Fields and Bodyguards

Me: My pocketful of happiness is walking around the activity field with you all in the late afternoon sunshine.

Nell: Wearing factor 50, a hat, sunglasses and a cardigan.

Me: And that’s just Dave.

Nell: No, it isn’t.

Me: It was a joke.

Nell: Having skin cancer is not a joke.

Me: I know and I’m being very careful so there’s no need to worry.

Nell: Easy for you to say.

Me: It was so lovely to be able to enjoy a little of the beautiful weather and the glorious Devon countryside.

Nell: Yes, and it’s sensible to keep away from the beach at the moment because it’s half term holiday and very busy.

Me: And I’m not sure I can do the beach walk yet.

Nell: One small step at a time. I’ve been feeling rather achy myself.

Me: You’re having your monthly arthritis injection tomorrow and seeing Chloe for massage and hydrotherapy so that will help.

Nell: Good. I’m in need of a little pampering. All this worry about you and then the Beefy attack on David has been a bit much.

Me: What Beefy attack? Are you saying they tried to harm my Big Brave Beautiful Boy?

Nell: Have you noticed the daisies and buttercups are particularly plentiful this year?

Me: Stop changing the subject. Tell me.

Nell: The Beefies tried to steal David’s mayoral chain.

Me: The scoundrels.

Nell: He was cutting the ribbon for a new business in Kingsbridge when they swooped down.

Me: How frightening.

Nell: Fortunately his bodyguard chased them away.

Me: I didn’t know he had a bodyguard.

Nell: He doesn’t always but she was there that day and managed to scare them away with her sword.

Me: Poppy is Dave’s bodyguard?

Nell: Can you think of anyone fiercer?

Me: No. Sorry.


It’s a Bank Holiday Monday and Poppy is Happy

Me: Poppy is in an awfully good mood this morning. She’s smiling away.

Nell: It’s Bank Holiday Monday and the sun is shining. Everyone’s in a good mood.

Me: Dave isn’t. He’s downstairs with Knitwear Wolf looking properly hassled.

Nell: He’s the Mayor of Kingsbridge. He has responsibilities.

Me: Except he isn’t actually the mayor.

Nell: Rupert is probably helping him with his mayoral calendar.

Me: I thought that was Henry and Horst’s job.

Nell: They are Deputy Mayors. All the organisational side is run by his Chief of Staff but he’s gone to the beach.

Me: Who’s that?

Nell: Sir Roger Blubbery.

Me: Who isn’t actually a ‘sir’ at all because he was knighted by Poppy.

Nell: Potato potahto.

Me: I’m not sure choosing a seal as your Chief of Staff is a wise choice. They’re not very flexible if you know what I mean.

Nell: Haven’t you seen Sir Roger somersault? I’d like to see you do that.

Me: No, you wouldn’t.

Nell: The clapping is annoying, however.

Me: It’s a seal thing. We still don’t know why Dave is worried.

Nell: I do.

Me: Tell me.

Nell: Stephen Seagull and the Beefies have launched a campaign against him.

Me: What a nasty thing to do.

Nell: A large flock of Beefies flew over this morning carrying a banner.

Me: What did it say?

Nell: ‘Down with Dave. Support Stephen.‘

Me: How rude.

Nell: My sentiments exactly.

Me: Stephen Seagull would make an awful Mayor of Kingsbridge.

Nell: Yes, he would.

Me: My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy is the perfect dog for the job. Nobody could be a better Mayor of Kingsbridge.

Nell: That’s exactly what I’ve been telling you for weeks. You just wouldn’t listen. I’m glad you’ve finally come to your senses.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Faye is Four Today

Nell: Today is a very special day.

Me: Yes, it is. I can’t believe Faye is four. Where did the time go?

Nell: I know. I’ve written a poem for her.

Me: How lovely.

Nell: Would you like to hear it?

Me: Very much.

Nell: ‘What was that you said to me?

What did you just say?

Fayely has a birthday?

And it’s happening today?

How many candles on her cake?

No. That can’t be true.

Yesterday there were only three

And the day before just two.

How did Fayely get to be four

When Dave is only five?

I know he’ll be six in June

But he’s more than twice her size.

We need Grandpa’s chocolate biscuits

And Granny’s special cake

And lots and lots of ice cream

Don’t make Fayely wait.

When you have a birthday

You need everything at once

At any time you want it

Like cereal for lunch.

Don’t forget her Elsa dress

Or her sparkly crown

And when she passes by you

Please remember to bow down.

How far?

Well, goodness gracious me,

How am I supposed to know?

Jonathan Sky might have an idea

Though my advice would be quite low.

Poppy, Nell and Harriet

Are gathered here with Dave.

Granny’s calling Grandpa

To come and give a wave.

Let’s raise our voices to the sky

And bark and sing and roar

Our love for darling Fayely

Who today is turning four.’

Me: She’s going to love that poem, Nell.

Nell: Good, because we love her.

Me: Yes, we do. Very much. And darling Jonathan Sky too.

Nell: There’s no need to be sad. You will be seeing them all again very soon.

Me: You’re right. I’m just a bit broken at the moment.

Nell: I know but you’re mending.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Harriet Has Had Enough

Me: What was all that barking about?

Nell: I’m afraid Harriet lost her temper. It doesn’t happen very often but when it does, it really does.

Me: Was it one of the Beefies? I noticed them circling the house earlier.

Nell: No. It was David.

Me: Dave? Our Big Brave Beautiful Boy?

Nell: Yes.

Me: Gentle loving Dave?

Nell: Yes.

Me: Chief Cuddling Officer?

Nell: Yes, and the Mayor of Kingsbridge.

Me: Except he isn’t.

Nell: It’s hard to accept that someone could shout at such an important animal but Harriet did.

Me: That’s not like Harriet at all.

Nell: Little brothers can annoy. We’ve all been there.

Me: I don’t think anyone has ever called Dave ‘little’.

Nell: David is her younger brother. Harriet was born first even though she’s half his size.

Me: Even less then. It’s easy to forget how tiny she was.

Nell: I remember it well.

Me: So, what annoyed her?

Nell: It started with a tug of war over David’s colourful plastic ring.

Me: He loves chewing on that thing.

Nell: Well, Harriet wanted it.

Me: It belongs to Dave but he’s usually fine about sharing.

Nell: Not today.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Harriet told him he was ‘a great big selfish lump’. I quote.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: And even worse ‘a very bad dog.’

Me: He hates that.

Nell: We all do.

Me: What did Dave say?

Nell: ‘Take the stupid toy then. See if I care.’

Me: And did she?

Nell: No, by that time she wasn’t really interested in it anymore.

Me: Are they still at loggerheads?

Nell: No. Harriet said ‘Fancy a bacon sandwich?’ and Dave replied, ‘Don’t mind if I do.’

Me: Thank goodness for bacon.

Nell: And love. Love always wins in the end.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Fun in the Sun

Me: My pocketful of happiness is watching you dogs enjoying yourselves in the activity field.

Nell: Yes. It was lovely to be out in the sunshine. Although I decided to take it slowly as it was quite warm.

Me: So did I. It was good to see Dave back to his old self again.

Nell: Yes. Poppy made him a nourishing lunch.

Me: Salad, or soup?

Nell: Don’t be silly. A steak sandwich. Crusts on.

Me: Well, it worked. He’s in fine form.

Nell: He was talking to his Deputy Mayors and they agreed to take on a few of his engagements this weekend.

Me: Wait a minute. Did you just say Deputy Mayors?

Nell: I did.

Me: There’s no such thing.

Nell: I think Henry and Horst would beg to disagree.

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

Nell: They’re the Deputy Mayors. Do keep up.

Me: Seriously?

Nell: Haven’t you noticed their mayoral chains?

Me: They’re woodlice, Nell. I can hardly see them, let alone what they’re wearing.

Nell: Well look harder.

Me: You know Dave isn’t actually the Mayor of Kingsbridge.

Nell: Monday is a Bank Holiday, so this weekend is going to be particularly busy with countless mayoral appearances and David is particularly grateful for their help.

Me: I give up.

Nell: Everyone loves Henry and Horst. They’re so funny.

Me: Nobody can hear them.

Nell: It’s going to be a busy and fun-filled weekend.

Me: You sound like a campaign manager.

Nell: No need for that. David is going to be in office for quite a while. The latest opinion polls put him far ahead of his rival.

Me: What rival?

Nell: Stephen Seagull. You didn’t think the Beefies were just going to let this happen, did you?

Me: No. Sorry.


David Skips Breakfast and Poppy Skips Training

Nell: You’re not going to believe this.

Me: I just might.

Nell: Dave didn’t eat his breakfast. Poppy was so shocked she decided not to go to boxing training and is downstairs now in the living room watching over him.

Me: I didn’t know Poppy was a Boxer. I thought she was a Maltese/Yorkie cross. See what I did there?

Nell: Superflyweight Devon champion three years in a row. Do keep up.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: But we were discussing David.

Me: Yes. I can’t believe he didn’t have any breakfast.

Nell: The poor animal is completely exhausted.

Me: It was the Book Club yesterday. You shouldn’t have made him read.

Nell: Nonsense. David loves talking about food.

Me: But all those questions. I mean, how much bacon goes in a sandwich depends on how hungry you are as well as the kind of bread you choose.

Nell: Enough about bacon. David is simply wearing too many hats at the moment.

Me: I think a top hat suits him and a wide brimmed hat is wise in the sun.

Nell: I’m talking figuratively not literally. David has too many responsibilities.

Me: Does he?

Nell: Yes. Bestselling author, CCO…

Me: Don’t you mean CEO?

Nell: No. Chief Cuddling Officer. Not to mention training as a sous chef and last, but definitely not least, being the Mayor of Kingsbridge.

Me: Except he isn’t actually the mayor.

Nell: It’s no wonder the poor animal is burnt out.

Me: That’s a little dramatic. He’s probably just tired. He’ll be fine after a sleep.

Nell: How do you feel about the Stuffed Tiger?

Me: I beg your pardon?

Nell: Beaumarchais. Could you cuddle him instead of David?

Me: It wouldn’t be the same.

Nell: I know but you’d be doing it for David.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Meals I Ate By Mistake

Nell: Why are you up and writing? You’re supposed to be resting.

Me: It’s my Wednesday Writers workshop later.

Nell: You can’t sit at a computer all morning.

Me: I’m just going to do what I can. I’ll probably have to dip in and out.

Nell: You have to walk around every 30 minutes.

Me: I know. Stop fussing.

Nell: It’s not fussing, it’s caring. You’re not well.

Me: Dave seems really cheerful this morning. I heard him singing. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Initial feedback from our Book Club about David’s book has been extremely positive.

Me: Good.

Nell: The only criticism was of the cover. The Cat isn’t sure about David’s choice of hat. Too plain.

Me: I didn’t know The Cat read books.

Nell: It likes to dip its paw into all kinds of things.

Me: And I thought Book Club wasn’t happening until this afternoon.

Nell: It isn’t. We have a WoofsApp group where we can post suggestions for discussion.

Me: Can I join the WoofsApp group?

Nell: Let’s see how today goes first, shall we?

Me: Why?

Nell: You’re going to be extremely tired after your workshop.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: I’m not sure you’re going to manage Book Club.

Me: Why?

Nell: I need everyone to focus and you tend to let your mind wander at the best of times.

Me: I can be extremely focussed when I want to be. Maybe not quite as focussed as you when there’s food around, but still.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: Just saying.

Nell: This is why I hesitated to invite you. Worse than Pamela . At least she understands the importance of showing appreciation for your food.

Me: You should invite her to Book Club then.

Nell: I have.

Me: Oh. Sorry.


Coming Home

Me: Do you know what my pocketful of happiness was yesterday?

Nell: Having a shower?

Me: That was high on the list but no. It was the sound of the front gate and seeing Kev and Poppy and then you all running towards me.

Nell: Poppy shouldn’t have jumped on your lap.

Me: I loved it. There’s nothing like welcoming you home.

Nell: There’s nothing like coming home and seeing you sitting in the garden again.

Me: Thank you. I felt more myself than in a long time.

Nell: Talking of showers, when are they fixing yours? Climbing into the bath is not the best thing for you at the moment.

Me: I know. Michael the Plumber visited us yesterday but we have to sort things out with the insurance first as the leak has done a lot of damage.

Nell: It’s one thing after another at the moment.

Me: It seems to be.

Nell: I’ve managed to reschedule Book Club to tomorrow and have decided to include you.

Me: How kind.

Nell: I thought we could have it under your gazebo so you’ll probably be there anyway.

Me: I think Pamela the Pyrenean Mountain Dog should be given the chance to join too. A careless remark about your weight can’t be held against her for ever.

Nell: ‘One scone too many?’ is not something one should ever say to another animal.

Me: I know but she did add ‘I’m guilty of that myself.’

Nell: Which is true. In fact I don’t think there’s room for a Mountain Dog under your gazebo.

Me: Dave fits.

Nell: David is a pedigree Labrador.

Me: He’s also the size of a small pony. Give Pamela a chance.

Nell: I’ll think about it.

Me: You could even share a scone.

Nell: Enough.

Me: Sorry.


Favouritism is Frowned Upon

Me: Harriet seems a little tired this morning.

Nell: She’s on night duty. The hours can get to you after a while.

Me: You do know she sleeps too, don’t you? She’s not watching me all the time.

Nell: I think you’ll find she is. Harriet is very good at looking as if she’s asleep. It’s one of the skills we Labradors develop from quite an early age.

Me: She was snoring.

Nell: Clever little thing.

Me: And taking up most of the bed.

Nell: She’s been told to monitor you closely.

Me: Jim the Farm Dog has been out in the fields with the sheep since first thing.

Nell: He works hard.

Me: I think Harriet would rather be walking the fields with Jim than lying here with me.

Nell: We all have to make sacrifices. I had to cancel Book Club.

Me: Why?

Nell: I can’t be expected to discuss books with an invalid in the house.

Me: I’m not an invalid. I’ve just hurt my back. And I love talking about books.

Nell: You’re not invited.

Me: That’s a bit harsh.

Nell: Book Club isn’t open to everyone, you know. It’s very difficult to be accepted. Pamela has been trying for years.

Me: Pamela the Pyrenean Mountain Dog who commented on your weight at the vets?

Nell: Yes.

Me: I can see why she might not be on the list but you could make an exception for me.

Nell: Favouritism is frowned upon.

Me: What book were you supposed to be discussing?

Nell: ‘Meals I Ate By Mistake’ by David Martin.

Me: Our Dave? My Big Brave Beautiful Boy?

Nell: Yes.

Me: If that’s not Favouritism then I don’t know what is.

Nell: It’s a bestseller and was chosen by a majority vote.

Me: I see. Sorry.


I Love Sundays

Me: How long have you been watching me sleeping?

Nell: A little while. It’s no bother.

Me: You don’t have to do that.

Nell: Yes, I do. I’m on early mornings.

Me: What does that mean?

Nell: We have a rota. Do keep up.

Me: I hope you didn’t miss breakfast.

Nell: Miss breakfast? On a Sunday? Don’t be ridiculous.

Me: Good.

Nell: I had some pancakes earlier with Harriet when she came off the night shift and both you and I will join David for bacon sandwiches at second breakfast.

Me: Second breakfast?

Nell: Haven’t you ever heard of Sunday Seconds? And I’m not just referring to breakfasts here.

Me: Are we talking about Yorkshire puddings?

Nell: Definitely.

Me: Scones?

Nell: Of course.

Me: Cuddles?

Nell: Always.

Me: I love Sundays.

Nell: Those llamas are going to be sick cartwheeling around after all the pancakes they’ve eaten.

Me: They can’t help it. They’re like Gladys. They express themselves through dance.

Nell: Get up and come to the window. The Welsh corgi choir are about to start singing and you need to keep moving every half an hour.

Me: I love my view so much. I can’t imagine life without it.

Nell: Then don’t.

Me: Are the Whippets Institute joining us today? I can’t see their minibus.

Nell: They’re stuck behind a tractor so they’re running a little late.

Me: Is that your friend Dorothy getting out of Naughty Nigel’s sports car?

Nell: Is she wearing a large brimmed hat and sunglasses?

Me: Yes. They both look like film stars.

Nell: I said to her ‘Dorothy, this is Devon not the South of France. There is no need for all this glamour.’

Me: The Cat would disagree.

Nell: I know. Who do you think chose her outfit?

Me: Yes. Sorry.