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World Kindness Day

Nell: How many times do I have to tell you to wear socks when you are downstairs writing?

Me: But Kev lit the fire and I’m warm.

Nell: It’s not enough. It’s a cold day.

Me: Where are the puppies?

Nell: In the kitchen Keeping an Eye on Poppy. She is baking shortbread for Hamish. He needs a little taste of home.

Me: Is he staying with us now then?

Nell: Of course he is. We can’t let him wander the cold lanes of Devon without his sporran. Let me warm your legs.

Me: You are very kind.

Nell: You know how much I value the importance of kindness. It is the first thing one should look for in someone and vastly underrated.

Me: I agree.

Nell: And today is World Kindness Day of course.

Me: Knitwear Wolf is awfully kind.

Nell: I agree. You know he spent all day looking for that sporran? To no avail I might add.

Me: I wonder what worldly goods Hamish had in there.

Nell: The usual I expect. Wallet, drivers licence, keys. Maybe an old tissue. They always seem to creep in.

Me: It might just have been a marmalade sandwich. Worldly goods mean different things to different people you know.

Nell: Honestly, I despair of you sometimes I really do. A marmalade sandwich indeed.

Me: You would be surprised.

Nell: I’ll tell you who did surprise me, though.

Me: Who?

Nell: Sally. She’s gone off bacon. Poppy made her a sandwich this morning and she refused it.

Me: But Sally loves bacon.

Nell: Not anymore. David had to eat it for her.

Me: He is such a kind Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Just put some socks on. Rupert brought us all thick angora ones so wear yours, please.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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A trying morning

Nell: Do you want the rest of that toast?

Me: Yes, thank you.

Nell: I was just Keeping an Eye. I’ve had rather a trying morning.

Me: Why?

Nell: Let’s just say, don’t be surprised if you open the door and find a k…

Me: Kangaroo?

Nell: Don’t be silly.

Me: A Komodo dragon?

Nell: What on earth would they be doing in Devon?

Me: Stranger things have happened.

Nell: Where was I?

Me: Is it a King Penguin?

Nell: Now you’re being ridiculous. Everyone knows King Penguins have excellent manners and would never arrive unannounced.

Me: So what will I find?

Nell: A kilted corgi.

Me: Is that all?

Nell: Yes. His name is Hamish and he’s lost his sporran.

Me: Isn’t he in danger of losing his kilt as well?

Nell: No. A sporran doesn’t hold up a kilt, it is like a pouch, or a pocket. Somewhere you can keep your things.

Me: I suppose it is.

Nell: Anyway, Hamish is very distressed. All his worldly goods were in that sporran.

Me: We can’t just leave him outside, Nell. All lost and sporranless.

Nell: Fortunately Knitwear Wolf arrived with the papers so he’s taken Hamish with him on his motorbike to search for it.

Me: I suspect the Beefies.

Nell: Yes, it certainly sounds likely.

Me: Is Hamish related to the Welsh corgi choir then?

Nell: Of course not. Do you think I am related to that rude Golden Labrador who shouts at cyclists near the quay?

Me: No.

Nell: Well then. Hamish is here on holiday. I’ve invited him to tea.

Me: I’m sure Poppy has some shortbread.

Nell: We will be having a selection of finger sandwiches with the crusts off, followed by scones, jam and cream. We have standards to maintain.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Sally is back

Me: Sally is very beautiful, isn’t she?

Nell: She does have something of the film star about her, I must say.

Me: She reminds me of Grace Kelly.

Nell: Grace Kelly is an Italian greyhound. She works with John the Doberman at Starbarks. Sally doesn’t look like her at all.

Me: I meant the film star. How is John by the way?

Nell: Funnily enough he is in the kitchen with Poppy right now discussing Christmas muffins. Starbarks are looking for new ideas.

Me: Do you think those two will ever get married?

Nell: Who knows. Talking of marriage I am hoping young David doesn’t do anything reckless.

Me: Why?

Nell: He is completely besotted with Sally.

Me: Yes, when she walked in to dinner and said ‘Hello, Davey,’ he leapt into the air.

Nell: His name is David not Davey and he’s a Labrador not a chihuahua.

Me: He is a Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: He ate most of the Yorkshire puddings and half of Malcolm’s dinner before she had even sat down.

Me: It was by mistake. Malcolm didn’t mind. There was plenty more.

Nell: Well, I think they make an odd couple. Sally is a sophisticated spy and David isn’t.

Me: They say opposites attract. Look at Gladys and Alejandro.

Nell: I would rather not. Who rides around the table doing somersaults on the back of an alpaca wearing a sombrero and singing ‘Guantanamera’?

Me: Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Nell: Did you notice Rupert was very quiet?

Me: Yes, he seemed rather thoughtful.

Nell: He was wearing a very loose sort of cardigan in a dull grey. Not his usual style at all.

Me: He is a bit of a lone wolf though, isn’t he? See what I did there?

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Sorry.

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Sandy faced Sunday

Me: You can’t get much better than a Sandy Faced Sunday.

Nell: Does it have to be my photo every time?

Me: You have the best Sandy Face. I think it’s your eyes and your thick bear-like fur.

Nell: My thick bear-like fur? Are you sure that’s Earl Grey you are drinking?

Me: You know what I mean. The puppies have silkier finer fur but yours is thick and wavy.

Nell: Charlie likes it too.

Me: How is he?

Nell: Rather chipper now that Sally’s back.

Me: I knew it.

Nell: You are going to have to pretend you didn’t hear that. She is undercover.

Me: But I did. Does anyone else know?

Nell: You mean apart from everyone who reads this?

Me: It can’t be helped.

Nell: It can actually. Anyway, as you suspected, Jim spotted her and was told not to say anything.

Me: But what about Harriet?

Nell: She has been informed.

Me: That’s why she is in such a good mood. She has been driving Dave crazy doing those pirouettes.

Nell: You mean Turn and Twirl? A clever manoeuvre designed to distract and confuse.

Me: Talking of twirling, how did the Dog Ballet in Torquay go?

Nell: Gladys was a huge success. She danced across the beach wearing a flashing collar surrounded by dogs chasing illuminated balls.

Me: Did Dave join in?

Nell: I’m afraid ballet is not for him. The shoes are all wrong for a start.

Me: I do hope Sally lets him know she is here.

Nell: Charlie says she is going to surprise him at dinner. Poppy is cooking roast beef and everyone is coming.

Me: He will be so happy. Why is she undercover?

Nell: If I knew the answer to that I wouldn’t tell you.

Me: No. Sorry.

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Driftwood Bark

Me: Look at my Big Brave Beautiful Boy. How handsome is he?

Nell: Yes, he is becoming quite the heart throb. I suppose being the lead singer in a band means you are bound to have a large fan base.

Me: Are you talking about Driftwood Bark?

Nell: How many bands does David have?

Me: I didn’t know they were that successful.

Nell: ‘I Want To Bark Free’ just went to Number One on iChews. Do keep up.

Me: Really?

Nell: They are all extremely excited.

Me: Who else is in it then?

Nell: The Cat for a start. It plays the tambourine when needed.

Me: I didn’t realise it was musical.

Nell: It isn’t. Then there is Alejandro. Hooves are a great asset to a drummer apparently.

Me: I suppose they would be.

Nell: Malcolm plays the penny whistle.

Me: Gosh. He’s coming out of his shell.

Nell: Malcolm is a flamingo. The only shells he’s coming out of are prawn shells and the odd crab, or lobster. Where was I?

Me: The Driftwood Bark line up.

Nell: Yes. Gladys plays the double bass.

Me: Isn’t that rather a large instrument for a Pomeranian?

Nell: Nothing phases Gladys. She is fearless. You know she is performing in the Dog Ballet in Torquay this evening?

Me: I didn’t know.

Nell: Finally there is Mutley is on the keyboards.

Me: But he’s completely deaf.

Nell: I’m afraid that doesn’t always matter.

Me: I know what you mean.

Nell: Although, sometimes he appears to be playing a completely different tune.

Me: I know the feeling.

Nell: You just need to stay in the real world. Did David just walk past wearing a pair of ballet shoes?

Me: Yes, but don’t worry Gladys was with him.

Nell: In a tutu?

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Have you seen her Ted Talk?

Me: Where are the girls?

Nell: In your bedroom with David. Poppy is consoling Harriet and Gladys is in my handbag.

Me: Why?

Nell: Because David brought it upstairs. You know he likes carrying it around and Gladys has started sleeping in it again since the weather got colder.

Me: I mean why does Harriet need consoling?

Nell: Harriet says Jim has a wandering eye.

Me: Jim the Farm Dog?

Nell: Of course.

Me: He is completely devoted to Harriet. She knows he is.

Nell: Well, apparently he woofed at a passing Golden.

Me: Retriever?

Nell: Yes.

Me: With beautiful long blonde hair?

Nell: Exactly. Like Sally.

Me: Maybe it was Sally and he was just saying hello?

Nell: But Sally is in London.

Me: But is she? Sally is a spy.

Nell: I hadn’t thought of that. Charlie will know.

Me: Surely Dave should know. He is her boyfriend.

Nell: When it comes to spying she tries to protect David as much as she can. He wears his heart on his face.

Me: You mean sleeve.

Nell: I do not. David isn’t wearing sleeves and if he was why would he do that? Ridiculous idea.

Me: Yes, it is when you say it like that. It comes from Shakespeare’s ‘Othello’. If you wear your heart on your sleeve birds will peck at it.

Nell: Well, that’s not happening. The Beefies would have his heart in an instant.

Me: True.

Nell: Anyway, now Harriet thinks she needs to change.

Me: But she doesn’t. She’s perfect as she is. Apart from the cushion chewing.

Nell: That’s what Poppy says. Haven’t you seen her Ted Talk on You Chewed? She is an excellent motivational speaker.

Me: Go Poppy. Girl power.

Nell: Do stop. You are not a Spice Girl.

Me: No. Sorry.

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Keeping an Eye

Me: Dave is begging again.

Nell: No. David is simply Keeping an Eye. There is a difference.

Me: Really?

Nell: Yes. Part of a Labrador’s duties is to make sure there is no waste and David takes this very seriously.

Me: He certainly does.

Nell: Keeping an Eye involves patience and focus. It’s not as easy as it looks.

Me: Charlie seems cheerful today?

Nell: Yes, he’s been feeling a little stronger so he’s thinking of wandering down to the yacht club with Knitwear Wolf later.

Me: I didn’t know they were members.

Nell: Oh yes. Don’t you remember the first time we met Rupert he was paddle boarding? He loves the water.

Me: I hope they aren’t going sailing in this weather. It’s a bit blustery.

Nell: No. Charlie isn’t up to sailing. They are going to meet up with a few of the Cardigan Club.

Me: The Cardigan Club?

Nell: Yes. I wish you would stop repeating everything I say.

Me: Are they wolves in cardigans?

Nell: No. Anyone with an appreciation of knitted garments can join. You don’t have to be a wolf. Ann Widdecombe is a member.

Me: The politician?

Nell: No. The sheep. She’s got nothing to do with politics. Honestly you worry me sometimes with your random comments.

Me: I don’t think I know her.

Nell: She tried to join the corgi choir but Myfanwy wasn’t having it.

Me: I don’t blame her. There is nothing remotely corgi-like about a sheep.

Nell: It wasn’t that. They are quite open to guests.

Me: Why don’t they want her?

Nell: She can’t sing and she’s annoying.

Me: That’s understandable. You need harmony in a choir. See what I did there?

Nell: Eat your toast. David is getting tired of Keeping an Eye.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Kev will be fine

Me: I’m not sure what Charlie’s going to say about this photo.

Nell: I was simply on the beach waiting for Kev to get his tea.

Me: Next to the Doggy Dating area?

Nell: Please notice the fact that my lead is tied to the bench.

Me: Yes, I was only teasing.

Nell: Well, don’t. That’s exactly how rumours start and you did enough damage with the feather fiasco.

Me: Yes. You’re right. Although I noticed quite a few dogs trying to get your attention.

Nell: My heart belongs to darling Charlie.

Me: Of course but there is no harm in making new friends. Charlie wants you to get out more.

Nell: Why are you all dressed up?

Me: I’m going to Wednesday Writers. It will be lovely to see everyone again.

Nell: Is it at The Cottage Hotel?

Me: Yes.

Nell: I’ve stayed there you know.

Me: Yes, I know. Without me.

Nell: It’s in the book.

Me: Yes.

Nell: It was an extremely eventful stay.

Me: Don’t give it away.

Nell: I’m just saying. I’m surprised you haven’t asked me to join you.

Me: You never join me, Nell. It’s just for writers.

Nell: Exactly. Anyway everyone has a story within them. It’s in our DNA.

Me: Yes, it is.

Nell: Now the last time you went to Wednesday Writers it was a rather difficult day.

Me: Yes.

Nell: But nothing is going to happen to Kev this time.

Me: No.

Nell: We will all be watching him like hounds.

Me: You mean hawks.

Nell: I do not. We are dogs.

Me: Apart from The Cat and Malcolm and Timothy and Alejandro not forgetting Knitwear Wolf and Henry and Horst and Susan of course.

Nell: Go to your workshop clever clogs. Kev will be fine.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Personally, I would favour an alpaca

Nell: I’m very unhappy with you.

Me: Yes, I know you are.

Nell: Making people think I was involved in the feather incident when I was just helping Kev with his investigation.

Me: Well, I apologise but you have to admit that it looked very iffy.

Nell: Iffy is not a word and neither is sloodgy by the way.

Me: But sloodgy is one of my favourite words.

Nell: I know.

Me: It’s exactly what the lanes are like when they get all wet and muddy, or the way custard can be if it’s a bit too thick.

Nell: Yes, I know but it’s still a made up word.

Me: Talking of making up, is Alejandro still at war with Count Bingo Flamingo?

Nell: Yes. He can’t accept Gladys’s decision to enter the dance contest with Count Bingo.

Me: But he’s the better dancer.

Nell: Yes, but Alejandro Tries Hard.

Me: You don’t get points for that.

Nell: Well, you should. I have brought the puppies up to value the importance of Trying Hard. David, is a shining example.

Me: Did you taste one of his scones?

Nell: I did. Hard doesn’t even come close. I nearly broke my tooth.

Me: They went a bit wrong.

Nell: It’s the thought that counts.

Me: Not if you have to eat it.

Nell: True. David is not a natural cook.

Me: But he’s an excellent eater.

Nell: Anyway, I understand Alejandro’s disappointment. He’s very light on his feet for an alpaca.

Me: The Argentine tango doesn’t really work with four legs.

Nell: Personally, I would favour an alpaca over a flamingo if I was looking for a South American cowboy.

Me: And are you?

Nell: No. I’m referring to a gaucho. They dance the Argentine tango. Do keep up.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Marvin is not amused

Me: I’m not sure Marvin likes his jumper.

Nell: We have to call them sweaters when we are talking to Canadians and Americans. Jumpers confuse them.

Me: His sweater then.

Nell: It was very kind of Knitwear Wolf to send it over to Toronto so Marvin should be thankful. It’s part of the Winter collection.

Me: Well, his face says it all. He is not happy.

Nell: It can get extremely cold in Canada and a pup must wrap up.

Me: Is that the new slogan? Only it’s a good one. ‘ Wrap up, Pup’.

Nell: You are a little too lively for a Monday morning, if I may say so.

Me: It’s stopped raining and the sun is trying to shine.

Nell: Yes. I think a walk on the beach is called for later.

Me: Will you be wearing a jumper?

Nell: I will not. I have my thick winter fur coat and jumpers interfere with swimming.

Me: How you can all swim in the sea is beyond me.

Nell: It’s invigorating. I can highly recommend it.

Me: I shall watch and possibly drink a mug of tea.

Nell: Now, there is a photo of me doing the rounds which you must not take the wrong way.

Me: What on earth have you done? Show me.

Nell: Nothing. During the feather debacle yesterday I sat in the middle of the sofa and somebody chose to photograph it.

Me: You look dreadfully guilty.

Nell: I look uncomfortable.

Me: If I didn’t know better I would say you were involved in some feather scattering.

Nell: Well, you would be wrong. Any feathers I may have scattered were purely by accident. They attach themselves to one’s fur.

Me: If you say so.

Nell: Do you doubt my word?

Me: Of course not. Sorry.