A Rainy Sunday

Me: Have you seen the puppies?

Nell: They’re under the kitchen table with Poppy.

Me: Why?

Nell: She got rather wet collecting eggs in the rain for this morning’s full English breakfast and needed warming up.

Me: I didn’t know we had chickens.

Nell: We don’t but the farm next door does. Where did you think we’ve been getting all our fresh eggs from?

Me: A basket outside the front door.

Nell; Well, yes that’s where Jim usually leaves them but he’s away.

Me: Where has he gone?

Nell: I don’t know.

Me: When is he coming back?

Nell: I don’t know that either.

Me: Harriet won’t like it.

Nell: No, she won’t. Could you stop interrogating me, please? It’s Sunday morning and I haven’t even finished my Earl Grey tea.

Me: Breakfast is going to be late if Poppy is snuggling with the puppies.

Nell: You know perfectly well that we have two breakfasts on a Sunday. One before Sunday Songs and one afterwards.

Me: I thought that was Elevenses.

Nell: It is. Extended Elevenses today as there will be no lunch.

Me: No lunch?

Nell: Nobody needs lunch after a full English breakfast.

Me: Dave does.

Nell: David can make a couple of bacon sandwiches for later then. Why were you looking for the puppies? And I wish you would stop calling them that.

Me: I thought they might like to watch the ‘Neighbours Finale’ with me.

Nell: You’ve seen it already.

Me: I know but I could watch it again. It’s the end of an era. My family have been following that soap for 37 years. I can’t believe it’s over.

Nell: Nothing lasts for ever.

Me: No.

Nell: Except for ‘The Archers’. Would you like to listen to the Omnibus with me?

Me: Yes, please. Sorry.


Happy Anniversary

Me: Why are you looking at me like that?

Nell: Where’s your lace collar?

Me: I told you I wasn’t wearing one.

Nell: It’s your wedding anniversary.

Me: Yes, and I can do no wrong.

Nell: Doing no wrong is for birthdays only.

Me: You know our Romantic Dinner?

Nell: Yes.

Me: It doesn’t involve the flamenco, does it?

Nell: Why?

Me: I thought I saw Gladys and the llamas dancing flamenco in the field.

Nell: Good.

Me: Is it, though? What has Spain got to do with Kev and I?

Nell: Spanish is the language of love.

Me: I think that’s French.

Nell: David can’t sing in French so you’re just going to have to go with Spanish.

Me: What’s Dave got to do with it?

Nell: David will be singing some of the Gipsy Kings greatest hits accompanied by Manuel on the guitar. He’s an excellent player.

Me: He’s from Barcelona.

Nell: It’s all in the tentacles, according to Manuel.

Me; All we need now is the Welsh Corgi Choir waving castanets.

Nell: They’re not arriving until later.

Me: I was hoping for a quiet evening with Kev, not a Spanish fiesta.

Nell: Poppy is making paella.

Me: Will there be garlic prawns? They’re Kev’s favourite.

Nell: Of course. You will dine in the field by candlelight.

Me: Alone?

Nell: Don’t be silly. David will sing while you eat and everyone else will watch.

Me: Everyone else?

Nell: The Welsh Corgi Choir, Gladys and the llamas and us. I’ve told you this.

Me: So we’re going have a romantic dinner in a field surrounded by animals waiting for us to finish so the fiesta can begin?

Nell: Yes, just concentrate on eating quickly.

Me: Right.

Nell: And you’ll be surrounded by love, by the way.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


The Power of Affection and 13 means Lace

Me: Cuddles with Tony is the highlight of Dave’s day.

Nell: The power of Affection should not be underestimated. I, myself, look forward to my evening Cuddles with Kev enormously.

Me: I know you do. If I’m not out of my armchair and up to bed by 10pm you start growling at me.

Nell: The armchair is mine from 10pm. Kev and I need some quality time together.

Me: What if I want to watch something on television?

Nell: Don’t be silly. You get tired at around 9pm nowadays. Be honest.

Me: I’m getting old.

Nell: We all are.

Me: Talking of Affection, it’s my wedding anniversary tomorrow so if I want to stay up late with Kev I will.

Nell: Fine, but we both know you won’t.

Me: Let’s see, and if I do, no growling.

Nell: My lips are sealed.

Me: It’ll be 13 years since we got married. So much has happened in that time. You came into my life, for one.

Nell: It’s strange to think of you without me.

Me: It is.

Nell: How on earth did you manage?

Me: I don’t know.

Nell: Well, I’m going to make sure tomorrow is a Perfectly Romantic Day. 13 years is lace so we shall all wear lace collars.

Me: Please don’t.

Nell: Fine, but you should.

Me: I’m not wearing a lace collar, Nell.

Nell: It’s very on trend. You see lace everywhere nowadays.

Me: Not on me.

Nell: Maybe a lace tablecloth will suffice.

Me: I’m not wearing one of those either.

Nell: Very funny. You could always wave a lace handkerchief, I suppose.

Me: Can’t we forget the lace?

Nell: Just leave it to me. I’ll make sure it’s a memorable day.

Me: That’s what I’m worried about.

Nell: Trust me.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Beach Steps and Spirit Places

Me: I love the way Dave takes the lead on the beach steps.

Nell: David is on a lead and so is Poppy.

Me: Yes, I know, but Davey makes sure the steps are safe and then Poppy fearlessly dashes behind him followed by Kev, you and finally me.

Nell: Please don’t call him Davey. He’s a grown Labrador not a soft toy.

Me: Harriet is a free spirit. She runs up and down several times before we even get there.

Nell: Harriet comes alive at the beach.

Me: Exactly. I’ve been thinking about how we all have our spirit places.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: Places we go to if we need to recharge our batteries.

Nell: I don’t have batteries.

Me: You know what I mean. Places that energise you and give you strength.

Nell: I like to go down to the river and wade in the water.

Me: I know you do. You always have an extra spring in your step when we go there.

Nell: The grass is thick and lush by the river and the trees provide shade.

Me: It’s your spirit place.

Nell: I don’t know about that but I do enjoy it and it does me good.

Me: Mine is Hope Cove. The wonderful views of the coast make me feel I’m part of something much bigger. They help me put things into perspective.

Nell: Harriet’s spirit place is clearly Bantham beach. She’s never happier than swimming in the sea.

Me: Some people’s spirit place is a city. They love the hustle and bustle of city life.

Nell: Going into Kingsbridge is more than enough for me.

Me: I think Gladys would enjoy city life.

Nell: Gladys is far too busy gliding with the llamas. Don’t put ideas in her head.

Me: Sorry.


Wednesday Ramblings

Me: Look at my darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy gazing up at the sky and thinking deep thoughts.

Nell: David is playing Cowardy Custard with Walter. There’s nothing deep about it.

Me: Oh, I thought Walter wasn’t to be trusted.

Nell: After a long chat with Jonathan we came to the conclusion that Walter is actually just trying to protect his family.

Me: What about all that listening to other people’s conversations and staring through windows?

Nell: Walter is extremely nosey. He can’t help himself. He reminds me quite a lot of someone I know.

Me: Do you mean me? I know I find other people’s lives absolutely fascinating. It’s a writer thing.

Nell: I was talking about my friend Dorothy, actually, although you do ask far too many questions for my liking.

Me: Do I?

Nell: Yes, you do.

Me: Are you sure about that?

Nell: Very, and stop right now. I know exactly what you’re doing.

Me: Alice and the children are safely back in Berlin. They had to wait nearly two hours for their cases so they were all exhausted by the time they got home.

Nell: Travel seems to have become a lot more stressful than it used to be.

Me: It does. The roads were awfully busy yesterday.

Nell: Well, you’re not going anywhere today, apart from the beach.

Me: That’s fine with me. The Beefies seem to have stopped barking and howling.

Nell: Yes, although their own voices are even worse.

Me: I don’t mind their screeching. It reminds me of growing up here in Devon. Seagulls were part of life.

Nell: I just wish they’d stop wearing cardigans.

Me: Yes. Pashminas are far better suited to Beefies. No arms. Maybe Knitwear Wolf should think of exploring that market.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Sorry.


Auf Wiedersehen

Nell: We’re posting our conversation early today because you have to take Alice and the children to the airport.

Me: Yes, and I’ve chosen three of my favourite photos from their visit.

Nell: Did the photo of Faye have to be one with Naughty Nigel and Boo?

Me: It’s magical and sums up the fun she’s had with all you dogs.

Nell: Jonathan looks lost in thought.

Me: He was working on a story in his head. He has such a lively imagination.

Nell: Now, I know this is a difficult day for you, but remember the goodbyes are only for now.

Me: Yes. In German you say ‘Auf Wiedersehen’ which means ‘until we meet again’.

Nell: Exactly. And this time it’s not going to be two and a half years.

Me: I really hope not.

Nell: Just make sure you drive carefully.

Me: I always do. I’m carrying precious cargo.

Nell: I meant on the way back from the airport as well as going there.

Me: I will. Don’t worry.

Nell: You’re precious too, you know.

Me: Thank you.

Nell: Little Faye calls us ‘My dogs’.

Me: I know she does. I hear her every morning saying ‘Mummy, can I go to my dogs now, please?’

Nell: We will always be her dogs no matter where she is in the world.

Me: And Jonathan’s too.

Nell: Of course.

Me: You’re going to miss them, aren’t you?

Nell: We’ll stay in touch on WoofsApp or Zoom. They’re even thinking of joining my Young Animals group.

Me: Good.

Nell: I think we might have a quiet rest of the week.

Me: I agree.

Nell: And take time to reflect on two wonderful weeks. So many happy memories. So much love.

Me: Yes.

Nell: It’s okay to be sad.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Precious Puppies and Perfect Pashminas

Me: The children don’t want to leave you dogs tomorrow. If they could they would take you all back to Germany with them.

Nell: I know.

Me: Faye has even started lying on top of Dave to keep him close.

Nell: Yes. David doesn’t mind at all.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: I’m afraid Harriet is particularly down about their departure.

Me: Alice tried to comfort her.

Nell: She will be fine. We all will. The day before someone leaves is always difficult.

Me: Yes, it is.

Nell: So, I thought lunch at the Cottage Hotel followed by a trip to the beach would be just the thing.

Me: You’re right.

Nell: Sea air is good for the soul.

Me: So is ice cream.

Nell: Exactly and a family dinner later will round off their visit perfectly.

Me: It’s been a truly wonderful few weeks. So many happy memories.

Nell: And the memories will stay with you forever. Remember that.

Me: I will.

Nell: Every time we go to the beach there they will be.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Now, what do you feel about pashminas?

Me: That’s a bit of a jump, Nell.

Nell: I know but Rupert and The Cat are thinking of including shawls in their next Knitwear Wolf range.

Me: I think it’s an excellent idea.

Nell: I agree. There’s nothing more perfect than popping on a pashmina on a summer’s evening. It’s both stylish and warm.

Me: You should model one.

Nell: My modelling days are over. I shall leave that to the younger ones.

Me: I know what you mean. I’m feeling my age at the moment.

Nell: Enough of that. Go and pack your optimistic bag with towels and swimwear and let’s get the family down to the beach.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Part of the Pack

Me: Faye and Jonathan have become part of your pack, haven’t they?

Nell: I’m not sure I would use the word ‘pack’ but yes, they are treasured members of our team.

Me: You’re going to miss the cuddles and chats.

Nell: We’re all going to miss those. Stop dwelling.

Me: What were you and Faye discussing in the activity field?

Nell: Rainbows and our favourite ice creams, if you must know. Faye likes a mango sorbet and I’m rather partial to strawberries and cream.

Me: Interesting.

Nell: Now, today is Sunday so the children will be joining us for Sunday Songs.

Me: Good.

Nell: The Welsh Corgi Choir have decided to sing the theme song from Paw Patrol.

Me: Must they? I’ve heard that song one too many times already.

Nell: The children love it.

Me: Nevertheless.

Nell: David, Harriet and Poppy are also featuring in a Paw Patrol extravaganza dressed as Mighty Pups with the llamas as naughty animals and The Cat as a stylish villain.

Me: That is exciting.

Nell: Poppy has been asked not to use her sword, or cutlass, but nobody is sure if she will comply.

Me: She rarely does.

Nell: She might this time as the children are watching.

Me: True.

Nell: There will be no roast today, by the way, as you, Alice and the children are all going to tea with your sister Alex and Hattie Button.

Me: Sundays are roast days.

Nell: Cottage pie will suffice. It’s the children’s favourite.

Me: Why does time have to fly when you’re having fun? It feels like only yesterday I was getting ready to go to the airport to collect them.

Nell: Try and live in the moment. If you keep dwelling on tomorrow you will miss today.

Me: You’re right as usual. Sorry.


Happiness and Memories

Nell: Well, I never expected Harriet to break into song when we got down to the beach.

Me: Bless her. She was so happy to have her own voice back again. Poppy went a little wild too. It made Faye laugh.

Nell: Harriet was supposed to be keeping quiet.

Me: The scone box is empty, Nell, and the Beefies are screeching again, so the antidote must have worked.

Nell: My friend Dorothy saw a few hairy seagulls down at the quay yesterday.

Me: Probably just tatty feathers. How is Dorothy?

Nell: Fine. She lost her voice for a while but it had nothing to do with cocktails.

Me: Too much gossiping?

Nell: No. Hay fever. Dorothy doesn’t gossip she just enjoys a chat.

Me: If you say so.

Nell: I don’t believe it.

Me: What’s wrong?

Nell: Look at that insolent Beefy parading around in a cardigan. It doesn’t even fit properly.

Me: It’s fine. I wore mine yesterday evening and Knitwear Wolf’s wearing a particularly fetching cardigan this morning.

Nell: Rupert does suit charcoal grey.

Me: It was nice to see him paddle boarding again. Do you remember he was doing that down at Hope Cove when we first met him?

Nell; I remember it well.

Me: He waved and you thought he was being over familiar.

Nell: I can’t be expected to wave at every wolf I see on a paddle board.

Me: But it was Rupert.

Nell: I didn’t know that then. He could have been anyone.

Me: I hope Jonathan and Faye take away happy memories of their holiday with us.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: It’s been such a lovely few weeks.

Nell: Today is Saturday and they’re not flying back to Germany until Tuesday so stop that maudlin nonsense right now.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Cuddles and Scones

Me: It’s lucky Harriet doesn’t mind a large paw in her face.

Nell: I’m sorry. Did you say something?

Me: I was just commenting on the way the puppies snuggle up together. Faye does the same thing with Dave. It’s wonderful.

Nell: I’m afraid I can’t hear you.

Me: Can’t you?

Nell: It’s almost like you ate a scone you were not supposed to eat and lost your voice.

Me: I haven’t lost my voice.

Nell: You could have done.

Me: I only had one, Nell. I couldn’t resist it all warm and inviting from the oven.

Nell: Well, at least it proves that it only gives voices back, not takes them away.

Me: What about Harriet and Knitwear Wolf?

Nell: They’re trying one now.

Me: I hope it works.

Nell: So do I.

Me: Wait a minute. Isn’t that Knitwear Wolf asking for more jam on his scone?

Nell: It is.

Me: And did I hear Harriet ask for some cream?

Nell: You did. Their voices are back.

Me: Well done Poppy, Roley Moley and Jonathan. We should sing their praises to the world.

Nell: We should do no such thing. The Beefies mustn’t know yet.

Me: Why not?

Nell: We need them to eat the scones too so they get their own voices back.

Me: How are we going to do that?

Nell: Jonathan had an excellent idea.

Me: He’s good at those. I think he might take after me.

Nell: I sincerely hope not. Anyway, he said we should put a big basket of scones outside the door with a sign saying ‘Scones for everyone, except Beefies.’

Me: But we want them to eat them.

Nell: Being told you can’t have something is exactly what makes you want it even more. You should know.

Me: Yes. Sorry.