Everyone is singing it

Me: ‘Robin Woof, Robin Woof running through the waves.’

Nell: Do stop. I don’t mind if I never hear that song again.

Me: ‘Robin Woof, Robin Woof, also known as Dave.’

Nell: That’s enough now.

Me: It’s storming up the iChews charts. Everyone is singing it.

Nell: Gladys said she was in Walbarks this morning and heard it being played.

Me: Really?

Nell: And I was in the chilled food section at Barks and Spencer when an elderly pug broke into song. Most disconcerting.

Me: Did you say you knew Robin personally?

Nell: Of course I didn’t. I don’t go around courting publicity like some.

Me: Who’s doing that?

Nell: The Cat. Have you seen its latest outfit?

Me: No.

Nell: A diamond tiara and a velvet cloak. It’s handing out business cards to everyone.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: It’s calling itself ‘Designer to the stars.’

Me: Well, it designed all the costumes.

Nell: For a local pantomime not a Hollywood blockbuster.

Me: I think it’s fun.

Nell: David is never seen in public now without his feathered hat.

Me: Bless him.

Nell: Or a huge chorus of Merry Dogs.

Me: That’s a little more awkward.

Nell: Why do they all have to congregate here?

Me: This is the home of Robin Woof.

Nell: Well, they are eating us out of house and home. Poppy can’t keep up with it all.

Me: Thank goodness Pizza Mutt delivers.

Nell: If that’s another Merry Dog at the door tell it Robin is not here.

Me: It’s Myfanwy. She’s looking for Knitwear Wolf.

Nell: Oh dear. Is she carrying anything?

Me: Yes. It looks like a letter.

Nell: It’s the poem. She must have decided to declare her love.

Me: How romantic.

Nell: Not if he doesn’t feel the same way.

Me: No. Sorry.


Charlie has a good idea

Me: Harriet looks concerned.

Nell: After Bacongate yesterday she has every right to be.

Me: True.

Nell: Well, you will be pleased to hear that Knitwear Wolf arrived this morning with more than just the newspapers.

Me: Was he wearing his dark red roll neck sweater?

Nell: No. He is in a forest green knitted suit today with a rather attractive wide brimmed hat, but that’s not the point.

Me: No.

Nell: He brought several packs of bacon from the farm shop and bottles of red and brown sauce

Me: How thoughtful.

Nell: Yes. Poppy has baked some fresh loaves of bread so it’s bacon sandwiches all round.

Me: Apart from the vegetarians.

Nell: Yes. Malcolm is whipping up an omelette as we speak.

Me: How is Timothy?

Nell: He managed a mug of sweet warm tea and a little toast.

Me: That’s a relief.

Nell: Unfortunately the Beefy problem continues however.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: I am so tired of their annoying screeching and fish breath and now we have Stephen Seagull’s newfound stardom to worry about.

Me: Stardom?

Nell: His clifftop version of ‘My Way’ is climbing up the charts on iChews.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: It could even be the Christmas Number One.

Me: That’s awful. We have to do something.

Nell: Don’t worry. Charlie had an excellent idea at Morning Thoughts.

Me: Tell me.

Nell: You know your Robin Woof song?

Me: You mean the one you criticised?

Nell: Whatever. David and the cast are going to perform it with the Welsh corgi choir.

Me: That’s amazing.

Nell: So everyone needs to be on the beach in full costume by 12 o’clock sharp.

Me: But I don’t have a costume.

Nell: Of course you don’t. You’re the writer. Just bring your pen and notebook.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Dave is not happy

Me: Dave doesn’t look happy.

Nell: That’s because he isn’t.

Me: His ears have gone flat. He’s lost his sparkle.

Nell: What are you talking about?

Me: He looks like a little boy with wet hair who has just been collected from swimming lessons and is feeling a bit cold and miserable.

Nell: For Goodness Sake.

Me: My poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: David is not sad. He is annoyed.

Me: But he’s never annoyed.

Nell: Well, he is today.

Me: What have I done?

Nell: It’s not you. It’s the Beefies.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: They’ve stolen the bacon.

Me: The villains.

Nell: And replaced it with mackerel.

Me: Shocking.

Nell: Imagine starting your day with a mackerel sandwich.

Me: There are worse things.

Nell: Not when you were expecting bacon.

Me: I suppose not. How did they get the bacon?

Nell: During yesterday’s ridiculously theatrical performance of ‘My Way’ a group of wild Beefies gained access to the kitchen. They knew we would all be at the beach.

Me: The rascals.

Nell: Yes. Timothy was found trussed up with an orange in his mouth.

Me: That’s appalling. He must be traumatised.

Nell: He is going to need a long time to get over it.

Me: Of course he is.

Nell: The Beefies took all the bacon and both sauces. Red and white.

Me: Outrageous.

Nell: They even took Poppy’s fresh white farmhouse bread and replaced it with a stale brown shop bought loaf.

Me: The cheek of it.

Nell: Pre-sliced.

Me: Dastardly.

Nell: Poppy only discovered it this morning when she went to make breakfast.

Me: Didn’t Timothy tell her?

Nell: Timothy has been lying down in a darkened room with a towel over his eyes. He can’t talk to anyone.

Me: Of course not. Sorry.


The auditions continue

Me: That’s Little Ollie. Hasn’t he grown?

Nell: He certainly has and he’s becoming quite a handful according to Tony. In fact he reminds me of a young Naughty Nigel.

Me: You mean he is a lovable scallywag?

Nell: Yes. He has been getting up to all kinds of mischief.

Me: So what is he doing in that photo?

Nell: Auditioning. He wants to be a Merry Dog.

Me: He looks more like a vampire to me. What’s that in his mouth?

Nell: Wool. Tony says Sue was busy working on her crafts for Christmas when Ollie stole her wool.

Me: Naughty boy. Maybe he should join the Beefies as one of Knitwear Wolf’s baddies.

Nell: The Beefies still have to prove themselves.

Me: How are they going to do that?

Nell: Stephen Seagull will be performing his version of ‘My Way’ this afternoon with a chorus of Beefies. You can come along if you’re interested.

Me: Where is he doing that?

Nell: On the cliff top overlooking the beach. It’s ridiculously theatrical, of course, but Charlie says we must give him a chance.

Me: Who is in the other photo?

Nell: It’s Gorgeous George of course. Poppy met him on the beach and he is keen to join our production.

Me: I don’t think I know him.

Nell: You must do. Everyone knows Gorgeous George. He’s one of the top models.

Me: Is he?

Nell: Knitwear Wolf has been trying to get him to model his small dog range for quite some time.

Me: He certainly has style.

Nell: Yes. You should see him on the dogwalk.

Me: Well, I probably will if he walks on the beach.

Nell: No. I’m talking about modelling.

Me: Oh, you mean the catwalk.

Nell: I most certainly do not.

Me: Ok. Sorry.


Who ate the scone?

Me: You two look ever so guilty.

Nell: We do not. These are our Focussed Faces.

Me: Guilty faces you mean.

Nell: No. Concerned.

Me: Why? What has happened?

Nell: Someone ate the last scone.

Me: Who would do such a thing?

Nell: We think it might have been Monty.

Me: Monty the Moose? He isn’t greedy. He’s rather restrained for a large animal.

Nell: It was probably The Cat then.

Me: The Cat isn’t fussed about scones. It prefers smoked salmon.

Nell: Well, the scone has definitely gone so somebody ate it.

Me: I have the distinct feeling that you two shared it.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: You’ve got guilt written all over your faces.

Nell: We have not. Just because David has a history of making mistakes doesn’t mean he made one today.

Me: True.

Nell: Can we move on please? I have far more pressing concerns on my mind.

Me: What are you worried about?

Nell: Myfanwy is about to make a fool of herself over Knitwear Wolf.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a corgi pine but it’s not a pleasant thing.

Me: I can imagine.

Nell: There is an awful lot of sighing and sad singing.

Me: Are you sure he doesn’t know?

Nell: He has no idea. But he will do soon because she’s written a poem.

Me: What does it say?

Nell: ‘Rupert is stylish

Rupert is strong

Rupert wears cardigans

Both short and long.

He’s the handsomest wolf

I ever did see

I love him so much

I just wish he loved me.’

Me: How adorable.

Nell: Rupert is a tall handsome wolf and Myfanwy is a short round Welsh corgi. It’s not going to work.

Me: Well, I prefer to think it might. Sorry.


A windy rehearsal

Me: It was ever so windy on the beach wasn’t it? Look at Poppy’s ears.

Nell: It was an extremely exhausting rehearsal.

Me: Not for everyone. Harriet swam between scenes and Mutley loved it.

Nell: David ran off with his fan club. He was gone for ages.

Me: He came back eventually.

Nell: There are far too many distractions.

Me: I think we might have been the biggest distraction considering the number of people who stopped to watch us.

Nell: I refuse to go down to the beach again with a large moose and an alpaca.

Me: But they are part of the cast.

Nell: I can accept that Alejandro is playing Little John but what on earth is that moose doing? And why is it wearing a red jacket and a brown hat?

Me: Monty is a Mountie.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: Monty the Moose is a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Nell: We’ve got the RNLI down here. We don’t need the Mounties.

Me: I know but he’s an old friend of Knitwear Wolf’s and he has agreed to play the Noble Steed.

Nell: There isn’t a noble steed in Robin Woof.

Me: Actually there are several and Monty has agreed to play all of them.

Nell: How can he do that?

Me: Different coats. Black for a bad steed and green for a good.

Nell: And red?

Me: That’s his everyday coat.

Nell: I hope there isn’t a battle because he can’t fight himself.

Me: Alejandro will play the other steed when needed.

Nell: They aren’t even horses. Having said that I suppose we have rabbits and woodlice as Merry Dogs so why not? Quite frankly I’m past caring.

Me: The more the merrier. See what I did there?

Nell: Enough.

Me: Sorry.


Strong but not so silent

Nell: David is in the living room practising being handsome.

Me: He is handsome.

Nell: He has found a spot of sunlight and is working on his strong silent look.

Me: It wasn’t very silent this morning.

Nell: I told those corgis. Sunday morning songs should be gentle but did they listen?

Me: Obviously not.

Nell: They were all wearing green feathered caps and carrying bows and arrows.

Me: I know.

Nell: Timothy fainted.

Me: Oh no.

Nell: He is always on edge at this time of year and he thought his day had come. It was lucky Malcolm had made some mulled wine for the choir. He’s sleeping it off now.

Me: It’s tough being a turkey.

Nell: Did you hear what they were singing?

Me: I liked it.

Nell: ‘ Robin Woof, Robin Woof riding in his clogs

Robin Woof, Robin Woof with his Merry Dogs

Feared by the bad, loved by the good

Robin Woof, Robin Woof, Robin Woof’

Me: It’s rather catchy, isn’t it?

Nell: Robin Woof doesn’t wear clogs. Who on earth wrote that?

Me: I couldn’t find another rhyme. I tried ‘riding through the fog’ but you can’t have one Merry Dog.

Nell: I might have known it was you.

Me: The second verse is better.

Nell: You mean ‘Robin Woof, Robin Woof riding on the beach

Robin Woof, Robin Woof hear those Beefies screech

Handsome and brave, strong as a moose

Robin Hoof, Robin Hoof, Robin Hoof’

Me: Dave loves it.

Nell: Strong as a moose? We live in England not Canada. We don’t have moose.

Me: Well, who is that in the red jacket and brown hat then?

Nell: Where?

Me: In the garden, talking to Knitwear Wolf.

Nell: Could you ask Malcolm to bring me a mulled wine please?

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Christmas is a time for Giving and Forgiving

Me: What are those three waiting for?

Nell: Tony and treats.

Me: Surely a visit from Tony is treat enough.

Nell: No dog refuses a treat, unless they are sick, or suspicious.

Me: Suspicious?

Nell: Beware of the Beefy bearing gifts.

Me: True.

Nell: I have been known to refuse a stale scone if thrown in anger.

Me: Or a wet mackerel.

Nell: Exactly. David struggles to refuse food, however, even from Beefies.

Me: I know. He’s in the kitchen now with three Beefies and a stack of Malcolm’s pancakes.

Nell: I beg your pardon. Did you say three Beefies are in our kitchen eating pancakes?

Me: Yes. They had an early morning rehearsal with Knitwear Wolf and are about to go for a fitting with The Cat.

Nell: This is outrageous.

Me: You knew they were auditioning to be part of the Sheriff of Nottingham’s Band of Baddies.

Nell: Band of Baddies? You’ll be telling me they sing next.

Me: They do. It’s not very tuneful. In fact it’s a bit screechy but they are putting their all into it.

Nell: I think I need a lie down.

Me: Gull is one of them and you know he is a good Beefy.

Nell: Yes, but what about the other two?

Me: You mean the two in the kitchen?

Nell: Are there others then?

Me: There might be. But there’s only one big one.

Nell: Excuse me?

Me: Rupert says it’s Christmas and a time for giving and forgiving.

Nell: Has he been on the mulled wine? Who is the big Beefy?

Me: Stephen Seagull.

Nell: Our arch enemy?

Me: What you don’t know, Nell, is that Stephen has always dreamt of being on stage. This is literally a dream come true.

Nell: Or my worst nightmare.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Poppy has had enough

Me: Poppy is in her Christmas palace and won’t come out.

Nell: She needs some quiet so David is guarding her.

Me: He was asleep the last time I checked.

Nell: He was up late rehearsing with his Merry Dogs.

Me: They were rather loud.

Nell: I can understand the corgis but the Whippets Institute?

Me: They were very merry.

Nell: I blame the mulled wine.

Me: I’m not surprised Poppy wants some peace.

Nell: Did you see that Beefy?

Me: Which one?

Nell: Dressed in black with long hair and a beard.

Me: Not David’s wig again?

Nell: Probably. It wants to be in the pantomime.

Me: What?

Nell: Even produced credentials.

Me: Gosh. What did they say?

Nell: ‘This is a very bad Beefy.’

Me: Well, we all know that.

Nell: Signed by Stephen Seagull.

Me: He’ll want to be in it next.

Nell: He already does. There is a huge argument going on about pantomimes being for everyone, good and bad.

Me: Goodness me. No wonder Poppy has had enough.

Nell: Malcolm is trying to be the voice of reason.

Me: Bless him.

Nell: He thinks this may be a way of uniting everyone.

Me: Good luck with that.

Nell: In the end it comes down to Knitwear Wolf.

Me: Why?

Nell: He is playing the Sheriff of Nottingham. Can he cope with a band of Beefies?

Me: If anyone can, he can.

Nell: That’s what Charlie thinks.

Me: What about Gladys? She’s directing too.

Nell: Gladys says it adds an element of risk and spontaneity.

Me: The sword fights are certainly going to be risky.

Nell: No swords allowed. Only baguettes and possibly mackerel.

Me: How about a green salad?

Nell: What are you talking about? You can’t fight with lettuce.

Me: Of course not. Sorry.


Good grief

Nell: If that’s another Merry Dog at the front door tell it to go away.

Me: But it’s wearing a feathered hat.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: It says it always wanted to be in a pantomime and when it read about Robin Woof it had to come here.

Nell: I told David not to do that interview with the Daily Growl.

Me: But it’s raining and it’s getting awfully wet.

Nell: Send it into the kitchen for tea and shortbread with the others then. Malcolm just made a fresh batch.

Me: Malcolm wears his crown all the time now.

Nell: Mutley is the same with his false tummy. It keeps him warm.

Me: We need to warn The Cat about the growing number of Merry Dogs.

Nell: I would advise you to steer clear at the moment. There was a falling out with Gladys over Harriet’s costume.

Me: She’s playing Will Scarlet so it should be a simple tunic.

Nell: We are talking about The Cat here. Simple is not part of its vocabulary.

Me: No. So what is the costume?

Nell: A sequinned jumpsuit in vivid scarlet with a matching hat and feather boa.

Me: Not something an outlaw would normally wear.

Nell: No.

Me: On the other hand it is a pantomime, Nell,

Nell: True and Gladys is usually partial to a feather boa.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Well, I’m sure Charlie will sort it out.

Me: Charlie?

Nell: Yes. He’s agreed to help Gladys.

Me: He’ll be wonderful at smoothing ruffled feathers. See what I did there?

Nell: What on earth is a rabbit doing at the front door? Please don’t tell me it’s wearing a feathered hat.

Me: It is and it looks ever so merry.

Nell: But it isn’t even a dog.

Me: I know. Sorry.