On Guard

Me: Harriet seems alert this morning, unlike you.

Nell: What’s that supposed to mean?

Me: You seem perfectly relaxed.

Nell: I am. I just had a delightful piece of hot buttered toast with some of Poppy’s marvellous marmalade and a cup of Earl Grey.

Me: Sounds delicious.

Nell: It was.

Me: So, what did Harriet have? Spicy eggs?

Nell: Spicy eggs? Where did you get that idea from?

Me: She seems a bit on edge and chilli can do that to you.

Nell: Harriet is not on edge. She is On Guard.

Me: I knew something was going on.

Nell: Nothing is going on. Yet.

Me: But it might be?

Nell: Yes.

Me: Please tell me.

Nell: I’m not sure you can be trusted.

Me: I can, Nell. We all can.

Nell: Sally has been in touch.

Me: Well, that’s not terribly exciting. She and Dave are always on WoofsApp.

Nell: Actually Sally has been in touch with Harriet in an official capacity.

Me: As a spy?

Nell: Quiet. Please try to be a little more discreet. Anybody could be listening.

Me: I forgot.

Nell: Sally has reason to believe that The Beefies are planning an attack.

Me: Oh no. Who are they targeting this time?

Nell: Gladys and the llamas.

Me: Gladys and the llamas? That’s awful. Why?

Nell: They mean to disrupt tomorrow’s Maypole Dance.

Me: But they’ve been practising for weeks.

Nell: I know.

Me: They’ve got new hats and The Cat has made ribbons. The Welsh corgi choir are singing.

Nell: I’m afraid several Beefies have been spotted sharpening their beaks.

Me: They’re going to stab the llamas. Poor innocent creatures. Tell Poppy to fetch her sword.

Nell: Calm down. Nobody is stabbing anyone. They are planning to cut the ribbons.

Me: Oh, I see. Sorry.


International Dance Day

Me: You and Dave look awfully tired.

Nell: That’s because we are.

Me: Why?

Nell: Ask Gladys.

Me: Gladys?

Nell: Yes. Apparently today is International Dance Day.

Me: How exciting. Well, that explains everything. I thought the llamas had started early.

Nell: Everyone started early.

Me: Oh dear. I must say I did wonder what was going on.

Nell: And whoever gave Princess the cymbals deserves to be talked to very sternly.

Me: She said she needed them for something important. And she asked ever so nicely.

Nell: What possessed you to give them to her? And why did you have a pair of cymbals in the first place?

Me: They were in with all the other instruments.

Nell: You do realise we are going to be inundated with complaints from our neighbours, don’t you?

Me: I suppose it is rather noisy.

Nell: It’s like the carnival at Rio out there.

Me: I absolutely love the costumes. Is that The Cat dancing with a bowl of fruit on its head?

Nell: I don’t want to know.

Me: Just look at Babycakes Gillespie juggling bagels.

Nell: I would rather not. That’s where it all went wrong for David.

Me: What happened?

Nell: David was supposed to be catching them.

Me: Did he drop them?

Nell: No. But he definitely made them disappear. Let’s just say he is feeling more than a little full.

Me: My poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy. So eager to please.

Nell: It’s a shame he has to miss out on the dancing when he loves it so much but you can’t dance with a full tummy.

Me: I wouldn’t worry about that. The dancing isn’t stopping any time soon.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: The Whippets Institute minibus just arrived and they’re all wearing feathers. Sorry.


Last few days on our beach

Me: It’s our last few days on our favourite beach so I thought I would post a couple of videos.

Nell: And a photo of David and me in between the leads.

Me: There was nothing I could do.

Nell: How about waiting until the leads are out of the picture?

Me: I didn’t think of that.

Nell: It seems harsh that we dogs are banned from our beach from May until October.

Me: I know it does. We can still walk on the dog beach though. It’s just around the corner.

Nell: Yes. And if we are very lucky we can look over at all the people enjoying our beach.

Me: It’s just the way it is.

Nell: Harriet is certainly making the most of it.

Me: Yes. I wish we could let Dave off the lead but there are young children around and we don’t want him to frighten them.

Nell: David is the friendliest dog you could ever meet.

Me: I know but he’s ever so big, Nell. When a huge great dog comes running up to you it can be a bit scary. Just like the dentist.

Nell: David is nothing at all like a dentist.

Me: You know what I mean.

Nell: When is your appointment?

Me: This afternoon.

Nell: You will be fine. Poppy wants to know how you feel about pizza this evening.

Me: Yes, please.

Nell: She’s busy finishing her column for The Growl on Sunday so it will have to be a takeaway.

Me: Fine with me. I’m a small vegetarian.

Nell: You are not. You might be small but you had sausages for dinner yesterday.

Me: I meant my choice of pizza.

Nell: Well, say so. I thought you’d gone vegan for a moment like my friend Dorothy.

Me: Sorry.



Me: Our very own seaweed monster. I think Harriet might actually be a merdog.

Nell: There is no such thing.

Me: Stranger things have happened.

Nell: Now, I hope you are not thinking of paddle boarding any time soon.

Me: I must say it’s not high on my list of priorities.

Nell: Only if you are, then don’t. It is far too windy at the moment and people are being swept out to sea.

Me: Oh dear. How dreadful.

Nell: Fortunately Knitwear Wolf is a proficient paddle boarder with years of experience.

Me: Yes, I think he was paddle boarding the first time we saw him.

Nell: Anyway, with the help of Princess, Our Penguin and Manuel he is going to be holding seawise classes.

Me: Seawise?

Nell: Yes. Knowing how to deal with difficult and dangerous situations at sea.

Me: That’s an awfully good idea.

Nell: It is. Everyone is signing up.

Me: Count me in. I have my gold personal survival swimming award but that was quite a long time ago.

Nell: Over fifty years in fact.

Me: There is no need to be that specific, thank you Nell.

Nell: Just saying.

Me: I won’t have to wear a wetsuit, will I?

Nell: Not for the theory part of it. I think you might feel quite hot and uncomfortable.

Me: Maybe I can do the practical side of things when the sea is a little warmer.

Nell: Don’t be such a wimp. You sound just like The Cat. It screamed when it saw the wetsuit had no sequins.

Me: Has The Cat really agreed to take part in the seawise classes?

Nell: Of course it has. Everyone is going. Gladys and the llamas, the whole of the Welsh corgi choir and even Henry and Horst.

Me: Gosh. Sorry.


Just a quick cuddle

Me: Kev is looking for Poppy and Dave. Something to do with The Growl on Sunday and bacon.

Nell: I know we’ve run out of bacon but that doesn’t seem newsworthy to me.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: I can’t believe Kev is going to write about that. It was only a tiny little mistake and everybody got a sandwich.

Nell: What are you talking about?

Me: You know yesterday when Dave took the orders for breakfast?

Nell: Yes, mine was with brown sauce.

Me: He might have written 2 instead of 1.

Nell: But I only had one.

Me: Exactly.

Nell: Well, that explains the disagreement in the broken bed this morning.

Me: What was Kev doing in a broken bed?

Nell: No. Poppy and David.

Me: What happened?

Nell: Poppy was resting in the broken bed on the sofa when David tried to engage her in a game of Cheeky Animals.

Me: I’m not sure that was wise. It’s not really an early morning game and it’s Monday.

Nell: Quite. Poppy just glared at him and refused to join in.

Me: Not surprising but probably a little bit squashing.

Nell: Squashing is the word. Poppy was extremely frosty when he asked if he could give her a quick cuddle.

Me: My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. Such an affectionate animal.

Nell: But he persevered and finally she gave in.

Me: Bless him.

Nell: So now they are sharing the bed.

Me: I’m so glad they’re friends again. I could cuddle them both.

Nell: Please don’t.

Me: Why?

Nell: The bed is full enough.

Me: I was only going to stroke their heads.

Nell: Well, that’s a relief. You’d better tell Kev where they are and ask him not to mention bacon.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Sunday orders

Me: Have you seen Harriet this morning?

Nell: Why?

Me: Dave wants to know if she wants red, or brown sauce on her bacon sandwich. He’s taking orders for Poppy.

Nell: I hope we’re collecting our sandwiches ourselves.

Me: Yes, he’s just passing on the information.

Nell: Harriet is outside playing Cheeky Animals with Princess.

Me: Princess doesn’t have a chance against Harriet.

Nell: No. Clapping yourself just draws attention. I’ve told her not to, but she won’t listen.

Me: It’s a seal thing. I’ll tell Dave to take Princess’s order too. Is Our Penguin with them?

Nell: No. He’s filming the Welsh corgi choir.

Me: I hope they don’t want a bacon sandwich. Dave will never remember it all.

Nell: The choir have tea and biscuits after Sunday Songs. Do keep up. Bacon sandwiches are for breakfast and biscuits are for elevenses.

Me: Of course.

Nell: And Princess doesn’t need one. She only eats fish. Terry delivered her mackerel already.

Me: He didn’t throw it at her, did he?

Nell: This is Terry we are talking about. Not some ruffian Beefy.

Me: Yes. Silly me. Are the tank top wearing Beefies still around?

Nell: Yes. They threw some mackerel at Manuel earlier but he caught them and threw them back.

Me: He’s very well armed.

Nell: I shall ignore that. What is your opinion on stuffing, by the way?

Me: I beg your pardon?

Nell: Poppy is making roast chicken for lunch and opinions are divided about the leftover stuffing.

Me: I love it cold the next day with salad.

Nell: Personally, I prefer mine hot with bubble and squeak. David is happy with anything.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. Such an accommodating animal.

Nell: He had better get those breakfast orders to Poppy then.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Editor in Chief

Me: May I have a word?

Nell: I’m awfully busy at the moment.

Me: It won’t take long.

Nell: I hope not. I’ve got an important zoom call with David and Kev in a few minutes.

Me: Why do you need to zoom them? They’re in the same house.

Nell: Kev is up in the studio and David is outside on the terrace.

Me: Well, call them inside.

Nell: We need to share our screens. Now, what is this all about?

Me: I couldn’t help noticing that you and Dave are wearing glasses.

Nell: You know I need reading glasses.

Me: I didn’t know Dave needed them too.

Nell: To be honest he doesn’t, but Kev wears glasses and so do I and he didn’t want to be left out.

Me: The llamas aren’t going to start wearing glasses too, are they?

Nell: No. Not unless they need them.

Me: The thing is, Nell, I know there’s something going on.

Nell: It’s supposed to be a surprise.

Me: I won’t tell anyone.

Nell: That chip has sailed.

Me: Don’t you mean ship?

Nell: No. A soggy chip cannot be saved.

Me: Please tell.

Nell: You know the Daily Growl?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Well, they’ve been making changes at their sister newspaper and they’ve offered Kev the post of Editor in Chief of The Growl on Sunday.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: It’s going to be a monthly newsletter and will go out to all subscribers of The World of Nell.

Me: Can anyone subscribe?

Nell: Of course they can. In fact hundreds already have.

Me: When is the first edition?

Nell: Sunday, 2nd May.

Me: Why is Dave wearing glasses now if he can’t read it until then?

Nell: David is writing a column. Do keep up.

Me: Oh, I see. Sorry.


Sandy Sandwiches

Me: Thank you for yesterday, Nell. A picnic on the beach was just what I needed.

Nell: Yes, it was delightful.

Me: Harriet was on great form, rolling around in the seaweed and rushing in and out of the sea. She does love it.

Nell: Yes. David thought she was a pile of moving seaweed at one point. He was quite shocked.

Me: I know he was. My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy thought Harriet was a seaweed monster. Bless him.

Nell: Yes. He told Poppy all about it on our walk.

Me: What did she say?

Nell: She said, ‘I just hope the monster isn’t expecting a scotch egg, because some have already gone missing and supplies are low.’

Me: Oh dear. What did Dave say?

Nell: David wisely said nothing.

Me: It was probably one of the Beefies.

Nell: I think we both know that in this instance the Beefies were not to blame.

Me: A large one in a hat was definitely eating something.

Nell: That was a mackerel. It looked nothing like a scotch egg.

Me: Anyway, the picnic was delicious and we managed to get sand in our sandwiches which is just as it should be.

Nell: Personally I prefer a sandless sandwich but each to their own.

Me: It reminds me of my childhood. Somehow the sand always used to creep in everywhere. Do you think that’s why they are called sand-wiches?

Nell: No. Talking of creeping in everywhere, you might want to give your bed a brief dusting down.

Me: Why?

Nell: Poppy may have brought in a little of the beach when she shared your bed last night.

Me: I only just changed the sheets.

Nell: So clean sheets are more important than a comforting cuddle?

Me: Of course not. Sorry.


Thursday Blues

Nell: What is the matter with you?

Me: I didn’t sleep well.

Nell: Why?

Me: Too much on my mind. I just couldn’t settle.

Nell: What was on your mind?

Me: The pandemic, no money, not knowing when I’m going to see the family again. That kind of thing.

Nell: It’s all very understandable.

Me: Do you know that Faye will be 2 at the end of May and the last time I saw her she wasn’t even 1? I’m never getting this time back again.

Nell: What you need is a distraction.

Me: I don’t know.

Nell: What do you feel about Scotch eggs?

Me: Scotch eggs?

Nell: Yes.

Me: Kev loves them and so does Chris.

Nell: David is a huge fan too. Poppy is making some for the picnic.

Me: I didn’t know we were going on a picnic.

Nell: Someone suggested it at Morning Thoughts. They heard you pacing around upstairs last night and thought it might lift your spirits.

Me: Well, I would like to say a big thank you to that someone. It’s very kind of them to think about me and it is a lovely idea.

Nell: I’m sure that someone will be very pleased to hear that.

Me: I would be delighted to attend the picnic. Will there be cake?

Nell: Of course. Lemon drizzle and lots of sandwiches cut into squares with the crusts off.

Me: The way my mother used to make them?

Nell: Exactly.

Me: I know the someone is you, Nell.

Nell: No, you don’t.

Me: You’re always looking out for me.

Nell: We all are.

Me: Yes, but you’re the one who knows me best.

Nell: We will get through this. Together. Trust me.

Me: Yes.

Nell: You and me. Always. Never forget that.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Over To You

Me: Are the puppies playing Bitey Faces?

Nell: Where?

Me: Outside in the front garden.

Nell: Let me see. Oh, no that’s not Bitey Faces. They are playing another game.

Me: It can’t be a serious game as they are wagging their tails like mad.

Nell: They’re playing Over To You. You must have heard of it.

Me: Over To You?

Nell: Yes, and Poppy is adjudicating.

Me: How do you play it?

Nell: David has to take the ball carefully from Harriet’s mouth without dropping it.

Me: Isn’t that just stealing?

Nell: Certainly not. There is a great deal of skill involved.

Me: We have a game like that which we play at parties, but we use balloons and our knees, or necks.

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous. Knees and necks, indeed, and balloons pop.

Me: That’s the idea. It’s hilarious. Can you play in teams?

Nell: Yes. Although not all teams stick to the rules. The llamas are particularly naughty and tend to fall over, or cartwheel, at the slightest opportunity.

Me: Dave seems to be winning.

Nell: Both he and Harriet are excellent players.

Me: I don’t suppose the smaller animals can play.

Nell: Anyone can play. You just need to choose your opponent carefully. Nobody likes to play with Poppy.

Me: Henry and Horst could play together. Not with a ball though. Well, maybe a very tiny one.

Nell: They use apples.

Me: Apples?

Nell: Malcolm cuts them into tiny little pieces.

Me: Have you tried the game with food, too?

Nell: Babycakes Gillespie plays with bagels.

Me: Imagine playing with scones. All that jam and cream. What a dreadful mess that would make.

Nell: The bagels don’t have cream cheese on them, you know. It’s called Over To You, not All Over You.

Me: Yes. Sorry.