Oh Mandy

Nell: If you could stop taking photos of Harriet, please, I need a word.

Me: We’re playing Cheeky Animal.

Nell: Well, stop.

Me: But I just caught her.

Nell: We have other far more urgent matters to deal with than that.

Me: Like what?

Nell: I’m afraid we have offended PC Panda.

Me: What have we done? Run out of scones?

Nell: No. His name isn’t Amanda.

Me: I did wonder.

Nell: It’s Armando.

Me: Oh dear. But you said it was Amanda, Nell.

Nell: I know. It’s an easy mistake to make. They sound the same.

Me: But we’ve been calling him Amanda for months. What happened?

Nell: He introduced himself to Babycakes Gillespie as Armando and then Babycakes told him.

Me: Oh no. What did he say?

Nell: ‘I gotta tell you, The Martins all call you Amanda. I thought it was a strange first name for a guy. Can I call you Mandy?’

Me: That was an awfully good American accent, Nell.

Nell: That’s not the point. PC Panda will be furious with us.

Me: Mandy is much better than Amanda. Mandy Patinkin is a great actor. Have you seen The Princess Bride’?

Nell: Will you stop? I have invited PC Panda over here to explain and we all need to be there.

Me: You haven’t invited Babycakes, have you?

Nell: No, definitely not.

Me: Or the Welsh corgi choir?

Nell: No.

Me: What about the Whippets Institute?

Nell: Why on earth would they be involved?

Me: They’ve just arrived in their minibus.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: And they’re carrying a banner saying ‘Sorry Mandy’.

Nell: Can this get any worse?

Me: Possibly. The Welsh corgi choir have started singing ‘Mandy’ and Gladys is performing a contemporary dance.

Nell: I need a lie down.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Sunday Choices

Me: Are you ignoring me?

Nell: I am simply resting after a very busy few days.

Me: In a grumpy way.

Nell: I can’t be sweetness and light all the time you know.

Me: Is it because the boys have gone to their new home?

Nell: Of course, it isn’t. They only live down the road now.

Me: You and Boo could be twins, you know.

Nell: Do stop.

Me: Seriously, you look so much like each other but you couldn’t be more different in character.

Nell: Boo is a worrier.

Me: Yes, and he isn’t bossy at all.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: Did I say bossy? I meant he doesn’t have your organisational skills.

Nell: That’s better. By the way, Our Penguin’s video of Driftwood Bark playing ‘The Beefy Shake’ is trending on YouChewed?

Me: Wonderful. I was surprised to see them performing this morning at Sunday Songs.

Nell: The Welsh corgi choir are huge fans of Driftwood Bark. David couldn’t say no.

Me: Well, Gladys and the Llamas are bringing a whole new meaning to shaking. Some of those Welsh corgis can really move.

Nell: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Lycra is not for everyone, especially corgis.

Me: It is a little unflattering but they’re all having such fun.

Nell: Babycakes Gillespie has invited himself to Sunday lunch again.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: He’s bringing American apple pie.

Me: I love apple pie.

Nell: All I can say is, Choices need to be made.

Me: Personally, I enjoy custard with my pie, but sometimes I prefer ice cream, or cream, or even all three.

Nell: I am not talking about custard. Good grief. Poppy needs to make a decision about Babycakes and John. Did you just say all three?

Me: Yes. Sorry.


The Beefy Shake

Me: What is Naughty Nigel doing waving his head at the sky? Has he got water in his ears?

Nell: No. He’s doing ‘The Beefy Shake.’

Me: Is this something to do with yesterday? Only Boo and Seamus seem quite tired today.

Nell: They’re new to Devon. They’ll soon get used to it.

Me: Get used to what, Nell? What on earth did you all get up to yesterday?

Nell: Well, the journey to the beach was a little eventful as some of the tourists weren’t expecting such large animals to be walking down the lanes.

Me: Olive the Other Reindeer is going to be less surprising soon.

Nell: Yes, she’s got a busy time ahead. In fact Monty the Moose has offered to wear antlers to help her out.

Me: Those Mounties are so kind.

Nell: Knitwear Wolf took Princess and Our Penguin in the sidecar and she clapped herself all the way there. I wish she wouldn’t do that.

Me: It’s a seal thing.

Nell: As we walked onto the beach we heard music.

Me: How exciting.

Nell: It was David and his band Driftwood Bark playing ‘The Beefy Shake.’

Me: I don’t think I know it. How does it go?

Nell: ‘Well now you shake it to the left,
Shake it to the right,
Do the Beefy shake shake
With all of your might. Oh baby, come on and shake.’

Me: That’s very catchy, Nell.

Nell: Naughty Nigel absolutely loves it. Everyone joined in, waving their heads and flapping their ears, where possible, of course.

Me: Do you mean Henry and Horst? Woodlice don’t have ears, do they?

Nell: No. They shook their antennae. What on earth are you doing?

Me: ‘The Beefy Shake.’

Nell: But you’re inside and there are no Beefies.

Me: Oh yes. Sorry.


Seamus lends an ear

Me: Have you seen Poppy? Dave says we’ve run out of bacon.

Nell: Poppy is upstairs in your bedroom pouring her heart out to Seamus.

Me: Is she?

Nell: Yes. They’re on the bed and she is telling him all about John and Babycakes Gillespie.

Me: Well, that’s a good thing, isn’t it?

Nell: She’s making herself out to be completely innocent, of course.

Me: Is she tilting her head and opening her eyes wide?

Nell: Yes. And he’s hanging on her every word and saying ‘Oh dear. You poor little thing.’

Me: She’s probably missing Mutley, Nell. She always used to confide in him.

Nell: How can we have run out of bacon already? I’m going to have to address this at Morning Thoughts.

Me: Must you?

Nell: Yes. We’re discussing Greed with particular reference to David and his Eating by Mistake.

Me: My poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: How can someone eat a whole gammon on the way from the kitchen to the dining room?

Me: I expect he had a little taste and couldn’t stop. He left the pineapple.

Nell: He doesn’t like pineapple.

Me: True.

Nell: Fortunately Poppy had cooked two more for our picnic today.

Me: Picnic?

Nell: I thought a trip to the beach might be nice for our visitors. Our Penguin will be filming. We shall make some memories.

Me: Wonderful. Are John and Babycakes coming too?

Nell: I don’t know but Naughty Nigel has something planned and Gladys and The Cat are involved. I caught them whispering.

Me: Maybe that’s why Boo is wearing sunglasses. He’s incognito.

Nell: Stop getting carried away. Boo is simply recovering from a late night playing poker with the larger animals.

Me: Really?

Nell: Thursday nights are poker nights. Everyone knows that.

Me: I didn’t. Sorry.


Waiting for our visitors

Nell: Why are the puppies staring out of the window?

Me: Well, here’s the thing.

Nell: What do you mean ‘here’s the thing’? I never like it when you say that.

Me: No, and you might not like this at first, but you will.

Nell: Will I?

Me: The puppies were excited when I told them.

Nell: Told them what?

Me: Naughty Nigel is coming to stay for a few days with Seamus and Boo.

Nell: Why?

Me: You know my sister Charlotte has bought a house not far away from us?

Nell: I do and I’m extremely delighted as now all three of you sisters are living back in Devon.

Me: Anyway, Charlotte and Kerry need to get the house ready and organise the moving, so I said the boys could stay here.

Nell: Fair enough. That makes complete sense to me.

Me: Gosh, that’s a relief.

Nell: But there is more. Isn’t there?

Me: Not really. It’s just that the boys will be sleeping in the bedroom because they might feel lonely and a little lost.

Nell: Are we talking about your bedroom?

Me: Yes.

Nell: The one we don’t sleep in at night?

Me: Yes. Apart from Poppy, but she’s going to have to share our bed with Seamus because he’s a little bit poorly.

Nell: Seamus is poorly?

Me: He’s having problems with his heart.

Nell: Why didn’t you say so in the first place? Of course the boys must share your room. I will talk to Poppy now about some heart friendly meals. She made them when Charlie was ill.

Me: That’s a wonderful idea, Nell. I’m so glad you are fine with this.

Nell: The boys are family. Nothing matters more. Especially in these difficult times. We are doing this together.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Dave is Meditating

Me: Dave’s upstairs on the bed with his eyes closed.

Nell: That’s what you’re supposed to do on a bed.

Me: No. They are closed in an awake kind of way. He’s not asleep.

Nell: Oh. He’s probably meditating.

Me: Dave doesn’t meditate. He’s not a meditating kind of animal.

Nell: Meditation isn’t just for cats and woodlice, you know.

Me: Cats and woodlice?

Nell: Yes.

Me: Are you going to elaborate?

Nell: Certainly not.

Me: It means explain.

Nell: I knew that.

Me: I never knew woodlice meditated.

Nell: Henry and Horst do it all the time. I’m surprised you haven’t noticed.

Me: I’ve noticed they can go a bit quiet.

Nell: Go a bit quiet? They are not exactly talkers.

Me: They talk to Dave.

Nell: David has keen ears. I’ve told you this before.

Me: Why does Dave need to meditate?

Nell: Sally is going back to London soon.

Me: Oh dear. Is her mission accomplished?

Nell: No, but Rupert and John are on the case.

Me: I thought not because Babycakes Gillespie is out there again.

Nell: Where?

Me: In the field with the llamas doing some kind of strange dance.

Nell: That will be Tai Chi. The llamas do it every morning.

Me: I never noticed.

Nell: That’s because you write in the mornings. You don’t notice anything.

Me: I noticed Dave meditating.

Nell: David is hard to miss.

Me: Sally is going to miss him.

Nell: Yes, she is.

Me: And he will miss her.

Nell: I know. Poppy is going to make him a nice bowl of goulash for his tea.

Me: He loves goulash.

Nell: Yes.

Me: But it’s not Sally.

Nell: Of course it isn’t Sally. What a ridiculous thing to say. Sally is a Golden Retriever.

Me: I know. Sorry.


Tongue out Tuesday

Me: Harriet has the floppiest tongue I’ve ever seen.

Nell: Yes. She is very relaxed on the beach.

Me: I know. She’s a proper little water rat.

Nell: I beg your pardon? Harriet is a pedigree chocolate Labrador. There is nothing rat like about her.

Me: It’s just a saying. What did you think about yesterday’s antics?

Nell: I’m afraid Babycakes Gillespie is not meant to wear a wetsuit.

Me: No. It wasn’t very flattering. I don’t think he’s a natural surfer, either, but his boat was impressive.

Nell: I prefer a yacht myself. Speedboats are too flashy for my liking. Especially when they are driven by a gangster pug in a captain’s hat wearing sunglasses in October.

Me: Poppy loved the water skiing, though.

Nell: Yes. Poppy has great balance and she is fearless.

Me: Dave struggled a bit. My poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Water skiing favours the smaller animals.

Me: You don’t mean Henry and Horst?

Nell: Of course not. Henry and Horst are wild swimmers, not water skiers. Do keep up.

Me: Did you see Poppy holding on with just one paw?

Nell: Yes. Until she fell off.

Me: And that’s exactly when John and Knitwear Wolf arrived on their paddle boards like knights in shining cardigans.

Nell: I wasn’t sure about the cardigans, but I must say I admired the way John calmly paddled towards Poppy, scooped her up on to his board and paddled away with her.

Me: Babycakes was furious.

Nell: Yes.

Me: My money is definitely on John.

Nell: What money?

Me: Gladys has a bet going on who will win Poppy over.

Nell: Matters of the heart are not something one should place a bet on.

Me: Well, we all have, Nell, and John is the favourite to win. Sorry.


Sunday Morning Antics

Me: What are Dave and Harriet looking at?

Nell: Have you looked outside today?

Me: No. I’ve been writing and listening to Sunday songs. The Welsh corgi choir are in fine voice today, although ‘My American Boy’ is a rather unusual choice.

Nell: Just look out of the window. I can’t bear to again.

Me: Oh my goodness. The Beefies are carrying a huge banner across the sky. It says ‘Marry Me.’

Nell: I know.

Me: I presume it’s for Poppy.

Nell: Of course, it is.

Me: It’s not like John to make such an extravagant gesture. He’s more of a ‘bended knee on a quiet walk’ kind of Doberman.

Nell: That’s because it isn’t John. It’s that wretched Babycakes Gillespie. And if you ask me, he’s chosen Sunday Songs too.

Me: Gosh. Do you think Poppy is going to be impressed?

Nell: She’s busy preparing the Sunday roast so I’m certainly not going to tell her.

Me: I agree. We haven’t had roast beef in ages. I love Poppy’s Yorkshire puddings.

Nell: That’s not the reason. It’s best Poppy doesn’t know.

Me: Too late, Nell. Poppy has come outside.

Nell: What is she doing?

Me: She has her sword.

Nell: Excellent.

Me: Why?

Nell: It shows defiance.

Me: I can hear a plane. Could it be the Royal Owl Force?

Nell: No. Owl Pacino is away on manoeuvres.

Me: Someone is jumping out of the plane. Thank goodness the parachute has opened.

Nell: This is ridiculous. My Sunday morning is being turned into an air show.

Me: It’s Babycakes Gillespie with a rose in his teeth.

Nell: How do you know?

Me: It’s being filmed and projected onto the big screen.

Nell: What big screen?

Me: The one behind the Welsh corgi choir. I forgot to mention it. Sorry.


Hattie Button has Something to Say

Nell: That’s Hattie Button playing Cheeky Animal.

Me: Yes, and there she is with my sister Alex. It’s her birthday today, you know.

Nell: Yes. Hattie and I have been texting on WoofsApp.

Me: Have you?

Nell: Yes, she’s in my Young Animal Group.

Me: You have a Young Animal Group?

Nell: Yes. Marvin is in it and Tony the Postman’s Ollie, and Hattie Button, of course, and Frankie.

Me: Frankie the visiting Dachshund?

Nell: Yes. Sweet boy.

Me: Do you give them advice?

Nell: I do. They like to call me Auntie Nell.

Me: How lovely.

Nell: And no, you cannot join the group. You’re not an animal, and you’re most definitely not young.

Me: But I’m ever so good at giving advice. I helped Dave choose his breakfast this morning.

Nell: David always chooses a bacon sandwich.

Me: Yes, but he couldn’t decide between red, or brown sauce.

Nell: I hope you chose brown.

Me: Of course.

Nell: Anyway, Hattie asked me to write Alex a poem from her. Would you like to hear it?

Me: Very much.

Nell: ‘Little Hattie Button would like me to say

Happy Birthday to you, Alex, on your special day.

She loves you much more

Than biscuits, she said.

Or any of her dog toys

And even her soft bed.

Her most wonderful memory,

And this is quite true,

Is the day you chose her

And the day she chose you.

Some things in life

Are just meant to be

And those things are you

And your darling Hattie.

Have a marvellous day

Full of laughter and cheer

And huge love from Hattie

And all of us here.’

Me: Perfect. Happy Birthday dear sister. Next year we will celebrate properly together.

Nell: No tears. This is a happy day.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


An unfortunate incident with a cavalier

Nell: I think we should discuss yesterday’s unfortunate incident?

Me: I’d rather not.

Nell: I believe you had clear instructions.

Me: I didn’t open the door.

Nell: I know. Our visitor was most annoyed.

Me: I thought it was a test.

Nell: A test?

Me: You told me not to open the door.

Nell: To John. I told you not to open the door to John.

Me: Exactly.

Nell: My instructions regarding our visitor were quite different.

Me: I thought Harriet was joking.

Nell: Joking?

Me: She said ‘Nell says, if a Cavalier comes to the door, let him in. It’s King Charles.’

Nell: What’s so funny about that?

Me: Where do I begin?

Nell: It’s a sorry state of affairs when a dear cousin comes to visit all the way from Wales and you won’t let him in.

Me: Yes.

Nell: And you weren’t exactly welcoming when you finally met him.

Me: I was surprised.

Nell: You said, and I quote, ‘I wasn’t expecting a spaniel. Where’s your feathered hat?’

Me: That’s because I was expecting a man with a curly moustache and beard.

Nell: This is what comes from an overactive imagination.

Me: It was an easy mistake to make, Nell.

Nell: Charles was rather annoyed at the time but a nice cup of Earl Grey and one of Poppy’s scones soon calmed him down.

Me: I’m glad.

Nell: We explained about your funny ways and he quite understood.

Me: What funny ways?

Nell: You know perfectly well. The ridiculous thing is John had been here for ages before Charles arrived. Poppy let him in at once.

Me: She did?

Nell: Oh yes. She was delighted to see him. In fact he hasn’t left her side ever since.

Me: Well, that’s wonderful news. I had no idea. Sorry.