Me: I think Harriet has the right idea.
Nell: Here we go.
Me: In times of trouble we all try and keep busy and distracted.
Me: But, actually it is perfectly okay to stop now and again.
Me: Because sometimes all you need is a cuddle.
Nell: Not from me you don’t. I have far too many things in my bowl at the moment.
Me: You see, that’s where you go wrong, Nell. The puppies are excellent cuddlers. Even Poppy manages one now and again.
Nell: I need my personal space.
Me: Maybe our penguin would like a cuddle.
Nell: I beg your pardon? When did it become our penguin?
Me: It’s been here a while now, Nell.
Nell: That doesn’t mean it’s ours. It’s an independent penguin. It can come and go as it pleases.
Me: Well, it seems to be staying. It was eating mackerel with Malcolm in the kitchen just now.
Nell: I hope it wasn’t a Beefy mackerel. They threw one at Henry and Horst yesterday. Fortunately Gladys intervened and saved the day.
Me: What did she do?
Nell: Hit it with her cricket bat. Scored a six I believe, although I was wearing my sunglasses at the time so I can’t be sure.
Me: I suppose we’re going to have to wear sunglasses at the family photo shoot this afternoon.
Nell: What family photo shoot?
Me: Kev’s 60th birthday present. We are all going down to the beach.
Nell: What exactly do you mean by all?
Me: No animals, unfortunately, except for you.
Nell: Lucky me.
Me: You already know the photographer from our photoshoot for the book.
Nell: The one who took my ball?
Me: He just wanted your full concentration.
Nell: Nobody touches my ball.
Me: Of course. Sorry.