The Dog Beach

Me: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a dog enjoy the water as much as Harriet.

Nell: Yes. She loves it.

Me: The steps down to the Dog Beach are a bit tricky though, aren’t they?

Nell: Slow and steady is the way. One paw in front of another.

Me: Not for Harriet. She dashes down them like a mountain goat.

Nell: Harriet looks nothing like a goat. What are you talking about?

Me: It’s just a saying.

Nell: Now, I know you are suffering with migraines today so you are going to have to be very quiet.

Me: I’m not the noisy one.

Nell: You know exactly what I mean. No sitting staring at a screen.

Me: But I have things to do.

Nell: They will still be there tomorrow.

Me: Exactly. I have deadlines.

Nell: I’m not changing my mind. David has kindly agreed to Keep an Eye on you and will report back to me.

Me: My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: He has the authority to close any laptops that are opened.

Me: He wouldn’t do that.

Nell: I will send Poppy if I have to.

Me: Please don’t.

Nell: With her sword.

Me: Ok. I give in. No computers.

Nell: You can listen to the radio, or one of your dogcasts.

Me: Podcasts.

Nell: Not when I’m reading.

Me: You have a lovely voice.

Nell: You are too kind.

Me: I was supposed to be going for a walk with my little sister Alex today and meeting her grandson.

Nell: There will be other walks.

Me: Yes. There will.

Nell: Sometimes you just have to stop and let things be for a while.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Which is not something a llama will ever understand. So, please don’t listen to them.

Me: No. Sorry.



Me: We are all very sad.

Nell: Yes, we are.

Me: Yesterday morning my sister Charlotte had to say goodbye to her beloved little Seamus.

Nell: He had a heart condition from birth and he had been very unwell recently.

Me: It got so bad that the only decision left for them was to let him go.

Nell: It is the most selfless thing you can do for us at times like these and the kindest.

Me: As Charlotte and Kerry drove Seamus to the vet’s they saw a wonderful thing. A beautiful rainbow stretching right over the sea.

Nell: Letting them know that all the other Guardians were waiting for Seamus on the other side.

Me: Yes.

Nell: As I have told you many times before, Seamus is a Guardian now and watching over his family. He isn’t in pain any longer.

Me: No.

Nell: He is with your mother and Mutley and Charlie and his dear older brother Harry rushing around like a young dog again.

Me: It makes me sad to see Charlotte, Kerry and Scarlett missing him so much.

Nell: Yes, I know it does, but it is only right and proper to grieve the loss of someone you love. Boo and Naughty Nigel are there to comfort them.

Me: Yes. Charlotte said they have been cuddling together.

Nell: We are all very sad here too. Especially Poppy.

Me: Those two were always playing together. He never cared when she told him off.

Nell: Seamus was such a cheerful, happy little dog and that is the way we will remember him.

Me: It’s just so hard knowing they can’t be together again.

Nell: They can. It’s just a different kind of together. One you carry inside yourself that never leaves you.

Me: Yes. You’re right. Sorry.


The Pre-Bounce Stance

Me: Excuse me, Nell. What are you and Dave doing?

Nell: Playing Cheeky Animals, of course.

Me: You know it’s Wednesday Writers today and I have a workshop this morning on Zoom.

Nell: That’s fine with us. Zoom away. We’re not bothered by it at all.

Me: But Dave is getting really over excited. He’s doing that pouncing thing.

Nell: You mean bouncing. It’s called the Pre-Bounce Stance. The front legs must be on the ground with the rear end raised. David is positioned perfectly, isn’t he?

Me: Well, perhaps you two could play it downstairs and not where I’m trying to work?

Nell: This is not a game, you know.

Me: What is it then?

Nell: It’s part of David’s training. As I always say to my young charges ‘You need to Watch and Wait to Win.’

Me: What young charges?

Nell: You know I run a class for the younger animals. Marvin and Ollie attend along with David and Harriet and occasionally Naughty Nigel.

Me: Why do you have to practise it now?

Nell: Dear me. You seem to have got out of the wrong side of your kennel this morning.

Me: You mean bed.

Nell: Do I?

Me: Seriously though. I need to concentrate.

Nell: I happen to know that the Wednesday Writers love to see us in the background.

Me: Yes, they do but only if you are quiet.

Nell: We are quiet.

Me: You know that isn’t true. The first glimpse of The Neighbours’ Cat and you’re off.

Nell: The Neighbours’ Cat is rude and provoking.

Me: It’s just sitting in its own garden.

Nell: Smiling smugly.

Me: You wouldn’t like it if I disturbed your class.

Nell: We wouldn’t let that bother us. We’d just press mute. You should try it.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Hello Marvin

Me: Look at darling Marvin sitting on a tree trunk in Toronto. Doesn’t he look shiny and proud?

Nell: Yes. He will be 2 in June.

Me: Gosh. How time flies. Little Ollie turned 2 recently.

Nell: I think you’re going to have to start calling him Ollie.

Me: And you know who else is going to be 2 this month, don’t you?

Nell: Your granddaughter Faye.

Me: She wasn’t even 1 the last time I saw her.

Nell: You will see her again in the not too distant future. At least she is healthy and happy.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Just like Marvin. When Chris and Shannon rescued him they changed his life for ever.

Me: It is wonderful to see.

Nell: Now, have you signed Henry and Horst’s petition?

Me: No. I didn’t know they had one.

Nell: They have. ‘Give Small Animals A Voice.’

Me: I know it’s local elections soon but I thought it was about public services.

Nell: It is. Their petition is going to Kev and Jamie.

Me: Why?

Nell: Henry and Horst want a column in The Growl on Sunday.

Me: Do they?

Nell: They have an awful lot to say, you know.

Me: Well, that’s the thing, Nell. You say that, but I’ve never actually heard Henry and Horst say anything.

Nell: That’s because you don’t have keen ears like David.

Me: I don’t think I’m the only one.

Nell: And that is exactly why they are campaigning. Their voices need to be heard.

Me: I’m not sure it’s possible.

Nell: I’m talking about their written voices. You of all people know how important that is.

Me: You’re absolutely right. Henry and Horst should be heard. What are they going to write about?

Nell: Ask Henry.

Me: I would, Nell, but I can’t hear the answer. Sorry.


Bank Holiday Monday

Nell: May I have a word with you, please?

Me: Oh dear. What have I done now?

Nell: I believe Harriet spent the night upstairs in your bedroom?

Me: Yes, she did.

Nell: I know Poppy is allowed to share the bed.

Me: Yes.

Nell: And I accept that. Poppy works hard and needs her sleep.

Me: It’s got more to do with being small.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: A Labrador on the bed is like a whole other person. Or even two in Dave’s case.

Nell: Moving on. I would like to ask why Harriet has now also been given Bedroom Privileges?

Me: She isn’t allowed on the bed at night. She has to sleep in her dog bed. It was Kev’s idea.

Nell: Was it? Well, that makes a huge difference.

Me: He says Harriet was getting lonely. She was waking us all up early because she needed to be with us.

Nell: And?

Me: I said it was nonsense. She would start making a noise and it would be even worse.

Nell: And what happened?

Me: She was as quiet as a mouse and waited for us to wake up.

Nell: Problem solved. You just need to listen to Kev. Such an excellent idea.

Me: Hang on a minute. You were complaining about it a minute ago.

Nell: That was before I knew the whole story. Anyway, people seemed to enjoy The Growl on Sunday.

Me: Yes, although some went into Junk mail so best to check that if you haven’t received it.

Nell: We’ve already had a few questions for Poppy and Dave so please keep them coming. Just email us at contact@conversationswithnell.org.

Me: If it was up to me, Nell, I would give you Bedroom Privileges.

Nell: Too little too late.

Me: Sorry.


David is Awfully Proud

Me: Has The Growl on Sunday arrived yet?

Nell: Yes. I’m reading it now. Rupert delivered the papers first thing this morning.

Me: How exciting.

Nell: David is certainly ridiculously pleased to see his column. Have you seen the way he’s behaving?

Me: No. Why? What’s he doing?

Nell: Demanding Extra Cuddles.

Me: He does love a good cuddle.

Nell: Playing Cheeky Animals.

Me: Bless him.

Nell: Sitting in the yellow chair.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. So affectionate.

Nell: He doesn’t need to throw himself at Kev like that.

Me: Kev’s fine. He and Jamie are so glad to see the first edition go out.

Nell: I’m interviewing Jamie for the next edition.

Me: Yes, I know you are. Dave worked awfully hard. He deserves a cuddle.

Nell: We all worked hard. I interviewed Sunny.

Me: I know you did.

Nell: Poppy submitted a recipe.

Me: Yes, and I told a joke.

Nell: Don’t remind me.

Me: How are Gladys and the llamas after yesterday’s Beefy attack, by the way?

Nell: They are out there now doing some kind of May dance with the Welsh corgi choir.

Me: I’m glad it hasn’t dampened their enthusiasm.

Nell: It will take more than a screeching Beefy to stop a llama from performing. Sharp beak or not.

Me: Talking about performing. Wasn’t Poppy magnificent?

Nell: She really is extraordinarily brave and a wonderful swordsdog.

Me: I’m not sure she meant to cut the Maypole in half though.

Nell: It certainly sent the Beefies flying.

Me: It was awfully kind of Alejandro to step in and pretend to be a Maypole.

Nell: Any excuse to wear his Aztec crown.

Me: I wish I had an Aztec crown.

Nell: Just go and put the kettle on while I finish reading.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


May Day

Me: Happy May Day everyone.

Nell: Thank you, and the same to you.

Me: It was lovely to see Tony again, wasn’t it?

Nell: Yes. Tony is going to keep an eye out for sharp beaked Beefies, by the way.

Me: Good. Is he coming to the Maypole Dance?

Nell: He wouldn’t miss it. He’s bringing Sue and Ollie.

Me: I suppose llamas dancing around a maypole carrying ribbons isn’t something you see every day.

Nell: Neither is Poppy in a full suit of armour brandishing her sword.

Me: She means business then?

Nell: She certainly does. Although Knitwear Wolf made an excellent suggestion at Morning Thoughts that might help avoid any violence.

Me: I know Rupert likes to talk things through but the time for peaceful negotiations might be over.

Nell: No. He suggested the Welsh corgi choir should be issued with pistols.

Me: I don’t think shooting the Beefies is the right way forward, Nell.

Nell: I’m talking about water pistols. Good grief. This isn’t The Godfather you know.

Me: What a relief. You had me worried then.

Nell: On another note, tomorrow is a big day for Kev and his team. David is particularly excited about his Ask Dave column.

Me: Yes, I can’t wait to read it.

Nell: Kev has asked us to pin a link to the World of Nell at the top of our Facebook page which people just need to click on to sign up for The Growl on Sunday.

Me: Good idea. It’s http://www.worldofnell.com/ isn’t it?

Nell: Yes. Can you hear that?

Me: It sounds like a huge flock of Beefies.

Nell: It is and they are heading towards the Maypole. Sound the alert.

Me: How do I do that?

Nell: By shouting ‘May Day! May Day!’ of course.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


On Guard

Me: Harriet seems alert this morning, unlike you.

Nell: What’s that supposed to mean?

Me: You seem perfectly relaxed.

Nell: I am. I just had a delightful piece of hot buttered toast with some of Poppy’s marvellous marmalade and a cup of Earl Grey.

Me: Sounds delicious.

Nell: It was.

Me: So, what did Harriet have? Spicy eggs?

Nell: Spicy eggs? Where did you get that idea from?

Me: She seems a bit on edge and chilli can do that to you.

Nell: Harriet is not on edge. She is On Guard.

Me: I knew something was going on.

Nell: Nothing is going on. Yet.

Me: But it might be?

Nell: Yes.

Me: Please tell me.

Nell: I’m not sure you can be trusted.

Me: I can, Nell. We all can.

Nell: Sally has been in touch.

Me: Well, that’s not terribly exciting. She and Dave are always on WoofsApp.

Nell: Actually Sally has been in touch with Harriet in an official capacity.

Me: As a spy?

Nell: Quiet. Please try to be a little more discreet. Anybody could be listening.

Me: I forgot.

Nell: Sally has reason to believe that The Beefies are planning an attack.

Me: Oh no. Who are they targeting this time?

Nell: Gladys and the llamas.

Me: Gladys and the llamas? That’s awful. Why?

Nell: They mean to disrupt tomorrow’s Maypole Dance.

Me: But they’ve been practising for weeks.

Nell: I know.

Me: They’ve got new hats and The Cat has made ribbons. The Welsh corgi choir are singing.

Nell: I’m afraid several Beefies have been spotted sharpening their beaks.

Me: They’re going to stab the llamas. Poor innocent creatures. Tell Poppy to fetch her sword.

Nell: Calm down. Nobody is stabbing anyone. They are planning to cut the ribbons.

Me: Oh, I see. Sorry.


International Dance Day

Me: You and Dave look awfully tired.

Nell: That’s because we are.

Me: Why?

Nell: Ask Gladys.

Me: Gladys?

Nell: Yes. Apparently today is International Dance Day.

Me: How exciting. Well, that explains everything. I thought the llamas had started early.

Nell: Everyone started early.

Me: Oh dear. I must say I did wonder what was going on.

Nell: And whoever gave Princess the cymbals deserves to be talked to very sternly.

Me: She said she needed them for something important. And she asked ever so nicely.

Nell: What possessed you to give them to her? And why did you have a pair of cymbals in the first place?

Me: They were in with all the other instruments.

Nell: You do realise we are going to be inundated with complaints from our neighbours, don’t you?

Me: I suppose it is rather noisy.

Nell: It’s like the carnival at Rio out there.

Me: I absolutely love the costumes. Is that The Cat dancing with a bowl of fruit on its head?

Nell: I don’t want to know.

Me: Just look at Babycakes Gillespie juggling bagels.

Nell: I would rather not. That’s where it all went wrong for David.

Me: What happened?

Nell: David was supposed to be catching them.

Me: Did he drop them?

Nell: No. But he definitely made them disappear. Let’s just say he is feeling more than a little full.

Me: My poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy. So eager to please.

Nell: It’s a shame he has to miss out on the dancing when he loves it so much but you can’t dance with a full tummy.

Me: I wouldn’t worry about that. The dancing isn’t stopping any time soon.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: The Whippets Institute minibus just arrived and they’re all wearing feathers. Sorry.


Last few days on our beach

Me: It’s our last few days on our favourite beach so I thought I would post a couple of videos.

Nell: And a photo of David and me in between the leads.

Me: There was nothing I could do.

Nell: How about waiting until the leads are out of the picture?

Me: I didn’t think of that.

Nell: It seems harsh that we dogs are banned from our beach from May until October.

Me: I know it does. We can still walk on the dog beach though. It’s just around the corner.

Nell: Yes. And if we are very lucky we can look over at all the people enjoying our beach.

Me: It’s just the way it is.

Nell: Harriet is certainly making the most of it.

Me: Yes. I wish we could let Dave off the lead but there are young children around and we don’t want him to frighten them.

Nell: David is the friendliest dog you could ever meet.

Me: I know but he’s ever so big, Nell. When a huge great dog comes running up to you it can be a bit scary. Just like the dentist.

Nell: David is nothing at all like a dentist.

Me: You know what I mean.

Nell: When is your appointment?

Me: This afternoon.

Nell: You will be fine. Poppy wants to know how you feel about pizza this evening.

Me: Yes, please.

Nell: She’s busy finishing her column for The Growl on Sunday so it will have to be a takeaway.

Me: Fine with me. I’m a small vegetarian.

Nell: You are not. You might be small but you had sausages for dinner yesterday.

Me: I meant my choice of pizza.

Nell: Well, say so. I thought you’d gone vegan for a moment like my friend Dorothy.

Me: Sorry.