Did somebody drop a scone?

Me: Dave did so well at lunch yesterday. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Why did the chicken only have one leg?

Me: I know why it crossed the road.

Nell: It’s a question, not a joke. And I thought there was supposed to be a quiche. Alice loves quiche.

Me: Mistakes can happen. Talking of food, do you know if anyone dropped a scone in the living room yesterday afternoon?

Nell: Possibly. It was Saturday and weekends are for scones. Why?

Me: Dave was sitting next to me in the large armchair and something seemed to roll under it.

Nell: It could have been one of Malcolm’s macarons. I know he was passing them around.

Me: Was he?

Nell: Don’t worry. It will have been eaten by now. Nothing goes to waste in this house.

Me: True.

Nell: Now, today’s Sunday Songs is dedicated to Alice.

Me: How lovely.

Nell: We know she has to fly home tomorrow so we want to make today as special as we can.

Me: That’s kind of you.

Nell: The Welsh corgi choir have been gathering since first thing and will be singing in the field despite the inclement weather.

Me: It is rather grey and misty.

Nell: They have raincoats and Wellington boots.

Me: Nevertheless.

Nell: And the llamas are taking round beakers of hot tea and some shortbread biscuits.

Me: I’m not sure if their roller skates are going to work in the field.

Nell: They’ll just have to take them off. Poppy is preparing a Sunday roast for later with Yorkshire puddings and lots of gravy.

Me: Perfect. Alice will love that. This has been such a special visit.

Nell: It isn’t over yet. You have the whole of today together and she’ll be back in August.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Nell Prepares for The Coronation

Nell: I need an honest opinion. Is the tiara too much?

Me: I think it suits you. You have the face for it.

Nell: I’m not convinced. A simple hat and pearls might be enough.

Me: What does The Cat think?

Nell: The Cat wants to go larger. More diamonds, maybe some feathers.

Me: I’m not sure about feathers. Although Gladys does have a pink feathery tiara.

Nell: Gladys is a Pomeranian.

Me: True. Have you told Harriet she’s coming with you?

Nell: Yes.

Me: I bet she’s over the moon.

Nell: No, she’s in the field with Jim the Farm Dog.

Me: Is she pleased?

Nell: She is.

Me: I hope Dave isn’t jealous.

Nell: David is far too busy organising the Coronation party. He’s taking his job as Mayor of Kingsbridge very seriously.

Me: You know he isn’t actually the mayor.

Nell: He’s wearing his chain at every available opportunity and is bursting with ideas.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He can’t resist a good celebration.

Nell: I still think a bouncy castle is a step too far.

Me: It is for me but I know the llamas love it.

Nell: You do realise they want to be dressed as guardsmen, don’t you?

Me: They’ll look lovely in scarlet jackets.

Nell: It’s the bearskin caps that are bothering me.

Me: They’re going to feel awfully hot. They’re furry already.

Nell: At least you can’t cartwheel in a bearskin so let’s be thankful for small mercies.

Me: I hope Dave hasn’t invited that lion.

Nell: Lionel King will be at the real Coronation if you must know.

Me: You’re joking.

Nell: I’m not. He received his invitation this morning.

Me: Who would be crazy enough to invite him?

Nell: King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Making Plans

Me: Having Alice here is such a comfort. I don’t think we’ve stopped talking since she arrived.

Nell: You really mustn’t overdo it. You’re staying at home today.

Me: But we’re going out to lunch with my sister Charlotte and niece Scarlett.

Nell: They’re coming here for lunch instead. Poppy’s organising a selection of cold meats and salads.

Me: That’s kind of her. I must admit I am a little tired today. It was lovely at the Cottage Hotel yesterday but I was exhausted by the time we got home.

Nell: David will be serving lunch which is a mistake waiting to happen if you ask me.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He and Kev seemed to be having a wonderful chat together.

Nell: Yes. I noticed.

Me: You and Harriet have no need to be jealous. They were probably only discussing football.

Nell: They were not. As Mayor of Kingsbridge David thinks he should host a Coronation party next weekend.

Me: That’s a lovely idea. I’m not sure I’m in the partying mood just yet but I don’t see why other people shouldn’t enjoy themselves.

Nell: Kev certainly seems to be on board.

Me: I don’t know why you’re against it. You and Harriet are going to be at the real thing. Does she know yet?

Nell: No. I’m waiting for her invitation to arrive.

Me: It doesn’t give her much time to choose a hat. I think you should tell her.

Nell: You might be right The Cat has a wide selection of hats for us to try on but I’m thinking tiaras might be more appropriate for such a magnificent occasion.

Me: Or even a crown?

Nell: Don’t be silly. Harriet and I can’t upstage the King on his special day.

Me: No. You’re right. Sorry.


Harriet feels Left Out

Me: Seeing Alice get off the train was a magical moment.

Nell: I can only imagine.

Me: There wasn’t any room for you because I was sitting in the back of the car.

Nell: I sit in the back of the car.

Me: I haven’t got a voice at the moment and Kev thought I should sit in the back with Alice so we could chat.

Nell: It’s fine. I understand and am happy that you are happy. On another note we have a problem with Harriet.

Me: Oh no. What’s happened?

Nell: Harriet is feeling Left Out.

Me: Oh dear. That’s not good.

Nell: It’s something we all have to go through and one that I, myself, experienced only yesterday when I was excluded from collecting Alice.

Me: You’re never going to let me forget that. Why is Harriet feeling Left Out?

Nell: David is now the Mayor of Kingsbridge with a beautiful silver chain.

Me: Only he isn’t.

Nell: Let me finish. Poppy is a pirate chef with fluffy hair and long boots.

Me: I knew about the hair but not the boots.

Nell: And I have been invited to the King’s Coronation.

Me: Of course you have. I forgot.

Nell: Only Harriet is simply herself.

Me: But herself is perfect.

Nell: That’s what I said.

Me: She is exactly what she should be.

Nell: I agree.

Me: She doesn’t need a silver chain, or fluffy hair, or long boots.

Nell: No. But she might need to go to the King’s Coronation.

Me: Might she?

Nell: Yes. So I’m making her my plus one.

Me: Does she know?

Nell: Not yet. I wanted to let you know first.

Me: Why?

Nell: Because I was going to take you with me. You and me. Always. Remember?

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Alice is On Her Way and Marvin is Enjoying the Cherry Blossom in Toronto

Nell: How lovely to see dear Marvin again and the cherry blossom is beautiful.

Me: Chris thought the photos would lift my spirits. It’s the park near his and Shannon’s apartment in Toronto.

Nell: They’re fortunate to have a park so close to them.

Me: Yes. I hope to see it myself next year when I visit them.

Nell: Talking of visits, Alice should be on her way to Amsterdam.

Me: She is. There was a slight delay so I hope she makes the connecting flight to Bristol.

Nell: She will and if she doesn’t they will put her on the next one. No need to worry.

Me: I should be driving to collect her from the airport not making her catch a train. She’s going to be so tired by the time she gets here.

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous. You’re unwell. You coughed all night again.

Me: It just feels all wrong.

Nell: You’re not going anywhere. No arguments. Alice is perfectly capable of taking a train. She’s a grown woman.

Me: She’s still my little girl.

Nell: I know and you’re going to worry about everyone and everything at the moment.

Me: I’m afraid I am.

Nell: It’s perfectly understandable. You’re not the only one with worries. David is extremely concerned about his mayoral chain.

Me: You know it isn’t actually a mayoral chain, don’t you?

Nell: Tony said David would make a wonderful mayor and so did several other people.

Me: He would, but that’s not the point.

Nell: He doesn’t want it to rust in the sea. He wondered if he should only wear it inside.

Me: The whole point of the chain is to keep his lead secure, Nell. He has to wear it outside.

Nell: Just saying. Let’s follow Alice’s flight.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


The Puppies know something Sara doesn’t

Nell: You were coughing all night again.

Me: I know. The doctor said I’ve just got to rest and it will pass.

Nell: She also said you’re completely run down.

Me: I’m afraid I am.

Nell: The last few weeks have taken their toll so when you caught whatever this is you had little resistance.

Me: Try not to worry. I’ll be fine once I can get some proper sleep.

Nell: You’d better be.

Me: Do you know why the puppies keep staring out of the window? It’s as if they’re waiting for someone.

Nell: It is, isn’t it?

Me: Why are you smiling? You hardly ever smile.

Nell: Maybe it’s because I know a rather special pocketful of happiness is coming your way tomorrow.

Me: Coming my way? Tomorrow?

Nell: That’s what I said.

Me: Tell me.

Nell: A certain somebody very dear to your heart is flying over from Germany for a long weekend.

Me: With me?

Nell: With her mother. Yes.

Me: Her mother? Are we talking about Alice?

Nell: We are. She couldn’t get time off work for Alex’s funeral but she was determined to come and see you as soon as she could.

Me: Do you mean to say Alice is arriving tomorrow?

Nell: Yes, and she’s staying with us until Monday.

Me: That’s absolutely wonderful, Nell. I’m in tears now.

Nell: I knew you would be.

Me: I hope it isn’t all too expensive for her.

Nell: Don’t start. She needs to see you.

Me: I need to see her too.

Nell: Of course you do.

Me: This means so much to me. What a wonderful surprise.

Nell: Alex would be happy that you’re happy.

Me: She would.

Nell: Now try and rest. Alice will be here before you know it.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Oh David

Me: It was hard to say goodbye to Shel this morning. I wish he didn’t live so far away. Vancouver is on the other side of the world.

Nell: He’ll be back soon.

Me: It was a lovely visit. I just feel bad for being unwell the whole time.

Nell: It’s not your fault and it didn’t matter at all. It wasn’t that kind of visit. You’re both grieving. and just needed to spend a quiet time together.

Me: Talking to Shel was a great comfort.

Nell: Now, I know you’re supposed to be resting but there’s something I need to discuss with you.

Me: I thought you looked a bit bothered. What’s wrong?

Nell: David says he’s been made Mayor of Kingsbridge.

Me: Kingsbridge already has a mayor.

Nell: Well, it has a new one now. David has the chain to prove it. He’s as proud as lunch.

Me: You mean punch.

Nell: I do not. Lunch is something to be justifiably proud of but violence can never be condoned.

Me: Never mind. That’s not a mayoral chain, Nell.

Nell: Isn’t it?

Me: No, it’s an extra chain to make sure his lead stays attached.

Nell: But David’s so proud of being chosen as mayor.

Me: Yes, I can see that. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: On reflection I think we shouldn’t tell him.

Me: Really?

Nell: There’s nothing wrong with a little showing off now and again.

Me: You old softy.

Nell: It can be our secret.

Me: What if Dave starts wearing one of those big three cornered hats with the ostrich feathers?

Nell: No. I’m drawing a line at that. It’s bad enough that Poppy is going through her pirate phase.

Me: I think she looks sweet.

Nell: She has a sword.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


The Sun is in the Sky

Me: My pocketful of happiness this morning is the beautiful view from my bedroom window and two sleeping dogs.

Nell: I notice David and I are not included.

Me: You were downstairs, Nell. Only Poppy and Harriet sleep upstairs.

Nell: How did you sleep?

Me: Much better. I dosed myself up on paracetamol every 4 hours and that seemed to help.

Nell: You’re still talking to the doctor later.

Me: Let’s see. I might be over the worst of it.

Nell: Fine, but if you don’t improve I’m getting straight on to the iBone and booking you in.

Me: Agreed.

Nell: Now, I know today is Shel’s last day staying with us but you mustn’t be sad because he’ll be back soon.

Me: He’s such a dear friend.

Nell: And a great admirer of mine.

Me: He loves all you dogs.

Nell: I think you’ll find I have a special place in his heart.

Me: He’s known you since you were a pup.

Nell: We’ve grown old together.

Me: Less of the old please, Nell. I’m feeling every year of my age at the moment.

Nell: That’s understandable.

Me: I was talking to Alex’s children and they’re back at work and finding it really hard to accept that life carries on without her.

Nell: Yes.

Me: It feels like the world should have stopped turning.

Nell: It did for a while.

Me: Yes. We were all in limbo and now we have to move on.

Nell: You’re staying exactly where you are today.

Me: Don’t worry. I’m not going anywhere.

Nell: Talking of worry, you forgot to let everyone know that you tested negative for Covid a few days ago.

Me: I kept meaning to tell them.

Nell: You’ve had a lot on your mind.

Me: Yes, I have. Sorry.


It’s St. George’s Day

Me: There’s an awful lot of noise going on in the kitchen.

Nell: We know. Go back to bed, please. You’ve been coughing all night.

Me: I couldn’t seem to stop.

Nell: We’re calling the doctor tomorrow if this doesn’t improve and you’re going nowhere today.

Me: Why is Poppy wearing a suit of armour?

Nell: It’s St. George’s Day and Poppy is playing St. George.

Me: Dave looks awfully worried.

Nell: He should be. He’s playing the dragon.

Me: Where?

Nell: In the field at Sunday Songs. We thought it might lift your spirits and Shel’s never celebrated St. George’s Day.

Me: No. I suppose he hasn’t.

Nell: You can watch from the upstairs window. Is that the Whippets Institute minibus?

Me: Yes. It just pulled in.

Nell: Can you see any instruments?

Me: I saw a couple of trumpets and a double bass.

Nell: That’s a relief.

Me: The Welsh corgi choir have started singing.

Nell: Good. Are the llamas in place?

Me: They’re cartwheeling.

Nell: I wish they wouldn’t do that.

Me: I have to say I really appreciate the distraction. It’s just what I needed.

Nell: We thought it would be. Poppy is cooking a traditional roast beef later with all the trimmings.

Me: That sounds lovely. Alex used to love coming here for one of Poppy’s roasts.

Nell: She did.

Me: I can’t believe she’ll never be doing that again.

Nell: I know. Now, get back upstairs as the performance is about to begin.

Me: Okay.

Nell: Wrap yourself in one of Knitwear Wolf’s soft blankets and don’t forget to drink your tea with honey and lemon.

Me: What about Shel? He needs a cup of tea.

Nell: Shel has no time for tea. He’s leading in the dragon.

Me: Oh, I didn’t know. Sorry.


On our Beach

Me: We’re so very lucky to live where we do. It’s something I’ll never take for granted.

Nell: We are most fortunate.

Me: My pocketful of happiness yesterday was walking with Shel on the beach.

Nell: He really enjoyed it.

Me: Yes. One of his daughters sadly died in February so he is grieving too.

Nell: I know.

Me: I like to think our beach and the view helped a little. He seemed lost in thought.

Nell: He did.

Me: And seeing all you dogs having fun in the sunshine is always a joy.

Nell: Poppy was badly behaved.

Me: Yes, she was particularly piratey. I’m glad she left her sword at home.

Nell: I was delighted to join you all for a cup of tea later.

Me: You were very demanding. You always are when Shel is visiting.

Nell: I don’t know what you mean.

Me: Raising your paw for a slice of lemon drizzle cake.

Nell: You can’t have tea without cake.

Me: Tea always tastes even better on the beach, doesn’t it? I don’t know why that is. Not that I can taste much at the moment.

Nell: You’re still coughing and wheezing. If this goes on much longer you’re going to the doctor.

Me: I feel like my fever might have broken in the night.

Nell: Let’s hope so.

Me: We’re planning on going to The Cottage Hotel for lunch.

Nell: I shall enjoy that.

Me: You can only come with us if the weather is warm enough to sit outside. No dogs are allowed in the restaurant or bar.

Nell: I shall resign myself to staying at home then. There’s no way you’re sitting outside today.

Me: Thank you for looking out for me.

Nell: You and me. Always. You know that.

Me: Yes. Sorry.