A Morning Kiss

Me: Maybe we should all start the week with a kiss? Look at Poppy and Harriet.

Nell: Harriet knows Poppy is exhausted after all that cooking yesterday.

Me: Does that mean today is leftovers day?

Nell: If you are talking about cold roast chicken and bubble and squeak then you should be very thankful.

Me: Do you know if they have bubble and squeak in other countries?

Nell: They might fry their leftover roasted vegetables but I doubt that they call them bubble and squeak.

Me: Dolphins squeak.

Nell: I am aware. Did you see the latest ‘Glide with Gladys’ on YouChewed?

Me: No.

Nell: Gladys performs her exercises on a raised platform in the middle of the pool with a whole troupe of dancing dolphins up on their tails circling backwards around her.

Me: How spectacular.

Nell: I just wish Princess didn’t insist on clapping all the way through it.

Me: It’s a seal thing.

Nell: Our Penguin says Gladys and the dolphins are trending everywhere.

Me: I’m surprised Princess isn’t jealous.

Nell: She knows the dolphins are leaving soon.

Me: Are they going back to school? See what I did there?

Nell: Good grief. No, dolphins need space to swim and Knitwear Wolf can’t be expected to keep taking them down to the sea. He’s got quite enough on his paws with Princess and he only has a motorbike and sidecar.

Me: He does have exceptionally large paws. They make Dave’s look small.

Nell: Wolves walk and run on their toes. It makes their legs longer and nimble so they can run with speed.

Me: Like ballet dancers.

Nell: What are you talking about? Wolves are nothing like ballet dancers.

Me: They dance on their toes.

Nell: I worry about you sometimes. I really do.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Guilty Faces

Me: Why are you lot hiding up here?

Nell: We’re not. We’re just enjoying Sunday Songs from your bedroom.

Me: Sunday Songs finished ages ago.

Nell: Did they? I must have nodded off.

Me: Dave looks particularly guilty.

Nell: Does he?

Me: And Harriet looks shifty.

Nell: I can’t think why.

Me: Poppy is the only one who doesn’t seem particularly bothered.

Nell: Poppy is naturally fearless.

Me: Ha! I knew you were up to something.

Nell: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Me: All that noise first thing this morning. Barking and running. And why do I keep finding pieces of dog towel everywhere?

Nell: If you must know we suddenly found ourselves taking part in a game of Dog of War.

Me: Do you mean tug of war?

Nell: No, although tugging was involved.

Me: I know. I found the dog towel in shreds.

Nell: It all got a little out of paw when Harriet seemed to be beating David. Poppy and I felt obliged to cheer her on.

Me: Did you have to choose Sunday morning for this? Kev and I have been ever so busy and were hoping for a lie in.

Nell: Dog of War can never be predicted. It just comes upon you. One is powerless to resist.

Me: What rubbish.

Nell: I’m sure a bacon sandwich and a cuddle with David will help.

Me: It might.

Nell: Poppy is preparing roast chicken for Sunday dinner with sausages, stuffing and lots of roasted vegetables.

Me: With cranberry sauce?

Nell: Yes, and lashings of her special gravy.

Me: I suppose that does make the day sound a little brighter. Did you just say lashings?

Nell: Yes. Why?

Me: You never say lashings. It’s not a Nell word.

Nell: It is now.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


A French breakfast

Me: You’re in better spirits today. Is it because Dave woke you with a kiss?

Nell: Certainly not. David needs to stop fussing.

Me: We’ve all been so worried about you, Nell.

Nell: I’m absolutely fine.

Me: When Chloe found that lump during your physiotherapy I was distraught.

Nell: You weren’t the one stabbed with a needle.

Me: And then the relief that it was just a fatty lump.

Nell: Would you mind not discussing my medical history, please? I am trying to enjoy my croissant in peace.

Me: That’s a very fancy breakfast, Nell.

Nell: Yes. After I mentioned the French lunches I used to enjoy with Joan Collie and The Cat Poppy was inspired to rustle up a French breakfast.

Me: How lovely.

Nell: Malcolm made the croissants with a little help from Benjie.

Me: I’m glad he’s taken Benny under his wing.

Nell: Benjamin isn’t under anybody’s wing. He is his own bird now. And don’t call him Benjie.

Me: He likes it.

Nell: David asked for French toast but Poppy said French toast isn’t actually French and he should have a croissant and like it.

Me: What about French fries?

Nell: Not French either. David tried asking for those, but Poppy just glared at him.

Me: They make excellent fries in France.

Nell: That is not the point. You can’t have chips for breakfast, however thin they are.

Me: My poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy forced to eat fresh baked croissants and home made jam.

Nell: If only.

Me: Why?

Nell: You know how the French drink out of bowls?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Well, David ate a whole tureen of Bouillebaisse by mistake.

Me: That sounds French.

Nell: It’s seafood soup and was meant for the dolphins’ lunch. Poppy is not pleased.

Me: Oh dear. Sorry.


Morning chaos

Me: What on earth is going on?

Nell: Honestly, I can just about deal with the dolphins, but those visiting antelopes are simply too much.

Me: Antelopes?

Nell: Poppy was in the middle of making a pie for lunch when she and the puppies had to rush out.

Me: Why?

Nell: Well, the antelopes have been camping in the field. Without permission, I might add. They call it wild camping.

Me: I’ve heard of that.

Nell: Anyway, the llamas have taken it upon themselves to police the area so they decided to tell the antelopes to leave.

Me: Were they aggressive?

Nell: I think there might have been some spitting.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: The antelopes decided the safest thing to do would be to run. It’s an antelope thing, apparently.

Me: Yes. They’re very light on their hooves.

Nell: Anyway, the sheep joined in. You know what they’re like. One goes, they all go.

Me: Yes.

Nell: The next thing we know there are sheep dashing madly through the fields behind a group of antelopes.

Me: Shear chaos. See what I did there?

Nell: Jim the Farm Dog is most unhappy.

Me: He would be.

Nell: I’ll be very glad when this Bank Holiday weekend is over and they all go back to school.

Me: Were they young antelopes then?

Nell: That’s not the point.

Me: Well, it is if you’re talking about going back to school.

Nell: They can be elderly antelopes going back to their armchairs by the fire as far as I’m concerned just as long as this chaos is over.

Me: I see.

Nell: And can you ask those dolphins to keep the noise down, please?

Me: But they’re in the pool Gliding with Gladys.

Nell: Tell them to glide quietly, then.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Nothing to worry about

Nell: Why are you taking a photo from behind the gate?

Me: It’s an artistic shot.

Nell: Don’t be silly. Leave that to the professionals.

Me: I quite like it.

Nell: Can you just open the gate now, please? I’ve got wet paws.

Me: Yes.

Nell: All is well on the Harriet and Jim front, by the way.

Me: Good.

Nell: She asked Jim about it and he laughed.

Me: Why?

Nell: It wasn’t a flirtation. It was Joan Collie.

Me: Does she have a sister called Jackie?

Nell: How did you know?

Me: A wild guess. Who is Joan Collie?

Nell: She’s old enough to be Jim’s grandmother for a start.

Me: Well, that’s a relief.

Nell: She looks ever so much younger, however, so you can see how the mistake was made.

Me: But why was Jim eating an ice cream with her?

Nell: She invited him. She rather enjoys the company of handsome young hounds.

Me: He could have said no.

Nell: Nobody says no to Joan.

Me: Oh, I see.

Nell: She is best friends with The Cat. I’m surprised you haven’t bumped in to her before now, actually.

Me: So am I.

Nell: I’ve had some extremely happy French lunches with Joan and The Cat.

Me: What’s a French lunch?

Nell: It always involves champagne.

Me: What fun. I’m surprised the cows didn’t recognise her.

Nell: It wasn’t the cows who saw Jim and Joan. How many cows have you seen down on the Quay?

Me: None to be fair. Who was it then?

Nell: A short sighted antelope with time on its hooves.

Me: I thought you just said antelope.

Nell: I did.

Me: What was it doing on the Quay?

Nell: On holiday I expect. Those antelopes get everywhere.

Me: I see. Sorry.


Harriet has something on her mind

Me: Harriet has something on her mind. She looks concerned.

Nell: Probably because you cut the top of her head off in that photo.

Me: I was trying to get her legs in. They seem ever so long today.

Nell: Harriet is a Labrador not a Lurcher. Her legs are perfectly normal.

Me: Anyway, that’s definitely not the reason. She hasn’t even seen the photo yet.

Nell: If you must know, rumour has it that Jim the Farm Dog was down at the Quay yesterday sharing an ice cream with a mysterious lady Border Collie.

Me: When you say rumour I presume you heard it from the cows?

Nell: Of course I heard it from the cows.

Me: I thought you said you didn’t gossip?

Nell: I don’t. But when it comes to family I like to keep my eye on the bowl.

Me: Don’t you mean ball?

Nell: No.

Me: Anyway, I’m sure there’s a good reason. Maybe there’s a sheepdog convention going on?

Nell: Perhaps.

Me: What flavour was the ice cream?

Nell: Strawberries and cream.

Me: Oh dear. That is a little worrying.

Nell: Why?

Me: It’s a luxurious sort of flavour.

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous.

Me: Those combination flavours tend to suggest a special treat. Did it have sprinkles?

Nell: I don’t know.

Me: She must be in his bubble.

Nell: Excuse me?

Me: They couldn’t be sharing an ice cream otherwise.

Nell: Now, that is worrying.

Me: Maybe Jim has an extended bubble like we do?

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: Well ours keeps growing. First Princess and Our Penguin then Benjamin Seagull and now the dolphins.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: Princess met some lost dolphins when she went for her daily swim.

Nell: I need a lie down.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


The Night Poem

Me: That was an awfully stormy night, Nell.

Nell: Yes, it was. David slept through it all but Harriet was restless.

Me: Poor darling girl.

Nell: We both cuddled up to David so we were absolutely fine.

Me: I had one of those awful pandemic dreams.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: I was stuck on an overcrowded bus. Nobody was wearing a mask and we were going goodness knows where.

Nell: Oh yes, I know the ones.

Me: Anyway, at 5am I just got up and went and wrote a poem.

Nell: Of course you did.

Me: Would you like to hear it?

Nell: Yes.

Me: I think it’s probably you I’m talking to in it because it usually is, if you know what I mean.

Nell: I do.

Me: It’s called ‘There’s a Lion in the En Suite.’

Nell: Good grief. Go on then.

Me: ‘There’s a lion in the en suite’.

‘Now, don’t be silly.’

‘I can hear the sound of angry feet.’

‘Just stop now, really.’

‘I can feel the heat of lion’s breath.’

‘Calm down, will you?’

‘We are heading for a dreadful death.’

‘Please stop this hullabaloo.’

‘I know I heard a lion roar.’

‘You didn’t, I assure you.’

‘And now it’s scratching on the door.’

‘Enough now, I implore you.’

‘It’s sniffing cos it’s caught our smell.’

‘It really isn’t, honestly.’

‘It’s hungry, you can always tell.’

‘Now stop and listen well to me.

The wind is keeping the house awake

This can happen in a storm.

The windows can all start to shake

The doors can sound alarm.

There’s nothing at all to worry about

No need to cower in fear

Even if a lion was in the en suite

You know that I am here.’

Nell: You do.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Gaining Perspective


Me: There is always one, isn’t there?

Nell: What are you talking about?

Me: Harriet is facing the other way to all of you.

Nell: She is simply gaining a Different Perspective.

Me: I suppose you could say that.

Nell: I just did.

Me: Harriet is a quiet rebel in her own way if you think about it.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: Sweet and loving on the outside but wild and dangerous in reality.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Why are you all gathering by the front door?

Nell: We are waiting for Knitwear Wolf.

Me: He’s late with the papers today.

Nell: He is delivering a selection of late summer cardigans to a family of beagles down at the camping site. They were caught out by this inclement weather.

Me: It is rather cool for August.

Nell: Princess and Our Penguin met them on the beach shivering away and told them they might know a wolf who could help.

Me: I bet that shocked them.

Nell: Yes, until they explained about Rupert’s knitwear range and then they put in an order at once.

Me: Is there something important in today’s Daily Growl?

Nell: Yes. There’s been a little controversy about some of David’s advice in his Ask Dave column.

Me: Is he still suggesting bacon?

Nell: No, but a lot of the advice is food related. I think David may have gone off bacon.

Me: Really?

Nell: He asked for pancakes this morning and said ‘Skip the bacon’.

Me: He might need to change the way he’s paid.

Nell: Which simply goes to prove that You can have Too Much of a Good Thing.

Me: You’re being annoyingly wise for a Monday morning. No wonder Harriet is looking the other way.

Nell: Harriet is Gaining Perspective.

Me: Yes. Sorry.



Caught on camera

Me: I beat Dave in a game of Cheeky Animals.

Nell: Well done.

Me: I could feel him sticking his tongue out at me behind my back so I turned around quickly and caught him.

Nell: You do know you are a 61 year old grandmother, don’t you?

Me: So?

Nell: Just saying.

Me: Grandmothers can play Cheeky Animals, too.

Nell: Indeed. My reading group have been known to play a quick game if the book we’ve been reading is a little slow.

Me: Really?

Nell: Yes. It livens up the proceedings considerably. Although one of the Barnstaple Bassets became over excited one time and choked on her scone.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Fortunately she was sitting next to a large lady Labrador from Launceston who whacked her in the back with her tail and the scone popped out.

Me: Quick thinking.

Nell: Did you enjoy Sunday Singing?

Me: I couldn’t believe it when Benjamin stepped up.

Nell: He has a lovely tenor voice.

Me: It was such a brave thing to do.

Nell: I think the backing singers gave him confidence.

Me: There were backing singers?

Nell: Didn’t you hear the harmonies?

Me: No. I can’t say I noticed any backing singers at all. Where were they? Behind him?

Nell: They were on Benjamin’s hat.

Me: Are you sure?

Nell: Of course I’m sure. You must have noticed their matching tank tops.

Me: I saw the Albatross.

Nell: Everybody saw the Albatross.

Me: It can’t have been the Welsh corgis? There’s definitely no room for more than one corgi on a hat.

Nell: Welsh corgis only sit on hats by accident. It was Henry and Horst.

Me: No wonder I couldn’t hear them with their little voices.

Nell: They were wearing radio mics. Do keep up.

Me: Oh. Sorry.


Mirror Images

Me: Look at Poppy and Harriet.

Nell: Why? They’re just having a rest in Kev’s studio. It’s Saturday and it’s been a busy week.

Me: Yes, but look at them.

Nell: They’re sharing the studio dog bed. We all do. Everybody knows the studio bed is for sharing.

Me: Yes, but look. They’re mirror images of each other.

Nell: I worry about you sometimes. Poppy is a small terrier and Harriet is a chocolate Labrador. How can they possibly be mirror images of each other?

Me: Well, Harriet is on the small side. She’s half the size of Dave.

Nell: Don’t bring David into it. Even vets are taken aback at the size of David.

Me: Yes. He’s such a handsome hound.

Nell: Anyway, the girls are simply lying in a similar way. They’re not going to wake up and say ‘Gosh. It’s like looking in a mirror.’

Me: I don’t think Poppy would ever say ‘Gosh’. She’s more of a ‘Crikey’ or ‘Blimey’ type.

Nell: You know exactly what I mean. Did you read that article in Barking Weekly, by the way?

Me: No.

Nell: It’s an in depth interview with David about the false accusations and Benjamin’s bravery.

Me: I must read it.

Nell: The Daily Growl has reinstated David as their agony uncle and an official apology has been made. Stephen Seagull was unavailable for comment.

Me: The cowardly custard. Telling tall tales about my Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Calm down. David is far too busy to care. Have you seen the queue outside his consulting room?

Me: I expect it’s the free cuddles. They are what keep us all going during this difficult time and Dave’s are the best.

Nell: Who said they were free? He’s being paid in bacon.

Me: I didn’t know. Sorry.