Me: How are you feeling?

Nell: I endure. A boiled egg for breakfast helped.

Me: What are the puppies doing?

Nell: They are Guarding. It’s the next stage in the Waiting Skills. You not only wait. You are also prepared.

Me: Prepared for what?

Nell: For anything. People underestimate us, labradors. They see us as gentle, easy going animals when in fact we are fighting machines.

Me: Goodness! It sounds more terrier like to me.

Nell: Never underestimate a labrador. Under our calm exterior we are actually completely focussed and ready to leap into action.

Me: Harriet looks more bored than prepared.

Nell: It’s not one of her strengths. David is actually quite alert.

Me: He’s waiting for Tony.

Nell: That’s as maybe but I am pleased with his progress. Nice tea, by the way.

Me: I’m glad.

Nell: Don’t bother with cucumber sandwiches next time. Just stick with egg and maybe smoked salmon.

Me: Is there going to be a next time?

Nell: Of course there is. I am having a tea in May for the Royal Wedding.

Me: Are you inviting the neighbours?

Nell: I am toying with the idea of asking the elderly labrador from The Coach House but those farm dogs are not setting foot in here.

Me: What about the cat from the big house?

Nell: I am going to pretend you didn’t ask such a ridiculous question.

Me: Yes, sorry.

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