Sharing the Love

Me: You really love Tony’s visits don’t you? Look at your darling face.

Nell: Yes, Tony is family.

Me: You’re right. I think Dave gets a bit jealous though. Look at the way he grabbed Tony’s hand and jumped up.

Nell: Tony is his person. But he needs to know that love can be shared.

Me: I don’t think he’ll want to share Sally. Does he know she is coming to visit?

Nell: No. She wants to surprise him. Knitwear Wolf is driving to collect her from the station on his motorbike.

Me: Dave is going to go crazy.

Nell: Which is just what Sally wants. Poppy is cooking a special dinner.

Me: One of her roasts?

Nell: Roasts are for Sundays. You know that.

Me: Yes. Fish?

Nell: Fish is for Fridays. Bacon pasta if you must know with fresh cherry tomatoes and a light green salad from AJ the Gardening Afghan’s garden.

Me: Sounds delicious.

Nell: Yes, and it covers all bases. The vegetarians can lose the bacon and add cheese and the insects can just have salad.

Me: What about the fish eaters?

Nell: Prawns instead of bacon.

Me: Does Princess eat prawns?

Nell: Princess never goes anywhere without a mackerel.

Me: True. What about the football yesterday? England played well.

Nell: I know but Poppy and I really don’t appreciate the noise. Jumping up and down and shrieking really isn’t very dignified.

Me: I can’t help it.

Nell: Now, you need to remember that Sally is here as David’s girlfriend and nothing else.

Me: Yes.

Nell: No talk of spies, or secret service.

Me: Talking of spies.

Nell: I just told you not to.

Me: Why do ducks make terrible secret agents?

Nell: I don’t know.

Me: They quack under interrogation.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Sorry.


Front Page News

Me: Dave is looking a bit crestfallen.

Nell: Have you seen the Daily Growl?

Me: Not yet.

Nell: David has made front page news.

Me: Oh my goodness.

Nell: I quote: ‘Lab about town Dave Martin from Devon was rescued from a tree house by an enterprising group of llamas.’

Me: Have the llamas joined the fire service?

Nell: No. May I continue?

Me: Of course.

Nell: ‘The llamas, who are part of the famous Glide with Gladys fitness programme, were busy practising in a nearby field when they heard of Dave’s predicament. After consultation with their instructor Gladys, and several members of the Whippets Institute who happened to be passing by, they carried their trampoline up to the tree house.’

Me: That was enterprising. Why were the Whippets Institute passing by?

Nell: They were delivering flyers for the jumble sale.

Me: I see.

Nell: ‘After a great deal of encouragement from the crowd Dave finally jumped from the tree house onto the trampoline and bounced into a nearby pool. The applause was deafening.’

Me: Was the applause Princess clapping again?

Nell: Yes, it was her pool.

Me: Lucky it was nearby.

Nell: That’s not all. Look who managed to get in on the act again.

Me: ‘Photos courtesy of Book a Beefy Aerial Photography.’ The cheek of it.

Nell: Trust them to cash in on David’s predicament.

Me: There was quite a crowd though, wasn’t there? Look at Dave’s dear little face just before he jumped. Poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: That’s not the point. The Beefies had no right to be secretly photographing it all. The wretched hooligans.

Me: But the main thing is that Dave is safe and it was a rather splendid example of Fearless Bouncing.

Nell: Fearless Bouncing? David was terrified.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Sally is concerned and Dave makes a mistake

Me: I know it’s Monday morning but you and Harriet look awfully serious.

Nell: We’ve just finished a Zoom call with Sally.

Me: How is she?

Nell: Concerned.

Me: Oh dear. Is it Dave?

Nell: Why would you say that?

Me: I have no idea.

Nell: Yes, you have. What has David done now?

Me: It will be fine when the ladder gets here.

Nell: Why do we need a ladder?

Me: Dave is stuck in the tree house with Oliver and Beauregard.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: I told him not to go up there but he thought it would be fun and now he can’t get down.

Nell: How did he get up there in the first place?

Me: Monty helped.

Nell: Monty the Moose?

Me: Yes. Dave stood on his back and then Beauregard sort of reached down and grabbed Dave under his armpits and dragged him up.

Nell: What a ridiculous idea.

Me: And now he doesn’t like it up there at all. In fact we think he might have a fear of heights.

Nell: He should have thought about that before he went up there.

Me: Manuel is throwing him pancakes which is helping enormously

Nell: David is already enormous.

Me: They’re only plain ones, Nell. No maple syrup.

Nell: I should think not. Nobody wants a sticky tree house.

Me: So, what did Sally want?

Nell: She’s heard about recent events and she is coming to visit.

Me: Oh good.

Nell: But not in an official capacity.

Me: In disguise?

Nell: No. She will be here simply as David’s girlfriend.

Me: Not as the Head of MI5 and a super spy?

Nell: No. You mustn’t mention that. Sally is just a normal Golden Retriever.

Me: Except she isn’t.

Nell: Stop winking at me.

Me: Sorry.


Sunday Visitors

Me: We have to start with an apology.

Nell: We do.

Me; I’m afraid Kev was feeling unwell again and so The Growl on Sunday couldn’t go out today.

Nell: I’m sure everyone understands.

Me: We’re hoping to get it out to you next Sunday.

Nell: On another note, we had a surprise visit.

Me: Yes. Naughty Nigel and Boo arrived at the house in the back of an open top sports car. They were like a couple of celebrities. It was very exciting.

Nell: There was no need for the llamas to come over all unnecessary.

Me: Everyone wanted to sit in the car.

Nell: Until that tiger got in.

Me: Beauregard looked quite at home. Imagine driving around Devon with a tiger in the back of your car?

Nell: No, thank you. It’s enough trouble having one in our tree house.

Me: Well, I thought it was kind of Nigel and Boo to visit. They knew Kev wasn’t well and they had heard about the roaring on Burgh Island.

Nell: You are wrong.

Me: Am I?

Nell: They actually heard the roaring on Burgh Island.

Me: Really?

Nell: Yes, they were having dinner at the hotel.

Me: How on earth could they afford that? Maybe they are celebrities.

Nell: That’s not the point. During dinner there was a distinct sound of roaring.

Me: How disconcerting.

Nell: Boo thought it was Nigel’s tummy rumbling at first but then they realised it was coming from outside.

Me: Very strange. Maybe they should tell Detective Inspector King?

Nell: No need. Lionel knows all about it. They saw him on the sea tractor the same evening. So he must have heard it too.

Me: Sea tractor?

Nell: Yes. The one that takes people to and from the island.

Me: Oh yes. Sorry.


What a coincidence!

Me: Look what Sylvia sent me. You as a puppy at the studio with Kev. How adorable were you?

Nell: Some may say I still am.

Me: Would that be a certain someone you had afternoon tea with yesterday?

Nell: If you mean Detective Inspector Lionel King then it’s certainly something he would say, although after yesterday’s fiasco I’m not sure if he will be inviting me out again.

Me: Why? Wasn’t the tea very nice?

Nell: The tea was delightful, if not quite up to Poppy’s standards. A selection of sandwiches, crusts off, scones with jam and cream and a choice of cake.

Me: You’re making me hungry. What went wrong then?

Nell: Let me just say that when I agreed to have afternoon tea with a handsome lion I was not expecting a wolf and a tiger to be sitting at the next table.

Me: That’s a bit unkind, Nell. The hotel is open to all guests.

Nell: If I tell you the wolf was wearing a knitted cardigan and the tiger was carrying a trumpet it might help you understand.

Me: Oh. You mean Rupert and Beauregard?

Nell: I do.

Me: What a coincidence. Fancy them deciding to have tea on the same day as you in the same place.

Nell: And at the same time.

Me: Where was Oliver? He’s usually with Beauregard.

Nell: Oliver was at the other table with a large black Labrador, a flamingo, two woodlice and an octopus.

Me: At least Gladys wasn’t there.

Nell: Gladys was performing in the bar with the llamas.

Me: Well, you couldn’t make that one up.

Nell: I think we both know that you could. Don’t pretend you didn’t know what they were planning.

Me: We just wanted to keep an eye on you, Nell. Sorry.


Hang on a minute

Me: Any sign of them?

Nell: No. Harriet and I have looked everywhere.

Me: What exactly did Dave see?

Nell: David can’t be sure, but he thinks he saw a Beefy wearing pearls fly over the activity field and drop something.

Me: Not something disgusting again? Because you know what they’re like.

Nell: No. It was sparkly.

Me: And the Beefy was definitely wearing your pearls?

Nell: The coincidence is too great. My pearl necklace goes missing and the Beefies start wearing pearls.

Me: Only it wouldn’t have been my first choice of jewellery for them. I’d have thought a chunky choker might be more their style.

Nell: That’s not the point. Anyway, I shall be telling Lionel all about this at afternoon tea today.

Me: Hang on a minute. Did you just say Lionel?

Nell: Yes.

Me: And afternoon tea?

Nell: I told you I was going out.

Me: You are having afternoon tea with a handsome lion and you only just tell me about it now?

Nell: It’s nothing. Lionel needs some background information and apparently I am the perfect animal to help him.

Me: He called you a perfect animal, did he?

Nell: He might have done.

Me: The smooth tongued charmer.

Nell: It’s just afternoon tea.

Me: You wanted to wear your pearls.

Nell: Yes, well the Beefies soon put a stop to that.

Me: What does Knitwear Wolf think about it?

Nell: Why are you bringing Rupert into this?

Me: Just wondering.

Nell: I haven’t told him yet.

Me: I think you should.

Nell: And I think you should tell everyone that The Growl on Sunday is coming out this weekend and they should make sure they’ve subscribed.

Me: Yes. They have an amazing exclusive story and …

Nell: Enough. It’s exclusive.

Me: Oh yes. Sorry.


Don’t stare

Nell: I enjoyed our lunch at The Cottage Hotel.

Me: Yes, but can I point something out please?

Nell: Here we go.

Me: When I asked you a question you gave me one of your looks.

Nell: Did I?

Me: But when Kev started talking, you gazed at him adoringly.

Nell: Talking to Kev is a joy and you can be extremely exasperating.

Me: What have I done now?

Nell: Staring at that Labradoodle’s earrings then asking where they came from.

Me: They looked very similar to Gladys’s missing ones.

Nell: Yes, but you should glance, not stare. Staring is rude and draws attention.

Me: You stare all the time when we’re eating.

Nell: That is entirely different. It’s a Supportive Stare intended to show interest and encouragement.

Me: If you say so.

Nell: Anyway, the Labradoodle explained they were a gift from her husband.

Me: Unless her husband is the thief.

Nell: Do stop. He’s an elderly greyhound enjoying a quiet holiday, not a cat burglar.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: What?

Me: Is that what your Detective Inspector Lionel King is saying?

Nell: He is not my Detective Inspector.

Me: Is Beauregard under suspicion because he’s a cat?

Nell: Beauregard is a tiger.

Me: Or, even worse, is The Cat under suspicion too, because it likes sparkly things? And it’s a cat?

Nell: Nobody is under suspicion. Inspector King is merely investigating reports of unnecessary roaring on Burgh Island.

Me: I don’t think Beauregard has ever been to the island.

Nell: That’s exactly what he told Inspector King. Have you seen my pearls, by the way?

Me: No. Why?

Nell: I’ve been invited to afternoon tea at the Thurlestone Hotel tomorrow and I was going to wear them.

Me: Who by?

Nell: You mean ‘by whom.’

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Wednesday Visitors

Nell: Who is that?

Me: It’s Sophie, my hairdresser, with Hope the dachshund. Look at those gorgeous paws.

Nell: You never say I have gorgeous paws.

Me: You have gorgeous eyes. Except when you’re looking at me like that.

Nell: Like what?

Me: One of your disapproving stares.

Nell: That’s because you missed our visitor.

Me: What visitor?

Nell: I was having tea on the terrace with Harriet when PC Panda’s car pulled into our drive.

Me: Just tea, or were scones involved?

Nell: They might have been, but that’s not the point.

Me: Has he found Gladys’s earrings?

Nell: No. There have been reports of roarings on Burgh Island and he wants to talk to Beauregard again.

Me: The Agatha Christie island near our beach?

Nell: Yes. But this time PC Panda wasn’t alone.

Me: We knew there had to be other pandas. He can’t manage everything on his own.

Nell: It wasn’t a panda.

Me: Was it a German Shepherd?

Nell: I’m afraid not.

Me: Why are you afraid?

Nell: You would have been. The long hair gave him away.

Me: Was it a Beefy in a wig?

Nell: The only Beefy in a wig we know is Romeo and nobody is going to squeal at him.

Me: Probably not.

Nell: The animal getting out of the car was a lion.

Me: A lion?

Nell: Yes. A huge lion with long flowing locks and a charming smile.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: Frighteningly good looking and oozing confidence.

Me: Oh my.

Nell: He sauntered over to me and said, ‘Detective Inspector King at your service, madam. But you can call me Lionel.’

Me: And did you?

Nell: Certainly not. I replied, ‘Eleanor Martin. And you can call me Mrs Martin.’

Me: And did he?

Nell: Of course.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Magpies and Earrings

Nell: What’s your opinion on magpies?

Me: I’m not sure I have an opinion. There certainly seem to be an awful lot of them around at the moment.

Nell: I agree.

Me: Is there any particular reason why we’re discussing magpies at this time of the morning?

Nell: Gladys has lost her favourite sparkly earrings and she thinks they took them. You know how they love anything shiny.

Me: Were they a family heirloom?

Nell: Not as far as I know. In fact I would go so far as to say there’s a hint of the Christmas Cracker about them. But they are precious to Gladys which is all that matters.

Me: Well, I’ll definitely keep a look out for them.

Nell: Thank you.

Me: I’m glad Beauregard was allowed home with just a caution.

Nell: Yes. The Beefy who reported him was startled but not injured.

Me: Shame.

Nell: That’s what Poppy said. Anyway, PC Panda has asked Beauregard to keep to a low growl in future.

Me: It wasn’t a low growl this morning.

Nell: No. It was a definite roar. Malcolm dropped his toast.

Me: Although weirdly the roar seemed to be coming from far away. I wonder how he did that?

Nell: He says it wasn’t him.

Me: Maybe it was the sea? It can be loud at times.

Nell: Do you think Walter Pigeon is capable of theft?

Me: I’ve never thought about it. Why?

Nell: David says Walter has become extremely competitive recently during their games of Cowardy Custard.

Me: Really?

Nell: Yes. David says there is a steely glint in his eye and he is refusing to back down.

Me: I can’t see him in sparkly earrings though?

Nell: The thief won’t actually be wearing the earrings. Do keep up.

Me: No. Sorry.


Do tigers roar?

Me: I’m glad we were able to take you all to the activity field yesterday because the weather is dreadful today.

Nell: Yes. Poppy enjoyed the paddling pool.

Me: It was good to see Dave and Harriet running off the lead. You didn’t do much running.

Nell: I prefer taking my time and Kev needed someone to sit with him.

Me: Did he really though?

Nell: As his primary Carer I need to be on standby.

Me: Primary Carer?

Nell: Moving on, there has been an unfortunate incident this morning.

Me: Was Knitwear Wolf late with the papers?

Nell: Rupert is never late.

Me: Did Dave have two breakfasts again?

Nell: David always has two breakfasts. Early cereal with Malcolm and a substantial breakfast later.

Me: Why Malcolm?

Nell: It is David and Malcolm’s Special Time. The house is quiet and they can talk things through.

Me: Oh, I see.

Nell: Everyone needs a Special Time.

Me: Why don’t we have one then?

Nell: We’re having one now. Where was I?

Me: An unfortunate incident?

Nell: Oh yes. Beauregard and Oliver have been taken into custody for questioning.

Me: What?

Nell: To be honest I think Beauregard is the one who’s been reported and Oliver just went along too. Those two are inseparable.

Me: What has he done?

Nell: Disturbed the peace.

Me: Has he been playing his trumpet again?

Nell: Not as far as I know. Apart from Sunday Songs of course. I think it was the roaring.

Me: Do tigers roar?

Nell: It’s more of a very loud growl. You can actually feel it. Anyway, apparently a Beefy fell out of the sky and suffered minor injuries.

Me: It can’t have been Oliver then. Opossums definitely don’t roar.

Nell: We know that. Do keep up.

Me: Yes. Sorry.