Whatever next?

Me: Are you all comfortable enough? I wouldn’t want to disturb your lie-in.

Nell: Yes, thank you. It is Sunday morning.

Me: I know.

Nell: Sundays are for rest and recuperation.

Me: Would you like me to bring you some tea?

Nell: That would be lovely. And a small piece of shortbread, perhaps? If there’s any left after that tiger has been at it.

Me: Are you talking about Beauregard?

Nell: I don’t know why you keep asking me that? Of course I’m talking about Beauregard. Unless he’s been joined by another tiger in which case I’m moving out.

Me: I didn’t know tigers liked shortbread.

Nell: They like everything. He’s a terrible influence on David, you know.

Me: Both puppies certainly seem tired. Bless them.

Nell: That’s because they were dancing until gone midnight.

Me: So that’s why Gladys and the llamas were looking a little subdued at Sunday Songs.

Nell: Llamas don’t do early mornings. I hope they were wearing their dressing gowns. It’s rather chilly for June.

Me: Did you join in the dancing at all?

Nell: Why?

Me: You look a little tired yourself.

Nell: I might have managed a brief foxtrot with Knitwear Wolf but nothing more.

Me: Very interesting.

Nell: What’s that supposed to mean?

Me: Nothing.

Nell: Rupert is an excellent dancer and it would have been rude to refuse.

Me: Of course it would.

Nell: Stop smiling. Where is that tiger going in a top hat?

Me: To join in Sunday Songs. It really suits him, doesn’t it? Look at little Oliver on his back waving at everyone.

Nell: Are those sequins waving too?

Me: No. It’s Henry and Horst in shiny waistcoats.

Nell: Woodlice in waistcoats? Whatever next?

Me: Well, Beauregard just took out his trumpet.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Sorry.


Tony and the Ice Cream

Nell: I think we should discuss Tony’s visit yesterday.

Me: It was lovely to see him, wasn’t it?

Nell: Yes, but I’m talking about the behaviour of certain animals.

Me: I agree. Harriet was not well behaved.

Nell: No, she wasn’t.

Me: But my Big Brave Beautiful Boy covered himself in glory.

Nell: As opposed to ice cream. Yes, David showed admirable restraint.

Me: That moment when Dave looked at the ice cream and then at Tony and decided Tony was the one he loved more.

Nell: Yes, I’m extremely impressed with him.

Me: I’m so glad we were able to offer some comfort, Nell. I noticed you were looking after Tony too.

Nell: Of course. I’m afraid it was only Harriet that let the side down. Trying to steal his ice cream. Appalling behaviour.

Me: Ice cream can do that to you, Nell. Especially on a hot day.

Nell: Have you seen the latest?

Me: No.

Nell: You are not going to believe this.

Me: I just might.

Nell: Beauregard came out of the tree house.

Me: Good.

Nell: With Oliver on his back.

Me: An opossum riding a tiger? I wish I’d seen that.

Nell: You can. Go into the kitchen. They are both eating bacon sandwiches with David.

Me: And Oliver is still on his back?

Nell: Yes. Beauregard doesn’t seem to mind at all. In fact I would go so far as to say he encourages it.

Me: Gosh. Well, that’s going to make Oliver feel a lot braver.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: No one is going to startle you if you are riding a tiger.

Nell: I suppose not. Although, you might startle them.

Me: I wonder if Beauregard would let me ride on his back.

Nell: Stop right now.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Marvin is Two Today

Nell: I know this is a sad time but we must also look forward and celebrate the happy things in our lives.

Me: And one of the really happy things is our dear little Marvin.

Nell: Yes. Marvin is 2 today and since being rescued by Chris and Shannon he has been living a wonderful life in Toronto in Canada.

Me: Yes. Look at him enjoying the sunshine. Darling pup.

Nell: He is not a pup. He is a young dog.

Me: He’ll always be a pup to me.

Nell: Marvin is coming along really well with his studies. He has been attending my zoom classes regularly and is working very hard on becoming a little braver.

Me: I know he can feel easily scared.

Nell: Unfortunately this is something that a lot of rescue dogs have to deal with in their lives. Dear Mutley often told us of his struggles in the early years.

Me: But love can change everything and look at Marvin now. So shiny and smiley.

Nell: Shiny and smiley? Good grief.

Me: Anyway, Happy Birthday darling Marvin from us all.

Nell: Yes, Happy Birthday.

Me: On another note I know Tony and Sue would like me to thank you all for your kind words. They really do mean a lot.

Nell: Yes. It is important at times like these to know you are not alone.

Me: We have such wonderful followers, don’t we?Our world is a happy, loving place and I am so happy that you all have joined us in it.

Nell: Talking of joining us, you do realise that tiger is still in the tree house, don’t you?

Me: Do you mean Beauregard?

Nell: Of course I do. How many tigers do you think there are sitting in trees in Devon?

Me: Yes. Sorry.



Nell: We have some very sad news for you today.

Me: Yes, we do. I can hardly believe it.

Nell: Yesterday Tony and his wife Sue lost their beloved dog Ollie.

Me: He had been unwell for some time with sickness and a cough.

Nell: Yesterday during an exploratory operation the vets found tumours in his throat. Unfortunately he was too weak to cope any longer and he died on the operating table.

Me: There was nothing anybody could have done.

Nell: Tony, Sue and their family are devastated at this sudden loss.

Me: It is so very sad. Ollie was their darling boy and they loved him dearly.

Nell: Yes.

Me: We only saw him a few weeks ago when we were filming the Old Gaffers down at The Cottage Hotel.

Nell: Yes. I’m glad they came over last night and we were able to offer them some comfort.

Me: So am I. You were very kind to Tony. Cuddling up to him and keeping him close. You are normally so reserved.

Nell: I know when someone needs me.

Me: Dave just covered them both in love. You all did.

Nell: That’s what we do best.

Me: Please join us by sending Tony and Sue your support and the strength to get through this.

Nell: I know Ollie was only with them for a short time but it was a very happy one.

Me: Yes, it was. He was such a cheerful boy.

Nell: Now Ollie is no longer in any pain and is watching over them as their Guardian.

Me: He was so young, Nell. Just two years old.

Nell: And that is why Mutley is with him, along with his brother Milo and Seamus. He is not alone. They are there too.

Me: You are right. Sorry.


Beefies Behaving Badly

Me: A visit from Tony was just what Dave needed.

Nell: Yes. It never fails to lift all our spirits.

Me: Did Dave tell Tony about Beauregard?

Nell: Yes. Tony said he shouldn’t be worrying about tigers when the Beefies are behaving so badly.

Me: What have they done now?

Nell: Vandalised the signs.

Me: What signs?

Nell: ‘Please do not feed the seagulls.‘

Me: I know that, Nell. I never feed them.

Nell: No. The signs. They’ve crossed out the ‘not’.

Me: The rascals.

Nell: The tourists are all sharing their ice creams and chips with them.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: My friend Dorothy saw a couple of Beefies enjoying a cream tea with a visiting family of Afghan hounds down at Hope Cove.

Me: Shocking behaviour.

Nell: They dropped cream in their hair.

Me: Beefies don’t have hair.

Nell: No. The Afghans’ hair.

Me: I hope it was cream, Nell. Only you know how messy Beefies can be.

Nell; Let’s not go there.

Me: No.

Nell: And David saw a whole group of Beefies enjoying pizza with the surfers at Bantham Beach.

Me: Gosh. Although, do you know what?

Nell: What?

Me: It might actually be a good thing.

Nell: How exactly?

Me: Well, the Beefies have always had to steal their treats. Maybe if they’re given them they will become nicer and change their ways.

Nell: In that case you won’t mind having your prawn sandwich without the prawns.

Me: Without the prawns it would just be plain bread.

Nell: You had better stop Manuel then, because the last time I saw him he was heading into the garden with a bowl of prawns.

Me: But I was really looking forward to my sandwich.

Nell: What about changing the Beefies’ ways?

Me: I’ve changed my mind. Sorry.


Dogs can’t climb trees

Me: What’s the matter with my Big Brave Beautiful Boy?

Nell: Beauregard is in Oliver’s tree house.

Me: Goodness me. Is Oliver ok with that?

Nell: He says Oliver invited him. But I’m not convinced. Does it sound likely to you?

Me: That a tiger would be in a tree house?

Nell: No. Tigers like trees. Everyone knows that.

Me: Not in Devon.

Nell: No, but is it likely that an opossum would invite a tiger into its house?

Me: Was it a particular invitation, or a general one?

Nell: I see what you mean. Oliver might have extended an invitation to us all to come and see the beautiful tree house that Rupert has made for him.

Me: Yes. And Beauregard was the only one who came.

Nell: To be fair we dogs can’t actually get up a tree.

Me: And once a tiger is up there then there isn’t an awful lot of room for anyone else.

Nell: Quite.

Me: Is that why Dave’s so sad?

Nell: Partly, and because a little birdy told him that Chris White-Mckinney is leaving the UK today to go and live with her husband Greg in Florida.

Me: Does Dave know Chris?

Nell: No, but she’s one of our loyal readers and David thinks she might forget us.

Me: I’m sure she won’t. We have lots of readers from all over the world.

Nell: That’s what I said.

Me: Was it Walter?

Nell: Was what Walter?

Me: The little birdy.

Nell: No it was James Beddall.

Me: He’s very caring.

Nell: He’s trying to turn us all vegetarian.

Me: You enjoy your vegetables.

Nell: Harriet is passionate about cauliflower.

Me: I know she is. Do you think I could get up a tree?

Nell: Please don’t. For so many reasons.

Me: Sorry.


Who is Mr Wolf?

Me: What game were you all playing in that field?

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: You seemed to be hiding.

Nell: I was. And very well too, until you noticed me.

Me: But Kev definitely wasn’t hiding.

Nell: He’s not a hiding sort of person.

Me: You can say that again. I think you were playing ‘What’s the Time, Mr Wolf?’

Nell: Rupert wasn’t there.

Me: No, the game where you creep towards someone and pretend to be statues when they turn around.

Nell: Where was Mr Wolf?

Me: Was it Poppy?

Nell: No. But Poppy was certainly involved.

Me: Well, whatever you were playing you certainly helped me take some good photos.

Nell: Why?

Me: Instead of moving like you usually do, you all kept very still when I looked at you.

Nell: Did we now?

Me: Yes. It was amazing. That’s how I knew it must be a game.

Nell: Yes.

Me: And the funny thing was that every time I looked up you all seemed to be nearer.

Nell: Really?

Me: Yes. Except for you.

Nell: It was a little hot for me. I was enjoying the shade. After yesterday’s excitement I needed some quiet.

Me: I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday.

Nell: And Beauregard thoroughly enjoyed Poppy’s roast. Who eats 4 Yorkshire puddings before the meal has even been served?

Me: He might be from the North.

Nell: What are you talking about?

Me: That’s what people do. They start their meal with Yorkshire pudding and gravy.

Nell: Beauregard was just being greedy.

Me: No. He was enthusiastic like Dave. Hang on a minute.

Nell: What?

Me: I’ve had a thought.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: I’m Mr Wolf.

Nell: Of course you are. I told the others that you would work it out eventually.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


A Sunday Sensation

Nell: What is he doing here? It’s not lunchtime yet. He’s far too early.

Me: He probably wanted to listen to Sunday Songs. We know he likes jazz.

Nell: And that’s another thing.

Me: What?

Nell: How did the Welsh corgi choir know he was coming?

Me: Maybe they didn’t?

Nell: So you think it’s a coincidence that they’ve been singing jazz songs all morning and are wearing white gardenias in their hair like Billie Holiday?

Me: It is a Bank ‘Holiday’ weekend. See what I did there?

Nell: Very droll. And who booked the Whippets Institute band?

Me: Well, I’m thoroughly enjoying it all and so are the llamas. Look at them dancing.

Nell: Llamas will dance to raindrops. Now he’s playing the trumpet. Where did that come from?

Me: He had it with him I suppose.

Nell: Who takes a trumpet to Sunday lunch?

Me: Well, I think Beauregard is sensational.

Nell: And what kind of a name is that? Beauregard.

Me: It’s French for beautiful view and can also mean easy on the eye. And you’ve got to admit he is certainly one very handsome tiger.

Nell: Sharp suits and shiny shoes aren’t everything you know.

Me: Look at the fun everyone is having, Nell. Why don’t you just join in and stop worrying?

Nell: There is more to this than meets the eye. Mark my paws. Look at Sally. She is watching him closely even though she is dancing with David.

Me: She’s just smiling at him.

Nell: But the smile isn’t reaching her eyes. There is something not quite right about Beauregard and Sally knows it.

Me: Well, if Sally knows it then we’ve nothing to worry about.

Nell: What on earth is Gladys doing? Is that a rose in her teeth?

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Lunch, or tea?

Me: It was lovely being back at The Cottage Hotel again, wasn’t it?

Nell: Delightful.

Me: The views at Hope Cove are just amazing and they are always so kind and welcoming. The waiter even brought you a bowl of fresh water.

Nell: I asked for Earl Grey.

Me: I know, but I don’t think he heard you.

Nell: Never mind. It was meant well and I appreciated the thought.

Me: Not every dog is as discerning as you, Nell. Dave is happy with builder’s tea.

Nell: David is happy with anything as long as it comes with a bacon sandwich on the side.

Me: Dave knows what he likes. Remember he used to be a food critic.

Nell: Extraordinary. I wonder how that happened.

Me: He’s very open minded when it comes to food. He’ll try anything. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Did Harriet tell you that Sally has been in touch?

Me: No, she didn’t.

Nell: It’s a bank holiday weekend so she is coming down here for a visit.

Me: That’s wonderful news.

Nell: And she’s bringing a friend.

Me: Oh no.

Nell: Why? What’s the problem?

Me: Does Dave know?

Nell: Of course he does.

Me: Is he alright about it?

Nell: Yes. You know how much David loves guests and he doesn’t care who is there as long as he sees Sally.

Me: Well, that’s awfully open minded of him I must say.

Nell: Is it?

Me: Not everyone would welcome a tiger to tea.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: Especially a handsome stranger sort of tiger who loves jazz and dancing cheek to cheek.

Nell: Sally is bringing Roley Moley.

Me: Oh, I see.

Nell: The tiger is coming to lunch on Sunday. It’s heard about Poppy’s roasts.

Me: My mistake. Sorry.


Faye is Two Today

Me: I can’t believe Faye is two today. She was a baby the last time I saw her.

Nell: I’ve written a poem. Would you like to hear it?

Me: I would love to.

Nell: ‘Now gather round please

I have something to say

Today is an awfully BIG sort of day.

It’s a day for balloons

And presents and such,

Eating chocolate for breakfast

And ice cream for lunch.’

‘But what about tea?’

‘For Goodness Sake,

Spaghetti, of course

And lots of cake.’

‘Well, I’m just guessing

But if you asked me

And most of the animals

On land and at sea

I think it’s a somebody’s birthday today

And I think that the somebody

Might just be FAYE.’

‘Of course it is Faye

Who else could it be?

It’s not Dave or Harriet,

Or Poppy or me.’

‘Faye has a birthday

Can it be true?

How old is she then?’

‘I think she is two.

She can’t be three

Because Jonathan is four

And he’s her big brother

And much older I’m sure.’

‘Fayely Whaley is two?

Can it be so?

She was only one yesterday

Where did time go?’

‘Never you mind about time,

Fetch your hat,

And Malcolm and Gladys,

Knitwear Wolf and The Cat.

This is a happy and wonderful day

Where we all get to celebrate

Our dear darling Faye.

So Happy Birthday Rainbow

From all of us here,

Especially Granny and Grandpa

Who hold you so dear.

Let’s wave our paws

And kick up our hooves

And fluff up our feathers

And banish the blues.

Because Birthdays are for dancing

And happiness and fun.

Just know you are loved

So much little one.’

Me: It’s perfect. Thank you.

Nell: No tears. You will see them all again soon. Trust me.

Me: Yes. Sorry.