Nell is in a Very Good Mood

Me: Look at you having cuddles with Tony.

Nell: He’s not only David’s friend, you know.

Me: Pushing your way through.

Nell: I simply made myself known to him. Tony and I have a special bond.

Me: Dave might be feeling a little jealous now.

Nell: He’ll have to deal with it.

Me: How’s Harriet dealing with Bumper leaving?

Nell: She’s sad but she understands. His home is in the US.

Me: Yes, and they can still write to each other.

Nell: It’s more FaceTiming and texting nowadays.

Me: I know but writing sounds more romantic.

Nell: Let’s leave romance out of it, please. They’re just friends.

Me: That wasn’t what I meant.

Nell: I know.

Me: You’ve been in a very good mood recently. I think it’s because you’ve lost weight and are feeling a little lighter on your paws.

Nell: You’ve lost weight too.

Me: It’s all the walking.

Nell: Keep it up.

Me: I will.

Nell: Poppy has applied for stage manager.

Me: I’m not sure that’s a good idea, Nell.

Nell: It isn’t. Poppy has far too much to do already.

Me: And she’s a bit too fierce.

Nell: She threw a bagel at Babycakes Gillespie this morning. It knocked his hat off.

Me: Why?

Nell: She was aiming at a Beefy and he got in the way.

Me: Are the Beefies still wearing napkins around their necks?

Nell: No. They’ve moved on to medallions.

Me: Beefies love a bit of bling.

Nell: They’re in the shape of a large B. How tacky is that?

Me: It is a bit.

Nell: You wouldn’t catch me with an N around my neck.

Me: Dave wears a silver chain.

Nell: It’s his mayoral chain. That’s completely different.

Me: Except it isn’t.

Nell: Don’t start that again.

Me: Sorry.


David takes it Very Seriously

Me: Is Dave playing Cowardy Custard with Walter Pigeon again?

Nell: Yes. He’s been out there since breakfast.

Me: One of them is going to have to look away soon.

Nell: It won’t be David. He takes the game very seriously.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Walter only does it to annoy. He’ll get bored soon and fly off.

Me: I wonder how they decide when the game begins.

Nell: It’s from the moment you lock eyes.

Me: But how do you know the other person is playing? If they’re not, they’re going to find you staring at them like that very odd.

Nell: They look away and you’ve won. That’s all that matters.

Me: You’re very good at it.

Nell: Yes, I am.

Me: You were doing it to Alice yesterday morning when she was eating her cereal.

Nell: I was not.

Me: You were giving her an unwavering stare. Were you begging?

Nell: I was being supportive.

Me: Is that why she shared it with you?

Nell: Alice likes to share. She’s a sweet girl.

Me: Well, she’s safely home with her little family now.

Nell: Which is exactly where she should be.

Me: Yes. Did Harriet have a lovely day with Jim the Farm Dog?

Nell: She did, which is particularly important after Bumper’s news.

Me: What news?

Nell: He’s decided to return to the US.

Me: Oh no.

Nell: Much as he loved being with us all, duty calls and he must return.

Me: But what about the stage manager job?

Nell: We’re going to have to advertise.

Me: And the stuffed tiger? It’s going to be devastated to see him go.

Nell: It’s not real, you know.

Me: It is to me.

Nell: I worry about you sometimes. I really do.

Me: Sorry.


She’ll be Back

Nell: It’s very early.

Me: I know but we have to take Alice to the station.

Nell: Not for a couple of hours.

Me: I couldn’t sleep, Nell. Lots of thoughts were milling around in my head.

Nell: Nothing new there.

Me: No. Sometimes it’s just easier to get up and write them down.

Nell: We had a lovely time at the activity field yesterday, didn’t we?

Me: We did. You were extremely sprightly and Poppy positively skipped along. I know you’re trying to cheer me up.

Nell: Is it working?

Me: Not really. I’m awfully sad that Alice is going.

Nell: I know you are but she needs to get back to Andre and the children and her life in Germany.

Me: She does.

Nell: They’re going to be so excited to have her home.

Me: Yes, and she will be happy to see them.

Nell: Which is just as it should be.

Me: It is.

Nell: I think today might have to be a Cuddling Day.

Me: Is there such a thing?

Nell: Of course. David will play a vital part but I shall be there for chats and Poppy will provide tea and scones.

Me: What about Harriet?

Nell: She’s spending the day with Jim the Farm Dog.

Me: Is she, indeed?

Nell: After her talk with Sally she realised she had a handsome suitor on her doorstep.

Me: Exactly.

Nell: So when he knocked on the door with a bunch of wild flowers she was delighted to see him.

Me: Nice touch.

Nell: Rupert’s idea.

Me: Good old Knitwear Wolf.

Nell: Less of the old, please.

Me: Noted.

Nell: The time just before you say goodbye is always the most difficult.

Me: It is.

Nell: She’ll be back.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

Nell: No sorries. Not today.


I’d like a Word with you, please.

Nell: I’d like a word with you, please.

Me: Oh dear. What have I done now?

Nell: It has come to my attention that you and Alice were at the Cottage Hotel yesterday.

Me: We went there for lunch with Charlotte.

Nell: Your sister?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Without me?

Me: You were booked in for massage and hydrotherapy with Chloe so you couldn’t have come with us.

Nell: Convenient.

Me: We had to go then, Nell, because Charlotte was free and Alice flies back to Germany tomorrow.

Nell: The Cottage Hotel is my favourite place.

Me: Your session was booked weeks ago and we couldn’t change it.

Nell: Excuses.

Me: On a positive note, Chloe says you’ve lost 700g and you didn’t just float in the hydrotherapy tank but did some actual walking.

Nell: Just float?

Me: We both know you’ve worked out the life jacket supports you, so you lift all four paws off the ground and float instead of walk.

Nell: I might rest my legs now and again.

Me: You fell asleep on the warming mat, too.

Nell: Can you blame me?

Me: Not at all.

Nell: At least I’m sensible. What were you doing climbing those cliffs?

Me: I have to get my steps in, Nell.

Nell: Not up the side of a cliff.

Me: It was Alice’s idea.

Nell: Don’t blame other people.

Me: I was proud when I got up there because the steps were quite high.

Nell: Madness. You could hardly move later.

Me: I know but the view was amazing and I had a sense of achievement.

Nell: It was a cliff walk not Mount Everest.

Me: I think I should get bonus steps for climbing upwards.

Nell: And I think you owe me lunch at the Cottage Hotel.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Tuesday is not a Bacon Day

Me: Look at my darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy. Who could resist that little face?

Nell: David needs to stop begging for bacon.

Me: He’s a Labrador.

Nell: Tuesday is not a bacon day.

Me: But Alice is visiting.

Nell: Poppy is far too busy. Boiled eggs and soldiers will have to do. David knows that.

Me: What’s Poppy doing this morning?

Nell: Lassoing llamas, if you must know.

Me: Seriously?

Nell: Yes, and the wretched creatures aren’t cooperating.

Me: I don’t blame them.

Nell: Two of them actually cartwheeled away.

Me: How clever.

Nell: And several others simply fell over.

Me: Did anyone spit?

Nell: A couple of cowboys, but I don’t know where they came from.

Me: Is there any particular reason why Poppy is lassoing llamas?

Nell: I should have thought it was obvious.

Me: Not to me.

Nell: You can’t be Indiana Bones without knowing how to lasso a llama.

Me: Are you sure about that?

Nell: Yes.

Me: Well, David’s definitely going to need a bacon sandwich before he masters that skill. Everyone knows you can’t lasso anything on an empty stomach.

Nell: Very funny.

Me: How many Indianas are there?

Nell: More than we started with and more than we need, if you ask me.

Me: Is that lion still involved?

Nell: Lionel is part of the group.

Me: I think Jim the Farm Dog would make a wonderful replacement Indiana if Dave’s having an off day.

Nell: Funny you should say that.

Me: Why?

Nell: Bumper said the same thing at our management meeting.

Me: Has anyone spoken to Harriet yet?

Nell: Yes. Sally had a word with her last night.

Me: I mean about her crush on Bumper, not spying.

Nell: So do I and she took it well.

Me: Good. Sorry.


Sara’s been Overdoing It and Rupert thinks Harriet might have a Crush on Bumper

Me: What have I done now?

Nell: You know.

Me: No, I don’t.

Nell: You completely overdid it yesterday.

Me: Not really.

Nell: Dashing around like a mad thing changing beds and washing cushions.

Me: I want everything to be nice for Alice.

Nell: The cushions were absolutely fine.

Me: They were a bit doggy.

Nell: Doggy? They were just right.

Me: You might think so.

Nell: We all do. David was shocked when he got on the sofa last night.

Me: Bumper will be pleased with me.

Nell: Never mind, Bumper. I’ve told him he can’t take that stuffed tiger everywhere with him but he won’t listen.

Me: I think it’s rather sweet.

Nell: He’s a grown animal. Anyway, we were talking about you.

Me: Alice should be texting soon to let us know which train she’s on.

Nell: Stop changing the subject. Why all this walking in such hot weather? You are exhausted.

Me: It’s for Cancer Research, Nell.

Nell: When Alice gets here it’s time to put your feet up and have a cup of Earl Grey.

Me: Are you coming to the station?

Nell: Of course. Now, we need to discuss Harriet.

Me: Why?

Nell: Rupert thinks she might have a crush on Bumper.

Me: I suppose Knitwear Wolf would know all about crushes.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: Half the Whippets Institute are in love with him and as for the Welsh Corgi Choir.

Nell: Enough.

Me: He’s a very handsome wolf.

Nell: We aren’t talking about Rupert.

Me: You were.

Nell: I was discussing Harriet and Bumper. Rupert thinks someone needs to have a word with her. Bumper obviously doesn’t feel the same way.

Me: He only has eyes for the stuffed tiger.

Nell: He sees her as a friend.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


An English Sunday

Me: Gosh, that was a thunderstorm and a half last night, wasn’t it?

Nell: Half what? Monsoon?

Me: The rain will have done the garden good and washed away some of the Saharan dust that’s been everywhere recently.

Nell: Is that what we’re calling it now?

Me: It really is from the Sahara. I’m not making it up.

Nell: That’ll make a change.

Me: Have you seen Dave?

Nell: David is outside enjoying a gentle chew on his favourite toy. Let him be. It’s Sunday.

Me: I thought he might want a cuddle after all the excitement of last night. The thunder was very loud.

Nell: I was there. He had nothing to fear.

Me: You were all very good. Harriet sat and watched the lightning with me and Poppy retired to Sandringham.

Nell: Having two palaces is useful. Now, I know Sunday is a day of rest but we have things to do.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Alice’s room must be made ready and Bumper wants everything neat and tidy.

Me: Our house is never tidy. Alice would be shocked if it was.

Nell: That’s what I said but the Welsh corgi choir have brought their feather dusters so who are we to complain?

Me: Won’t they be tired after Sunday Songs?

Nell: Nothing a cup of tea and some shortbread won’t fix.

Me: Is Poppy still cooking a Sunday roast?

Nell: Of course. Roast Beef with all the trimmings. Harriet wants Bumper to experience a proper English Sunday.

Me: What about Jim the Farm Dog? He must be feeling a little left out.

Nell: Poppy will make him some beef sandwiches to take into the fields.

Me: I meant left out of Harriet’s life. She’s barely noticed him recently.

Nell: Bumper’s just a pen pal. Stop fussing.

Me: Sorry.


Harriet is Happy and Sara has an Interesting Thought about Bumper

Me: Harriet seems awfully happy at the moment.

Nell: She’s just been for a swim and Bumper’s still here.

Me: I’ve had a thought about Bumper.

Nell: The field has certainly never been tidier.

Me: Even the Beefies are wearing napkins round their necks.

Nell: The Beefies?

Me: I noticed it this morning when they threw some mackerel at Malcolm. One of them wiped his beak.

Nell: Are you sure they weren’t scarves?

Me: Romeo was wearing that black wig but otherwise they looked like white linen napkins.

Nell: How odd.

Me: I thought Bumper must have spoken to them. He’s very persuasive.

Nell: I know.

Me: Anyway, coming back to my interesting thought about Bumper.

Nell: Must we?

Me: Harriet would love it if he could stick around.

Nell: Do you mean extend his visit?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Tell me more.

Me: What do you think about Bumper applying for stage manager?

Nell: That is an idea.

Me: He’s likeable, organised and not afraid to speak his mind when needed.

Nell: True.

Me: He’s even organised the Beefies.

Nell: Yes. That is impressive.

Me: Why don’t you run it by Snoopy and Lucy on your next zoom call?

Nell: Run it by? What’s the matter with you this morning?

Me: I’m in a doing mood.

Nell: Yes. It isn’t only Harriet who’s happy.

Me: Guess who’s coming to visit us on Monday?

Nell: It’s not that bear, is it?

Me: No, but it’s someone from Germany.

Nell: Who?

Me: Alice. She’s at a conference in Manchester and is going to stay with us afterwards until Thursday.

Nell: That’s wonderful.

Me: I know.

Nell: Why am I only hearing about this now? There’s so much to organise.

Me: Maybe Bumper can help?

Nell: Alice is my girl.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Miss Em is Fourteen

Nell: I need you to explain all this to me again, please.

Me: The weather is very hot at the moment.

Nell: Yes.

Me: And you are an elderly dog.

Nell: I am aware of that.

Me: We can’t go on the main beach yet because it’s closed to dogs until October.

Nell: I know.

Me: And the walk to River Beach is too far for you.

Nell: Is it?

Me: Yes. If you remember, Kev had to fetch the car and collect you and I from the bottom of the hill.

Nell: So?

Me: He wasn’t actually allowed to do that. He just did because you were struggling.

Nell: I see.

Me: And he can’t do that again.

Nell: I don’t see why not.

Me: It’s private access.

Nell: They wouldn’t mind.

Me: We’re going to take you all down to the river later when the sun eases off. It’s safer for me, too.

Nell: This getting old isn’t much fun, is it?

Me: No, it isn’t.

Nell: My friend Emily was 14 yesterday.

Me: Yes, I know she was. I love Miss Em and I thought we could feature her today.

Nell: Everyone loves Emily.

Me: They do.

Nell: Especially Janet.

Me: True. You and Emily have a lot in common.

Nell: Wisdom?

Me: It wasn’t the first thing I thought of.

Nell: Beauty?

Me: Definitely, but I was going to say stubborn and strong willed.

Nell: We know what we like.

Me: Yes.

Nell: And we know what we don’t.

Me: You certainly do.

Nell: And we’re both greatly loved.

Me: Without doubt. And by so many.

Nell: You know you should have featured Emily yesterday, don’t you?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Because yesterday was her birthday.

Me: I didn’t know until later.

Nell: Just saying.

Me: Sorry.


Talking Under the Gazebo

Me: It’s going to be very warm again today.

Nell: Don’t forget your hat and sunscreen.

Me: I won’t. The lovely thing about this weather is you can sit outside in the evening.

Nell: Yes. Kev enjoys doing that.

Me: I noticed Dave joined him last night.

Nell: Were you snooping?

Me: No. I thought they looked rather sweet together under my party gazebo so I took a photo.

Nell: The party bit was for Kev’s birthday. Jonathan Sky decided where the flags should go.

Me: Do you know what Dave and Kev were discussing?

Nell: Boy talk, I expect.

Me: But my Big Brave Beautiful Boy looked awfully serious.

Nell: Probably because he saw you snooping.

Me: I wasn’t.

Nell: We both know you were.

Me: I thought Dave would talk to me if he had any serious worries.

Nell: Serious worries? What are you talking about? They were probably discussing football.

Me: I don’t think they were.

Nell: Well, if they were discussing something serious then it’s good they were talking about it.

Me: I suppose so.

Nell: It doesn’t matter who you talk to, it’s the talking about it that’s the main thing.

Me: Yes, you’re right.

Nell: We all have our worries but sharing them can be scary.

Me: Yes.

Nell: Sharing yours last year was one of the bravest things you’ve ever done,

Me: Thank you. I thought it might help others.

Nell: I’m sure it did.

Me: And then it helped me.

Nell: Yes.

Me: All the messages of support really kept me going.

Nell: I know. David was talking to Kev about sausages, by the way.

Me: What?

Nell: They want a barbecue this evening.

Me: And I thought Dave was worried.

Nell: He was. There weren’t enough last time.

Me: Right. Sorry.