Me: Happy Birthday my darling Nell.
Nell: Look. It’s you and me at the stables.
Me: Yes, that was the first time I ever held you in my arms. I had found my Nell.
Nell: I was 12 weeks. You kept me waiting.
Me: I didn’t know you were real until that day.
Nell: Yes. You had dreamt about a black lab called Nell many months before, hadn’t you?
Me: Yes. That day Kev went to the village shop and met your brother Barney. His owner told Kev there were still three puppies left at the stables. All girls.
Nell: Kev came back and told you he had found Nell and you had better go and get her. So you drove there straightaway.
Me: Yes. I remember I was shaking a little because it was a dream come true. But there you were with your sisters playing in the garden.
Nell: Yes. One of them was David and Harriet’s mother, Maisie.
Me: But I didn’t choose her.
Nell: You didn’t choose anyone. Do keep up. I chose you. You know how it works.
Me: Yes. Thank you for choosing me, Nell.
Nell: Pleasure. Enough reminiscing. I can smell bacon cooking downstairs and Charlie appears to be holding a rather large bouquet of red roses.
Me: He does. I’m loving the sequinned dressing gown, by the way.
Nell: The Cat insisted. What is Marjorie doing in the corner?
Me: When she finally stopped dancing last night she fell asleep so we left her there. Harriet covered her with a soft blanket.
Nell: Did David just dance past in a top hat carrying Gladys holding a birthday cake, dressed in sequinned pyjamas and followed by a troupe of dancing chihuahuas?
Me: Yes. But she’s not supposed to touch the cake.
Nell: Let’s just have breakfast. You have a train to catch soon and I am joining Kev to take you to the station.
Me: But it’s your birthday. Do you have time?
Nell: I always have time. You and me. Remember that. Always.
Me: Yes. Sorry.