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Can we talk about my bed, please?

Me: Can we talk about my bed, please?

Nell: It’s dreadfully hot today, isn’t it?

Me: Very, but I wanted to talk to you about my bed.

Nell: It’s difficult to know what to do with oneself in heat like this.

Me: You’re doing that ‘not listening to me’ thing again.

Nell: One can really only lie in a cool room.

Me: Exactly, now today is bed changing day as you all well know.

Nell: I hope you’re resting that horrible eye of yours.

Me: I don’t want to talk about my bloodshot eye. It happens sometimes.

Nell: You shouldn’t have gone gallivanting off to Plymouth yesterday.

Me: I had to. I want to talk about you dogs getting into my clean bed.

Nell: I told you to stay at home. You’re supposed to rest.

Me: Harriet was just lying in the middle of the bed before I could get the cover on.

Nell: As I said to my friend Dorothy, ‘It’s a quiche and salad sort of day.’

Me: And then when I finally get the cover on I find Poppy is still in there.

Nell: With a little ice cream for dessert.

Me: I don’t know why you’re ignoring me.

Nell: People who don’t listen deserve to be ignored.

Me: That’s rich considering you’ve been ignoring me for the past hour.

Nell: I have not. We’ve been talking about the heat and you not resting that eye.

Me: Actually, we were talking about my bed.

Nell: I wasn’t.

Me: See, you heard me then. Where are you going?

Nell: To ask The Cat for an eye patch.

Me: Has Poppy turned piratey again?

Nell: No. You need to cover that eye. Poppy is quietly resting in your bed in case you hadn’t noticed.

Me: I give up. Sorry.

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Adoration vs Guidance

Me: You and Kev are completely besotted with each other.

Nell: Jealousy is a most unattractive trait.

Me: Look at the way you’re gazing into each other’s eyes.

Nell: We have an understanding.

Me: You never look at me like that.

Nell: Of course I don’t.

Me: Why not?

Nell: You need guidance not adoration.

Me: There you’ve admitted it. You adore Kev.

Nell: You know I do.

Me: I want to be adored, too.

Nell: You are. Just in a different way.

Me: I get hard stares and disapproving looks.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: And Kev gets soppy gazes. Thank goodness for Dave who openly adores me.

Nell: David adores everyone. He’s a loving animal.

Me: Harriet adores me too.

Nell: Are we going to go through everyone now? Only this is becoming rather tedious.

Me: Just saying.

Nell: You need a firm paw and you know it.

Me: I don’t.

Nell: You get easily carried away on flights of fancy and it’s my job to keep you grounded.

Me: Some people enjoy my flights of fancy.

Nell: I know but you mustn’t lose sight of reality.

Me: Have you ever wondered if fruit could talk what bananas would sound like?

Nell: This is exactly what I was talking about.

Me: I think they would have a sort of squishy sounding voice.

Nell: I give up.

Me: Apples would be crisply sweet and a little bit sharp on occasions.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: And lemons would sound slightly dangerous.

Nell: Oh dear.

Me: But not as dangerous as limes.

Nell: I worry about you sometimes, I really do.

Me: You don’t need to.

Nell: It’s my job to look after you.

Me: At least you care.

Nell: You know I do. You and me. Always.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Inseparable

Me: Look what Chris sent me.

Nell: No more puppies.

Me: It’s a photo of Dave and Harriet and all their siblings waiting to see us five years ago.

Nell: By us you don’t mean me. I wasn’t included.

Me: We couldn’t take you, Nell. The puppies were too small.

Nell: I’m their aunt.

Me: Anyway, look at Dave and Harriet sitting together. Even then they were inseparable. Isn’t that adorable?

Nell: Yes, and rather apt considering what happened yesterday at Sunday Songs.

Me: I know. When Jim knelt down on bended paw we all held our breath.

Nell: I knew it was coming, of course. Jim asked me for my blessing the day before.

Me: You never said.

Nell: It was not my news to share.

Me: Harriet shouted ‘Yes’ to the world. She was so happy.

Nell: Jim said he’d been planning to ask her when she lost her voice and he didn’t think the time was right.

Me: True.

Nell: So he waited until she got it back and he and Rita created a musical proposal.

Me: The llamas certainly threw themselves into it.

Nell: Literally. What have cartwheels got to do with a proposal?

Me: Cartwheels mean happiness to llamas.

Nell: I suppose so.

Me: Both puppies are engaged. This is so exciting.

Nell: It is.

Me: Do you think they will have a double wedding?

Nell: It is a distinct possibility but we need to let them decide.

Me: We could suggest it to them?

Nell: The Cat already has.

Me: And?

Nell: And never you mind and wait and see.

Me: I hate waiting.

Nell: Let’s just enjoy the fact that Dave and Harriet have both found the love of their lives. It is what I’ve always wanted for them.

Me: You’re right. Sorry.

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Stop Annoying Harriet

Nell: Come over here.

Me: I’m busy.

Nell: Right now.

Me: Okay, bossy boots. What’s the matter?

Nell: Stop annoying Harriet.

Me: I’ve just been telling her she’s my darling sweet girl.

Nell: She’s trying to rest before Sunday Songs.

Me: I need her to know she’s loved.

Nell: Why?

Me: Because Jim is out in the field with Rita Pawreno.

Nell: Alone?

Me: No. The llamas are with them and the Welsh Corgi Choir and I think I saw the Whippets Institute minibus.

Nell: So, Jim is simply getting ready for Sunday Songs?

Me: But Rita Pawreno is there. With a flower in her hair.

Nell: Everyone is welcome.

Me: Harriet’s not going to like it.

Nell: How do you know that?

Me: If Kev brought his pretty little dancing girlfriend here from Torquay I wouldn’t be best pleased.

Nell: Kev doesn’t have a pretty little dancing girlfriend in Torquay.

Me: It’s hypothetical.

Nell: And neither does Jim.

Me: You seem ever so sure about that.

Nell: I am.

Me: How can you be?

Nell: Jim and I may have talked yesterday.

Me: Tell me what he said.

Nell: No. You’re the last person I would tell. Look at the way you’ve been behaving with Harriet.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: Fussing over her. Calling her a ‘poor little thing.’

Me: She is.

Nell: She’s nothing of the kind and by the time Sunday Songs is over you will know why.

Me: Please tell me. I promise I’ll keep quiet.

Nell: Jim only went to Torquay to rehearse some special songs for Harriet with Rita Pawreno.

Me: He did?

Nell: Yes, the whole of Sunday Songs today is celebrating Jim’s love for Harriet.

Me: My sweet darling girl will be overjoyed.

Nell: Not a word.

Me: No. Sorry.

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He’s Back

Me: What’s going on?

Nell: Quiet. David is giving us a Running Commentary. He’s the only one who can actually see him.

Me: Who? Tony?

Nell: No.

Me: Is it Babycakes Gillespie and his coffee cart?

Nell: Babycakes has flown back to the US to see his family.

Me: I wondered where he’d gone.

Nell: You can be very unobservant for a writer.

Me: I’ve had an idea.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: Maybe it isn’t the eggs that Poppy’s been missing? Maybe it’s her morning Americano and doughnut?

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Maybe Poppy’s been suffering from a sugar low? Although she seems quite happy this morning

Nell: Did you notice anything outside our front door earlier?

Me: Only the usual basket of eggs. Poppy is making omelettes for lunch, by the way. She wants everyone to choose a filling.

Nell: The usual basket?

Me: Yes. Hang on a minute. The basket is back.

Nell: And she’s finally there.

Me: Which means Jim the Farm Dog is back.

Nell: Sherlock Martin strikes again.

Me: So, why are you at the gate?

Nell: David is watching Jim and his team walking the fields.

Me: Strange he hasn’t contacted Harriet.

Nell: There weren’t just eggs in the basket.

Me: Do tell.

Nell: There was a bunch of wild flowers and a message saying ‘For my love. J x’

Me: Why is Jim leaving flowers for Poppy?

Nell: They’re not for Poppy. They’re for Harriet.

Me: Highly suspicious.

Nell: Nonsense. Jim always leaves flowers for Harriet. Haven’t you noticed?

Me: I can’t say I have but it’s something people do when they’re guilty.

Nell: It’s also something they do when they are in love.

Me: True.

Nell: So, let’s just wait until we’ve heard his side of the story.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Poppy Houdini

Nell: The sea was delightfully warm yesterday. Even I had a swim.

Me: Harriet kept circling me.

Nell: She likes to keep everyone close at the moment.

Me: Is she missing Jim?

Nell: Very much. He says he will be back very soon.

Me: Have you told her about that photo with Rita Pawreno?

Nell: No. We decided it was all mere speculation and Jim should be given the benefit of the doubt.

Me: You’re probably right.

Nell: I shall be demanding an explanation however, as soon as he comes back.

Me: Don’t you think Harriet should be the one doing that?

Nell: Harriet doesn’t know.

Me: Harriet might know more than you think. She’s a wise little thing and a trained spy.

Nell: We shall see.

Me: Kev is awfully annoyed with Poppy.

Nell: I know he is. Her behaviour on the beach was atrocious.

Me: I don’t know how she managed to slip out of her harness. She’s like a dog version of Houdini.

Nell: Kev said he isn’t taking her to the beach again.

Me: Can you blame him? She terrorised that visiting greyhound and all it was doing was enjoying the beach.

Nell: It’s the egg situation. The sooner Jim comes back the better.

Me: Kev just turned his back for a moment and she was gone.

Nell: She can be a very naughty animal.

Me: He will take her to the beach again.

Nell: I know.

Me: He was just angry.

Nell: Poppy says she doesn’t care.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: She does, of course.

Me: Maybe she should apologise?

Nell: Poppy doesn’t do apologies but she’s making his favourite dinner.

Me: Steak and chips?

Nell: Yes, with mushrooms, peas and even onion rings.

Me: He’ll forgive her.

Nell: He already has.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Dave is Concerned and Jim is Caught on Camera

Nell: You’re not going to believe this.

Me: I just might.

Nell: My friend Dorothy was in Torquay yesterday.

Me: That’s not unbelievable. You told me she loves the English Riviera.

Nell: She adores it. Too many palm trees for me but each to their own.

Me: Whatever it is, Dave seems rather troubled.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: He’s wearing his Extremely Focussed and Slightly Concerned Face which usually means we’re running out of bacon.

Nell: David is understandably concerned.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. What’s happened?

Nell: If I could get a word in edgeways I’d tell you.

Me: Go on.

Nell: So, Dorothy was passing the Princess Theatre.

Me: I performed there several times you know with the Torquay Operatic Society.

Nell: This is not about you, or your chequered past.

Me: I don’t have a chequered past.

Nell: May I continue?

Me: Of course.

Nell: Dorothy happened to glance inside and saw Jim the Farm Dog with Rita Pawreno.

Me: Rita Pawreno the dancing chihuahua?

Nell: Yes.

Me: Married to Rocky Martin, Mutley’s Puerto Rican cousin?

Nell: Exactly.

Me: Well, they do live in Torquay.

Nell: I know but Dorothy says Jim looked worried.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: She even took a photo. Look.

Me: Has Harriet seen this?

Nell: Certainly not. She called Jim earlier but he was too busy to talk.

Me: You don’t think Jim is having a dalliance with Rita, do you?

Nell: A dalliance?

Me: A flirtation.

Nell: Yes, I know what it means. Good grief.

Me: I can see the headlines now. ‘Jim the Farm Dog carelessly abandons love of his life Harriet Martin for the glamour and glitz of the English Riviera and a dancing chihuahua.’

Nell: Calm down you’re getting carried away again.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Poppy has a Wild Moment

Nell: I would stay away from the living room if I were you.

Me: What’s going on?

Nell: Poppy’s having a wild moment.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: It happens now and again. Harriet is dealing with it.

Me: Do we know why she’s turned wild?

Nell: Jim the Farm Dog still isn’t back from wherever he’s gone and Poppy is used to her daily basket of eggs.

Me: Can’t Malcolm collect them?

Nell: Malcolm is too beaky.

Me: Flamingos can’t help their bent beaks. I think it has something to do with feeding upside down.

Nell: David has offered to help but he can be clumsy and his paws are too large.

Me: What about Harriet?

Nell: I don’t think she wants to go to the farm without Jim.

Me: What can we do?

Nell: Rupert says he’ll organise something. He’d collect them himself but chickens aren’t fond of wolves.

Me: I could go if you like.

Nell: Your mornings are for writing. Hopefully Jim will be back soon.

Me: Did he and Harriet have a falling out?

Nell: Not as far as I know, although they haven’t spoken for a while.

Me: That’s not good.

Nell: Harriet lost her voice. Remember?

Me: But it’s back now.

Nell: Jim doesn’t know that.

Me: Someone should tell him. Maybe he’s gone to look for it. Maybe he’s scouring the land for a trace of his sweetheart’s voice. A whimper, or a gentle bark.

Nell: Good grief. Calm down. I’ll suggest Harriet texts him on his iBone.

Me: She should call him. Then he’ll know her voice is back.

Nell: Good idea.

Me: Wow. Yesterday you apologise and today you tell me I’ve had a good idea. Maybe you’re starting to see me differently.

Nell: Don’t count your chickens.

Me: No. Sorry.

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Down by the River and Nell has a Good Idea

Me: We thought you would enjoy going down to the river for your favourite walk.

Nell: I do. There’s nothing like paddling in a cool river on a warm summer’s day.

Me: I agree. The water is so fresh and clear.

Nell: The children loved it too when they were here.

Me: They had such a wonderful time.

Nell: Not that I would know, of course. I wasn’t included.

Me: There wasn’t room in the car, Nell, and it was too hot.

Nell: Kev and I could have gone in his car.

Me: We were trying to consider the environment and fuel is so expensive. These are difficult times, Nell.

Nell: Yes, you’re right. I apologise.

Me: Gosh. That doesn’t happen very often.

Nell: I know you’re worried about all the price increases.

Me: It’s hitting everyone hard at the moment.

Nell: What about publishing a book of my poems?

Me: Now, that’s a good idea.

Nell: Everyone seems to enjoy them, if I say so myself.

Me: They do. You’re an accomplished poet.

Nell: I do my best.

Me: Let me talk to Kev and see what we can do.

Nell: And while you’re at it, David wondered if you might be interested in releasing his book.

Me: Dave’s written a book?

Nell: You know he has. ‘Meals I Ate By Mistake’ by David Martin.

Me: Oh yes. We should get it out there.

Nell: You’re going to have to limit the number of meals, though. The list of recipes is endless.

Me: Dave has made an awful lot of mistakes.

Nell: Concentrate on my poems first. It only needs to be a little book.

Me: That’s it. ‘Nell’s Little Book of Poems’. The perfect title.

Nell: Off you go then. No time like the present.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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The Lionesses

Nell: How could you?

Me: What have I done now?

Nell: You gave me lettuce.

Me: You like salad. Now you’re on your diet I always make sure you get some vegetables and salad.

Nell: You know I don’t eat lettuce. Nasty stuff.

Me: I thought you might change your mind. You love tomatoes and cucumber.

Nell: Lettuce is like eating soggy paper.

Me: You didn’t have to throw it on the floor.

Nell: I most certainly did. I can’t stand the feel of it. Worse than bananas.

Me: It was worth a try.

Nell: It was not.

Me: Never mind. What about the Lionesses yesterday, Nell? Wasn’t that exciting?

Nell: Changing the subject from lettuce to female lions is not going to make me forget what you did.

Me: I’m talking about the Euros. The England’s women’s national football team won the final.

Nell: Yes, I know. I was there when you were jumping up and down in front of the television yelling ‘Go girls!’

Me: I’m so proud of them. I used to play football you know.

Nell: I didn’t know that.

Me: When Chris was young I played in the Mothers Team. I had a hard kick for a small person.

Nell: Words fail me.

Me: I’m not sure I would make the Grandmothers Team nowadays.

Nell: Please don’t try.

Me: Besides, the Elderly Lionesses doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Nell: You were never a Lioness in the first place.

Me: I was, Nell, and I still am. In my own way. In fact, I think we all are.

Nell: I’m quite happy staying a Labrador, thank you very much.

Me: You know what I mean.

Nell: Yes, I do.

Me: Poppy is definitely a Lioness.

Nell: Never serve me lettuce again.

Me: No. Sorry.