Tony breaks the rules

Nell: Well, Tony has broken the rules.

Me: He had to give Harriet a cuddle and a kiss.

Nell: He could have remained aloof.

Me: Didn’t you see all the pleas on Harriet’s behalf?

Nell: I did. You ignored me too. I saw you cuddling her.

Me: She’s my darling girl.

Nell: And as for David. Did he think I wouldn’t notice the bacon sandwich he brought her?

Me: Don’t worry he didn’t suffer. Poppy made him another.

Nell: And on top of it all she receives a present.

Me: From Jim the Farm Dog?

Nell: No. From GOOD. Tony delivered it.

Me: What’s GOOD? The opposite to BAD?

Nell: In a way. It’s the Generally Obedient and Optimistic Division. Part of the UA, or United Animals.

Me: That’s a cautious name for an organisation, isn’t it?

Nell: Most animals mean well and everyone can slip up without actually being bad. GOOD takes that into account.

Me: I suppose it does. What was the present?

Nell: A bandana. Apparently GOOD has started a campaign showing support for all animals, even slightly naughty ones.

Me: It explains why Little Marvin is wearing one but I’m surprised the Beefies were included.

Nell: I suspect their bandanas are fakes. If it doesn’t have the GOOD logo it isn’t real.

Me: I’m glad Henry and Horst got one, even though they are insects.

Nell: Yes. I had another letter from their parents thanking me for afternoon tea the other day.

Me: How kind.

Nell: Apparently ‘Young David was most entertaining’. I quote.

Me: Good for Dave. Does Harriet’s bandana have sequins?

Nell: Why?

Me: I’m wondering if The Cat is involved in GOOD and Knitwear Wolf come to that.

Nell: A cat and a wolf? Try and be a little realistic.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Friday Confession

Me: Oh dear. I was afraid it might be Harriet.

Nell: Yes. She has confessed. David perjured himself of course.

Me: How?

Nell: He said he did it. By mistake.

Me: I think it was rather honourable of him to try and protect his sister.

Nell: Yes. That was taken into account and no charges will be made.

Me: What about Harriet?

Nell: Well, as you know this is not her first offence. Apart from accidental chewing, however, Harriet is a model of society.

Me: Yes, she is.

Nell: She also made a full confession.

Me: So no imprisonment then?

Nell: Imprisonment? What do you think this is? The Old Bailey?

Me: No. Of course not.

Nell: Harriet will not be allowed to sleep on the sofa for the next week.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: She is also on pot washing duty in the kitchen.

Me: Fair enough.

Nell: And no bacon.

Me: That’s harsh.

Nell: Yes. David gasped.

Me: Can I cuddle her?

Nell: No. Not yet. Bad dogs need to know they’re bad. She could end up in the Bad Animal Division.

Me: Perish the thought.

Nell: Quite.

Me: Did she say why she did it?

Nell: Boredom. I told her ‘If you’re bored, read a book, or knit something, but don’t eat a cushion.’

Me: Does she knit?

Nell: That’s not the point.

Me: How was yesterday’s tea with the Woodlouse family, by the way?

Nell: A little awkward. I’m sure they’re perfectly pleasant insects but I couldn’t hear a word they were saying.

Me: I suppose their voices are rather small.

Nell: David acted as an interpreter. He’s used to chatting to Henry, so we managed.

Me: I didn’t know David spoke Woodlouse.

Nell: He doesn’t. He just has keen ears.

Me: Oh, I see. Sorry.


Who destroyed the sofa?

Nell: Before you say anything, I am aware of the damage and a meeting has been called.

Me: Just look at the sofa.

Nell: Yes. We have a suspect and several witnesses.

Me: Who did it?

Nell: As you know I prefer to deal with these matters internally.

Me: This is not okay, Nell.

Nell: No, it isn’t and I’m expecting a full confession at Morning Thoughts.

Me: Somebody has been a Very Bad Dog.

Nell: Yes. Rest assured that you will receive a formal apology and this will have consequences.

Me: I’m very disappointed.

Nell: So am I. The suspect is normally such a Good Dog.

Me: Well, it can’t be Dave then.

Nell: It is not David, but he is a witness.

Me: Oh dear. He won’t like that.

Nell: Anyway, lets move on. I received an extraordinary letter this morning.

Me: You did?

Nell: Yes. Could you get my reading glasses please? The writing is very tiny.

Me: The letter is the size of a postage stamp.

Nell: Yes. It was hand delivered. So, it says:

‘Dear Madam,

My wife and I would like to thank you for the kindness you have shown to our two boys Henry and Horst.

We would like to call on you today at 3pm to convey our thanks and possibly partake of a cup of Earl Grey and a scone.

Until then we remain your grateful servants,

P. G Woodlouse and Barbara’

Me: I’m sure I’ve heard of Barbara Woodlouse.

Nell: Yes, she’s an expert in dogs but rather old school.

Me: And P.G. Woodlouse definitely rings a bell.

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous. As if a woodlouse could be a bell ringer. He’s a famous author, of course. You must have heard of Bertie Woofer. Do keep up.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Little Ollie has grown

Nell: Who is that?

Me: It’s Little Ollie. Tony sent me some photos.

Nell: My goodness that puppy has grown.

Me: Yes. Isn’t he adorable?

Nell: He has a distinct touch of the scallywag about him.

Me: He certainly looks mischievous.

Nell: He’ll be breaking a few hearts in no time with looks like those. I’m relieved to see he isn’t wearing a bandana.

Me: I’m sure Dave can lend him one. He has several.

Nell: Did you know that David has a fan club?

Me: I didn’t know.

Nell: Oh yes. Run by a rather giggly Red Setter called Ruby. David was signing autographs just now.

Me: Before breakfast?

Nell: Quite. There’s a time and a place for that kind of thing and it is certainly not until after one has enjoyed a cup of Earl Grey and a softly boiled egg.

Me: I couldn’t agree more. Did Knitwear Wolf find you?

Nell: I didn’t know he was looking for me.

Me: He brought a soft blanket for Charlie.

Nell: That’s very kind of him. Charlie hasn’t been feeling his best I’m afraid and Rupert was kind enough to offer his help.

Me: Well, he was wearing a beautiful long knitted coat today. Very dashing.

Nell: I’m sure the Welsh corgis are behind it. You never see them without their knitting needles.

Me: Or bandanas.

Nell: How do you know?

Me: They’re outside the house singing.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Dave and his ensemble seem to be giving an impromptu performance.

Nell: What do you mean ensemble? Is that Mutley in the top hat?

Me: Gosh. I never knew Mutley could juggle. He can hardly see.

Nell: Those aren’t my soft boiled eggs, are they? I haven’t had my breakfast yet.

Me: Yes, and Mutley just dropped one. Sorry.


It’s not something you see every day

Me: Why are you looking at me like that?

Nell: I’m just keeping an eye on you.

Me: I’m fine. Chris will be back soon.

Nell: Yes. Try not to track his flight all day though.

Me: I’ll try but I can’t make any promises. By the way, I think I saw Henry in the upstairs facilities.

Nell: Are you talking about the family bathroom?

Me: Yes.

Nell: I wonder how he got there? It’s quite a journey for a woodlouse.

Me: Maybe he rode on his brother Horst’s back? I mean Horst is twice his size at least and Gladys rides on Alejandro.

Nell: I worry about you sometimes. You cannot compare a black Pomeranian riding an alpaca to a woodlouse riding a woodlouse. It doesn’t make sense.

Me: No. It doesn’t.

Nell: Horst may be large but he is still a woodlouse. He can’t just gallop upstairs.

Me: Yes. I wish Alejandro and Dave would stop doing that.

Nell: I agree. It’s loud and it’s dangerous.

Me: Alpacas weren’t meant to go upstairs.

Nell: I know but David challenged him to a Full House Runaround With Tucked In Tail.

Me: Which is actually Harriet’s speciality.

Nell: Yes. Harriet is the current champion. She can stop and turn in an instant.

Me: Maybe it isn’t Henry then.

Nell: If it is Henry then he probably asked David to take him upstairs. You know how David dotes on him.

Me: A woodlouse is an odd friend for a Labrador.

Nell: David finds him fascinating. He says he could watch Henry for hours.

Me: I wonder if Dave gave it to him then?

Nell: What?

Me: I mean it’s not something you see every day.

Nell: Please tell me Henry wasn’t wearing a bandana?

Me: Only a very small one. Sorry.


Where are all the bandanas coming from?

Me: Little Marvin really is impossibly cute. He must be so excited that Chris will be back in Toronto tomorrow.

Nell: Yes, I’m sure he is, but look at the photos.

Me: Shannon looks so proud and happy.

Nell: Yes, she does. But what else?

Me: It’s Rhubarb. She must be back in Toronto. I’m so glad Little Marvin has a friend.

Nell: Yes. But what are they both wearing?

Me: Bandanas. They suit them don’t they? Look at their lovely smiles.

Nell: Yes, but why is everyone wearing bandanas?

Me: Not everyone, Nell.

Nell: Alejandro was wearing one at Morning Thoughts.

Me: I think he has a bit of a sore throat.

Nell: Malcolm is even wearing one.

Me: Malcolm? Now, that is surprising. He’s not really a bandana wearing kind of bird. It wasn’t sequinned, was it?

Nell: No. it was plain white. Poppy is very strict about hygiene in the kitchen. But that’s not the point.

Me: I think Mutley’s bandana is very flattering. He has something of the ageing cowboy about him.

Nell: Where are all these bandanas coming from?

Me: I have no idea but Tony says he is delivering them everywhere. They are even in Toronto.

Nell: Don’t be silly. Tony doesn’t deliver to Toronto. He’s got enough to do delivering post around here.

Me: I didn’t mean that.

Nell: Talking of Toronto when is Chris leaving?

Me: Early evening. I wish he didn’t live so far away.

Nell: Well, he does and he is happy in Toronto. So you and I are going to take him to the station later and smile as we wave goodbye.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Because that’s what we do when we love someone, even if it means we have to let them go.

Me: You are right. Sorry.


Thank you everyone

Nell: I’ve got my eyes closed.

Me: Yes. I know. You were just enjoying the sunshine.

Nell: After yesterday’s excitement the beach was the place to be.

Me: It certainly was. The sea was a bit cold.

Nell: It was invigorating.

Me: Yes. We need to say a huge thank you to everyone for their support. I couldn’t believe it when the publishers contacted me last night.

Nell: Neither could I. Poppy and I had just settled down for a camomile tea and some shortbread and David was going to sing to us.

Me: We are Number One New Release on Amazon.com in our category. It’s amazing.

Nell: I knew everyone would support us. We are all in this journey together, you know. One big family.

Me: Well, I am overwhelmed and so very thankful. I hardly slept. I was so excited.

Nell: I slept perfectly until those wretched Beefies started shouting.

Me: The cheek of it.

Nell: And now they’ve discarded the woollen waistcoats and are all wearing colourful bandanas.

Me: It’s a bit too hot for wool at the moment. Did Knitwear Wolf deliver the Sunday papers?

Nell: Of course. I told him woollen shorts are never going to catch on but he just smiled.

Me: I thought we were having a quiet day, Nell.

Nell: Why?

Me: The Welsh corgi choir have just arrived.

Nell: I might have texted Myfanwy on WoofsApp to tell her about the book and preordering.

Me: But you know what Myfanwy’s like.

Nell: Yes. Never one to miss out on a celebration.

Me: Chris is trying to have a lie-in.

Nell: Did David just walk past wearing a sequinned bandana carrying Gladys in my handbag?

Me: Yes, he did.

Nell: Was Gladys playing the trumpet? Badly?

Me: I’m afraid so. Sorry.


Big News

Me: We have Big News.

Nell: Yes. Poppy is feeling better and Chris is safely here.

Me: Yes, he is and it’s wonderful to see him but there’s more.

Nell: Stop jumping up and down like that.

Me: I am so excited.

Nell: I know, but show a little decorum, please. David is becoming concerned.

Me: I can’t help it.

Nell: Well, go on then. Tell everyone.

Me: Our book ‘Conversations with Nell’ is available for preordering on Amazon. Can you believe it?

Nell: Calm down. It’s definitely on the US, UK and Canada Amazon sites. Other international sites, including Australia, should follow soon.

Me: Amazon UK link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/0764359290/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?keywords=conversations+with+nell&qid=1566596876&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Nell: Yes.

Me: Amazon US link:https://www.amazon.com/Conversations-Nell-Discerning-World-Labrador/dp/0764359290/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=conversations+with+nell&qid=1566565116&s=gateway&sr=8-1

Nell: Just ask people to go on their country’s Amazon website and type in ‘Conversations with Nell’ in the search bar. As soon as it’s online they will be able to preorder the book.

Me: Good idea and they can see the cover too.

Nell: Yes. Publication date is April 28th, 2020 so plenty of time to spread the word.

Me: It is truly a dream come true and I couldn’t have done it without everyone’s support.

Nell: And me.

Me: Of course. So, a huge thank you to you all for coming with me on this journey. Reading your comments brightens my day.

Nell: Mine too.

Me: Yes.

Nell: I think a cup of Earl Grey with Chris and the family is in order. And maybe one of Poppy’s scones a little later. This is a big day for us all.

Me: Yes. It is. Sorry.


Poppy stays strong

Nell: Well, Poppy certainly deserves that bone.

Me: Yes, poor little thing.

Nell: Harriet is wearing herself out watching over everyone. First David and the poncho and now Poppy and her knee.

Me: What happened?

Nell: David accidentally barged into Poppy on his way down from the top garden.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: He definitely didn’t mean to, he was just being enthusiastic. Unfortunately Poppy tripped and her knee popped out.

Me: I heard her scream. It was awful.

Nell: Yes. David nearly fainted but Poppy stayed strong.

Me: Does she have to have an operation?

Nell: Hopefully not. The vets are expecting it to pop back in. But no walks for a week.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: Quite. At least we have Chris’s visit to keep her busy. She was up with a bark making scones.

Me: Don’t you mean up with the lark?

Nell: Certainly not. I know we have a flamingo, a seagull, and a turkey staying with us.

Me: That’s not what I meant.

Nell: Not to mention Walter Pigeon and those wretched Beaky Blinders with their knitted socks.

Me: It’s just a saying.

Nell: And the Beefies, of course, who have started wearing knitted waistcoats for some reason, but I don’t remember any larks.

Me: Never mind.

Nell: You say the oddest things sometimes. Larks indeed. How fanciful. Now, where was I?

Me: You were talking about Poppy baking scones.

Nell: Yes. Chris will need a roast dinner, of course, so Poppy thought chicken. Turkey would be insensitive. We have Timothy to consider.

Me: I can’t wait to see Chris. I’m so excited.

Nell: Yes. We all are.

Me: He won’t have to wear a poncho, will he?

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous. Chris doesn’t do sequins. He’s not Anton du Bark. Good grief.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Hiding from Ponchos

Me: Why are the puppies under the kitchen table?

Nell: They are hiding from sequinned ponchos and by the way nobody in their right mind could think David was a puppy.

Me: It’s a sign of affection. You know it’s my special name for you. You love it when Kev and I call you ‘Pup’.

Nell: Do you mind not revealing all of my personal secrets to the world?

Me: Anyway, what’s scary about sequinned ponchos?

Nell: You obviously haven’t seen them. It took us half an hour to get Mutley out of his. They are vast and snaggly.

Me: Is snaggly a word?

Nell: It is when you get snaggled by one of those ponchos. The sequins get caught in your fur and they are so heavy. Malcolm lost a feather.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: David is actually scared of his.

Me: Is that why you’re whispering?

Nell: Yes. If he hears the word ‘Poncho’ he runs away. Harriet is protecting him.

Me: Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Less of the brave. Poppy is carrying her sword around ready to strike if someone tries to throw a poncho over her head.

Me: It doesn’t really bode well for sales, though, does it? I mean if the models are scared of them.

Nell: Not everyone is. Gladys simply adores them. She has two. A day poncho and an evening one.

Me: Really?

Nell: Yes. She says you can leave your fur unbrushed without fear of discovery.

Me: True.

Nell: Pamela the Pyrenean Mountain Dog uses hers to change under when she’s on the beach.

Me: Now that is a good idea but I don’t think I’m a poncho kind of person.

Nell: Then steer clear of The Cat and please try and whisper when you say that word.

Me: Yes. Sorry.