Halloween 2020

Me: I didn’t know we were wearing hats to breakfast.

Nell: It’s Halloween. Hats must be worn at all times. Breakfast was ages ago.

Me: But I can see bacon sandwiches.

Nell: They are for elevenses.

Me: I don’t think Dave can wait until eleven.

Nell: He’s going to have to. It keeps him focused.

Me: My poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy and he is looking so handsome in his feathered hat.

Nell: Never mind that, we have more serious issues to deal with.

Me: What?

Nell: John suggested bagels should be included on tonight’s Halloween menu.

Me: Well, they could be.

Nell: You can’t put a sausage in a bagel.

Me: No. I suppose not but maybe some people don’t want a sausage. Maybe they would just like cream cheese or, smoked salmon, or both.

Nell: Have you been talking to The Cat?

Me: No. It’s far too early for The Cat. It’s never seen until after ten and then only with a black coffee and never to talk to until at least half past twelve.

Nell: True. Anyway, Poppy’s not having it and we are on her side.

Me: Probably wise as she is wearing her horns.

Nell: Yes. It’s always a sign that she means business.

Me: If we need something American, then how about Boo-Berry pie?

Nell: Very funny.

Me: We could probably get some from the Ghost-ery store.

Nell: Do stop.

Me: And we mustn’t forget the I-Scream.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: I hope there will be party games.

Nell: Yes, Gladys is in charge of entertainment.

Me: My favourite game is Hide and Shriek.

Nell: That’s it. Go and get your hat.

Me: Ok, but I need to shower first. Can I borrow your Sham-Boo?

Nell: Go.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Completely unacceptable

Me: Have you seen Dave?

Nell: Yes. He’s downstairs playing ‘Cheeky Animal’ with Poppy.

Me: Is he winning?

Nell: No. He’s hopeless. He tries to hide behind his paw but it’s obvious he’s sticking his tongue out.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. I’m surprised Poppy has time to play.

Nell: Malcolm prepared breakfast today with help from young Benjamin Seagull. Pancakes.

Me: I love my pancakes with maple syrup.

Nell: There was bacon on the side for David, of course, and those who wanted it.

Me: That’s why he’s in a good mood.

Nell: Now, you know tomorrow is Halloween?

Me: Yes. It’s going to be a strange one this year.

Nell: No trick or treating in the wider community but fine to celebrate within our bubble.

Me: We must have the largest bubble ever seen.

Nell: But it’s all animals. Gladys and the Llamas will be performing. I’m afraid they’re a little overexcited.

Me: I thought I saw them cartwheeling earlier.

Nell: I wish they wouldn’t do that. Fancy dress is compulsory. Pop over to the Big House if you need a costume, but do it soon as The Cat is expecting the Whippets Institute at 11.

Me: They love Halloween, don’t they?

Nell: To be honest I think we could all do with a little fun in our lives at the moment.

Me: We certainly could. By the way, Chloe says you are doing so well with your hydrotherapy that you only need to go every 3 weeks now.

Nell: That’s good to hear.

Me: Your weight has stayed the same, however. So you might have to have salad tomorrow instead of a hot dog.

Nell: Excuse me? Halloween without a hot dog is like a scone with no jam and cream. Completely unacceptable.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Bagels, or Scones?

Me: Do you know what?

Nell: No, but I have a feeling you’re about to tell me.

Me: Sometimes I have difficulty telling you and Dave apart.

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous. Last time you said Boo and I were like twins.

Me: You are. But when you and Dave sleep with your heads between your paws you look just like each other.

Nell: You’re very bright today.

Me: Yes. I’ve just seen something rather wonderful.

Nell: If you’re talking about the llamas’ new sequinned raincoats, then don’t bother. I’ve seen them.

Me: I wasn’t, actually, although they do liven up a rather grey and rainy morning.

Nell: I’ve told The Cat that they should be wearing nice warm anoraks. Raincoats are not enough. They’re only wearing pyjamas underneath.

Me: They have warm furry coats underneath their pyjamas, though, Nell. Don’t forget that.

Nell: Their fleeces are quite substantial, I suppose.

Me: Anyway, what I wanted to tell you was that Babycakes Gillespie is outside with his bagel cart.

Nell: I’m not hungry. I had a large breakfast.

Me: No. He was there with John the Doberman and there’s a big sign on his cart.

Nell: Saying what?

Me: ‘Babycakes Bagels, sponsored by Starbarks.’

Nell: What does that mean?

Me: Babycakes has gone into business with John. He’s selling Starbarks drinks with his bagels and John is selling bagels at Starbarks.

Nell: That’s actually a very good idea.

Me: Yes. Maybe Babycakes will leave his gangster life behind now and become an honest pug.

Nell: There’s just one problem.

Me: What’s that?

Nell: Poppy. She is John’s supplier.

Me: True. I can’t see her bowing to a bagel.

Nell: If anyone is going to bow to anything, it will only ever be to one of Poppy’s scones.

Me: Of course. Sorry.


Poppy makes a decision

Me: It’s awfully stormy today, isn’t it?

Nell: Yes, Knitwear Wolf just told Princess he can’t take her down to the sea as the waves are going to be 10m high.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: She’s not happy. A Beefy threw a mackerel at her and she didn’t even catch it.

Me: Or clap probably.

Nell: Well, that’s a blessing. All that clapping gets on my nerves.

Me: It’s a seal thing. I think it’s sweet.

Nell: You would.

Me: Wait a minute. There’s someone out in the rain.

Nell: Surely the llamas have taken cover. Their pyjamas aren’t warm, or waterproof.

Me: It’s not a llama. It’s Babycakes Gillespie. And he’s eating a wet bagel.

Nell: Anything on it?

Me: No. Just plain.

Nell: Well, that’s ridiculous.

Me: Not everyone likes cream cheese on their bagel.

Nell: No. I mean eating in the rain. The bread goes soggy.

Me: True. He looks ever so dejected. Poor little pug.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: I bet Poppy has come to a decision. She’s given him his marching orders, hasn’t she?

Nell: She might have done. I couldn’t possibly say.

Me: Tell me.

Nell: It’s not my story to tell. Or yours, by the way.

Me: Someone else has arrived.

Nell: Not the Whippets Institute?

Me: No. It’s John the Doberman.

Nell: I see.

Me: He’s walking towards Babycakes.

Nell: Oh dear.

Me: He’s carrying one of his Starbarks coffees and a warm coat.

Nell: I don’t care what John is wearing.

Me: No. They’re for Babycakes. He’s putting the coat on him, Nell, and giving him the coffee.

Nell: John is a gentleman.

Me: I think Babycakes might be crying. Poppy definitely made a decision, didn’t she? Poor Babycakes.

Nell: She did, and it was the right one.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


A Successful Tea

Me: Look at my darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy watching over you.

Nell: David has grown into an extremely loving young Labrador. Would you like to hear how it went with PC Panda?

Me: Yes, please.

Nell: I must confess I was a little nervous. Poppy had laid on an excellent tea, however. Finger sandwiches, crusts off, of course. Egg, tomato and cucumber as pandas are vegetarian.

Me: Lovely.

Nell: David had a plate of his own ham sandwiches in the kitchen to avoid any mistakes.

Me: Good thinking.

Nell: I’m not sure the Chinese costumes were necessary but The Cat insisted.

Me: Did PC Panda like them?

Nell: He’s Devon born and bred so I think he found them a little odd. He asked me if we were going to a fancy dress party later.

Me: Oh well.

Nell: Malcolm made some lovely little cakes but the highlight was most definitely Poppy’s scones. Fresh out of the oven with homemade strawberry jam and oodles of clotted cream.

Me: Yummy.

Nell: I apologised profusely for getting Armando’s name wrong and he said not to worry. In fact things were going extremely well until that wretched pug arrived.

Me: Oh no.

Nell: Yes. He waltzed in without so much as a by your leave and said ‘Hi there, Mandy Pandy’.

Me: How shocking.

Nell: Yes. PC Panda was having none of it. He wiped his paws carefully and said ‘Nobody calls me Mandy except for my closest friends and you, Sir, are not one of them.’

Me: What did Babycakes do?

Nell: He left. I said, ‘I’m so sorry for the disturbance PC Panda’ and then he winked and said, ‘The name’s Mandy’ and finished his scone.

Me: Good old Mandy Pandy.

Nell: Just Mandy. Don’t push it.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


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.