A Tuesday Chinwag

Me: All’s well in Dave’s world.

Nell: Why?

Me: Tony is here.

Nell: Those two really are the best of friends.

Me: It’s lovely to see.

Nell: Yes. David likes to talk things through with Tony.

Me: I wonder what they talk about?

Nell: Bacon and Beefies.

Me: Tony was attacked by one once, you know.

Nell: Nasty creatures. Have you seen them on the hill parading their bandages?

Me: No.

Nell: Riding on antelopes because apparently they can’t fly.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: All I can say is Poppy must have been wielding an enormous frying pan to have injured that many.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Tony left a letter. Is it for me? Only I’m expecting one from Dorothy.

Me: No. It’s addressed to Poppy.

Nell: She’s out with Knitwear Wolf getting supplies.

Me: I wonder who it’s from.

Nell: You are going to have to wait. She’ll be back later.

Me: Are they going to stop at Starbarks for a quick cappuccino and a chinwag with John the Doberman?

Nell: A quick chinwag? What are you talking about?

Me: It means chat.

Nell: I know what it means but why say it? It conjures up images of a Dogue de Bordeaux.

Me: Isn’t that the dog in ‘Turner and Hooch’?

Nell: I have no idea what you are talking about, but neither Poppy nor Rupert have wiggly chins.

Me: I’m glad John has been able to reopen.

Nell: Yes. It’s been a tough few months for the hospitality industry.

Me: What a strange world we live in, Nell.

Nell: Please tell me those lycra clad chihuahuas are not coming over here?

Me: I’m afraid they’re carrying an exercise ball and waving at Gladys.

Nell: Well, tell them to leave their wellington boots outside the door.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


A light breakfast

Me: What’s the matter with my Big Brave Beautiful Boy? Has his ball rolled under the chest of drawers again?

Nell: He had a light breakfast.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: No bacon. Just toast and scrambled eggs.

Me: Sounds lovely to me.

Nell: Well, that’s not something I see every day.

Me: What? Scrambled eggs?

Nell: No. A whippet in wellington boots.

Me: The grass is a bit damp in the mornings so it’s probably wise.

Nell: Whippets don’t like wellingtons.

Me: Why?

Nell: They have delicate feet. They prefer a more fitted boot.

Me: Maybe it’s wearing two pairs of socks.

Nell: Possibly. It’s carrying a cake tin.

Me: Is it coming here?

Nell: No. It’s going towards the Big House. The Cat is probably having one of its Bridge mornings.

Me: I’m surprised you aren’t going. You enjoy a game of Bridge.

Nell: Yes. My Bridge partner Dorothy is an excellent player but unfortunately she is away visiting family.

Me: Is that Dorothy the Salcombe Setter?

Nell: Yes. Beautiful red hair.

Me: You could always take Dave with you.

Nell: David doesn’t play Bridge. He finds it hard to concentrate without eating.

Me: Kev likes card games.

Nell: He’s a cribbage man. You know that.

Me: Well, Poppy then?

Nell: Poppy only plays for money. Usually poker. But since we lost Mutley she hasn’t really bothered. If I was taking anyone, it would be Harriet.

Me: I used to play a long time ago when I lived in Africa.

Nell: Exactly.

Me: What does that mean?

Nell: It’s been over 20 years since you last played.

Me: Gosh. That’s actually rather shocking.

Nell: I know.

Me: I’m getting old, Nell.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: Time is passing me by.

Nell: Have you quite finished?

Me: Yes. Sorry.


The Full Works

Me: Cheeky Animal!

Nell: I haven’t done anything.

Me: No. Harriet. She was pretending to be Thinking Thoughts but then she stuck her tongue out.

Nell: Well done. Harriet is exceptionally skilled. What else would one think but thoughts, by the way?

Me: Has Knitwear Wolf come back from the island yet?

Nell: Of course he has. Do you think I would be sitting here discussing Cheeky Animals with you if Rupert was stranded on Beefy Island?

Me: Probably not. Was he successful?

Nell: I’m afraid not. Stephen Seagull refused to meet him. He said he wasn’t prepared to talk to ‘hot headed hooligans.’ His words.

Me: Poppy is the hot headed hooligan. Not Rupert.

Nell: Apparently there were several Beefies walking around the island with bandages so Poppy obviously did some damage.

Me: Oh dear. Let’s hope they don’t retaliate with frying pans of their own.

Nell: Talking of frying pans. Can you smell sizzling?

Me: No, but I can definitely smell bacon.

Nell: That’s what I meant. David was allowed to choose our Sunday breakfast today so we’re getting the full works.

Me: A full English breakfast? Bacon, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms, eggs and toast?

Nell: Yes. Not forgetting baked beans and red, or brown, sauce.

Me: We haven’t had one of those for ages.

Nell: I know but Poppy said whacking Beefies has given her an appetite. So, when David asked, she agreed.

Me: How marvellous. Why did Dave get to choose?

Nell: He showed Patience and Fortitude during the recent Beefy attack. Even though we have all been applauding Poppy’s wild and reckless behaviour we should recognise David’s Admirable Restraint.

Me: My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: ‘Never raise your paw when a growl will do.’

Me: Unless you are Poppy.

Nell: Obviously.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Saturday Mooching

Me: Do you know what I love?

Nell: Us?

Me: Yes, and the fact that you always wait for me when we walk back from the beach.

Nell: You can be a little slow.

Me: I’m often taking photos.

Nell: So you need someone to gently chivvy you along.

Me: I do, and so do you nowadays.

Nell: I like to sniff the air.

Me: You like to mooch.

Nell: If you ask me, the world would be a better place if we all mooched a bit more and hurried a little less.

Me: True.

Nell: Anyway, have you heard what happened in David’s queue?

Me: No

Nell: Poppy came out of the kitchen with a frying pan and whacked the Beefies off the antelopes’ backs.

Me: She never did.

Nell: She did.

Me: What did they do?

Nell: Screamed and flew off.

Me: Do you think they’ll be back?

Nell: Why do you think we are all wearing armour?

Me: Henry and Horst often do.

Nell: Theirs is a dangerous world.

Me: Does Knitwear Wolf know about the latest developments? Wasn’t he going to try mediating with Stephen Seagull?

Nell: He’s not best pleased to be honest.

Me: He wouldn’t be.

Nell: He is still going to try and talk to Stephen on the island later.

Me: I think that ship might have sailed.

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous. He’s not sailing there. He’s riding down on his motorbike and paddle boarding over.

Me: Never mind.

Nell: Anyway, after we carried out an extensive audience survey and the overwhelming majority recommended Whacking the Beefies his paws were tied.

Me: I hope not. Isn’t he helping Tony’s wife Sue in the Craft Marquee at the Kingsbridge Show?

Nell: Yes, but it’s all online. You never listen, do you?

Me: No. Sorry.


Shake it out

Me: Sometimes I think we should all just go down to the beach and shake our heads at the sky.

Nell: Here we go. I had sea water in my ears. I was flapping them to get rid of it.

Me: You know what I mean. You dogs have got it right. There’s nothing like a brisk walk and a shake of the head to chase those troubles away.

Nell: Ok. I know you want me to ask you this, so I will. What troubles are we talking about here?

Me: My Big Brave Beautiful Boy is being blackmailed by the seagull mafia.

Nell: It’s the Beefies, not the mafia.

Me: They took one bacon sandwich this time. It might be a whole plateful next time.

Nell: We were discussing this at Morning Thoughts. Knitwear Wolf feels Mediation is the answer. Poppy is in favour of ‘Whacking Them’, with her sword. Her words.

Me: I can understand both points of view.

Nell: Yes, opinions were divided. Harriet, Malcolm, Susan and Benjamin were definitely in favour of Mediation but Gladys, Alejandro and the larger animals were on Poppy’s side.

Me: What about the llamas?

Nell: Conflicted. In my experience llamas struggle with making any decisions beyond which pyjamas to wear.

Me: What about Dave?

Nell: David looks up to Rupert. I think he will be guided by him.

Me: So, what’s the next step?

Nell: Rupert is going to approach Stephen Seagull after the Kingsbridge Show tomorrow. He has a place in the Craft Marquee.

Me: I didn’t know Stephen Seagull was into crafts.

Nell: He’s not. Knitwear Wolf and The Cat are exhibiting with Tony’s wife Sue. A Little Bit Crafty.

Me: And Stephen Seagull is going?

Nell: No. It’s online. Rupert will contact him afterwards.

Me: I see. Sorry.


What a Day

Me: It was so good to see Dave and Tony back together. They’ve been apart for far too long.

Nell: It was exactly what David needed after a visit from those horrible Beefies. Wretched birds.

Me: Tell me what happened again.

Nell: When the antelopes got to the head of the queue the Beefies marched into David’s consulting room.

Me: What, all of them?

Nell: Yes. There were six I believe.

Me: How scary.

Nell: David said “What can I do for you chaps?’

Me: Chaps?

Nell: He was a little nervous.

Me: Understandable.

Nell: Then the biggest Beefy jumped on his table and said ‘No, my friend. What can we do for you?’

Me: Dave’s not their friend.

Nell: That’s not the point. The Beefies want protection money. Apparently David’s business is at risk if he doesn’t pay up.

Me: But he’s being paid in bacon.

Nell: They’ll take anything as long as it’s weekly.

Me: What’s he going to do?

Nell: They left with a bacon sandwich.

Me: Gosh. Yesterday was quite a day with our visit to the beach, too.

Nell: Shall we discuss your behaviour?

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: Did Kev ask you not to walk through that puddle?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Did you listen?

Me: No.

Nell: Did the water come up to your waist in the middle?

Me: Yes.

Nell: As Tony pointed out when we told him, it was ‘The Vicar of Dibley’ and the giant puddle all over again.

Me: I wasn’t completely submerged, Nell, and the water was lovely and warm.

Nell: The state of you when we were walking back to the car.

Me: I didn’t care. It was so lovely to be by the sea again.

Nell: I think you mean in the sea.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Jellyfish and Hangers-On

Nell: Where did you get those photos?

Me: Chloe sent them to me after your hydrotherapy.

Nell: She calls me her big hairy jellyfish.

Me: Yes. I know. She says you sit on her shoes when the water comes in and your hair floats around you like a jellyfish.

Nell: I’m nothing like a jellyfish.

Me: She says you are a pleasure to treat and a kind and quiet soul.

Nell: Well, that’s true at least.

Me: I was surprised at the quiet bit, though. I would never have called you quiet. You have so much to say.

Nell: May I point out that walking miles in a tank full of water is not conducive to conversation?

Me: I’d forgotten that.

Nell: And neither is being lasered and stretched.

Me: No. But you are walking better, Nell, and you were cheerful when you came home yesterday.

Nell: I’m always cheerful when I come home.

Me: The other three sat by the front gate the whole time you were away.

Nell: We support each other.

Me: We do. Talking of support wasn’t it lovely to see how many hugs we all got yesterday?

Nell: Yes. It was just what we needed. David is exhausted by the way.

Me: Why?

Nell: Look at the queue outside his consulting rooms? Everyone wants advice.

Me: I wasn’t expecting that.

Nell: What?

Me: Antelopes in the queue.

Nell: They get everywhere.

Me: With hangers-on.

Nell: Not those sheep again?

Me: No. They’ve got birds on their backs.

Nell: Starlings?

Me: No. Beefies.

Nell: What? This must be stopped.

Me: Don’t be judgemental, Nell. Even Beefies need Wise Words now and again.

Nell: They don’t want advice. They’re planning an attack. I’ll text David now on WoofsApp and you alert the others.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Virtual Hug Day

Me: What’s the matter with darling Marv? Look at his grumpy face.

Nell: Chris and Shannon had breakfast without playing with him first.

Me: Well, they probably had to go to work.

Nell: Everyone knows there has to be playtime before breakfast.

Me: I didn’t.

Nell: No, because it’s your writing time and you’re not involved.

Me: Who is involved?

Nell: Everyone else?

Me: Everyone? Even Kev?

Nell: Yes. Kev is exceptionally good at playtime.

Me: Are Morning Thoughts before playtime?

Nell: Of course not. Morning Thoughts are after breakfast. How can anyone think on an empty tummy?

Me: True.

Nell: Now, David is going to zoom with Marvin when he wakes up. Toronto is five hours behind us, I think.

Me: Why Dave?

Nell: He’s the agony uncle. He is going to give Wise Advice and Virtual Cuddles.

Me: How on earth do you do that?

Nell: I don’t know. Something about tucking your paws in tightly around you and thinking happy thoughts. Ask David.

Me: I might do that with my family.

Nell: You’re missing them, aren’t you?

Me: Very much. It’s the worst thing about this pandemic.

Nell: Yes. I think there are a lot of people out there feeling lonely during this difficult time.

Me: Maybe we should organise one huge virtual hug where we put our arms around ourselves and say ‘Know you are loved and everything is going to be ok.’

Nell: That is actually a very good idea. Let’s say 6pm.

Me: What today?

Nell: Why not? Marvin is obviously in need of one and we can all join him and anyone else across the world who wants to take part.

Me: Wouldn’t it be amazing if people really joined in?

Nell: They will. #virtualhugday. We can do this. Together.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


A Morning Kiss

Me: Maybe we should all start the week with a kiss? Look at Poppy and Harriet.

Nell: Harriet knows Poppy is exhausted after all that cooking yesterday.

Me: Does that mean today is leftovers day?

Nell: If you are talking about cold roast chicken and bubble and squeak then you should be very thankful.

Me: Do you know if they have bubble and squeak in other countries?

Nell: They might fry their leftover roasted vegetables but I doubt that they call them bubble and squeak.

Me: Dolphins squeak.

Nell: I am aware. Did you see the latest ‘Glide with Gladys’ on YouChewed?

Me: No.

Nell: Gladys performs her exercises on a raised platform in the middle of the pool with a whole troupe of dancing dolphins up on their tails circling backwards around her.

Me: How spectacular.

Nell: I just wish Princess didn’t insist on clapping all the way through it.

Me: It’s a seal thing.

Nell: Our Penguin says Gladys and the dolphins are trending everywhere.

Me: I’m surprised Princess isn’t jealous.

Nell: She knows the dolphins are leaving soon.

Me: Are they going back to school? See what I did there?

Nell: Good grief. No, dolphins need space to swim and Knitwear Wolf can’t be expected to keep taking them down to the sea. He’s got quite enough on his paws with Princess and he only has a motorbike and sidecar.

Me: He does have exceptionally large paws. They make Dave’s look small.

Nell: Wolves walk and run on their toes. It makes their legs longer and nimble so they can run with speed.

Me: Like ballet dancers.

Nell: What are you talking about? Wolves are nothing like ballet dancers.

Me: They dance on their toes.

Nell: I worry about you sometimes. I really do.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Guilty Faces

Me: Why are you lot hiding up here?

Nell: We’re not. We’re just enjoying Sunday Songs from your bedroom.

Me: Sunday Songs finished ages ago.

Nell: Did they? I must have nodded off.

Me: Dave looks particularly guilty.

Nell: Does he?

Me: And Harriet looks shifty.

Nell: I can’t think why.

Me: Poppy is the only one who doesn’t seem particularly bothered.

Nell: Poppy is naturally fearless.

Me: Ha! I knew you were up to something.

Nell: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Me: All that noise first thing this morning. Barking and running. And why do I keep finding pieces of dog towel everywhere?

Nell: If you must know we suddenly found ourselves taking part in a game of Dog of War.

Me: Do you mean tug of war?

Nell: No, although tugging was involved.

Me: I know. I found the dog towel in shreds.

Nell: It all got a little out of paw when Harriet seemed to be beating David. Poppy and I felt obliged to cheer her on.

Me: Did you have to choose Sunday morning for this? Kev and I have been ever so busy and were hoping for a lie in.

Nell: Dog of War can never be predicted. It just comes upon you. One is powerless to resist.

Me: What rubbish.

Nell: I’m sure a bacon sandwich and a cuddle with David will help.

Me: It might.

Nell: Poppy is preparing roast chicken for Sunday dinner with sausages, stuffing and lots of roasted vegetables.

Me: With cranberry sauce?

Nell: Yes, and lashings of her special gravy.

Me: I suppose that does make the day sound a little brighter. Did you just say lashings?

Nell: Yes. Why?

Me: You never say lashings. It’s not a Nell word.

Nell: It is now.

Me: Yes. Sorry.