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.
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.