Me: Any news of Herr Hoffmann?
Nell: Not yet. Rupert drove down to the beach at first light to start searching for him again.
Me: We can’t just lose an elderly bear. Someone must have noticed him.
Nell: Harriet has made posters with ‘Have You Seen This Bear?’ and contact details. Jim the Farm Dog is going to help her distribute them in town.
Me: Is that wise?
Nell: What do you mean?
Me: It makes him sound dangerous. We don’t want a bear hunt.
Nell: He’s wearing a hat. It’s not exactly wild.
Me: Fair enough. Tell me what happened again.
Nell: Rupert took him down to the beach and after a little difficulty getting him out of the sidecar he managed to find a comfortable place for him to rest on a soft blanket.
Me: Did he eat his honey sandwiches?
Nell: I don’t know and that’s not the point.
Me: We don’t want him wandering around all lost and hungry.
Nell: Anyway, Rupert said Herr Hoffmann soon fell asleep so he thought it would be safe to leave him for a short time while he ran some errands.
Me: But it wasn’t.
Nell: No. When Rupert returned, the blanket and picnic were still there but Herr Hoffmann wasn’t.
Me: Where was that wretched lion? I thought he was supposed to be keeping an eye on Herr Hoffmann too.
Nell: Lionel was on his boat. He was sailing over to take Herr Hoffmann for tea on the island. Remember?
Me: Maybe he’s kidnapped him? He’s done it before.
Nell: Nonsense. When he got to the beach Herr Hoffmann had gone.
Me: He can’t just have disappeared, Nell.
Nell: He won’t have gone far. It’s not as if he’s a sprightly sort of bear. Stop panicking.
Me: Yes. Sorry.