Tony, Dave and The Pointer Sisters

Me: Dave was over the moon to see Tony again after the Easter break.

Nell: Yes, they had an awful lot to talk about.

Me: The first thing I heard Tony say was, ‘Thank goodness you’re back from Dartmoor now, Boy. Hope you got plenty of bacon sandwiches. You must have been skin and bone.’

Nell: A lot of people were extremely worried about David. He’s a popular animal.

Me: Have there really not been any sightings of those beautiful Maine Coon cats since the Dartmoor incident?

Nell: Well, it’s funny you should say that.

Me: Why?

Nell: My friend Dorothy says there are a pair of Maine Coons staying at the Burgh Island Hotel.

Me: The hotel where Lionel King has his suite?

Nell: Yes, but don’t bring lions into this, please. We’ve quite enough on our paws with two large fluffy cats.

Me: Lionel is a large fluffy cat.

Nell: There is nothing fluffy about Lionel. Trust me.

Me: How does Dorothy know about the Maine Coons?

Nell: Pamela the Pyrenean Mountain Dog was having afternoon tea there with The Pointer Sisters and they were sitting at the next table.

Me: The band?

Nell: No. The Maine Coons.

Me: I meant The Pointer Sisters. They were an American R&B singing group.

Nell: What are you talking about? They are English Pointers and they certainly can’t sing.

Me: Oh, I see. Were the Maine Coons doing anything fishy?

Nell: No, they were having scones, jam and cream like everyone else, although there might have been fish in the sandwiches, I suppose.

Me: Never mind. Have you told Sally?

Nell: Yes, we discussed it at Morning Thoughts.

Me: My Thoughts are that Lionel is behind this.

Nell: Well, try and keep Your Thoughts to yourself then.

Me: Too late. Sorry.


Have you seen Harriet?

Nell: Have you seen Harriet? Poppy is looking for someone to help with clearing up.

Me: I haven’t really seen much of her at all lately.

Nell: I’m sure she said she was going up to the top garden for a swing in Alejandro’s hammock.

Me: Did she? Well, there we are. Maybe David can help.

Nell: What does ‘there we are’ mean? It’s more like ‘there we aren’t’.

Me: It’s just a saying, Nell.

Nell: Poppy needs help now. And no, David, can’t help. He’s not good with washing up. He gets far too excited about the bubbles.

Me: What about Malcolm and Manuel?

Nell: They’ve gone to the Dash and Hurry with Rupert to stock up on necessities.

Me: Don’t you mean Cash and Carry?

Nell: Certainly not. Nobody uses cash nowadays. Do keep up. Why are you shaking your head?

Me: Am I? I must have water in my ears.

Nell: Nonsense. You haven’t even been swimming. You’re up to something.

Me: No, I’m not.

Nell: You’re signalling to someone in the back garden.

Me: Why would I do that?

Nell: Where are my binoculars?

Me: You don’t need those. You can see Harriet perfectly well without them if you look hard enough.

Nell: Ha! I was right.

Me: You tricked me.

Nell: I knew Harriet was out there all the time. I just wanted to see how long you could hold out before telling me.

Me: I think she just wants some alone time, Nell. She loves thinking thoughts in the garden.

Nell: There’s a time for thinking and that’s after the clearing up has been done.

Me: You often sit and think.

Nell: I am a senior Labrador and the head of this household. I have a lot more to think about.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Easter Monday

Me: Are you laughing at Dave sticking his bottom in the air?

Nell: I might be.

Me: Well, it’s lovely to see you so happy.

Nell: Why wouldn’t I be? It’s sunny, it’s Easter and we are all together in the activity field.

Me: Do we know why Dave is sticking his bottom in the air?

Nell: David is trying to do a roly poly.

Me: Is that wise?

Nell: No. Giant Labradors are not made for doing forward rolls. That kind of thing should be left to the terriers.

Me: The llamas do cartwheels.

Nell: Let’s not go there.

Me: And Princess did an amazing back somersault in the air when she was in her pool.

Nell: Did she clap herself again?

Me: Yes.

Nell: For hours?

Me: It’s a seal thing. Although, to be honest I might clap myself too if I managed a somersault.

Nell: Please don’t. The mere idea.

Me: Okay.

Nell: I’m beginning to wonder if David is stuck. He’s not moving.

Me: I think he’s just having a rest before he gives it another go.

Nell: Fair enough. Now, I believe you have some exciting news?

Me: Yes, I was talking to Chris and Alice yesterday and they are all coming to visit in July.

Nell: That’s wonderful.

Me: For two whole weeks. Just imagine, Nell. I’ll probably cry when I see them again it’s been nearly 2 1/2 years.

Nell: A few tears are completely acceptable in a situation like that.

Me: You might be right.

Nell: I am.

Me: I mean about Dave. I think he really is stuck. He’s still got his bottom in the air.

Nell: He’s probably fallen asleep. He does that when he finds himself in an awkward situation. Go and give him a push.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Happy Easter

Me: Happy Easter everybody.

Nell: And the same to you. Now, which hat do you prefer?

Me: Hard to say. They’re both striking.

Nell: I need to make a decision. Sunday Songs are starting in a few minutes.

Me: I rather like the boater.

Nell; Fine. You can wear the red one.

Me: Oh, I don’t know about that, Nell. I’m not sure red is my colour.

Nell: Have the boater then.

Me: Why do I have to wear a hat at all?

Nell: It’s Easter. Everyone wears a hat. You know they do.

Me: Even Henry and Horst?

Nell: Didn’t you notice their top hats?

Me: I can’t say I did.

Nell: Well, I noticed something in the refrigerator.

Me: Yorkshire pudding batter? I know Poppy’s cooking roast beef.

Nell: No. A headless chocolate bunny.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: This is very wrong for so many reasons.

Me: I agree.

Nell: Chocolate is dangerous for dogs.

Me: Yes, I know.

Nell: Which is why I don’t allow it in the house.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Except for Easter.

Me: It is Easter.

Nell: Easter Sunday.

Me: It is Easter Sunday.

Nell: The bunny was headless last night.

Me: Too much partying?

Nell: Not funny.

Me: Okay, it was me. I couldn’t resist it.

Nell: You do realise you could get your ears boxed, don’t you?

Me: That’s a bit much.

Nell: The Easter Terrier is not a fan of chocolate or the Easter Bunny. Ask Poppy.

Me: Is that why everyone is wearing a hat?

Nell: You would be wise to put the red hat on right now.

Me: I’m not sure my sisters know they have to wear hats when they come to lunch.

Nell: Of course they do. It says it on their invitations.

Me: I see. Sorry.


Saturday Togetherness

Nell: Exactly how many bacon sandwiches has David eaten since he got back?

Me: Quite a few, Nell. He was awfully hungry.

Nell: No wonder he’s fallen asleep on his sister.

Me: I think he’s just happy to be home.

Nell: As are we all. It’s been a worrying few days.

Me: Yes. Thank goodness he’s safe.

Nell: Any sign of the two beautiful Maine Coons?

Me: Not as far as I know. I hope they don’t try to hold Dave to the contract.

Nell: They’d better not.

Me: Oliver Bone is just going to have to find someone else to play James Bond.

Nell: You do realise the Bond casting was never real?

Me: It was, Nell. Daniel Craig’s stopped playing Bond so they’re definitely looking for a replacement.

Nell: And you believe David was a serious contender?

Me: Of course I do. He’s beautiful, brave and ever so big for a Labrador.

Nell: I’m not sure those were the actual requirements.

Me: If it was up to me Dave would have got the job.

Nell: Anyway, back in the real world Sally has called a meeting of all the spies to discuss their next move.

Me: Does that include me?

Nell: Absolutely not. I’m guessing it’s only Rupert, Harriet, Roley Moley and Henry and Horst.

Me: Harriet can’t go. Dave’s asleep on her.

Nell: She can join the others when David wakes. His well-being comes first at the moment. Sally understands.

Me: Good. Hang on a minute. Did you say Rupert?

Nell: I did. Sally was so impressed with the way he handled the last few days that she’s asked him to join the team.

Me: Has she indeed? You’ve always had a thing for spies, haven’t you?

Nell: What is that supposed to mean?

Me: Nothing. Sorry.


A Slight Overreaction?

Me: You remember Widecombe in the Moor, don’t you?

Nell: Yes, we’ve been here several times with Chris and Alice.

Me: Shall I order tea?

Nell: Yes. I have a signal so I’ll check my messages.

Me: Okay.

Nell: You’re not going to believe this.

Me: I just might.

Nell: There’s a message from Sally and several from Rupert. About David.

Me: Is my darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy okay?

Nell: No. He’s signed a contract giving up friends and family to become the next James Bond.

Me: What?

Nell: Not intentionally.

Me: So, is he off filming somewhere?

Nell: No. He’s living in a ruined castle on a hill all alone with only bread and water.

Me: No bacon?

Nell: It’s all he’ll allow Rupert to bring him. And a soft duvet because it’s cold.

Me: How did this happen?

Nell: Two beautiful Maine Coons approached David right here in Widecombe saying they were talent scouts for Oliver Bone.

Me: The film director?

Nell: Exactly. They said David would make the perfect Bond.

Me: He would.

Nell: All he had to do was sign an NDA.

Me: A non-disclosure agreement?

Nell: Unfortunately this one said ‘No Dogs Allowed’.

Me: But Dave’s a dog?

Nell: No other dogs. David has been tricked into giving us all up. Including Sally.

Me: That’s dreadful.

Nell: Since then he’s been living in this ruin. Rupert is allowed to visit him once a day but he won’t see Sally or let any of us know.

Me: A slight overreaction?

Nell: I agree. Sally is distraught and Rupert has had enough.

Me: We have to do something.

Nell: We need to gather our troops, destroy the document and get David back. No dogs indeed.

Me: Can I finish my scone?

Nell: No.

Me: Okay. Sorry.


Reunited At Last

Nell: ‘David St. John Martin come out of that ruined castle right now, you silly animal.’

Me: Stop barking, Nell. You’ll frighten him.

Nell: ‘Just to let you know we have surrounded the whole of the castle and yes it is the Welsh Corgi Choir you can hear singing ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserables even though today is not Sunday.’

Me: That song always makes me cry.

Nell: Well, don’t. We’re drawing quite enough attention to ourselves as it is.

Me: Where did the photographers come from?

Nell: The Daily Growl. Someone tipped them off I presume.

Me: There’s no sign of him yet.

Nell: ‘I have the ridiculous NDA you signed here in my paw and Sara is about to set it on fire.’

Me: I don’t have any matches.

Nell: Rub two sticks together then. Use your initiative.

Me: Couldn’t we just tear it into little pieces?

Nell: Good grief. ‘David, you’re now free to come home. Exit the ruin and bring your duvet with you.’

Me: We can always get it later.

Nell: Whatever. Any sign of him yet?

Me: Yes. I can see him. He’s waving, Nell, and everyone is cheering. Listen to them all.

Nell: Can someone please keep those llamas under control? Cartwheeling down a hill is reckless.

Me: Look at the Welsh Corgi Choir kicking their little legs.

Nell: Where do they think they are? This is Dartmoor, not the Moulin Rouge.

Me: Now Sally is running towards him. Bless her. This is going to be the perfect Easter weekend. Everyone is reunited and my sisters are coming for lunch on Easter Sunday.

Nell: Does Poppy know?

Me: I’ll go and tell her now.

Nell: I’d wait if I were you. She was just bowled over by a llama.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Corgis and Llamas

Nell: I’m not sure what to make of this at all.

Me: When we showed the Dartmoor ponies a photo of Sally they all nodded.

Nell: I know but it’s something ponies do.

Me: Like seals clapping?

Nell: Don’t bring seals into this, please. I’ve got more than enough in my bowl.

Me: If Manaton saw a wolf in a cardigan and the other ponies saw a Golden Retriever we must be on the right track.

Nell: Yes, they have to be somewhere near here.

Me: I don’t know about you, Nell, but I could do with a cream tea. All this searching is awfully tiring.

Nell: How can you think about food at a time like this?

Me: We have to keep our strength up. A nice cup of tea and a few scones is just what we need and Dartmoor clotted cream is the best.

Nell: You might be right. Perhaps we could go to the cafe where David was last seen?

Me: Good idea.

Nell: I’m not taking everyone. The llamas have no idea how to behave in public.

Me: I agree. Just you, me, Poppy and Harriet.

Nell: Yes, the others can go hiking.

Me: I’m not sure the Welsh Corgi Choir will manage to hike very far. They only have little legs.

Nell: They’ll be fine. They’re all wearing sturdy boots.

Me: Yes, I’m rather impressed.

Nell: Never underestimate a corgi. They are extremely resilient.

Me: I suppose they could always ride on the llamas if they get tired.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: Needs must.

Nell: Well it’s not something I would ever consider doing.

Me: Never say never.

Nell: Let’s just find the cafe. Corgis riding llamas is more than I can deal with at the moment.

Me: Yes, of course. Sorry.


A Shy Foal

Me: What are Harriet and Poppy doing?

Nell: Looking for clues. The shy foal says it saw a wolf drinking water down here.

Me: What shy foal?

Nell: The one we all followed down to the stream. Do keep up.

Me: Does the shy foal have a name?

Nell: Yes. Manaton.

Me: Is Manaton sure it was Knitwear Wolf? Only, it could have been a different one.

Nell: It was wearing a cardigan under its biker leathers and a beautiful scarf.

Me: I see. Was it handsome and kind?

Nell: How is Manaton going to know that?

Me: Just asking.

Nell: We should probably cross the stream and go and ask Manaton’s family.

Me: Dartmoor ponies don’t like people bothering them.

Nell: This is an emergency.

Me: I’m not sure everybody should come with us, Nell. Especially Beauregard and Mrs King.

Nell: You have a point there. I’m afraid getting an ice cream from that van earlier wasn’t such a good idea.

Me: People don’t expect tigers and lions in a queue.

Nell: They didn’t mind the llamas.

Me: Llamas are different.

Nell: You’re telling me. They just can’t help showing off. Did they have to do cartwheels?

Me: People clapped. In fact it was all going really well until Beauregard and Mrs King appeared.

Nell: Yes. I’m afraid they’re going to have to stay undercover in future.

Me: I agree.

Nell: I think you, Poppy and Harriet should come with me.

Me: I’m included?

Nell: Yes. Henry and Horst will be riding on your hat so keep it on your head, please.

Me: I didn’t mean to shake them off. I forgot they were there.

Nell: Well, don’t do it again. If they weren’t wearing helmets and full body armour they could have been seriously hurt.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


The Search Begins

Me: Can you see the helicopter? I thought I heard it just now.

Nell: It’s circling over there. Poppy is probably looking for somewhere safe to land.

Me: Dartmoor is a bit rocky for helicopters. I hope she finds somewhere soon.

Nell: The rocks are called tors. The famous ones include Haytor and Hound Tor.

Me: Yes, I know. I’ve been coming here since I was a child.

Nell: Well, I’m never coming here in a minibus again.

Me: No, it wasn’t the best of journeys.

Nell: Dragging a cart full of excitable llamas behind us like a travelling circus. Whose idea was that?

Me: Gladys didn’t want to go without them.

Nell: And why are they wearing shell suits? This isn’t the 1980’s.

Me: I think they‘re in fashion again. Things do come round.

Nell: As if a cartload of llamas isn’t attention seeking enough.

Me: To be fair, Nell, a minibus full of creatures great and small is fairly unusual. Not to mention a small terrier flying a helicopter.

Nell: The only thing small about Poppy is her size.

Me: I’m not sure Beauregard and Mrs King should have joined us.

Nell: Why?

Me: Tigers and lions tend to put people on edge.

Nell: That’s as maybe but they are both excellent stalkers which is what we need right now.

Me: I don’t think there’s any point in me wearing my all-encasing hat.

Nell: Why not? It’s windy and you suffer with earache.

Me: True, but there’s no way that whoever has taken Dave, Rupert and Sally won’t know we’re here.

Nell: We want them to know we’re here.

Me: Do we?

Nell: Yes. They need to know we are here to get our family back and we are not leaving without them.

Me: Yes. You’re right. Sorry.