Tony has some exciting news

Me: Visits from Tony make you all so happy.

Nell: Yes, although I’ve told David repeatedly that there’s no need to shout right into Tony’s ear.

Me: It’s probably a secret, Nell. He doesn’t want anyone else listening.

Nell: I know for a fact that it’s about bacon. There’s nothing secret about that.

Me: What about bacon?

Nell: David is doing a survey. Do you like red, or brown sauce on your bacon sandwich?

Me: Brown, every time. What does Tony like?

Nell: I don’t know. David says it’s confidential.

Me: Well, there you are. That’s why Dave was whispering.

Nell: The question isn’t confidential. Just the answer. Good grief.

Me: Maybe Dave was telling Tony what colour sauce he has on his bacon sandwich?

Nell: David has any colour sauce, or none at all. He doesn’t care. Everyone knows that.

Me: True.

Nell: Tony had some big news for us, actually.

Me: What was it? Please don’t say it’s confidential.

Nell: Guess who Tony and Sue are bringing home tomorrow?

Me: Is it Toby the Puppy?

Nell: Yes. David and Harriet’s nephew is finally joining us all here in Devon.

Me: You will be Great Aunt Nell.

Nell: Yes, although Aunt Nell might do.

Me: Uncle Dave and Auntie Harriet. It’s strange to think of the puppies having a nephew.

Nell: New responsibilities for us all having a youngster in the family.

Me: Kev and I will pop over to Tony and Sue’s next week to meet Toby.

Nell: I beg your pardon? Did you say you and Kev?

Me: Yes.

Nell: What about me, David and Harriet?

Me: Toby is too young for that, Nell. He can’t be around other dogs until after his second vaccination.

Nell: Other dogs? We are his family.

Me: Yes, I know. Sorry.


Back on the beach again

Nell: Well, it wasn’t exactly August weather but it was still wonderful to be back on the beach again.

Me: Yes. Harriet was in the water before I even got down the steps.

Nell: She loves swimming.

Me: Poppy jumped in and so did Dave. Why didn’t you?

Nell: It was a little too cold and busy for me.

Me: You could certainly tell the locals from the tourists. We were in our rain jackets and they were in t-shirts and shorts.

Nell: Holidaymakers are naturally optimistic.

Me: They are.

Nell: Is that Terry waiting at the gate?

Me: I think so. It’s definitely a seagull in a cap.

Nell: Did you Book a Beefy?

Me: No. Shall I go and ask him why he is here?

Nell: Yes, please. Somebody must have sent him.

Me: He was delivering a parcel for you, Nell.

Nell: Let me see. It’s addressed to Mistress Nelly.

Me: Is it indeed? I wonder who calls you that?

Nell: Stop smiling and help me open it.

Me: It’s a jewellery case with your pearls, Nell.

Nell: How wonderful.

Me: Is there a note?

Nell: There is. How very kind.

Me: Please read it to me.

Nell: ‘I had to get them back for you, Nelly. I know how much they mean to you. ‘

Me: Is it signed?

Nell: No, but I know who it’s from.

Me: We are talking about Knitwear Wolf, aren’t we? Only I don’t want to get it wrong.

Nell: Of course we are. Rupert is always looking out for me. He is a dear friend.

Me: If you say so.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: I just wondered if he might be more than that one day.

Nell: Stop wondering and help me put my pearls on.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Getting the right photo

Me: You know I’ve been trying to get flattering photos of you all for the calendar?

Nell: Yes. August seems a little early to be doing that.

Me: It’s amazing how long it can take, Nell, and some people like to buy early.

Nell: Not in August, they don’t.

Me: Anyway, I’m not sure Poppy’s photo has the right feeling about it.

Nell: Feeling?

Me: It’s mildly threatening.

Nell: Poppy is mildly threatening a lot of the time. Did you annoy her?

Me: I don’t think so. I asked her to pose.

Nell: When?

Me: It was after breakfast. I wouldn’t have disturbed her before then.

Nell: Poppy likes to unwind after breakfast before the morning deliveries. She probably hadn’t even had her Americano, or bagel.

Me: Poppy eats bagels?

Nell: Yes. From Babycakes Gillespie’s cart. She likes the casual informality of it. You’re not going to use the one of Harriet, I hope.

Me: No. It’s a bit too close and not terribly flattering.

Nell: She looks worried.

Me: That might be because I sneaked up on her.

Nell: Why did you do that in these times of stolen jewellery?

Me: She wasn’t wearing any.

Nell: That’s not the point.

Me: I wanted an informal photo.

Nell: Why don’t you talk to Our Penguin? He knows exactly how to do this kind of thing.

Me: That’s a really good idea.

Nell: And you must have thousands of photos of us all you could use.

Me: I do. It’s rather daunting actually. I don’t know where to begin.

Nell: You can always ask people for their opinion. Which are their favourite ones. They can message you, or comment on here.

Me: That’s a wonderful idea, Nell.

Nell: Yes, I do have them now and again you know.

Me: Yes, sorry.


Nell has some Disturbing News

Me: You’re looking a little serious this morning.

Nell: I’ve had some disturbing news.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: You know Pamela?

Me: The one you met at the vets during your weigh in?

Nell: It wasn’t a weigh in. We aren’t boxers you know.

Me: No. You’re a Labrador and Pamela’s a Pyrenean Mountain Dog.

Nell: Anyway, Pamela was chatting to my friend Dorothy on WoofsApp.

Me: The Salcombe Setter?

Nell: Yes. And it seems my pearls are up for auction on eBray.

Me: That’s awful, Nell. Are you going to put in a bid?

Nell: Certainly not. They’re mine. I’ve reported it to the police.

Me: Good for you.

Nell: PC Panda is due to arrive here soon to interview me.

Me: How do you know they’re yours? Don’t they look awfully similar?

Nell: Mine have NM on the clasp.

Me: I see.

Nell: Charlie gave them to me. They are of huge sentimental value.

Me: So the Beefies must be working with the donkeys?

Nell: Rupert says we mustn’t jump to conclusions. The donkeys might not know the pearls are stolen.

Me: He’s right. Trust Knitwear Wolf to be the voice of reason.

Nell: Rupert is a sensible animal.

Me: Who’s the seller?

Nell: Someone called Simba. I don’t know anyone with that name. Do you?

Me: No. I just remember it from The Lion King. Chris loved that film when he was young. So did I, if I’m honest.

Nell: That’s it. Simba is Lionel King. He’s up to his old tricks again.

Me: I thought he was in custody.

Nell: They released him because he agreed to cooperate with their investigations.

Me: The scoundrel. A leopard can’t change its spots, I suppose.

Nell: Why bring leopards into this? We are talking lions here.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


The Day after the Kevstival

Me: Harriet seemed a little tense at the Kevstival.

Nell: She was on duty.

Me: You were posing.

Nell: I was not.

Me: Dave stuck his face in the camera.

Nell: I wish he wouldn’t do that.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: I can’t believe those Beefies tried to sneak in. Where did they get tickets? From eBray I expect.

Me: Don’t you mean eBay?

Nell: Certainly not. It’s a marketplace run by donkeys.

Me: Oh, I see.

Nell: Trying to disguise themselves as blackbirds.

Me: The donkeys?

Nell: No. The Beefies. Do keep up. As if dipping your feathers in squid ink is going to fool anyone.

Me: It colours pasta.

Nell: It smells.

Me: Only of the sea and they are seagulls.

Nell: Beauregard saw through them at once, of course. There’s no fooling a tiger.

Me: Oliver and I were about to let them through. I’d already put garlands around their necks.

Nell: You’re far too trusting. I’m glad we took you off the door and put you on social media duties.

Me: The Welsh corgi choir were in fine form, weren’t they? Belting out show tunes like there’s no tomorrow.

Nell: Belting out? That’s not a very attractive description.

Me: They were quite loud, Nell.

Nell: They needed to be.

Me: The Whippets Institute can certainly kick up their heels when they want to.

Nell: They shouldn’t have been wearing heels. Everyone knows Wellington boots are the correct footwear at a festival.

Me: Well, Kev loved it all. Poppy’s street food was amazing.

Nell: Yes. It was just what we needed after the past year.

Me: Thank you for organising it, Nell. Where would we be without you?

Nell: You will never be without me. No matter what. You know that.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Happy Birthday Kev

Me: Is everything ready for the Kevstival?

Nell: David and Kev are still lying in. They were up until late watching The Repair Shop and eating bacon sandwiches.

Me: It’s Kev’s birthday, Nell, so I’m afraid he can do no wrong.

Nell: Well, David can and he’s needed in the marquee. One of the larger animals has managed to get itself stuck in the guy ropes and needs coaxing out.

Me: And you think Dave can help?

Nell: David is extremely good with the larger animals, being on the bigger side himself, and having Winning Ways.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Now, I’ve written a poem for Kev which I will be performing on the pyramid stage later.

Me: We have a pyramid stage?

Nell: It’s just a pointy tent but Gladys thinks it sounds grander. Anyway, would you like to hear it?

Me: Very much.

Nell: ‘Put on your hats and all shout ‘Hurrah!’

Because dear darling Kev is 62 today.‘

‘62? How can that be?

He doesn’t look older than 33.’

Me: Well, that’s nonsense, Nell. Chris is 33 and he’s our son.

Nell: It’s poetic licence. Stop interrupting. May I continue?

Me: Yes, of course.

Nell: ‘Animals are gathering from wide and far.

Some in a minibus.

Some in a car.

Many have navigated across the wild seas.

While others have drifted along on the breeze.’

Me: Are we talking about birds here?

Nell: And butterflies, or other insects.

Me: But not Beefies?

Nell: Certainly not. Beefies aren’t invited. Where was I?

Me: Drifting.

Nell: Yes.

‘All of us coming together to say

We love you dear Kev.

Have a Happy Birthday.’

Me: That’s perfect, Nell. It’s going to be a good day, isn’t it?

Nell: How could it be anything else?

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Festival Envy

Nell: I knew this was a silly idea.

Me: What are you three staring at?

Nell: I mean who in their right mind would ever allow a llama to put up a tent?

Me: Are the llamas camping?

Nell: No. They’re trying to erect a marquee. Do keep up.

Me: That’s a little ambitious.

Nell: That’s exactly what I said when Gladys suggested it. Everybody knows llamas have four left feet.

Me: Which makes their dancing skills all the more surprising.

Nell: And now they’ve got the Welsh corgi choir hammering in pegs when they should be practising their songs for tomorrow, not to mention Sunday Songs which is going to be late.

Me: What’s happening tomorrow?

Nell: It’s the Kevstival.

Me: Don’t you mean festival?

Nell: Certainly not. It’s the Kevstival to celebrate Kev.

Me: Why are we celebrating Kev?

Nell: It’s his birthday tomorrow. Good grief.

Me: I knew that but I didn’t know he was going to get a whole festival.

Nell: Are you begrudging our dear Kev a celebration?

Me: No. I expected a party but not a whole festival.

Nell: Kev is held in high regard far and wide.

Me: I never got a festival.

Nell: Exactly. I hope this isn’t Festival Envy because jealousy is a most unattractive trait.

Me: You are right. What can I do to help?

Nell: You can be on the door with Oliver and Beauregard.

Me: I’m glad it’s not just me and Oliver.

Nell: Oliver will check all visitors’ tickets, you can put a garland around their necks and Beauregard will give them the once over.

Me: I don’t think frisking is appropriate, Nell.

Nell: I’m talking about a visual appraisal. Beauregard is good at spotting troublemakers. After all, he used to be one himself.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Swiping the Paw

Me: We had a lovely long walk in the countryside, didn’t we?

Nell: Yes, it was delightful to be out and about again.

Me: I love the way you take your time.

Nell: I am a senior labrador. We don’t like to be rushed.

Me: Poppy is theoretically a senior terrier but she rushes everywhere.

Nell: We’re talking about Poppy here. Taking your Time isn’t in her vocabulary.

Me: There was certainly an awful lot of toast flying around this morning.

Nell: Those jewellery wearing Beefies were back.

Me: Are there more of them now?

Nell: Yes. One of them had long earrings.

Me: I didn’t know seagulls had ears.

Nell: Of course they have ears. All birds do. How do you think they can hear?

Me: I’ve never seen a bird’s ears.

Nell: That’s because they’re not external like ours. They are under their feathers.

Me: How can it wear earrings then?

Nell: It’s not wearing them. It’s carrying them around.

Me: What’s the fun in that?

Nell: Beefies just enjoy to annoy.

Me: They certainly do.

Nell: Well, they had better not fly too near to Oliver’s tree house because Beauregard is up there and tigers are notoriously good at Swiping the Paw.

Me: Swiping the Paw?

Nell: Yes, and believe me you do not want to be on the other end of that.

Me: Did Beauregard get his medallion back from Lionel King, by the way?

Nell: Yes.

Me: I bet there was some Swiping of the Paw going on then.

Nell: Possibly, Rupert said words were most definitely exchanged.

Me: It’s lucky wolves don’t Swipe the Paw or Lionel King would have been in big trouble.

Nell: Lionel King is in big trouble and how do you know Rupert doesn’t Swipe the Paw?

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Cuddles with Kev

Nell: Have you seen Harriet? David needs her right now.

Me: Don’t disturb her, Nell. She’s on the yellow chair with Kev having Special Cuddles.

Nell: We don’t have time for that.

Me: But you should see her little face. It’s all slitty eyed and smiley.

Nell: What are you talking about?

Me: You know the way her face goes when she’s feeling emotional.

Nell: Harriet is in charge of logging all sightings. She can’t just lounge around cuddling.

Me: Can’t Dave do the logging himself?

Nell: Certainly not. Those binoculars are heavy.

Me: Is it the pearl wearing Beefy again?

Nell: Yes, and it’s brought along a friend.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: In a diamond tiara.

Me: How inappropriate.

Nell: Yes. That’s exactly what I said to my friend Dorothy. Who wears a tiara on a Friday morning?

Me: Is Dorothy here then?

Nell: No, I texted her on our WoofsApp group.

Me: What’s the group called? The Nosey Barkers? See what I did there?

Nell: Very funny.

Me: I wonder why the Beefies are wearing the stolen jewellery instead of selling it.

Nell: Beefies are notoriously greedy and excessively rude. They like nothing more than to flaunt and taunt.

Me: You are right.

Nell: It’s the same when they steal chips and ice cream from innocent tourists down on the quay. They can’t resist flying around screaming.

Me: They are very loud.

Nell: And tone deaf. A Beefy could never join a choir. They can’t hold a tune.

Me: Would they want to?

Nell: Oh yes. Several attempts have been made to join the Welsh Corgi Choir.

Me: Really?

Nell: As if wearing a fur hat is going to deceive anyone.

Me: Quite.

Nell: Anyway, tell Harriet the cuddles are over. There’s logging to do.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Happy Gotcha Yesterday Marvin

Me: It was Marvin’s Gotcha Day yesterday and we missed it. I can’t believe it’s been 2 years since Chris and Shannon adopted him.

Nell: Happy Gotcha Yesterday Marvin.

Me: Look at his little teeth. Darling boy. So proud.

Nell: He likes to go with Chris to get his morning coffee in Toronto. Apparently it’s a city sort of thing to do.

Me: We have Babycakes Gillespie and his bagel cart. He sells takeaway coffee too.

Nell: Not in this dreadful rain he doesn’t. I told him to wait until later in the day. The llamas can do without their morning cappuccino.

Me: I thought they liked lattes.

Nell: That’s not the point. Those animals drink far too much coffee and as for the doughnuts. All I can say is it’s lucky they Glide with Gladys every day.

Me: There is something so delicious about a doughnut.

Nell: Oh no you don’t. You’re feeling a lot better now, so your doughnut days are over.

Me: Have you got your binoculars?

Nell: I beg your pardon? Do you think I walk around with a pair of binoculars around my neck?

Me: Dave does.

Nell: David is on duty. He’s bird watching for Sally.

Me: Where is he?

Nell: In the kitchen with Malcolm and Manuel I expect. They’re making sandwiches for lunch and he likes to help with the crusts.

Me: I’m going to get him.

Nell: Why?

Me: I think there’s a Beefy sitting on our gate wearing a sou’wester hat and a string of pearls.

Nell: That’s ridiculous. Nobody with any fashion sense would wear those two things together.

Me: It’s ever so foggy out there so I might be wrong but what if they are yours?

Nell: Mine? Get David now before it flies away.

Me: Yes. Sorry.