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A quiet Sunday

Nell: Would you mind not interrupting us please?

Me: What are you three up to?

Nell: Jonathan is explaining to Faye and I about sailing boats and how they work.

Me: Are you sure Faye is interested?

Nell: Very. She made a few excellent suggestions.

Me: Really?

Nell: We weren’t quite sure what she was saying but we appreciated the enthusiasm.

Me: Talking of enthusiasm Morning Songs started a bit early today, didn’t they?

Nell: The Welsh Corgi Choir thought the children would appreciate ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’.

Me: It’s not every day you look out of your window to a choir of corgis dressed in sou’westers.

Nell: No. Although it seems to happen more frequently than one would expect.

Me: I wish it would stop raining.

Nell: Yes. It’s becoming tedious. Having said that, Jonathan and I agree that there’s nothing quite like a muddy puddle, especially when one is wearing wellington boots.

Me: What are the plans today?

Nell: I believe Knitwear Wolf is joining us for lunch. The children have never met a wolf before.

Me: Especially a stylish one in a cardigan.

Nell: He was wearing a fisherman’s sweater when I saw him. Weather appropriate.

Me: When did you see him?

Nell: He brought the Sunday papers and we enjoyed a cup of Earl Grey and a quiet chat. He was asking after Charlie.

Me: He is a kind wolf.

Nell: Malcolm doesn’t think so. He is still out of sorts. He asked us to leave the kitchen.

Me: He needs bugging, Nell. I’m not joking.

Nell: I am beginning to think you might be right. I’ll talk to Henry and Horst.

Me: What if Malcolm has gone over to the dark side?

Nell: Then we will bring him back. Stop fussing.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Happy Birthday Alice

Me: What an amazing time we had on the beach in spite of the rain.

Nell: Yes. Did I just see you eating chocolate cake for breakfast?

Me: It’s Alice’s birthday. Cake is allowed.

Nell: Why?

Me: It’s a family tradition.

Nell: I don’t think you should go on the bouncy castle until later then.

Me: No. Perhaps not.

Nell: Would you like to hear my poem?

Me: Very much.

Nell: ‘This poem is for someone I happen to know

Who came into the world 35 years ago.

A beautiful someone both outside and in

Beloved by us all, especially Jim.’

Me: Why especially Jim? He’s Harriet’s boyfriend.

Nell: It rhymed. Stop interrupting. Harriet doesn’t mind. Where was I?

Me: Talking nonsense about Jim.

Nell: ‘We love you so much it’s hard to explain,

Way past the moon and twice around Spain’

Me: Spain?

Nell: Quiet.

‘A daughter, a sister, a mother now too

Yes, darling Alice, I’m talking about you.

‘So today is her birthday?’ we ask with great joy.

‘Will there be cake and a going home toy?’

Me: What?

Nell: Everyone likes a going home toy. Do keep up.

Me: But we don’t have any going home toys.

Nell: Of course we do. You didn’t think all those unicorns were yours did you?

Me: I wondered.

Nell: ‘Jonathan Sky has asked me to say

That you’re the best mummy and he’s agreed it with Faye.

They love you the mostest that any child could

And they’re both trying hard to be ever so good.

But David says anyone can make a mistake

And anything is possible as long as there’s cake.

So Happy Birthday Alice from everyone here

We love you so much you are dearer than dear.’

Me: She is.

Nell: She knows.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Is something wrong with Malcolm?

Nell: That incessant honking has to stop. Those Canadians are driving me mad.

Me: They are just cheerful geese.

Nell: There’s no such thing.

Me: It’s a holiday weekend in Canada and it’s Thanksgiving on Monday so they’re bound to be excited.

Nell: Yes, I am aware. Little Marvin is exhausted just thinking about it.

Me: Dear little pup. He is growing up so quickly. You know he is actually from Texas.

Nell: Yes. I knew that.

Me: I expect he speaks with that lovely Texan drawl.

Nell: He has a slight Southern accent but nothing too pronounced. I noticed it the last time we FaceTimed on WoofsApp.

Me: I bet he would love to be here with the family

Nell: Yes. Talking of family it’s Alice’s birthday tomorrow so Poppy is baking two cakes.

Me: Two?

Nell: Yes. Chocolate is Alice’s favourite but it is an Absolute No Go with us dogs so she decided on a Victoria Sandwich as the second one.

Me: You can’t go wrong with a sponge.

Nell: Well, actually Malcolm did. His came out quite wrong so Poppy is having to bake one.

Me: How odd. Malcolm’s sponges are normally perfect.

Nell: Yes. He’s a little out of sorts. He was quite short with Timothy.

Me: How unlike him. He’s such a polite flamingo.

Nell: Yes, and he knows we are coming up to a sensitive time of year for Timothy with Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner.

Me: I’ve had an awful thought.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: What if the Black Claw have got to him and Malcolm is turning bad?

Nell: Malcolm is sick of the rain like everyone else and his sponge had a soggy bottom. Stop that nonsense right now we have a birthday to organise.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Battle ready

Me: I think Dave missed me.

Nell: We all did.

Me: I was only gone one night.

Nell: Yes but David suffers with Separation Anxiety.

Me: He likes everyone to be together. Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: We all do. Henry was most concerned about Horst.

Me: I suppose he would have been.

Nell: Those woodlice are joined at the hip.

Me: Do woodlice have hips?

Nell: That’s not the point.

Me: No. I suppose it isn’t.

Nell: An undercover operation like that involving crossing borders and enemy lines is a major undertaking.

Me: He only went to Heathrow on the train.

Nell: Concealed in a shawl. Anything could have happened. You were unaware so you could easily have lost him.

Me: You should have told me he was in my shawl.

Nell: And defeated the point of the whole exercise? No, it was worth the risk. Both Horst and Walter did well.

Me: What information did Horst give Walter about me, anyway?

Nell: Just the usual. ‘Subject ate a hearty dinner including ice cream’. Things like that.

Me: It wasn’t a hearty dinner.

Nell: That’s not the point. Operation Bait the Beefy is ready to go.

Me: How exciting.

Nell: Scarves are knitted and ready for distribution.

Me: Good.

Nell: Bugs are trained and battle ready.

Me: They can’t be expected to fight.

Nell: Some can bite if necessary.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: Pigeons are poised to receive and transmit.

Me: I wish they’d stop shouting ‘Work harder, stupid’.

Nell: Yes, that’s annoying. But they can’t start being nice, or they will raise suspicion.

Me: Imagine if you heard them saying ‘Well done, Sweetie’.

Nell: Why on earth would they say that? Pigeons only criticise. Everyone knows that. Honestly I despair of you sometimes. I really do.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Big Mother is watching

Nell: What are they doing?

Me: Our hotel room overlooks Heathrow so we are counting planes.

Nell: You sound happy.

Me: I am. It’s so wonderful to have them here. Hasn’t Baby Snail grown?

Nell: You mean Faye Raine, or Rainbow. Yes, she certainly has and Jonathan Sky too.

Me: Yes.

Nell: You all enjoyed your dinner, didn’t you? You had ice cream.

Me: How do you know that?

Nell: Just guessing.

Me: I wore my shawl, by the way.

Nell: Good. I would wear it today too, if I were you.

Me: An odd thing happened yesterday evening.

Nell: Really?

Me: A pigeon was waiting outside the hotel and followed us.

Nell: How annoying. They can be a little pushy. Silly creatures.

Me: It was wearing a peaked cap.

Nell: I expect it was windy. Kev likes to wear his cap in this weather too.

Me: It looked like Walter.

Nell: They all look like Walter.

Me: It appeared to be listening.

Nell: Birds do that. They cock their heads to one side.

Me: And nodding.

Nell: They do that too. Haven’t you noticed?

Me: If I didn’t know better I would say it was spying on us.

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous. Who would want to spy on you?

Me: Yes. I wonder.

Nell: What utter nonsense.

Me: I know you’ve been bugging me.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Just admit it.

Nell: If you must know then yes, we have. It was a trial run.

Me: Did it work?

Nell: Excellently. Horst was able to whisper the information to Walter who flew it home to HQ.

Me: So Big Mother has been watching me.

Nell: We are simply keeping you safe. Just come home now, please. We are all waiting for you. Poppy has baked scones.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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It’s definitely bugged

Me: Those waves were certainly wild.

Nell: The correct term is Messy I believe.

Me: Messy sounds like Dave after a bacon sandwich.

Nell: Yes, he always seems to get sauce everywhere.

Me: Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Now, have you packed?

Me: More or less.

Nell: Less is more in your case. Literally.

Me: I’ll try to pack the minimum.

Nell: Please do. It’s a Travelodge not the Savoy Hotel. Nobody expects you to change for dinner.

Me: I want to look nice for Alice and the children.

Nell: You know as well as I do that it doesn’t matter what you look like.

Me: Yes. That’s true.

Nell: It’s Family. It’s Coming Home.

Me: Yes.

Nell: It’s all about Cuddles and Love.

Me: I can’t wait.

Nell: I shall be accompanying Kev to the station.

Me: Good.

Nell: You have nothing to worry about. He is in safe paws.

Me: I know. Thank you.

Nell: By the way Knitwear Wolf brought you a soft shawl to wear in your favourite sea blue.

Me: I don’t want to be bugged.

Nell: That’s an ungrateful thing to say. Why on earth would we bug you?

Me: Because you like keeping an eye on me.

Nell: Nonsense. It’s just a lovely shawl.

Me: You’ve got your persuasive face on. The one when you are up to something.

Nell: Up to something? Me? Whatever do you mean?

Me: You are being far too nice.

Nell: Honestly. Wear the shawl or don’t. I couldn’t care less.

Me: Of course I’ll wear it.

Nell: Don’t lose it please and make sure it gets enough air.

Me: Enough air?

Nell: Yes. Shawls can go musty if they are shut in.

Me: It’s definitely bugged.

Nell: Just concentrate on bringing those children home.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Bit soggy

Nell: Poppy has gone back to bed.

Me: I don’t blame her. Look at the weather.

Nell: It’s Malcolm’s fault.

Me: But Malcolm is the politest flamingo I know. He wouldn’t say boo to a goose.

Nell: Why on earth would be want to do that?

Me: It’s just a saying.

Nell: Did you hear those Canadians yesterday?

Me: Are you talking about the Canada Geese?

Nell: I know they’ve flown in from Canada but do they have to shout about it?

Me: I always enjoy watching them fly over. Anyway, what did Malcolm do?

Nell: He said Poppy’s croissants were a little blonde.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: And they could do with a few more minutes in the oven.

Me: Oh no.

Nell: So she threw them in the garden.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: And a flock of Beefies in knitted scarves stole them.

Me: Well, it wasn’t really stealing if she had thrown them out.

Nell: And as they flew away they shouted: ‘Bit soggy.’

Me: Oh dear. But it is raining so they would be.

Nell: No. They were referring to the baking. And Malcolm says they had a point.

Me: It’s not like Poppy to bake a soggy croissant.

Nell: Quite. Something is bothering her. I think it’s about Kevin.

Me: But he’s doing well and the doctors will sort him out.

Nell: No. Kevin the dancer from Strictly. He was eliminated yesterday.

Me: I didn’t know Poppy was interested in dancing.

Nell: She isn’t anymore. She’s hung up her dancing shoes.

Me: I didn’t know she had dancing shoes.

Nell: I was speaking figuratively.

Me: I thought she didn’t have dancing shoes.

Nell: Of course she has dancing shoes. We all do. They’re next to our wellington boots. Haven’t you noticed them?

Me: Oh yes. Sorry.

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Sunday Singing

Me: Sundays are for snuggling, aren’t they?

Nell: Yes. David comes into his own at this time of year. He is an excellent Snuggler.

Me: Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: How do you feel about cashmere?

Me: It reminds me of my mother.

Nell: The Cat is keen to branch out but Rupert has reservations.

Me: Why?

Nell: He’s not sure about the goats.

Me: I don’t think we need goats, Nell. We’ve got sheep, alpacas and corgis.

Nell: Corgis?

Me: Yes. They are outside again.

Nell: They will be. It’s Sunday Singing.

Me: Hymns?

Nell: Possibly. I think ‘Morning has Broken’ is in the programme.

Me: There are programmes?

Nell: Of course. You can’t be expected to join in Sunday Singing if you don’t have the words.

Me: I didn’t know I was.

Nell: Life just passes you by, doesn’t it? We’ve been Sunday Singing for years.

Me: You have?

Nell: David and Harriet are key soloists.

Me: They are?

Nell: Jim the Farm Dog has a beautiful voice.

Me: Not when he’s shouting at the sheep.

Nell: Of course not. You can’t use a beautiful voice with sheep. They won’t listen.

Me: Apart from Bert.

Nell: Yes. Bert is an exception. Why do you think Jim wears a tie on a Sunday?

Me: Fashion statement?

Nell: Respect. Sunday Singing is important.

Me: Is that why Gladys is wearing a hat?

Nell: We are all wearing hats.

Me: So you are. I never noticed.

Nell: Yes. You never do. That’s why Kev calls you Sherlock Martin. Floating around in your bubble.

Me: Talking of Kev he has asked me to thank everyone for their kind messages of support. They really mean a lot to him.

Nell: They mean a great deal to us all.

Me: Yes, they do. Sorry.

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Planning ahead

Nell: David is overwhelming Tony again.

Me: He just needs cuddles.

Nell: He’s been crying on Tony’s shoulder.

Me: About Kev?

Nell: Mainly about bacon, to be honest.

Me: Poppy says there will be bacon sandwiches for him later.

Nell: Anyway, I want to talk to you about Tuesday.

Me: Alice and the children are arriving. I can’t wait.

Nell: Yes, and you are staying in London that night.

Me: I know.

Nell: And you will worry about Kev.

Me: Probably.

Nell: Well, there is no need as I have everything under control.

Me: You do?

Nell: Yes. As you know, I was matron at a top hospital so I have the medical training. Poppy will be preparing light, nutritional meals and David knows not to complain.

Me: Good luck with that.

Nell: Harriet has chosen Kev’s favourite book and will read to him.

Me: Which one?

Nell: ‘The Wind in the Willows’ of course. David adores Toad.

Me: I love him too.

Nell: You would. The Welsh corgi choir are on hand with a selection of songs. Now, do we need the Whippets Institute?

Me: I think not.

Nell: Gladys will perform a soothing contemporary dance.

Me: Kev’s actually supposed to be relaxing.

Nell: Don’t worry it’s all going to be in the best possible taste and very low key.

Me: Good.

Nell: I told Gladys we don’t need the drums or the trampoline.

Me: That’s a relief.

Nell: Knitwear Wolf is bringing a beautifully soft knitted cardigan in blue. Kev’s colour.

Me: How kind.

Nell: He is hoping Kev won’t mind the sequins.

Me: What sequins?

Nell: Unfortunately The Cat got involved before Rupert could stop it so now it says ‘Kev’ on the back.

Me: You’ve thought of everything.

Nell: Of course. It’s Kev.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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David makes another mistake

Nell: I’m afraid David doesn’t like heart healthy food. He ate a pork pie by mistake.

Me: It’s only been a day.

Nell: I think it’s the lack of bacon.

Me: Where did he find the pork pie?

Nell: The Farm dogs.

Me: Never mind. Why is everyone wearing socks?

Nell: We are being Considerate.

Me: How kind.

Nell: And our feet were cold.

Me: Sensible.

Nell: And Knitwear Wolf had a new delivery of socks which were far too big for birds.

Me: Birds?

Nell: Yes. The Beefies have placed an order for socks as well as hats and scarves.

Me: You are going to laugh but I thought I heard gentle singing outside our window this morning.

Nell: That’ll be the Welsh Corgi choir. They always sing when they knit.

Me: Not usually outside our window.

Nell: No. But when Myfanwy heard about Kev they relocated the Knitting Circle to here. They thought he might like ‘a bit of Tom Jones’. I quote.

Me: He said he heard ‘Delilah’ but I thought he was joking.

Nell: I don’t think Delilah was there. She’s gone to Cardiff to visit her aunt.

Me: No, I meant the song. Isn’t it cold out there?

Nell: No. They have deckchairs and blankets and Poppy is providing flasks of tea and scones.

Me: What if it rains?

Nell: The Cat has offered the Big House.

Me: I’ve just had a thought.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: I think the Welsh Corgi choir are Knitwear Wolf’s knitters.

Nell: Of course they’re Rupert’s knitters. Everyone knows that.

Me: I hope your socks aren’t bugged, Nell. We don’t want the Beefies finding out about the Corgis.

Nell: Firstly, socks are not being bugged and secondly, we are doing the bugging. Do keep up.

Me: Yes. Sorry.