The Rescue. Part Three

Me: I’m so glad you’re home, Nell. It’s been terrible without you.

Nell: Well, I’m safe now. Where are David and Harriet?

Me: I thought they were with you. Tell me what happened, please.

Nell: Well, Owl Pacino and The Cat took us to the big boat. From there we could see what was happening on the beach.

Me: Go on.

Nell: Myfanwy started screaming and suddenly a whole battalion of bad tempered boxers appeared on the horizon.

Me: No.

Nell: Then a Rolls Royce pulled into the car park and Lady Anwen got out dragging a polite flamingo on a lead.

Me: Not Malcolm?

Nell: Yes. He had secretly joined Count Bingo’s team. Poppy jumped out of the Chinook brandishing her sword and the larger animals surrounded her. Quite easily it must be said.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Poppy shouted ‘Release the flamingo. Your bacon is useless. He’s a pescatarian.’

Me: She’s so fierce.

Nell: Lady Anwen laughed nastily and that’s when the puppies made their move.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: There was a squealing of tyres as David drove in on Knitwear Wolf’s motorbike with Harriet in the sidecar. He zoomed up to Lady Anwen and snatched the lead out of her paws freeing Malcolm.

Me: Go Davey boy!

Nell: Davey boy? Good grief. Where was I?

Me: Malcolm was free.

Nell: Yes. Malcolm flew towards Poppy while David circled round Lady Anwen on the motorbike allowing Poppy to usher everyone to safety in the helicopter.

Me: My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: As soon as he saw they were safe David drove off with Harriet.

Me: But where are they now?

Nell: Wait, is that a motorbike?

Me: Yes, it’s Dave with Harriet sitting behind him.

Nell: Who’s in the sidecar then?

Me: Lady Anwen and Myfanwy. Sorry.


The Rescue. Part Two

Me: Are you ok, Nell? We were cut off. Tell me everything.

Nell: The bad tempered boxer came back with my ice cream so I took Henry over to Rupert and Myfanwy on the beach. They were deep in conversation.

Me: In Welsh?

Nell: No, Rupert wasn’t really drugged. Unlike Horst who sent an SOS to Henry.

Me: The tainted bacon was in Rupert’s sporran with Horst. Poor woodlouse.

Nell: Exactly. We needed to get him out.

Me: Yes.

Nell: I had to think on my paws, so I said ‘Rupert, I’ve been thinking of getting David a sporran for quite some time. Could I take a look at yours?’

Me: Clever.

Nell: I thought so. Myfanwy gave me a hard stare and as Rupert handed it over I accidentally dropped it and Horst and the bacon fell out.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Rupert was quick to save Horst but Myfanwy saw the bacon.

Me: Oh no.

Nell: She started shouting ‘You deceiving wolf. You didn’t eat the bacon. You’re not bad at all.’

Me: He isn’t.

Nell: But he was supposed to be.

Me: Oh yes.

Nell: Anyway, that’s when the Welsh corgi choir started singing.

Me: What?

Nell: They were all lined up on the big boat. ‘Delilah’ wasn’t the best song choice but it distracted Myfanwy. She simply had to join in.

Me: Singing is a Welsh thing. We can’t help it.

Nell: Rupert grabbed me and we ran into the sea. I thought all was lost.

Me: No.

Nell: And that’s when I saw them.

Me: Who?

Nell: The Cat and Owl Pacino in a beautiful pea-green boat coming to rescue us.

Me: But The Cat is absolutely terrified of water.

Nell: We are all much braver than we think.

Me: Yes, we are. Sorry.


The Rescue. Part One.

Nell: You are not going to believe this.

Me: I just might. Is it safe for you to talk?

Nell: Yes, Henry and I are in a car down at the beach. The chauffeur is a rather bad tempered boxer but he’s gone to fetch me an ice cream.

Me: Excellent. The plan was to get you to the beach as that increases our options.

Nell: Well, I hope none of them include riding away on an alpaca because I’ve just seen Gladys in a sombrero on the back of Alejandro.

Me: Good. Poppy must have landed. She flew up in the helicopter with the larger animals.

Nell: I thought Rupert’s choice of outfit was unusual but a hatted Pomeranian on an alpaca takes the biscuit.

Me: Distraction techniques. What is Rupert wearing then?

Nell: A kilt. Henry and Horst were in his sporran.

Me: So where is everyone now?

Nell: I’m fairly sure the Royal Owl Force just flew past and there are a group of flamingos in the lake that definitely weren’t there yesterday.

Me: That’ll be Count Bingo.

Nell: I guessed. There’s also some kind of suspicious looking pirate ship on the horizon captained by a large seal wearing a tiara with a penguin in the crow’s nest carrying a film camera.

Me: Good, but I meant the baddies. Where is Lady Anwen?

Nell: She is back at Osborne House. Rupert ate a bacon sandwich soon after he arrived and has been speaking Welsh ever since so she thought it would be safe for us to accompany Myfanwy to the beach.

Me: Oh no. Not bacon.

Nell: He didn’t really eat it. He put it in his sporran.

Me: But he’s speaking Welsh.

Nell: He’s copying Horst. All woodlice speak Welsh. Do keep up.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Don’t rock the boat

Me: Are you able to talk?

Nell: Let me excuse myself for a moment.

Me: Ok. Can you talk now?

Nell: Yes. I’m not in London.

Me: We know.

Nell: Good, because I’m at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight. Lady Anwen told me The Queen was staying here.

Me: You know that isn’t true, don’t you?

Nell: Yes, I do. The wretched bacon has worn off completely now.

Me: Try not to worry. We were able to track you on Find My iBone and help is on its way.

Nell: How?

Me: Rupert set off this morning on his motorbike with Henry and Horst. The others are following by helicopter and boat.

Nell: I don’t think there has to be a land, sea and air rescue.

Me: There does when it’s you, Nell. Absolutely everybody wants to help rescue you.

Nell: How kind.

Me: Joyce is coordinating from Devon, Sally from London and No Good Boyo from Wales.

Nell: But I’m on the Isle of Wight. You don’t need the whole of the UK involved.

Me: I don’t think Scotland and Northern Ireland are involved.

Nell: They still think I’m drugged but I’m not sure I can keep it up for much longer. I don’t understand a word they’re saying when they speak Welsh.

Me: Rupert should arrive today. His cover is that is he’s trying to win Myfanwy back.

Nell: Clever.

Me: Once there, Henry will conceal himself with you and can report back to Horst who will stay with Rupert.

Nell: Thank goodness for Welsh speaking woodlice.

Me: Just don’t rock the boat as we need time to get to you and please wear a hat.

Nell: I’ll steer clear of boats but I refuse to wear a Welsh hat.

Me: You might have to. Sorry.



Me: Nell, thank goodness you called. Where are you? Dave’s barking at the window and Harriet refuses to leave his side.

Nell: Yes. I thought I had better phone even though they told me not to. I’m on my way to London.

Me: What?

Nell: Don’t fuss. Myfanwy is with me and so is Sidney.

Me: No. You have to come back now.

Nell: Lady Anwen kindly sent a car to collect us. She says The Queen is looking forward to seeing me.

Me: The Queen isn’t in London. She’s at Windsor Castle. It’s a trick, Nell.

Nell: Nonsense. I received the invitation yesterday with the royal seal.

Me: Why didn’t you tell me?

Nell: She asked me not to. I was told expressly to keep everything hush hush.

Me: I can’t believe you kept this a secret.

Nell: One doesn’t argue with The Queen.

Me: But it wasn’t really The Queen, Nell. Lady Anwen is behind all of this. She’s The Hunter.

Nell: I despair of you sometimes. I really do. Myfanwy won’t believe this when I tell her.

Me: Don’t tell Myfanwy. She’s part of it, too.

Nell: Honestly, you need to keep that imagination of yours under control.

Me: I’ve been talking to Joyce and Knitwear Wolf.

Nell: And?

Me: We have good reason to believe that Lady Anwen and Myfanwy are working with the Beefies.

Nell: Ridiculous.

Me: You’re in great danger. We think you’ve been exposed to tainted bacon.

Nell: I only ate a little.

Me: Roedd yn ddigon.

Nell: Speak English not gobbledygook.

Me: Good. It seems to be wearing off. I’ll call you back when I’ve spoken to the others.

Nell: Perhaps sooner rather than later.

Me: Just try and act normally until then.

Nell: Easy for you to say.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Galar da!

Me: What is Dave doing?

Nell: There’s a suspected undercover Beefy in the bushes so David is Keeping an Eye on it.

Me: Are you sure my darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy is the right animal for the job?

Nell: He knows social distancing must be maintained.

Me: Fair enough. Is it speaking in Welsh?

Nell: We don’t know yet.

Me: Talking of Welsh.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: Something is bothering me.

Nell: Wibli Wobli is not a jellyfish.

Me: I never knew you could speak Welsh.

Nell: I can’t.

Me: But you can. You know the words for jellyfish, and bacon, and being bad.

Nell: They just came to me.

Me: The thing is, Nell, that Welsh isn’t really a language that just comes to you.

Nell: What are you trying to say?

Me: Well, I think you might need to consider the possibility, only a small one of course, but still..

Nell: Oh, do get on with it. Mumbling away. ‘Galar da!’

Me: See. You’re doing it again.

Nell: What?

Me: You just said ‘Good grief’ in Welsh.

Nell: Did I? Where did that come?

Me: I’m afraid you might be turning slightly bad.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: Did you find some bacon you haven’t told us about?

Nell: Why?

Me: Harriet said you were licking your lips.

Nell: I had a dry mouth.

Me: You always lick your lips after you’ve eaten something tasty.

Nell: I think David is waving at us.

Me: Stop changing the subject. I think I ought to update Joyce and No Good Boyo.

Nell: There is absolutely no reason to alert the Border Terriers. Lady Anwen was saying to me earlier that I have no need to talk to them.

Me: Lady Anwen? That’s it. I’m telling Joyce. Sorry.


Beefies and Bacon

Me: What are you and Harriet doing?

Nell: We’re searching for bacon and Beefies.

Me: Bacon? You can’t be hungry again, Nell. You had poached eggs on toast for breakfast. Aren’t Beefies usually in the sky?

Nell: Not these undercover ones. They hide in the long grass trying to turn good animals bad.

Me: With bacon sandwiches?

Nell: Not always. It depends on the targeted animal.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: They would turn Princess with mackerel, and Malcolm with prawns.

Me: And PC Amanda Panda with scones?

Nell: A lot of people would turn for scones, to be fair. Only Poppy’s, though, obviously.

Me: What about me?

Nell: You’d do anything for a Magnum.

Me: I love ice cream. What happens then?

Nell: They say ‘dim ond anifeiliaid drwg sy’n cael cig moch.’

Me: What does that mean?

Nell: ‘Only bad animals get bacon.’

Me: That’s not true.

Nell: Then they hold the bacon out and say ‘wyt ti’n anifail drwg?’ Which means ‘Are you a bad animal?’

Me: Does anyone ever agree?

Nell: A lot of them do. It’s the combination of Welsh and bacon.

Me: Did you know that the Welsh for jellyfish is ‘Psygod Wibli Wobli which literally translates as ‘wibbly wobbly fish’?

Nell: Nonsense. The Welsh word for jellyfish is ‘pysgod mor.

Me: Oh.

Nell: Anyway, stop distracting me. Harriet and I are determined to find one of those undercover Beefies.

Me: It sounds risky to me.

Nell: There is an element of risk but the poached eggs will help.

Me: Are you going to throw one then?

Nell: No, as you pointed out, our tummies are full.

Me: Labradors’ tummies are never full, Nell. You might need to ask Poppy to do this.

Nell: Harriet and I are perfectly capable.

Me: Ok. Sorry.



Me: Dave looks slightly worried.

Nell: Yes. It was a difficult COBR meeting this morning.

Me: Gosh. I’m impressed. I didn’t know you and Dave were part of high level government decisions.

Nell: What are you talking about?

Me: COBR. Cabinet Office Briefing Rooms. I suppose it was another zoom meeting.

Nell: It was in The Barn actually because we needed everyone to attend.

Me: Even the larger animals?

Nell: Especially the larger animals.

Me: I’m awfully surprised that Boris is including them.

Nell: It affects everyone you know. Apart from Malcolm and the non meat eaters of course.

Me: I don’t think vegetarians are exempt, Nell.

Nell: You’re not going to go all James Beddall on me and suggest vegetarian bacon is a true substitute are you?

Me: I never mentioned bacon.

Nell: And what’s Boris got to do with it? He doesn’t live here.

Me: I know. He lives at No 10 Downing Street.

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous. He’s a Basset Hound and lives in Bovey Tracey.

Me: I’m very confused now, Nell.

Nell: You’re not alone.

Me: But you said COBR?

Nell: Coordination Of Bacon Rations. After the bacon sandwich incident we felt it was necessary to put a few measures in place.

Me: I see.

Nell: Bacon needs to be a treat not a weapon in the claws of evil used to turn good animals to the dark side.

Me: The dark side?

Nell: Yes. We have reason to believe that the Beefies were behind the bacon sandwich incident when David dropped Henry.

Me: Those dastardly seagulls.

Nell: There’s more. All evidence is pointing towards The Hunter being a member of the Royal Household.

Me: Not The Queen?

Nell: Of course not. You could be sent to the Tower for even suggesting that.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Vile interlopers

Nell: What are you doing here?

Me: I live here.

Nell: You don’t live in The Barn, though.

Me: No. But I saw you lurking and I thought I’d check.

Nell: Lurking? Labradors never lurk. We wait. Patiently.

Me: And stare. You’re ever so good at staring.

Nell: If you’re talking about Showing an Interest then I agree. We are exceptionally skilled at that.

Me: Especially when food is around. Anyway, why are you here?

Nell: David, Henry and Knitwear Wolf are mediating with Myfanwy and the others.

Me: Don’t you mean meditating because the llamas love it?

Nell: No. Mediating, as in talking. And talking of llamas I expect you’ve seen that video of the Welsh llamas in Pembrokeshire.

Me: Delivering food to the self isolating? It’s a wonderful idea.

Nell: Yes. Knitwear Wolf is going to suggest it to our llamas. He has some soft shawls he would like to donate.

Me: How did the zoom meeting go yesterday?

Nell: It turned out to be rather hairy.

Me: Well, it would be with the llamas, Seamus, two corgis and a big fat spider.

Nell: I meant unpleasant, as you well know. David was pretending to be asleep so Henry could listen and he was doing really well until someone started cooking bacon.

Me: I know the larger animals like a bacon sandwich but that was insensitive.

Nell: Well, David sat up and Henry fell off.

Me: Oh no.

Nell: And then Lady Anwen started shouting about vile interlopers.

Me: How rude. My Big Brave Beautiful Boy could never be vile. Was he upset?

Nell: No. He was sharing a bacon sandwich with Monty.

Me: What happened to the zoom meeting?

Nell: Everyone left except Sidney.

Me: Why?

Nell: Because he lives in The Barn.

Me: Oh yes. Sorry.


Operation Hunter

Me: Why are the puppies pretending to be asleep?

Nell: They are on Listening Duty. Stop distracting them.

Me: Harriet is ever so good at it, isn’t she?

Nell: Yes. David tends to really fall asleep and wakes with a start.

Me: My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He’s far too transparent to be a spy.

Nell: Well, he’s going to have to learn. He’s needed for Operation Hunter.

Me: Operation Hunter?

Nell: Yes. Joyce has put a team together.

Me: How did she choose?

Nell: Everyone was asked to reveal their Strengths and Weaknesses at Morning Thoughts.

Me: Dave can’t help eating things by mistake.

Nell: We are aware of David’s weaknesses. It was Henry’s strengths that surprised us all.

Me: Henry’s?

Nell: Yes. Apparently he speaks Welsh.

Me: Has The Hunter turned him?

Nell: No. He spent his formative years in Aberystwyth where Welsh was spoken.

Me: Formative years? Woodlice don’t live that long.

Nell: You know what I mean. Anyway, Henry is prepared to go undercover.

Me: Good for him.

Nell: Now, we know another zoom meeting is planned for this afternoon so Henry is going to sit in on it.

Me: But they all have screens, don’t they? So they can see who’s joining in?

Nell: Yes.

Me: Well, they won’t see Henry’s face on the screen. He’s far too small. He’ll never get a word in edgeways.

Nell: Henry isn’t logging in. He’ll be behind Sidney. Listening.

Me: That’s a terrible idea. Sidney’s already caught Henry in his web once.

Nell: Henry will be safe on David’s ear. David is going to pretend to be asleep.

Me: But Dave’s awful at pretending. It should be Harriet.

Nell: David is the only one able to hear what Henry says. Let him do this.

Me: Yes. Sorry.