Me: Where are the puppies?
Nell: Harriet is giving Jonathan a morning tickle and David is supervising his breakfast.
Me: Boiled eggs?
Nell: Yes, followed by blackberry jam on toast.
Me: Any news from Henry?
Nell: Big News. I’ve just been discussing it at Morning Thoughts.
Me: Tell me.
Nell: Henry suspects Malcolm has been hypnotised.
Nell: I’m afraid so. I did wonder when he said ‘de behöver mer färg‘ about the fishcakes.
Me: Did he have one stuck in his throat?
Nell: No. It means ‘They need more colour’ in Swedish.
Me: Were the fishcakes pale then?
Nell: That’s not the point. Malcolm was speaking Swedish. The reason is obvious.
Me: He is learning a new language?
Nell: No. Have you forgotten the Swedish incident last May?
Me: Do you mean when everyone started speaking Swedish and you were nice to me?
Me: But Malcolm is being nasty.
Nell: Malcolm is behaving out of character.
Me: Like you were?
Nell: Yes. Henry has also confirmed that Malcolm has been dreaming in Swedish.
Nell: So it is safe to assume that he is back.
Nell: Sven Gully.
Me: You mean Stephen Seagull’s Swedish cousin the evil hypnotist? That Sven Gully?
Nell: Yes. Of course.
Me: Oh dear.
Nell: He is obviously working for the Black Claw so we have to be on our guard.
Me: What can we do?
Nell: Hats must be worn at all times and no staring at the sky. If you see any odd behaviour let me know.
Me: To be honest there’s quite a lot of odd behaviour around here so it might be rather difficult to tell.
Nell: Remember The Cat wore socks and sandals and Harriet ate pickled fish.
Me: Yes. That was odd. Sorry.