Me: Why is Harriet sitting alone outside on the yellow chair?
Nell: She needs to do some thinking.
Me: But it’s raining.
Nell: The chair is under your gazebo. She won’t get wet.
Me: Can’t she think inside?
Nell: No. David is thinking inside.
Me: Why can’t they think together?
Nell: They have been asked to consider The Error of Their Ways and as you know that is done best alone.
Me: What have they done?
Nell: They’ve been crowding the children.
Me: They don’t mind.
Nell: That’s not the point. A Labrador waits quietly and patiently. There can be eye contact but from a polite distance.
Me: I see.
Nell: A Labrador does not push its face into people or, dog forbid, climb on top of them.
Me: That’ll be Dave. He thinks he’s smaller than he is. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.
Nell: It was Harriet too.
Me: The thing is though, Nell, the children actually love it.
Nell: David is the Mayor of Kingsbridge. He can’t go around climbing onto people’s laps.
Me: He is a bit heavy.
Nell: Anyway, we’ll see how their presentation goes at Morning Thoughts.
Nell: Both David and Harriet have been asked to present a short talk to the committee on How to Behave Discreetly.
Me: What committee?
Nell: Never you mind.
Me: The committee is you, isn’t it?
Nell: Poppy might be joining me if she has time after breakfast service.
Me: Poppy couldn’t care less about behaving.
Nell: The puppies need to learn. Visitors cannot be crowded.
Me: But they aren’t visitors, Nell. They’re family.
Nell: So, you won’t complain anymore when David sits on you when you’re writing?
Me: Well, that can be rather annoying.
Nell: All I’m asking for is A Little Restraint.
Me; Yes. Sorry.