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Benjamin is armed and ready

Nell: Are you listening to me?

Me: Yes.

Nell: You appear to be writing.

Me: I can write and listen.

Nell: I need your undivided attention so stop writing now.

Me: Gosh, you’re bossy.

Nell: Benjamin is armed and ready.

Me: Armed? I don’t think guns are the answer, Nell.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: You said Benjamin was armed.

Nell: Yes, with rock cakes and a stale baguette. Do keep up.

Me: Oh, I see. I hope it isn’t too heavy for him.

Nell: He’s used to carrying Gull No. 5 around in his rucksack so it shouldn’t be a problem.

Me: Is Henry wearing his armour?

Nell: Of course. He’s travelling in Benjamin’s hat and will provide Motivational Support.

Me: Will Benjamin hear him? Henry has a very small voice.

Nell: David can hear him perfectly.

Me: True. Is Benjamin wearing a tank top?

Nell: Yes. Knitwear Wolf had one made in Brave Colours.

Me: What are Brave Colours?

Nell: Whatever you want them to be.

Me: Mine was pink yesterday to go to the dentist.

Nell: I know and it worked.

Me: Yes. The dentist was pleased with me. What are Benjamin’s Brave Colours?

Nell: Sea blue and Devon green.

Me: I hope he isn’t too warm.

Nell: It’s cooler in the sky.

Me: But Beefy HQ isn’t in the sky.

Nell: No. It’s on Drake’s Island in Plymouth Sound.

Me: I hope there isn’t too much sound or we won’t hear Stephen Seagull’s confession through the wire.

Nell: Fortunately Our Penguin will be filming it all as a back up.

Me: He’s not travelling in Benjamin’s hat too, is he?

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous. Princess is going to swim down there with Our Penguin on her back. Do try and be a little realistic.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Best of Both Worlds

Me: There you three are.

Nell: We decided to go up to Kev’s studio for some Rest and Recuperation.

Me: You’re usually in the garden at this time of the morning.

Nell: Up here we can enjoy the Best of Both Worlds.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: Kev has the fan on so we can enjoy a cool breeze while warming ourselves in the sunshine.

Me: Why do you need Rest and Recuperation?

Nell: If you’d joined in Glide with Gladys you would know.

Me: You’re not supposed to be doing vigorous exercise.

Nell: I was just watching. The sight of Welsh corgis in lycra is going to stay with me all day.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: And why the footless socks ?

Me: I think they are leg warmers.

Nell: In this heat? I half expected Olivia Newton-John to turn up and start singing ‘Xanadu’.

Me: I’m surprised the corgis found leg warmers in their size. They’ve got such little legs.

Nell: Knitwear Wolf offers them in all sizes. It’s part of his retro sport range. Why are you wearing a dress?

Me: It’s my positive dress. I’m going to the dentist and I need confidence.

Nell: I see.

Me: Do you know there are dentists who allow dogs and even encourage them as a form of therapy to help the patient relax?

Nell: Don’t even think about it. I am going nowhere.

Me: I know that, Nell. There are enough rules and regulations at the moment. They would have a fit if I turned up with a dog.

Nell: Well, why did you suggest it then?

Me: I just meant that I would feel so much better if you were with me.

Nell: I am with you. In spirit. You and Me. Always. Remember?

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Sunday meditation

Me: Why is Dave closing one eye?

Nell: He’s supposed to be meditating but he’s finding it a struggle.

Me: Well, he’s not really a meditating type of animal is he?

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: He’s got too much bounce in him.

Nell: Harriet can do it and she can be very lively when she wants to be.

Me: Yes, but Harriet is a spy. She can be lots of things. My Big Brave Beautiful Boy is always himself.

Nell: Is that a corgi without a hat?

Me: Where?

Nell: On the hill.

Me: You’ve got good eyesight. They all seem to be wearing hats as far as I can see.

Nell: On the right next to the Llama brothers.

Me: Oh yes. She’s wearing a rather pretty bow. It looks sweet. Won’t that do?

Nell: A bow won’t protect you from a flying mackerel, or the sun.

Me: That’s true.

Nell: At least the Llama brothers are wearing sombreros.

Me: Yes. Strangely enough they go with their pyjamas.

Nell: Those are gondolier outfits.

Me: I didn’t realise. Anyway, it’s nice to see them joining in Sunday Songs, although it’s actually supposed to be more about singing than dancing.

Nell: Llamas don’t sing.

Me: Alejandro does.

Nell: Alejandro is from Ecuador and he’s an alpaca.

Me: Does that make a difference?

Nell: Of course it does.

Me: The Llama brothers are from Italy. They shouldn’t really be wearing sombreros.

Nell: One of the cows ate their gondolier hats and The Cat had a few sombreros to spare.

Me: Fair enough. Are the corgis singing ‘Fly, baby, fly’ by Silver Convention?

Nell: Yes, in honour of Benjamin’s mission to save David.

Me: Look at the llamas doing those 1970’s moves.

Nell: I’d rather not, thank you.

Me: Sorry.

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What’s the plan?

Me: Gosh, it’s hot, isn’t it?

Nell: Yes. We had Morning Thoughts outside today. Poppy stood guard.

Me: Why?

Nell: Because it’s cooler outside first thing in the morning.

Me: No. Why was Poppy standing guard?

Nell: In case of a Beefy attack. Word in the field is that they are planning one.

Me: What can we do?

Nell: Hats should be worn whenever possible and swords drawn.

Me: We’ve only got one sword.

Nell: It still needs to be drawn.

Me: I suppose so.

Nell: David has been advised to Lie Low.

Me: My poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy. It’s not like Stephen Seagull was permanently damaged. He only lost a few feathers.

Nell: He’s wearing an eye patch and walking with a stick.

Me: The cunning blighter.

Nell: Cunning blighter? This is 2020 you know.

Me: So what’s the plan?

Nell: Well, Benjamin has offered to do A Very Brave Thing.

Me: Oh my goodness.

Nell: He is going to Beefy HQ.

Me: I don’t think Beefy HQ is the nicest place to go on a Saturday, Nell. Mightn’t a little walk by the sea be better?

Nell: He’s not going for fun. He’s on a mission.

Me: I see.

Nell: And he’s taking Henry with him.

Me: Now, far be it from me to criticise the smaller creatures, being one myself, but don’t you think a larger animal might be better?

Nell: Certainly not. A reindeer is going to stick out like a sore tail and don’t even think of suggesting the llamas. The mere idea.

Me: What is the mission then?

Nell: To reveal the truth and put an end to this ridiculous charade.

Me: I thought they were going to prove Stephen Seagull is lying.

Nell: That’s what I just said.

Me: Oh, yes. Sorry.

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Lasered

Nell: I’m not talking to you.

Me: Oh come on, Nell. Don’t be like that.

Nell: You would think the threat of a court case against David would be enough to deal with.

Me: It is.

Nell: Whisking us away on the pretext of a walk.

Me: I never said you and Dave were going for a walk.

Nell: Luring us into the car with false smiles when in reality we’re being taken to see Emily the vet .

Me: Dave has itchy eyes and your arthritis has got worse.

Nell: I was lasered.

Me: I know.

Nell: My legs were stretched and then I was lasered.

Me: Yes, I know. Emily said you made your displeasure very clear.

Nell: If someone started stretching your legs you would complain.

Me: Yes, I probably would.

Nell: And where were you while all this was going on?

Me: Waiting outside. Kev and I aren’t allowed into the vets at the moment because of the virus.

Nell: You should have discussed it with me. David was traumatised.

Me: That isn’t true, Nell. Emily said Dave was an extremely good boy and had a lovely time.

Nell: They shone lights in his eyes.

Me: They had to. We needed to check his eyes were ok because he rubs them a lot.

Nell: David is trying to cope with the threat of a jail sentence. Isn’t that enough?

Me: PC Panda says an official complaint has been lodged and he is obliged to follow it up.

Nell: The seagull is lying. David needs a solicitor.

Me: Val Gilmour says she will represent him.

Nell: Val Gilmour? Is she one of the Gilmour Goldens? Those Retrievers are renowned in legal circles.

Me: No, but she’s awfully keen and she’s Dave’s biggest fan.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Sorry.

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Harriet is worried

Me: What’s happened? Harriet looks worried.

Nell: She is. Have you seen today’s Daily Growl?

Me: No. Not yet.

Nell: Rupert brought it straight in to us while we were having breakfast. It quite put me off my boiled egg and hot buttered toast.

Me: I expect Dave helped you finish it. He’s very good about things like that.

Nell: Not today he isn’t. Not after those headlines.

Me: What headlines?

Nell: ‘Innocent seagull squashed by giant black Labrador.’

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: It gets worse. ‘Mr Stephen Seagull, pictured here in happier times, is lodging an official complaint against agony uncle David Martin for Unprovoked Squashing.’

Me: He’s not an innocent seagull. Look at that dreadful smile. Anyone can see he is a baddy.

Nell: One would hope so.

Me: And it wasn’t unprovoked.

Nell: No.

Me: My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy was just diffusing a difficult situation.

Nell: Yes. Well, Talking might have been better than Squashing but it is what it is.

Me: We have to retaliate.

Nell: Yes. One of the Daily Growl’s senior reporters is due any minute to record David’s side of the story.

Me: Where’s Dave now?

Nell: In hair and makeup. He needs to look his best.

Me: Who’s doing the make up then?

Nell: Gladys and The Cat. They are very experienced.

Me: They’re a bit glittery though, Nell.

Nell: They know it has to be understated. No sequins or wigs. Was that a car? The reporter isn’t due here for another hour.

Me: No. It’s PC Panda. And he looks serious. He’s holding a piece of paper. Maybe it’s a warrant for Dave’s arrest.

Nell: Would you please calm down and stop jumping to conclusions. Go and get some scones and let me deal with this.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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David intervenes

Me: Dave looks worried.

Nell: Well, that’s hardly surprising after what happened yesterday.

Me: Do you mean with the mediation?

Nell: Yes, it didn’t go well at all.

Me: Was Stephen Seagull very rude?

Nell: He arrived with two thuggish looking Beefies armed with mackerel.

Me: Not a good start.

Nell: When asked politely by Poppy to leave the mackerel at the door they threw them at her.

Me: That’s not a very nice thing to do.

Nell: Fortunately she was armed with her sword so she sliced them in two.

Me: The thuggish Beefies? That might have been a little too forceful of her, Nell. Bloodshed on arrival.

Nell: No. She sliced the mackerel. Good grief.

Me: Oh, I see.

Nell: Benjamin was already inside with Henry and Horst on his hat.

Me: Good idea.

Nell: Poppy had provided a plate of scones but unfortunately David had eaten most of them by mistake so he was feeling a little sick by the time Stephen arrived.

Me: My poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Benjamin quietly and politely stated his case and asked if he might be allowed to leave the Beefies due to General Unsuitability.

Me: Nice phrasing.

Nell: I thought so. Anyway, Stephen was furious. He started ranting and raving and called Benjamin a lot of really unpleasant names.

Me: How rude.

Nell: Yes. David was most unhappy. So he intervened.

Me: How?

Nell: He sat on him.

Me: Who?

Nell: Stephen Seagull.

Me: Gosh. Was he squashed?

Nell: Very.

Me: Not permanently though? He still survived?

Nell: Of course he did, minus a few feathers.

Me: Thank goodness. I was worried for a moment that Dave’s career as a mediator might be over.

Nell: I don’t think squashing a client is a good beginning.

Me: No. Sorry.

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You can do this

Nell: Stop pacing around. Your interview with BBC Radio Devon isn’t until 11:10am.

Me: I’m not sure I can do this, Nell.

Nell: Of course you can.

Me: What if I say something stupid?

Nell: It won’t be the first time, or the last.

Me: That’s a bit harsh.

Nell: We all make mistakes.

Me: Even you?

Nell: My mistakes are few and far between but they still happen. Occasionally. Why are you wearing your best dress? It’s a radio interview.

Me: It gives me confidence.

Nell: Well, comfortable is important too, so slippers are fine. Have you eaten your breakfast? I know Poppy prepared something tasty for you.

Me: I just had a banana. I couldn’t face anything cooked.

Nell: Now that’s rather odd because I saw David carrying a tray with scrambled eggs on toast upstairs a while ago.

Me: My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He probably ate it by mistake. It’s the thought that counts.

Nell: No, it isn’t. If someone is hungry and you’ve eaten their breakfast your good intentions won’t mean anything to them at all.

Me: Well, I’m not hungry anyway.

Nell: I suppose two breakfasts won’t harm him. He has a big day today, too.

Me: Why?

Nell: Didn’t you hear? Walter brought back a note from Stephen Seagull to say he would be calling on David this afternoon.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: Benjamin is in quite a state. He’s changed tank tops twice and it’s not even 9am.

Me: Is he going to the meeting then?

Nell: Of course he is. It’s a mediation between Benjamin and Stephen.

Me: I’m afraid Benjamin is going to lose.

Nell: Not necessarily. Don’t count your biscuits until you’ve seen the bowl. Now just try and relax. It will all be fine.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Waiting for Walter

Me: Dave is outside staring at the sky.

Nell: I know.

Me: Yes, but Walter isn’t even there so he can’t be playing Cheeky Animals.

Nell: He isn’t.

Me: You never just tell me, do you? I always have to ask.

Nell: It might be confidential. I’m not like the cows you know. I don’t gossip.

Me: So why is Dave gazing at the sky?

Nell: He’s waiting for news.

Me: Now you’re being really annoying. It could be news about anything.

Nell: Yes, I suppose it could.

Me: News about what?

Nell: The intervention. Benjamin Beefy cannot continue in his present role.

Me: As a travelling salesbird?

Nell: As a Beefy. He needs to become Benjamin Seagull.

Me: I completely agree. If the product was a bit nicer he might have continued but Gull No. 5 smells awful.

Nell: That is not the point. Benjamin is not cut out to be a member of an evil gang. He’s too nice.

Me: Yes, he is. Honestly, when he and Malcolm are together they could be twins. All those ‘Excuse me’s’ and ‘Would you mind’s?’

Nell: Malcolm is a flamingo.

Me: I didn’t mean identical twins.

Nell: Never mind. Anyway, David has taken on the role of Mediator. As the Daily Growl’s new agony uncle he is well placed to give advice.

Me: My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Walter has kindly agreed to deliver a message to Stephen Seagull asking for a meeting.

Me: A meeting here?

Nell: No. In David’s consulting room.

Me: You mean Kev’s garage.

Nell: Don’t split bears. You know exactly what I mean.

Me: Don’t you mean split hairs?

Nell: Certainly not. What on earth have hares got to do with it? Everyone knows bears like to stay in twos.

Me: I didn’t. Sorry.

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Thinking Big

Me: I can’t believe Poppy won the sock game. Dave is about five times her size.

Nell: Poppy is extraordinarily strong and extremely determined.

Me: You’re right there.

Nell: Although it’s actually all about Attitude.

Me: Attitude?

Nell: Yes. Poppy Thinks Big.

Me: I know she does.

Nell: Do you remember when that Dachshund from Dartmouth was courting her?

Me: Not really.

Nell: Well, she was having none of it. ‘Derek’s a nice enough Dachshund,’ she said. ‘But I have my eyes on that Doberman.’

Me: John the Doberman?

Nell: Exactly. The next thing we knew John was outside the house with a bunch of flowers.

Me: That’s Poppy for you.

Nell: It is. She sees something and she goes out and gets it.

Me: Yes, she certainly does.

Nell: Nobody argues with Poppy.

Me: To be fair, Nell, she does have a sword.

Nell: Yes, but she rarely has to use it.

Me: I’m surprised she lent it to Knitwear Wolf for the Pirate Wars.

Nell: Yes, well Rupert is another force of nature. But in a completely different way.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: He’s quietly charismatic.

Me: He’s such an admirable wolf.

Nell: Yes. He’s someone you wouldn’t want to disappoint.

Me: Like a noble king.

Nell: In a way. People definitely listen to him.

Me: Talking of listening I enjoyed Laberace’s performance yesterday.

Nell: His playing was excellent but did we need that candelabra?

Me: It set the mood.

Nell: Poppy has invited him to Sunday lunch. Roast beef and all the trimmings.

Me: He’ll need that after Sunday Songs.

Nell: Why? Was he performing?

Me: Yes, with the Welsh corgi choir. Didn’t you hear them singing ‘I’m Always Chasing Rainbows’?

Nell: Just tell me the llamas weren’t dancing?

Me: Yes, waving rainbow scarves. Sorry.