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The Crisis Is Over

Me: Well, this all looks lovely and peaceful.

Nell: Yes. The crisis is over. All swords have been put aside.

Me: Tell me again what happened.

Nell: As you know I had reached the limit of my patience with Poppy as had John the Doberman it seems.

Me: Understandable.

Nell: I went into the living room and was about to give Poppy a piece of my mind when John marched in.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: He picked Poppy up and took her outside.

Me: Didn’t she struggle?

Nell: Of course.

Me: Thank goodness she didn’t have her sword.

Nell: Yes. David made himself extra heavy so there was no chance of her getting it.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. What happened outside?

Nell: We don’t know but words were spoken and truths were told.

Me: Were kisses exchanged?

Nell: Possibly, anyway the next thing we know is Poppy has apologised to Miss Maple and she and John are engaged again.

Me: Wonderful news.

Nell: Yes, and just in time to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Me: We aren’t from the United States, Nell.

Nell: I know but we have plenty to be thankful for and any excuse for roast turkey has to be embraced.

Me: What about Timothy?

Nell: He’s gone on retreat. It’s far too dangerous for him here.

Me: I’m so glad Poppy is back to her usual self.

Nell: Yes, especially as Miss Maple will be leaving soon.

Me: Why?

Nell: You’re not going to believe this.

Me: I just might.

Nell: Miss Maple is a famous detective.

Me: I knew her name rang a bell.

Nell: Apparently a friend of hers has called on her to help with a mysterious case.

Me: How intriguing.

Nell: That’s what I said.

Me: No, you said ‘mysterious’.

Nell: Enough.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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This Has Gone Too Far

Me: Do you know what’s going on downstairs?

Nell: Probably, but tell me anyway.

Me: Poppy is in the yellow chair, swordless but feisty, watching Dave pretending to be asleep.

Nell: David is lying on her sword.

Me: Poor darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. I wouldn’t sleep either if I was lying on someone’s sword. Is there any particular reason why?

Nell: Poppy is still determined to fight Miss Maple.

Me: But Miss Maple has done nothing wrong.

Nell: I know. Poppy’s refusing to listen to reason. You’re going to have to talk to her.

Me: Why me?

Nell: It was your idea for John to make her jealous.

Me: I told her but she wouldn’t believe me.

Nell: You do realise all this sword concealing means that David has missed his first breakfast and may possibly miss his second.

Me: We can’t let that happen, Nell.

Nell: I know.

Me: Do you think Poppy realises Dave is lying on her sword?

Nell: Of course she does. That’s why she’s watching him.

Me: Oh, I see.

Nell: The second he moves she will jump in and get it.

Me: I think we need to get John the Doberman over here right now.

Nell: Let me guess. To sweep her off her feet?

Me: No. To lie on the sword so Dave can get his breakfast. John’s a big boy too so he can easily conceal it.

Nell: Good grief. This has gone too far. I’m going to go in and speak my mind. John loves Poppy and Poppy loves John. That’s all that matters.

Me: You’re absolutely right and while you’re at it you might want to listen to your own advice.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: You love Rupert and he loves you.

Nell: Stop interfering.

Me: Sorry.

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Longing for a Lion

Me: I’d like to make an observation.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: When we were all down on the beach.

Nell: Yes?

Me: We all had fun despite the grey weather.

Nell: Especially Harriet.

Me: Yes. Harriet comes alive by the sea. Bless her.

Nell: I know. I think she would live on the beach if she could.

Me: I agree, but back to my observation.

Nell: Oh dear.

Me: While we were having fun all you did was gaze at the island.

Nell: We all gaze at the island. It encourages contemplation. Kev does it all the time.

Me: Your gaze seemed a little bit like longing to me.

Nell: Longing?

Me: Yes. Longing for a lion. Gosh, that sounds like a song, doesn’t it?

Nell: Longing for a lion? I’m not longing for anyone.

Me: I really hope not. He’s bad news, Nell.

Nell: I am aware of that, thank you. On another note, I know why Poppy was so low yesterday.

Me: She was angry with that wretched lion of yours.

Nell: It was not about Lionel and he’s not mine.

Me: What was it about then?

Nell: John the Doberman.

Me: John is nothing but kind. It was so sweet of him to bring puppuccinos for everyone.

Nell: Yes, but Miss Maple’s puppuccino had a heart drawn in the foam.

Me: Did it really?

Nell: Why are you smiling?

Me: So Poppy thinks John might have taken a shine to Maple?

Nell: She does.

Me: And it’s made her realise how much she cares about John?

Nell: It has.

Me: Job done then.

Nell: What’s that supposed to mean?

Me: I told him he might need to make her jealous.

Nell: Yes, and now Poppy’s challenged Miss Maple to a sword fight.

Me: Oh no. Sorry.

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Everyone loves Miss Maple

Nell: What’s that awful noise downstairs in the kitchen?

Me: Maple and Poppy are making bacon sandwiches.

Nell: It’s Miss Maple.

Me: She said I can call her Maple.

Nell: Did she indeed?

Me: Don’t be jealous.

Nell: I’m not. Why do they have to make so much noise?

Me: They’re using their swords to toss the bacon and everyone’s cheering.

Nell: Toss it where? Not into David’s mouth, I hope.

Me: No, although he’s clearing up any rashers that fall on the floor. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. So helpful.

Nell: Where’s the rest of the bacon going?

Me: Into bread. They’re bacon sandwiches.

Nell: How?

Me: Poppy and Maple toss the bacon into the air. Manuel catches it in his tentacles and passes it to Malcom who places it onto buttered, or unbuttered, bread and covers it with red, or brown, sauce.

Nell: There are an awful lot of versions.

Me: Bacon sandwiches have to be done the right way and everyone has their own preference.

Nell: True. And then you all cheer?

Me: Yes. It’s enormous fun. You should join us.

Nell: Who’s us?

Me: Olive the Other Reindeer and the Larger Animals have popped over from The Barn.

Nell: I see.

Me: And Gladys and the llamas are awfully hungry after Gliding all morning.

Nell: I thought llamas were herbivores.

Me: They’re having salad with Henry and Horst but they still want to cheer.

Nell: Fair enough.

Me: John the Doberman is here too, with puppuccinos for everyone from Starbarks.

Nell: What does Poppy think about that?

Me: She’s far too busy tossing bacon with Maple.

Nell: Everyone seems to love Miss Maple.

Me: Yes, she’s great fun and absolutely adorable.

Nell: She can’t stay, you know. This is just a visit.

Me: I know. Sorry.

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Maple is a Good Friend

Me: Maple’s a good friend to Poppy.

Nell: Yes, they’ve become close. I think it’s the hours they spent together in the crow’s nest on the Cutty Bark.

Me: And the fact they’re both feisty and small.

Nell: And good with a sword.

Me: Yes. Anyway, Poppy’s feeling a little low so she’s having a rest on the bed and Maple is watching over her.

Nell: How kind.

Me: She can’t really see her, of course, because she only has little legs and the bed is high but she’s doing her best.

Nell: That’s all we can do. Why is Poppy feeling low?

Me: Lionel and those nasty cats should be punished for what they did but instead they’re living the good life at the Burgh Island Hotel.

Nell: We don’t know that.

Me: Yes, we do. Princess and Sir Roger Blubbery saw them laughing on the balcony yesterday when they were swimming around the island.

Nell: It might have been a different lion.

Me: It was him. His ship was parked outside. I don’t know why you’re so blinkered when it comes to Lionel King.

Nell: I’m not. Princess and Sir Roger have become firm friends, haven’t they?

Me: Yes. In fact Babycakes Gillespie is taking bets on a possible engagement before Christmas.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: I think it’s lovely. And I noticed you changed the subject when it came to Lionel King.

Nell: I did nothing of the sort. Now, Sunday Songs are about to begin so we should coax Poppy outside to listen.

Me: Great idea.

Nell: Rupert is providing warm ponchos for everyone.

Me: He’s such a thoughtful wolf. You’ve got a good one there, Nell. Don’t take him for granted.

Nell: Stop interfering and put on your poncho.

Me: I’m right you know. Sorry.

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Home Again

Me: It’s wonderful to have you home.

Nell: Thank you. May I rest now, please?

Me: In a minute, let’s finish going over your exciting escape.

Nell: If we must.

Me: So, while Lionel and the cats were distracted by the owls and the honey bombs Poppy threw down her sword.

Nell: Yes, and I cut Rupert free.

Me: What happened then?

Nell: Princess and Sir Roger Blubbery arrived alongside the ship with the Navy seals towing a rubber dinghy.

Me: So you didn’t have to jump in the sea?

Nell: No. Rupert and I managed to climb into the dinghy.

Me: What about Poppy and Miss Maple? Did they fearlessly fling themselves into the waves?

Nell: They jumped out of the crow’s nest into the sea if that’s what you mean.

Me: How daring and brave. I hope you didn’t leave Poppy’s sword on the ship.

Nell: No, Rupert took it.

Me: Did you manage to get Poppy and Miss Maple into the dinghy?

Nell: No. They rode to the beach on sealback.

Me: Where we were all waiting to welcome you.

Nell: Yes, with cartwheeling llamas and the Welsh Corgi Choir.

Me: I couldn’t stop them. Did you appreciate the banner and the balloons?

Nell: I did and it was most kind of the Whippets Institute to organise tea on the beach.

Me: I thought so too.

Nell: The scones weren’t quite up to Poppy’s standards but the jam and cream were excellent and the butterfly cakes were delightful.

Me: We started out with a larger selection of sandwiches but Dave ate some by mistake.

Nell: Nothing new there.

Me: It was comfort eating. He was really worried about you. Poor darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: It was typical David and you know it.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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All You Have To Do

Me: I know it’s a bit rainy but Harriet’s been down to the beach and she says the water isn’t that cold.

Nell: Oh good.

Me: All you have to do is jump overboard when the ship gets near the island.

Nell: What do you mean ‘all I have to do’?

Me: The seals will be waiting to guide you to dry land.

Nell: Oh, that’s alright then.

Me: And we’ll be waiting on our beach to take you all home.

Nell: I might just go to the hotel with Lionel. I’m a senior Labrador. We don’t do jumping overboard.

Me: You can’t do that, Nell. You’ll be fine. Rupert will be by your side.

Nell: He won’t unless he’s untied.

Me: He will be. Poppy signalled to the Royal Owl Force that she’s going to throw down her sword.

Nell: Poppy is willing to surrender?

Me: No, she’s going to throw it down to you. All you have to do is casually catch it and cut Rupert free.

Nell: Could you stop saying ‘all you have to do’ please?

Me: Just hide it under your sou’wester.

Nell: How do you know I’m wearing one?

Me: I’m following you on YouChewed. Our Penguin is filming everything with his drone.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: You’ve been trending for hours.

Nell: Why do you think Lionel and his cats aren’t going to stop us?

Me: They’ll be far too busy trying to get rid of the honey. Cats hate sticky fur.

Nell: Did you say honey?

Me: Yes. Owl Pacino and his chaps are going to pour runny honey over them all.

Nell: How?

Me: Honey bombs. Henry and Horst came up with the idea. Genius, isn’t it?

Nell: You’re enjoying this far too much for my liking.

Me: I know. Sorry.

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Worrying and Waiting

Me: How are you? We’re awfully worried here.

Nell: I’m fine but Poppy and Miss Maple are still in the crow’s nest and Rupert is tied to the mast.

Me: I’m happy to say that an air, land and sea rescue is on its way.

Nell: It can’t be. You don’t know where we are.

Me: That’s where you’re wrong. We used Find My IBone.

Nell: How clever.

Me: Henry and Horst are coordinating everything from Devon HQ.

Nell: All I can see is sea.

Me: Well, quite soon you should see a Royal Owl Force flypast. Owl Pacino says he and his chaps aren’t far away.

Nell: If I didn’t know better I’d think you were quite enjoying this.

Me: It’s awfully exciting. Sir Roger Blubbery, Princess and the Navy Seals are also on their way so if you see them just give a nonchalant wave.

Nell: I’m not sure that’s a good idea. Should I be expecting Our Penguin too?

Me: He’s using his drone to film it all so he’ll definitely be somewhere near.

Nell: Just don’t tell me we’re trending on YouChewed.

Me: Not yet, but soon I expect. Beauregard and Oliver are leading the land rescue. Dave wanted to join them but Sally insisted he and Harriet stay at home.

Nell: I’m impressed that Oliver is involved. Opossums aren’t usually that brave.

Me: He’s riding on Beauregard’s back. Nobody would dare challenge a tiger.

Nell: Except Lionel King. I wonder where we’re going.

Me: Henry and Horst are fairly sure Lionel is heading for Burgh Island.

Nell: At least I’ll get a decent cup of tea there.

Me: I’m not sure you’ll be staying at the hotel.

Nell: I’m not spending a moment longer on this dreadful ship than necessary.

Me: Of course not. Sorry.

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What a Pickle

Me: Is that you?

Nell: Of course it’s me.

Me: Why didn’t you answer before? Dave and Harriet are beside themselves with worry. I’ll send you a photo.

Nell: Now is not the time for photos.

Me: What happened? You were supposed to be coming straight home.

Nell: You’re not going to believe this.

Me: I just might.

Nell: Let’s say things didn’t go exactly as planned.

Me: Tell me.

Nell: There was an altercation on board ship.

Me: Do you mean a sword fight? That was bound to happen, Nell. All those cats and swords.

Nell: This fight was real.

Me: Was Poppy involved?

Nell: Both Poppy and Miss Maple were extremely involved and so was Rupert.

Me: Knitwear Wolf got into a fight?

Nell: He had no choice.

Me: Why?

Nell: I’m afraid I’ve been extremely foolish.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: You warned me and I didn’t listen.

Me: I did?

Nell: You said he was behind all this and I refused to believe it.

Me: Are we talking about that lion?

Nell: Yes, Lionel King. And now Rupert is tied to the mast and we’ve set sail for goodness knows where.

Me: Hang on a minute, Nell. Did you say ‘set sail’?

Nell: Yes.

Me: So, you’re telling me that Lionel King and a dastardly band of sword fighting cats have you all imprisoned on the Cutty Bark?

Nell: Yes, and Lionel’s threatening to make Rupert walk the plank.

Me: Where are Poppy and Miss Maple?

Nell: The cats have imprisoned them in the crow’s nest.

Me: At the top of the mast?

Nell: Yes, ‘extra punishment for bad behaviour’ according to Lionel.

Me: Oh dear, you’re all in quite a pickle, aren’t you?

Nell: This is rather more than a pickle.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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The Sword Awareness Course Begins and David is feeling Abandoned

Nell: Why do you keep calling my iBone? The Sword Awareness Course is just about to begin and all phones are supposed to be switched off.

Me: Dave asked me to. He’s feeling all lost and abandoned. Poor darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. You should see his little face.

Nell: Tell David to stop that right now. He’s just attention seeking.

Me: He had a cold breakfast, Nell.

Nell: Don’t talk to me about cold. Zooming up the M5 in a motorbike sidecar with just a poncho for protection is not exactly first class travel you know.

Me: He’s missing you all terribly.

Nell: We only left a few hours ago and we’re coming back this evening. All being well.

Me: What do you mean by that?

Nell: Let’s just say there are a few too many swords around for my liking.

Me: Are there any big cats?

Nell: A couple of rather large Maine Coons are running the course and some of the Siamese could do with losing a little weight but most seem fairly normal sized. Why?

Me: I wondered if a certain lion might be involved.

Nell: Honestly, you’re obsessed with Lionel King.

Me: I know what he’s like, Nell. He’s a very bad lion.

Nell: Just calm down. Rupert is here with me. Nothing is going to happen.

Me: How’s Poppy?

Nell: She made quite an impression when she arrived in her pirate’s hat and cloak.

Me: I thought she might.

Nell: She wasn’t the only one wearing a hat, however.

Me: Really?

Nell: An extremely feisty Dachshund calling herself Miss Maple turned up in a tiara.

Me: What did Poppy think about that?

Nell: They are firm friends already.

Me: It takes feistiness to know feistiness.

Nell: That’s what I’m worried about.

Me: Yes. Sorry.