistic.

Nell: No. It’s a skill Timothy never knew he had until he joined our family and spread his wings.

Me: I suppose our family is rather special.

Nell: That’s one word for it. Now, I am going to enjoy a cup of Earl Grey while I listen to The Archers on the radio. Would you care to join me?

Me: I would love to.

Nell: I’ve had quite enough of the real world for the time being and am happy to escape for a while.

Me: I know exactly what you mean. Let’s escape together.

Nell: We always do. Has Gladys eaten all the shortbread again? My handbag is full of crumbs.

Me: Yes. She was awfully hungry after the helicopter flight so Malcolm made a fresh batch.

Nell: He’s exceptionally good at baking for a flamingo. Don’t hog all the macarons. They are there to be shared.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Anyone for Babycham?

Me: Well, I think Gladys looks gorgeous.

Nell: The tiara is a little excessive, even for Monte Carlo.

Me: So tell me, how did it go?

Nell: As expected, berets were not allowed in the casino so The Cat lent David a sequinned bow tie.

Me: Good idea.

Nell: A silent whippet in a trench coat escorted them to the casino.

Me: How unexpectedly kind of a stranger.

Nell: It was one of Sally’s team.

Me: Of course.

Nell: Once inside David remained cool and ordered his dry martini like a good boy.

Me: Bless him.

Nell: Gladys almost ruined it all by asking for a Babycham but The Cat stepped in quickly and requested champagne.

Me: Good move.

Nell: Anyway, suddenly this gorgeous Golden Retriever in a Venetian mask glided towards David and started playing with his bow tie.

Me: A foreign spy. I told you.

Nell: No. Sally in disguise checking the wire was hidden.

Me: I see.

Nell: Sponge Finger and the NOIR gang were in a private room playing poker so they joined them.

Me: Baccarat?

Nell: No, ‘Breakfast roll, Jim?’ Although, I have no idea who Jim is, or why he would want a roll but then poker is not my game.

Me: Don’t you mean ‘Texas Hold’em?’

Nell: No. Stop making up ridiculous names. Where was I?

Me: They were all playing poker.

Nell: Yes. Fortunately The Cat is an experienced poker player so David could observe from the sidelines and Gladys just danced.

Me: Did he manage to get the information Sally needed?

Nell: Yes. MI5 are delighted. A successful mission.

Me: So are they on their way home?

Nell: We hope so. We lost contact a while ago. We think David removed his bow tie and his iBone doesn’t have a signal.

Me: What if something has happened?

Nell: I’m sure we will hear from them soon.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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But Dave doesn’t like gambling

Nell: This is all too much.

Me: What’s happened?

Nell: David is flying to Monte Carlo.

Me: Excuse me?

Nell: He doesn’t even like helicopters and Gladys is terrified so she is going to stay in my handbag.

Me: Very wise.

Nell: Fortunately The Cat has a pilot’s licence.

Me: Why are they going there?

Nell: To the casino, of course. I’m not even sure if they allow berets.

Me: The last I knew they were performing at dinner and David was having his beret wired.

Nell: Yes. David returned to find Gladys swinging from the chandelier surrounded by a group of admiring rooks.

Me: Not completely surprising.

Nell: When he helped her down, her high heels got caught in his beret and it landed on The Cat’s head.

Me: Oh no!

Nell: It was furious.

Me: Yes. It always says it wouldn’t be seen dead in a beret. They are so gauche.

Nell: That’s not the point. Anyway, during the kerfuffle the NOIR bosses left for the meeting without them.

Me: Oh no.

Nell: Fortunately they are all staying at the same hotel.

Me: How is Dave affording that?

Nell: Sally organised it. She has a room there too.

Me: Say no more.

Nell: I thought you wanted to know what happened.

Me: Never mind. Do continue.

Nell: This morning he was enjoying a delicious croissant and had just ordered another cafe au lait when Sponge Finger came over and suggested he joined them in Monte Carlo.

Me: But Dave doesn’t like gambling.

Nell: That’s the least of our worries.

Me: He is going to have to play blackjack and roulette.

Nell: Probably.

Me: And drink dry martinis, shaken but not stirred.

Nell: I certainly hope not.

Me: And a beautiful silky haired French dog is going to try and steal him from Sally.

Nell: Enough. You are letting your imagination run away with you.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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A brave boy

Nell: This is all most stressful. Thank goodness for WoofsApp. David just sent me this photo.

Me: Nice beret. Where is he?

Nell: David, Gladys and The Cat are in France having Moules Frites on the seafront with Savoiardi and the NOIR bosses.

Me: But Dave doesn’t like mussels.

Nell: He’s just having chips, but that’s not the point. They are a great success. Apparently Gladys is even performing a contemporary dance at the big meeting later.

Me: How did that happen?

Nell: Savoiardi bumped into them on the boat and David told him they fancied a holiday in France and could he show them around.

Me: And he believed him?

Nell: Yes. He thinks David is a bit of a harmless nincompoop.

Me: How rude.

Nell: But useful. They don’t suspect him at all.

Me: Suspect him of what?

Nell: David has become an honorary spy. He is going to wear a wire in his beret. Sally is very proud of her darling Davey.

Me: Is Sally in France then?

Nell: Yes. She went over there immediately.

Me: It’s ever so risky. Dave isn’t trained.

Nell: No, but he is a brave boy. He is having the wire fitted during Gladys’s dance. Sally will be waiting outside.

Me: Will there be enough time?

Nell: Fortunately Gladys packed her feather boa and heels and The Cat plays the violin so they can keep going for a while.

Me: How is The Cat coping with all those birds?

Nell: It’s being nice.

Me: I hate it when it’s nice.

Nell: Yes. That awful false grin and those eyes.

Me: Exactly. You know it’s secretly flexing its claws.

Nell: I am very glad David isn’t doing this alone.

Me: I wish I was there to help.

Nell: I can’t think of anything worse. You are not cut out to be a spy. Unlike David it seems.

Me: Yes. Sorry.