Book · Siegfried · Spring


Nell: Well, at least I know it all now.

Me: Tell me everything. I have been so worried.

Nell: I arrived at the hotel and Siegfried was waiting for me. I had called from the car to let him know I was coming. When I saw his face I could see the guilt in his eyes.

Me: Oh no.

Nell: I told him it was best to be honest with me and he agreed.

Me: You were brave.

Nell: It turns out that Siegfried Schaeferhund isn’t his real name.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: He isn’t even German. It was all a lie. All part of the deception.

Me: No? The bounder!

Nell: He is working as an undercover reporter for the Daily Growl. The farm dogs led him to me. He was trying to get a story on the royal family.

Me: What is his real name?

Nell: Charlie Shepherd and he is from London. He started out as an actor but moved into journalism as it paid more. With his charm and acting skills he managed to get a number of inside stories and became one of the Daily Growl’s lead reporters. I was his next target.

Me: What a cad and as for those farm dogs!

Nell: Yes, indeed. No scones for them.

Me: It must have been such a shock.

Nell: To be honest it was an even bigger shock when Poppy appeared in reception waving her sword, followed by David in his hat and Mutley in his dinner jacket.

Me: Gosh! How did they get there?

Nell: Harriet organised a taxi as soon as she heard I was going alone. She knew where he was staying and put two and two together. Clever little thing. David and Poppy insisted she stayed behind as she is still recovering. They were about to leave when Mutley arrived dressed to kill and got into the car. There is no arguing with him when he is determined, even if he could hear.

Me: I wish I had been there. What did Charlie do when they arrived?

Nell: He apologised and told them the truth. He said he had never meant to hurt anyone, especially the lovely Nelly who had stolen his heart. His words.

Me: He called you Nelly?

Nell: Yes. Outrageous.  It’s Miss Eleanor Martin to him.

Me: Quite. What happened then?

Nell: Mutley told him to get on his bike. He can be quite forceful when riled.

Me: And did he?

Nell: Actually, he did. The Mercedes was rented so he rode off on his motorbike blowing me a farewell kiss.

Me: Gosh. The cheek of it.

Nell: Well, after that I suggested they all join me in the bar for a stiff G and T to settle the nerves before James drove us home. David was a little squiffy when we got back so I sent him upstairs for a lie down.

Me: Has Charlie gone back to London?

Nell: I don’t know. I’m refusing to read his texts.

Me: You can’t stay in contact with him, Nell. He’s a scoundrel.

Nell: I shall do as I please and what I please right now is to be left alone. I have a lot to think about.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

Book · Siegfried · Spring

Herr Schaeferhund

Me: Did you have a nice lunch with Herr Schaeferhund? He is impossibly handsome I must say.

Nell: Yes. Siegfried and I had a lovely time. Lobster and champagne. He does spoil me. He has royal connections too, you know.

Me: Really?

Nell: Yes. European royalty. He was fascinated by my account of the wedding.

Me: I’m not sure you should be confiding in him, Nell.

Nell: I don’t know what you have against him.

Me: Dave doesn’t like him.

Nell: He’s just jealous and he doesn’t like studying. The Well Done rosette has gone to his head.

Me: He confiscated Dave’s hat.

Nell: He shouldn’t be wearing a hat during lessons.

Me: I didn’t want to tell you this but Harriet saw him chatting to the farm dogs.

Nell: Poppy goes to the pub with the farm dogs.

Me: Yes, but that’s Poppy. She’s always up for a pint of cider.

Nell: Enough of this nonsense. Siegfried makes polite conversation with our neighbours and you start fussing.

Me: The farm dogs don’t do polite conversation. How can a German tutor afford a Mercedes anyway?

Nell: He comes from a wealthy family. The tutoring is for fun while he is over here.

Me: So he is going back to Germany?

Nell: Yes. His family own a castle in Bavaria.

Me: You can’t leave us, Nell. What if he kidnaps you and imprisons you in his castle like in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?

Nell: What are you talking about? I’m not going anywhere. I am simply enjoying the company of a handsome German Shepherd.

Me: Ok.

Nell: I suppose I might visit if he asked me.

Me: No. Don’t go.

Nell: Enough. You have an overactive imagination. A cup of Earl Grey and the Sunday papers are required and less of your nonsense.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

Book · Siegfried

I’m having second thoughts about the cat

Me: Richard is really pleased with Harriet’s progress.

Nell: Excellent news. I knew she would do well at the vets.

Me: They were all so happy to see her back to her old self. Lots of cuddles and smiling faces.

Nell: Did you enjoy the picnic?

Me: We did. How was your tea?

Nell: I’m having second thoughts about the cat.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: It drank out of the milk jug and took all the smoked salmon.

Me: How rude?

Nell: Poppy had made sandwiches and it took the salmon out and left us with the bread.

Me: Shocking.

Nell: Half way through our game of bridge it lit up a cigarette. In the house!

Me: That’s not on.

Nell: I told it to go outside of course and it left. Just like that.

Me: Cats don’t really care about convention.

Nell: Well, that’s it, as I said to my friend Dorothy. I’m not having that cat in my reading group.

Me: Do I know Dorothy?

Nell: She’s a Salcombe Setter. One of the sailing crowd.

Me: I didn’t know you sailed?

Nell: Of course I sail. I learnt in Bembridge on the Isle of Wight. I used to do Cowes Week but all that partying can be tiring.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Anyway, I can’t stand here chatting all day. Herr Schaeferhund, the German Shepherd, is arriving at any moment to teach the puppies and he needs his coffee. Hot and strong.

Me: Is he now?

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: You like him. Admit it. You are wearing a new scarf and is that perfume I can smell?

Nell: This old thing and it’s just my usual Chanel. Stop meddling and go and get the coffee.

Me: Yes. Sorry.