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Dangerous Dunking

Me: Nell, have you got a moment?

Nell: I’m sunning my fur.

Me: You can still talk to me.

Nell: If it’s about Timothy leaving, then talk to PC Panda.

Me: Where has Timothy gone?

Nell: Nobody knows. He’s been given a new identity.

Me: Because of the biscuits? Is he in the witness programme?

Nell: No. It’s Thanksgiving on 25th November and then Christmas. This is a dangerous time to be a turkey.

Me: What about the investigations?

Nell: PC Panda has all the information. The only thing you need to know is you must keep well away from biscuits.

Me: Only crunchy ones. A crumbly shortbread is surely acceptable. Especially if Poppy makes it.

Nell: No shortbread.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: What do you mean by ‘Oh dear’?

Me: I’m not sure anyone told the llamas.

Nell: What?

Me: Or the Welsh corgi choir.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: I saw them rehearsing carols in the field.

Nell: And?

Me: And I could be wrong about this but I do believe there might have been some dunking.

Nell: Dunking?

Me: Yes, of crumbly shortbread in their mugs of tea.

Nell: Why didn’t you stop them?

Me: I didn’t know.

Nell: And who gave them the shortbread?

Me: I presumed it was Poppy. She always gives them shortbread with their morning tea.

Nell: Poppy has gone sky diving with John the Doberman. She isn’t even here.

Me: Hang on a minute. Did you just say sky diving?

Nell: Yes.

Me: With a Doberman?

Nell: Not any Doberman. Her fiancé John.

Me: I never imagined John as a sky diver. It’s not something you think of such a large dog doing.

Nell: John isn’t sky diving.

Me: Oh, I see.

Nell: He’s flying the plane.

Me: Of course. Sorry.

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Nell is Suspicious

Nell: Yes? Can we help you?

Me: Sorry to disturb your meeting with Poppy but you should see how sweet the puppies are looking.

Nell: Seriously?

Me: Yes, they are under the kitchen table sharing a bed and doing that nose to nose thing.

Nell: Well, that’s lovely but I have a crisis on my paws and Poppy and I are in the middle of an important discussion.

Me: If you’re worried about Manuel being eliminated in the dance off yesterday you shouldn’t be. As soon as he realised he was up against Harriet and Beauregard he knew he would lose.

Nell: The question is why were they in the bottom two in the first place? That tiger can tango.

Me: He certainly can and Harriet was amazing too.

Nell: Exactly. I’m beginning to think someone is tampering with the public vote.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Haven’t you noticed only birds are going straight through?

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: Poppy and Stephen Seagull. A nasty bird.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Gladys and Count Bingo Flamingo.

Me: They are excellent dancers.

Nell: Alejandro and Malcolm.

Me: A kind flamingo and don’t forget the somersaults.

Nell: Harriet and Beauregard are the only birdless couple left.

Me: True. What does Anton say about it?

Nell: Not a lot. He’s lost his voice.

Me: Oh no. Did he eat a crunchy biscuit?

Nell: Not intentionally.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: He was over at the Burgh Island hotel and had cheesecake for dessert.

Me: Personally, I love a good cheesecake but they are creamy.

Nell: It had a crunchy biscuit bottom.

Me: Oh no! Clever but dastardly.

Nell: My thoughts exactly.

Me: At least it wasn’t a soggy bottom. Nobody wants one of those.

Nell: That’s not the point.

Me: No. Sorry.

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Remembering

Nell: Today is a day of Remembering those we have lost, especially those who lost their lives for others.

Me: Yes.

Nell: We are remembering a brave soldier too. Our beloved Mutley.

Me: The Great Mutliano.

Nell: Life wasn’t always easy for him.

Me: No.

Nell: But he remained brave to the end.

Me: He did.

Nell: Now, the Welsh corgi choir will be joining us for tea and No Biscuits after Sunday Songs.

Me: You don’t need to emphasise the No Biscuits. I am aware.

Nell: Are you though?

Me: I gave my half eaten Biscotti to Timothy and I haven’t eaten another biscuit since. Not even the ginger nut that Kind Magpie offered me this morning.

Nell: What Kind Magpie ?

Me: I was talking to Robin when it appeared with a ginger nut biscuit in its beak.

Nell: Why am I only hearing about this now?

Me: It was nothing special.

Nell: Any suspicious activity must be reported.

Me: It was just a ginger nut and I refused it, even though they are lovely with a cup of tea.

Nell: Honestly I despair of you sometimes.

Me: Talking of despair Manuel doesn’t seem too happy after yesterday’s dance performance.

Nell: I’m afraid twisted tentacles have put him at grave risk of elimination.

Me: What about Poppy and Stephen Seagull’s Samba?

Nell: Poppy’s sleeves were ridiculously large.

Me: She has to put her sword somewhere, Nell.

Nell: And that seagull lacks rhythm.

Me: Malcolm and Alejandro were amazing. All those somersaults on the back of an alpaca?

Nell: I think most of them were unintentional.

Me: Mutley would have loved it all.

Nell: He lives on in our memories you know.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Gone but never forgotten.

Me: No.

Nell: And always watching over us.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Be very wary of birds

Me: Dave is giving me one of your faces.

Nell: What does that mean?

Me: A disapproving look.

Nell: What have you been doing?

Me: Nothing.

Nell: Talking of looks. You have a guilty look about you.

Me: I haven’t touched any biscuits.

Nell: I know that. There are no biscuits in the house. Did you forget to whisper? You know you have to protect your voice.

Me: No. I remembered because Robin had to fly out of the bush onto the bird feeder to hear me.

Nell: Have you been talking to Robin again?

Me: Of course I have. Robin is my friend and we always chat every morning. You know that.

Nell: You have been asked not to chat to strangers while investigations are still undergoing.

Me: Robin isn’t a stranger and he’s got nothing to do with it all. Don’t be so mean.

Nell: I’m not saying he has and I’m not saying he hasn’t. We just don’t know.

Me: He says the Beefies are still pleading innocence.

Nell: A Beefy wouldn’t know innocence if it tapped it on the beak.

Me: Maybe.

Nell: Beefies are strangers to the truth. Everyone knows that.

Me: Robin says we should listen to what they have to say.

Nell: Robin says way too much for my liking.

Me: Are you jealous?

Nell: Of a robin?

Me: Of my friendship with a robin.

Nell: You can be friends with whomever you like but you should be very wary of birds.

Me: So I can’t talk to Malcolm, or Susan, or Timothy?

Nell: They’re family. Just be careful. That’s all I’m saying.

Me: You are jealous.

Nell: I’m far too busy for this nonsense. In case you’ve forgotten there is a dancing competition this evening and I’m Head Judge.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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A Spooky Sky

Me: I don’t think Dave appreciates how scary the sky was last night.

Nell: What are you talking about?

Me: He fell asleep while I was telling him about it.

Nell: David was up early helping Knitwear Wolf deliver the papers. Is there something wrong with your voice?

Me: Why?

Nell: You’re whispering.

Me: You have to whisper when you tell a scary story. And the sky was really scary last night. Ask Poppy. She was there.

Nell: Poppy was asleep in front of the fire.

Me: I know but she was still around.

Nell: Did you nibble on a Spekulatius at the hairdresser’s yesterday?

Me: No. Why would you say such a thing?

Nell: Your voice is definitely croaky.

Me: I’m just a bit tired, Nell. I didn’t sleep well. It was that sky. It spooked me.

Nell: Do stop. You’re letting your imagination run away with you again.

Me: I have an odd feeling something is going to happen.

Nell: Are you sure you didn’t nibble on a biscuit?

Me: I had a bite of a biscuit, Nell. But it wasn’t a Spekulatius.

Nell: What was it?

Me: A Biscotti.

Nell: I told you not to do that. Was it crunchy?

Me: Yes. Very. Just right with my cup of coffee.

Nell: You fool. The danger is in the crunch.

Me: Nobody told me.

Nell; Did you eat it all?

Me: No, I’ve got the rest in my handbag. I was going to have it later.

Nell: We need to take it to Timothy right now.

Me: I can’t lose my voice, Nell. What about our Conversations?

Nell: You should have thought of that before.

Me: I knew something terrible was going to happen.

Nell: Hurry up. Maybe there’s something Timothy can do about it.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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No Biscuits Please

Me: There were an awful lot of Beefies gathering around the island, weren’t there?

Nell: Is that why you made a video?

Me: Yes, I thought it might be useful as evidence.

Nell: Evidence of what exactly?

Me: Increased Beefy activity in the vicinity of the island.

Nell: Stop playing detective, Sherlock Martin.

Me: But why were there so many?

Nell: They seemed to want to keep people away from the island.

Me: I bet that’s where the dangerous Spekulatius biscuits are being made.

Nell: Maybe.

Me: Somewhere on that island a mad professor is busy mixing potions to steal the voices of innocent animals.

Nell: A mad professor?

Me: I can see it all, Nell.

Nell: Well, don’t. Where were you and Kev yesterday, by the way?

Me: In Plymouth getting our booster vaccinations.

Nell: Excellent. You were gone a long time.

Me: There were lots of people which meant a long wait but was also a good thing if you know what I mean.

Nell: I do and I’m glad. We need you to be safe.

Me: I’ve had a thought.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: I’m going to the hairdressers this afternoon and she usually gives me a small Spekulatius with my tea.

Nell: Well, don’t eat it.

Me: It would be rude not to, Nell, and I do love a crunchy biscuit.

Nell: A moment ago you were talking about mad professors making dangerous biscuits and now you want to eat one.

Me: There are never any Beefies at the hairdressers, Nell.

Nell: We can’t even be sure that the Beefies are behind this.

Me: Really?

Nell: Stephen Seagull swears blind to Poppy that they are actually trying to protect everyone and someone is setting them up.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: So no biscuits.

Me: No. Sorry.

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Harriet is Worried

Me: What’s the matter with Harriet? She looks really worried.

Nell: She has every reason to be.

Me: Don’t tell me she’s lost her voice too?

Nell: Of course not. Harriet is far too sensible to eat a Spekulatius biscuit.

Me: What’s bothering her then?

Nell: It’s the Christmas Market.

Me: The one in December?

Nell: Yes. Sally says it can’t take place this year unless Harriet can stop the spread of Spekulatius.

Me: But I love the Christmas Market. It’s such fun tasting the mulled wine and the Christmas treats.

Nell: It’s too dangerous.

Me: Can’t Harriet get them to ban all biscuits?

Nell: How’s she going to do that?

Me: I don’t know but we can’t have the Beefies ruining our Christmas.

Nell: I wonder if Poppy can help.

Me: Is Poppy on the Christmas Market Committee?

Nell: No. Why are we talking about committees? Harriet needs to target the one at the top.

Me: I don’t think Santa is behind this, Nell.

Nell: Not Santa. Stephen Seagull. Do keep up.

Me: Oh, I see. Do you think Poppy could threaten to throw in the towel if the biscuits aren’t removed?

Nell: What towel?

Me: It’s a boxing reference.

Nell: I don’t think boxing is the answer.

Me: Never mind.

Nell: She needs to say she won’t dance with Stephen anymore.

Me: He might be relieved. Have you seen the state of him lately?

Nell: He does appear to have turned an unfortunate shade of grey but I think it’s just the leftover dye from Halloween.

Me: Possibly.

Nell: That seagull wants to win Strictly Come Prancing and he can’t do it without Poppy.

Me: It’s worth a try, I suppose.

Nell: The trouble is Poppy wants to win too. There must be another way.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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A Worrying Development

Nell: You’re not going to believe this.

Me: Is Dave’s throat worse?

Nell: No. He’s having Manuka honey on his porridge every day and that seems to be helping.

Me: My poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: And PC Panda says nibbling that biscuit was naughty but nothing more.

Me: What a relief. I was worried Dave might end up with a criminal record. So what’s happened?

Nell: One of the Welsh corgi choir has lost her voice.

Me: It’s probably a cold.

Nell: No, it isn’t.

Me: How do you know?

Nell: It came on suddenly just like David’s.

Me: That’s strange.

Nell: My friend Dorothy says they were enjoying a quick cappuccino at Starbarks in Salcombe when the corgi opened her mouth and nothing came out.

Me: Good.

Nell: I mean no sound.

Me: How odd.

Nell: And just moments before she’d been chatting away while nibbling on a biscuit.

Me: It’s ever so rude to talk with your mouth full.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Kev loves those crunchy little biscuits they give you with your coffee.

Nell: It wasn’t one of those biscuits.

Me: It wasn’t?

Nell: No. It was a Spekulatius biscuit.

Me: They’re delicious with a cup of coffee too.

Nell: That’s not the point. They’re dangerous.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: When Dorothy texted me on our WoofsApp group I told her to take the biscuit and the corgi straight to PC Panda.

Me: Good idea.

Nell: Timothy is examining the biscuit as we speak.

Me: Does Timothy think the Spekulatius biscuits have something in them to make you lose your voice?

Nell: He does.

Me: That’s dreadful. What about Christmas and carol singing?

Nell: Exactly.

Me: Do you want a biscuit with your morning tea, by the way?

Nell: Of course not.

Me: Sorry.

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A Whispered Confessionl

Me: Why the long faces?

Nell: David is in the middle of making a Whispered Confession.

Me: I thought a photo of little Toby on the beach might cheer him up after yesterday’s elimination. Tony sent it to me. What do you mean Whispered Confession?

Nell: David has eaten something he definitely shouldn’t have.

Me: Was it the trifle? It’s an easy mistake to make.

Nell: What trifle?

Me: If he ate it then it was because you judges sent him home in the dance off. It’s called Comfort Eating and we all do it.

Nell: It was the right decision. David and Rhubarb had no chance against Manuel and Rita.

Me: But he’s our Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Did you see Manuel’s leg work in the Argentine Tango? The ganchos were amazing.

Me: He does have eight legs, Nell. It’s an unfair advantage.

Nell: David’s heart wasn’t in it and Rhubarb’s legs were simply too sturdy to cope.

Me: I don’t think someone should be eliminated for sturdy legs.

Nell: You know that wasn’t the reason. The better dancers were put through and there’s an end to it.

Me: What did Dave eat?

Nell: You’re going to have to wait until he’s been interviewed. Timothy is setting up the recording machine right now and PC Panda is on his way.

Me: You are taking this too far, Nell. It was just a mistake. Poppy can make another trifle.

Nell: It wasn’t a trifle. I don’t care about the trifle. It was the Spekulatius biscuit.

Me: The one dropped by a Beefy on the beach?

Nell: Yes. We were all told not to touch it under any circumstances and David still couldn’t resist.

Me: It was only a little nibble.

Nell: Sometimes a nibble is enough.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Poppy is in a very Bad Mood

Me: Are Manuel and Malcolm making breakfast today?

Nell: Yes. It’s pancakes with a selection of toppings both sweet and savoury.

Me: Sounds delicious.

Nell: The llamas are having theirs in the field before Sunday Songs begin.

Me: Won’t they get cold?

Nell: No. They’re wearing dressing gowns over their pyjamas.

Me: I meant the pancakes.

Nell: Llamas don’t care about cold pancakes.

Me: I’m not a fan.

Nell: You’re not a llama.

Me: True.

Nell: Poppy is upstairs in a bad mood. Everyone’s keeping well away from her.

Me: Except for Dave.

Nell: David is allowed to stay because he has no voice.

Me: Poppy’s Argentine Tango went awfully wrong, didn’t it?

Nell: I don’t know why Stephen Seagull though hitting her with a mackerel was a good idea.

Me: I think it was in self defence. She kicked him really hard.

Nell: It was most unprofessional.

Me: Lionel King shouldn’t have clapped.

Nell: Neither should Princess.

Me: She can’t help it. It’s a seal thing.

Nell: I’m afraid Anton and I had to mark it down.

Me: Dave wasn’t himself either. He seemed rather heavy on his paws.

Nell: Rhubarb has sturdy legs. All Bernese Mountain Dogs do. They aren’t well suited to the Argentine Tango.

Me: On another note, do you know why PC Panda is in the living room with Timothy? Has someone been trying to order him for Christmas again?

Nell: No. It’s about the Spekulatius biscuit.

Me: Has there been a breakthrough?

Nell: Well, there’s definitely been a break. Only a slight one, but it seems someone has nibbled a piece of it.

Me: Really? Is it a recent nibble?

Nell: No. Timothy thinks the nibbling took place a few days ago.

Me: Am I under suspicion?

Nell: We all are.

Me: Gosh. Sorry.