Me: I love this photo of you and Alice.

Nell: Yes. We love each other very much.

Me: You certainly do.

Nell: Alice and Jonathan were of great help during tea yesterday. Jonathan kept everyone amused while Alice helped Poppy make a fresh batch of sandwiches.

Me: I don’t think Dave meant to eat them. They fell off the plate.

Nell: Yes and Pointers can fly.

Me: Don’t you mean pigs?

Nell: I do not. I must admit I was a little taken aback when Humphrey walked into the room. I wasn’t expecting a heron.

Me: Nobody was to be honest. Susan is a seagull.

Nell: Quite. He and Malcolm got on famously, however, which is very gratifying.

Me: I think it’s the similarity. A heron is much closer to a flamingo than a seagull and they both wear glasses.

Nell: Will you listen to yourself? I don’t think I’ve heard such nonsense in quite some time.

Me: I know what I mean.

Nell: They share a love of good food, books, quiet talks and…

Me: Susan?

Nell: Yes. That’s true. Humphrey is her stepfather, of course, apparently her real father is never discussed.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: I never knew mine. My mother Fleur brought us up alone.

Me: You came to live with us when you were 3 months, Nell.

Nell: Yes. Fortunately Mutley and dear departed Monty were there to guide me. Mutley is the father I never had.

Me: I suppose he is. I like to think Kev and I played a part in your upbringing too.

Nell: Yes. I had to take the reins from a very early age.

Me: That wasn’t what I meant.

Nell: You know the reason why I am so very wise and capable, don’t you?

Me: My inaptitude?

Nell: That too, but mainly your love. Susan is a sweet seagull because she has obviously been loved greatly and when I met Humphrey and saw how he dotes on her it reminded me of how you and Kev are with us.

Me: Thank you.

Nell: Love lets you fly. Even if you are a Labrador.

Me: Or a Pointer?

Nell: Enough now.

Me: Sorry.

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