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Happy Howl-oween

Me: Hello gourd-geous. Happy Howl-oween.

Nell: Here we go. Where is your hat?

Me: Upstairs.

Nell: You heard what was decided at Morning Thoughts ‘Hats must be worn at all times.’

Me: But it’s my all encasing hat and it’s ever so warm.

Nell: It needs a brim. We’ve told you this. Get a sombrero from The Cat.

Me: Why would Gully want to hypnotise me?

Nell: To gain access to The Great Mutliano of course.

Me: Where is Poppy? I haven’t seen her this morning.

Nell: She is still in bed. Yesterday was exhausting and we may need her sword skills tonight.

Me: I don’t know why Mutley doesn’t just cancel the show.

Nell: Cancel the show? The Great Mutliano is not going to bow to a Beefy.

Me: What if they come in disguise?

Nell: All visitors must show their invitations and costumes will be checked. We cannot be too careful.

Me: Yes. That ghost without saying.

Nell: Do stop.

Me: Who is on the door? Dave?

Nell: We are not going to put David on the door. He is vulnerable to mistakes.

Me: True.

Nell: Knitwear Wolf is head of security along with Jim and the Farm Dogs.

Me: I love Knitwear Wolf’s costume by the way. A knitted ghost. Hilarious.

Nell: Knitwear Wolf isn’t here. He’s in Torquay meeting Ron Gilbert the Great Dane. Ron is going on the door.

Me: Good. The Beefies are scared of him. That will give them pumpkin to talk about.

Nell: Wait. Where did you see the knitted ghost?

Me: Going inside the house with the morning papers. He waved. But if it isn’t Knitwear Wolf, who is it?

Nell: I have a bad feeling about this. Call for help now. Mutley is in danger.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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What a Wednesday

Me: You look exhausted.

Nell: I am. The helicopter just left Dartmoor with everyone on board.

Me: You mean Horst and Henry?

Nell: All bugs have been evacuated.

Me: All?

Nell: There was a terrible battle. Cakes were thrown and wool was unravelled.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: Cardigans were torn and knitted waistcoats ripped to shreds.

Me: How did it start?

Nell: When Susan approached Sven Gully he tried to hypnotise her. Fortunately Bob the buzzard spotted him and swooped in.

Me: Good bird.

Nell: In the ensuing fight Horst bravely jumped into Susan’s feathers. Unfortunately Gully started screaming and the Beefies attacked them.

Me: No.

Nell: Owl Pacino and the Royal Owl Force retaliated and bugs were scattered everywhere as the Beefies flew towards the hotel.

Me: Our hotel?

Nell: Yes. Poppy was already brandishing her sword. She and Knitwear Wolf were on high alert as soon as they heard the screaming.

Me: Go Poppy.

Nell: The Cat, David and Harriet took off their berets and started gathering up as many bugs as they could.

Me: Good thinking.

Nell: Alejandro and Gladys tried distracting the Beefies with an impromptu performance. It was touch and go until the Welsh Corgi choir and the Whippets Institute arrived with cakes.

Me: Surely nobody was hungry?

Nell: Not to eat, to throw. Rock cakes and cream horns. The Beefies were immobilised. They hate cream in their feathers.

Me: What happened next?

Nell: Knitwear Wolf ushered everyone into the chinook. The Beefies soon scattered when Poppy took off.

Me: And now they’re on their way home?

Nell: Yes, and thanks to Horst we know their plan.

Me: We do?

Nell: They want to capture The Great Mutliano at his Halloween special.

Me: But they are not invited.

Nell: That isn’t the point.

Me: No. Sorry.

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David makes another mistake

Me: Is there any news from Dartmoor?

Nell: I am waiting for Poppy to call me back. There was an incident during breakfast at the hotel and she had to go and deal with it.

Me: What happened?

Nell: David ate the bacon by mistake.

Me: Easily done.

Nell: It was a buffet. It was everybody’s bacon.

Me: Oh dear. Were they very angry?

Nell: Let’s just say it’s fortunate that Poppy had her sword.

Me: Oh no.

Nell: People feel very strongly about bacon when they are on holiday.

Me: Yes, they do.

Nell: Apparently voices were raised.

Me: What is Poppy going to do?

Nell: She’s in their kitchen making bacon sandwiches while Gladys entertains guests with a contemporary dance and Alejandro shakes his maracas.

Me: I didn’t know he had any.

Nell: Yes, he takes them everywhere. In the meantime David is writing a letter of apology.

Me: Is it all going well otherwise?

Nell: Susan and Henry have arrived at Beefy Mansion and are waiting to connect with Horst.

Me: How are they going to do that?

Nell: Susan will admire Sven Gully’s knitwear and when she is next to him Horst can leap into her feathers.

Me: I didn’t know woodlice could leap.

Nell: They are excellent leapers. They never do it when someone is looking but you would be amazed.

Me: I am amazed.

Nell: There is much more to a woodlouse than meets the eye.

Me: Yes. I’m learning that.

Nell: Did my iBone just ting?

Me: Yes.

Nell: It’s a message on WoofsApp from Poppy.

Me: What does it say?

Nell: ‘Bacon sandwiches going down well.’

Me: That’s a relief. Anything else?

Nell: ‘Gladys and Alejandro receive standing ovation.’

Me: Seriously?

Nell: Of course. Have you seen Gladys dance?

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Poppy saves the day

Me: What’s going on. I thought I heard a helicopter?

Nell: You did. It’s Poppy.

Me: Poppy?

Nell: Yes. Everything was getting completely ridiculous so Poppy made an executive decision and borrowed a chinook.

Me: Really?

Nell: As she pointed out what use is a pilot’s licence if you don’t use it?

Me: True.

Nell: They did a trial run of the covered wagon this morning and only got to the end of our lane before turning back.

Me: Oh no. What happened?

Nell: The wheels got stuck and David was so exhausted he ate a whole Madeira cake by mistake.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: The Cat said it’s never travelling in a wagon again.

Me: Muddy sequins?

Nell: Exactly and in the meantime Susan, Henry and the Buzzard Twins are half way to Dartmoor.

Me: And the Welsh Corgi Choir and Whippets Institute?

Nell They’ve been at the hotel since yesterday.

Me: It all makes sense now.

Nell: Does it?

Me: The helicopter is an excellent idea. Poppy can fly them up there in no time.

Nell: Yes. Fortunately the hotel can accommodate everyone as they will need to rest.

Me: I hope there’s space for Poppy to land.

Nell: We’re talking about Dartmoor here. All there is up there is space. Do keep up.

Me: They will draw attention to themselves.

Nell: That’s all sorted. They will be disguised as an Air Rescue team. The Cat has issued everyone with combat gear.

Me: It’s going to be an awfully big team with the Welsh corgis and the Whippets Institute.

Nell: Not them. Good grief. Try and be a little realistic. Just David, Harriet, Gladys, Alejandro, Poppy and The Cat.

Me: What about Knitwear Wolf?

Nell: He has his own knitted combats and beret. Very stylish.

Me: Of course. Sorry.

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Sunday preparations

Me: The puppies are still asleep on my bed. I thought they were leaving first thing.

Nell: The mission has been delayed.

Me: Why?

Nell: For a number of reasons. David feels they will all be stronger after a Sunday roast.

Me: He has a point.

Nell: You aren’t well which worries them.

Me: I’m fine. It’s just a cold.

Nell: You had pneumonia once.

Me: This isn’t pneumonia.

Nell: You were coughing all night.

Me: Any other reasons?

Nell: There is an awful lot to organise. David and Rupert have decided to help Alejandro pull the wagon so strong boots are needed.

Me: Good.

Nell: Gladys has requested rain hats and raincoats in yellow although The Cat favours dark green.

Me: Dark green blends in.

Nell: Yellow is better so they can be seen in traffic.

Me: But they don’t want to be seen.

Nell: A covered wagon pulled by an alpaca, a giant Labrador and a wolf in a cardigan is not exactly blending in, is it?

Me: I’m so glad Knitwear Wolf will be there.

Nell: The Welsh corgi choir are knitting thick soft socks for everyone.

Me: I don’t think Henry wears socks.

Nell: Henry will wear a body warmer.

Me: What about food?

Nell: Poppy is busy baking. Scones, sandwiches, Madeira cake and shortbread.

Me: Is she going too?

Nell: Yes. She’s taking her sword and leaving Malcolm here to run the kitchen.

Me: I bet Malcolm wants to go with Susan.

Nell: I’m afraid a polite flamingo on a wild and windy moor is as much use as a wet towel to a shivering dog.

Me: That’s a bit harsh. Poor Malcolm.

Nell: Malcolm is sensible. There is strength in knowing what you can and can’t do. Go back to bed.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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In this weather?

Me: You’ve got a white feather on your head. Has someone eaten a cushion?

Nell: I can assure you that a feather is the least of my concerns. Have you heard the latest?

Me: No.

Nell: You remember I told you Susan and Henry aren’t going up to Dartmoor alone?

Me: Yes.

Nell: I was actually referring to a plan drawn up by Knitwear Wolf and associates at the Dartmouth Meeting.

Me: Hang on a minute. The Dartmouth Meeting? And Knitwear Wolf has associates?

Nell: Yes, of course he does. Rupert hasn’t been working alone.

Me: Are you telling me that a pack of wolves met with Susan and Henry in Dartmouth about going to Beefy Mansion?

Nell: Of course I’m not. That would be ridiculous.

Me: I wondered for a moment.

Nell: I am talking about the Welsh corgi choir and the Whippets Institute.

Me: Excuse me?

Nell: They have a minibus and Myfanwy is willing to drive.

Me: Words fail me.

Nell: That’s a first. Obviously there will be a winged back-up.

Me: Walter Pigeon and the Beaky Blinders?

Nell: No, Bill the buzzard and his brother Bob. Owl Pacino will be on stand by with the Royal Owl Force.

Me: When you said Susan won’t be doing this alone I didn’t realise how many were involved.

Nell: Quite, so the idea of Alejandro pulling a covered wagon up there is clearly preposterous.

Me: A covered wagon? In this weather?

Nell: I told Gladys it’s Dartmoor not the Wild West. What is she thinking?

Me: Gladys is going too?

Nell: Of course. With David, The Cat and Harriet.

Me: Gosh. Alejandro is going to struggle getting up those hills. Going down them might be a bit risky too.

Nell: That is not the point.

Me: No. Sorry.

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David is over cautious and Susan and Henry do A Very Brave Thing

Me: Why has Dave got his eyes closed and what’s Susan doing in Dartmouth?

Nell: One thing at a time. You are not well.

Me: But Dave keeps bumping into things.

Nell: David is being over cautious. He had a sudden urge for pickled fish at breakfast this morning and now he thinks Sven Gully is everywhere.

Me: But Gully is at the Beefy Mansion on Dartmoor with Horst.

Nell: Yes, I know. It’s all because David tried some of Alejandro’s ceviche yesterday and enjoyed it.

Me: But ceviche is fish cured in lime juice and pickled herring is pickled in vinegar.

Nell: That’s not the point. Anyway, I’ve told him to wear sunglasses indoors even though I don’t approve of it at all.

Me: I remember when The Cat had its Aubrey Hepburn phase. You were furious.

Nell: It’s affectation.

Me: What about Susan?

Nell: Now, that’s a different story.

Me: Only I thought Malcolm was looking a little grey.

Nell: Yes, he’s off his prawns at the moment.

Me: Why is Susan in Dartmouth?

Nell: Susan and Henry have decided to do A Very Brave Thing.

Me: A Very Brave Thing?

Nell: Yes. They are going to fly up to Dartmoor to join the Beefies.

Me: They can’t do that.

Nell: As the daughter of Stephen Seagull, Susan is an honorary Beefy.

Me: No wonder Malcolm is grey.

Nell: Henry has to get to Horst. They have never been apart for this long.

Me: Susan had better wear sunglasses then.

Nell: Yes, that was my suggestion too. But don’t worry she isn’t going alone.

Me: Don’t tell me Malcolm and Timothy are going too?

Nell: Of course they aren’t. What on earth would a flamingo and a turkey do with a flock of angry seagulls?

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Expect the Unexpected

Nell: You are not going to believe this.

Me: I just might.

Nell: One must always expect the unexpected.

Me: Has Dave taken his sunglasses off again?

Nell: No. And you can go straight back to bed, by the way, coughing all night like that.

Me: I couldn’t help it.

Nell: It always happens when you go on aeroplanes.

Me: I didn’t go on a plane. I went to Heathrow on the train.

Nell: That’s enough. Anyway, where was I?

Me: Expecting the unexpected.

Nell: Yes. I opened the door this morning expecting Knitwear Wolf and the newspapers and instead I found a buzzard called Bob.

Me: Bob?

Nell: Yes. Obviously I didn’t know his name at the time.

Me: Yes. You had only just met.

Nell: Quite. He said Horst had been in touch.

Me: What a relief.

Nell: Well, I asked him inside for a cup of tea and some toast which was fortunate as he had flown quite a way.

Me: Marmalade, or jam?

Nell: Marmalade, of course, buzzards are very traditional. It seems Sven Gully and Horst are up at the Beefy Mansion on Dartmoor.

Me: Isn’t it awfully far from the sea?

Nell: Yes, but Beefies are dreadful attention seekers.

Me: I suppose it’s a bit like parading Dartmoor ponies on a beach. They are definitely going to be noticed.

Nell: We know Stephen Seagull has called a meeting and the Beefies are gathering.

Me: I wonder if they are all wearing knitted waistcoats.

Nell: Good point. If they are bugged then Horst has backup.

Me: Maybe the bugs could all bite the Beefies at the same time. That would shock them.

Nell: The bugs are simply gathering information. They are not hired assassins. Try and stay in the real world, please.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Dave is in danger

Me: Where is Dave? He didn’t come upstairs for Morning Cuddles.

Nell: I’m afraid he is on duty and cannot be distracted.

Me: What is he doing?

Nell: Looking out for Beefies in knitted waistcoats.

Me: Of course. Silly me.

Nell: The waistcoats have proved rather popular.

Me: Is Dave counting them then?

Nell: No. He is waiting for the return of Sven Gully.

Me: That sounds like a movie title.

Nell: This is not a joking matter. Staring at the sky is not something anyone wants to do with Gully around.

Me: No, of course not.

Nell: We didn’t want to worry you with all that was going on in your life but Alejandro went under for a while when Gully was here.

Me: Under where? The table?

Nell: Under the influence. Alejandro wouldn’t fit under the table.

Me: What happened?

Nell: We all wore sunglasses as planned and tried not to look him in the eyes.

Me: Good.

Nell: When the waistcoat was finally fitted Gully flew off with Horst. We’ve heard nothing since.

Me: What about Alejandro?

Nell: We only realised there was something wrong when he started speaking Swedish.

Me: Oh no.

Nell: He refused his usual enchiladas and asked for ‘surstr√∂mming‘.

Me: What on earth is that?

Nell: Sour herring. Fortunately Knitwear Wolf spent some time in Sweden and understood him.

Me: What did you do?

Nell: Obvious you can’t just ferment a herring. The horrible stuff takes six months. So Poppy suggested a Rollmops.

Me: I meant about him being hypnotised.

Nell: The Great Mutliano brought him back after a few sessions but he still craves fish.

Me: Shouldn’t Dave be wearing glasses?

Nell: Do you mean he isn’t? David is in danger. Why didn’t you tell me before?

Me: I didn’t realise. Sorry.

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Tuesday Farewells

Me: My darlings. Well, some of them, anyway.

Nell: Yes.

Me: I have so many happy memories of their visit. Look at Dave trying to kiss Jonathan.

Nell: David really doesn’t understand the concept of boundaries.

Me: He’s just a Big Brave Beautiful Affectionate Boy.

Nell: He needs to stop squashing people. So how is London?

Me: Very busy. It makes me realise how lucky we are to live where we do.

Nell: Yes, we are.

Me: Although some people love the hustle and bustle of city life.

Nell: Yes, fortunately we are all different. As I always say ‘one dog’s treat is another dog’s raisin.’

Me: Don’t you mean ‘one man’s meat is another man’s poison’?

Nell: Certainly not. Everyone knows raisins are poisonous to dogs so there is no need to state the obvious.

Me: I suppose not.

Nell: So when do they fly to Berlin?

Me: In a few hours. We are going to have breakfast and then catch the bus to the airport.

Nell: Now, remember it is a ‘See You Again Soon’ and not a ‘Goodbye’.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Talking of seeing you soon. Kev and I will be there as usual to collect you from Totnes station.

Me: Thank you.

Nell: David has asked to join us but he’s not a good traveller.

Me: What do you mean? Dave loves going by car.

Nell: He starts asking if we are there yet just after we’ve left.

Me: He gets excited.

Nell: Well, he is not coming. Kev and I treasure these quiet moments together. They are few and far between.

Me: I might be a little bit low when you see me.

Nell: I know. That’s why I will be there. We can be low together. You and me. Always. Remember?

Me: Yes. Sorry.