Me: There’s quite a storm raging out there.
Nell: I know. It’s been keeping me awake all night.
Me: Is that why Harriet is comforting Dave?
Nell: No. David’s devastated you’re going away again.
Me: What do you mean ‘again’?
Nell: You abandoned us in August.
Me: I went to Germany for a week to be with the family.
Nell: And you brought back a bear.
Me: Nonsense. He came to visit us a few weeks later and we should be jolly thankful that he did.
Nell: I never said we weren’t.
Me: We’d be lost without Herr Hoffmann.
Nell: He’s a very kind bear and much appreciated.
Me: I’m only going to the Cottage Hotel.
Nell: I know.
Me: And it’s just for a few days on a writing retreat.
Nell: Goodness only knows what you’ll be bringing back this time.
Nell: We don’t need any more seals. Two are more than enough. Every time I go outside I get a standing ovation.
Me: It’s a seal thing. They love to clap.
Nell: Sir Roger Blubbery is planning another fishing trip.
Me: Is he?
Nell: He and The Bear are considering salmon fishing in Scotland.
Me: That’s an awfully long way to travel at this time of year.
Nell: It’s a ridiculous idea.
Me: Maybe that’s what’s troubling my Big Brave Beautiful Boy?
Nell: No, it’s definitely you.
Me: I need these few days, Nell. It’s been an awful year.
Nell: I know you do. I’m just teasing.
Me: But what about Dave and Harriet?
Nell: They will be fine. Kev and I are here, not to mention all the others.
Nell: Go and write to your heart’s content. We’ll be waiting for you when you get back. But no more seals.
Me: No. Sorry.