Poor Romeo

Me: Did I wake you?

Nell: Yes. I was having a nap while David kept watch. Malcolm was hit with a mackerel this morning.

Me: Those wretched Beefies.

Nell: It was the one in a long black wig. Calls himself Romeo. Ridiculous name for a seagull.

Me: Yes. They should be called Phil, or Pete.

Nell: I’m not going to ask why, but I know what you mean. Anyway, Romeo has taken a particular dislike to Malcolm.

Me: It’s about Susan, isn’t it?

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: I bet Romeo and Susan went to seagull school together.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: Romeo watched Susan from afar. Just biding his time until he could tell her how he felt about her.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: But it was too late. Susan met Malcolm, a shy but pink flamingo, and they fell instantly in love.

Nell: At least that part is true.

Me: So Romeo was left to wander the skies in a long black wig with nothing but a wet mackerel to comfort him.

Nell: He threw the mackerel at Malcolm so he can’t be that attached to it.

Me: Poor Romeo.

Nell: I worry about you sometimes. Living in a world of fantasy. For your information Romeo is back with a fresh mackerel and a couple of friends.

Me: They’re not called Benvolio and Mercutio are they? Only Mercutio might be in a bit of trouble soon.

Nell: That’s quite enough.

Me: Romeo never stood a chance against Malcolm and his pink, slim legged flamingoness.

Nell: There is no such word.

Me: No, but you are wondering about Romeo now and whether he is carrying a torch for Susan, aren’t you?

Nell: I have more than enough on my plate without worrying about lovelorn Beefies thank you.

Me: Of course. Sorry.


Saturday heatwave

Me: You’ve just eaten something tasty. Admit it.

Nell: I may have.

Me: What?

Nell: Poppy made my Cream Tea ice cream for Gelato to try.

Me: I bet it’s delicious.

Nell: Yes. Poppy’s scones are essential, though, which is why she’s invited Gelato to tea.

Me: She wants a piece of the action.

Nell: She wants to discuss working together. Stop talking like an American gangster.

Me: It’s the hot weather. It makes people act strangely.

Nell: Yes. The Beefies have started wearing sombreros.

Me: Probably wise in this heat.

Nell: Beefies don’t get sunstroke. They are doing it to draw attention to themselves.

Me: It rather suits them.

Nell: That’s not the point. They want people to look up.

Me: Why?

Nell: So they can drop a mackerel on their heads.

Me: Dastardly.

Nell: They have been targeting the ice cream queues.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Gelato is shocked. He thought they were his friends.

Me: Why?

Nell: You know the way they shout ‘Mine’ all the time?

Me: Yes. Greedy gulls.

Nell: He thought they were saying ‘Hi’.

Me: Oh dear. So you want to help?

Nell: Yes. We discussed the problem at Morning Thoughts and decided that we are going to have to use pistols.

Me: I thought you said violence wasn’t the answer.

Nell: Water pistols. Gladys will be in command.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: Several of the more level headed Welsh corgis will have pistols concealed about their persons.

Me: Where? They’re only little.

Nell: Under their hats, if you must know.

Me: Clever.

Nell: When a Beefy approaches Gladys will shout ‘Fire’.

Me: I’m not sure the tourists are going to enjoy this.

Nell: I disagree. It’s better than a wet mackerel and might actually be rather fun to watch.

Me: You are right. Sorry.


Friday flavours

Me: Harriet is looking lovely today.

Nell: She is a natural beauty. In fact, Gelato is rather smitten. When she arrived at the ice cream stand with David he bowed and kissed her paw.

Me: It’s the Italian way.

Nell: It’s the Italian way with beautiful young dogs. He didn’t do that with me.

Me: He wouldn’t dare. You know you are a classic beauty. Ask anyone.

Nell: Thank you. Have you given David your suggestions?

Me: What suggestions?

Nell: Ice cream flavours. Gelato wants to try something new and has asked for ideas.

Me: To be honest I’m a bit boring when it comes to ice cream. I like vanilla.

Nell: I suggested cream tea which is basically strawberries and cream with a hint of scone.

Me: I like that.

Nell: Poppy wants espresso with Amaretto and Malcolm suggested prawn cocktail which is clearly out of the question.

Me: Actually savoury ice creams are quite popular. Bacon and egg, for instance, or Stilton.

Nell: Do stop.

Me: Dave would love the bacon idea. He could serve it in a bread cone.

Nell: Disgusting.

Me: You can even get Wasabi if you want a kick.

Nell: I don’t. If I was going to choose that kind of thing I would go for English horseradish.

Me: True. How did the singing go?

Nell: The Welsh corgi choir was a huge hit with the tourists. People were queuing all along the quay. There would have been a standing ovation if anyone had been sitting down.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: Gelato has booked them for the summer.

Me: Well done. That’s one in the eye for the Beefies.

Nell: Let’s not resort to violence unless severely provoked.

Me: I’m not. It’s only a saying.

Nell: We are just recovering from the limoncello throwing incident.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Welcome little Ollie

Nell: David was delighted to see Tony the Postman again after his holiday. Especially with his wonderful news.

Me: Yes. Welcome to little Ollie. It’s been such a sad time since he lost Milo so suddenly. I am very glad he and Sue decided to give Ollie a loving home.

Nell: Yes. Ollie chose well. Tony needs a dog in his life. Some people do and we know them when we see them.

Me: Yes. Tony wasn’t sure if it was too soon but I think Milo would be happy for him.

Nell: Yes. Milo is his Guardian and watching over him now. He knows Tony will always carry him in his heart.

Me: Yes. Ollie reminds me of Dave when he was small.

Nell: Except Ollie is 8 weeks and David was that size at 4 weeks, or so I am told as I was not allowed to visit my family home if you remember.

Me: There were eight puppies, Nell, and we were told not to bring you.

Nell: David and Harriet’s mother is my sister Maisie.

Me: Yes, but there was nothing I could do. Anyway, I am hoping Tony and Sue will bring Ollie over to meet us all soon.

Nell: Yes, but don’t get any ideas. We have a houseful already with Timothy returning from Tuscany for the wedding.

Me: That turkey certainly gets around.

Nell: He led a very sheltered life until he came to us. Now he is exploring the world.

Me: Yes, it’s good to see him spread his wings.

Nell: Do stop. Don’t tell me David is singing again. If I have to hear ‘Just the one Cornetto’ again I will scream.

Me: You won’t be happy about his backing singers then.

Nell: What backing singers?

Me: The Welsh corgi choir have just arrived and they are all wearing hats. Sorry.


Ice cream wars

Nell: What on earth are you two wearing?

Me: We were just taking a selfie with our Italian ice cream seller hats. Doesn’t Dave look adorable in his?

Nell: It is very fetching. Why are you wearing one?

Me: Don’t worry it’s Harriet’s.

Nell: Of course. She agreed to help David after the cone throwing incident.

Me: What cone throwing incident?

Nell: Let’s just say that Gladys doesn’t take well to criticism.

Me: What happened?

Nell: Well, they were down at the quay selling ice cream when a Siamese cat with an eye patch….

Me: Was it injured?

Nell: Not at that juncture. I think it was just a fashion statement. Anyway, the Siamese cat complained about hair in its strawberry cone and suggested Gladys should wear a hairnet.

Me: But Gladys doesn’t do hairnets.

Nell: Quite. Apparently heated words were exchanged and Gladys lost her cool and threw a limoncello cone at it.

Me: Goodness me.

Nell: Unfortunately it missed the Siamese cat and hit a passing poodle who was out for a stroll along the quay with her husband.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: The husband was furious. His wife doesn’t like limoncello at the best of times.

Me: No, I’m not a fan either.

Nell: And the basset hound who ordered the limoncello cornet was even angrier because he’d been waiting a while.

Me: I expect he was.

Nell: Anyway, David tried to clear up.

Me: What a good, helpful boy.

Nell: But Gelato said Gladys was simply too volatile and he would have to let her go.

Me: So Harriet stepped in?

Nell: Yes. David needs someone calm and discreet beside him if he is to find out more.

Me: I can be calm and discreet.

Nell: We both know it’s never going to happen so give Harriet back her hat, please.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Well done

Me: Well done. You’ve reached your ideal weight. Emily the Vet is very pleased with you.

Nell: I still object to the public weigh in.

Me: There is no other way.

Nell: Yes, but shouting it out like that. You wouldn’t like it.

Me: I wouldn’t. It’s bad enough without anyone watching.

Nell: The new collar and lead are most welcome, however. I have been wearing a boy’s collar for far too long.

Me: Yes, although it was a way of you being incognito. Some people thought you were called Neil.

Nell: Do I look like a Neil?

Me: Not really. We might need to create an alias though. When we are undercover.

Nell: Eleanor will do.

Me: Or Petronella. That sounds like a spy.

Nell: I’m hoping you and I won’t need to go undercover as it is definitely not one of your strengths.

Me: But we need to find out if Gelato is friend, or foe.

Nell: Yes. I know. That’s why David is about to go and see him. But no eating ice cream. It’s part of his Avoiding Temptation training.

Me: Poor hungry boy.

Nell: He had a large breakfast so he is not a hungry boy and stop mollycoddling him. He is two now and can stand on his own four paws.

Me: Yes.

Nell: So, let’s hope he gets the job.

Me: What job?

Nell: Selling ice cream for Gelato, of course. Do keep up. Is that him leaving now?

Me: Yes. I’m not sure he should have dressed as a gondolier. Although the hat suits him and I like the moustache.

Nell: He isn’t carrying a pole is he? Only they actually use a paddle. It’s a mistake people often make.

Me: No, don’t worry, just Gladys in your handbag.

Nell: Unbelievable.

Me: Sorry.


A bouncy Monday

Nell: Just to warn you. Poppy is bouncing people again.

Me: What?

Nell: She just bounced Harriet on the sofa. Harriet thought she was a cushion. It frightened the life out of her.

Me: She certainly livens up a rainy Monday morning.

Nell: Yes. Malcolm is terrified. He doesn’t like being bounced at the best of times.

Me: Did it go well with that pelican by the way?

Nell: You mean Peter? Yes. Very well. He is happy to conduct the wedding ceremony if he can get away.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: I’m afraid he is locked in.

Me: Prison?

Nell: No, not prison, a zoo. You didn’t think pelicans roamed around the countryside here in Devon did you?

Me: I did wonder.

Nell: Owl Pacino and Count Bingo are on the case. They are going to break Peter out. The Count has some flamingoes on the inside.

Me: Good for them.

Nell: Susan has brought us some disturbing news.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: She and The Cat were having an ice cream on the quay and discussing bridesmaid dresses.

Me: That’s not disturbing at all. Although, I hope The Cat isn’t going too glitzy. Susan is such a discreet seagull it’s hard to believe she’s Stephen Seagull’s daughter.

Nell: Will you let me finish?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Susan had just taken a peck of her ice cream when a Beefy flew past shouting: ‘I scream for ice cream.’

Me: Silly creature.

Nell: And then Gelato Spinone raised his hat and said: ‘Esattamente, mio amico’. Which means ‘exactly my friend’ in Italian.

Me: What was Gelato doing there?

Nell: He was selling the ice cream. But that’s not the point.

Me: It sort of is.

Nell: No. He was friendly to a Beefy. The question is why.

Me: I see. Sorry.


A shocking discovery

Nell: When were you going to tell us?

Me: Tell you what?

Nell: David has made a shocking discovery in the garden.

Me: What did he find?

Nell: Outside beds in a poor condition with no cushions. Soiled by a very small Beefy, or some other bird, and covered in leaves.

Me: Oh those. We moved them into a corner while the roofers were here.

Nell: We are inside dogs, not wild animals. We have the right to soft beds and a warm blanket.

Me: I know.

Nell: David is aware of his shortcomings but it was only half a bacon sandwich. Certainly not enough to be banished to a hard, dirty bed in the wind and rain.

Me: There isn’t any wind and rain at the moment.

Nell: That is not the point.

Me: Nobody is being banished, Nell. We were going to clean them up and put soft cushions in them like garden furniture.

Nell: I see. David will be relieved. Although I can’t see him giving up his lounger.

Me: Has Sally been in touch?

Nell: Yes. She is planning to come down here for a few days. She and Charlie have been on the iBone for ages. Something about ice cream.

Me: Ice cream?

Nell: Poppy said she saw Gelato Spinone in Kingsbridge so I expect he’s behind it. Probably thinking of selling it over here.

Me: Who is Gelato Spinone?

Nell: The king of Italian ice cream. Come on, you must have heard of him. We have Mr Whippy and they have Gelato.

Me: Never heard of him.

Nell: He is quite a character. A bit hairy for my liking with a rough beard and long nose.

Me: Oh. Not a dog then?

Nell: Of course he’s a dog. Do keep up.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Saturday snoozing

Me: So how did it go in London?

Nell: They’re sleeping so whisper.

Me: Is Dave still being Considered?

Nell: Yes. He did extremely well on Disguise but stumbled on Avoiding Temptation as expected.

Me: Was it a scone?

Nell: No, much worse.

Me: Not a sausage?

Nell: No. A bacon sandwich.

Me: Dave loves a bacon sandwich.

Nell: Yes. He was sent in disguised as a vegetarian builder.

Me: Was he dressed as a builder?

Nell: Of course, he was wearing a hard hat and a belt.

Me: Kev wears a belt and he isn’t a builder

Nell: No, a tool belt. But that isn’t the point. Everyone was eating bacon sandwiches and they left one on the table.

Me: Oh no.

Nell: He managed a few minutes but then he simply couldn’t resist.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: He only ate half though, so it wasn’t a complete fail.

Me: It sort of was.

Nell: Sally has agreed to start him on something easier next time like cheese.

Me: Yes, he was thrown in the deep end.

Nell: No water was involved.

Me: Shame. Dave would have sailed through that. See what I did there?

Nell: Do stop.

Me: What about The Cat and Gladys?

Nell: They both failed at Keeping a Low Profile.

Me: Why am I not surprised?

Nell: Gladys was supposed to be a shy builder but you don’t start contemporary dancing if you’re trying to be inconspicuous.

Me: No.

Nell: And The Cat insisted on sequins and feathers.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: But their Distraction Skills were outstanding. They allowed Harriet to quietly film what she needed to, without anyone noticing.

Me: You don’t mean they were actually on a proper mission?

Nell: Of course they were. Sally wasn’t going to waste resources.

Me: No, of course not. Sorry.


Friday grumbles

Me: Why are you giving me that look?

Nell: Mutley is sleeping on my sofa and there are footstools everywhere.

Me: The sofa is huge, Nell. There’s plenty of room.

Nell: He doesn’t like to be moved.

Me: There’s another sofa and an armchair.

Nell: It’s my favourite sofa.

Me: Kev has even made us a fire because it was a bit chilly this morning.

Nell: You have a favourite armchair.

Me: I know I do.

Nell: And I have a favourite sofa.

Me: Why are you in such a difficult mood?

Nell: I don’t like the fact that both puppies have gone to London with Sally. I don’t think David is ready to be Considered.

Me: Charlie thinks he has great potential as a spy. He has such winning ways.

Nell: I know. But he isn’t worldly wise like Harriet.

Me: No, but he is a big brave boy and he knows what’s right and wrong.

Nell: He would do anything for a scone.

Me: Apparently that is part of his test. He has to learn to resist temptation. Now that he’s two he might have matured.

Nell: Rubbish. And why on earth did they allow Gladys to accompany him and The Cat? They’ve even taken my handbag.

Me: Charlie says they are part of Dave’s team.

Nell: Well, I am very glad they will be home this evening.

Me: Yes. They can tell us all about it.

Nell: If that’s a pelican at the door, ask him to go through to the kitchen, please.

Me: A pelican? Here in Devon?

Nell: Yes. He is here to see Malcolm about the wedding.

Me: I didn’t know Malcolm had invited any pelicans.

Nell: He’s not a guest, he’s a celebrant from Exmoor. Do keep up.

Me: Yes. Sorry.