Beach Life

Me: I’m glad you all managed a swim, even though there was an awful lot of beach today.

Nell: There’s always a lot of beach.

Me: I know but depending on the tide there is more, or less.

Nell: Obviously.

Me: You know what I mean.

Nell: As we swim at River Beach the tide is not really an issue.

Me: Well, you paddle, to be accurate.

Nell: I find paddling more relaxing.

Me: Dave and Harriet looked so sweet swimming together, didn’t they? Like two seals.

Nell: Don’t mention seals to me.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Encouraging the Beefies with their ridiculous clapping.

Me: It’s a seal thing.

Nell: Eating vast quantities of mackerel like there’s no tomorrow.

Me: They enjoy it.

Nell: Disturbing my quiet life with their unbridled enthusiasm.

Me: I think Princess is good for Roger. He has a proper friend now.

Nell: As for the Beefies. If it isn’t yodelling it’s ‘Roger, Roger’ all the time.

Me: I know.

Nell: They can’t get enough of him.

Me: Roger Blubbery is a huge hit with the Beefy community.

Nell: Personally, I think they’re doing this to annoy.

Me: Really?

Nell: It’s what Beefies like best.

Me: True.

Nell: And why choose yodelling? They could have sung in harmony, or even hummed.

Me: I don’t think Beefies do humming, or harmony.

Nell: Perhaps not.

Me: At least Dave’s stopped yodelling.

Nell: Yes. Poppy told him there would be no bacon if that dreadful noise continued.

Me: Good for her. The trouble with yodelling is that it’s rather addictive.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: I’m feeling the urge to yodel myself.

Nell: Please don’t.

Me: And when someone tells you not to do something you want to do it even more.

Nell: Don’t you dare.

Me: Sorry.


This Has To Stop

Nell: This yodelling has to stop.

Me: Excuse me?

Nell: Can’t you hear it?

Me: I thought Dave was in pain.

Nell: I’m in pain and so is Harriet.

Me: Thank goodness he’s alright.

Nell: I can’t listen to this any longer.

Me: Are we sure it’s yodelling?

Nell: Yes. The Beefies have been doing it all morning and now David has joined in.

Me: I wonder why. It’s not as if we’re anywhere near the Alps.

Nell: You don’t have to be on a mountain to yodel you know.

Me: Obviously not.

Nell: Cowboys yodel.

Me: They never do.

Nell: I can assure you they do.

Me: I didn’t know that.

Nell: Well, you do now.

Me: I always associate it with Julie Andrews.

Nell: Don’t bring ‘The Sound of Music’ into this, please, or David will be ‘Do, Ray, Mi-ing’ it all day.

Me: I was actually thinking of ‘The Lonely Goatherd’.

Nell: We all know what you were thinking of, thank you very much.

Me: Do we know why the Beefies are yodelling?

Nell: No, but I need them to stop.

Me: Not everyone agrees with you.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: Just look at Roger Blubbery. He and Princess are clapping away. Bless them.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: And the llamas are dancing in Lederhosen. I wonder where they got those?

Nell: The Cat’s dressing up box I expect. It has everything in there.

Me: All we need now is the Welsh Corgi choir in Dirndls and we’re sorted.

Nell: Is that the Whippets Institute minibus?

Me: Yes, and they’re all dressed as nuns.

Nell: I’m going for a lie down.

Me: Wait. Knock knock.

Nell: Who’s there?

Me: Yoda lady.

Nell: Yoda lady who?

Me: Excellent yodelling, Nell.

Nell: I give up.

Me: Sorry.


Thank You So Much

Me: Why are you looking at me like that?

Nell: Take a guess.

Me: Dave’s about to barge through the door, isn’t he?

Nell: Correct.

Me: And there he goes.

Nell: It’s like being tackled by an elephant.

Me: He really is a dreadful barger.

Nell: I know.

Me: He doesn’t realise his own size. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: I beg to differ.

Me: He thinks he’s just nudging you out of the way.

Nell: Nudging? Bulldozing you mean.

Me: He’s just keen, Nell. He means no harm.

Nell; That animal has no finesse whatsoever.

Me: Anyway, today we wanted to say a great big thank you to everyone for their support and kind words.

Nell: You spent most of yesterday in tears.

Me: I was overwhelmed.

Nell: I told you people care. You should have asked them before.

Me: Yes, I should. So, thank you again.

Nell: We’re going to leave the link to the Buy Me A Coffee site on the Conversations with Nell page.

Me: Yes, we are.

Nell: We’ve made a list of all your helpful suggestions.

Me: And the donations you made yesterday mean we can buy coal for the fire to keep us all warm through the winter.

Nell: And you know how much we dogs enjoy the fire.

Me: This really has made a huge difference to us.

Nell: Yes, it has. Thank you.

Me: On another note, do you think the Beefies might be talking to each other using radio mics like the pilots in ‘Top Gun’?

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: I keep hearing them say ‘Roger’.

Nell: They’re talking to Roger Blubbery.

Me: Oh, I see.

Nell: Only you could think seagulls are communicating like fighter pilots when they’re obviously talking to a seal.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Time To Ask For Help

Me: Harriet’s awfully serious this morning.

Nell: She’s worried about you.

Me: About me?

Nell: Yes. We had an extremely serious discussion at Morning Thoughts.

Me: About me?

Nell: Yes. And the cost of living.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: We heard you talking to Alice and Chris yesterday on FaceTime so we know how worried they are about you.

Me: You weren’t supposed to hear that.

Nell: We need to find ways of earning you some money.

Me: I know we do.

Nell: You write a story every day and you’ve been doing it for four years now.

Me: I know I have.

Nell: Every single day. Come rain or shine or Covid you write.

Me: I love it and I love my audience.

Nell: Well, it’s time you asked your audience for help.

Me: I don’t want to do that.

Nell: They may want to help. They care about you too, you know.

Me: If I could just afford to keep writing, Nell. I would be so happy.

Nell: We need to find a way for people to support you if they want to. You have been doing this for such a long time with no financial help at all.

Me: People support me with their kind words.

Nell: I’m afraid kind words won’t pay the bills or keep us in biscuits.

Me: No. I know they won’t.

Nell: So just ask them if they have any ideas of ways in which you could start earning a little from your writing.

Me: Okay.

Nell: Give them a chance to help.

Me: I hate to talk about money.

Nell: They will understand. We are one big family. Don’t forget that.

Me: Yes.

Nell: And your family is worried about how you are going to cope.

Me: Yes. You’re right. Sorry.


Making New Friends

Me: Why are you lurking outside my bedroom door?

Nell: I’m not lurking. I’m listening.

Me: I can’t hear anything except Poppy, Malcolm and Manuel in the kitchen.

Nell: Listen properly.

Me: Oh dear. It sounds like the Beefies are back.

Nell: I blame Roger for this.

Me: Roger Blubbery?

Nell: Yes. He’s always making new friends and being sociable.

Me: That’s a lovely thing to do, Nell. Think how happy we were yesterday to see the photos our friends posted of their dogs from all over the world.

Nell: It was delightful. So many smiling faces.

Me: Yes. It was truly wonderful and we’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who posted.

Nell: We certainly would.

Me: So, if Roger wants to make friends with seagulls then let him.

Nell: Beefies aren’t just seagulls. They’re bad seagulls and Roger is only doing it for the fish.

Me: You don’t know that.

Nell: I do. The Beefies bring him fresh mackerel for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Me: They’ve been doing that for Princess and Our Penguin for ages. You know they have.

Nell: Wretched creatures.

Me: In fact, when you think about it, the Beefies have actually been really kind and caring.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Going out of their way to feed the seals.

Nell: Malcolm was hit on the head by a mackerel this morning.

Me: Wrong place wrong time I expect.

Nell: He was picking herbs in his own garden.

Me: I didn’t know Malcolm had a herb garden.

Nell: Oh yes. It’s quite extensive. Poppy insists on fresh herbs in most of her cooking.

Me: Who knew Malcolm had green fingers.

Nell: Malcolm doesn’t have fingers. He’s a flamingo. He uses his beak. Do try and be a little realistic.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


International Dog Day 2022

Nell: That’s a rather nice photo of me.

Me: Yes. You’re actually smiling.

Nell: I can smile when I want to.

Me: You should do it more often. It suits you.

Nell: Is there any particular reason for your choice of photos today?

Me: It’s International Dog Day so I thought we should celebrate you all.

Nell: Starting with me?

Me: Yes, you’re the smiling face of our day.

Nell: Most kind.

Me: And I thought it would be lovely if people posted photos of their dogs on here today too, telling us where they live in the world.

Nell: That would be wonderful.

Me: I’m including the UK of course because international means everyone.

Nell: It does.

Me: We’re in this together.

Nell: We are.

Me: And while we should embrace our uniqueness.

Nell: We certainly should.

Me: We should also delight in our differences.

Nell: Yes, where would Dave be without Sally?

Me: Knowing underneath we are all just one great big family.

Nell: Are you running for Prime Minister?

Me: No. I’m just making a point.

Nell: Well, I’m finding this awfully profound for a Friday morning.

Me: I just feel strongly that you dogs deserve celebrating.

Nell: Bacon sandwiches might say it better.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: There’s nothing like a bacon sandwich to make you feel loved and celebrated.

Me: But it’s much deeper than that, Nell. It’s the chance for us to put our appreciation into words.

Nell: I think most dogs would agree that, given the choice, a bacon sandwich would convey your appreciation so much more.

Me: Really?

Nell: Yes. So, you organise the sandwiches and we’ll listen to you while we’re eating.

Me: Happy International Dog Day, Nell.

Nell: Thank you. Now, don’t forget the bacon.

Me: No. Sorry.


Do Behave

Nell: What on earth are you and David doing?

Me: I was trying to take a photo of us both when he knocked my glasses off my nose. It made me laugh.

Nell: Ridiculous behaviour.

Me: It was fun.

Nell: How is anyone going to take you seriously when you behave like that?

Me: Maybe I don’t want to be taken seriously.

Nell: You’re acting like a child. Giggling away with David like that.

Me: And why shouldn’t I, Grumpy Guts? Everyone has an inner child in them. You should let yours out once in a while.

Nell: As we already established I am a senior Labrador with responsibilities.

Me: Life’s too short to be serious all the time. Let your hair down.

Nell: My hair is fine as it is, thank you very much.

Me: Chloe was pleased with you at hydrotherapy yesterday. She said you were quite sprightly.

Nell: I was having a good day.

Me: I’m not sure you should have climbed down those rocks on to the beach. I was shocked when you leapt off the steps.

Nell: I merely took a short cut.

Me: It was dangerous.

Nell: Stuff and nonsense.

Me: Reckless even.

Nell: I know what you’re doing.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: I accused you of being childish so now you’re accusing me of being reckless.

Me: You were. You could have tripped and fallen.

Nell: I knew what I was doing.

Me: And I know what I’m doing. Life is tough enough as it is in these difficult times. Sometimes you just need a laugh.

Nell: You’re right.

Me: I am?

Nell: Yes. Want to take a photo with me?

Me: Yes, please.

Nell: I’m not knocking your glasses off.

Me: Not even slightly?

Nell: Don’t push it.

Me: Sorry.


The Alpha Female

Me: So, an interesting thing happened this morning.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: I mean it wasn’t a surprise in itself but it clearly showed the hierarchy amongst you labs.

Nell: Just tell me what happened.

Me: I was taking a photo of Dave on the sofa.

Nell: That’s not interesting at all. There’s a photoshoot every day in this family.

Me: Dave was looking magnificent as usual but extremely large so I thought I’d try and capture it on camera.

Nell: Nothing new there either.

Me: Then Harriet came along and chose to sit quietly at his feet on the floor.

Nell: It’s where she likes to sit.

Me: Everyone was content until you arrived and changed everything.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: First of all you stuck your head in the picture making the photo blurry and the puppies uneasy.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: And the next thing is the puppies have gone and you have the whole sofa to yourself.

Nell: Such is life.

Me: And you’re playing Cheeky Animals.

Nell: And your point is?

Me: Everything has to be your way.

Nell: Everyone knows that.

Me: They certainly do.

Nell: I’m the alpha female. The head of the family.

Me: The puppies have the right to sit where they like.

Nell: Not when I need the sofa.

Me: The sofa belongs to everyone.

Nell: What you don’t realise is there has to be a hierarchy in order for everything to run smoothly.

Me: Really?

Nell: Yes. It makes everyone feel safe. As the senior animal I have certain rights. It’s the way of the world.

Me: Your world.

Nell: Our world and you know it. Imagine if I started doubting myself and asking for your opinion. You’d be completely discombobulated.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


The Silent (or not so silent) Joy of the Beach

Me: Wasn’t it lovely the way the sun came out when we arrived at the beach? The sea was much bluer than usual, too.

Nell: Was it? It was certainly much quieter than it’s been for weeks.

Me: It’s the rain. It keeps people away.

Nell: It wasn’t raining.

Me: It was when we left the house. Kev and I had our rain jackets on and I even wore my Wellington boots.

Nell: I noticed.

Me: I know you don’t like the fact that they’re pink.

Nell: I do not. The next pair are going to be green like everyone else’s.

Me: Maybe I don’t want to be like everyone else.

Nell: No chance of that anyway.

Me: A writer friend of mine asked me recently if I thought I would ever start taking the sea for granted and I know that I never will.

Nell: Neither will I. We’re very lucky to live where we do.

Me: Every time we come down the hill and I see the sea sparkling in front of me I get a warm feeling of silent joy to be there again.

Nell: Don’t we all.

Me: Harriet is the same.

Nell: Harriet’s joy is definitely not silent.

Me: None of yours is. Why do you all have to bark so loudly when we drive down to the sea?

Nell: Triumphant Barking is part of going to the beach. You know that.

Me: Well, I wish it wasn’t.

Nell: How many times have you said it’s not good to bottle things up inside you? ‘Express your feelings’, you say.

Me: Yes, in writing.

Nell: We’re not going to be sitting in the back of the car frantically scribbling our thoughts down in notebooks now, are we? Try and be a little realistic.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Someone has developed a Nasty Cough

Me: Are you and Dave worried about something?

Nell: David and I are a little concerned, yes.

Me: Is there a shortage of bacon?

Nell: I certainly hope not. As far as I know bacon sandwiches will be available after Sunday Songs.

Me: That’s a relief. Sunday wouldn’t be Sunday without bacon.

Nell: I agree.

Me: What’s bothering you then?

Nell: Someone has developed a nasty cough.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: We heard it first thing this morning out in the field. Whoever it is shouldn’t be outside in the rain.

Me: Do you think it’s one of the Welsh Corgi Choir?

Nell: It sounds a little too loud for a corgi.

Me: A llama perhaps?

Nell: Possibly, although David says they are sheltering in the barn with the larger animals.

Me: It could be a whippet?

Nell: The Whippets Institute minibus hasn’t arrived yet.

Me: Shall I go and see?

Nell: No. Stay here. You don’t want to catch whatever it is.

Me: I’ll have a look through the window.

Nell: Who stays out in the rain with a nasty cough? It’s complete madness.

Me: All I can see is the Welsh Corgi Choir with umbrellas and Roger Blubbery without one.

Nell: Roger Blubbery?

Me: Yes. He’s clapping away and cheering them on.

Nell: Cheering?

Me: Yes.

Nell: In the rain?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Without an umbrella?

Me: Seals don’t care about rain.

Nell: Let me see.

Me: Bless him. He’s loving it all. Listen to him cheering away.

Nell: I am.

Me: It’s not the nicest of sounds. In fact it’s a bit like a hacking cough. But you can’t fault his enthusiasm.

Nell: It’s exactly like a hacking cough.

Me: Gosh. Do you think the coughing was Roger Blubbery cheering?

Nell: Sherlock Martin strikes again.

Me: Sorry.