Nell Supervises The Family

Me: Alice and I took some lovely photos on the beach yesterday. Thank you for supervising the children.

Nell: My pleasure. I did wonder if keeping the shells they were gathering in a poo bag was the best idea.

Me: It was all I had on me at the time. It was perfectly clean.

Nell: People were wondering why you let a child carry it around.

Me: Never mind. They had fun and it did the job so that’s all that matters.

Nell: I suppose so.

Me: You can be awfully strong willed, can’t you?

Nell: Where’s that come from?

Me: You were supposed to go home in the dog car with Kev and the others but you absolutely refused to leave and turned round and walked back to me.

Nell: I wasn’t leaving you all.

Me: I know and I was really touched.

Nell: Kev understood completely.

Me: Yes, he did, but I’m not so sure about the other dogs. Harriet kept running back to get you.

Nell: I always wait for you on walks. You know that.

Me: Yes.

Nell: You can be a little slow sometimes and need guiding along.

Me: I do.

Nell: Besides, someone had to keep an eye on those young ones.

Me: True.

Nell: Now, it’s extremely stormy weather today so I need you to promise to drive very carefully to the hospital.

Me: I will.

Nell: Seeing Alex like this always upsets you so just take your time and focus on the road.

Me: Don’t worry.

Nell: I shall be very glad when you’re home with us again.

Me: And I shall be glad to be home.

Nell: I know.

Me: We made some wonderful memories, didn’t we?

Nell: Yes, and we’ve not finished doing that yet.

Me: No. You’re right. Sorry.


Making Memories

Me: What are you doing up here on the bed with the others?

Nell: Just keeping an eye on you.

Me: Thank you.

Nell: You went to Hope Cove without me.

Me: I know but we had to sit inside, Nell. The weather was too grizzly to sit outside.

Nell: Grizzly?

Me: Sea mists and a bitingly cold wind.

Nell: The weather doesn’t matter when you’re by the sea.

Me: No. The children loved it. They were climbing on rocks and exploring caves.

Nell: Yes, I can see that from the photos.

Me: Jonathan is feeling a lot better which is a big relief, especially to Faye who has missed her big brother playing with her.

Nell: We know. Why do you think David has been wearing a tiara and I’m covered in a blanket?

Me: She likes to keep you warm.

Nell: Any news from the hospital about your sister Alex?

Me: There’s not much change. Her daughter said she thinks she was slightly more aware of them and she nodded a few times.

Nell: That’s a good sign. It’s going to take time.

Me: I know.

Nell: You’re going to see her tomorrow, aren’t you?

Me: Yes. I’m hoping she will realise I’m there.

Nell: She will. Don’t you worry about that. Just keep talking to her and telling her she’s loved.

Me: I will.

Nell: And remember we’ll all be waiting for you when you get home.

Me: That’s a huge comfort.

Nell: Now, Alice and the children leave on Sunday and I know you’ll be sad but they will be back in August.

Me: Yes.

Nell: So just concentrate on that.

Me: I’m taking one day at a time to be honest.

Nell: Alex will get through this. Look how far she’s come.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Keeping an Eye

Me: It was awfully kind of you and Harriet to keep an eye on Jonathan while he was drinking his milkshake.

Nell: Harriet drifted off to sleep a few times.

Me: It was a large milkshake and it did take a long time to drink.

Nell: Yes. I’m not surprised he couldn’t manage it all.

Me: Do you like milkshakes?

Nell: I’ve never tried one. But if it’s anything like the milk left over from a bowl of cereal then I’d definitely like it.

Me: And when did you try that?

Nell: Faye and Jonathan always share their breakfasts. Unlike some.

Me: I’m a bit fed up with this rain, Nell. Thank goodness they’re all coming back in August.

Nell: Yes, it’s rather tedious. Now, you need to update everyone on your sister Alex.

Me: Yesterday wasn’t such a good day. She had a temperature spike and her blood pressure dipped so she’s back on the medication.

Nell: The nurses said this isn’t unexpected.

Me: Yes. Things can go up and down. Let’s hope today is a better day.

Nell: We’ll just take each day as it comes.

Me: Yes. It’s the only thing we can do.

Nell: We dogs lost one of our dearest supporters yesterday.

Me: You mean Paul O’Grady?

Nell: Yes, he always championed our cause.

Me: He did. The world is a sadder place for his loss.

Nell: It is. I’m afraid toast and cereal isn’t going to be enough for breakfast. It’s definitely a bacon sort of day.

Me: Dave would agree.

Nell: Some days simply can’t be managed without bacon and this is one of them.

Me: I love you very much, Nell. Thank you for keeping an eye on us all.

Nell: It’s what I do. No need for thanks.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Small Steps (on the sofa)

Me: Jonathan is feeling so much better.

Nell: That doesn’t mean he can bounce on my sofa.

Me: It’s everyone’s sofa.

Nell: It’s where I like to sit quietly.

Me: You and Jonathan have a special bond, don’t you?

Nell: We do.

Me: You’ve taken him under your wing.

Nell: Under my paw you mean.

Me: It’s lovely to see.

Nell: He’s a young pup and pups need guidance.

Me: Well, he couldn’t find anyone much better.

Nell: And why should he? I’ve told him we can stay in touch via WoofsApp and he’s welcome to join my Young Animal Mentoring Group on Zoom.

Me: Marvin’s in that group, isn’t he?

Nell: Yes, and young Toby. Now, I think you should update everyone on your sister Alex.

Me: Yes. Kev and I went to see her in intensive care yesterday and she’s doing much better.

Nell: Good to hear.

Me: She’s off most of the machines except for the breathing tube and they might try and remove that later this week.

Nell: Was she awake?

Me: No, she’s still lightly sedated, but I think she squeezed my hand and the nurse said she opened her eyes for her earlier.

Nell: That’s promising.

Me: She also seemed to react while Kev and I were talking.

Nell: Did you tell her all about the messages of love and support?

Me: I did. I told her she was a fighter and we were all behind her.

Nell: Exactly.

Me: The consultant said she had a 2 in 10 survival when she was admitted last Wednesday but now it’s an 8 in 10.

Nell: That’s positive news so why the tears?

Me: I’m just exhausted, Nell. I don’t think I’ve been able to breathe properly since this happened. Sorry.

Nell: No need for sorries.


Good News At Last

Me: It’s so lovely to see Jonathan smiling again.

Nell: Yes, his fever finally broke and he’s on the road to recovery.

Me: Dave and Harriet have been excellent nurses.

Nell: Dave is not a nurse. He is a Noble Steed.

Me: Oh yes. I forgot.

Nell: And most important of all we had some good news from the hospital.

Me: We did. When Alex’s son and daughter were visiting she was able to nod her head to say she could hear them.

Nell: And that’s not all.

Me: She squeezed their hands when asked and opened and closed her eyes when asked.

Nell: Wonderful.

Me: And she opened her eyes to see a video of her little grandson Tobias telling her he loves her.

Nell: It’s a huge step forward.

Me: It is. I knew my little sister was a fighter but I didn’t expect this to happen so soon.

Nell: Nobody did.

Me: Earlier in the day my sister Charlotte said it was clear she could hear her. All this means they might be able to move from sedation to a calming drug and maybe even remove the tubes.

Nell: Don’t get carried away, please. It all needs time. The doctors and nurses know what they are doing.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Now, you and Kev are visiting Alex today so make sure you tell her about all the messages of love and support.

Me: I will.

Nell: And don’t worry about Alice and the children. Dave and Harriet are on duty, Poppy is in the kitchen and I will oversee everything.

Me: I know you will. We finally have some hope again, Nell.

Nell: Yes, we do.

Me: I thought I was going to lose her.

Nell: Well you’re not. She’s on her way back.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Reaching Out

Nell: I need to have a word with you.

Me: Is it about the clocks going forward?

Nell: No. It’s about David.

Me: He did a really good job with breakfast this morning. My boiled egg was perfect.

Nell: I’m not talking about David’s cooking skills. Did you see what he was wearing?

Me: Do you mean the tiara? I think he should be allowed to wear what he likes.

Nell: Not around his neck. It belongs to Faye.

Me: He’s her noble steed. She’s missing playing with Jonathan because he’s not well so Dave is there for cuddles.

Nell: I suppose that’s acceptable in the circumstances.

Me: We’re all in need of cuddles at the moment.

Nell: Yes, David and Harriet are in high demand. I’m afraid Poppy and I are not the cuddling kind.

Me: You’re always there with advice though, Nell, and Poppy is keeping us fed and watered.

Nell: The Welsh corgi choir are dedicating today’s Sunday Songs to your sister Alex.

Me: How lovely. I’m going to tell her all about the kind messages of love and support when I visit her in hospital tomorrow.

Nell: Good idea.

Me: The doctors say she might be able to hear us.

Nell: You never know.

Me: I’d also like to say a big thank you to Cathy Tall, a district nurse from our area, who has been such a help with advice about Jonathan. Alice found it most reassuring.

Nell: People are very kind if you let them be.

Me: Yes. I think we all need to reach out to each other more instead of trying to do these things alone.

Nell: True.

Me: It was very hard to say goodbye to Chris and Shannon yesterday.

Nell: I know but they’ll be back soon.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Light and Shade

Me: It was lovely down on the beach, wasn’t it?

Nell: It always is.

Me: I thought the sky reflected what we’re going through at the moment.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: Light and shade. A huge grey cloud on one side and blue sky on the other.

Nell: I see.

Me: The grey cloud is our fear for Alex and the blue sky is our joy in spending time together.

Nell: It’s a strange mixture of emotions.

Me: Alex is still fighting and the consultant said it’s a good sign that she is still with us.

Nell: They are doing everything they can.

Me: But if she pulls through, the way back is going to be a long one and things may never be the same.

Nell: We will deal with all of that together.

Me: All three of her children are by her side.

Nell: They are.

Me: And I know what a comfort that is. Having the whole family here has been wonderful.

Nell: It has. David is going to struggle with Chris and Shannon leaving today.

Me: He loves all the attention. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: I’ve tried to explain to him that they can’t stay. Their home is in Canada with Marvin.

Me: It’s hard for him to accept. Faye is going to miss Shannon terribly. They’ve really bonded.

Nell: The good thing is that they’ll be back in the summer.

Me: Yes.

Nell: And Alice and the children are here with us for another week.

Me: Such a precious time.

Nell: Yes. Family is everything.

Me: It really is. In times like this love is what keeps you going.

Nell: There’s plenty of that to go around.

Me: There is.

Nell: So, let’s concentrate on the blue sky.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Waiting and Hoping

Me: What a strange time this is. It’s as if we are all in limbo.

Nell: Yes, I know.

Me: Just constantly waiting for news from the hospital.

Nell: The main thing is that Alex is still with us. Your little sister is a fighter.

Me: Yes, she is. We have to keep hoping she can come back from this but at the moment it’s the machines that are keeping her alive.

Nell: And the wonderful doctors and nurses.

Me: Yes. I’m so glad I have my family around me and you dogs are being amazing. You’re such a comfort to us all.

Nell: We are all family and we’re in this together.

Me: Yes.

Nell: I’m not sure I want to watch ‘Moana’ again, however.

Me: I thought it was lovely. Such beautiful colours.

Nell: It’s certainly preferable to ‘Paw Patrol’ but given the choice I would go for ‘Tom and Jerry’.

Me: You’re becoming quite the connoisseur of children’s television.

Nell: I am. Chris still had a good birthday and he appreciated all the kind messages.

Me: He did. I just wish he and Shannon didn’t have to leave tomorrow.

Nell: I know, but that’s the way it is. Marvin needs them and they are going to fly back in the summer.

Me: Yes. We’re all going to Germany for a few days to stay with Alice and they’re coming to visit us here too.

Nell: And Alice and the children are going to stay with us for three weeks in August so that’s something else to look forward to.

Me: It is. I hope poor little Jonathan is feeling better today.

Nell: Yes. He’s been most unwell. Poor little chap.

Me: At least Poppy seems brighter.

Nell: We can do this, you know. Together.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Happy Birthday Chris

Me: I can’t believe Chris is 35 today. He’s my baby.

Nell: Talking of babies, do you like the photos?

Me: They’re lovely. Baby Marvin and Baby Dave.

Nell: Not to mention Harriet, Young Poppy and our dear Mutley.

Me: I miss him so much.

Nell: We all do. Marvin has written a poem for Chris. Would you like to hear it?

Me: I would.

Nell: ‘Dear Dad, I know it’s your birthday today

And even though I am far far away

I still want to wish you

Lots of fun and cake.

But when you come home,

Make no mistake,

We will be having

A serious chat

About you leaving me here.

Cos I’m telling you that

Wasn’t right

It was naughty

And not at all funny

Cos worst of all

You took away Mummy.

So have a nice day

Full of cuddles and joy

But remember I’m waiting

And I am your Boy.’

Me: He’s going to love that.

Nell: Yes, there’s nothing like a guilt trip on your birthday.

Me: He’ll be back with Marvin very soon.

Nell: Now, we have some serious news.

Me: We do.

Nell: Yesterday your little sister Alex was rushed into hospital with pneumonia and Covid.

Me: Yes.

Nell: And now she’s fighting for her life in intensive care.

Me: Yes.

Nell: We’re going to need all your prayers and good wishes to get her through this.

Me: We are.

Nell: So, please send them Alex’s way.

Me: What kept me going at the hospital yesterday was knowing I had my wonderful family waiting for me and the support of you all.

Nell: What will be will be, but you can be sure we’re all thinking of Alex and willing her to pull through.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

Nell: No sorries. Not today.


Jonathan is Unwell and Faye goes on an Adventure with Chris and Shannon

Me: Well, that was quite a day.

Nell: I told you I should have gone with you to Hope Cove.

Me: It wouldn’t have made any difference, Nell. Jonathan would still have fallen ill.

Nell: He was fine at breakfast. David kept a close eye on the whole meal and Poppy and Harriet helped.

Me: He was just putting a brave face on it and the close eye was more like begging, if you ask me.

Nell: Potato potahto. What happened?

Me: When we got to the Cottage Hotel Jonathan started to feel poorly. Faye tried to comfort him but he needed to go home.

Nell: So you drove Jonathan and Alice back?

Me: Yes. Kev had to take you to Chloe for your treatment.

Nell: What about Faye?

Me: She went on a wonderful adventure with Chris and Shannon.

Nell: That’s good.

Me: They climbed a big hill and walked on the beach and found a cave.

Nell: You need to be careful of caves. You can never be sure who’s living there.

Me: I agree. Anyway, they had a wonderful time which is the main thing.

Nell: What about today? Aren’t you going to Dartmouth?

Me: We are but I’m not sure about Jonathan and Alice. It depends how he’s feeling.

Nell: These things happen.

Me: Yes, they do. At least you dogs will be there to comfort him if he does have to stay behind.

Nell: Does that mean I’m not going with you again?

Me: We’re booked in for lunch, Nell, and they don’t take dogs.

Nell: I’m not happy.

Me: You’re needed at home. You know how good you are at looking after people.

Nell: I know exactly what you’re doing there, Missy. But you’re right. It’s probably best I oversee everything here.

Me: Sorry.