Dave Can’t Help Himself

Nell: How’s Kev feeling today?

Me: Tired but fine.

Nell: Good. David is never going to learn about Restraint. He simply threw himself at Tony again.

Me: Tony doesn’t mind. He wanted to know all about Sally visiting.

Nell: He didn’t want his face licked at the same time.

Me: Dave can’t help himself. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He’s just a bundle of love.

Nell: Fortunately Sally finds him amusing.

Me: She adores him, Nell. They are so sweet together.

Nell: Where are they?

Me: Dave’s taken her down to the beach for some Alone Time.

Nell: Why are you winking at me?

Me: I’m not winking. Poppy’s packed them a breakfast picnic. Bacon sandwiches and a flask of tea.

Nell: I hope it makes it to the beach. David tends to snack on the way.

Me: He can’t snack. He’s riding Knitwear Wolf’s motorbike.

Nell: Rupert is too generous for his own good.

Me: He is an extremely kind wolf. You shouldn’t take him for granted.

Nell: I don’t. Now, you’re not going to believe this.

Me: I just might.

Nell: Princess has agreed to marry Sir Roger Blubbery.

Me: That’s wonderful news.

Nell: On Dogmanay of all days.

Me: What?

Nell: I know. 31st December. As if that isn’t busy enough with all the partying.

Me: Oh, you mean Hogmanay.

Nell: No, I don’t. We dogs have celebrated Dogmanay for as long as I can remember.

Me: Will you be wearing kilts?

Nell: I worry about you sometimes. I really do. Why bring kilts into this?

Me: Just saying.

Nell: Princess will be wearing a tiara I expect and we shall all wear hats.

Me: It’s a great shame Dave ate my all encasing hat.

Nell: Not those sort of hats. Smart ones.

Me: Of course. Sorry.


Another Early Morning

Me: Carry on sleeping. I didn’t mean to wake you. Look at my Big Brave Beautiful Boy. Dreaming of Sally I expect.

Nell: Why are you up and dressed? It’s far too early for you to be downstairs. Is something wrong?

Me: No. Kev has an appointment at the hospital so we need to allow time to get through the rush hour traffic.

Nell: Has something happened?

Me: It’s nothing to worry about. Kev has been having trouble sleeping and the doctors are hoping to fix it.

Nell: It would be a good thing if they can. He gets very tired in the day.

Me: Yes, he does and he’s been through a lot during the past few months with my cancer.

Nell: Yes, we all have. Make sure you both eat breakfast. You don’t want to be travelling on an empty stomach.

Me: We will make ourselves some toast. Don’t wake Poppy. She needs her sleep.

Nell: She does. This time of year is a busy one in the kitchen.

Me: Did Sally have her meeting with Harriet, Henry and Horst?

Nell: Yes. They are planning a visit to the beach when it stops raining.

Me: I feel like it’s never going to stop raining at the moment.

Nell: It will. Just concentrate on getting to the hospital and sorting Kev out.

Me: You’re right. It’s all been far too much about me recently.

Nell: That’s not what I meant.

Me: I know.

Nell: Don’t forget your warm hat and fingerless gloves. You will probably want to go for a walk while you’re waiting for Kev.

Me: Yes, I’ve had enough of hospitals to be honest.

Nell: Of course you have and you’ll both be home before you know it. Kev will be fine. Trust me.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Sally is Back

Me: Tell me again what happened when Sally arrived. I can’t believe I missed it.

Nell: Neither can I. Where were you?

Me: I had an idea for a story so I nipped upstairs to write it down.

Nell: I’ve told you to carry a notebook with you at all times.

Me: I know. I forgot.

Nell: Anyway, David had just started helping himself to a roast potato when the doorbell rang.

Me: As planned.

Nell: Yes. Rupert answered it and called out ‘Parcel for David Martin’.

Me: How exciting. I wonder what it was.

Nell: It was Sally. Good grief. Do keep up.

Me: Was she inside a big box with a ribbon on the top?

Nell: Certainly not.

Me: Was she dressed as a post person?

Nell: No, she was simply her beautiful self waiting for David at the door.

Me: Quite right.

Nell: David asked if he could finish his roast potato first and we all said ‘No’ so he went to the door.

Me: And what happened then?

Nell: We heard a triumphant bark and then ‘Hello Davey’.

Me: How romantic.

Nell: The next thing we knew he was running around the table. He must have gone round six times before he calmed down.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He loves his Sally so much.

Nell: They’ve been inseparable ever since. He hasn’t left her side.

Me: He’s going to have to if she’s got secret meetings with Harriet, Henry and Horst.

Nell: Yes she was trying to explain that to him at breakfast but he wasn’t listening. He even asked Poppy to cut Sally’s buttered toast into heart shapes.

Me: And did she?

Nell: Absolutely not. Poppy doesn’t do romance. Sally had soldiers with her boiled egg like everyone else.

Me: Of course. Sorry.


Happy Fourth Advent

Me: Happy Fourth Advent. We can light all four candles today.

Nell; Good, we need all the light we can get in this dreadful weather.

Me: I thought I’d post some gentle winter sun on the beach photos today to cheer everyone up.

Nell: You do realise people read this from all over the world, don’t you?

Me: Yes. Why?

Nell: Some are enjoying the summer and others are surrounded by snow.

Me: I love how different our worlds are.

Nell: I’m just saying that fortunately not everyone is being subjected to non stop rain.

Me: They’ll still like to see our winter sun on the beach photos.

Nell: True. Now, Sally’s going to surprise David at lunch.

Me: How exciting. He’s going to be over the moon to see her. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Poppy doesn’t want him seated anywhere near the gravy.

Me: He didn’t mean to drink the whole jug. It was a mistake.

Nell: It was also a gravy boat not a jug and extremely fortuitous that Poppy had made more.

Me: Yes. You can’t have a roast without gravy.

Nell: No. The mere idea.

Me: There were an awful lot of small Beefies gathering on the beach, weren’t there?

Nell: It’s the Annual Beefy Bash today. It’s always on the Sunday before Christmas.

Me: Don’t you mean Splash? See what I did there?

Nell: I shall ignore that.

Me: When you say ‘Bash’ you don’t mean fight, do you?

Nell: You can never know with the Beefies but in this case bash means party.

Me: Are we invited?

Nell: Of course not and if we were we wouldn’t go. Now put on your raincoat and Wellington boots please. Sunday Songs is about to begin and the corgis are getting cold.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


A Tufted Tail

Me: That was a really good long walk.

Nell: Yes, it was.

Me: Along our beach and then right around to River Beach where we walk in the summer and up to our bench overlooking the thatched pink boathouse.

Nell: Someone is staying there.

Me: Yes, I saw the door was open and there were fairy lights.

Nell: Did you notice who it was?

Me: No, I was too far away.

Nell: Just wondered.

Me: Do you know something I don’t?

Nell: Probably, all things considered.

Me: You know what I mean. About the boathouse?

Nell: I thought I saw a tail, if you must know.

Me: What kind of tail?

Nell: A distinctive kind of tail.

Me: Feathery?

Nell: No.

Me: It wasn’t a tufted tail, was it?

Nell: It might have been.

Me: It’s that wretched lion again, isn’t it? He’s back.

Nell: I don’t think he ever really went anywhere.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: The last letter I received was on headed notepaper from The Burgh Island Hotel so he’s obviously been staying there.

Me: Do you mean to say you’ve been exchanging letters with Lionel King all this time?

Nell: I never wrote back.

Me: I hope not.

Nell: Lionel has been writing to me for ages. The odd postcard and letter. Sometimes a text.

Me: He’s a bad lion, Nell.

Nell: I know. I thought it best to keep communication lines open. Henry and Horst agreed.

Me: What have Henry and Horst got to do with it?

Nell: They picked up some useful information about Lionel and the Beefies at the Winged Insect Conference.

Me: What was it?

Nell: It’s Highly Confidential. FSEO.

Me: Frightful Secrets about Enemy Operators?

Nell: No. For Sally’s Eyes Only. She’s arriving tomorrow.

Me: Oh, I see. Sorry.


Silly Sandwich Day

Me: Did you realise Dave was playing Cheeky Animals when you were bathing in the sunlight on the sofa?

Nell: Bathing in the sunlight?

Me: At least there is some sunshine today.

Nell: David has to learn that his opponent needs to at least be able to see if he’s sticking his tongue out.

Me: I could see.

Nell: You weren’t playing.

Me: Maybe I was?

Nell: Don’t start. Have you purchased your Christmas presents yet?

Me: We’re not really doing presents this year. I’ve sent a few things off to Germany and Canada for the children and grandchildren.

Nell: I hear they are all coming over in March next year.

Me: Yes, something to look forward to.

Nell: Exactly. The weather will also be warmer and you will be feeling much stronger.

Me: I hope so.

Nell: I know so. What’s your opinion on bread sauce?

Me: I absolutely love it.

Nell: And cranberry sauce?

Me: I love that too.

Nell: What about tomato sauce?

Me: Not on turkey. You can’t put ketchup on that.

Nell: Who mentioned turkey?

Me: I thought that was what we were talking about.

Nell: It’s 16th December and a Friday.

Me: Yes, I know.

Nell: It’s Silly Sandwich Day where we all get to try different combinations. We celebrate it every year.

Me: So what was going with bread sauce?

Nell: Bacon.

Me: I’m not sure about that. Chicken would work.

Nell: It has to be bacon, or veggie bacon if James is visiting.

Me: James Beddall?

Nell: Of course. He’s always talking about vegetarian alternatives. Do keep up.

Me: Is this just a way of getting bacon sandwiches on a week day?

Nell: How dare you suggest such a thing. The mere idea. Look. It’s marked on the calendar.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Walking Back From The Beach

Me: I’ve been doing some thinking recently.

Nell: Oh dear.

Me: Life’s a bit like walking back from the beach.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: At first it’s all sparkling sea and mysterious islands.

Nell: The sea was rather grey today, truth be told.

Me: You know what I mean.

Nell: Yes. Carry on.

Me: You rush into it head on, dancing along the sand and frolicking in the waves.

Nell: I’ve never frolicked in my life.

Me: You have, Nell. I remember when we moved down to Devon and we took Kev to our beach for the first time. You’d been there several times before with me on holiday and you frolicked with joy. It was magical.

Nell: I was happy to be back and to share it with Kev.

Me: So was I. Anyway, after a time you calm down and begin to appreciate everything in a quieter way.

Nell: Yes. One cannot frolic for ever.

Me: And sometimes you can find life rather tiring and even a little sad, like walking back from the beach.

Nell: It is tiring.

Me: But once you’ve climbed the sand dunes there’s that lovely green grassy field to walk through.

Nell: I enjoy that part.

Me: Yes, so do I. The others are usually quite far ahead of us but you and I just take our time.

Nell: We do.

Me: And we know Kev will be waiting for us by the car. Saying ‘Come along you two.’

Nell: Yes, he will.

Me: And sometimes we even have a cup of tea and a piece of cake before we drive home.

Nell: Yes.

Me: So walking home from the beach has its ups and downs just like life.

Nell: You’re actually making a lot of sense today.

Me: I know. Sorry.


Keeping Warm

Me: It’s jolly snowy out in the fields this morning. We’ll need to Keep Warm.

Nell: There’s nothing jolly about it.

Me: It is beautiful, Nell. You have to admit that.

Nell: I’m glad Gladys saw reason and moved Glide with Gladys into The Barn.

Me: Yes, it was all getting a bit much for the llamas, wasn’t it?

Nell: There’s only so much gliding one can do in a snowsuit.

Me: Don’t I know it.

Nell: Do you?

Me: Yes. I’ve worn snowsuits in the past. I used to go skiing regularly in another life.

Nell: I can’t imagine that.

Me: It was never for me. I’m scared of heights and I have a terrible sense of balance but at least I tried.

Nell: Poppy’s worked out the best way to Keep Warm.

Me: Yes. Cushions and Labradors. It works for me too.

Nell: We have our uses. Why aren’t you wearing your fingerless gloves?

Me: I didn’t know I needed them.

Nell: There’s no point in wearing a hat if you don’t wear matching gloves. Ask The Cat. It’s never without them in this weather.

Me: But I’m inside.

Nell: We’re all inside. You don’t see Malcolm without his socks.

Me: Malcolm needs socks because he’s a flamingo but I never know if Manuel is wearing socks or gloves.

Nell: It’s difficult to tell with tentacles. Have you finished your porridge?

Me: Yes, it was delicious. That spoonful of honey made it extra tasty.

Nell: Good. Henry and Horst suggested it. They were at a winged insect conference and brought some back.

Me: Henry and Horst aren’t winged insects. They’re woodlice.

Nell: Quiet. It was an undercover mission. Why do you think they’ve been wearing stripy coats and wings?

Me: I thought they were just Keeping Warm. Sorry.


Thermals are The Answer

Me: My goodness it was cold down on the beach.

Nell: Yes, it was.

Me: How Harriet can run straight into the sea is beyond me.

Nell: I prefer to sit and watch.

Me: So do I. Not the sitting bit, of course, that would be strange.

Nell: Yes, it would.

Me: The waves were wonderful in the wind. Shedding droplets of water like a dog after a swim.

Nell: What are you talking about?

Me: You know the way the waves cast water around them like the twirling of a cloak in the Paso Doble dance?

Nell: You worry me sometimes. You really do.

Me: I know what I mean.

Nell: Moving on, I think you should consider wearing thermals in this weather.

Me: Do we have to discuss underwear?

Nell: Yes, we do. I know you’re trying to save electricity by turning off radiators whenever possible but the house is cold.

Me: I know it is. But we can’t afford to keep them on.

Nell: The Cat says thermals are the answer and Rupert has organised some thick warm blankets.

Me: Knitwear Wolf is so kind.

Nell: He spent the whole of yesterday delivering coats to corgis.

Me: Why corgis in particular?

Nell: They only have little legs.

Me: I see.

Nell: It’s dachshunds today.

Me: Great Danes are going to have an awfully long wait.

Nell: Why bring Great Danes into this?

Me: They have really long legs. They’ll be last in the queue.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Kev and I are thinking of working on our laptops in front of the fire.

Nell: Good idea. We dogs can keep close. David is a great source of warmth.

Me: Yes, he is. Bless him.

Nell: We can do this. Together. But get some thermals.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


David Does A Good Thing

Me: I’m really impressed with Dave.

Nell: Yes. David did A Good Thing.

Me: Apologising so beautifully to Hattie Button for eating her dinner and stealing Foxy her favourite toy. Three times.

Nell: He took it too far again though.

Me: Yes, he probably shouldn’t have climbed on the chair.

Nell: Or licked Alex’s face.

Me: I think he just wanted to make sure they both knew he was really sorry.

Nell: I think it was typical David behaviour. He simply cannot show Restraint.

Me: The main thing is that Hattie and Dave are friends again and she and Alex left smiling.

Nell: Yes, you’re right.

Me: It was a lovely visit and we’ll be seeing them both soon when we go to Charlotte’s for Christmas lunch.

Nell: I didn’t know we were all going to Charlotte’s on Christmas Day. Naughty Nigel never said anything about that in our WoofsApp group.

Me: I’m afraid you’re not going.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: Alex is driving us there and Charlotte has a house full so we can only take Hattie Button.

Nell: I can’t believe what I’m hearing.

Me: It will only be for a few hours, Nell. We will celebrate in the morning and after we get back.

Nell: I’m not sure how I’m going to explain this to the others.

Me: I’d leave it for now if I were you.

Nell: Poppy needs to be told sooner rather than later. It’s going to completely mess up her numbers and she’ll have to change her seating plan.

Me: It’s only me and Kev.

Nell: You and Kev are not an Only. You are an Everything.

Me: That’s one of the nicest things you’ve ever said to me. You’re making me quite teary.

Nell: It’s the truth.

Me: Yes. Sorry.