Her name is not Christine

Me: Why is Harriet giving me that look?

Nell: You called her Christine this morning.

Me: Yes, I’m not sure why I did that.

Nell: Her name is not Christine.

Me: I know it isn’t.

Nell: Even her second name isn’t Christine.

Me: I think it’s because I’ve got my Wednesday Writers workshop this morning and one of the writers is called Christine.

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

Me: She’s actually a poet too.

Nell: Harriet has never written a poem in her life. I’m the poet. Are you going to start calling me Christine now?

Me: No. I’m talking about my writer friend Christine. She’s a writer and a poet.

Nell: You’ve been talking about your friend Christine far too much this morning already if you ask me.

Me: I know I have. Is Harriet really upset about me calling her Christine?

Nell: Not anymore. David gave her one of his morning pancakes with maple syrup and a cuddle.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. So kind and loving. He wouldn’t care at all if I called him Christine.

Nell: Well, don’t do it, please.

Me: Now, I’m afraid I might. You know when you’re not supposed to say something and then you try so hard not to say it that you do.

Nell: That’s never happened to me.

Me: Like when a guest comes to tea and has a big nose and your mother says ‘Don’t mention his nose’ and you end up saying ‘Would you like sugar with your nose?’ instead of tea.

Nell: You said that?

Me: Yes, I did. My mother was not best pleased and neither was the vicar.

Nell: Oh dear. I think it might be best not to call anyone anything today.

Me: I think you’re right. Sorry.


The Garden Centre

Me: I thought we could discuss yesterday’s visit to the Garden Centre.

Nell: I don’t think that is necessary.

Me: You were not well behaved at all.

Nell: I wouldn’t say that.

Me: Kev had to have words with you and that never happens.

Nell: I should have been allowed to accompany him inside to order lunch.

Me: He was only gone for a few minutes and you weren’t alone. I was there.

Nell: My place is by his side not outside in the freezing cold.

Me: It wasn’t freezing. What about me? I was outside too.

Nell: You had a blanket and a cushion.

Me: And why did you bark at that innocent dog?

Nell: It showed far too much interest in your blanket. I was protecting you.

Me: And what about later after our walk along the river?

Nell: I do enjoy the river walk. The grass is soft and the leaves on the trees are such a lovely colour.

Me: Yes, I like it too. Stop changing the subject.

Nell: You were the one who mentioned it in the first place.

Me: I was talking about your naughty behaviour.

Nell: I wouldn’t call it naughty.

Me: One minute you were off lead and walking nicely beside us.

Nell: And?

Me: And the next you had completely disappeared. We were so worried.

Nell: Nonsense. I just needed to pop back into the Garden Centre.

Me: It was only when the ladies at the till heard us calling you that we realised where you were.

Nell: They like to give me a treat and one of them is a huge fan of our conversations.

Me: I know. She might be willing to sell my book.

Nell: Well then. You should be thanking me.

Me: I suppose I should. Sorry.


A Shy Angel

Me: There was a magical light down on the beach, wasn’t there?

Nell: Here we go.

Me: The sun was hiding behind the clouds like a shy angel you glimpse out of the corner of your eye.

Nell: What are you talking about?

Me: Coming and going. Ever elusive. Bathing the sky in its rays.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Never seen for long but always a joy to behold.

Nell: Have you finished? Shy angel, indeed. Whatever next?

Me: It’s the way it glows. And when it’s there it makes you feel all warm and fuzzy.

Nell: It’s the sun. That’s what it does. And I have never felt fuzzy in my life.

Me: I saw a white feather on the beach, by the way.

Nell: Good.

Me: So I know my mother is watching over me.

Nell: She always is. Feather or not.

Me: I know. But sometimes she likes to remind me.

Nell: You seem in extremely good spirits for a Monday morning.

Me: Yes, I think it’s my new Wellington boots. I love them.

Nell: You don’t have to wear them in the house, however.

Me: No, I’ll take them off in a minute.

Nell: Everyone else is wearing slippers.

Me: Poppy is wearing thigh boots and a feathered hat.

Nell: She’s having a Pirate Day with John and The Cat.

Me: Why can’t I have a Wellington Boot Day then?

Nell: Don’t be silly. There’s no such thing.

Me: There’s no such thing as a Pirate Day either. It’s just an excuse to dress up.

Nell: I’ll have you know that Poppy has been having Pirate Days for years. It is an honour to be included.

Me: Really?

Nell: Yes, and the way you’ve been talking you are unlikely to be invited. Ever.

Me: Oh. Sorry.


Bacon Sandwiches in Bed, Anyone?

Me: Let me tell you about my Sunday morning.

Nell: If you must.

Me: I should begin by saying that Dave is a very large dog.

Nell: And your point is?

Me: So, there I am quietly enjoying a lazy lie in when Dave comes upstairs and sits on me.

Nell: David does that every morning.

Me: I know he does but here is the interesting thing.

Nell: I can’t wait.

Me: When Kev says ‘How about bacon sandwiches in bed today?’ I look over and you are suddenly lying on the bed too.

Nell: Where else would I be?

Me: And then I look back at Dave and Harriet has joined him at the end of the bed.

Nell: Of course she has. It’s where she likes to be.

Me: And it seems that now everyone is waiting for bacon sandwiches.

Nell: It’s Sunday and bacon sandwiches are best shared. You know that.

Me: Are they really?

Nell: Definitely. You never eat the crusts for a start.

Me: That’s true and you’re right. I do love you all to join me.

Nell: There you are then. What’s all the fuss about?

Me: It’s just that Dave is rather large and extremely heavy.

Nell: I’ve told him there’s no need to get so close but he won’t listen.

Me: He is lovely and warm I suppose which is a bonus.

Nell: Yes. David comes into his own during the colder months.

Me: I hope the Welsh Corgi Choir aren’t too cold out there in the field.

Nell: Don’t worry about them. They’re wearing woolly hats and ski suits under their ponchos.

Me: That’s a relief.

Nell: And singing keeps you warm.

Me: Are you all going to join them?

Nell: And miss the bacon? Don’t be silly.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Sara Has a New Hat and David Knows Why

Me: I’m not sure I should be in the photos.

Nell: Of course you should. People like to see you enjoying the beach.

Me: Really?

Nell: Yes. And you have a new warm hat.

Me: That’s true. It’s not all encasing though.

Nell: No, but it does the job.

Me: Dave didn’t mean to eat my all encasing hat. It was a mistake.

Nell: I don’t think you can eat a hat by mistake.

Me: To be fair he didn’t actually eat it. He just chewed a big hole in the front.

Nell: David is perfectly well fed. He has no need to do things like that.

Me: He was thinking, Nell. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. When he’s thinking he likes to chew.

Nell: He has a perfectly nice Neon Green Chew. That kind of behaviour is completely out of order. David will be 6 next year. He’s not a puppy.

Me: He is to me.

Nell: I give up.

Me: I expect he’s sad that Miss Maple is leaving today.

Nell: We are all sad. Miss Maple will be missed.

Me: Do we know where she’s going?

Nell: No, she’s keeping her biscuits close to her bowl.

Me: Don’t you mean her cards close to her chest?

Nell: Why bring cards into this?

Me: Never mind.

Nell: Talking of cards The Cat has asked me to join it for a game of Bridge this afternoon.

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

Nell: That was a long time ago.

Me: I could probably remember how to play if only someone gave me the chance.

Nell: I usually partner with Dorothy.

Me: I see. Never mind. I’ll just read my book. Alone.

Nell: Alright, you can play. Can I watch Saturday Kitchen now?

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Friday Faces

Me: Look at those little faces. Have you ever seen anything more adorable?

Nell: David does not have a little face.

Me: Look at his gorgeous nose. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. You just want to kiss it.

Nell: I most certainly do not.

Me: And Poppy posing like a film star with her huge eyes.

Nell: You could have taken a more flattering photo of Harriet.

Me: I think she looks sweet.

Nell: She looks guilty.

Me: I suppose she might be hiding something. She and Sally have been zooming a lot recently.

Nell: Yes, I noticed that too.

Me: I’m going to send those photos to John, Sally and Jim. They’ll love them.

Nell: I’m sure they will. Miss Maple might like one of Poppy too. She’s leaving tomorrow.

Me: Oh no. We’ll miss her.

Nell: She says she’s staying in the area so we might see her again.

Me: That’s good.

Nell: Did you know Sally and Miss Maple have worked together in the past?

Me: Really?

Nell: Yes, they like to call on each other for the more difficult cases.

Me: Is Sally involved in the latest one?

Nell: Harriet won’t say but she gave me a Knowing Look so I think she might be.

Me: I wonder if there is anything I can do to help with the case.

Nell: Absolutely not.

Me: But the weather is cold enough for my all encasing hat. So I can easily go undercover.

Nell: May I remind you that you are still in recovery after your operation?

Me: I forgot.

Nell: And apart from that you are simply not cut out to be a spy.

Me: Why not?

Nell: You cannot keep a secret.

Me: I can.

Nell: You share our conversations every day.

Me: Oh yes. Sorry.


Thank You

Me: There’s nothing like a walk along the beach to lift the spirits. The sea was amazing. All wild and frothy.

Nell: Now, today is Thanksgiving in the United States so we would like to wish all our American friends a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Me: Yes, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of you out there for the amazing support you’ve given me since my cancer diagnosis.

Nell: It means a great deal to Sara and she appreciates every single comment.

Me: This has been truly one of the most difficult times I have ever been through and if I’m honest I am still struggling to cope with it.

Nell: You have your good and bad days.

Me: I do and just reading your kind and supportive posts really lifts me up so thank you from the bottom of my heart. You are such a wonderful group of people.

Nell: And this is why we’ve decided to celebrate our own Thanksgiving.

Me: Yes. We have a great deal to be thankful for.

Nell: Yes, including roast turkey with all the trimmings.

Me: Will John the Doberman be joining us?

Nell: Poppy has asked John to carve the turkey.

Me: Gosh. That is an honour.

Nell: Why aren’t you wearing a hat?

Me: I didn’t know I had to.

Nell: You can’t give thanks without a hat. You’d better choose one from The Cat’s dressing up box.

Me: Or I could just pull a cracker.

Nell: Crackers are for later.

Me: Fair enough. Is that singing?

Nell: Yes, the Welsh Corgi Choir are joining us for Songs of Thanks and bacon sandwiches.

Me: I thought we were having turkey.

Nell: Turkey’s for later. You can’t give thanks without bacon.

Me: Of course. Sorry.


The Crisis Is Over

Me: Well, this all looks lovely and peaceful.

Nell: Yes. The crisis is over. All swords have been put aside.

Me: Tell me again what happened.

Nell: As you know I had reached the limit of my patience with Poppy as had John the Doberman it seems.

Me: Understandable.

Nell: I went into the living room and was about to give Poppy a piece of my mind when John marched in.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: He picked Poppy up and took her outside.

Me: Didn’t she struggle?

Nell: Of course.

Me: Thank goodness she didn’t have her sword.

Nell: Yes. David made himself extra heavy so there was no chance of her getting it.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. What happened outside?

Nell: We don’t know but words were spoken and truths were told.

Me: Were kisses exchanged?

Nell: Possibly, anyway the next thing we know is Poppy has apologised to Miss Maple and she and John are engaged again.

Me: Wonderful news.

Nell: Yes, and just in time to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Me: We aren’t from the United States, Nell.

Nell: I know but we have plenty to be thankful for and any excuse for roast turkey has to be embraced.

Me: What about Timothy?

Nell: He’s gone on retreat. It’s far too dangerous for him here.

Me: I’m so glad Poppy is back to her usual self.

Nell: Yes, especially as Miss Maple will be leaving soon.

Me: Why?

Nell: You’re not going to believe this.

Me: I just might.

Nell: Miss Maple is a famous detective.

Me: I knew her name rang a bell.

Nell: Apparently a friend of hers has called on her to help with a mysterious case.

Me: How intriguing.

Nell: That’s what I said.

Me: No, you said ‘mysterious’.

Nell: Enough.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


This Has Gone Too Far

Me: Do you know what’s going on downstairs?

Nell: Probably, but tell me anyway.

Me: Poppy is in the yellow chair, swordless but feisty, watching Dave pretending to be asleep.

Nell: David is lying on her sword.

Me: Poor darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. I wouldn’t sleep either if I was lying on someone’s sword. Is there any particular reason why?

Nell: Poppy is still determined to fight Miss Maple.

Me: But Miss Maple has done nothing wrong.

Nell: I know. Poppy’s refusing to listen to reason. You’re going to have to talk to her.

Me: Why me?

Nell: It was your idea for John to make her jealous.

Me: I told her but she wouldn’t believe me.

Nell: You do realise all this sword concealing means that David has missed his first breakfast and may possibly miss his second.

Me: We can’t let that happen, Nell.

Nell: I know.

Me: Do you think Poppy realises Dave is lying on her sword?

Nell: Of course she does. That’s why she’s watching him.

Me: Oh, I see.

Nell: The second he moves she will jump in and get it.

Me: I think we need to get John the Doberman over here right now.

Nell: Let me guess. To sweep her off her feet?

Me: No. To lie on the sword so Dave can get his breakfast. John’s a big boy too so he can easily conceal it.

Nell: Good grief. This has gone too far. I’m going to go in and speak my mind. John loves Poppy and Poppy loves John. That’s all that matters.

Me: You’re absolutely right and while you’re at it you might want to listen to your own advice.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: You love Rupert and he loves you.

Nell: Stop interfering.

Me: Sorry.


Longing for a Lion

Me: I’d like to make an observation.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: When we were all down on the beach.

Nell: Yes?

Me: We all had fun despite the grey weather.

Nell: Especially Harriet.

Me: Yes. Harriet comes alive by the sea. Bless her.

Nell: I know. I think she would live on the beach if she could.

Me: I agree, but back to my observation.

Nell: Oh dear.

Me: While we were having fun all you did was gaze at the island.

Nell: We all gaze at the island. It encourages contemplation. Kev does it all the time.

Me: Your gaze seemed a little bit like longing to me.

Nell: Longing?

Me: Yes. Longing for a lion. Gosh, that sounds like a song, doesn’t it?

Nell: Longing for a lion? I’m not longing for anyone.

Me: I really hope not. He’s bad news, Nell.

Nell: I am aware of that, thank you. On another note, I know why Poppy was so low yesterday.

Me: She was angry with that wretched lion of yours.

Nell: It was not about Lionel and he’s not mine.

Me: What was it about then?

Nell: John the Doberman.

Me: John is nothing but kind. It was so sweet of him to bring puppuccinos for everyone.

Nell: Yes, but Miss Maple’s puppuccino had a heart drawn in the foam.

Me: Did it really?

Nell: Why are you smiling?

Me: So Poppy thinks John might have taken a shine to Maple?

Nell: She does.

Me: And it’s made her realise how much she cares about John?

Nell: It has.

Me: Job done then.

Nell: What’s that supposed to mean?

Me: I told him he might need to make her jealous.

Nell: Yes, and now Poppy’s challenged Miss Maple to a sword fight.

Me: Oh no. Sorry.