Nell has some Exciting News

Me: Look at you all cheerful and smiley like the cat who got the cream.

Nell: The Cat doesn’t like cream. It’s watching its figure.

Me: You know exactly what I mean. What’s going on?

Nell: If you must know I’ve had some rather exciting news.

Me: Do tell.

Nell: Strictly have asked me to be their head judge.

Me: You? Are you serious?

Nell: Of course I am. I’m awfully experienced you know. Anton just called me on the iBone.

Me: Anton did?

Nell: Yes, Anton Du Bark, the lithe whippet. My old dancing partner. You must remember him.

Me: Oh, that Anton.

Nell: Yes. He’s one of the judges too this year.

Me: Are we still talking about Strictly?

Nell: Yes. Strictly Come Prancing. What’s the matter with you?

Me: Oh, I thought you meant Dancing.

Nell: I do. It’s a dancing competition held every year. Gladys is one of the regular professionals and they’re trying to persuade Beauregard to join them.

Me: You should definitely do it, Nell. You would be marvellous.

Nell: That’s what The Cat said. It’s in charge of costumes again.

Me: How exciting.

Nell: But do I have the time, or the inclination? I’m a senior Labrador now. Should I be slowing down?

Me: You would be absolutely perfect, Nell. Your no nonsense attitude is just what they need.

Nell: I will need to maintain complete impartiality throughout, however, which is going to be very hard.

Me: Why?

Nell: David is one of the professionals.

Me: My Big Brave Beautiful Boy?

Nell: Yes. He is extremely popular with the general public, of course.

Me: I can just see him in his top hat and tails.

Nell: Just the one, thank you. Dancing with a tail is difficult enough, believe me.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Harriet is Wallowing

Nell: Stop making such a noise.

Me: I was just unloading the dishwasher.

Nell: Manuel can do that much faster than you.

Me: I know but I thought he might like some help after all the excitement of yesterday.

Nell: Never mind Manuel. It’s Harriet we need to concentrate on. She’s still in bed you know.

Me: Well, that’s ok, Nell. It’s a bank holiday Monday. People are allowed a lie in.

Nell: It isn’t a lie in. Harriet is Wallowing.

Me: Wallowing? What is she Wallowing in?

Nell: Wallowing doesn’t have to be in anywhere. Wallowing can just be that.

Me: No it can’t. There has to be a reason.

Nell: Of course there’s a reason.

Me: What is it?

Nell: Didn’t you notice Jim the Farm Dog dancing with that stranger?

Me: Do you mean the curly haired one with the flashing eyes?

Nell: Yes. Juanita. The Spanish Water Dog.

Me: How do you know that?

Nell: She caught a crepe at Manuel’s stand and they got chatting.

Me: Is she from Barcelona?

Nell: I have no idea, but she’s staying with a Podenco in Paignton and heard about Sunday Songs.

Me: I hope it’s not a Portuguese Podenco?

Nell: Why?

Me: The Portuguese are very different to the Spanish, Nell. They don’t always get on.

Nell: That’s not the point. Jim the Farm Dog is supposed to be Harriet’s suitor. He shouldn’t be dancing with water dogs.

Me: Oh, I see.

Nell: Harriet was in floods of tears. David had to take her home for some cuddles and a bacon sandwich.

Me: It was just a dance, Nell. You didn’t only dance with Knitwear Wolf. I saw you kicking up your paws with Beauregard.

Nell: My dancing partners have nothing to do with this.

Me: No. Sorry.


Sunday Fun

Me: We had an awful lot of fun in the activity field, didn’t we?

Nell: Yes, I must say I’m feeling more like myself.

Me: Your coat is certainly looking lovely and glossy again.

Nell: Thank you.

Me: I always know when Harriet is happy because she wears her ear back.

Nell: She just found a ball and forgot to shake her head.

Me: I think Dave might have grown. He looks even more magnificent than usual. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: David is simply maturing.

Me: Is there any reason why he’s wearing a top hat this morning?

Nell: David and Beauregard are performing with the Welsh corgi choir.

Me: Not Oliver?

Nell: Opossums don’t sing. Everyone knows that.

Me: I didn’t. Do we know what they’re singing?

Nell: Swing, I expect. Beauregard loves jazz and David’s a big fan of Michael Bouvier.

Me: Don’t you mean Michael Bublé. The Canadian singer?

Nell: I do not. Michael is a Bouvier des Flandres herding dog and originally from Belgium. He’s an excellent singer, however, so David’s admiration for him is well justified.

Me: Won’t they need a Big Band?

Nell: Why do you think the Whippets Institute brought their instruments? Do keep up.

Me: I did wonder.

Nell: We’re expecting quite a crowd for Sunday Songs, actually.

Me: It is a bank holiday I suppose, so crowds are to be expected.

Nell: Yes, although I was hoping they wouldn’t be in our field.

Me: Babycakes Gillespie is going to make a fortune with his bagel cart. Everyone will be wanting one.

Nell: The street food stands should go down well, too.

Me: Street food stands?

Nell: Yes. Don’t you remember them from the Kevstival? Catch a Crêpe with Manuel and Pick a Prawn with Malcolm.

Me: Oh yes. Sorry.


A Fluffy Visitor

Me: Why are you looking so grumpy? Are your teeth still hurting?

Nell: They are a lot better today, thank you.

Me: So why the grumpy face?

Nell: What was that fluffy Golden Retriever doing in our front garden?

Me: That was Coco. Isn’t she gorgeous? So friendly and smiley. She lives with my brother and his family in Buckinghamshire. They popped in on their way to Cornwall.

Nell: And why were we all shut inside?

Me: We were worried you might bounce them.

Nell: Excuse me? I’m a senior Labrador recovering from an unpleasant procedure. I’m not bouncing anyone.

Me: No, but Dave and Harriet can be rather boisterous and little Mia was with them. We thought it might be too much.

Nell: It’s a sad day when one cannot even greet one’s guests.

Me: They were only staying for a cup of tea, Nell.

Nell: Were there scones?

Me: No.

Nell: That’s something, I suppose.

Me: It was really lovely to see them after all this time.

Nell: I expect it was. I wouldn’t know.

Me: You all came out to say goodbye and have some cuddles.

Nell: Coco drank out of David’s bowl.

Me: She was thirsty and hot.

Nell: Long fluffy hair will do that to an animal. Ask Gladys.

Me: Yes. I think Poppy is happier with shorter hair.

Nell: David wasn’t asked about his bowl.

Me: I’m sure he would have been fine about it.

Nell: Sharing one’s bowl is not something a Labrador does easily.

Me: Rubbish. You’re always licking each other’s bowls clean.

Nell: If you are referring to Tidy Bowls then that is something quite different.

Me: Tidy Bowls?

Nell: Yes, as I have said before, ‘A tidy bowl is a tidy mind.’

Me: Oh, I see. That explains everything. Sorry.


Cuddles from Tony

Me: It was lovely to see you having special cuddles with Tony. He was worried about you and relieved to see you looking so well.

Nell: Yes, although David tried to claim most of the cuddles for himself as usual.

Me: He can’t help it, Nell. He has an excess of love to give. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Well, I hope he doesn’t behave badly towards Toby the Puppy when we finally meet him.

Me: I think there might be a little jealousy. He struggles a little with sharing Tony’s affections.

Nell: Yes. I’ve already talked to David about that. Tony has enough love to go around. There’s plenty of room for David as well as Toby the Puppy. Who, by the way, actually lives with Tony and Sue.

Me: The trouble is Dave sees Tony as his person and when you see someone as your person then you sort of only want them for yourself.

Nell: Yes, I am aware of that.

Me: I’m your person, aren’t I?

Nell: You are, and so is Kev.

Me: I thought I might be slightly more your person than Kev.

Nell: Good grief. What were we just talking about? You are as bad as David.

Me: If you remember I dreamt about you before I met you so when I finally met you three months later it was clear that it was meant to be.

Nell: Stop right there. I chose you when you came to see us puppies. That’s all you need to know.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Fortunately Kev wasn’t even there.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: Or, it would have been a difficult decision.

Me: Would you have chosen Kev?

Nell: I’m just teasing you. I would have chosen both of you of course.

Me: Yes. Sorry.



Nell: Could you ask David to give me some space, please? I’ve got a few phone calls to make and I would prefer a little privacy.

Me: He’s on Caring Duties, Nell.

Nell: I really appreciate his kindness but he hasn’t left my side since I came home.

Me: He thinks something is going to happen to you if he lets you out of his sight. He watched over you all night.

Nell: I know. This is all your fault, of course.

Me: Mine?

Nell: You’re a dreadful worrier and you’ve passed it on to David. Just offer him a scone in the garden.

Me: It’s not scone time, Nell.

Nell: It certainly is. As soon as I’ve updated my WoofsApp group Rupert and I shall be enjoying a scone and a cup of Earl Grey.

Me: Knitwear Wolf is eating scones in the morning?

Nell: He asked me if I would care to share elevenses with him and I agreed.

Me: Isn’t elevenses usually shortbread?

Nell: Not today. After yesterday’s deprivation I am allowed to choose what I eat.

Me: Actually the idea of a scone at 11 is rather appealing.

Nell: I said Rupert and I.

Me: Oh yes.

Nell: So, did I miss anything while I was away?

Me: You were only away for 8hrs 30mins.

Nell: Did you time it?

Me: I might have.

Nell: Good grief. What were you all doing?

Me: We just waited, Nell. None of us could do anything much until we knew you were alright.

Nell: What about Glide with Gladys?

Me: It didn’t happen.

Nell: You mean the llamas didn’t dance?

Me: No. Not even a two toed shuffle.

Nell: It seems I really do mean an awful lot to you all.

Me: You’re the centre of our world. Sorry.


In Recovery

Me: How are you feeling? Poppy has been waiting by the window since you left.

Nell: How would you be feeling after an anaesthetic and a tooth scrape?

Me: It was a thorough clean and polish.

Nell: Thorough is the word.

Me: The vet says we can collect you at 5pm.

Nell: What am I supposed to do until then? There’s no television you know.

Me: I think you’re going to see Chloe for some extra pampering.

Nell: You do realise I had no breakfast.

Me: Nobody did.

Nell: I know perfectly well that everyone had breakfast as soon as Kev and I left this morning.

Me: It was a late breakfast.

Nell: I hope there wasn’t bacon.

Me: Of course not. The mere idea.

Nell: I saw the bacon in the fridge.

Me: Dave needed comforting. He’s been so worried about you.

Nell: I hope the bacon sandwich helped.

Me: You looked relaxed in the car enjoying the sun on your face. Kev took some photos.

Nell: That was for your benefit. I know what you’re like.

Me: I couldn’t write anything until I heard you were in recovery.

Nell: Of course you couldn’t. It’s called Conversations with Nell for a reason. You could have called me this morning.

Me: I didn’t think you would be feeling chatty before the procedure.

Nell: They took blood.

Me: They wanted to make sure everything was ok.

Nell: I’m expecting a proper dinner when I get home

Me: Poppy is preparing chicken and rice.

Nell: I would prefer roast beef and all the trimmings.

Me: You know that can’t happen, Nell. Just light meals until you are fully recovered.

Nell: A small scone with jam and cream then? Nobody makes a lighter scone than Poppy

Me: Good try but no scones. Sorry.


No need to make a fuss

Me: Dave is looking awfully serious for a Tuesday.

Nell: David is an uncle now. He has Huge Responsibilities.

Me: He’s been an uncle for weeks and weeks.

Nell: I know that but now Toby has moved down to Devon to live with Tony and Sue, David’s responsibilities have increased. He is involved.

Me: He can’t visit Toby. None of you can.

Nell: Ridiculous. I don’t see why a short visit can’t be arranged. I know for a fact that Tony and Sue would be absolutely delighted to see us. We can bring scones.

Me: Tony sees you almost every day, Nell, and it’s not happening. You all need to keep Toby safe and that means waiting until after his second vaccination.

Nell: Talking of safe, what is all this about taking my water away this evening and no breakfast tomorrow?

Me: You weren’t supposed to hear that.

Nell: Well, I did.

Me: You are going to the vets to have your teeth cleaned tomorrow morning.

Nell: I am not.

Me: You’ll feel so much better afterwards, Nell. Poppy did.

Nell: Poppy has been missing a few teeth ever since.

Me: That was unfortunate but it doesn’t mean it will happen to you.

Nell: You don’t know that.

Me: No, I don’t. Your teeth affect your whole well being, Nell. It is the right thing to do.

Nell: No breakfast at all? Not even toast?

Me: I’m afraid not. You’ll have something after it’s over though and Chloe is going to give you a light massage and some laser treatment.

Nell: Oh, good. That’s alright then.

Me: If it’s any consolation I shan’t be able to do anything until you are home safely.

Nell: Don’t be silly. It’s just teeth cleaning. No need to make a fuss.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Meet Toby the Puppy

Me: Isn’t Toby the Puppy gorgeous? I can’t wait to meet him.

Nell: Yes. He has the family good looks. He reminds me of a younger smaller David, although David was never really small.

Me: Look at the happiness on Sue’s face. It’s especially lovely to see considering the sad time she and Tony went through after losing Ollie.

Nell: Yes. Toby is a lucky boy to have such a loving family. Happy times are ahead.

Me: They are. Did I tell you Chris is hoping to fly over from Canada soon?

Nell: No.

Me: Maybe in October and he and I are hoping to visit Alice and the children in Germany.

Nell: So, I am right. Happy times are most definitely ahead for us all.

Me: Fingers crossed. After the last two years I am not counting my chickens.

Nell: Why on earth would you do that? You don’t have any chickens. Unless there is something you haven’t told me.

Me: Don’t worry it’s just a saying.

Nell: Good. I’m only just getting used to having a tiger in the tree house.

Me: It’s actually Oliver’s house.

Nell: Oliver and Beauregard are always together now. I can’t say a tiger would have immediately sprung to mind if I was looking for a friend for an opossum but it seems to work for them.

Me: There are lots of unlikely friendships though. Malcolm and Manuel. Princess and Our Penguin.

Nell: I think seals and penguins usually get along quite well and flamingos are very sociable of course.

Me: Yes, but Malcolm is awfully shy and Manuel can be rather loud at times, even for an octopus.

Nell: He’s from Barcelona.

Me: True. Am I your best friend, Nell?

Nell: You know you are. You and me. Always.

Me: Yes. Sorry.



Me: Can I share something with you on this lovely sunny Sunday morning?

Nell: Here we go.

Me: You are such a wonderful dog, Nell. Every time I look at you my heart fills with love. I am so lucky to have you in my life.

Nell: Are you sure you only had boiled eggs for breakfast?

Me: Yes, with soldiers. Why?

Nell: You seem a little emotional to me.

Me: I was thinking about Tony and Sue collecting Toby the Puppy today and what a precious time it is when you first bring your dog home.

Nell: Yes, it is for us too. Whether puppy, or adult dog, we all need a home and a family.

Me: There has been a lot in the media recently about animals being part of the family.

Nell: Well, that goes without saying.

Me: Maybe it needs to be said more.

Nell: Not everybody has tigers, penguins, alpacas and flamingos in their family, of course.

Me: Or llamas in the kitchen.

Nell: What are they doing in the kitchen?

Me: Eating buttered toast.

Nell: They are supposed to be dancing at Sunday Songs in a few minutes.

Me: It’s only a few slices, Nell and a bowl of tea.

Nell: No eggs?

Me: Just a little bit of scrambled egg on the side.

Nell: You do realise that tummy aches are inevitable now. Gladys is going to be furious.

Me: Gladys is having a croissant and a cappuccino with The Cat.

Nell: The Cat doesn’t drink cappuccino and it certainly doesn’t eat breakfast.

Me: It’s just having an espresso.

Nell: That’s a relief. I thought the world had gone mad for a moment.

Me: I quite like a little bit of eccentricity now and again.

Nell: Only now and again?

Me: Yes. Sorry.