Me: Thank you for the photo, Nell.

Nell: Yes. The two puppies are still waiting by your desk for you to come home.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: I’ve told them there is no point but they prefer to hope.

Me: Tell them I’ll be back on Sunday.

Nell: I have, but time has no meaning to a pup. You know that.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Did your meeting with the publishers go well?

Me: Very well, thank you. It looks like the book will be out in Spring 2020 with pre-ordering beginning about 6 months before.

Nell: I’m going to have to practise signing. One gets so used to technology nowadays that actual writing is a lost art.

Me: True. How was your birthday?

Nell: Delightful. So many wonderful messages. Charlie was feeling a little tired but we still had a gentle stroll by the sea after lunch. David doesn’t do strolling, of course. He and Harriet just dashed around.

Me: They do love to run.

Nell: Poppy excelled herself with dinner and Malcolm made a Croquembouche.

Me: A what?

Nell: It’s a huge tower of choux pastry puffs bound together with threads of caramel. Everyone knows that.

Me: Oh, I see.

Nell: Gladys climbed on to it, of course, and The Cat spent hours trying to get caramel out of her fur. David had to eat several before we could free her. We left her hat in it in the end as it added a little je ne sais quoi.

Me: I didn’t know you spoke French.

Nell: How else did I study at the Sorbonne? Do keep up.

Me: It sounds like you had a lovely day.

Nell: I did. It was almost perfect.

Me: I know. Sorry.

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