Dave likes to be close

Me: You know how Dave likes to watch Saturday Kitchen with me?

Nell: Yes. He looks forward to it all week.

Me: I didn’t expect him to get into the bed.

Nell: You shouldn’t have been in bed.

Me: It’s Saturday. I’m allowed.

Nell: So is he.

Me: You don’t expect a great big paw on your shoulder.

Nell: David likes to be close. He’s a tactile animal.

Me: He’s awfully heavy.

Nell: Never mind that, I have something much more important to tell you.

Me: We’re not having green soup for breakfast again, are we?

Nell: No. It’s boiled eggs and soldiers and Poppy is making a quiche for lunch.

Me: Thank goodness. Is the llama feeling better?

Nell: Yes. Knitwear Wolf has managed to organise a knitted jumpsuit to go under its pyjamas.

Me: That’s a relief. So, what’s the big news?

Nell: You are not going to believe this.

Me: I just might.

Nell: My friend Pamela called Book a Beefy a few days ago to order herself a luxurious dog bed from Fifi la Beefy.

Me: That’s not exactly big news.

Nell: There’s more.

Me: Was it too small? She’s a Pyrenean Mountain Dog so she will need Extra Large.

Nell: Guess who delivered it.

Me: Terry?

Nell: No. Squawk.

Me: Squawk? I thought Sally had him locked away in a safe place.

Nell: So did I.

Me: Did he deliver it nicely?

Nell: Of course, he didn’t. He threw it over the gate and it ripped open.

Me: How dreadfully rude.

Nell: That’s when she saw the bed was stuffed with fleece.

Me: Nothing wrong with that.

Nell: Llama fleece.

Me: She wanted luxurious.

Nell: There is a naked llama in our field who might have something to say about this.

Me: Oh yes. Sorry.


Sharing and Caring

Me: We had our first vaccination.

Nell: I am delighted.

Me: It was an emotional moment. Everyone was very kind and smiley.

Nell: I believe you stopped off for a burger on the way home.

Me: We hadn’t had one for over a year.

Nell: Some of us still haven’t.

Me: Do you think the puppies could give me a little space on my chair?

Nell: They were there first. Sharing is Caring. Something you seem to have forgotten.

Me; It’s my chair.

Nell: Never mind that now. Was there a llama in the kitchen when you came downstairs?

Me: Yes. Eating a bowl of green soup. Not something I would want for breakfast.

Nell: You’re not a llama. It’s grass and nettle soup. Poppy made it especially.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: Was it wearing a thick warm coat?

Me: Yes and a woolly hat, gloves and boots.

Nell: Excellent.

Me: Why isn’t it out Gliding with Gladys?

Nell: It is cold and traumatised.

Me: Oh, do you think it is the lost llama?

Nell: Sherlock Martin strikes again.

Me: So the llama has been shorn?

Nell: It has. Same scenario as Poppy. Blindfolded and clipped.

Me: Shocking. Those villains. Was there any bacon this time?

Nell: Of course there wasn’t bacon. Terry wasn’t there.

Me: Just checking.

Nell: Llamas don’t eat bacon. If they did it would be eating a bacon sandwich right now and not some disgusting green soup.

Me: Dave eats bacon.

Nell: We all know that.

Me: He’s been an honorary llama for the past few days.

Nell: He’s already tried that with Poppy but she’s not budging. It’s green soup or nothing this morning.

Me: Fancy a bagel?

Nell: What do you think the queue outside is for? David’s been round twice already.

Me: Yes. Sorry.



Me: The puppies look exhausted.

Nell: They have been watching over Poppy.

Me: Yes. She had to have a few teeth out. Poor little thing.

Nell: And it’s awfully tiring being a llama.

Me: Is it still missing then?

Nell: Yes. David had to Glide with Gladys in his pyjamas again this morning.

Me: I wondered why there were only two llamas in the kitchen.

Nell: Gladys thinks we need to keep a close eye on them.

Me: Do you think there is a danger they will wander off like the other one?

Nell: It didn’t wander off. It was taken.

Me: Really?

Nell: All I can say is don’t be surprised if you open the door to find a naked llama.

Me: With no dressing gown?

Nell: More than that.

Me: No pyjamas?

Nell: No fur.

Me: This is shocking.

Nell: Sally is in close contact with PC Panda and the cows are on alert.

Me: I haven’t seen any cows recently.

Nell: That’s because they are undercover.

Me: I wouldn’t have thought the cows needed to worry, Nell. They don’t have fur. It’s the sheep who are most in danger.

Nell: The cows are working in the field.

Me: Yes, I know that.

Nell: I mean as field agents for Sally. Do keep up.

Me: Well, hopefully the missing llama will be located soon.

Nell: Now, are you and Kev ready to drive down to Plymouth for your vaccination?

Me: Yes. I feel a little bit teary, to be honest.

Nell: That’s not surprising.

Me: I’m so grateful to everyone who has made this possible in such a short space of time.

Nell: So are we. You and Kev are very precious to us you know. You’re not the only ones who are feeling teary.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


No Breakfast

Me: Don’t look at me like that.

Nell: I simply cannot believe this.

Me: It was booked weeks and weeks ago.

Nell: Taking Poppy to the vets to have her teeth cleaned at a time like this.

Me: Dental health is so important for general well being, Nell.

Nell: And leaving her there.

Me: We had to. I didn’t like leaving her either.

Nell: And no breakfast for anyone.

Me: Kev and I decided breakfast could wait until we got back. Poppy wasn’t allowed to eat.

Nell: David was fainting with hunger.

Me: He was not.

Nell: We shall need extra bacon.

Me: Boiled eggs will have to do.

Nell: No breakfast and no bacon.

Me: You can’t have bacon. You’re on a diet.

Nell: All I can say is thank goodness for Babycakes Gillespie.

Me: You’ve changed your tune.

Nell: We wouldn’t have survived without him.

Me: Do you mean you’ve all had bagels?

Nell: Yes.

Me: And you have been grumbling about breakfast?

Nell: Bagels aren’t breakfast. Everyone knows that. There’s a hole in them for a start.

Me: What’s that got to do with anything?

Nell: You didn’t see a llama when you went to the vets, did you?

Me: They come out to the car, Nell, so we don’t see who is waiting to go in anymore.

Nell: I meant in a field.

Me: It was very foggy but I didn’t see any. Why?

Nell: One of them has gone missing.

Me: Oh no.

Nell: Gladys is annoyed because she needs it for this morning’s Glide with Gladys.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Fortunately, David has agreed to step in.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. Does he have any pyjamas?

Nell: You know he does. Blue and white striped ones.

Me: Oh yes. I forgot. Sorry.


Smiles and Fluff

Me: Look at those smiling faces. What’s Dave doing on my computer?

Nell: Zooming with Naughty Nigel and Boo. It’s the Devon Boys Club.

Me: They look so happy.

Nell: They love living in Devon and now there is light at the end of the kennel we will be able to visit them soon.

Me: Yes. I can’t wait until it is safe to do that. Having two sisters living near by and not being able to see them has been very hard.

Nell: When is your first vaccine?

Me: Kev and I are going down to Plymouth on Thursday. I am so excited.

Nell: I am very relieved.

Me: Has Terry gone back to work, by the way?

Nell: Yes. He says he prefers to keep busy. Terry doesn’t like to dwell on things. He is an active kind of seagull.

Me: I saw him delivering a huge parcel to Susan just now.

Nell: That will be her new nest, I expect.

Me: From Fifi La Beefy?

Nell: Exactly.

Me: Anyway, you didn’t tell me what happened when Poppy and Terry confronted Squawk.

Nell: Didn’t I?

Me: No.

Nell: That’s probably because I don’t know much about it, except that Poppy seems much happier since then.

Me: Well, she’s not happy now, Nell.

Nell: Why?

Me: She just ran into the garden waving her sword.

Nell: What’s happening?

Me: She’s attacking Susan’s new nest. She’s cutting it to pieces.

Nell: Sally said this might happen.

Me: There is fluff everywhere.

Nell: I’m afraid it isn’t fluff.

Me: No, it isn’t. You’re going to think I’m silly, but it looks like Poppy’s hair to me just after she’s been clipped.

Nell: I’m not going to think you are silly at all. It is Poppy’s hair.

Me: Oh my goodness. Sorry.


Blindfolds and Bacon

Me: Is that Poppy playing Cheeky Animals with Dave?

Nell: Yes, and she just made a fresh batch of scones.

Me: What happened?

Nell: Sally asked Knitwear Wolf to take Poppy and Terry to see Squawk.

Me: Where is Squawk?

Nell: In a secret location. The breakthrough came when Knitwear Wolf tried to blindfold Poppy.

Me: Why did he do that? Is he the Baddie?

Nell: Don’t be silly. Sally can’t risk anyone knowing where Squawk is, so she asked Knitwear Wolf to make sure they couldn’t see where they were going.

Me: Poppy won’t have liked that.

Nell: Terry was fine about it, but Poppy shouted: ‘No!’ and went wild.

Me: Nobody likes a blindfold, Nell.

Nell: It turns out that Poppy was blindfolded and tied up for days.

Me: So she never saw her attackers?

Nell: No. They put headphones on her, too. She had to listen to the Bee Gees non stop.

Me: Oh dear. Poppy is more of a heavy metal fan.

Nell: That’s not the point.

Me: So, Poppy can’t really tell us much?

Nell: She knows there were birds around as she felt feathers and claws when she was being clipped.

Me: How dreadful. What about Terry?

Nell: He can’t remember anything. Apparently, one minute he was on his way to meet me in the field and the next thing he knew he was in a hut with Poppy and the bacon.

Me: He was probably drugged.

Nell: Maybe.

Me: Why didn’t they take the bacon?

Nell: I have no idea.

Me: And what happened when Poppy confronted Squawk?

Nell: Indeed.

Me: Aren’t you going to tell me?

Nell: I have a Zoom session with my Pilates group. Chat later.

Me: But, Nell.

Nell: You know the importance of regular exercise.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


A Fierce Sunday

Nell: A word of warning.

Me: What?

Nell: Don’t argue with Poppy today.

Me: How can I argue with her when she isn’t saying anything?

Nell: She has her sword.

Me: Where?

Nell: In the dog bed. I’m sharing it with her and it is most uncomfortable.

Me: She does look a little fierce this morning.

Nell: Let’s just say Sunday breakfast wasn’t the relaxed event it usually is.

Me: Did she cook it?

Nell: Yes. Huevos Rancheros.

Me: Spicy eggs?

Nell: Very spicy. Malcolm made the mistake of asking for no chilli in his.

Me: Didn’t that go down well?

Nell: It didn’t go down at all. His plate was removed. It’s Poppy’s way, or no way.

Me: Do you think there is any chance of some toast?

Nell: Unlikely. Fortunately Babycakes Gillespie is outside with his bagel cart, so all is not lost.

Me: That’s a relief.

Nell: I would get in the queue before the Welsh corgi choir arrive.

Me: Do we know why Poppy is fierce?

Nell: Sally thinks it might have something to do with Fifi La Beefy.

Me: I beg your pardon?

Nell: Susan was telling Poppy and Sally that she had ordered a luxury nest from Fifi La Beefy.

Me: Who is that?

Nell: Designer bedding. You must have heard of her. Dreadfully popular with the in crowd. Apparently she has a whole new range.

Me: I wouldn’t have thought Susan cared about the in crowd.

Nell: She doesn’t, but somebody sent her a voucher so she thought she would use it.

Me: And Poppy isn’t happy about it?

Nell: She has been fierce since then.

Me: I’m surprised she is so passionately against designer bedding. She loves my duvet.

Nell: There is more to this than meets the eye.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Poppy is home

Me: It’s so wonderful to have little Poppy home.

Nell: Yes, I know. Try and give her some time to recover. She is exhausted. David is watching over her.

Me: But where has all her hair gone? She had long wild hair the last time we saw her.

Nell: Yes, I know. Sally warned me that this might happen.

Me: Sally knew?

Nell: There have been mysterious clippings going on recently across the country. Sally is investigating.

Me: It’s a professional job.

Nell: Yes. Whoever did it knew what they were doing.

Me: I never had Squawk down as a dog groomer.

Nell: It wasn’t Squawk. He’s working for someone.

Me: Tell me from the beginning.

Nell: When David and Gladys arrived at the hut they could smell the bacon sizzling. They had managed to light the fire and Poppy was cooking the bacon.

Me: Clever Poppy. She knew we would smell it.

Nell: The door was locked but David broke it down.

Me: He’ll do anything for bacon.

Nell: He was rescuing Poppy.

Me: Yes, of course. What happened then?

Nell: David wrapped Poppy up in a soft blanket from Knitwear Wolf and brought her straight home.

Me: Was there enough room in the sidecar for Poppy and Terry?

Nell: Yes. Gladys sat behind David.

Me: In a suit of armour?

Nell: Nothing bothers Gladys.

Me: Has Poppy been able to explain what happened yet?

Nell: She needs to rest. Sally says we must give her time.

Me: Has she said anything at all, Nell?

Nell: No.

Me: What about Terry?

Nell: Nothing. I’m sure they will talk soon.

Me: You don’t think they took Poppy’s voice when they stole her hair, do you?

Nell: Don’t be silly. This is the real world not a story.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


The Rescue Begins

Me: Where are you and Harriet?

Nell: In the field. What on earth are you wearing?

Me: Kev and I are in disguise.

Nell: Why?

Me: You said we could be part of the backup team.

Nell: Good grief. Just make sure Squawk doesn’t leave the house.

Me: Naughty Nigel, Boo and Seamus are here, too.

Nell: I know. They are aware and Nigel will use force if necessary.

Me: But what’s going on, Nell? An owl arrived first thing this morning and Dave and Gladys dashed off.

Nell: The owl was Tawny Tim. Owl Pacino sent him to let us know that a trickle of smoke was seen coming from a hut near the sea.

Me: Oh my goodness, Nell. What if Poppy is in danger?

Nell: Of course she is in danger. David has borrowed Knitwear Wolf’s motorbike so he should be there soon. Gladys is riding in the sidecar with Our Penguin.

Me: What’s Our Penguin doing there?

Nell: Filming of course. So we can see what’s happening.

Me: Why does Naughty Nigel need to use force?

Nell: Squawk is one of the Beefies. You don’t think he planned all this alone, do you?

Me: Do you mean we might be attacked?

Nell: Not as long as Squawk doesn’t know we know.

Me: Know what?

Nell: That he isn’t Terry. Wait, there’s a message from David on my iBone.

Me: What does it say?

Nell: ‘Definitely bacon. Approaching the barn cautiously.’

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Stay calm. David can do this. There’s another message.

Me: Tell me.

Nell: ‘Poppy is safe. Repeat. Poppy and Terry are safe.’

Me: Oh Nell. Thank goodness. I’m in tears.

Nell: No crying. Act normally until we get back and make sure Squawk doesn’t go anywhere.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Something is going on

Me: Something is going on, Nell. Dave has mud on his nose and cheeks and Gladys is wearing Poppy’s suit of armour.

Nell: Well spotted, Sherlock Martin.

Me: And there is something very strange about Terry.

Nell: Tell me.

Me: He has a hole in his nose.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: And he really smells of seaweed and not in a good way.

Nell: Interesting.

Me: What if they do the same to Poppy? What if she comes back all quiet and shy with a hole in her nose smelling of seaweed?

Nell: Calm down. Now, I am going to tell you something and you have to promise me that this stays between us.

Me: I can’t. I know everyone will keep quiet about it. Is it about Poppy?

Nell: Indirectly.

Me: It’s about Terry, isn’t it?

Nell: Yes. And bacon.

Me: Bacon? I can’t believe we are discussing bacon at a time like this.

Nell: You know I said Squawk had stolen the bacon when he attacked Terry?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Well, that was because Terry had no bacon on him when he arrived here. But when questioned by Sally, Terry had no knowledge of any bacon.

Me: A bang on the head can do that to you, Nell.

Nell: Yes. Terry seems to have forgotten himself completely, doesn’t he?

Me: He’s certainly asking a lot of questions.

Nell: That’s because Terry isn’t Terry.

Me: What?

Nell: We have reason to believe that Terry is Squawk and the real Terry is imprisoned somewhere with Poppy.

Me. And the bacon?

Nell: Exactly. So, David is going to find her. He is camouflaged and ready with Gladys by his side.

Me: Don’t you think Knitwear Wolf might be better?

Nell: David is doing this his way.

Me: Yes. Sorry.