Kev comes home

Me: Can I just say a huge thank you to everyone for your lovely birthday messages and get well wishes for Kev. Your support really means a lot.

Nell: It does.

Me: It was quite a day, wasn’t it?

Nell: It certainly was. The main thing is that Kev is home and the operation went well.

Me: Yes, I couldn’t concentrate on anything until I heard he was safe.

Nell: None of us could. David spent most of the day waiting at the front door.

Me: And Poppy looking out of the window.

Nell: FaceTiming with Alice and the grandchildren and Chris and Shannon was lovely.

Me: Yes, it was. Andre made a cake and the children had party hats and sparklers. It felt like I was there with them.

Nell: It was kind of Charlotte and Scarlett to call by.

Me: She knew I would be worrying.

Nell: Harriet behaved shamelessly. Throwing herself at Scarlett like that.

Me: I think everyone got involved.

Nell: We were all a little emotional.

Me: Talking of emotional, I’ve never seen you as overcome as you were when Kev came through the door.

Nell: He means the world to me.

Me: I know he does.

Nell: I had been strong all day but when I actually saw him and knew he was safely home I had to let my emotions run free.

Me: I completely understand. I was exactly the same.

Nell: Now, yesterday wasn’t a proper birthday so we are extending it into today.

Me: How wonderful.

Nell: There will be lots of cuddles and cake and steak and chips for dinner.

Me: That’s Kev’s favourite meal.

Nell: Yes. We thought that’s what you would want.

Me: You were right. You know me so well.

Nell: We are family.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


False Pretences

Me: Don’t look at me like that.

Nell: Poppy and I were lured to the vets under false pretences.

Me: I didn’t want to worry you.

Nell: I was expecting warm water walking and a massage with Chloe. Not sharp needles and nasty kennel cough medicine.

Me: You have to have your yearly boosters, Nell. We need to keep you safe.

Nell: Poppy couldn’t believe it when they led me away.

Me: I know. She just stared out of the window.

Nell: I told her she was having a massage too.

Me: I see.

Nell: What about Dave and Harriet?

Me: They had their vaccinations a few days ago.

Nell: Why didn’t they say anything?

Me: I asked them not to.

Nell: How could you put David in a position like that? Harriet is used to subterfuge. It’s her job as a spy. But David hates any kind of deceit.

Me: I know. My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy wears his heart on his sleeve.

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous. David doesn’t wear sleeves.

Me: It’s just a saying. Talking of hearts. The vet says you have a really strong heart and you are doing ever so well on your monthly injections.

Nell: That’s good to hear.

Me: Both Dave and Harriet are in perfect condition and at their correct weight.

Nell: Excellent. And Poppy?

Me: I’m not sure. I think Poppy may have caused a bit of a rumpus.

Nell: A rumpus?

Me: Yes. I’m not sure about her weight. They brought her back to the car at high speed after her inoculations.

Nell: Poppy doesn’t like any poking or prodding.

Me: No, unless she is doing it. Thank goodness she didn’t have her sword.

Nell: She says she is taking it with her next time.

Me: Oh dear. Sorry.


It’s Sara’s Birthday

Nell: Now, it’s your birthday today.

Me: I sort of wish it wasn’t to be honest.

Nell: I know it’s all a little bit difficult and worrying because of Kev’s operation later.

Me: Yes, it is. I can’t really concentrate on anything at the moment.

Nell: It’s still your birthday, however, and there is nothing you can do about it, so just make the most of it.

Me: I will try.

Nell: Even if this isn’t perhaps the most ideal kind of birthday there will still be cake and candles and lots of love.

Me: Yes.

Nell: And also one of my poems.

Me: Thank you.

Nell: Would you like to hear it now?

Me: I would like that very much.

Nell: ‘Today is an odd sort of memorable day

Quite hard to describe in a sensible way.

It’s a worrying time

With hospitals and such

When you need people to know

You love them so much.

It is also the birthday of someone dear to us all,

Someone round and romantic

And really quite small.

Someone whimsically witty

But a little bit shy

Who loves making us laugh

And making us cry.

Someone who never

Misses a day

Of Conversations with Nell

Who has so much to say.

So Happy Birthday dear Sara

You know this is true

We love who you are

And we love what you do.’

Me: Oh, thank you, Nell. I love what I do too and it means so much to me that other people enjoy my writing.

Nell: Kev is going to be fine.

Me: Yes.

Nell: And when you bring him home we will all celebrate together.

Me: Yes.

Nell: In the meantime let’s enjoy Sunday Songs with the Welsh corgi choir and a large slice of birthday cake.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Happy Birthday Shannon

Me: It’s Shannon’s birthday today. Look how cold and snowy it is in Toronto.

Nell: They are lovely photos.

Me: Happy Birthday Shannon. Let’s hope we finally get to see each other again soon. It’s been far too long.

Nell: Young Marvin certainly seems to be wrapped up warmly.

Me: Yes, it is wonderful to see him now when you think of what a difficult start in life he had.

Nell: Chris and Shannon changed his world when they rescued him.

Me: Darling Marv.

Nell: Now, Marvin and I have been working hard on a little poem for Shannon.

Me: How lovely.

Nell: Would you like to hear it?

Me: Very much.

Nell: ‘Hi, this is Marvin calling from Toronto

And a life full of cuddles and love and snow.’

Me: There’s plenty of all of those.

Nell: May I continue?

Me: Of course.

Nell: ‘The reason for my happiness is quite clear to me,

It’s down to Dad Chris and Shannon my mommy.’

Me: Isn’t it mummy?

Nell: Marvin is from North America. It is mom not mum there.

Me: Oh yes.

Nell: ‘What I want to say now,

Is both heartfelt and true,

Happy Birthday Mommy Shannon

I truly love you.

You’re the sweetest of moms there ever could be.

You’re my safe place to go.

You mean everything to me.

So have a wonderful birthday

Full of laughter and joy

And cuddles from Chris

And Marvin, your boy.’

Me: What a sweet poem. I’m sure Shannon will love it.

Nell: Yes, Marvin worked very hard on getting it just right for her.

Me: It’s all about love and family, isn’t it?

Nell: Yes, it is. And even if they are far away we always carry them with us in our hearts. So, no tears.

Me: Yes. Sorry.



Me: What’s going on?

Nell: The puppies are auditioning for the role of Protectors.

Me: Protectors?

Nell: Yes, Protectors of Kev after his operation. He will need constant surveillance so it’s all paws on deck.

Me: Dave seems to be auditioning without Kev being there at all.

Nell: Yes. I thought I would start him off slowly with some cushions but look at him. Half on the sofa and half off.

Me: I think he’s just trying to be careful, Nell. It’s actually quite a good try.

Nell: No, it isn’t. Look at him climbing right on top of Kev.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. At least he made him laugh.

Nell: I’m not sure he’s supposed to laugh.

Me: You’re right. I’d forgotten. I know Harriet is just resting her head on him but even that might be a little too much at first.

Nell: They are supposed to stay near and not crowd. They have clear instructions. I don’t know why they can’t just follow them.

Me: I’m afraid the puppies are natural snugglers.

Nell: This is going to be a job for the lighter animals.

Me: Do you mean Gladys?

Nell: Are you insane? We don’t want Kev being used as a trampoline. You’ll be suggesting the llamas next.

Me: I wouldn’t be that silly, although they are wearing pyjamas which is rather apt. What about Malcolm?

Nell: Malcolm has lovely manners so he’s a definite possible.

Me: I know Princess is eager to help.

Nell: We can’t have her clapping at Kev all day. He’ll never get any rest.

Me: It’s a seal thing.

Nell: This is a job for Henry and Horst.

Me: What about you?

Nell: I’m Chief Protector of course. I shan’t be leaving his side. Do keep up.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Happy Birthday Tony

Me: It’s Tony the Postman’s birthday today so I thought we should all wish him a very Happy Birthday.

Nell: Yes, Happy Birthday Tony. We would be doing this in person, of course, if he wasn’t away on holiday.

Me: Everybody needs a holiday, Nell. Tony works very hard. He will be back soon.

Nell: Toby is having a holiday with Tony and Sue’s daughter and family while they are away.

Me: Is he?

Nell: Yes, he was telling David about it on WoofsApp.

Me: I hope he’s behaving himself. Tony says he can be a bit of a scallywag. Stealing Sue’s knitting and Tony’s socks.

Nell: I’m afraid he may have inherited that from his Uncle David along with his good looks. David does have a penchant for socks.

Me: He looks an awful lot like Dave, doesn’t he? Sweet boy.

Nell: This is a week of birthdays.

Me: Yes, it is.

Nell: Tony’s today, Shannon’s birthday on Friday and yours on Sunday.

Me: I’m not really going to be celebrating my birthday this year, Nell.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: I’m afraid Kev has to go into hospital on Sunday for another operation so I will driving to and fro to Plymouth.

Nell: Oh dear.

Me: We are hoping he can come home the same day but I will need to look after him, so no partying.

Nell: There can still be cake, you know.

Me: Yes.

Nell: And cuddles.

Me: That would be nice.

Nell: Poppy will cook you something tasty.

Me: I’m not sure Kev will be hungry.

Nell: You have to eat.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Why didn’t you tell me about this before?

Me: I didn’t want to worry you.

Nell: That’s what I’m here for. You and me. Always. Remember?

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Dave is feeling a little low

Me: Manuel says Dave refused a second pancake.

Nell: He didn’t want any cereal either.

Me: Maybe he’s coming down with something after all the excitement of the last week?

Nell: No, it’s because of Sally.

Me: Sally?

Nell: Yes. She’s going back to London.

Me: Oh dear. Why?

Nell: Her mission was successful. The cubs are safe. In fact Beauregard is taking Tigerlily home to his brother today.

Me: Roary will miss her.

Nell: Yes, he will. Fortunately, he has Oliver to play with.

Me: Is Oliver happy about that? Only opossums don’t usually have lions as playmates.

Nell: Oliver has a tiger as a best friend. I’m sure he can deal with a lion cub.

Me: I expect Mrs King is keeping an eye on everything.

Nell: She certainly is. She’s not letting Roary out of her sight.

Me: What about Lionel King and the rooks?

Nell: The Royal Owl Force are continuing to monitor their activities.

Me: My poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He’s going to miss Sally dreadfully.

Nell: Yes. Long distance relationships aren’t easy.

Me: Have you ever had one?

Nell: There was a rather attractive Irish Wolfhound from Belfast I dated for a while in my youth, but it never really worked.

Me: Too far away?

Nell: Too hairy. I’m not keen on beards.

Me: I see.

Nell: Talking of hairy, my friend Dorothy said two rather unkempt bears have been spotted on Dartmoor.

Me: Gosh. I didn’t know there were wild bears roaming around.

Nell: They aren’t wild. They’ve got rucksacks on their backs and good sturdy boots.

Me: Are bears even allowed on Dartmoor?

Nell: Of course. Well behaved walkers are always welcome.

Me: I’m going to call them the Beary Hikers. See what I did there?

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Sorry.


Happiness is

Me: Happiness is an interesting thing, isn’t it?

Nell: Here we go.

Me: You love to go down to the beach.

Nell: Yes, I do.

Me: But it’s a controlled sort of happiness.

Nell: What are you talking about?

Me: A gentle amble, sand under your paws, sniff the seaweed sort of feeling.

Nell: Yes, I suppose it is.

Me: You could just as easily be by the river. In fact I think you enjoy paddling in the river more.

Nell: I like the fact that I can cool my paws while drinking the cool, clear water.

Me: And our river walk is near the Garden Centre so there’s usually time for tea and a slice of cake.

Nell: Life is always better with cake.

Me: For Harriet going to the beach is her absolute heaven. It’s an ears back, paw raised, big smile happiness.

Nell: Yes.

Me: It’s a dashing into the sea, chasing the Beefies, surfing the waves kind of joy.

Nell: Harriet certainly loves the sea.

Me: It’s like her home. She sings all the way there.

Nell: I wish she wouldn’t do that.

Me: It is a little screechy.

Nell: And David doesn’t have to join in.

Me: My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy sort of hums. It’s adorable.

Nell: If you say so.

Me: I’m sure Harriet is really a merdog.

Nell: There’s no such thing.

Me: You don’t know that.

Nell: I most certainly do. Stop getting carried away.

Me: I bet Arctic Bob has seen a few merdogs in his time as a travelling walrus.

Nell: Don’t go bothering Arctic Bob with your nonsense. He’s enjoying a mackerel breakfast.

Me: A mackerel breakfast is probably Arctic Bob’s idea of happiness.

Nell: Only if he’s allowed to eat it in peace.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Home Again

Me: Look at my Big Brave Beautiful Boy enjoying special cuddles with Kev.

Nell: David has been through an extremely traumatic time.

Me: It’s wonderful to be home again. Where are Henry and Horst?

Nell: Enjoying a crisp leaf salad in the kitchen with Poppy. Richly deserved.

Me: They’re a pair of superheroes. Is the hypnotised Beefy still here?

Nell: No. Henry and Horst took George out of his trance as soon as he dropped them home. He won’t remember a thing.

Me: Do we know he’s called George, or did you just make that up?

Nell: Excuse me? I think you’ll find I am anchored in reality. Unlike some. George introduced himself to Henry and Horst when they parachuted onto him.

Me: How polite.

Nell: Yes, they said he has impeccable manners.

Me: Well, George was certainly a great help escorting us down to the sea tractor. None of the rooks questioned a Beefy.

Nell: What about Lionel?

Me: We waited behind a walrus until he’d gone.

Nell: Did you say walrus?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Was it Arctic Bob?

Me: No. I think it was a tourist. It was carrying a map.

Nell: Fair enough.

Me: It was lovely to see Knitwear Wolf waiting for us on his motorbike.

Nell: Did you ride in the sidecar?

Me: I did. Dave sat behind Rupert. How are the darling cubs?

Nell: They’ve been staying up in the treehouse with Beauregard and Mrs King since they got back but they’re allowed to join in Sunday Songs today.

Me: I hope they’re allowed some of Poppy’s roast dinner later.

Nell: Of course. We shall all dine together to celebrate everyone’s safe return.

Me: I quite enjoyed playing a famous author.

Nell: Well, keep writing then and you may become one.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


You’re really not going to believe this.

Nell: I’m down on our beach. Beefy footprints everywhere as usual. Any news?

Me: You’re not going to believe this.

Nell: Go on.

Me: Just now there was a knock on our door.

Nell: Did you open it?

Me: No, because we’re locked in.

Nell: Oh yes.

Me: I said, ‘I’m a famous author with a giant singing labrador and we are locked in. Could you open the door?’

Nell: Why all the extra information?

Me: I’m undercover, Nell. They replied, ‘Your room can only be locked from the inside, madam. Kindly open your balcony door and I’ll fly round and open it for you.’

Nell: Wait a minute. You locked yourselves in?

Me: The rooks told us to.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Anyway, the next moment a Beefy flew in. And that isn’t even the strange part.

Nell: It isn’t?

Me: It had really heavy eyebrows.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: And it was smiling.

Nell: Have you been sampling the mini bar again?

Me: No. Guess what happened next.

Nell: I’d rather not.

Me: The eyebrows fell off and it was Henry and Horst.

Nell: Really?

Me: Yes. When Dave threw his hat in the air they activated their parachutes.

Nell: Their what?

Me: They always wear them when they are on manoeuvres. Anyway, they floated down and landed on a Beefy.

Nell: As one does.

Me: Now, unbeknownst to most.

Nell: Good word.

Me: Thank you. Henry and Horst are hypnotists. Learnt from their time with The Great Mutliano.

Nell: Of course.

Me: So they whispered in the Beefy’s ears and to cut a long story short it’s helping us escape.

Nell: Well, you’d better get a move on because Lionel King has just been spotted crossing to the island on the sea tractor.

Me: Yes. Sorry.