You Might Be Right

Me: I’ve been doing some thinking.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: The good thing about living so close to the sea is it’s always lovely whatever the weather.

Nell: It’s actually quite awful in the rain.

Me: No, it isn’t. A walk along the beach can still be really invigorating. The gentle caress of summer rain on your face.

Nell: Good grief. Why are we discussing rain? It wasn’t raining when we were on the beach.

Me: No, but it might have been.

Nell: Well, a Beefy might have delivered our Chinese takeaway yesterday.

Me: Was it Terry?

Nell: No, Terry works for Book a Beefy.

Me: Do you think the Beefies are running our takeaway now?

Nell: No, I do not. I think along with many others the current situation has forced some of the Beefies to diversify.

Me: Are you thinking of going into politics?

Nell: What on earth made you say that? We were discussing a gang of seagulls.

Me: It’s just recently you’ve been making comments about the economic crisis and the current situation.

Nell: Not everyone discusses the weather.

Me: Almost everyone does.

Nell: True.

Me: Was the Beefy wearing a hat?

Nell: Yes. A baseball cap.

Me: It was probably trying to look less like a Beefy.

Nell: Possibly.

Me: Because if you opened the door to a seagull carrying a bag of Chinese takeaway you might jump to the wrong conclusion.

Nell: You certainly might.

Me: You might think it was stolen.

Nell: It was our order and we paid for it over the phone.

Me: Oh yes.

Nell: And Beefies don’t steal and share.

Me: Apart from mackerel.

Nell: Throwing a fish at someone isn’t sharing even if it does end up in a mackerel pate.

Me: You might be right. Sorry.


Waiting for Nell

Me: You know when you go to Chloe for your massage and hydrotherapy sessions?

Nell: Yes, I lost another 600g by the way, so only just over a kilo to go before this horrendous diet can be relaxed.

Me: That’s marvellous news.

Nell: In fact I thought I might have a little shortbread with my mid morning Earl Grey to celebrate.

Me: No. Try and stay strong. You’re nearly at your ideal weight.

Nell: A Life without Treats is a Room without Light.

Me: That’s rather profound for a Wednesday morning.

Nell: I thought so too. Anyway, what did you want to say about my hydrotherapy sessions with Chloe?

Me: Nobody likes you going. All they do is wait for you to come back.

Nell: That’s touching but understandable. I’m the lynchpin of this family. They are bound to feel a little lost without me.

Me: Dave and Harriet are particularly down. She hangs her head and he has such an expressively sad back.

Nell: I beg your pardon? Backs can’t be expressive.

Me: Dave’s can. You should see it, Nell. It’s all big and round and sad.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Poppy waits in an alert way.

Nell: Of course.

Me: It’s more watching than waiting. There’s no relaxing involved.

Nell: Poppy only has two settings. Full on or Full off.

Me: Whereas the puppies are hopelessly devastated.

Nell: I’m only gone for an hour and I do this every two weeks.

Me: Just telling it like it is.

Nell: Now that is something we both know you never do if given half the chance.

Me: Stories need embellishing sometimes.

Nell: Less of the hopelessly devastated this time, please. Let’s leave that for the real world. There’s enough going on out there at the moment.

Me: You’re right. Sorry.


Meeting Friends at The Beach

Me: What an exciting trip to the beach. Who knew we would bump into our friends from Oxfordshire?

Nell: You did, because you told Terry and Marian we’d be there.

Me: We thought it would be nice for you to finally meet Shelagh and Sprout.

Nell: Shelagh is as wild as Harriet. Did you see them running in and out of the waves with careless abandon?

Me: Sometimes you need to care less. Life is too full of worry.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: It’s so invigorating to feel the wind in your hair and the salt on your skin as you dive into the waves.

Nell: Is it though?

Me: I love swimming with you all.

Nell: I’m not sure you should be diving into the waves at your time of life.

Me: Maybe not, but Harriet absolutely revels in it.

Nell: David was concerned.

Me: I know. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He’s probably pining for Sally.

Nell: David is dealing with his long distance relationship like a mature Affianced Animal and Rupert is guiding him.

Me: I’m glad.

Nell: Talking of guidance, Sprout is only 8 months old so I’ve told her she can join my Young Animal Mentoring Group.

Me: But she lives in Oxfordshire.

Nell: It’s all on Zoom. How do you think Marvin is a member?

Me: Oh yes.

Nell: Talking of Marvin, he will need extra mentoring in the next few weeks.

Me: Why?

Nell: Chris and Shannon are moving to a new apartment in Toronto and then Chris is flying over here.

Me: I know. Two weeks today I will have my children and grandchildren all home again. I am so excited I could burst.

Nell: Please don’t.

Me: I can’t believe it’s finally happening.

Nell: Well, it is.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


It’s Time to Relax, For Some

Nell: Why is Cousin Boo holding a carrot?

Me: He was hoping to help Poppy in the kitchen. Look how proud he is. Bless him.

Nell: Well, Poppy is sleeping in the yellow chair and if I were Boo I would let her be.

Me: Okay.

Nell: Malcolm and Manuel are taking over today so he can help them. Poppy deserves a day off.

Me: She must be exhausted.

Nell: Yes. It’s been an extremely busy weekend.

Me: It was lovely though, wasn’t it?

Nell: It was.

Me: Where’s Dave?

Nell: He’s gone to take Sally to the station with Rupert. She has to get back to London.

Me: On Knitwear’s Wolf’s motorbike?

Nell: Yes. David is riding behind Rupert and Sally is in the sidecar.

Me: He’s going to feel a little low when he gets back. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: David has no time for that. He’s an engaged animal with responsibilities.

Me: What responsibilities?

Nell: He must start planning his future.

Me: Can’t he just relax a bit first?

Nell: Certainly not.

Me: Poppy’s an engaged animal and she’s asleep.

Nell: Poppy has been engaged to John the Doberman for years. It’s different.

Me: Do you think they will ever marry?

Nell: No. I’m afraid she isn’t the marrying kind.

Me: Why did she get engaged in the first place?

Nell: She’s fond of John and he keeps other suitors at bay.

Me: Like Babycakes Gillespie?

Nell: Yes. That pug has been carrying a bagel for Poppy for quite some time now.

Me: Don’t you mean torch?

Nell: No. Why would Poppy want a torch with her morning coffee?

Me: It’s just a saying.

Nell: A saying won’t keep the wolf from the door.

Me: Is Knitwear Wolf back then?

Nell: Never mind.

Me: Sorry.


Poppy Gets Carried Away and David is Amazed

Nell: Well, that was an eventful day.

Me: And Poppy was the star.

Nell: In so many ways.

Me: Dave won’t stop talking about Poppy’s amazing Paddling Pool Trick. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Poppy had a paddle and jumped out. I don’t understand what was so amazing about that.

Me: Neither do I, but Dave loved it. He watched her every move and then stood there for ages just gazing at the empty pool in wonderment.

Nell: He saw her jump out.

Me: We all did.

Nell: Personally, I thought the llama lassoing was far more impressive.

Me: I’m not sure the llamas would agree. Was Alejandro supposed to be lassoed?

Nell: Llamas and alpacas are easily confused.

Me: Alejandro was definitely confused when the rope went round his neck.

Nell: I meant people mix them up.

Me: Poppy doesn’t.

Nell: No. She can get carried away, however. Why else lasso a corgi?

Me: I was glad I was watching from far away. I don’t think anyone was safe.

Nell: At least it made your sisters laugh.

Me: Yes, and the cake was delicious.

Nell: Now, what’s your opinion on Yorkshire Puddings?

Me: Love them.

Nell: Is two per animal enough?

Me: Dave might need four and Henry and Horst might not even manage one between them.

Nell: Henry and Horst are dining on leaf salad with the other insects.

Me: Two should do then with extras just in case.

Nell: In case of what?

Me: Mistakes.

Nell: Where’s your heart?

Me: On my sleeve?

Nell: I shall ignore that. We’re all wearing hearts to Sunday Songs in celebration of David and Sally’s engagement.

Me: I wondered why you were wearing a medallion.

Nell: It’s a necklace. Labradors don’t wear medallions. We aren’t bull dogs.

Me: No. Sorry.


Toby Turns One and Someone Quite Unexpected Performs

Me: Oh no. We forgot Toby’s birthday. He turned one yesterday.

Nell: No need to worry. Toby had a marvellous day with Tony and Sue.

Me: I remember when he was just a puppy.

Nell: Well, now he’s a dashing young Labrador who’s happy about his Uncle David’s engagement.

Me: Talking of engagements, did I see a pair of turtle doves outside?

Nell: You mean Kylie and Jason? Those two always turn up at the merest hint of romance.

Me: Do they?

Nell: Yes. I expect we’re going to have to listen to them singing that song all day now.

Me: ‘Especially For You’?

Nell: No. ‘Feathery We Coo’.

Me: That doesn’t even make sense.

Nell: It’s a huge hit and Malcolm loves it.

Me: Does he?

Nell: Yes, they sang it at his wedding to Susan.

Me: Have we got any other music arranged?

Nell: The Welsh Corgi Choir will be performing tomorrow at a love themed Sunday Songs.

Me: Perfect.

Nell: And apparently someone rather extraordinary will be performing this evening.

Me: I hope it’s Dave.

Nell: David hasn’t stopped singing since Sally said ‘Yes’. Anyway, it’s someone quite unexpected.

Me: Maybe it’s Lady Baba the singing sheep?

Nell: No, she’s on tour.

Me: Or The Rolling Bones?

Nell: Don’t be silly. They only do stadiums.

Me: Oh Nell. Look at the line-up. ‘George Jones the country singing opossum.’

Nell: Oliver asked him to fly over. He must have agreed.

Me: That’s not the unexpected bit.

Nell: ‘Supporting Act: Poppy Lee Martin and her Line Dancing Llamas.’

Me: That must be why she’s out in the field.

Nell: Are those cowboy boots?

Me: Yes.

Nell: And is that a ten gallon hat?

Me: It certainly is.

Nell: Did Poppy just lasso a llama?

Me: I’m afraid so. Sorry.


Cropping and Cakes

Me: That’s the photo of us that Facebook cropped.

Nell: I thought everyone should be able to see it properly.

Me: Thank you. I spent hours yesterday afternoon trying to find someone to help me get it uncropped.

Nell: I know. Harriet texted me on WoofsApp while Sally and I were enjoying our cream tea.

Me: Hang on a minute. Were you at The Cottage Hotel?

Nell: Yes.

Me: Without me?

Nell: May I point out that you attend a Writing Retreat there twice a year and I have never been invited. Not once.

Me: Still, you could have told me you were going there. It’s my favourite place.

Nell: Sally and I had things to discuss and we wanted to do it privately.

Me: Without me?

Nell: Without anyone. And stop repeating yourself.

Me: What were you discussing?

Nell: Didn’t I just say it was private?

Me: Yes, but it’s only me.

Nell: It’s never only you and you know it.

Me: Were you talking about Dave?

Nell: David certainly came into the conversation.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He is so proud of being an engaged animal.

Nell: As he should be. Now, what do you think your sister Charlotte would feel about making her birthday weekend into a joint celebration of David and Sally’s engagement?

Me: I’m sure she’ll be fine. Our little sister Alex is coming to stay and Naughty Nigel and Boo so they can join in.

Nell: Which is exactly what I told Sally. She has to go back to London on Monday so this weekend would be perfect.

Me: Does Poppy know? We’ll need two cakes.

Nell: Not yet. You should probably tell her soon.

Me: Why me?

Nell: Why not? You’re the one who wanted to be involved.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


That’s What Mothers Do

Me: I admire you, Nell.

Nell: Well, that’s extremely kind of you.

Me: You have the patience of a saint.

Nell: I wouldn’t go that far. You can get a little carried away at times but conversations with you are still enjoyable.

Me: I wasn’t talking about me.

Nell: Weren’t you?

Me: No. I was talking about after walk drinks.

Nell: Are we having a cocktail party? We were discussing what to do to celebrate David and Sally’s engagement but nobody mentioned cocktails, as far as I know.

Me: I meant the big bowl of water you all share down on the beach when we’ve been for our walk.

Nell: Oh, I see.

Me: You always end up drinking last.

Nell: Yes, that’s what mothers do. You know that.

Me: And Dave drinks the whole time.

Nell: David is a large animal. He needs more than others.

Me: And you just sit there patiently waiting your turn.

Nell: Of course I do.

Me: Even Poppy pushes her way in.

Nell: Poppy doesn’t like to wait for anyone.

Me: And Harriet is straight in there.

Nell: Harriet has good survival instincts.

Me: Don’t you ever worry there won’t be any water left for you?

Nell: Of course not. Kev would never let that happen.

Me: But David could drink the bowl dry.

Nell: No, he couldn’t.

Me: How do you know?

Nell: Because Kev always keeps fresh water back for me to drink quietly when the others get in the car.

Me: I thought it was just luck that he still had some water left over.

Nell: There’s no luck about it. I just need to be patient.

Me: I always wait to drink my water too.

Nell: I know. As I said before, that’s what mothers do.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Tony is Back and Dave has Big News

Me: It’s good to see Tony back again.

Nell: It is. Did you notice David whisper something in Tony’s ear?

Me: I did. He allowed you and Harriet to greet Tony first though. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: It was the action of an affianced animal, if you ask me.

Me: Affianced? Do you mean what I think you mean?

Nell: Why don’t you ask me?

Me: Did Sally say yes?

Nell: She did.

Me: Dave and Sally are engaged?

Nell: They are.

Me: That’s wonderful news. Tell me everything.

Nell: Well, there were a few hiccups on the way.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Poppy packed enough food for an army so the hamper was very heavy.

Me: I can imagine.

Nell: David had to keep stopping and every time he did Sally insisted he fortified himself with a drink and a small snack.

Me: Dave doesn’t do small.

Nell: Quite. At least the hamper became progressively lighter.

Me: True.

Nell: They managed to find a lovely secluded part of the beach.

Me: Good.

Nell: With room for the Welsh Corgi Choir, Princess and Our Penguin.

Me: I beg your pardon?

Nell: You need background singing when you’re proposing, along with someone to film it and an enthusiastic clapper.

Me: Do you?

Nell: You do if you’re David. Anyway, it was all going well until he got down on bended front legs to propose.

Me: What happened?

Nell: He ended up with his bottom in the air.

Me: I’ve seen him do that before. It’s adorable.

Nell: Fortunately Sally thought so too and said ‘A thousand times yes, darling Davey.’

Me: Are you sure you weren’t there? You seem to know everything.

Nell: It’s trending on YouChewed. Just search for ‘Bottoms up’ and you’ll find it.

Me: Right. Sorry.


Summer Solstice

Me: Another glorious day down on the beach.

Nell: Yes, and today is the Summer Solstice. The longest day of the year.

Me: Is it Midsummer’s Day?

Nell: No, that’s on 24th June.

Me: Odd because summer has only just started.

Nell: Yes.

Me: I enjoyed swimming with you all.

Nell: I know.

Me: Harriet kept circling me.

Nell: She was excited.

Me: And you even joined in for a quick paddle.

Nell: I like to keep an eye on you.

Me: The water was amazingly warm.

Nell: We were swimming on the river side. It’s always warmer there.

Me: I’m glad I didn’t notice the fish.

Nell: Fish don’t like to be noticed.

Me: Talking of being noticed, it’s good that Beauregard doesn’t need to come with us anymore.

Nell: Henry and Horst were right. The mere mention of George Jones and the snakes fled.

Me: Maybe they don’t enjoy country music?

Nell: Anyway, I have some extremely exciting news.

Me: You probably shouldn’t tell me then.

Nell: It’s about David and Sally.

Me: Has he proposed?

Nell: Not yet but he told Poppy that he’s going to.

Me: Why Poppy?

Nell: She’s preparing a romantic picnic.

Me: Heart shaped sandwiches and meringue kisses?

Nell: I have no idea but there will be a full hamper. David wants to propose on the beach so he will carry it down there.

Me: I’m a bit worried about the full hamper.

Nell: Why? David is a strong animal.

Me: It might not be full by the time they get there.

Nell: True.

Me: And Dave might be so full that he can’t even speak, let alone propose.

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous.

Me: I suppose he could write ‘Marry Me’ in the sand, if necessary.

Nell: It won’t be.

Me: No. Sorry.