We Have Hope

Nell: It’s very early again.

Me: I couldn’t sleep and I wanted to let people know what happened yesterday.

Nell: That’s understandable but you need to rest.

Me: I will later.

Nell: David is not supposed to be up on your chair.

Me: We’re watching Masterchef Australia, Nell. We always watch it together.

Nell: Anyway, you had better update everyone.

Me: I was really scared but all the messages of support kept coming in so I knew I had to be brave.

Nell: And you were.

Me: When I arrived at the hospital the doctor I saw last week was there too.

Nell: Why?

Me: She wanted to examine my lymph nodes before the operation.

Nell: They were worried the cancer had spread.

Me: I was terrified about that too.

Nell: I know.

Me: Anyway, she spent some time feeling my neck and under my arms etc. and then she said ‘I think we caught it in time.’

Nell: That’s wonderful news.

Me: I burst into tears.

Nell: Of course you did.

Me: Then they removed the skin lesion under local anaesthetic.

Nell: Did it hurt?

Me: The injection hurt a little but then it was just tugging. One of the nurses chatted to me the whole time.

Nell: Good.

Me: We talked about you, actually, and all the people supporting me.

Nell: It helped, didn’t it?

Me: I can’t even begin describe how much.

Nell: So, what happens now?

Me: They’ll do tests and I’ll probably have to come back for at least one more operation.

Nell: Right.

Me: They need to be sure they’ve got it all.

Nell: Yes.

Me: And then I’ll be monitored closely.

Nell: But we have hope now.

Me: Yes we do.

Nell: And those are happy tears for a change.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


The Journey Begins

Nell: We’re posting very early this morning because you and Kev have to drive to the hospital for your procedure.

Me: Yes. Dave looks awfully worried. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. Maybe Poppy can make him a bacon sandwich to cheer him up.

Nell: He’ll be fine. Don’t worry about him. We have other things to focus on today.

Me: Yes, we do.

Nell: This is the start of your journey back to good health.

Me: I hope so.

Nell: Finally things are starting to happen and the fight begins.

Me: I’m a little bit frightened to be honest, Nell.

Nell: That’s completely understandable but try not to be. You are in safe hands. They know what they’re doing.

Me: Yes, you’re right.

Nell: And remember you’re not doing this alone.

Me: No.

Nell: We are all with you in spirit.

Me: Yes.

Nell: And Kev will be just outside the hospital waiting to bring you home to us as soon as it is over.

Me: I know he will. He’s being absolutely wonderful.

Nell: It’s ok not to be ok, you know.

Me: I just wish I was braver.

Nell: You are much braver than you think.

Me: I’m trying to be.

Nell: Unleash that inner warrior of yours.

Me: I will if I can find it.

Nell: It’s there. It’s always there. You just need to look hard enough.

Me: I hope people know how much their support means to me.

Nell: They know.

Me: I really appreciate the love coming my way. So many kind messages. It’s overwhelming.

Nell: There’s plenty more waiting for you whenever you need it.

Me: I can do this, can’t I?

Nell: Of course you can.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

Nell: No sorries. Not today. Now, go and do this. We’ve got you.


Nell is Playful and Sara Gets it All Wrong

Me: Harriet said you and Dave were playing together.

Nell: What’s wrong with that?

Me: You don’t play. You’re not a playful sort of animal.

Nell: Everyone plays now and again.

Me: You left Harriet out of your game.

Nell: It was Tickle my Chin. Only two can play.

Me: I think you should play with Harriet next time. It’s awful to be the one on the sidelines.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: Watching sadly while others are having fun.

Nell: Harriet is absolutely fine.

Me: She looked a little low to me.

Nell: Stop imagining things that aren’t there. You do it all the time.

Me: Yes, you’re right.

Nell: If it makes you happy, I will ask Harriet to join me in a game of Bridge this afternoon.

Me: I used to play Bridge when I lived in Africa.

Nell: I know you did but we don’t need any other players. My friend Dorothy will be joining The Cat and Harriet and I will make up the other team.

Me: So, now I’m going to be the one watching all alone from the sidelines.

Nell: You don’t need to watch at all. If you want to do something useful you can help Poppy bring out the cake and sandwiches halfway through.

Me: And stand and watch you all eating? I don’t think so.

Nell: What are you talking about? Of course you won’t watch us eating. Afternoon tea is for everyone.

Me: Oh, I misunderstood.

Nell: Well don’t. This game of Bridge was arranged weeks ago. There’s only a place available because Rupert dropped out at the last moment.

Me: Why didn’t you ask me?

Nell: I was going to until you suggested Harriet was feeling left out.

Me: Oh, I got that all wrong, didn’t I? Sorry.


Taking in the View, or Not

Me: You know that quietly enjoying the view thing that Kev and I enjoy doing?

Nell: I certainly do.

Me: You lot aren’t very good at it.

Nell: I wasn’t aware it was a skill and don’t call us ‘you lot’.

Me: Dave sometimes gives it a try but he’s not really sure what he’s supposed to be looking at. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: David is a trier and likes to please where he can.

Me: And Poppy stares fiercely around her like she’s ready to go into battle.

Nell: She is.

Me: Harriet doesn’t do quiet contemplation. She’s usually off running somewhere or rolling on the ground.

Nell: Nothing beats a good roll.

Me: And you just do your own thing.

Nell: Of course I do.

Me: And take your own time about it.

Nell: I’m a senior labrador. I’m allowed to take my time if I want to.

Me: Yes, you are but the view is truly amazing.

Nell: I know.

Me: Did you see the colour of the sea? It was almost green nearer the beach and then it turned darker blue with lots of white horses.

Nell: What on earth are you talking about? I didn’t see any horses.

Me: If you’d looked properly you would have seen them.

Nell: If horses are allowed on the beach then we should be.

Me: We will be from 1st October. The restrictions are lifted then until May so we have the whole beach back again.

Nell: I’m not sure I want to share the beach with horses.

Me: They aren’t real ones, Nell. They’re what we call breaking waves as they look like manes and the sound of them crashing against the beach is like the thundering of a thousand hooves.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Sorry.


Sara Makes a Surprise Appearance

Nell: I’d like a word with you, please.

Me: I don’t think anyone could look more adorable than you with a tennis ball in your mouth.

Nell: Never mind that I need to talk to you.

Me: Doesn’t it makes you want to cough?

Nell: No. Now, do you remember that I told you to take it easy?

Me: Yes. Talking of taking it easy, Nell, could you ask Harriet and Poppy not to keep quite such a close eye on me at night?

Nell: Why?

Me: I woke up sandwiched between them like a piece of bacon.

Nell: Why bring bacon into this?

Me: I couldn’t move.

Nell: Anyway, I turned on the television yesterday lunchtime and what did I see?

Me: It could be anything. ‘Escape to the Country’?

Nell: No. You.

Me: Ah, yes well I can explain that.

Nell: Sitting at your desk with your laptop talking about a BBC television series called ‘Shetland’.

Me: Only briefly.

Nell: Your laptop is supposed to be there for writing. Quietly. Not broadcasting on the BBC.

Me: So, here’s the thing. BBC Points of View emailed me a while ago about recording something for them about the ‘Shetland’ finale.

Nell: Why?

Me: I’m not entirely sure but it was as the writer of ‘Conversations with Nell’.

Nell: You never told me.

Me: No, it was all around the time when I heard about the cancer.

Nell: I see.

Me: I forgot about it but then they contacted me again asking really nicely so I sent them a short video never expecting it to be broadcast.

Nell: But it was.

Me: Yes. You were probably rather surprised to see me.

Nell: Could you let me know the next time you decide to be on the BBC, please?

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Spoil Sara Sunday

Nell: You do realise it’s 6am, don’t you?

Me: I couldn’t sleep any longer but I did sleep well last night.

Nell: I was sleeping really well until you woke me.

Me: You told me I could always talk to you no matter the time.

Nell: I did, didn’t I?

Me: I’ve been re-reading all the kind messages people sent me. They’re such a comfort.

Nell: Good.

Me: I’m so glad we went for a walk on the beach yesterday.

Nell: So am I.

Me: Poppy says today is Spoil Sara Sunday.

Nell: You didn’t wake Poppy too, did you?

Me: She was already awake. She got out of Sandringham Palace first thing this morning and joined me in bed.

Nell: I wish you wouldn’t call Poppy’s bed Sandringham Palace.

Me: Poppy has two palaces. Buckingham downstairs and Sandringham upstairs.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Anyway, Poppy says I’m allowed to choose the roast and can have two breakfasts today. Cereal first so as not to wake everyone.

Nell: Too late for that.

Me: And smoked salmon and scrambled eggs later.

Nell: I didn’t know we had any smoked salmon.

Me: The Cat brought it over for me yesterday.

Nell: How unusually kind.

Me: The Cat can be kind.

Nell: It doesn’t usually share its smoked salmon with anyone.

Me: Poppy also said you had come to a decision about Myfanwy.

Nell: Yes. In view of the difficult times we’re all going through at the moment we decided Forgiveness was called for.

Me: Does that mean Myfanwy is back in the Welsh Corgi Choir?

Nell: It does.

Me: She must be delighted.

Nell: Yes, and so is Rupert.

Me: Do you think he still has a thing for Myfanwy?

Nell: I think we should just enjoy the sunrise.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


A Difficult Night But A Beautiful Morning

Nell: You didn’t very sleep well last night, did you? I heard you walking around upstairs.

Me: I’m afraid I got myself into a bit of a state after yesterday and ended up reading.

Nell: It’s perfectly understandable. You’re bound to get overwhelmed now and again.

Me: It was lovely to look out at the view this morning though.

Nell: Good.

Me: The early morning mist was absolutely magical rolling in across the fields. We’re so lucky to live where we do.

Nell: Yes, we are.

Me: I will never take it for granted.

Nell: I know. So, we should update everyone on your visit to the hospital yesterday.

Me: Yes. I saw the consultant who confirmed that it is malignant melanoma as far as she can tell.

Nell: Yes.

Me: They couldn’t take it out there and then so I am booked in for surgery on Thursday morning.

Nell: Yes.

Me: They will cut it out and send it away for testing.

Nell: You may need further surgery after that.

Me: Yes. It can take up to four weeks to get the results.

Nell: And we will just have to get through that.

Me: I’m finding the waiting so hard.

Nell: I know you are but there is nothing we can do.

Me: Kev is being wonderful but even he had a moment of fear in the car on our way home yesterday.

Nell: Of course he is frightened. He loves you. We all do.

Me: I need to say thank you again for all the kind messages of support. They really do mean so much to me. I read every one.

Nell: Yes.

Me: I’m afraid I lost my inner warrior last night, Nell.

Nell: Only temporarily. She’s back now. We can do this. Together.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


You Can Do This

Nell: We’re posting a little early today.

Me: Yes, we are.

Nell: That’s because you and Kev have to leave here soon for the hospital.

Me: Yes. I finally have an appointment to see the consultant about my skin cancer.

Nell: And we’re hoping they will remove it today if they can.

Me: But we don’t know if it’s possible. I may have to go back another time.

Nell: Let’s just see what they say. One step at a time.

Me: I’m a bit frightened, Nell.

Nell: Of course you are. It’s perfectly understandable. Anyone would be.

Me: I wish I was braver.

Nell: You’re doing really well. You went to the hairdressers and you had a serious conversation with Sophie.

Me: I did and she said she’ll be there for me if I need her.

Nell: And in the meantime your hair looks wonderful.

Me: For now.

Nell: Remember what I told you about catastrophising?

Me: I know.

Nell: We all do it. Our minds jump to the worst conclusion.

Me: They do.

Nell: Which actually stops us finding out what’s really going on.

Me: It does.

Nell: Not knowing is far worse than having the facts in front of you.

Me: Yes.

Nell: It’s much better to know where you are.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Once we know what we’re dealing with we can do something about it.

Me: You’re right.

Nell: And you’re not alone with this. You have Kev and us and your family and friends. A whole army beside you.

Me: I’m very lucky to have such support.

Nell: So unleash that inner warrior and go and do this.

Me: Yes.

Nell: I’ll be there when you come home. You and me. Always.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

Nell: No sorries. This isn’t a sorry sort of day.


Dave Tries to Lighten the Mood

Nell: When will David realise that Morning Thoughts is neither the time nor the place to be playing Cheeky Animals?

Me: Why not?

Nell: We have serious matters to discuss.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He just wants to lighten the mood. Bless him.

Nell: Not today. We have far too many important topics on the agenda.

Me: Such as?

Nell: Myfanwy. The Welsh Corgi Choir are considering taking her back and have asked for our opinion on the matter.

Me: That’s wonderful news.

Nell: Is it?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Myfanwy is a bad animal.

Me: Not anymore. She went to the police station and told PC Panda everything and now Knitwear Wolf is free.

Nell: He wouldn’t have been arrested in the first place if she hadn’t tricked him.

Me: She didn’t want to be a bad animal, Nell. She was afraid of Lady Anwen.

Nell: She deceived Rupert and took advantage of him.

Me: He’s forgiven her.

Nell: I know he has.

Me: They’re eating Eggs Benedict in the kitchen together right now. I’m surprised Dave isn’t with them.

Nell: David is in a meeting with me.

Me: I think Myfanwy should be given a second chance.

Nell: Most of the animals agree with you.

Me: There you are then. Who doesn’t?

Nell: The Cat is on the fence.

Me: I don’t think it should be kept outside, Nell. It has the right to voice its opinion too.

Nell: Not literally, figuratively. The Cat is in two minds about this.

Me: Why?

Nell: It says Myfanwy lacks style.

Me: What does that mean?

Nell: It wasn’t keen on Myfanwy’s hat, if you must know. ‘Too frumpy and needed a wider brim’. I quote.

Me: Style is not important.

Nell: It is to The Cat.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


The Unveiling of the Other Veiled Corgi

Nell: You’re not going to believe this.

Me: I just might.

Nell: The Other Veiled Corgi has been unveiled.

Me: I missed it.

Nell: Where were you?

Me: I got caught up in a story. Tell me everything.

Nell: The Unveiling of the Veiled Corgi began when David started eating her breakfast.

Me: It will have been by mistake, Nell. My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy loves a poached egg and it’s easily done.

Nell: It was Eggs Benedict but that’s not the point.

Me: No.

Nell: It wasn’t by mistake. It was part of a Cunning Plan.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: While the Veiled Corgi was distracted by David eating her food, Poppy took out her sword.

Me: Oh my goodness.

Nell: And sliced the veil away from her hat.

Me: That could have gone awfully wrong.

Nell: Poppy is a professional swordsdog.

Me: Of course.

Nell: And to our amazement the Veiled Corgi was revealed as Myfanwy.

Me: Myfanwy?

Nell: Yes, she was being blackmailed by Lady Anwen who threatened to tell us who she was.

Me: What about Knitwear Wolf?

Nell: He knew Myfanwy was the Veiled Corgi but he thought Lady Anwen was her shy friend.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Myfanwy persuaded Rupert to take Lady Anwen to the station as she needed to get back to Windsor Castle.

Me: But the Royal Corgis were collected by car.

Nell: Lady Anwen wasn’t going to Windsor. She was escaping.

Me: Oh yes.

Nell: Myfanwy told Rupert her shy friend had been forgotten.

Me: But why didn’t he tell PC Panda about Myfanwy?

Nell: He knew she was desperate to rejoin the Welsh Corgi Choir and hoped she would tell the truth.

Me: Rupert is such a kind wolf.

Nell: Too kind for his own good.

Me: Yes. Sorry.