Nell’s Favourite Place

Me: We had a really lovely day yesterday, didn’t we?

Nell: Yes. I must say I enjoyed it enormously.

Me: Kev was determined to get me out and about again as I’ve been feeling rather old and sad recently.

Nell: And he was right. It did you the world of good.

Me: We went to the Cottage Hotel for lunch and I bumped into my writer friend Michael and his wife who are over here from the Netherlands.

Nell: You did.

Me: It was wonderful to actually meet him as we have only ever seen each other on zoom.

Nell: Are they enjoying their visit?

Me: Yes, they’re loving Devon and especially meeting other writers. The weather has been perfect for them too which is an added bonus.

Nell: Do you know it hasn’t rained here since 14th May?

Me: Gosh. That’s a long time.

Nell: Yes, especially with a hosepipe ban.

Me: I hate to say it but we’re in need of some rain.

Nell: We are. Anyway, back to yesterday.

Me: Yes. After lunch we drove to your favourite place by the river.

Nell: I like it there.

Me: And you and Kev climbed down the river bank and waded into the water.

Nell: Kev didn’t go in the water and I wouldn’t call it wading.

Me: You were awfully adventurous. You went right out into the middle. I was quite worried.

Nell: Don’t be silly. I was perfectly safe.

Me: You certainly weren’t going to let your arthritis stop you.

Nell: Of course not.

Me: And then we went to the farm shop and bought some treats.

Nell: Did I see ice cream?

Me: You did.

Nell: Where is it now?

Me: In the freezer for later.

Nell: Sharing is Caring. Don’t forget that.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Hattie has a New Home

Nell: We have some good news this morning, don’t we?

Me: Yes. Many of you might remember that my little sister Alex had a sweet curly haired dog called Hattie Button.

Nell: She came to stay with us all when Alex visited us.

Me: She did. Anyway, when Alex died we were all very concerned about Hattie. Alex loved her so much and she loved Alex.

Nell: She did. She spent most of her time on Alex’s lap when she was here.

Me: She found you all a little bit overpowering.

Nell: We were just being friendly.

Me: Anyway, we needed to find her a loving home as soon as we could. She is quite a sensitive girl so we had to find the right fit.

Nell: And the good news is that we did.

Me: Well, Alex’s children did. Her daughter Abi sent me these photos from her new family who say she has settled in really well and loves the companionship of their dog.

Nell: She certainly looks contented.

Me: She does. It’s such a relief. I’ve been very worried about her.

Nell: I know you have.

Me: In fact I don’t mind admitting I had a little cry when I saw the photos from Abi.

Nell: Tears are fine and understandable. And that wasn’t all, we had some more good news, didn’t we?

Me: Yes. I asked you to share the Conversations with Nell page as we were nearing 24,000 followers and the good news is we are now at 24,015 so thank you very much.

Nell: We really appreciate your help so please keep spreading the word.

Me: I hope Alex knows Hattie is safe and happy. She adored that little dog.

Nell: She knows. Trust me. She is watching over you all.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Not on a Sunday

Nell: You’re not going to believe this.

Me: Have we run out of bacon?

Nell: This has nothing to do with bacon

Me: Only Dave usually brings me a bacon sandwich before Sunday Songs and he didn’t today.

Nell: You mean you didn’t get one?

Me: No, I didn’t.

Nell: But I saw him leave the kitchen carrying it.

Me: Oh dear. It’s a simple mistake to make.

Nell: No, it isn’t. He only had to walk up the stairs.

Me: I expect he’s hiding away now feeling all ashamed and guilty. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: David is not hiding at all. He’s fast asleep in the sunshine with a very full tummy ignoring all the chaos around him.

Me: What chaos?

Nell: Poppy is digging an enormous hole under the big bush in the front garden.

Me: What a strange thing to do.

Nell: Yes. Especially on a Sunday.

Me: Because it’s a day of rest?

Nell: No. It’s her busiest day. Sunday roast with all the trimmings doesn’t make itself you know.

Me: Maybe we should just have a salad.

Nell: I beg your pardon? Did you say ‘salad’?

Me: I did.

Nell: On a Sunday?

Me: It’s a very warm day, Nell.

Nell: Sundays are for Singing and Roasts.

Me: I only thought if Poppy is busy gardening she might not have time to prepare a big lunch.

Nell: I’m going to pretend you didn’t just say that.

Me: Do we know why she’s digging a hole?

Nell: We do not.

Me: I know elephants like to roll in mud. Maybe Poppy wants somewhere to stay cool.

Nell: In case you hadn’t noticed there’s a giant gazebo covering most of our front garden.

Me: True.

Nell: And Poppy is not an elephant.

Me: No. Sorry.


Boys Talk

Me: Have you got time for a chat?

Nell: Only a brief one. Saturday Kitchen is starting soon and I’ve promised Malcolm we can watch it together.

Me: Do you think Kev and Dave are planning something?

Nell: What are you talking about?

Me: They were having secret talks under my gazebo.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: No, really. There was leaning in and a lot of smiling.

Nell: It was probably just Boys Talk.

Me: Boys Talk?

Nell: Yes. Boys enjoy conversing too. It’s not only you and I.

Me: Whatever they were talking about it certainly made Kev smile.

Nell: David was probably telling Kev one of his jokes. Boys like to do that.

Me: I didn’t know Dave knew any jokes. It’s more Kev’s kind of thing.

Nell: Since he became the Mayor of Kingsbridge David has been working hard on his public speaking. He’s constantly having to make speeches and people always enjoy a good joke.

Me: Except that Dave isn’t actually the Mayor of Kingsbridge, is he?

Nell: My friend Dorothy said the Whippets Institute have asked him to judge the cake competition at the Village Fair.

Me: I’m not sure that’s wise.

Nell: I think David is the ideal judge. He knows his cakes and he loves eating them.

Me: True, but I’m not sure he knows how to stop.

Nell: He’ll only be given a slice. Not the whole cake.

Me: That’s what you think.

Nell: Anyway, you need to stop imagining intrigue when it isn’t there. Why shouldn’t Kev and David have a little chat? We do it all the time.

Me: But I like to be in on the conversation.

Nell: Well, this time you can’t be. Not all conversations have to revolve around you and me you know.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Poppy has a Haircut and Sara has a Difficult Day

Me: You all went crazy when Poppy came home from having her hair cut yesterday.

Nell: We were just pleased to see her.

Me: She had to take some time out on the yellow chair.

Nell: Why is it in the garden?

Me: Kev’s moving things around at the moment.

Nell: He’s also wearing your purple scarf.

Me: He used it to tie some long pieces of wood together and then decided to wear it for some reason.

Nell: It’s too hot for scarves.

Me: It’s an actor thing. I think it rather suits him.

Nell: Poppy’s new haircut definitely suits her.

Me: Yes, and it’s much cooler.

Nell: Yesterday was a difficult day for you.

Me: It was.

Nell: They’re clearing out your little sister’s house.

Me: Yes.

Nell: And they needed to know what you wanted of hers.

Me: How can I decide? Everything is so precious. So many memories.

Nell: Yes.

Me: I just want her back, Nell. This isn’t fair.

Nell: No, it isn’t.

Me: It’s so hard to accept that she’s gone and I’m never going to see her again.

Nell: I know.

Me: She was my little sister. I was supposed to protect her.

Nell: There was nothing you could have done.

Me: I don’t know.

Nell: Well, I do and you have to accept it.

Me: I’m not sure I ever will.

Nell: Just give it time. It’s still very early days.

Me: You’re right.

Nell: We need to say a big thank you to everyone who supported us with cups of Earl Grey.

Me: Yes. I’m very grateful for their kindness.

Nell: I think a cup of Earl Grey’s exactly what we need right now.

Me: Sorry for the tears.

Nell: No need for sorry. You cry as much as you like.


It’s the First of June

Me: Pinch, punch, first of the month.

Nell: Kindly stop attacking me.

Me: It’s the 1st June.

Nell: Yes, and time to remind everyone to support your writing.

Me: I wish we didn’t have to ask.

Nell: Nonsense. You write a story every day, even when times are really bad. The link is https://www.buymeacoffee.com/saramartin.

Me: Your support really makes a huge difference to our little economy.

Nell: You’ve made me look awfully rotund in that last photo.

Me: It’s just the angle. We were looking out at the activity field together and I wanted to capture it.

Nell: Now, if a Beefy comes to the door with a clipboard and a ‘Support Stephen’ sticker on its head don’t let it in.

Me: I wouldn’t let it in anyway.

Nell: And definitely don’t sign its petition.

Me: I wouldn’t dream of it.

Nell: The llamas did.

Me: What?

Nell: They thought they were signing up for free fish.

Me: The fools.

Nell: That’s what I said. If it had been scones, or bacon, I could have understood but llamas don’t even like fish.

Me: Did they get any?

Nell: Just a smelly old mackerel round the head and a nasty laugh.

Me: I hate it when the Beefies laugh.

Nell: And now they’re all crying in the field.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: David has gone over to give them a cuddle which is incredibly kind of him on so many levels.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: Not only have they signed a petition supporting his rival but they stink of fish which makes cuddling particularly uncomfortable.

Me: You’re like that when you’ve rolled in something.

Nell: Rolled in something?

Me: You think you smell wonderful but you really don’t.

Nell: How dare you criticise my Eau de Nature.

Me: Sorry.


Dave is Resting and Sara Makes a Mistake

Me: I’m glad to see Dave is resting.

Nell: Harriet insisted. She’s watching over him while he sleeps.

Me: Bless her.

Nell: I don’t know why the Stuffed Tiger has to be there too.

Me: It’s where it sits.

Nell: It’s no use to anyone.

Me: I thought you told me I should cuddle it instead of Dave.

Nell: I did. David was most annoyed. He says Chief Cuddling Officer is a more important job to him than being Mayor of Kingsbridge.

Me: Except he isn’t the mayor.

Nell: Moving on, we need to discuss your unfortunate mistake.

Me: Which one?

Nell: Very funny. Did you, or did you not, get confused about the date of your son- in-law’s birthday?

Me: Yes. That was me.

Nell: And did you go on the Family chat group yesterday and congratulate him causing everyone else to think they had made a mistake and go on there too?

Me: I did.

Nell: In fact the birthday wishes kept pouring in until Alice was forced to tell everyone it wasn’t Andre’s birthday at all.

Me: I knew his birthday was at the end of May.

Nell: May has 31 days. Have you wished him a Happy Birthday today?

Me: Yes. I jolly well hope I’ve got the right day now.

Nell: Don’t we all. Poppy made a cake.

Me: He’s in Germany.

Nell: We can still eat cake.

Me: True.

Nell: Talking of Poppy we had some good news from the vets about her Cushing’s Disease.

Me: Yes. She’s responding really well to the low dose of tablets and her levels are all in the normal range.

Nell: We should celebrate with a slice of cake.

Me: Isn’t it a bit early?

Nell: It’s never too early for cake, unlike birthday wishes.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Fields and Bodyguards

Me: My pocketful of happiness is walking around the activity field with you all in the late afternoon sunshine.

Nell: Wearing factor 50, a hat, sunglasses and a cardigan.

Me: And that’s just Dave.

Nell: No, it isn’t.

Me: It was a joke.

Nell: Having skin cancer is not a joke.

Me: I know and I’m being very careful so there’s no need to worry.

Nell: Easy for you to say.

Me: It was so lovely to be able to enjoy a little of the beautiful weather and the glorious Devon countryside.

Nell: Yes, and it’s sensible to keep away from the beach at the moment because it’s half term holiday and very busy.

Me: And I’m not sure I can do the beach walk yet.

Nell: One small step at a time. I’ve been feeling rather achy myself.

Me: You’re having your monthly arthritis injection tomorrow and seeing Chloe for massage and hydrotherapy so that will help.

Nell: Good. I’m in need of a little pampering. All this worry about you and then the Beefy attack on David has been a bit much.

Me: What Beefy attack? Are you saying they tried to harm my Big Brave Beautiful Boy?

Nell: Have you noticed the daisies and buttercups are particularly plentiful this year?

Me: Stop changing the subject. Tell me.

Nell: The Beefies tried to steal David’s mayoral chain.

Me: The scoundrels.

Nell: He was cutting the ribbon for a new business in Kingsbridge when they swooped down.

Me: How frightening.

Nell: Fortunately his bodyguard chased them away.

Me: I didn’t know he had a bodyguard.

Nell: He doesn’t always but she was there that day and managed to scare them away with her sword.

Me: Poppy is Dave’s bodyguard?

Nell: Can you think of anyone fiercer?

Me: No. Sorry.


It’s a Bank Holiday Monday and Poppy is Happy

Me: Poppy is in an awfully good mood this morning. She’s smiling away.

Nell: It’s Bank Holiday Monday and the sun is shining. Everyone’s in a good mood.

Me: Dave isn’t. He’s downstairs with Knitwear Wolf looking properly hassled.

Nell: He’s the Mayor of Kingsbridge. He has responsibilities.

Me: Except he isn’t actually the mayor.

Nell: Rupert is probably helping him with his mayoral calendar.

Me: I thought that was Henry and Horst’s job.

Nell: They are Deputy Mayors. All the organisational side is run by his Chief of Staff but he’s gone to the beach.

Me: Who’s that?

Nell: Sir Roger Blubbery.

Me: Who isn’t actually a ‘sir’ at all because he was knighted by Poppy.

Nell: Potato potahto.

Me: I’m not sure choosing a seal as your Chief of Staff is a wise choice. They’re not very flexible if you know what I mean.

Nell: Haven’t you seen Sir Roger somersault? I’d like to see you do that.

Me: No, you wouldn’t.

Nell: The clapping is annoying, however.

Me: It’s a seal thing. We still don’t know why Dave is worried.

Nell: I do.

Me: Tell me.

Nell: Stephen Seagull and the Beefies have launched a campaign against him.

Me: What a nasty thing to do.

Nell: A large flock of Beefies flew over this morning carrying a banner.

Me: What did it say?

Nell: ‘Down with Dave. Support Stephen.‘

Me: How rude.

Nell: My sentiments exactly.

Me: Stephen Seagull would make an awful Mayor of Kingsbridge.

Nell: Yes, he would.

Me: My darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy is the perfect dog for the job. Nobody could be a better Mayor of Kingsbridge.

Nell: That’s exactly what I’ve been telling you for weeks. You just wouldn’t listen. I’m glad you’ve finally come to your senses.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Faye is Four Today

Nell: Today is a very special day.

Me: Yes, it is. I can’t believe Faye is four. Where did the time go?

Nell: I know. I’ve written a poem for her.

Me: How lovely.

Nell: Would you like to hear it?

Me: Very much.

Nell: ‘What was that you said to me?

What did you just say?

Fayely has a birthday?

And it’s happening today?

How many candles on her cake?

No. That can’t be true.

Yesterday there were only three

And the day before just two.

How did Fayely get to be four

When Dave is only five?

I know he’ll be six in June

But he’s more than twice her size.

We need Grandpa’s chocolate biscuits

And Granny’s special cake

And lots and lots of ice cream

Don’t make Fayely wait.

When you have a birthday

You need everything at once

At any time you want it

Like cereal for lunch.

Don’t forget her Elsa dress

Or her sparkly crown

And when she passes by you

Please remember to bow down.

How far?

Well, goodness gracious me,

How am I supposed to know?

Jonathan Sky might have an idea

Though my advice would be quite low.

Poppy, Nell and Harriet

Are gathered here with Dave.

Granny’s calling Grandpa

To come and give a wave.

Let’s raise our voices to the sky

And bark and sing and roar

Our love for darling Fayely

Who today is turning four.’

Me: She’s going to love that poem, Nell.

Nell: Good, because we love her.

Me: Yes, we do. Very much. And darling Jonathan Sky too.

Nell: There’s no need to be sad. You will be seeing them all again very soon.

Me: You’re right. I’m just a bit broken at the moment.

Nell: I know but you’re mending.

Me: Yes. Sorry.