Hit and Miss

Me: Pamela is on the phone.

Nell: Tell her to ring back. I’m resting my eyes.

Me: She sounded agitated.

Nell: Good grief. Give me the phone. ‘Yes, dear. Calm down. He did what? I’ll see what I can do. Talk later.’

Me: What happened?

Nell: It seems the Book a Beefy service is a little hit and miss. With the emphasis on hit in this case.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: After yesterday’s delightful experience with Terry, Pamela decided to Book a Beefy herself.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Her designated delivery Beefy was called Squawk, which should have alerted her at once to be honest.

Me: Was Squawk not up to standard?

Nell: He arrived in a peaked cap with a ring through his beak.

Me: He was probably part of a survey. They ring birds to keep an eye on their habits.

Nell: No. This was a fashion statement.

Me: Each to their own, I suppose.

Nell: Anyway, Pamela wanted to send her friend Dorothy a scarf as she’s been feeling the cold lately. So she packed it up nicely in a little parcel.

Me: Is that Dorothy the red setter?

Nell: Yes, she’s one of the Salcombe setters, but that’s not the point.

Me: No.

Nell: When Dorothy opened her door, Squawk was wearing the scarf and he threw a mackerel at her.

Me: How rude.

Nell: Dorothy squealed in shock.

Me: I don’t blame her. Nobody likes a wet mackerel in the face.

Nell: Quite.

Me: What happened then?

Nell: Squawk said, ‘This is from Pamela’, and threw the scarf at her before flying away.

Me: Well, at least it was delivered.

Nell: It was wet and fishy and gave Dorothy completely the wrong impression. It was supposed to be a gift.

Me: Yes. Sorry.



Nell: Well, go on spit it out. I know you’ve got something you want to ask me. I can tell by the fake smile.

Me: It’s not a fake smile.

Nell: It’s your ‘I think I might be right’ smile. Rarely seen, I must admit, but never forgotten.

Me: Who were you talking to on your iBone just now?

Nell: That’s none of your business.

Me: Was it Pamela?

Nell: It might have been.

Me: I knew it. The cake didn’t arrive, did it? I told you not to Book a Beefy. I said they couldn’t be trusted.

Nell: Actually, the cake did arrive and it was delicious.

Me: I don’t believe it.

Nell: Pamela said it really lifted her spirits.

Me: Are you sure Pamela wasn’t pelted with a wet fish?

Nell: Well, a mackerel did come into it.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: Pamela also thanked me for the fresh mackerel. Wrapped in seaweed with a recipe.

Me: A recipe?

Nell: Yes. A little extra from her designated delivery Beefy, Terry.

Me: Seriously?

Nell: Yes.

Me: What was the recipe for?

Nell: It was for chargrilled mackerel with sweet and sour beetroot, if you must know. But that’s not the point.

Me: It sounds delicious.

Nell: The point is that Rupert was right.

Me: What’s Knitwear Wolf got to do with it?

Nell: He said the Beefies need to keep busy during these difficult times and we should give them a chance.

Me: He is a very kind wolf.

Nell: He said during lockdown restaurants aren’t open and people aren’t gathering, so Beefies are feeling a little lost and alone.

Me: You mean there’s nobody’s chips to steal?

Nell: Yes. Maybe the Beefies just need to feel needed.

Me: I’m still not convinced about this, Nell. Sorry.


Book a Beefy

Me: I’m glad we went down to the sea yesterday because it’s ever so stormy today.

Nell: Yes. It was most invigorating.

Me: How you can just run into the sea is beyond me. It’s absolutely freezing.

Nell: If one is chasing a ball then the ball has to be retrieved. We are Labrador Retrievers you know.

Me: It was so lovely to see Dave running free and Harriet was hardly ever out of the water.

Nell: The puppies are Devon dogs. Have you seen my iBone anywhere?

Me: I think it’s in your handbag.

Nell: Would you mind getting it for me? I need to Book a Beefy?

Me: You can’t be serious.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: I thought you said you needed to Book a Beefy?

Nell: I do. My friend Pamela the Pyrenean Mountain Dog is feeling a little under the weather so I thought I would send her some cake.

Me: Cake?

Nell: Yes. Poppy made another Victoria sponge. Why do you keep repeating everything I say?

Me: You can’t Book a Beefy, Nell. They’re Baddies.

Nell: I can do what I like. The Beefies provide a fast and efficient service, according to their advertising, and Pamela needs cake.

Me: I’m shocked.

Nell: Now, all I need to do is download the Book a Beefy App. Harriet showed me how to do it.

Me: Harriet?

Nell: Yes. She needed to see if the beach was busy so she Booked a Beefy to film it.

Me: I can’t believe it.

Nell: There it’s done. Would you mind asking Poppy to pop a piece of cake in a Tupperware for me? And be quick about it. Terry will be here soon.

Me: Who is Terry?

Nell: My designated delivery Beefy. Do keep up.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


The Mondays is

Me: The puppies are looking awfully worried.

Nell: They are not puppies. They will be 4 in June.

Me: They are always going to be puppies to me. What have they done?

Nell: They had a second breakfast.

Me: Lots of people do that. Sometimes fruit, or cereal, simply isn’t enough. You need something more substantial to get you through the day. Especially on a gloomy Monday.

Nell: Fruit, or cereal? They had bacon sandwiches.

Me: Were the bacon sandwiches their first, or second breakfast?

Nell: That is not the point.

Me: It is though, Nell. Sometimes you need something sweet to end off a meal.

Nell: It was definitely sweet.

Me: What was it?

Nell: A Victoria sponge. Freshly baked. Dusted with icing sugar and filled with jam. Waiting to be served for afternoon tea.

Me: Oh dear. It was probably a mistake.

Nell: They licked the plate. I’ve grown to expect this from David, but Harriet?

Me: How do you know it was them? It could have been anyone.

Nell: They had icing sugar all around their mouths and crumbs in their hair.

Me: I’m sure there was a very good reason. Have you asked them?

Nell: Of course I have.

Me: What did they say?

Nell: They said, and I quote, ‘It was the only way to ward off a terrible attack of the Mondays.’

Me: Well, there you are. That sounds like a perfectly reasonable excuse to me.

Nell: What do you mean ‘There you are’?

Me: The Mondays is a dreadful thing to have. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

Nell: You told them to say that, didn’t you?

Me: Who? Me?

Nell: The minute I heard them say it, I knew it sounded like something you would say.

Me: They needed my help. Sorry.


Book a Beefy

Me: I love your grey chin.

Nell: Stop taking photos of me when I’m asleep.

Me: It makes me want to give you a great big kiss.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: It makes we want to bury myself in your gorgeous Labradoriness.

Nell: There is no such word.

Me: There is now.

Nell: Well, go and bury yourself in David’s gorgeous Labradoriness then because I’m resting.

Me: I will. My Big Brave Beautiful Boy is always up for a cuddle. Unlike you.

Nell: I don’t like people invading my personal space. You know that.

Me: I’m not people, Nell. I’m me.

Nell: Well, I’m completely awake now so I hope you are pleased with yourself.

Me: That’s rather odd. I wonder what they are up to now.

Nell: What are you talking about?

Me: The Beefies. They seem to be filming the Welsh Corgi Choir at Sunday Songs. I thought Our Penguin was in charge of streaming it on YouChewed.

Nell: He is.

Me: But look. They’ve got cameras on their heads.

Nell: The scoundrels. This must be part of their latest venture.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: Haven’t you seen the adverts?

Me: No. I never really go out anymore. We’re in lockdown.

Nell: They are online. You must have seen them. ‘Disappointed in your Drone? Book a Beefy.’

Me: Book a Beefy?

Nell: Yes. They are breaking the laws of privacy, of course. Filming what they like, where they like, and selling it on.

Me: Does PC Panda know about it?

Nell: Poppy has invited him to Sunday lunch so we can discuss it then.

Me: Roast Beef?

Nell: It’s a stir fry I’m afraid. You know how Armando loves his bamboo shoots. Poppy says there will be a proper roast next Sunday.

Me: I see. Sorry


It’s Saturday

Me: Cheeky Animal. I won.

Nell: I’m afraid David is always getting caught. He does everything with his whole self. He simply can’t do otherwise.

Me: That’s why he is my Big Brave Beautiful Boy. All 47kg of him.

Nell: You know Emily the Vet says Harriet needs to lose weight.

Me: Really? But she only weighs 27kg.

Nell: According to Kev, Emily would like her to weigh 23kg.

Me: She’ll waste away. She’s only a slip of a thing. Goodness only knows what Emily is going to say about you and Poppy when you go next week.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: Well, you are definitely rounder than Harriet.

Nell: Rounder? Poppy and I are curvaceous and we are also ladies of a certain age.

Me: Aren’t we all?

Nell: Exactly. All I can say is I shan’t be giving up scones any time soon.

Me: Especially during a pandemic.

Nell: Quite. In fact Poppy is baking a lemon drizzle cake as we speak.

Me: Are we expecting guests?

Nell: No. It’s Saturday. One has to have cake on a Saturday.

Me: I had a lovely message from someone who had just finished listening to the audio book. She said she and her dogs enjoyed it tremendously.

Nell: That’s nice. Have you told everyone it is out on Audible now?

Me: Yes. I hope people will want to get it.

Nell: I’m sure they will. It’s just the thing to listen to during these difficult times.

Me: Especially in front of the fire with a cup of tea and a piece of homemade cake.

Nell: Or a scone.

Me: I suppose we could consider a bowl of fruit instead.

Nell: A bowl of fruit? On a grey Saturday? In January? During lockdown?

Me: No. Of course not. Sorry.


In Cahoots

Me: There’s really nothing like a walk along the beach is there? Especially with the sun going down and the wind in your hair.

Nell: Here we go. The wind is a little too strong for my liking, if you must know, and the sea is rather cold on the paws.

Me: Just embrace it all and listen to the gentle sound of the waves and the calling of the seagulls.

Nell: The calling of the seagulls? What on earth is wrong with you? Didn’t you hear what those Beefies were saying?

Me: Evil Mrs Poppy Snow?

Nell: Apart from that

Me: No. What were they saying?

Nell: ‘Dastardly Dave.’

Me: My Big Brave Beautiful Boy is not dastardly. He is a darling.

Nell: I know that. They are trying to cause trouble. If you ask me, the Beefies are in cahoots with Russell.

Me: I love that.

Nell: Excuse me?

Me: In cahoots. Did you know it comes from the French word ‘cahute’ meaning cabin?

Nell: I don’t care where it comes from. Russell is working with the Beefies.

Me: Well, that won’t do. The Cat has to apologise and give up writing the column.

Nell: Cats never apologise.

Me: Why can’t it write its own column? ‘Ask The Cat.’

Nell: That’s an excellent suggestion.

Me: Yes, and it might even be quite popular.

Nell: I’m not so sure about that. Cats don’t care what people think, you know.

Me: Exactly. They tell it like it is. How did it start writing Dave’s column in the first place?

Nell: The Daily Growl told him he couldn’t mention bacon so he ran out of ideas.

Me: I see. I suppose he was suggesting bacon sandwiches were the answer rather often.

Nell: That’s because they are.

Me: Yes, of course. Sorry.


David Needs Your Help

Me: Why are you three sitting by my bed? It’s still early and I’m writing.

Nell: David needs your help.

Me: With what?

Nell: His defence.

Me: Is he going to court?

Nell: We don’t know, but after yesterday’s performance he might be.

Me: Tell me what happened.

Nell: Well, Russell was having tea with Poppy and I. He seemed a little tense, which was probably down to Poppy’s sword.

Me: Was she waving it?

Nell: No. She used it to pass him a scone.

Me: Why?

Nell: She had to maintain social distancing.

Me: Yes. Of course.

Nell: She’d polished it, however, so it kept glinting and she was smiling in a threatening way.

Me: I hate it when she does that.

Nell: Yes. I tried distracting him with a little gentle conversation about the weather, but he wasn’t interested.

Me: Silly animal. Conversations with you are always delightful.

Nell: You are too kind. Fortunately David bounded in with his usual exuberance. He was explaining that the advice about pushing Russell off the wall was just a joke when The Cat arrived.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: It was wearing a feathered hat and a sequinned cloak.

Me: That’s always worrying.

Nell: Quite. Anyway, it sauntered over to Russell and said, ‘Are you the terrier who criticised the Afghan’s luscious locks?’

Me: No beating around the bush there then.

Nell: What bush? We were in the living room.

Me: Never mind.

Nell: Russell said, ‘It pushed me off the wall.’

Me: Did The Cat reply?

Nell: Yes. It said, ‘Good. Mind your manners in future, or it will happen again.’

Me: Gosh.

Nell: Then it pushed the scone off his plate and left. Russell was furious.

Me: Did it fall jam down?

Nell: That’s not the point.

Me: No. Sorry.


It’s a Terrier, not a Dogue de Bordeaux

Nell: If that’s an angry terrier called Russell at the door, tell it to go away.

Me: Why?

Nell: It’s trying to sue David for damages.

Me: Gosh. What did Dave do?

Nell: It’s that wretched column. The Afghan went and pushed it off the fence.

Me: Oh no. It’s got a black eye, Nell.

Nell: Let me see. That’s not a black eye. That’s just its colouring. It’s a terrier. Good grief.

Me: What about the walking stick?

Nell: Just for show.

Me: We can’t leave it on the doorstep. Shall I get Dave?

Nell: No. On reflection, Poppy is probably the best one to deal with this.

Me: I thought you didn’t condone violence.

Nell: I don’t.

Me: Poking it with her sword is only going to make matters worse.

Nell: I’m talking about scones, not swords. Terriers are partial to a good scone. Everyone knows that.

Me: I didn’t.

Nell: Poppy can settle it down in front of the fire with a nice cup of tea and a scone.

Me: And they can have a good old chinwag.

Nell: What are you talking about? It’s a terrier, not a Dogue de Bordeaux.

Me: It’s just a saying.

Nell: Anyway, once it is comfortable, we can go and get David and The Cat.

Me: I don’t know if that’s a good idea, Nell.

Nell: The Cat needs to explain itself.

Me: This has disaster written all over it. The Cat never explains itself.

Nell: It has to. We can’t have law suits going on.

Me: In the meantime the terrier is still outside.

Nell: Stop chatting and go and get Poppy, while I ask Kev to build up the fire.

Me: Do you think Gladys should do a contemporary dance?

Nell: I shall ignore that.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Grey Tuesday

Me: Look at my darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: David is exhausted. Let him sleep.

Me: Why is he so tired, Nell?

Nell: It’s a very grey Tuesday.

Me: I know it is, but why on earth would that make any difference?

Nell: David is responsible for Keeping Our Spirits Up.

Me: He is?

Nell: Yes. He seems the obvious choice with his counselling skills and his Ask Dave column in the Daily Growl.

Me: Except he doesn’t write it. The Cat does.

Nell: The Cat can’t possibly be responsible for keeping anyone’s spirits up. It doesn’t care.

Me: It must, if it writes the column.

Nell: Have you seen the latest one?

Me: No.

Nell: Anxious Afghan from Aylesbury writes: ‘Dear Dave, my next door neighbour, Russell, is a very rude terrier who keeps leaping on the garden wall and laughing at my long hair. Now I’m afraid to go outside. What can I do?’

Me: What is the advice?

Nell: ‘Dear Anxious, get over yourself. The annoying little thing is just jealous of your luscious locks. The next time it jumps on the wall, push it off.’

Me: That’s not very nice.

Nell: No. Violence is never the answer. David needs to start writing it himself again.

Me: Yes. Why is he so tired, though?

Nell: I think he is feeling a little full after breakfast. He asked Poppy to make us heart shaped toast with our boiled eggs. When she refused, he had to do it by himself, which meant eating the bits left over.

Me: It was a lovely thought.

Nell: Yes, although the pieces of toast were rather small and not particularly heart shaped.

Me: It’s the thought that counts.

Nell: Not when you have nothing to dip in your egg.

Me: No. Sorry.