Me: Happy Christmas Eve, everyone. What a great photo of you all on the beach. Where’s Mutley?
Nell: He was back at the Gastrobus having a cheeky mulled wine with Ernest.
Me: Do I know Ernest?
Nell: Probably not. Elderly Jack Russell, spectacles, smokes a pipe?
Me: No. Doesn’t ring a bell.
Nell: Now we are performing the Nativity at 6pm so please make sure you take your seat in good time.
Me: Are you playing Mary?
Nell: Of course not. I am the narrator. Harriet is Mary and Jim is Joseph.
Nell: David, Malcolm and The Cat are the Three Kings in crowns and sequinned cloaks.
Me: I didn’t imagine Malcolm as a king.
Nell: He wanted to be a shepherd but the farm dogs had already been cast.
Me: And Poppy?
Nell: She’s the Innkeeper and to be honest her performance is a little too forceful for my liking. I don’t think a sword is necessary.
Me: Is Gladys in it?
Nell: She wanted to be the Baby Jesus in my handbag but when we explained he can’t do a contemporary dance she opted for Herod.
Me: Who is Jesus then?
Nell: The Cat’s chihuahua. It’s small and well behaved.
Me: You’ve forgotten Mutley.
Nell: Of course we haven’t forgotten Mutley. He is the Archangel Gabriel. I’m not sure about flying him in but he says he will be fine.
Me: I hope so.
Nell: Ron Gilbert, the Great Dane, is stage managing with John the Doberman assisting so we are in safe paws.
Me: It’s going to be a lovely Christmas, isn’t it?
Nell: Yes, it is.
Me: We shall be thinking of those we love both near and far. Even if they can’t be with us they are here in our hearts.
Nell: Yes. Always. Now get your coat on there’s a turkey waiting to be collected.
Me: At the butchers?
Nell: No, at the station. He’s called Timothy and he needs a safe place for a few days.
Me: Of course. Sorry.