Making Memories

Nell: We’re finally all together again.

Me: Yes, and it’s absolutely wonderful.

Nell: Chris and Shannon were delighted to see me at the station.

Me: They were.

Nell: And rather pleased to see you too.

Me: I adore the moment when you see the train pull into the station and you know you’re about to be reunited. It’s magical.

Nell: Yes, it is.

Me: Although it was spoilt a little by you barking at an innocent dog on another platform.

Nell: It was showing off.

Me: It was just excited.

Nell: Are we going down to the beach today?

Me: Yes, it’s their favourite place.

Nell: The children certainly enjoy themselves.

Me: We all do. It doesn’t matter what the weather is like it’s always lovely.

Nell: I agree.

Me: You have your massage and hydrotherapy with Chloe today, Nell.

Nell: I know.

Me: So, you won’t mind not joining us at the Cottage Hotel for lunch.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: I’m not sure about the weather so we might have to sit inside and dogs can’t go everywhere.

Nell: I’m not any dog.

Me: And you’ll want to be well rested before you see Chloe.

Nell: I will not. I’ll want a prawn sandwich and a bowl of chips.

Me: Let’s see what the weather does.

Nell: Don’t forget it’s Chris’s birthday on Thursday.

Me: I won’t.

Nell: He’ll be 35 so hats must be worn.

Me: I wish I was 35.

Nell: No use crying over spilt biscuits.

Me: You mean milk.

Nell: I do not.

Me: The spilt milk is for the fairies.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: Folklore says there’s no use in crying over spilt milk because the fairies will have it.

Nell: Well that’s nonsense. Fairies much prefer biscuits.

Me: Oh. Sorry.


A Wonderful Day

Nell: Are you tracking Chris and Shannon’s flight?

Me: They’re only about two hours away now. Their flight was delayed by four hours.

Nell: How long have you been tracking them?

Me: Only off and on.

Nell: You’re supposed to be sleeping.

Me: You know what I’m like.

Nell: It’s all going to end in tears if you don’t get some sleep. I wish you would listen to me.

Me: Talking of not listening, can we have a quick word about yesterday, please?

Nell: What a wonderful day. Sunday Songs followed by a visit to the Garden Centre. I particularly enjoyed our walk along the river.

Me: You mean in the river.

Nell: Yes. I did a little paddling.

Me: The river was moving quite fast, Nell.

Nell: It was rather lively.

Me: I asked you not to climb down there but as soon as my back was turned you were off down the river bank and straight into the water.

Nell: I make my own decisions.

Me: We’re ladies of a certain age, Nell. We’re not as sprightly as we used to be.

Nell: Speak for yourself.

Me: And then you asked Faye to pick you a flower and you’re not supposed to do that.

Nell: We didn’t know. The children had a marvellous time.

Me: We all did. It was a magical day.

Nell: There you are then.

Me: You’re exasperating

Nell: And today is going to be even better.

Me: Yes, it is. I’m finally going to have my whole family together again. It’s been three years.

Nell: And now it’s only a matter of hours. I shall be accompanying you to collect Chris and Shannon from the station.

Me: I’m not sure there’s room.

Nell: We will make room. They’re my family too.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Happy Mother’s Day

Nell: I’m afraid David has become something of an attention seeker.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: The children were happily enjoying watching television when he demanded cuddles.

Me: Did he get them?

Nell: Of course. Now, I’m not exactly the cuddliest of animals but today is Mother’s Day here in the UK so it should be all about cuddles.

Me: I agree. Do you want one?

Nell: I do not. Fortunately, you have an excess of people and animals eager and willing to cuddle and be cuddled so just take your pick.

Me: What if I wanted to cuddle you?

Nell: Make it snappy as breakfast is waiting.

Me: What are we having for breakfast?

Nell: Bacon, obviously, and lots of eggs. There is also fresh fruit for the children and a mixed leaf salad for the insects.

Me: What insects?

Nell: Insects celebrate Mother’s Day too, you know, it’s not just llamas and lions.

Me: I hope you’re referring to Mrs King and not Lionel.

Nell: I am. Today is about us ladies both past and present and mothers in any shape or form.

Me: I was thinking about my mother as we were driving home yesterday. There were daffodils and primroses growing everywhere and I remembered how much she loved to see them.

Nell: She did.

Me: She would be so happy that we’re all together.

Nell: She is. Just because you can’t see her doesn’t mean she isn’t there.

Me: You’re right.

Nell: Let’s snuggle up before the children join us and listen to the Welsh Corgi Choir rehearsing in the field.

Me: Happy Mother’s Day, Nell, and thank you for being a mother to us all.

Nell: Being a mother is the greatest gift one can ever have. No need for thanks.

Me: No. Sorry.


They’re Finally Home and David is Very Excited

Me: It’s really good to be home again.

Nell: You’d better explain why you’re posting this conversation so late today.

Me: Yes. Alice and the children didn’t actually get through the airport until midnight so we had a late start this morning and then the hotel’s Wi-Fi wasn’t letting me save or post anything.

Nell: So you thought you’d wait until you got home.

Me: Yes. I knew everyone wouldn’t mind.

Nell: I expect it was wonderful to see them again.

Me: It was. I admit I shed a few tears.

Nell: David has been completely out of control since they arrived. Jumping on the furniture and hitting everyone with that dreadful neon green chew.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He’s just pleased to see them all.

Nell: I noticed Jonathan has lost another tooth.

Me: Yes, it happened yesterday. We’re hoping the Tooth Fairy will come tonight.

Nell: Of course she will. Poppy is going to cook a cottage pie for dinner as it’s easy for him to eat.

Me: Good idea.

Nell: I think you might need a little sleep this afternoon. You’ve been doing a lot of driving.

Me: And I’ve been a bit over excited the last few days.

Nell: It’s understandable. You haven’t seen them since July.

Me: They’ve both grown so much.

Nell: Now, tomorrow is Mothers Day.

Me: Yes, and not only do I actually have Alice here but Chris is arriving the next day.

Nell: Quite. Sunday Songs will be dedicated to all mothers.

Me: Lovely.

Nell: The Welsh Corgi Choir are going to join us for tea.

Me: Good.

Nell: And the Whippets Institute have made fairy cakes.

Me: Or maybe tooth fairy cakes.

Nell: Don’t be silly. Tooth fairies don’t approve of cakes. Everyone knows that.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Sara is Over Excited and Nell is Not Amused

Me: I wish you wouldn’t all look at me like that.

Nell: I’m not looking at you at all.

Me: There simply isn’t room to take you with me and the hotel doesn’t take dogs.

Nell: All these weeks we have been counting down to the family arriving and only now do you tell me I am being left at home.

Me: You’re all being left at home. Nell. Including Kev.

Nell: I’d even chosen a welcoming hat.

Me: You could wear it when we arrive back tomorrow.

Nell: Hats are for airports and stations.

Me: That’s a ridiculous thing to say. You’ve just made that up.

Nell: It’s fine. Don’t worry about me.

Me: You’re coming with us on Monday to collect Chris and Shannon from the station.

Nell: Am I really, though? Can I trust you?

Me: Of course you can.

Nell: Anyway, enough of all this betrayal and neglect.

Me: A slight over exaggeration.

Nell: Is your case packed?

Me: More or less. I don’t need much.

Nell: Take a book. They might be delayed.

Me: I hope not. Jonathan and Faye are going to be very tired.

Nell: I think Alice might be somewhat weary by then too.

Me: Gosh, I’m so excited, Nell.

Nell: I know you are. You’ve been awake since 5:30am.

Me: I can’t believe I’m finally going to see them all again. The last time they visited was July.

Nell: I remember it well.

Me: I’m afraid the weather forecast isn’t very good. They are predicting a week of rain.

Nell: Do you think anyone cares about that?

Me: Probably not.

Nell: This visit is about family and cuddles and love.

Me: Yes, it is.

Nell: A little bit of rain isn’t going to make any difference at all.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Just One More Sleep

Nell: What is David doing in your bedroom? It’s far too early. David doesn’t come upstairs until later.

Me: He was feeling a little cold and wanted to be close to Harriet.

Nell: David always sleeps downstairs in the living room with me.

Me: I know but you’re not very cuddly.

Nell: If you mean I object to a giant Labrador using me as a pillow then that’s correct.

Me: Harriet doesn’t mind.

Nell: And why has Poppy barricaded herself into her Palace?

Me: Dave was trying to help sort out her bed and then it got stuck in the doorway. I think she quite likes it.

Nell: She doesn’t look like she likes it.

Me: She’s just tired after seeing the vet yesterday.

Nell: What did the vet say?

Me: She thinks Poppy must have hurt herself falling off the bed a few weeks ago and has bruised her back. We all thought it was the Cushing’s but it’s actually coincidental.

Nell: What is the plan?

Me: She’s staying on her painkillers for a week and then we’re gradually reintroducing the Cushing’s medication.

Nell: She’s certainly much more herself.

Me: Yes. It’s a relief.

Nell: And what about you?

Me: What about me?

Nell: Why are you up and writing this early? Do you have an appointment I don’t know about?

Me: No. I can’t sleep. I’m too excited. Alice and the grandchildren arrive tomorrow.

Nell: That is exciting.

Me: Yes. They don’t land until 10.30pm so we’re staying the night at a hotel near the airport.

Nell: A sensible decision.

Me: I’m going to drive over there in the afternoon as I don’t like driving in the dark.

Nell: So, only one more sleep to go?

Me: Yes.

Nell: The emphasis being on sleep.

Me: You’re right. Sorry.


What a lovely Day

Me: What a lovely day you had yesterday.

Nell: Yes, it was delightful.

Me: So many people from all over the world wishing you a Happy Birthday.

Nell: It was extremely kind.

Me: Rupert gave you the most beautiful woollen shawl in a lovely soft brown to match your eyes.

Nell: He did, and the book of poetry from Lionel was also extremely thoughtful.

Me: It was, to be fair.

Nell: As a poet myself I like to dip my paw into the work of others.

Me: And Dave sang you a sea shanty he learnt from Tony.

Nell: I could have done without the llamas in bell bottomed trousers.

Me: I loved that.

Nell: You would. What on earth was Princess doing in a long blonde wig?

Me: She was a mermaid, Nell.

Nell: Mermaids shouldn’t clap themselves.

Me: It’s a seal thing.

Nell: Poppy’s scones were delicious, however.

Me: And she let you use her sword to cut the cake.

Nell: If you ask me, I think Poppy’s sword should stay safely under her pillow for the time being. She may have got off scot free for now but she is still under suspicion.

Me: But she didn’t use her sword to burst the Blue Mushroom delivery balloons, Nell.

Nell: I know.

Me: She used her bow and arrow.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: It’s only us.

Nell: Be careful. Mushrooms have ears.

Me: You’re right. Couldn’t we just dig that thing up?

Nell: Apparently not. It has a licence to trade.

Me: In our garden?

Nell: It sounds unlikely to me too. Woodlouse and Woodlouse are looking into it.

Me: Henry and Horst are so talented.

Nell: Yes, they’re not to be underestimated.

Me: Rather like Poppy.

Nell: Poppy was inside all day.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Happy Birthday Nell

Me: Happy Birthday darling Nell. Look, the sun is shining today just for you.

Nell: Thank you.

Me: I’ve written you a poem. Would you like to hear it?

Nell: I would indeed. Please begin.

Me: ‘My darling Nell is 11 today.

I love her more than words can say.

She’s awfully grumpy and rather gruff

But her words are wise

And her love is tough.’

Nell: What on earth does that mean?

Me: Tough love. It’s your thing.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: ‘She’s the centre of our world.

Our safest place.

Our special girl.

You and Me. Always.

Is there in my mind

So if I am worried

Or needing to find

Some words of comfort

When I’m not feeling well

I just go to my soulmate

I go to my Nell.

I know she’ll be with me

Wherever that might be

Because where there’s Sara, there’s Nell

And where there’s Nell, there’s me.’

Nell: I liked that.

Me: I thought you might.

Nell: I’ll always be there.

Me: Yes. I know.

Nell: Good.

Me: So, what are your plans today? Sailing around the island with Lionel, or Dartmoor with Rupert and Tracey?

Nell: I’ve decided here with you and the family is the best place for me to celebrate.

Me: That’s a relief.

Nell: A stroll on the beach would be most appreciated, however, before returning home for my surprise afternoon tea.

Me: How do you know you’re having a surprise afternoon tea?

Nell: Poppy and her team have been busy in the kitchen all morning.

Me: Poppy’s always busy.

Nell: David has icing on his nose.

Me: You think there’ll be a birthday cake, do you?

Nell: There’s always birthday cake.

Me: Thank you for being you, Nell.

Nell: Who else would I be?

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Poppy is Innocent (Probably)

Me: Why is PC Panda in our kitchen eating scones and staring at Poppy while scrolling through his iBone?

Nell: It’s my iBone actually.

Me: Even more worrying.

Nell: Le Champignon Bleu have made a complaint.

Me: The Blue Mushroom? About yesterday?

Nell: Yes. They said orders weren’t received and those that were, arrived in a less than acceptable condition.

Me: Your croissants were still delicious.

Nell: I know but a Dalmatian’s eclairs burst on impact. There was cream everywhere.

Me: I think you’ll find it was crème patissiere.

Nell: Whatever. It had to lick them out of the bag.

Me: I can imagine. Eclairs are messy at the best of times.

Nell: Anyway, several witnesses claim they saw a small terrier with a bow and arrow so Poppy is in trouble.

Me: Oh dear. What’s all this got to do with your iBone?

Nell: I have photographic evidence that Poppy was inside the house during the whole of yesterday.

Me: You do?

Nell: Yes. She watched Sunday Songs from your bedroom window and was joined by Harriet and David who stayed with her the whole day.

Me: They did?

Nell: Yes. After cooking and serving an excellent roast Poppy retired exhausted to the dog basket under the kitchen table with the aforementioned puppies.

Me: You mean Dave and Harriet?

Nell: Yes.

Me: Only you called them puppies.

Nell: That’s not the point. Later she enjoyed a small snack on the stairs and then spent the rest of the evening in front of the fire.

Me: I can vouch for that.

Nell: All this proves that it must have been another terrier. There are plenty of them around.

Me: Not with bows and arrows.

Nell: Quiet. Nobody asked you and if they do, you know nothing.

Me: Of course. Sorry.


Poppy Has Had Enough

Me: You’re such a faithful companion, Nell.

Nell: What’s brought this on?

Me: I was thinking about it when we were down on the beach. You follow us wherever we go.

Nell: I’m going to be 11 on Tuesday and I have arthritis so I’m not going to be rushing ahead.

Me: You know what I mean. Poppy’s going to be 10 in June but she’s never going to follow anyone.

Nell: Talking of Poppy, I think trouble might be ahead.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: She’s threatened the Blue Mushroom.

Me: The restaurant, or the one in the garden?

Nell: Both.

Me: I didn’t know she spoke French.

Nell: She used her sword.

Me: She didn’t chop its head off, did she?

Nell: No, but she gave it a good hard rap.

Me: Is that why the queue is so much shorter today?

Nell: Possibly, although the car park is quite full. I don’t know where the Whippets Institute are going to park their minibus.

Me: What about the Welsh Corgi Choir? It’s Sunday Songs later.

Nell: Lionel sent Mr Giggles to collect them in his car.

Me: Not everyone appreciates being driven by a hyena.

Nell: He’s fine once you get past those teeth.

Me: Hang on a minute. I can hear a lot of loud bangs.

Nell: Where?

Me: Outside. The balloons are dropping out of the sky.

Nell: Someone’s shooting them down.

Me: With a gun?

Nell: No. With arrows.

Me: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Nell: There’s only one animal here who has a bow and arrow.

Me: Yes.

Nell: And she knows how to use it.

Me: She does.

Nell: We have to stop her.

Me: Do we? They’re only carrying baguettes.

Nell: I ordered some freshly baked croissants.

Me: Oh. Sorry.