Nell: I think we should discuss yesterday’s unfortunate incident?
Me: I’d rather not.
Nell: I believe you had clear instructions.
Me: I didn’t open the door.
Nell: I know. Our visitor was most annoyed.
Me: I thought it was a test.
Nell: A test?
Me: You told me not to open the door.
Nell: To John. I told you not to open the door to John.
Nell: My instructions regarding our visitor were quite different.
Me: I thought Harriet was joking.
Me: She said ‘Nell says, if a Cavalier comes to the door, let him in. It’s King Charles.’
Nell: What’s so funny about that?
Me: Where do I begin?
Nell: It’s a sorry state of affairs when a dear cousin comes to visit all the way from Wales and you won’t let him in.
Nell: And you weren’t exactly welcoming when you finally met him.
Me: I was surprised.
Nell: You said, and I quote, ‘I wasn’t expecting a spaniel. Where’s your feathered hat?’
Me: That’s because I was expecting a man with a curly moustache and beard.
Nell: This is what comes from an overactive imagination.
Me: It was an easy mistake to make, Nell.
Nell: Charles was rather annoyed at the time but a nice cup of Earl Grey and one of Poppy’s scones soon calmed him down.
Me: I’m glad.
Nell: We explained about your funny ways and he quite understood.
Me: What funny ways?
Nell: You know perfectly well. The ridiculous thing is John had been here for ages before Charles arrived. Poppy let him in at once.
Me: She did?
Nell: Oh yes. She was delighted to see him. In fact he hasn’t left her side ever since.
Me: Well, that’s wonderful news. I had no idea. Sorry.