Me: What is Dave whispering in your ear?
Nell: Never you mind.
Me: And why is Poppy in her palace?
Nell: You’ve got an awful lot of questions for a Monday morning.
Me: I know.
Nell: We’re all whispering at the moment. Oliver is easily startled.
Me: It’s a great shame the Beefies have noticed him. Did you hear them shouting ‘Oliver!’ this morning?
Nell: Yes, Knitwear Wolf mentioned it at Morning Thoughts. He was wondering if a woolly hat pulled down might help.
Me: Over their eyes?
Nell: Whose eyes?
Me: The Beefies. So they can’t see Oliver.
Nell: No. Over Oliver’s ears so he can’t hear them.
Me: Oh yes. That might work. But why is Poppy in a mood?
Nell: She’s having problems with her staff.
Me: Oh dear.
Nell: She says whispering is simply not possible in a kitchen. She expects her sous chefs to answer clearly and loudly with ‘Oui’ and anyone not doing so will be asked to leave.
Me: Dave isn’t one of her sous chefs, is he?
Nell: No. David is more of a kitchen helper. Malcolm and Manuel are permanent staff.
Me: But Malcolm doesn’t do loud.
Nell: No. And Manuel keeps saying ‘Si’ instead of ‘Oui’.
Me: He is from Barcelona.
Nell: Quite. Anyway, Poppy says we can make our own lunch and soup is definitely off the menu.
Me: And is that what Dave was telling you? I know he loves a nice bowl of soup on a Monday.
Nell: No, David has other things on his mind.
Nell: Sally has been seen out on the town with a handsome stranger.
Me: Walking and talking?
Me: Sharing a bowl of soup?
Nell: No. Dancing cheek to cheek. You’ve got soup on the brain.