Night Fear

Me: Can we have a quick chat about Dave?

Nell: It will have to be quick. I’ve got a Pilates class and then lunch with friends.

Me: Kev says Dave is scared of the dark and that’s why he was barking last night.

Nell: Yes. Night Fear is common amongst labradors and other breeds. I, myself, suffered from it in my youth.

Me: Yes, I remember Poppy would always go out in the garden with you at night.

Nell: Poppy is fearless when it comes to the dark.

Me: Did you get that sword back, by the way?

Nell: She sleeps with it under her pillow.

Me: Hang on. She sleeps in my bed.

Nell: It’s probably under your pillow then. Best check.

Me: Dave looks awfully low.

Nell: He will be fine. Kev has organised a night light and Harriet will go outside with him.

Me: Yes. You are right.

Nell: Everyone has their fears. Admitting to them is the first step.

Me: Yes, I should probably do that too.

Nell: Not now, though. I have a taxi waiting.

Me: Ok. Sorry.


April showers

Me: You all look comfortable.

Nell: Yes, I asked Kev to light the fire.

Me: It’s hard to believe it’s nearly May.

Nell: Ridiculous weather. We were sunbathing last week.

Me: It’s like the ups and downs of life I suppose. One day sun and next day rain.

Nell: Here we go again.

Me: Just when you think you can bask in the warmth someone pours a bucket of water over your head.

Nell: I worry about you sometimes.

Me: Just saying.

Nell: Ever heard of April showers? Why don’t you get yourself a cup of tea and the Sunday papers and join us by the fire? It’s the Archers Omnibus on Radio 4 soon.

Me: Yes. That would be nice. Even Dave is resting.

Nell: He was helping Kev mend the clock but he got oil on his paws so Kev suggested a break.

Me: Yes, that’s Edward.

Nell: Edward?

Me: The clock is called Edward we rescued him from a house clearance man.

Nell: Well, Edward keeps chiming and it’s extremely annoying.

Me: He’s just pleased to have a home.

Nell: Edward is a clock. Get a grip.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Sashay away

Me: Nell? Do you have a moment?

Nell: You know I like to watch my cooking programmes on a Saturday morning.

Me: Yes, I don’t need long. I was just wondering what you thought about trolls.

Nell: Trolls? Nasty little things with long thin hair?

Me: Possibly, although I meant the internet kind.

Nell: You mean the bullies?

Me: I do.

Nell: As I am constantly saying to David and Harriet when those farm dogs are insolent, you must try to turn the other jowl. Rise above it. Sashay away with tail in the air and a backward kick of the legs.

Me: Oh, I love the sashay away idea.

Nell: Please don’t sashay. It doesn’t bear thinking about. You know exactly what I mean. Don’t feed the trolls. Ignore them.

Me: Sometimes you can’t.

Nell: Then they must be banished. Manners maketh the dog and they have none.

Me: True.

Nell: Good. Let’s not waste any more time on this when there is cooking to watch. I do love James Martin. Thank goodness he is series linked.

Me: I know you do. I’ll just sashay away, then.

Nell: Enough.

Me: Yes. Sorry.



Me: I think I woke Dave.

Nell: He is exhausted after class this morning. We have been exploring the concept of Sharing. Is there such a thing as a fair share?

Me: I don’t know. Is there?

Nell: It is a difficult one. Labradors share beds and bowls, even blankets and balls, but we struggle with sharing food.

Me: Terriers share theirs.

Nell: They do not. They mess around picking at their food and then walk away leaving us to clean up after them. We have discussed this.

Me: I remember. A tidy bowl is a tidy mind.

Nell: Exactly. Today’s discussion was about portion size. Is it fair if David gets 2/3 of the pie and Harriet only 1/3?

Me: They shouldn’t really be eating pies.

Nell: That is not the point. Harriet finds it unfair but David argues that he is twice her size.

Me: He eats twice as fast too.

Nell: Don’t bring speed into it you will mess up my calculations. And morally, should David offer Harriet a piece of his pie?

Me: That’s never going to happen.

Nell: Anyway, trying to work it out gave David a headache and they are still working on it.

Me: It’s giving me one too. I always give him a larger portion for dinner but what is the correct answer?

Nell: Main meals can vary in size according to the dog but treats need to be equal.

Me: So it depends if the pie is a meal, or a treat.

Nell: It does.

Me: A pie is way too big for a treat.

Nell: It’s just an example.

Me: Yes, sorry.

Book · Miscellaneous

Surf Chasing

Me: And they’re off! Surf Chasing.

Nell: Good grief!

Me: Surf Dude Dave is in the lead. Ears flapping and paws thundering as he charges through the sea.

Nell: Surf Dude Dave?

Me: Closely followed on his left by the amazing Surf Sister Harriet, swift of paw and built for speed.

Nell: Surf Sister Harriet? Have you been drinking?

Me: Bringing up the rear to his right and poised for the kill is Surf Queen Nell the salty sea dog.

Nell: I beg your pardon. Salty sea dog and bringing up the rear? There is no rear about this.

Me: Well, you are at the back.

Nell: Harriet and I are on a par. It’s the angle. Anyway, I got the ball.

Me: Yes. You are the Surf Queen.

Nell: My Retrieving Skills are unparalleled.

Me: Although, to be fair Dave ran right past the ball and kept going and Harriet usually lets you have it.

Nell: That’s rich coming from someone who has trouble throwing a ball.

Me: Yes, sorry.


Wooden flooring

Me: Why are you sitting out there?

Nell: I need some peace and quiet.

Me: Don’t we all.

Nell: You never think things through.

Me: What have I done now?

Nell: Not only does pulling up the stair carpet deprive me of access to the upper part of the house.

Me: Just walk up there like everyone else.

Nell: I don’t do floorboards. They are hard on the paws.

Me: That’s silly.

Nell: But when anyone does walk up there it sounds as if they are wearing hobnailed boots in David’s case, or tap dancing in Mutley’s.

Me: It is loud.

Nell: Very.

Me: It’s not for long. We are getting new carpets upstairs.

Nell: And downstairs? Did I hear wooden flooring?

Me: It’s going to look wonderful.

Nell: I give up. Just issue us all with wooden clogs right now.

Me: It will be fine.

Nell: I shall be spending my time upstairs. When I can get upstairs, of course.

Me: Would a rug help?

Nell: David eats rugs.

Me: Yes, sorry.


The tired dragon

Me: The dragon looks a bit tired today.

Nell: David gave an excellent performance I must say. He showed a great deal of promise and was discussing acting with Kev this morning.

Me: Do you think Dave wants to pursue it as a career?

Nell: It’s far too early to say. This was his first public performance. Don’t get ahead of yourself.

Me: Yes. It’s a shame you didn’t take any photos.

Nell: We did, but I had to give the Daily Growl an exclusive.

Me: The Daily Growl?

Nell: Dreadful paper, but they made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Me: I see.

Nell: Still, we should get a good review in Barking Weekly so that’s something. The Jack Russell they sent seemed impressed.

Me: Poppy is still a little over excited. I can’t get her to give back the sword.

Nell: Fame has gone to her head. Terriers get carried away unlike labradors. We are more grounded.

Me: Yes.

Nell: And the next time we perform could you show a little more restraint, please?

Me: I was enjoying it.

Nell: Booing the dragon and shouting out “He’s behind you!” It wasn’t a pantomime you know.

Me: Yes, sorry.

Book · Spring

St. George’s Day

Me: Why is Dave shut in the back garden?

Nell: It’s St. George’s Day.

Me: What’s that got to do with it?

Nell: We are re-enacting the slaying of the dragon as part of the puppies’ history lesson and Dave is waiting for his entrance.

Me: Is Dave playing St. George, then?

Nell: Don’t be silly. David is the dragon. We can’t give him the sword.

Me: There’s a sword?

Nell: Of course.

Me: I’m not sure that’s a good idea, Nell. Someone could get hurt.

Nell: It’s all perfectly safe. Poppy has been fencing for years.

Me: What? Is Poppy playing St. George?

Nell: Yes, she insisted. Mutley is the king, of course, and Harriet is his daughter, the princess. That silly circlet of flowers you made me has actually come in useful. Harriet loves it.

Me: There’s a big difference in size between Poppy and Dave.

Nell: Of course there is. Don’t you know the story? It wouldn’t be very believable if a huge St. George slayed a tiny little dragon now would it?

Me: I suppose not. Dave won’t be breathing fire, will he?

Nell: Don’t be silly. He is a labrador.

Me: Yes. Well, Happy St. George’s Day, Nell.

Nell: Happy St. George’s Day. Now, can we get on with rehearsals, please? The performance is at 3pm and I haven’t finished David’s costume.

Me: Yes, sorry.

Book · Miscellaneous


Me: Now, I know you are annoyed but…

Nell: Take that thing off me right now.

Me: It would look so much better on you if you smiled.

Nell: I don’t do smiling.

Me: If you did that perky ear thing then.

Nell: What are you talking about?

Me: You know what I mean. The way your ears sort of go up and your face tilts.

Nell: It’s called listening. You should try it sometime.

Me: I thought it would suit you.

Nell: I told you.

Me: Yes, you did.

Nell: I am not that kind of dog. Leave the hippy stuff to the Afghans and fluffy animals like Poppy. Well, maybe not Poppy.

Me: Definitely not Poppy, although she would look sweet.

Nell: Don’t start.

Me: It was worth a try.

Nell: No, it was not worth a try. Annoying me and messing with my Sunday morning.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: If I am going to wear a hat it will be a Philip Treacy, or some other top designer.

Me: Yes.

Nell: It will be Audrey Hepburn in My Fair Lady.

Me: Goodness me.

Nell: Somebody get me a pot of Earl Grey. This has been a dreadful start to the day.

Me: Yes, sorry.


Embrace your inner hippy

Me: Yesterday was amazing, wasn’t it? Look at the way you are rolling around in a meadow of flowers.

Nell: Yes.

Me: Full of the joys of life.

Nell: Yes.

Me: Basking in the sunshine, drinking in the scenery.

Nell: The drinking started later, I believe.

Me: Savouring the culinary delights.

Nell: We went to the beach and had a cream tea. Get a grip.

Me: I know. But it was lovely, wasn’t it?

Nell: Why did you have to wear a circlet of flowers in your hair all day?

Me: I was celebrating the warm weather. Jaime wore one.

Nell: I know. Jaime is an actor.

Me: She wasn’t acting yesterday, though, she was just having fun.

Nell: You hadn’t even been drinking, then.

Me: I know. Don’t be so stuffy. Sometimes you just need to let your hair down. Go wild. Embrace your inner hippy.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Actually, Nell, rolling around in the meadow is exactly the same thing. You were just enjoying life.

Nell: I was, but let’s be clear. I do not have an inner hippy and I will not be embracing it, or wearing a circlet of flowers any time soon.

Me: Yes. Sorry.