Friends again

Nell: Did you see David and Tony?

Me: Yes. So many cuddles today. My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: They only saw each other yesterday.

Me: Dave was a bit down then but all’s well now.

Nell: It was the picnic in the rain. Wet fur and soggy sandwiches. That was all that was needed.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Everyone has their off days.

Me: I’m having one of those myself to be honest.

Nell: The thing to do is to just relax and know that it will pass.

Me: Yes.

Nell: You’re all tangled up in your thoughts.

Me: I am.

Nell: So brush them away like an annoying fly and move on.

Me: Flies are annoying though, aren’t they?

Nell: Dreadfully. They have so much to say and none of it is important.

Me: To be fair, Nell, you don’t actually know that, unless you speak fly.

Nell: I don’t, but Henry does.

Me: Oh.

Nell: And he says it’s all inconsequential nonsense.

Me: Really? Only that sounds more like something you would say.

Nell: Fine. He said the flies like the sound of their own voices.

Me: That I can believe. A bit like the Beefies. Did you hear them shouting this morning?

Nell: I did. It’s because MuttDonalds have reopened.

Me: Is it?

Nell: Yes. They keep shouting ‘Fries! Fries!’

Me: Well, fries have been thin on the ground for a few months I suppose.

Nell: Thin on the ground? What are you talking about? That’s exactly what they weren’t.

Me: It’s a figure of speech. It means scarce.

Nell: Why didn’t you say so?

Me: Never mind. Who is running Mutley’s businesses by the way?

Nell: Joyce. Mutley put her in charge and she is doing a very good job.

Me: I didn’t know. Sorry.


Marvin’s story

Me: Look. It’s our darling Marvin over in Canada in his birthday bow tie.

Nell: Yes, it is.

Me: And he’s reading our book.

Nell: Yes. I sent a copy to Toronto for his birthday.

Me: What a good idea. I hope he enjoys it.

Nell: Of course he will. Have you read the reviews?

Me: People have been very kind.

Nell: Yes.

Me: I can’t believe Marvin turned one already. It only seems like yesterday that Chris and Shannon were collecting him at the border.

Nell: I’ve written him a poem. Would you like to hear it?

Me: Very much.

Nell: ‘There once was a pup and his name it was Marvin.

He was found by the roadside shivering and starving.

Things didn’t look good and the pup was in danger

But everything changed with the help of a stranger.

Marvin was frightened.

He felt all alone.

He didn’t have a family.

He didn’t have a home.’

Me: This is heartbreaking.

Nell: It won’t be in a minute.

Me: Ok.

Nell: ‘Chris and Shannon love dogs

And wanted to adopt.

When they saw Marvin’s photo

Their searching just stopped.

They knew they had to rescue

That dear little boy,

And give him a life full of love,

Full of joy.

And that’s exactly what happened

Marvin’s life turned around.

They took him back to Toronto

Where he lives safe and sound.

So rescue dogs don’t give up,

Marvin’s message to you

Is that sometimes there is a happy ever after

And dreams really do come true.

And to all you dog lovers

I’d just like to say

If you can rescue a dog

Then do it today.’

Me: Mutley would have loved that.

Nell: I read it to him first. He is always listening you know.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Dave isn’t himself

Me: How is Dave today?

Nell: A lot better. Thank goodness.

Me: I don’t know what was wrong yesterday. He didn’t even want to talk to Tony.

Nell: I know.

Me: He just lay in the shade with Harriet.

Nell: Yes,

Me: And he didn’t have thirds for dinner, only seconds.

Nell: I noticed.

Me: Do you think he’s missing Sally?

Nell: No. He is used to a long distance relationship.

Me: Maybe he ate too many Brussel sprouts. He’s done that before.

Nell: We all remember, thank you very much.

Me: Well, it must be the heat then.

Nell: To be honest I think he’s missing the sea.

Me: Yes. So am I.

Nell: Both you and David grew up by the sea. Not at the same time, obviously. You’re an ageing grandmother and he’s in his prime.

Me: You make me sound like a little old lady.

Nell: Which part of that bothers you?

Me: I don’t feel old yet. Well, I do sometimes, but you know what I mean.

Nell: Anyway, he’s used to running along the beach.

Me: Yes, casting caution to the wind as he surfs the waves.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: But we can’t go down there, Nell. It’s far too crowded.

Nell: I know. I explained that to everyone at Morning Thoughts.

Me: My poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: But all is well. Rain is forecast for tomorrow so we’re going to have an English picnic in the garden.

Me: We are?

Nell: Yes. We’re going to eat our picnic in the rain. Knitwear Wolf is even going to bring some sand back so we can get it in our sandwiches.

Me: Perfect. Soggy sandy sandwiches. English summer on a plate.

Nell: There won’t be plates.

Me: Of course not. Sorry.


Monday ramblings

Me: The puppies are panting again.

Nell: Of course they are. They need to regulate their temperature.

Me: Ah yes. We sweat. You pant.

Nell: Ladies don’t sweat. They perspire.

Me: You sound like my grandmother.

Nell: A wise lady no doubt.

Me: The llamas keep humming. Do you think they are nervous about something?

Nell: Why?

Me: I often hum when I’m nervous.

Nell: You hum when you’re happy and also when you’re concentrating.

Me: Let’s hope the llamas are happy then.

Nell: I wouldn’t worry about it. Everybody knows llamas hum.

Me: Actually Nell, we didn’t know that until someone told us yesterday.

Nell: There you are then.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: Now you know they hum you can hear it. They’ve always been humming but until you knew you never noticed.

Me: You might have a point there. It’s like ants. Once I’ve seen one I see them everywhere.

Nell: That’s because they are everywhere. Ants march in armies. If you want to know about them just ask Henry and Horst.

Me: Do woodlice eat ants?

Nell: Certainly not. They are vegetarians.

Me: Apparently ants are quite tasty on a salad, or honey buttered.

Nell: Honey buttered ants? The only thing I want honey buttered is a slice of toast, or possibly a crumpet.

Me: I agree. Can you believe it’s June already? The puppies will be 3 this month and Poppy will be 7. Where does time go?

Nell: I don’t know, but we need to make the most of it. Have you done your morning exercises yet?

Me: No. I missed Glide with Gladys because I was writing.

Nell: Well, that simply won’t do. You have to maintain your fitness. What does Gladys always say?

Me: ‘You mustn’t let the Glide slide.’ Sorry.


It’s far too hot

Nell: It’s far too hot out here and the puppies are taking up all the shade again.

Me: There’s room for you too if you snuggle in.

Nell: I’m not going to snuggle. I’m not the snuggly type and it’s madness in this heat.

Me: Well, go inside then. It’s much cooler. Honestly, if I didn’t know better, Nell, I would say you were rather disgruntled this morning.

Nell: I am just a little out of sorts. I think it’s the heat and the current situation.

Me: How about a nice cool drink?

Nell: I suppose a tall glass of tonic water with ice and lemon might help.

Me: I was actually thinking more of a bowl of water, but okay.

Nell: And a slice of melon, perhaps? Melon cools the mouth quite wonderfully.

Me: Anything else?

Nell: Just my sun hat and the Sunday papers.

Me: Yes. Your Majesty.

Nell: No need for sarcasm. You asked me.

Me: I did.

Nell: Sunday Songs were certainly different today.

Me: Yes. I never knew llamas could sing.

Nell: They can’t. Didn’t you hear the noise they made?

Me: It was ever so enthusiastic, though.

Nell: And the sheep. I mean. Really?

Me: I loved their song.

Nell: ‘I’m Gonna Wash That Ram Right Outta My Hair.’ It’s not suitable for a Sunday.

Me: It got everybody dancing though. Did you see the larger beasts kicking up their hooves?

Nell: Alejandro will use any excuse to start shaking his maracas and as for Gladys. Cartwheels? In this heat.

Me: They were impressive. You know Our Penguin was filming again?

Nell: Oh dear.

Me: We will probably be trending on YouChewed by the end of the day.

Nell: I think I might need a lie down in a cool room.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


How did you know?

Me: How did you know a kiss was just what I needed?

Nell: You and me. Remember? I know these things.

Me: Well, thank you. I know it isn’t something you do lightly. You’re not the kissing type.

Nell: I’m certainly not.

Me: Unlike Dave.

Nell: David is exceptionally cuddly. He loves a PDA.

Me: Public Display of Affection?

Nell: Public Demand for Affection you mean.

Me: Harriet’s the same and she is also generous with her kisses.

Nell: Yes, we have all been kissed by Harriet.

Me: We have.

Nell: But not everyone wears their heart on their collar, you know. It is perfectly acceptable to be reserved.

Me: True. Poppy can be very wary.

Nell: Can you blame her after that shocking incident with the over affectionate poodle?

Me: It was a little full on for a barista.

Nell: You don’t expect to be kissed when you’re just popping out for a quick Starbarks.

Me: No.

Nell: Poppy was quite taken aback. It was lucky for the poodle that she wasn’t carrying her sword.

Me: Yes.

Nell: I think John the Doberman is going to have to let it go. It can’t be trusted with the new social distancing rules.

Me: Is Starbarks open again then?

Nell: Yes. Only takeaways, of course, but John says he can finally see light at the end of the funnel.

Me: Don’t you mean tunnel?

Nell: I do not. Have you never heard of pour over coffee?

Me: Do you mean filter coffee?

Nell: Yes. The filter goes in the funnel.

Me: I see. You made my day with that morning kiss, Nell. It was so unexpected.

Nell: Unexpected kisses are the best. Except for Poppy and that poodle, of course. Now, can we get on with our day?

Me: Yes. Sorry.


No hot options

Me: Dave says there was no breakfast this morning and he’s not sure how he is going to get through the day.

Nell: David is exaggerating. There was no hot breakfast today. Just cereal and fruit. Poppy is staying in her palace.

Me: Is she unwell?

Nell: No. She’s too hot.

Me: Lockdown hair. I’m the same.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: You wouldn’t understand, Nell, because you have self adjusting hair that never really grows.

Nell: I’ll have you know that I used to thoroughly enjoy a visit to the hairdressers.

Me: Yes, but you didn’t need it like Poppy and I. You just got a little tufty.

Nell: A little tufty? Do you mind?

Me: At least Poppy isn’t going grey like me.

Nell: I have told you before that we mature ladies should just embrace our grey. It is a badge of honour.

Me: Do you think lunch is going to be cold, too?

Nell: Yes. Malcolm is preparing a selection of salads and some cold meats with fish for the non meat eaters.

Me: Does Dave know there are no hot options?

Nell: David will just have to deal with it. If he is a very good animal there might be ice cream later.

Me: My poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy. But I suppose everyone needs a pyjama day.

Nell: Talking of pyjamas, have you seen the llamas new outfits?

Me: No.

Nell: The Cat and Knitwear Wolf have brought out some colourful shorty pyjamas as part of their summer range.

Me: Do the pyjamas come in all sizes?

Nell: They do but please don’t think of wearing them.

Me: Actually, I was thinking of Henry and Horst.

Nell: Don’t be silly. Woodlice like to sleep au natural. Everyone knows that.

Me: I didn’t. Sorry.


Happy Birthday Darling Faye

Me: This time last year Baby Snail finally arrived. My darling little granddaughter.

Nell: I remember it well.

Me: And now Rainbow is one.

Nell: Her name is Faye Raine.

Me: We usually call her Fayely Whaley.

Nell: I know. Why did you choose that photo of me?

Me: It makes me laugh. You didn’t really want to play puzzles.

Nell: I showed more enthusiasm than Poppy.

Me: True.

Nell: Do you want to hear Faye’s poem?

Me: Yes, please.

Nell: ‘This is a day for treats and fun

Because someone we love has just turned one.’

‘Someone we love?’ I hear you say.

‘Has just turned one? It must be Faye.

It can’t be Jonathan Sky’, you roar,

‘Because Jonathan Sky is nearly four.’

‘Of course it’s Faye and please remember

That Jonathan won’t be four ’til September.’

Me: Clever use of ’til there.

Nell: Thank you. May I continue?

Me: Please do.

Nell: ‘Now though you’re very far away

We’re with you in spirit darling Faye.

If we shout to the sky which is awfully blue

We know our message will get to you.

So Happy Birthday Fayely Whaley from all of us here.

We love you so much. We hold you so dear.

Being one is a truly wonderful thing.

It’s a reason to smile and wriggle and sing.

It’s a reason for cake and candles and laughter

And happiness always and forever after.

Granny and Grandpa, Harriet and Dave

Assorted animals and Poppy the Brave

Are all waving our paws and wagging our tails

And celebrating Fayely and birthdays and whales.

So stay safe my darlings and know this is true

We love you all Fayely and Happy Birthday to you.’

Me: Perfect.

Nell: Just like the family. No tears now. Not today.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Weak Animal

Me: What on earth are Poppy and Dave doing with Tony?

Nell: Playing ‘Weak Animal’.

Me: ‘Weak Animal’? What’s that?

Nell: We play it with you all the time.

Me: No, you don’t. I’ve never played ‘Weak Animal’ in my life.

Nell: When we lie down and lift a weak paw have you ever talked in a baby voice and stroked our tummies?

Me: I’ve done that.

Nell: Exactly. Do keep up.

Me: But Tony is behind the gate.

Nell: Yes, that’s why Poppy was helping. She was encouraging David to stretch his leg as high as he could without leaving the ground.

Me: Why?

Nell: You can only win ‘Weak Animal’ if you are stroked from a lying down position.

Me: Did he manage it?

Nell: Yes. Tony stretched too. He’s a good player.

Me: Has anyone ever lost ‘Weak Animal’?

Nell: Insects don’t do well. Llamas are excellent at it, of course.

Me: How are the llamas, by the way?

Nell: Fully recovered. Back in pyjamas with no hats, or a trace of a Welsh accent.

Me: That’s a relief. What about Sidney?

Nell: He’s back to his usual friendly self again but decided to stay on the Isle of Wight.

Me: Why?

Nell: He was looking for a new client base anyway and he enjoys the quiet.

Me: What does he do? Web design?

Nell: Don’t be silly. Sidney is a psychotherapist.

Me: I’m not sure I would go and see a spider.

Nell: Of course you wouldn’t. You’re not a troubled arachnid.

Me: But what if he turns bad again?

Nell: He’s not going to. The Hunter is imprisoned. Stop fussing.

Me: Do cats play ‘Weak Animal’?

Nell: Yes. But under a different name.

Me: What is it?

Nell: ‘Come here, Slave.’

Me: Of course. Sorry.


Forgiveness is all

Nell: David would like to apologise for a mistake he might have made yesterday.

Me: You mean eating my sardines on toast?

Nell: Yes.

Me: Through the back of the chair?

Nell: Yes. He was a little too keen to help with the clearing up. It’s an easy mistake to make.

Me: I’m surprised you’re defending him, Nell.

Nell: At Morning Thoughts we were discussing the importance of Forgiveness and I thought I should lead by example.

Me: I hadn’t finished.

Nell: To be fair to David you should not have walked away from the plate.

Me: I went to get some more tonic water.

Nell: You have three Labradors and a Maltese cross. You cannot walk away from food.

Me: I suppose it was a little naive of me.

Nell: Exactly. But don’t worry we forgive you.

Me: Hang on a minute, Nell. You can’t turn this around. I’m not the one who needs forgiving here.

Nell: Anyway, the good news is that the book is starting to be delivered across the US now and the UK will hopefully follow next month.

Me: Yes, I’m ever so pleased. I know people have been waiting for ages and I’m so grateful for their support.

Nell: We need to ask people to rate it, though, as the stars really matter, and leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads as this will help us greatly.

Me: It really will but I don’t like asking. It’s so pushy.

Nell: Good grief. Just let everyone help you get it out there. These are difficult times.

Me: Dave still shouldn’t have eaten my sardines. I haven’t forgotten about it.

Nell: Forgiveness is all. Just move on. Another day. Another sardine.

Me: I can’t believe you just said that.

Nell: Mistakes happen.

Me: You’re right. Sorry.