Deep Discussions and Elephant Clouds

Me: A lovely run in the activity field was just what was needed.

Nell: Yes. It’s always a good opportunity for us all to stretch our legs.

Me: Dave was able to let his hair down.

Nell: David is not a Yorkshire Terrier.

Me: You know what I mean. He could really run around.

Nell: David saw an elephant cloud, by the way.

Me: Yes, I took a photo of it because the sky was so beautiful. Is that what you were discussing with Kev?

Nell: No.

Me: What were you talking about?

Nell: None of your business.

Me: Was it about Christmas?

Nell: Why would you say that?

Me: It’s not long until Christmas now.

Nell: It’s still a few weeks away.

Me: It was about my present, wasn’t it?

Nell: I thought we weren’t doing presents this year.

Me: We aren’t, but I know Kev will probably still get me something.

Nell: Rupert is organising soft scarves for everyone in their favourite colours.

Me: Dear Knitwear Wolf. So handsome and kind.

Nell: Herr Hoffmann suggested we make gingerbread animals.

Me: That’s very German of him. I don’t think it’s safe for dogs though.

Nell: That’s what I told him. Maybe bacon biscuits would be a better idea.

Me: Bacon biscuits?

Nell: Why not?

Me: I’d rather have Lebkuchen. I used to love the heart shaped ones covered in chocolate when I lived in Germany.

Nell: Maybe Herr Hoffmann will make you some. You never know.

Me: I need to know what you and Kev were really talking about.

Nell: Never you mind.

Me: But I do mind.

Nell: Patience is a virtue, possession of it rarer. Often found in Labradors but never found in Sara.

Me: That’s a bit harsh.

Nell: Prove me wrong then.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Nothing Stays The Same

Me: It was lovely to see Tony again, wasn’t it? We missed him while he was on holiday.

Nell: David didn’t need to throw himself at him.

Me: Tony doesn’t mind. He and Dave are best friends. Don’t forget they hadn’t seen each other for over a week.

Nell: Dorothy’s my best friend but a simple nod and a smile is more than sufficient as a greeting.

Me: You’re not Dave. He’s just a giant ball of emotion. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: He shocked the life out of Elliot the Gardener.

Me: I know he did. Elliot wasn’t expecting such a large animal.

Nell: Nobody does.

Me: Elliot’s done a good job of clearing the garden, hasn’t he?

Nell: Yes.

Me: There’s just some painting and de-cluttering to be done before the photographer comes and takes photos of the house and then it goes on the market.

Nell: I don’t like this at all.

Me: I know you don’t but there’s nothing to be done.

Nell: Tony isn’t happy about it either.

Me: Nobody is.

Nell: He won’t be our postman any longer when we move.

Me: He’ll still come and visit.

Nell: It’s not the same.

Me: No, it isn’t, but nothing ever does stay the same. We’ve learnt that over the last year.

Nell: Yes. You’re right and I need to stop being so negative. As long as we have each other all will be well.

Me: Exactly. The perfect house is out there waiting for us.

Nell: I thought you said you’d found it.

Me: We have, but we can’t buy it until our house sells so we have to hope nobody else does in the meantime.

Nell: This is an extremely stressful time for us all, isn’t it?

Me: I’m afraid it is. Sorry.


Harriet is Fine Again

Me: It’s such a relief to see Harriet back to her usual self.

Nell: It was definitely something she ate.

Me: I know and, without going into any details, let’s just say it’s out now.

Nell: Mistakes can happen.

Me: I remember when you swallowed a stone.

Nell: So do I.

Me: Why did you do that?

Nell: It wasn’t on purpose.

Me: The main thing is that Harriet is absolutely fine again and enjoying being back on the beach.

Nell: How she can run into that cold sea is quite beyond me.

Me: I agree, but it makes her happy and it makes me happy to see her having fun.

Nell: We all enjoy the beach. I do my best thinking there.

Me: Kev and I are the same. There’s something magical about it whatever the weather.

Nell: You can tell winter is on its way.

Me: Yes. The wind was biting.

Nell: I’m a little tired today.

Me: So am I. We might need an easy day.

Nell: You were supposed to be having an easy day yesterday but instead of that you dashed off to the gym.

Me: I didn’t dash off. I went to my aqua fitness class.

Nell: I’m not leaving the fireside today. I’ve started re-reading ‘Great Expectations’.

Me: That was my mother’s favourite book.

Nell: You can’t beat Dickens. Especially during the colder months of the year.

Me: Kev loves ‘A Christmas Carol’.

Nell: Have you seen my reading glasses? I can’t find them anywhere.

Me: Aren’t they in your handbag?

Nell: I can’t find that either.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Don’t tell me David is up to his old tricks again?

Me: He was wearing glasses the last time I saw him.

Nell: And carrying a handbag?

Me: I’m afraid so. Sorry.


Harriet is Under The Weather

Nell: You look extremely tired.

Me: I am, to be honest. I’ve been watching over Harriet all night so I’ve hardly slept at all.

Nell: How is she this morning?

Me: She seems a lot better than yesterday evening.

Nell: That’s good to hear.

Me: In fact, she slept really well. Unlike me.

Nell: It was probably just indigestion.

Me: You’re right. After losing Poppy I seem to have lost my sense of perspective too.

Nell: It’s very hard to keep a sense of perspective in times of stress.

Me: Yes, I catastrophize everything nowadays.

Nell: It’s understandable. You’ve had a difficult year.

Me: Anyway, I’ve spoken to Herr Hoffmann and Harriet is on plain chicken and rice for the next few days.

Nell: No bacon?

Me: Definitely not.

Nell: She was only sick once.

Me: She was properly out of sorts yesterday evening.

Nell: If you ask me, it’s all this talk of moving house.

Me: It might be.

Nell: It would make anyone unsettled.

Me: Tell me about it.

Nell: Why would I do that when we just decided it’s very unsettling?

Me: It’s only an expression, Nell. But enough doom and gloom. Let’s do some blue sky thinking.

Nell: Good grief. If you say anything about turning a frown upside down I’m leaving.

Me: No, I want us to think outside the box.

Nell: What box? If you think any of us are going in a crate you can think again.

Me: No. We need some fresh new ideas to get ourselves motivated for the week ahead.

Nell: I don’t know about you, but I need a cup of Earl Grey and a shortbread biscuit.

Me: Sounds good.

Nell: And you need to go back to bed. David and I will watch over Harriet.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Diva Barking and Breakdancing

Me: Could we have a quick word?

Nell: I’m checking the hole in the carpet.

Me: It’s been there for years, Nell. Harriet did it when she was a puppy.

Nell: It seems larger.

Me: I’d like to discuss your recent diva barking.

Nell: Last night was a tremendous success, wasn’t it?

Me: Stop trying to change the subject.

Nell: Anton du Bark was extremely impressed.

Me: You’ve started barking first thing in the morning demanding attention.

Nell: Malcolm and Susan’s Cha-Cha was a sight to behold and Mrs King and Beauregard’s Samba was extraordinary. Those big cats are light on their paws.

Me: It’s not fair on those of us still trying to sleep.

Nell: Harriet and Jim’s waltz was simply exquisite.

Me: Kev and I did well, too, considering.

Nell: Considering you got yourself tangled up in your feather boa?

Me: I’d never danced the Quickstep before. It was exhausting. I can barely move this morning.

Nell: The surprise of the night has to be Stephen Seagull and Miss Penny Lanes’s Argentine Tango.

Me: Who knew seagulls could be so bendy?

Nell: It was certainly aggressive.

Me: But nothing could beat Dave and Sally’s American Smooth. Talk about ‘Puttin’ On The Ritz.’

Nell: David suits a top hat and tails.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Sally is the perfect partner. They deserved to win.

Me: Manuel’s guest performance was quite a revelation.

Nell: I can’t say I was expecting an octopus to breakdance.

Me: Or Gladys and the llamas to join in.

Nell: I’m not sure that was planned.

Me: Anyway, back to the barking.

Nell: We’ve no time to chat. I can hear the Welsh Corgi Choir warming up for Sunday Songs and we can’t leave them out in the cold alone.

Me: No. Sorry.


Such Beautiful Colours

Me: We’re so lucky to live where we do, aren’t we?

Nell: Yes, we are.

Me: The light and the colours on our walk down by the river were absolutely breathtaking.

Nell: River walk is my favourite. The grass is soft under paw and I can enjoy a good sniffari.

Me: It’s Kev’s favourite walk, too. Harriet prefers the sea and my Big Brave Beautiful Boy just goes with the flow.

Nell: Now, Gladys and the llamas have a request.

Me: I’m not cartwheeling, Nell.

Nell: Don’t be silly. The mere idea.

Me: I know how keen they are to get everyone moving.

Nell: So, what do you feel about ballroom dancing?

Me: I love watching it, Although, I might prefer Latin if I’m honest. But I’m not sure I can do it.

Nell: How about a glitzy Strictly Come Dancing evening?

Me: Sounds absolutely fabulous.

Nell: That’s what The Cat said when we suggested it.

Me: I don’t have to wear fake tan, do I?

Nell: That’s what Kev said when we suggested it to him.

Me: I don’t mind a few sequins and I’d love a feather boa.

Nell: Good. Get yourself over to the Big House as soon as you can and The Cat will see what it has for you in its dressing up box.

Me: How exciting.

Nell: I will be judging, of course, along with my dear friend Anton du Bark.

Me: I didn’t know it was a competition.

Nell: Of course it is. You are with Kev. David is paired with Sally, Harriet with Jim the Farm Dog, Malcolm with Susan, Mrs King with Beauregard and Miss Penny Lane with Stephen Seagull.

Me: I beg your pardon?

Nell: He asked and Penny agreed. Do you have a problem with that?

Me: No. Sorry.


Marvin has a New Raincoat and Dave Makes a Mistake

Me: Look at Marvin in his new raincoat. Isn’t he adorable?

Nell: He’s not happy.

Me: I know but it can get very cold and wet in Toronto. Chris and Shannon are just keeping him safe and warm.

Nell: Don’t expect me to wear one.

Me: I won’t. You have Devon hair and it isn’t half as cold here.

Nell: Devon hair?

Me: Your hair’s become a lot thicker and wavier since we moved down here.

Nell: You’re making me sound like a poodle.

Me: You were quite sprightly on our walk yesterday. The hydro and massage with Chloe must have done you good.

Nell: In my opinion we should skip the hydro part and go straight to the warming mat.

Me: You’re not going there to sleep, Nell.

Nell: Thanksgiving dinner was a delight.

Me: You’re changing the subject.

Nell: Everyone had a wonderful time.

Me: Yes, we did. Pickled red cabbage isn’t usually on the menu but it was delicious.

Nell: Herr Hoffmann was giving it a German twist.

Me: Poppy would have been proud.

Nell: She was, apart from the turkey incident.

Me: Are you talking about Dave?

Nell: Who else would eat that many slices that fast?

Me: I think it was a misunderstanding. I was holding out the plate in an inviting sort of way.

Nell: You were counting the slices to make sure everyone got some and then David took them.

Me: Not all of them.

Nell: Most of them.

Me: Luckily there was a lot more in the kitchen.

Nell: It was disgraceful behaviour.

Me: He didn’t mean it. Mistakes happen.

Nell: Sally didn’t help by laughing and saying, ‘Oh Davey.’

Me: She loves him.

Nell: Everyone loves David but it still doesn’t mean he can eat all the turkey.

Me: No. Sorry.


Happy Thanksgiving

Me: Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends in the United States.

Nell: And to Bumper and Babycakes Gillespie and any other Americans far from home.

Me: I don’t think I’ve ever seen Dave as happy as when he walked in and saw Sally waiting for him.

Nell: It was a sight to behold.

Me: They’ve been inseparable ever since.

Nell: Sally is his soulmate.

Me: Dear Bumper is back organising us all with his serviettes and stuffed toys.

Nell: He couldn’t believe how much there is to do.

Me: Losing Poppy has shaken us all.

Nell: Talking of Poppy, she wants to make sure Herr Hoffmann has the safe recipe for pumpkin pie.

Me: He does.

Nell: Not too much cinnamon.

Me: He knows.

Nell: And no nutmeg as it’s dangerous for dogs.

Me: Dave’s on the case.

Nell: That’s what I told her.

Me: And Herr Hoffmann’s a very sensible bear.

Nell: The llamas have been cartwheeling since dawn.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: Too much sugar. Babycakes Gillespie is handing out doughnuts and you know what llamas are like. They can never say no to a doughnut.

Me: Dave’s a bit like that.

Nell: Fortunately David is busy in the kitchen helping Herr Hoffmann.

Me: It’s been a tough year, Nell, but we still have a lot to be thankful for.

Nell: Each other for a start.

Me: Yes, I don’t think I could have got through it without the love and support of you all.

Nell: People are very kind if you let them be.

Me: They are.

Nell: I think it might be time to share a cup of Earl Grey and a freshly baked cookie with the others by the fire.

Me: Is there time?

Nell: There’s always time for sharing, especially at Thanksgiving.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Those Deceiving Beefies

Nell: The sea is rather frothy again. Look at my paws.

Me: Stop sending me photos from the island. I need you and Dave to come home now.

Nell: We can’t come back yet. We still haven’t seen any sign of Sally, Harriet or a lion,

Me: I know.

Nell: The only thing of any interest at afternoon tea was a hairy seal with some stuffed animals. It reminded me of Bumper.

Me: Now, that is a coincidence.

Nell: Not really. If Bumper were here he would have taken the Stuffed Tiger to tea.

Me: Bumper is here.

Nell: What? Bumper’s supposed to be in the US.

Me: Harriet and Bumper are still pen pals and he was particularly sad to hear about Poppy.

Nell: Her loss is felt across the world.

Me: When Bumper said he wished he could visit us again, Harriet said he should come for Thanksgiving and they arranged a surprise visit.

Nell: So that’s where Harriet has been?

Me: Yes, she took Poppy’s helicopter and flew up to London to collect Bumper and Sally too, as a surprise for Dave.

Nell: David won’t believe this.

Me: I know. My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy is going to be over the moon.

Nell: He’s going to be on the first sea tractor over to the mainland. But wait a minute. What about the supposed sightings of a beautiful Golden Retriever and a pretty Chocolate Labrador having dinner with a lion?

Me: That hairy seal you mentioned doesn’t have ears, does it?

Nell: It does.

Me: And can it walk around on all fours?

Nell: Yes, in a rather ungainly fashion.

Me: It’s not a seal. It’s a sea lion.

Nell: Those wretched deceiving Beefies. I’m presuming the stuffed animals are dogs.

Me: I expect so. Sorry.


What is Going On?

Nell: Don’t try and stop us.

Me: It’s a bad idea, Nell.

Nell: David and I are going to the island. Look at him, he’s bowed down with worry.

Me: He’s standing on the small table again.

Nell: He needs to be by the window.

Me: Yes, but not on the table.

Nell: His sister and his fiancé are missing. The poor animal is distraught.

Me: They’re not exactly missing. We’re fairly sure they’re at the Burgh Island Hotel.

Nell: Jim the Farm Dog isn’t happy.

Me: A farmer’s life isn’t an easy one.

Nell: No. The Beefies say a pretty chocolate brown Labrador was seen having dinner at the Burgh Island hotel with a lion.

Me: That lion is a proper gigolo.

Nell: That’s not the point. First Sally now Harriet.

Me: Exactly. The cheek of it.

Nell: What are she and Sally doing there?

Me: Harriet left a message telling us not to worry and she’ll be in touch.

Nell: That was yesterday.

Me: She’s probably busy.

Nell: Doing what?

Me: Having dinner with lions.

Nell: We don’t even know who the lion is.

Me: It’s obviously Lionel King.

Nell: There’s more than one lion, you know.

Me: Not living at the Burgh Island Hotel with a penchant for a pretty lady, especially one who’s out of bounds.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: Lionel enjoys causing mayhem. Ask Rupert.

Nell: What’s Rupert got to do with this?

Me: Lionel is constantly trying to steal you away from him.

Nell: Nonsense.

Me: You know it and I know it. I hope this isn’t all about you, Nell.

Nell: About me?

Me: Maybe Lionel is trying to make you jealous?

Nell: Ridiculous.

Me: And maybe he’s succeeding?

Nell: Sally and Harriet wouldn’t be involved in that.

Me: No. Sorry.