Nell has Exciting News

Me: Look at dear Marvin outside the coffee shop in Toronto.

Nell: Yes. Cool dude.

Me: You don’t need sunglasses inside, by the way. It’s only outside.

Nell: Okey dokey.

Me: Have you been eating bagels again?

Nell: Nope. Just a good ole peanut butter and jelly sandwich for me and a regular Americano.

Me: Are you serious?

Nell: Of course I’m not serious. I had a lightly boiled egg and soldiers with a cup of Earl Grey. Do keep up.

Me: Thank goodness.

Nell: I’d have had two boiled eggs if David hadn’t eaten the first one by mistake.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Now, I have exciting news about David’s Mayoral Concert on Sunday.

Me: I didn’t know there was one.

Nell: It’s actually Sunday Songs with guests.

Me: Does everyone know they need to wear hats and sunglasses?

Nell: It’s on the posters.

Me: Sven Gully is bound to try and hypnotise us all. I wish Mutley was still here. The Great Mutliano would know what to do.

Nell: I might have the next best thing.

Me: What?

Nell: My friend Dorothy says an old Canadian friend of Mutley’s is holidaying at the Cottage Hotel.

Me: So?

Nell: It isn’t just anyone. It’s Oscar Barberino.

Me: Oscar Barberino?

Nell: Exactly.

Me: I’ve never heard of him.

Nell: You’ve never heard of The Great Barberino?

Me: No.

Nell: One of the most acclaimed tenors of all time?

Me: Never.

Nell: And part of The Hypnotic Circle.

Me: You’re making this up.

Nell: I am not. Rupert is on his way right now to invite Oscar Barberino to sing on Sunday.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: If anyone can secure a win for David and put a stop to Sven Gully it is The Great Barberino.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Something’s Going On

Me: Isn’t Dave looking magnificent? He really is a Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: David’s a cool dude. That’s for sure.

Me: What did you just say?

Nell: I said David was a handsome animal.

Me: No, you didn’t. You went all American.

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous.

Me: You did. Something’s going on.

Nell: We’re in the middle of an important mayoral election. That’s what’s going on.

Me: At least Knitwear Wolf is wearing a cowboy hat today instead of a baseball cap.

Nell: What’s Rupert’s choice of hat got to do with anything?

Me: I know you don’t believe me but there are times when you and Knitwear Wolf are turning a bit American.

Nell: Are you for real?

Me: You see. There we go again.

Nell: I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Me: And the scary part is you don’t even know you’re doing it.

Nell: I can’t be dealing with this nonsense. Let me finish my bagel in peace.

Me: That’s another thing. Since when do you eat bagels for breakfast?

Nell: Babycakes Gillespie has been selling bagels from his coffee cart for years.

Me: I know but you’ve never bothered with them until now.

Nell: A girl’s allowed to change her mind, honey. Get with the program.

Me: There you go again.

Nell: Never mind me. You’re beginning to sound like Stephen Seagull.

Me: I am not. I have a lovely speaking voice. What do you mean?

Nell: The Beefies keep saying David’s an American Labrador and cannot be Mayor of Kingsbridge.

Me: Now it makes sense.

Nell: What?

Me: Have you been staring at the sky at all recently?

Nell: Rupert and I have been enjoying a few sunsets together. Why?

Me: I think the Beefies are up to their old tricks again. Sorry.


Reckless Behaviour

Me: Can we discuss your reckless behaviour?

Nell: More toast?

Me: Don’t try and distract me.

Nell: I can recommend the strawberry jam. Malcolm made it from our own strawberries.

Me: I didn’t know Malcolm made jam.

Nell: He can turn his beak to most things. He’s an enterprising young flamingo.

Me: He isn’t that young anymore.

Nell: He is to me.

Me: I know what you mean. His shyness gives him a sense of vulnerability.

Nell: Quite. More tea?

Me: No. I want to talk about your behaviour down at the river.

Nell: David was telling me that people have started waving at him when he goes into town.

Me: Why?

Nell: Everyone wants to meet the Mayor of Kingsbridge.

Me: Except he isn’t.

Nell: Personally, I don’t think that dreadful seagull stands a chance.

Me: Going back to your behaviour, there we were quietly walking along the riverbank to find a safe place to swim when you disappeared.

Nell: A slight exaggeration. I’m a Labrador not a magician.

Me: I kept calling your name but to no avail. I was so worried.

Nell: There was no need.

Me: Yes, there was. You had recklessly decided to clamber down a particularly dangerous bank instead of waiting.

Nell: I felt the urge to paddle.

Me: The safe place was only minutes away.

Nell: Sometimes a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

Me: Why are you talking with an American accent?

Nell: Why not? If Rupert can say ‘chill’ then I can say ‘gotta’.

Me: Something strange is going on. Do you know Knitwear Wolf was wearing a baseball cap when he went out this morning?

Nell: He’s Canadian.

Me: I know but he’s more of a Panama hatted wolf.

Nell: Go with the flow, girl.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Nell is Out of Sorts

Me: You’re looking rather world weary this morning.

Nell: I wish Poppy and Harriet would calm down. It’s far too early for Shenanigans.

Me: It’s just their usual morning Rough and Tumble.

Nell: Poppy is ten years old. You’d think she’d have grown out of it by now.

Me: Would you though? It is Poppy. At least it doesn’t involve a sword.

Nell: Of course not. No swords in the bedroom.

Me: I thought she slept with one under her pillow?

Nell: She does. Under her duvet to be accurate, but it’s inside her palace so it’s allowed.

Me: Sandringham is still in my bedroom.

Nell: I wish you wouldn’t call it that. It’s most disrespectful to the King.

Me: I know it’s the name of one of his palaces but Poppy has two and we need to differentiate between the one upstairs and the one downstairs.

Nell: Do we?

Me: Yes. Downstairs is simply Poppy’s Palace and upstairs is Sandringham.

Nell: I suppose it makes sense.

Me: What’s put your nose out of joint?

Nell: My Daily Growl had marmalade all over it.

Me: Dave didn’t mean it. It’s an easy mistake to make. Marmalade sticks to the paws.

Nell: You don’t even know if it was David.

Me: I sort of do.

Nell: Anyway, when I complained Rupert just laughed and told me to ‘chill’.

Me: Knitwear Wolf said ‘chill’?

Nell: Exactly. He never says words like that.

Me: No. He’s more of a ‘calm down, dear’ kind of wolf uncle.

Nell: He’s not my wolf uncle and he never says ‘dear’.

Me: Was he wearing a cardigan?

Nell: Of course he was wearing a cardigan. He’s always wearing a cardigan.

Me: I thought he might have swapped it for a hoodie.

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous.

Me: Sorry.


An Eventful Trip to the River

Me: Our visit to the river was a little more stressful than I’d imagined.

Nell: Why did you have to make such a fuss?

Me: Why did you all have to go down such a steep river bank. What’s wrong with your usual place?

Nell: It wasn’t that steep.

Me: Leaving me all alone at the top with Poppy.

Nell: Poppy didn’t want to be with you either.

Me: I know she didn’t. She started climbing down and I kept telling her to stop because I was holding her lead.

Nell: We know. We heard you. Kev was trying to take a soothing video of the river and all we could hear in the background was you shouting.

Me: Poppy was dragging me down the bank.

Nell: Nonsense. She’s a small Maltese cross and you’re a grown woman.

Me: When has that ever stopped her?

Nell: True.

Me: And you aren’t supposed to be climbing things.

Nell: It was no bother at all. Slow and steady.

Me: Even Kev got stuck.

Nell: Until David pulled him out.

Me: He did, didn’t he? Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. Just like a shire horse.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: You know the horses with the big hairy feet?

Nell: David may have big feet but he is not a horse.

Me: Kev held on to his lead and Dave just pulled him up the bank. It was amazing.

Nell: David likes to be helpful.

Me: Yes. I think Knitwear Wolf has been a good influence on him.

Nell: Rupert is very kind.

Me: He’s like a stepfather to Dave and Harriet.

Nell: I’m not so sure about that.

Me: Or a Canadian wolf uncle.

Nell: Wolf uncle?

Me: Everyone needs one of those.

Nell: Have you quite finished?

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Sundays are for Strolling

Me: I love Sundays.

Nell: I know you do.

Me: Especially when the weather is warm and we can sit outside and watch the world go by.

Nell: I presume you’re referring to Our World.

Me: I am and it’s a beautiful one. Look at the sunshine on the fields.

Nell: I’m glad to see the Welsh Corgi Choir are wearing hats. One can’t be too careful at this time of year.

Me: Why aren’t you wearing yours?

Nell: I’m under the gazebo with you. My sun hat is waiting for me inside next to yours should we need them later.

Me: Harriet is such a beauty, isn’t she? Have you noticed she’s turning a little grey?

Nell: Grey chins run in the family.

Me: Dave hasn’t got one.

Nell: David needs to take that stick out of his mouth. It’s not the right sort of look for the Mayor of Kingsbridge.

Me: Just imagine if Dave does get elected? Then he really will be the Mayor.

Nell: My friend Dorothy says the Beefies have started speaking French.

Me: What?

Nell: It’s ‘ooh la la’ all over the place.

Me: ‘Ooh la la’ isn’t very French.

Nell: It’s very annoying.

Me: Poppy doesn’t have any grey at all.

Nell: That’s Poppy for you.

Me: It is Poppy sitting on Kev’s knee, isn’t it? Not Petunia?

Nell: Petunia is cartwheeling with the llamas. Do keep up.

Me: Yes. Silly me. They are so alike.

Nell: I thought we might go for a stroll by the river later.

Me: Good idea. Sundays are for strolling.

Nell: Why anyone would want to cartwheel on a Sunday is beyond me.

Me: At least they’re having fun.

Nell: And they’re making you smile. I think you’ve found your pocketful of happiness again.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


You and Me

Me: You’re always looking out for me, aren’t you?

Nell: Someone has to.

Me: When we were on our walk down by the river and I lagged behind you came and found me.

Nell: I thought you might have lost your way.

Me: I can never lose my way when you’re around.

Nell: Where were you anyway? I looked for you everywhere.

Me: Taking photos of Harriet swimming in the river. I climbed down a grassy bank and then I had difficulty getting back up again.

Nell: You’re not supposed to be climbing anywhere. You’re only just getting over your back spasms.

Me: I know but Harriet was having so much fun that I wanted to try and capture it to look at later if that makes any sense.

Nell: It does. Happy memories are treasures waiting to comfort us at times when we’re feeling low.

Me: Exactly.

Nell: You’ve been struggling a little recently, haven’t you?

Me: Yes. Sometimes I think I’m falling apart.

Nell: You’re doing nothing of the kind. Not on my watch.

Me: It just feels like it. The trouble with grief is it comes in waves. You think you’re managing and then you hear some music, or see a photo and you’re right back there.

Nell: I know. One day at a time. There’s no rush.

Me: When Alex died we were all in shock and now reality is creeping in and with it the realisation that she is never coming back.

Nell: You are going to have these days.

Me: Yes. I hope she knows how dearly we loved her.

Nell: She does.

Me: I miss her so much, Nell.

Nell: Just know that we are here.

Me: Thank you.

Nell: You and me. Always. Remember?

Me: Yes. Sorry.

Nell: No sorries. Not today.


Buddies, Shanties and Treats

Me: Those two are just adorable.

Nell: Who are we talking about now?

Me: Tony and Dave. They’re best buddies.

Nell: Don’t say buddy, please. The word is friend.

Me: That’s what we call a friend here in Devon.

Nell: They certainly seemed pleased to see each other.

Me: Yes, Tony’s been down in Cornwall singing at the Sea Shanty Festival in Falmouth so we haven’t seen him for a while.

Nell: I wonder if The Old Gaffers might reconsider David joining their crew now that he’s Mayor of Kingsbridge.

Me: Except he isn’t.

Nell: In fact a few sea shanties might really bring in the votes.

Me: I know you’re ignoring me.

Nell: Stephen Seagull wouldn’t have a chance against David’s wonderful baritone. Everyone knows the Beefies have horrible voices.

Me: How’s the campaign going?

Nell: Poppy’s scones are a huge hit but Petunia thinks we should offer a healthy option.

Me: Is Petunia still here?

Nell: Yes. She loves it so much down here that she’s decided to stay.

Me: That’s nice for Poppy.

Nell: Is it? Anyway, she’s suggested crispy seaweed or rice cakes.

Me: I don’t want those with jam and cream.

Nell: They would be served with hummus.

Me: You do realise this could be seen as bribery, don’t you?

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: Luring people in with tasty treats.

Nell: That’s rich coming from you.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: Do you think we dogs don’t notice how you use treats to make us do things?

Me: It works.

Nell: Only because we’ve decided to humour you.

Me: And you’re greedy.

Nell: A Labrador never refuses a treat. It would be rude and disrespectful.

Me: They certainly make you happy.

Nell: Treats make everyone happy. Shortbread biscuit?

Me: Thank you. Sorry.


We’re a Team

Me: We’re a team, aren’t we?

Nell: Of course we are.

Me: When Kev took you to the vet’s yesterday for your monthly injection everybody waited by the gate for you to return.

Nell: They knew I wouldn’t be long.

Me: It seemed like ages to me.

Nell: Don’t you start. I know we dogs are not supposed to know the difference between popping out for some milk and being away all day but there’s no excuse for you.

Me: It was a long time.

Nell: We had a few errands to run and then we stopped off at Starbarks to say hello to John the Doberman and deliver some scones.

Me: You don’t drink coffee.

Nell: Starbarks is more than just coffee you know. Other beverages are served.

Me: Was the vet pleased with you?

Nell: They want me to lose 3 kilos.

Me: Oh dear. It’s probably the scones.

Nell: One can’t be expected to spend all day canvassing without joining the voters in an occasional scone.

Me: I wouldn’t say it was all day, Nell. You took some scones to Starbarks.

Nell: Everyone agreed to support David as Mayor.

Me: Fair enough.

Nell: Manuel caught something worrying in his tentacles this morning.

Me: Dare I ask what?

Nell: You know the Beefies have been throwing cake as well as mackerel?

Me: Yes, and Poppy’s been hitting it back with her cricket bat,

Nell: Not anymore.

Me: Why?

Nell: Today’s offering was a choux bun filled with cream and dipped in chocolate.

Me: Are we talking about profiteroles because they’re my favourite?

Nell: That’s not the point. I’m talking French here.

Me: No, you aren’t. I am.

Nell: French patisserie to be exact and dangerous to dogs.

Me: Oh yes. Chocolate.

Nell: Exactly.

Me: The dastardly scoundrels. Sorry.


All Paws On Deck

Me: What do you think of my photo of Naughty Nigel?

Nell: Dorothy’s going to love it.

Me: Are those two still an item?

Nell: Dorothy talks of little else but Nigel.

Me: Gosh. That must be annoying.

Nell: It can be rather tedious. Fortunately she found something different to gossip about the last time we met.

Me: Do tell.

Nell: You know Stephen Seagull is launching his campaign to be Mayor of Kingsbridge?

Me: Yes. I’ve seen the posters everywhere in town,

Nell: Well, now he’s upped his game.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: He’s offering free cake to anyone who promises to vote for him.

Me: Free cake?

Nell: Yes. ‘Enjoy a slice at no extra price.’ I quote.

Me: The cheek of it. Where did the Beefies get all that cake?

Nell: Where indeed. I’ll give you three guesses.

Me: They’ve learnt how to bake?

Nell: Unlikely.

Me: They’ve hired a baker?

Nell: Possibly.

Me: They’ve stolen the cakes?

Nell: Definitely.

Me: From the Cake Competition?

Nell: Exactly. Harriet said the lemon drizzle they threw at David tasted exactly like Poppy’s.

Me: The villains.

Nell: Anyway, Poppy says two can play at that game so it’s all paws on deck.

Me: Are we going sailing?

Nell: No, we’re making scones. Cakes are all well and good but nothing beats one of Poppy’s scones.

Me: I agree. Especially with jam and cream.

Nell: Exactly. And the Beefies’ cakes will be dry and stale very soon whereas Poppy’s scones will be fresh out of the oven.

Me: Unless they hire a baker.

Nell: Excuse me?

Me: Like an award winning French bulldog.

Nell: That’s rather specific.

Me: It’s front page news in today’s Daily Growl.

Nell: ‘Frenchie says he’s voting for Stephen.’ This is absolutely outrageous.

Me: I know. Sorry.