Book · Miscellaneous


Me: I know you aren’t in the best of moods.

Nell: I am not.

Me: But I had to take you to see Alex yesterday.

Nell: Whatever.

Me: You needed your ear drops.

Nell: I didn’t need the shame of a public weigh in.

Me: The scales are in reception.

Nell: I didn’t need my weight discussed by all and sundry. Including a rather large Pyrenean Mountain Dog who had no business getting involved.

Me: I agree. The nurse thought you looked a little slimmer.

Nell: Do you know what it’s like to have David being Marvellous all the time and showered with treats and Harriet eating like a horse and staying slim and petite?

Me: I sort of do know, Nell, as my sisters could always eat what they liked and I never could.

Nell: I am who I am.

Me: I know and I wouldn’t change anything about you. We all love you, Nell. Would you like a pot of Earl Grey by the fire?

Nell: That would be kind. And a soft blanket, perhaps?

Me: Of course. I’ll ask Harriet to bring you the latest Good Housekeeping.

Nell: And just a few of Poppy’s shortbread biscuits?

Me: You are not supposed to have those.

Nell: I understand. Shortbread is reserved for the young and marvellous.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: At least Meghan sounded happy when she called from Australia. They gave her a kangaroo for the royal baby, you know.

Me: I’m not sure it will settle over here, Nell. Although we used to have wallabies on the Isle of Wight.

Nell: It’s a soft toy. Good grief.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

Book · Fall

Who ate my slipper?

Me: Somebody ate the end of my slipper.

Nell: We are aware and the culprit has confessed.

Me: It’s the second pair. This time it’s the toe and last time it was the heel.

Nell: Yes. The culprit regrets what has happened and will endeavour not to do it again.

Me: It was taken while I was asleep.

Nell: There is no point in dwelling on it. We all need to move on.

Me: It wasn’t you, was it?

Nell: What kind of question is that?

Me: Are you going to tell me who it was?

Nell: There is no need.

Me: You wouldn’t be like this if I ate your slipper.

Nell: True. I would be extremely concerned about your state of mind.

Me: You know what I mean.

Nell: Let’s all move on and put this incident behind us. It was a moment of madness.

Me: I know it was one of the puppies.

Nell: Actually you don’t and they are adolescents.

Me: Mutley would never eat my shoe and neither would Poppy.

Nell: I agree.

Me: Sometimes I think you enjoy annoying me.

Nell: Don’t be ridiculous. The matter has been dealt with internally.

Me: I hate not knowing.

Nell: Just rise above it. We have menus to go through with Poppy and The Cat has created a mood board for the cafe.

Me: Just tell me.

Nell: We’ve decided to drop the raisin scones because of the dangers to dogs and I have to call Anton after his sad but justified departure from Strictly. I’m sorry but that woman simply couldn’t dance.

Me: But I need to know.

Nell: Labradors stick together. Pocket money will go towards new slippers. That’s all you need to know.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

Book · Fall

Sunday contemplation

Nell: Harriet and I have been enjoying a lovely chat with your sister. It is delightful that she was able to stay.

Me: Good.

Nell: The thing about Sundays is they encourage contemplation.

Me: Do they?

Nell: Yes. After a hearty breakfast it is time to rest by the fire with the Sunday papers and chat.

Me: I only had cereal upstairs.

Nell: You were too busy writing to join us. Poppy excelled herself. The eggs were a gift from Tony you know.

Me: How kind.

Nell: Yes. Fresh from his chickens.

Me: What were you talking about?

Nell: Life. Love. Lettuce.

Me: Lettuce?

Nell: We were discussing sandwiches. Poppy feels lettuce can make a sandwich go limp and I am inclined to agree.

Me: I like lettuce.

Nell: Yes, but finger sandwiches don’t have lettuce. They are more compact.

Me: Did you discuss anything else?

Nell: Yes. Raisins.

Me: Raisins?

Nell: In scones. We think not, but some people enjoy them. Poppy suggests we offer both.

Me: So the talk was mainly of food?

Nell: No. Harriet and your sister talked bookkeeping and accounting while David practised his dancing and Mutley played the piano. Poppy was in the kitchen and Kev and I just relaxed and listened.

Me: I seem to have missed out on quite a morning.

Nell: Someone has to write about it.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

Book · Fall

Jonathan Sky is Two Today

Jonathan Sky is two today.

Nell says: “Dance and shout ‘Hurrah’.”

Nell says: “Go and chew a shoe

Because Jonathan Sky has just turned two.”

Mutley and Poppy

Harriet and Dave

Are bouncing around

And giving a wave.

Charlie and Jim

Jago and John

Gladys and Rita

The Cat and big Ron.

Granny and Grandpa

Have stories to tell

So just keep on reading

Conversations with Nell.

Listen very carefully

And know this is true.

We love you Jonathan Sky

Happy Birthday to you.

Book · Fall

Mutley’s 15th Birthday

Nell: Would someone please get Gladys out of the hamper. She has her head in the Stilton.

Me: You wouldn’t let her sleep in your handbag.

Nell: Rita is already in there. Why has Ron Gilbert got a moustache?

Me: The Cat painted it on him while he was asleep.

Nell: Well, Mutley’s fifteenth birthday party is one we shall never forget.

Me: The highlight has to be Mutley singing “My Way” on top of the piano.

Nell: Yes. It’s amazing what a swing band and a bowl of jam roly poly can do.

Me: What about Poppy doing a sword dance?

Nell: Accompanied by John on the bagpipes. Their kilts were the genuine article you know.

Me: When those Frenchies started dancing flamenco I couldn’t believe my eyes.

Nell: Yes. I never knew bulldogs could be so light on their paws.

Me: Harriet and Jim sang beautifully. She has such a sweet voice.

Nell: I’m not sure we needed Rita and Gladys dancing around them with roses in their teeth.

Me: And Dave’s performance? Spectacular.

Nell: Words fail me. Where did he get those stilts from and the trapeze?

Me: And how did The Cat get in the cake?

Nell: I’ve no idea but when it jumped out at midnight I thought that elderly Airedale in the corner was going to have a heart attack.

Me: It was very impressive. Mutley loved it all.

Nell: And we love Mutley.

Me: Talking of love. Did I see you smoochy dancing with Charlie?

Nell: Smoochy dancing? Go and wish Mutley a Happy Birthday again from us all and leave my love life to me.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

Book · Summer

The best laid plans

Nell: I can’t believe I am sitting in a car with you.

Me: That’s not very kind.

Nell: And we are lost.

Me: We aren’t exactly lost, Nell. I just can’t see James and the others and I don’t have a signal.

Nell: Why did I ever agree to this?

Me: A few things went wrong but it will all be fine.

Nell: How did you forget it was a Bank Holiday weekend?

Me: To be fair we all forgot.

Nell: No caravans available, not even a Mongolian.

Me: Yurt.

Nell: Have you got wind?

Me: No.

Nell: Just tents. Mouldy old tents borrowed from the surfers and still damp from that Barkmaster festival.

Me: We will make it nice and cosy.

Nell: And sleeping bags. Me in a sleeping bag.

Me: Actually I packed your pillow and duvet.

Nell: You did?

Me: And Jim is lending us his double air bed.

Nell: Us?

Me: We are sharing. You often share with me when we go away.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Jim says it’s a lovely spot just near the river so you can swim whenever you like. We’ll have barbecues and sing around the camp fire.

Nell: David didn’t bring his guitar did he?

Me: He did.

Nell: But he didn’t bring The Cat?

Me: He did.

Nell: If I open my handbag and find Gladys or Rita I’m going home.

Me: I’d keep it shut then.

Nell: Unbelievable.

Me: Sorry.

Book · Summer · West Side Story

Such fun

Me: Oh my goodness. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.

Nell: Yes, even Ron Gilbert shed a tear when Jim presented those red roses to Harriet.

Me: I know.

Nell: David’s encore with Gladys and the chihuahuas was a little over the top. Throwing three in the air at one time. Reckless behaviour.

Me: It was exciting.

Nell: Rocky Martin and Rita Pawreno danced an amazing salsa. Anton called me to say they should be on Strictly.

Me: And all the cast joined in.

Nell: Yes, one of the Dartmouth Dachsunds slipped a disc and a Bichon Frise swallowed a sequin.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: I warned them to take it easy but they got carried away.

Me: Along with the audience.

Nell: Yes, I enjoyed the corgis doing the conga and those Cavalier King Charles Spaniels did a very passable cha-cha.

Me: Whatever will you all do next?

Nell: Well, Hamilton approached me about David as he thought he would suit his rap musical. I said David is an excellent rapper but he is simply too young.

Me: Do you mean Lin-Manuel Miranda?

Nell: No. I mean Hamilton Hound, Rupert’s brother. The only Miranda I know is that funny girl with the small friend. She has Poppy and I in stitches. Do keep up.

Me: Yes, sorry.

Book · Summer · West Side Story

After the Dress Rehearsal

Me: Where are the puppies?

Nell: Harriet is having a strong word with David about yesterday’s dress rehearsal.

Me: Why?

Nell: The improvisation at the end was beyond belief.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Bernardo does not return as a ghost to join in the finale.

Me: No.

Nell: Especially wearing sequins and wire flying. I thought Rupert was going to spontaneously combust.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: Ron Gilbert fell off his ladder.

Me: Oh no.

Nell: He narrowly missed squashing a chihuahua.

Me: Goodness.

Nell: The surfers all applauded of course and Jim and the farm dogs thought it was hilarious.

Me: It does sound funny.

Nell: But it was not supposed to be and it ruined Harriet’s moment.

Me: Yes, I’m sure he didn’t mean to upset her and it won’t happen again.

Nell: It better not. We are completely sold out.

Me: Really?

Nell: Yes, we had a last minute booking from the Whippets Institute. They are sending a couple of coach loads.

Me: They are awfully good at making jam, aren’t they? Is Poppy a member?

Nell: Poppy is not a whippet and I don’t even know if they like jam. What are you talking about?

Me: My mistake. Sorry.

Book · Summer · West Side Story

A surprisingly good photo

Nell: I must say that young poodle with the dreadlocks took a surprisingly good photo.

Me: You look wonderful.

Nell: I wasn’t sure about giving the Daily Growl an exclusive but now I am glad I did.

Me: Yes, people are going to flock to see the show.

Nell: I’ve allowed the local press access to this evening’s dress rehearsal. The Torquay Terrier, The Paignton Pooch, The South Hams Hound, and The Kingsbridge and Salcombe Gazelle.

Me: I wonder why it’s a gazelle.

Nell: Don’t we all. Anyway, where are the rest of the papers? Poppy is preparing our Sunday roast so I thought I might indulge in a cup of Earl Grey and catch up with the latest news before The Archers.

Me: Good idea.

Nell: Hopefully our cast slept well after last night’s shenanigans.

Me: I did enjoy the dancing and fancy the Australian cattle dogs bringing a didjeridoo.

Nell: Awful thing. Sounded like a wounded sea lion.

Me: How do you know that?

Nell: From my time at the BBC, of course. David and I filmed an award winning documentary in Galapagos a few years ago.

Me: I never knew Dave was in Galapagos?

Nell: Not our David. Is he likely to be filming wildlife documentaries? Try and be a little realistic. David Attenborough.

Me: Yes, of course. Sorry.

Book · Summer · West Side Story

You’re an embarrassment

Me: Oh dear. I know that look.

Nell: It’s one thing after another at the moment.

Me: Why?

Nell: Poppy packed a small picnic for Gladys and the chihuahuas to take to this morning’s rehearsal.

Me: That’s kind. Just a few snacks, then?

Nell: No, a proper picnic, but small. Fairy cakes, tiny sandwiches, mini quiches.

Me: I see. Lovely.

Nell: Not really. The farm dogs ate them.

Me: The chihuahuas?

Nell: No, the picnic. You fool.

Me: I was worried for a moment.

Nell: David and the surfers got involved and so did Jim and the farm dogs. There was a lot of name calling and shouting about canapés and poor starving chihuahuas. A few fairy cakes were thrown.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: But now they’ve all arranged to meet on the beach later.

Me: For a Rumble? I knew it. There is going to be a fight and Jim’s brother Ruff will die and Jim will stab David and he will die and then someone, I’m not sure who, will shoot Jim and he will die.

Nell: Excuse me?

Me: And Harriet will be left alone singing sadly about “Somewhere” and everyone will be very sorry, especially Gladys who told a wicked lie.

Nell: Good grief! Have you been drinking? Calm down. They are just having a barbecue on the beach. Jim and the farm dogs apologised and have organised it for everyone so we can relax before the dress rehearsal tomorrow. Honestly, you get carried away sometimes.

Me: Can I come?

Nell: Only if you promise to behave. Ron Gilbert is bringing the Australian cattle dogs as they know their way around a barbecue.

Me: Well, if we are having a barbie this arvo then I’d better put a few beers in my Esky.

Nell: If that was your attempt at Australian slang I would stop right now. You are an embarrassment. You have been watching far too many episodes of “Neighbours”.

Me: Yes, sorry.