Happy Halloween

Me: Howl you doing?

Nell: Very funny.

Me: I know you’re not happy with your hair but it sort of suits you in an odd way and it’s really glossy.

Nell: Never mind my hair. How dare that lion disrupt yesterday’s performance?

Me: It was mainly Rupert and Myfanwy’s performance.

Nell: Sneezing like that.

Me: It was more of a roar than a sneeze.

Nell: Myfanwy fainted clear away. Rupert had to carry her off stage.

Me: Do you think that means they will be in the dance off tonight?

Nell: Of course they will. And so will Manuel I expect. How on earth did he gets his tentacles caught in that trapeze?

Me: What was he doing on it in the first place? It was only meant for Gladys and Count Bingo Flamingo’s dance.

Nell: I have no idea. It was a complete shambles.

Me: At least it gave the audience pumpkin to talk about.

Nell: I shall ignore that. I thought Dave and Rhubarb danced beautifully as a pair of dog ghosts.

Me: Yes. Their costumes were eerie-sistable.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: I enjoyed Harriet and Beauregard’s Pirates of the Caribbean number, although Lionel King should not have joined in.

Nell: I agree. Most unprofessional, if not threatening, for a judge to be waving his cutlass around like that.

Me: And what about Poppy as Dracula?

Nell: Absolutely terrifying. Nobody dared give her less than a 10.

Me: Stephen Seagull made an awfully convincing raven.

Nell: Well, go on. Make a joke about vampires. I know you’re dying to.

Me: Good one. I have some vampire puns but they all suck.

Nell: I knew it.

Me: Just witching you a Happy Halloween.

Nell: Same to you.

Me: Fangs, Boo-tiful. Feeling gourd like I should.

Nell: Enough.

Me: Sorry.


The Right Decision

Nell: Go outside and help Harriet.

Me: Why?

Nell: She has a difficult decision to make and needs support.

Me: You’re the one who makes the decisions around here.

Nell: Yes, and I’ve decided to send you.

Me: I’m dreadful at making decisions, Nell. What about Knitwear Wolf? He’s ever so good at being wise.

Nell: Rupert is way too involved and so am I. As Head Judge I need to remain impartial.

Me: What about?

Nell: Tiaras. Do keep up.

Me: But you’re going to the Halloween Special tonight as Morticia Addams.

Nell: Well, thank you very much for letting everyone know my costume.

Me: Oops. So, who wants to wear a tiara?

Nell: Unfortunately Gladys and Myfanwy both want to wear the same one.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Gladys has opted for straight hair and she says a tiara is just the thing, but when she chose one The Cat said Myfanwy wants to wear it.

Me: Who is Myfanwy going as?

Nell: Beauty.

Me: That means Knitwear Wolf is the Beast.

Nell: I know. A ridiculous idea. I can’t think of anyone less beast like than Rupert.

Me: I’m surprised he agreed.

Nell: He says it will be fun.

Me: Why is Harriet making the decision?

Nell: David refused and so did The Cat.

Me: I bet Poppy would be happy to oblige.

Nell: Yes. But would she make the right decision?

Me: What is the right decision?

Nell: Gladys, of course. How can you even ask?

Me: Maybe the right decision would be that nobody wears it and they just choose a different one.

Nell: See. That’s exactly why you are going outside to help Harriet.

Me: I am?

Nell: Yes. I knew I made the right decision asking you. Off you go.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Cuddly Friday

Me: It’s obviously cuddly Friday today, at least for some.

Nell: Rainy days are for cuddling.

Me: May I join you?

Nell: There’s no room.

Me: It’s my bed.

Nell: You know perfectly well that we have a non exclusivity clause in this house about beds.

Me: Do we?

Nell: Yes. Beds are too be shared.

Me: Apart from Poppy’s palace.

Nell: Obviously. Nobody can get into Poppy’s Palace.

Me: Nobody would dare.

Nell: Quite.

Me: But I don’t want to lie in a dog bed.

Nell: That’s your choice. Now, I have a question for you.

Me: How exciting. Do I need some paper and a pencil?

Nell: Why on earth would you need that?

Me: It might be a quiz. I love quizzes.

Nell: It is not a quiz and you don’t need to phone a friend, although you could if you wanted to.

Me: Right. Fire away then. I’m all ears.

Nell: Don’t be silly. You’re not a spaniel.

Me: So what’s the question?

Nell: Would you favour straight, or curly in a coat?

Me: My coats tend to be rather plain.

Nell: Not your coat. A dog’s coat.

Me: Oh. Gosh.

Nell: Curly coats are quite the thing at the moment.

Me: Yes. They certainly seem to be.

Nell: I was only saying to my friend Dorothy just the other day that one can’t go anywhere nowadays without bumping into a curly coated dog.

Me: You might need your glasses checking.

Nell: Don’t be so cheeky. You know I only need glasses for reading.

Me: I’ve always admired a wavy coat. A bit like yours actually.

Nell: You are too kind but none of this is going to help Gladys.

Me: Gladys?

Nell: Yes. Should she go for curls, or not?

Me: I don’t know. Sorry.


A Good Day

Me: Today is going to be a good day.

Nell: Any particular reason why?

Me: Tony came to see us and Dave’s tummy ache went away immediately.

Nell: Of course it did. A cuddle with Tony always helps.

Me: I was just saying to Kev that cuddles have become hugely important since the pandemic.

Nell: Yes, they have.

Me: And I don’t think I’m exaggerating if I say you dogs and cats have saved many people’s lives.

Nell: Did you just say cats?

Me: Yes, all animals. Stroking an alpaca is a lovely thing to do. You should try it. I know Alejandro would be happy to oblige.

Nell: I’m sorry to disappoint you but stroking alpacas is not on my agenda this morning. And I wouldn’t advise trying to cuddle The Cat. It’s up to its eyes in false teeth and fake blood.

Me: What a horrible thought.

Nell: Someone has to organise the Halloween costumes.

Me: I hear Poppy is going as Count Dracula.

Nell: Yes, with Stephen Seagull as a raven. He’s having his feathers dyed as we speak.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: Now, don’t be shocked if Kev appears as a werewolf.

Me: I’ll try not to be.

Nell: And Henry and Horst in fur suits.

Me: Are they going as caterpillars?

Nell: No. As his eyebrows.

Me: Good idea. Although Kev’s eyebrows are quite bushy on their own. In fact when he was an actor a director once asked him for less eyebrows and he had to confess they were real.

Nell: Awkward.

Me: What about the others?

Nell: Gladys and Count Bingo Flamingo are the ringmaster and the trapeze artist from The Greatest Showman.

Me: Perfect.

Nell: It’s not a great deal different from their usual selves though, is it?

Me: I suppose not. Sorry.


A Surprising Companion

Me: Well, you certainly impressed me on the beach.

Nell: Why?

Me: Going in swimming and then running up the sand bank.

Nell: I enjoy the occasional swim.

Me: Yes, I know but it was a bit grey and chilly looking.

Nell: The sea is often warmer on a grey day. You shouldn’t judge on appearances.

Me: Talking of appearances, the Whippets Institute just arrived with the Welsh corgi choir.

Nell: They’re rehearsing for the Halloween special.

Me: What are they singing?

Nell: ‘Everybody’ by the Barkstreet Boys.

Me: I think I know that one. Very Halloweeny.

Nell: All our couples will be dancing and everybody will be in costume. Even the Whippets Institute Big Band.

Me: What about you judges?

Nell: We will be in costume too, although Lionel King might as well come as himself. He’s nasty enough.

Me: True. Have the Daily Growl published your article?

Nell: It should be coming out today.

Me: They sent a Jack Russell reporter like you said but I was surprised to see him accompanied by a Siamese cat.

Nell: I don’t know why. You must have heard of Thai Basil.

Me: Of course I have.

Nell: Well then.

Me: What have herbs got to do with it?

Nell: Nothing at all.

Me: Why mention Thai basil?

Nell: Because that’s his name.

Me: Whose name?

Nell: The photographer’s. Thai Basil is one of the most sought after photographers in the country. I am sure he will have done an excellent job.

Me: Oh, I didn’t know.

Nell: You said you did.

Me: I was thinking about green curry.

Nell: Why on earth are you thinking about curry at a time like this? You are worse than David.

Me: He doesn’t like curry.

Nell: You know what I mean.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


No Croutons

Me: Why is Kev in the living room comforting the puppies?

Nell: Poppy is making vegetable soup for lunch with no croutons.

Me: We don’t have to have croutons.

Nell: The puppies do. They are their favourite part.

Me: I know croutons are exciting but soup can still be delicious without them.

Nell: Croutons aren’t exciting.

Me: They sort of are, Nell. The way they are crunchy at first and then wonderfully gloopy when soaked in soup.

Nell: I worry about you sometimes. Gloopy is not a word.

Me: Why aren’t there any croutons?

Nell: Someone ate the bread. Poppy is having to make a whole new batch and she is not amused.

Me: You know what would go well in the soup?

Nell: No, but I’m sure you are going to tell me.

Me: Crunchy bits of bacon.

Nell: We’ve run out of bacon too.

Me: No wonder Dave needs comforting.

Nell: David needs comforting because he has a sore tummy.

Me: Oh dear. I expect he ate something by mistake.

Nell: Exactly. Now, I’m expecting the Daily Growl at any moment so if a Jack Russell wearing a narrow brimmed hat appears at the door send it straight through to me.

Me: You don’t know it will be a Jack Russell.

Nell: It always is.

Me: It was an Irish Wolfhound one time.

Nell: That was the photographer.

Me: Oh yes.

Nell: I need to make sure the public have all the facts before next weekend’s Halloween special. I don’t want that lion influencing the public vote.

Me: It’s going to be a spooktacular event.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: Come on. Join in. Knock, knock.

Nell: Who’s there?

Me: Boo.

Nell: Boo who?

Me: Don’t cry, Nell. It’s only a few croutons.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Sorry.


A Scandalous Lie

Me: Is Harriet still refusing breakfast?

Nell: Yes, I’m afraid yesterday’s dance off was a dreadful shock.

Me: How did Harriet and Beauregard end up there? They danced so well.

Nell: Sometimes the public simply forget to vote. They think the couples are safe.

Me: And then Harriet had to dance against Jim the Farm Dog, her love.

Nell: Yes, most unfortunate.

Me: Both couples raised their game in the dance off.

Nell: They did.

Me: When Anton and Princess chose Harriet and Beauregard I thought they were safe, but then Lionel King chose Jim and Juanita.

Nell: No surprise to me. He hates Beauregard.

Me: And so you, as the head judge, had the casting vote and chose Harriet and Beauregard.

Nell: Of course I did. They were the better dancers.

Me: Lionel King shouldn’t have shouted ‘Typical Labs. Favouring their own.’

Nell: It was a scandalous lie.

Me: And the Daily Growl shouldn’t have published that interview with him either.

Nell: What interview?

Me: Never mind. You don’t want to read it.

Nell: Show me.

Me: If you insist, but you won’t like it.

Nell: That’s a photo of me in my tiara. It says: ‘Judge Lionel King accuses Head Judge Nell Martin of cheating after she put through her niece Harriet and international tiger burglar Beauregard in the Strictly dance off.’

Me: It’s a bit rich calling Beauregard a tiger burglar when he’s been retired for years.

Nell: That’s not the point. I’m not going to sit here and let that lion get away with this. Get the Daily Growl on my iBone.

Me: Wouldn’t it be better to ignore him?

Nell: My reputation is at stake here. And that of all Labradors. I will not allow such slander to go unchallenged.

Me: Of course not. Sorry.


A Day of Rest

Me: Look at my Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He’s exhausted. Bless him.

Nell: Let him sleep.

Me: He and Rhubarb were amazing. She looked lovely in her tiara. Almost as good as you.

Nell: Tiaras suit us ladies of a certain size.

Me: Knitwear Wolf certainly swept Myfanwy off her feet.

Nell: I wouldn’t say that, but they were excellent.

Me: Lionel King was ever so rude. Roaring at everyone in a most unpleasant way.

Nell: He’s still smarting from the loss of the jewellery box.

Me: At least he’s stocked up on ready meals.

Nell: True.

Me: Poppy is cooking the roast in her ballgown. Maybe she’s finally discovered her feminine side.

Nell: I sincerely doubt it. She’s wearing a leather biker’s jacket over the top with ‘Boss’ sequinned on the back.

Me: Stephen Seagull lost a few feathers again but he held his own this week.

Nell: Waltzing with Poppy requires a certain amount of bravery.

Me: Especially when she’s carrying a sword in her teeth.

Nell: Yes.

Me: Who’s in danger of being in the dance off?

Nell: Manuel had trouble with his tentacles again so he has to be at risk and Jim the Farm Dog seemed a little distracted. I felt his heart wasn’t really in it this week.

Me: I think he might be a little jealous of Harriet and Beauregard.

Nell: Jim should know better. Harriet is not the kind of Labrador to have her head turned by a tiger.

Me: No. Her heart still belongs to Jim.

Nell: Anyway, enough talk of dancing. Let’s just enjoy the pleasures of a Sunday.

Me: Yes. The delicious smell of Poppy’s roast beef with just a hint of Yorkshire pudding.

Nell: I was talking about the sound of the Welsh Corgi Choir.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Suited and Booted

Me: How handsome is Dave? I’m glad he got his hat back from Arctic Bob. It didn’t look the same on a walrus.

Nell: David can carry off a top hat and so can Rupert. Some animals can and some really shouldn’t.

Me: Did you see Myfanwy’s ballgown? Pale pink with little stars. Gorgeous.

Nell: Costumes aren’t everything.

Me: They are quite a lot, though, Nell. Especially on Strictly.

Nell: Let’s wait and see how the dancing goes, shall we? Although she is in safe paws with Rupert. It’s the Viennese Waltz and he is the ballroom king.

Me: Do wolves have paws, or feet?

Nell: Both. Wolves have extremely large paws with long arched toes and they also have webbed feet.

Me: I didn’t know that.

Nell: Well, you do now.

Me: I’m not sure Poppy likes her dress very much. She’s more of a trouser suit type.

Nell: She can’t be the lead all the time. Stephen Seagull has to have a go now and again.

Me: He can’t wear a dress.

Nell: Of course he can’t.

Me: Unless he wants to, of course. We mustn’t be judgemental.

Nell: Yes, we must. I’m the head judge, in case you’ve forgotten.

Me: Never mind. I know what I mean.

Nell: Poppy looks lovely in her dress. I don’t know why she’s complaining.

Me: She’s wearing boots underneath it.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: And she’s frying bacon.

Nell: It’s Saturday. Weekends mean bacon sandwiches.

Me: But should she be wearing a ballgown in the kitchen? The Cat will have a fit.

Nell: Is she wearing her long apron over it?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Tied around the middle?

Me: Yes

Nell: Well then. If David doesn’t get his bacon sandwiches he’s never going to be able to perform.

Me: No. Sorry.


Sherlock Martin Strikes Again

Me: Is something strange going on?

Nell: Why would you say that?

Me: There’s been an awful lot of noise this morning and the llamas are wearing sequinned dressing gowns.

Nell: A little impractical for dancing in a field, perhaps, but understandable in the circumstances.

Me: What circumstances?

Nell: Have you noticed anything different about me?

Me: Not really. You’re wearing a rather ostentatious crown for a Friday morning but I’m sure you have your reasons.

Nell: I do.

Me: Has it got something to do with Arctic Bob?

Nell: It has.

Me: And the fact he’s wearing Dave’s top hat and a feather boa.?

Nell: Yes.

Me: Did they find The Cat’s jewellery box?

Nell: Yes, Sherlock Martin, they did.

Me: That’s wonderful news. Lionel King must be furious.

Nell: It’s his fault for spending too much time in the ready meal section at Barks and Spencer.

Me: It’s easily done. So, what happened?

Nell: Knitwear Wolf and Beauregard chased the Beefies off the ship with the help of Owl Pacino and the Royal Owl Force.

Me: Good for them.

Nell: They sailed the ship back escorted by Arctic Bob, Princess and the Navy Seals.

Me: How did they get the box to shore?

Nell: Arctic Bob is very strong, you know. Once on land the box was placed in Rupert’s sidecar with Princess and he drove it home to The Cat.

Me: And tumultuous applause, no doubt.

Nell: Princess clapped all the way.

Me: It’s a seal thing.

Nell: Lionel had to take his shopping home on the bus.

Me: Does he even have a home?

Nell: Of sorts. He’s staying at the hotel on Burgh Island again.

Me: I wish I’d been there.

Nell: Our Penguin filmed it all. It’s trending on YouChewed.

Me: Of course. Sorry.