Going Green

Me: Where’s Dave?

Nell: With Tony. He needed some Reassurance.

Me: Why?

Nell: Little Ollie is over 15kgs and growing fast so David thinks he might not be Tony’s Big Brave Boy anymore.

Me: He’ll always be Tony’s Big Boy but Little Ollie has to be his Best Boy.

Nell: Yes. David understands that now.

Me: Knitwear Wolf was looking particularly dashing this morning. I love the forest green cardigan.

Nell: Talking of green. Have you seen Gladys?

Me: No.

Nell: She’s walking around in thigh boots.

Me: That must be awkward.

Nell: And a knitted tunic, also in green.

Me: I hope it has a belt.

Nell: What does that matter?

Me: Tunics are awfully shapeless without belts. Ask The Cat. I saw it chatting to Rupert just now.

Nell: The Cat is looking a little sly, if you ask me.

Me: That’s just its early morning look. It’s always out of sorts until its first espresso.

Nell: Why is it wearing a feathered cap in forest green?

Me: I’ve no idea.

Nell: That wolf is behind all this. Mark my paws.

Me: You mean words.

Nell: I do not. Everyone knows you mark your paws if you want to remember something. Do keep up.

Me: I didn’t know. Have you considered that forest green might just be this autumn’s colour?

Nell: There’s more to it than that. Please tell me Malcolm isn’t wearing knitted leggings under his apron?

Me: He’s had those for quite a while. It’s getting cold in the morning so Knitwear Wolf organised some for him.

Nell: I presume they are green.

Me: Yes.

Nell: I don’t believe it.

Me: It’s true.

Nell: No. Did David just walk past carrying Henry and Horst?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Did you notice their scarves?

Me: Forest green. Sorry.


Jonathan Sky is Three today

Me: How can Jonathan Sky be 3 today? He was only one yesterday.

Nell: Yes. I have written a poem. Would you like to hear it?

Me: Yes, please.

Nell: ‘Mutley, Harriet, Dave and Poppy

Come over here and listen to me.

Alejandro, Gladys and Timothy too,

Malcolm, Susan and the Welsh Corgi crew.

Little Marvin and Ollie, Jim and The Cat,

Charlie and Sally, Knitwear Wolf in a hat.

The Whippets Institute in their mini bus

And everyone everywhere who knows about us.

Today we are happy as happy can be

Because Jonathan Sky has just turned three.’

‘Turned three?’ you ask. ‘Can it be true?’

‘Oh yes,’ I reply. ‘I thought that you knew.’

‘I did wonder,’ you say. ‘ He was looking quite wise.

I could tell by his hair and the smile in his eyes.

Will there be cake?’

‘Yes, and ice creams and fun

And cuddles and laughter and places to run.

He’s a big brother now to Baby Faye Raine

So there are bound to be kisses again and again.

Granny and Grandpa are over the moon

They know they’ll be seeing them both very soon.’

‘Are they coming to visit us then?’ you reply.

‘Are we going to party with Jonathan Sky?’

‘We certainly are, and this is no jest

Because partying is something the Martins do best.

So Happy Birthday to you from the place by the sea

Where the Beefies are naughty as naughty can be

Where wolves wear cardigans and terriers bake cake

And David eats so many meals by mistake.

Where alpacas and Pomeranians dance in the sun

And people and animals simply have fun.

So let’s all celebrate this wonderful day

Because we love you, dear boy, more than words can say.’

Me: Perfect.

Nell: No tears.

Me: Sorry.


Mutley is 16 today

Me: Our darling Mutley is 16 today.

Nell: Yes. He started out life as Patch you know.

Me: Yes, and then Kev rescued him and he became Mutley.

Nell: He was always Mutley.

Me: Where is he?

Nell: Enjoying a cup of builder’s tea and a bacon sandwich with Charlie. Harriet is reading them interesting items from the newspaper.

Me: Knitwear Wolf was here early today. I thought I heard his motorbike.

Nell: He brought Mutley a beautiful hand knitted scarf and warm socks in dark grey.

Me: How kind of him.

Nell: Yes, he’s a thoughtful wolf. Still smiles too much for my liking, though.

Me: He’s just naturally friendly.

Nell: Timothy is wary of him.

Me: Timothy is wary of everyone, especially when it gets nearer to Christmas and Thanksgiving.

Nell: Turkeys certainly live life on the edge.

Me: I’m presuming Dave is no longer a recluse seeing as he’s sharing bacon sandwiches with Poppy in the kitchen and chatting to Sally on WoofsApp.

Nell: It didn’t even last until elevenses. Poppy mentioned shortbread and he was off the sofa like a shot.

Me: Big Beautiful Boy. Is the bouncy castle up and running?

Nell: Yes. Gladys did a bounce test and it all seems to be in order. Two somersaults and a backward flip.

Me: I hope Mutley doesn’t try that.

Nell: Everyone must remember to take off their shoes before bouncing except for Alejandro who needs to put his on.

Me: Why?

Nell: His hooves are too sharp so The Cat has organised some moccasins in soft leather.

Me: Wise idea.

Nell: So all we have to do today is celebrate Mutley.

Me: Yes, Happy Birthday Darling Mutt. Dear old boy.

Nell: Less of the old boy please. Age is just a number.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


A Mountain Dog in all but name

Me: Dave is hiding in the living room.

Nell: Yes, he’s fallen out with Sally and decided to become a recluse. He’ll be over it by lunchtime.

Me: What happened?

Nell: It’s Rhu’s fault.

Me: You mean Rhubarb the beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog from Toronto?

Nell: Yes. I don’t know why you always give her that long title.

Me: Neither do I.

Nell: Anyway, she’s invited him to the Mountain Dog conference and he’s thinking of going.

Me: He isn’t a Mountain Dog.

Nell: No. But he qualifies in all but name.

Me: So Sally doesn’t like them being friends?

Nell: Not really, although it’s Rhu and Harriet who write to each other.

Me: Harriet could never be a Mountain Dog.

Nell: She doesn’t want to be one. You can have friends who aren’t the same as you, you know.

Me: Yes.

Nell: The world is a wonderful place. Full of diversity and we should embrace it.

Me: I completely agree. Look at Gladys and Alejandro.

Nell: I’d rather not. They fell asleep in the Guacamole last night and are in an awful mess.

Me: I did enjoy the celebrations for Dave’s book. Why Mexican?

Nell: One of the first meals David ate by mistake was a large bowl of chilli con carne.

Me: I see.

Nell: And The Cat had a box full of sombreros going to waste.

Me: Mutley was in fine form. Singing ‘Guantanamera’ with the Welsh corgis.

Nell: Yes, hard to believe it’s his 16th birthday tomorrow.

Me: Another party then?

Nell: Yes, and Jonathan Sky will be 3 on Thursday.

Me: I wish I could be there with him.

Nell: You’re seeing him in October. Now come and clear the garden. Mutley has requested a bouncy castle and there are sombreros everywhere.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Everyone makes mistakes

Me: How fabulous. Dave looks magnificent.

Nell: Yes, he does.

Me: So he decided on David Martin not Dave?

Nell: We felt David was more appropriate for an author. More weighty.

Me: He’s going to be weighty if he keep eating things by mistake.

Nell: He is working on that. He and Alejandro have gone surfing with Gladys and the girls. It’s all part of the new exercise regime.

Me: What girls? Not the Welsh corgi choir?

Nell: Certainly not. Corgis don’t surf. Everyone knows that. They sail, but they never surf.

Me: Then who?

Nell: The Whippets Institute surf team of course. Do keep up.

Me: Gladys isn’t a whippet. She’s a Pomeranian.

Nell: You don’t have to be a whippet to surf. Everyone does it around here.

Me: Apart from the corgis.

Nell: Obviously.

Me: How were the reviews by the way?

Nell: Positive in the main. They questioned the accidental eating of a whole roast chicken.

Me: That’s easily done, so I have been told.

Nell: Quite. Once you’ve eaten one leg you have to eat the other and so on. It’s all about the symmetry.

Me: And greed.

Nell: David argues that greed isn’t the driving force.

Me: Really? I mean he’s a Labrador.

Nell: And your point is?

Me: Well, you Labradors are renowned for your appetite.

Nell: We are good eaters. I call it Supportive Eating. We like to show our appreciation.

Me: But you seem to forget you’ve eaten almost immediately after you’ve finished.

Nell: We simply move on. Why dwell on the past?

Me: That’s one way of looking at it. Although Dave takes it to a new level.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: He’s almost finished before he thinks about it at all.

Nell: Everyone makes mistakes.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Sunday papers

Me: What are you all waiting for?

Nell: The Sunday papers. Rupert is late.

Me: Why?

Nell: I don’t know. He is probably chatting to someone about chunky knits.

Me: I mean why are you so excited about the papers?

Nell: Barking Weekly and the Sunday Growl are both publishing reviews of David’s book.

Me: ‘Meals I ate by Mistake’?

Nell: Yes. How many books do you think he has? Didn’t you notice the reporters talking to David yesterday?

Me: There were a couple of Jack Russells in tweed caps with pencils behind their ears but I thought they were just friends.

Nell: Since when do friends record everything you say? And why do you think that Weimaraner was taking so many photos?

Me: I thought it was on holiday.

Nell: Who goes on holiday with a tripod and six cameras?

Me: Well, I could name a few people.

Nell: And why would anyone take holiday photos of David eating?

Me: I did wonder. It was only a fish pie.

Nell: What does it matter what it was?

Me: Well, if you’re taking photos of food then a seafood platter would look a lot more impressive, or a paella.

Nell: You can’t eat a paella by mistake.

Me: Have you forgotten Flamenco Night?

Nell: Oh yes. Anyway, we are keen to see what they say.

Me: It’s gone down awfully well until now so I’m sure everything will be fine.

Nell: I certainly hope so.

Me: I think I heard Knitwear Wolf’s motorbike.

Nell: Yes, that’s Rupert.

Me: Why is he carrying your handbag?

Nell: Gladys spent the night at a friend’s so he said he would collect her on the way.

Me: He’s smiling so the reviews must be good.

Nell: That wolf is always smiling.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Beach Heaven

Me: Harriet had the best time on the dog beach. Just swimming and dancing in the evening sun.

Nell: Dancing?

Me: Yes. Haven’t you noticed that Harriet dances when she’s happy?

Nell: I suppose she does.

Me: We were all happy. Soft sand, warm water. Poppy even paddled.

Nell: Yes, it was all going really well until someone threw a mackerel at us.

Me: That wasn’t so nice.

Nell: And then I noticed the paddle boarders.

Me: Knitwear Wolf is teaching Gladys and Alejandro.

Nell: They were all wearing knitted beanies. I’ve got used to Rupert’s eccentricities in the Knitwear department and Alejandro can cope with a hat but Gladys was dwarfed by hers.

Me: It was a lovely colour. A sort of dusky pink. It complimented her black fur.

Nell: Everyone else was wearing their wetsuits. Why do they have to draw attention to themselves?

Me: To be honest Nell, a wolf, an alpaca and a black Pomeranian paddle boarding was bound to raise a few eyebrows.

Nell: And what were the Welsh corgis doing on the cliff top. Lined up like that.

Me: Singing.

Nell: Who has choir practice on a cliff?

Me: Myfanwy told Poppy they like to sing with a view.

Nell: They were all wearing cardigans.

Me: It’s part of The Cat’s new fashion line. Their names are sequinned on the back.

Nell: I suppose it avoids any accidental cardigan confusion.

Me: Yes.

Nell: My friend Pamela had her pashmina taken by a poodle after Book Club recently. It swore it was by mistake but Pamela has her doubts. It looked a little sly.

Me: Maybe the sequins are a good idea then.

Nell: Yes. They are The Cat’s USP after all.

Me: Unique Selling Point?

Nell: No. Unbelievable Sequin Passion.

Me: Of course. Sorry.


Who wears yellow on a Friday?

Me: Wasn’t it good to be back on our beach?

Nell: We were there unofficially, of course. We lost our way and suddenly found ourselves there.

Me: No. There wasn’t anyone there so we just walked round from the dog side to remind ourselves.

Nell: Honestly. I despair of you sometimes.

Me: Soon we will be able to go there all the time.

Nell: Yes, but not until October.

Me: Of course not.

Nell: Finally.

Me: I found Henry in the upstairs bathroom.

Nell: He probably hitched a lift with David.

Me: He was moving really fast. Literally speeding.

Nell: He is working on his fitness. We all are. You need to do 10,000 steps a day.

Me: Henry is a woodlouse. He can’t step.

Nell: Henry has 14 legs. He can outstep us all.

Me: Gosh. 10,000 steps is an awful lot, though.

Nell: It’s a sensible goal. I recommend wearing a pawdometer.

Me: Henry can’t wear one of those.

Nell: Of course he can’t. He has a Bark watch.

Me: You mean a Smart watch.

Nell: I do not. David gave it to him for his birthday.

Me: It’s a funny thing Nell, but I thought I smelt bacon this morning.

Nell: Really?

Me: You didn’t have bacon sandwiches for breakfast, did you?

Nell: What makes you think that?

Me: Dave is walking around covered in sauce with a smile on his face.

Nell: When isn’t David covered in sauce?

Me: In fact you are looking quite chirpy yourself and Mutley was whistling.

Nell: If you are picking on the optimistic, start with that wolf. Who wears yellow on a Friday?

Me: Nice try. Next time you make bacon sandwiches save one for me.

Nell: We did. But try and be a little discreet please.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Rainy Thursday

Me: The good thing about Tony is he always arrives with a smile even in rainy weather.

Nell: Yes. Optimism is an admirable trait.

Me: Harriet was ever so excited to see him.

Nell: She is expecting a letter.

Me: Who from?

Nell: Rhubarb.

Me: The beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog from Toronto who rather likes Dave and is best friends with Little Marvin?

Nell: The very one. Little Marvin has been unwell.

Me: What’s wrong with him?

Nell: He has a fever and a runny nose.

Me: Poor little puppy.

Nell: Yes. He is on antibiotics. It has been a worrying time for Chris and Shannon.

Me: Yes. Keep us posted.

Nell: Anyway, it’s good to see Harriet and Rhu are friends. I think Rhu is still carrying a perch for David.

Me: Don’t you mean carrying a torch?

Nell: Certainly not. We are talking about unrequited love here. What would David want with a torch when he could eat a tasty fish?

Me: Personally I would prefer mackerel, or sea bass. Perch aren’t that tasty.

Nell: That’s not the point.

Me: Talking of mackerel, Gull brought us some freshly caught fish so Poppy is making a pate. She says it’s nice and soft for Kev.

Nell: He’s off to the dentist again today, isn’t he?

Me: Yes. We are leaving soon.

Nell: Any chance of a nice steak later?

Me: No, Nell, we are having fish.

Nell: I’ve told you before A Dog Cannot Live on Fish Alone.

Me: We are all supporting Kev.

Nell: All I can say is thank goodness for the hog roast baps at Widecombe Fair.

Me: Not something you hear every day but I know what you mean.

Nell: If David doesn’t get a bacon sandwich soon he will fade away.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


After the fair

Nell: I am going to need a quiet day.

Me: Yesterday was full of surprises, wasn’t it?

Nell: Of all the things I expected to see at Widecombe Fair it wasn’t Alejandro and several random alpacas in a pen.

Me: I was delighted.

Nell: Or Knitwear Wolf with his own Alpaca Knitwear stall come to that.

Me: He was very popular.

Nell: Yes. People obviously love a smiling wolf in a cardigan.

Me: They do.

Nell: And then the Welsh corgi choir entered the arena dressed as Morris Dancers.

Me: They were awfully good. Those little legs with bells and waving scarves.

Nell: And then Gladys and David started dancing the Pasa Doble.

Me: They got a standing ovation.

Nell: It was a country fair. We were in a field. What were they thinking?

Me: People cheered.

Nell: And just when I hoped it was over the Terrier Racing started and Poppy was leading the field.

Me: She nearly won. That Jack Russell just pipped her at the post.

Nell: I was past caring by then.

Me: How did they all get there?

Nell: The Whippets Institute minibus.

Me: I see.

Nell: I think Alejandro and the Alpacas may have travelled in a Land Rover but I’m just guessing.

Me: Harriet said Jim was involved in the planning.

Nell: Those farm dogs were certainly enjoying the cider. I found Mutley in the middle of them all with a Hog Roast bap and a pint in his paw.

Me: Everyone had a wonderful time. Same time next year?

Nell: Not if I have to share my seat on the bus with a large Bulldog and a greedy Spaniel again.

Me: It was Bark and Ride.

Nell: They were eating pasties. I was covered in crumbs and they didn’t share.

Me: Sorry.