Finding Rainbows

Me: Wasn’t it exciting when Kev and Harriet found a rainbow? You could see all the colours, even the purple.

Nell: They didn’t find it. It found them. Rainbows do as they please. Kev was particularly excited, however, and his dance moves are definitely improving.

Me: Well, I always see rainbows as a good sign. There’s something magical about them.

Nell: A splash of colour on a grey day is always welcome.

Me: Maybe we will find a pot of gold at the end.

Nell: I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Me: Stop being so cynical. You never know.

Nell: I think I do. Now, is Chris’s room ready? He flies tonight.

Me: It will be. Just a few finishing touches.

Nell: I’m glad you are having your hair done this afternoon. It will make you feel good.

Me: I want to look my best for Chris.

Nell: Chris won’t care how you look.

Me: I can’t believe I am finally going to see him again. It’s been so long.

Nell: Well, you are and please don’t track his flight through the night.

Me: I might have to.

Nell: Talking of hair, what do you think about David’s?

Me: Lovely and smooth.

Nell: Yes, although not very American.

Me: Did I see Poppy with her sword?

Nell: Yes, she’s rehearsing with Stephen Seagull later so she needs to be prepared.

Me: I thought I might post a list of contestants and judges on our Conversations with Nell page so people know what’s going on.

Nell: Good idea.

Me: I think the rainbow is a sign that things are going to get better, Nell. That good times are ahead.

Nell: I think you might be right.

Me: Only one more sleep.

Nell: So make sure you get some rest.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


In Training

Nell: Would you mind wearing this hat while you stroke Harriet and Poppy, please?

Me: It’s very stripy and starry.

Nell: It’s American. Kev is wearing his.

Me: What’s going on?

Nell: I hope Babycakes Gillespie ordered doughnuts. Bagels aren’t going to be enough this week.

Me: Why?

Nell: We have lots of ice cream but no jelly.

Me: I haven’t eaten jelly and ice cream since I was a child.

Nell: The jelly goes with peanut butter in a sandwich.

Me: You mean jam. The Americans call it jelly.

Nell: That makes more sense. Or does it? Have you ever eaten cornbread?

Me: I might have done. Why is Kev outside in a sparkly top hat stroking Dave and drinking coffee?

Nell: They’re in training.

Me: For what?

Nell: Strictly. The competition starts on Saturday.

Me: I don’t think sitting around having your fur stroked by Kev in a hat is training.

Nell: We couldn’t find any Americans. Babycakes Gillespie is doing his best and Rupert and Monty are involved as Canadians are North Americans.

Me: I thought I was supposed to be the crazy one.

Nell: I suppose Chris could help from Wednesday. I mean he is an honorary Canadian.

Me: Help with what?

Nell: The training. The dance this week is an American Smooth.

Me: Oh, I see. It all makes sense now. But you’ve got it wrong, Nell. Smooth doesn’t mean stroking, it’s a dance style.

Nell: I know. Smooth is a ballroom dance style that consists of four dances: the Waltz, Tango, Foxtrot and Viennese Waltz. It has tremendous freedom in artistry and choreography that allows the dancers to create their own unique look and style.

Me: Yes. Exactly.

Nell: And all animals competing need their fur smoothing, preferably by Americans.

Me: Of course. Sorry.


Keeping a Close Eye

Me: Why are you hiding behind the cushions? Are you spying on someone?

Nell: Why would you say such a ridiculous thing?

Me: I’m right, aren’t I?

Nell: I’m simply keeping a close eye.

Me: On whom?

Nell: Rhubarb.

Me: The beautiful Bernese Mountain Dog from Toronto?

Nell: Obviously, I’m hardly going to be monitoring fruit.

Me: Why?

Nell: I’m finding her suspiciously glamorous for a Sunday morning.

Me: You’re glamorous too, Nell.

Nell: I’m not even wearing a hat.

Me: Rhu isn’t wearing a hat either. She’s just naturally striking.

Nell: Did you just say ‘Rhu’?

Me: Yes, that’s what everyone calls her.

Nell: She’s wearing a neckerchief.

Me: I think it’s a bandana.

Nell: Rupert seems completely smitten. All he can talk about is her autumn colours.

Me: That’s because he and The Cat are launching the latest Knitwear Wolf range and she’s agreed to model.

Nell: How kind of her.

Me: And Dave is over the moon to have her here. In fact they’ve started dance training now that his cough has almost gone.

Nell: You do realise that she had two breakfasts.

Me: It can happen.

Nell: Pancakes with Manuel and then bacon sandwiches with David.

Me: She’s a Mountain Dog. They have large appetites.

Nell: You know David is an honorary Mountain Dog, don’t you?

Me: Yes, I remember her inviting him to the Mountain Dog Conference the last time she was over.

Nell: Sally isn’t happy.

Me: I’m sure Sally is fine.

Nell: Now, that’s where you’re wrong.

Me: I am?

Nell: Yes, I received a text from her this morning.

Me: What did it say?

Nell: ‘Keep an eye on Rhubarb for me, would you? S. X’

Me: Nice of her to add a kiss.

Nell: That’s not the point.

Me: No. Sorry.


Back on our Beach

Me: Wasn’t it glorious down on the beach yesterday?

Nell: It certainly lifted our spirits.

Me: I love the way you follow in Kev’s footsteps.

Nell: I was merely having a slow stroll as recommended by Amy the Vet.

Me: Harriet just ran into the waves.

Nell: Yes, naughty animal. She wasn’t supposed to run.

Me: I know. It is her youthful exuberance. She just adores the sea. She can’t help herself.

Nell: At least she doesn’t seem to have suffered any ill effects.

Me: No, she only coughed a little in the night and this morning. You seem better too. Dave is still coughing, but not as much either.

Nell: Yes, David is definitely the most affected.

Me: Poor Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: He’s not letting it get him down. Especially not today.

Me: Why today?

Nell: It’s the weekend.

Me: And?

Nell: Weekends mean bacon sandwiches.

Me: No more porridge then?

Nell: Not at weekends, unless requested, or for medical reasons.

Me: What about the Manuka honey? Aren’t you supposed to be eating it?

Nell: You can have honey on all kinds of things.

Me: Even bacon?

Nell: Actually, Poppy is thinking of making a honey glazed ham when Chris comes to visit.

Me: Good idea. It’s not long now, Nell. Just 4 more sleeps.

Nell: Yes, I know. We will be collecting him soon from the station. What’s your opinion on sequinned jackets?

Me: Isn’t that a bit ostentatious for collecting someone from a station?

Nell: Not us. For Henry and Horst. They’re going to be presenting Strictly from Kev’s shoulders, or hat, and The Cat thought sequins would add a little sparkle.

Me: It would be a very little sparkle.

Nell: Better to sparkle a little then not at all.

Me: Of course. Sorry.


Friday Cuddles with Kev

Me: Dave and Harriet can’t resist joining in when Poppy is having cuddles with Kev.

Nell: David can be a little over enthusiastic.

Me: At least they are both feeling a lot better even if they are still coughing now and again.

Nell: David has been particularly unwell with it. Perhaps because he caught it first.

Me: I know you have it too, Nell. I heard you coughing last night and again this morning.

Nell: Don’t worry it is all under control. Poppy is making me soup and I am taking it easy.

Me: But I do worry. You are all very precious to me and you’re not the youngest anymore.

Nell: You and me both.

Me: Yes. All this illness can make you feel rather old.

Nell: Enough of that. I was talking to Kev and he thinks a short walk on the beach is called for.

Me: It’s quite a trek over to the dog beach and there are the steps to negotiate.

Nell: You’re forgetting something. Today is the 1st October. The big beach is open to dogs again.

Me: Oh yes. How wonderful.

Nell: Plenty of room to stretch our legs.

Me: Yes, and feel the wind in our hair and the salt on our faces.

Nell: I don’t need salt on my face thank you very much.

Me: It’s invigorating.

Nell: If the puppies continue to improve, dancing will recommence next week.

Me: That’s good to hear.

Nell: David’s partner Rhubarb the Bernese Mountain Dog is expected to arrive from Toronto tomorrow.

Me: Where is she staying?

Nell: In The Barn with the larger animals. Olive the Other Reindeer is away on sleigh pulling exercises so she can have her bed.

Me: Gosh. I suppose Christmas isn’t that far away.

Nell: Don’t start.

Me: Sorry.


Nell is Welcoming

Me: What have you been up to?

Nell: Why?

Me: Were you outside flirting with one of the cleaning team?

Nell: I was merely chatting to a very nice young man and making him feel welcome.

Me: I haven’t noticed you making anyone feel welcome before. You’re usually rather grumpy.

Nell: I don’t like to be disturbed. We were discussing Golden Retrievers, if you must know.

Me: Anyway, how was last night?

Nell: Kev slept downstairs on the sofa again, which was reassuring, although I’m not sure he got much sleep after Harriet joined him.

Me: Oh dear. Was there a lot of coughing?

Nell: Both puppies had a bad bout of coughing at 3:30am, especially Harriet. I think her coughing triggers David.

Me: Yes, he worries.

Nell: They are both in good spirits today so maybe we are through the worst of it.

Me: I shall keep dosing you all with Manuka honey.

Nell: Poppy won’t touch it.

Me: I know. She gives me a hard stare when I try and give it to her. How are you and Poppy?

Nell: We still have a slightly sore throat but we are fine otherwise.

Me: Maybe you have escaped getting it badly, Nell.

Nell: Now, the weather is getting colder and nights are drawing in.

Me: Yes. There’s a definite feeling of autumn in the air.

Nell: So Knitwear Wolf is organising soft blankets and scarves for everyone. You need to choose a colour.

Me: I noticed Myfanwy was wearing a particularly soft scarf when I saw her earlier.

Nell: Myfanwy?

Me: Yes, she was with Knitwear Wolf. I think he was taking her to dance rehearsals on his motorbike.

Nell: Myfanwy was on Rupert’s motorbike?

Me: No. In the sidecar.

Nell: You know what I mean.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Harriet is unwell now too

Me: How are you feeling, Nell?

Nell: A little tired. Harriet is most unwell.

Me: When she started coughing and being sick we knew she had kennel cough.

Nell: I have a slight cough and so does Poppy, but nothing major as yet.

Me: Oh dear. The vet said you might catch it.

Nell: It’s actually a good thing that Chris had to delay his visit.

Me: I suppose so.

Nell: Kev will definitely need to rest today. He slept downstairs with us all again and it was an extremely restless night. Someone was sick on his bed.

Me: Poor Kev. Should Harriet be outside?

Nell: A little fresh air won’t do her any harm and the sun is shining.

Me: She seems dreadfully down.

Nell: She’s missing the beach. Not being able to go on a walk is very difficult for an active animal like her to accept.

Me: I’m afraid rest is essential. Any kind of exercise or excitement can bring on a coughing fit.

Nell: Well, porridge could certainly never be seen as exciting. Even with Manuka honey.

Me: How is Dave coping?

Nell: David is still being sick but not bowed down by it. He’s a great source of comfort to Harriet even if his voice is a little croaky.

Me: He’s not trying to sing to her, is he?

Nell: No. He’s sharing comforting memories and telling her all about the happy times ahead.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: The happy times involve a great many bacon sandwiches.

Me: I thought they might. I do hope you and Poppy don’t get kennel cough.

Nell: It is what it is. We will get through this together. Let’s concentrate on David and Harriet for now and make sure Kev has some rest.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


A Confusion of Jims

Me: Poppy really cares about Dave, doesn’t she?

Nell: She was playing Cheeky Animals behind his back.

Me: But look at the last photo. She is giving him such a loving look.

Nell: Yes, I agree. The last photo shows her true feelings.

Me: How is Dave today?

Nell: He was sick three times in the night and twice again this morning.

Me: Poor darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Yes. Kennel cough is most unpleasant.

Me: Any news on the dancing?

Nell: Poppy says Stephen Seagull is being surprisingly good for a thoroughly bad bird.

Me: He’s a nasty piece of work, that one.

Nell: The sword helps. He’s lost a few feathers but that’s to be expected.

Me: What about the others?

Nell: My friend Dorothy says the Portuguese Podenco is a revelation.

Me: Gosh.

Nell: They are dancing the Samba, which isn’t the easiest thing for a Salcombe Setter to do, although the red hair helps.

Me: Yes, I can see that it would.

Nell: Apparently Paolo is extremely encouraging and Dorothy is giving it her all.

Me: Good for her. Did you know Jim Broadbent was filming in Kingsbridge yesterday?

Nell: Are we talking about an Old English Sheepdog here?

Me: No, the actor.

Nell: Jim the Old English Sheepdog is an actor. He was in ‘Lassie’ twice.

Me: Well, my Jim is a man. He is very famous. They’re filming ‘The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry’ which is one of my favourite books.

Nell: We’ll have to go and see it. I don’t think you can say he is your Jim, by the way. It’s inappropriate and Kev won’t like it at all.

Me: I didn’t want to confuse him with Harriet’s Jim, or your Jim.

Nell: I don’t have a Jim.

Me: No. Sorry.


A Secret Softy

Me: Why are you glaring at me like that?

Nell: David and I were having a gentle discussion about the day ahead and you disturbed us.

Me: I was just checking on him.

Nell: He is doing well. He had porridge for breakfast with Manuka honey and managed to keep it down.

Me: That’s a relief.

Nell: And now he is having a thoughtful chew on his new toy.

Me: Good.

Nell: The trick is to keep him calm.

Me: He might not stay calm, Nell, as the chimney sweep is arriving soon.

Nell: That’s most inconvenient.

Me: It has to be done.

Nell: David will have to join you upstairs then. But don’t fuss over him.

Me: Why not? You are.

Nell: I’m his aunt and he is unwell.

Me: You’re a Secret Softy. Admit it.

Nell: I am nothing of the kind. I am merely doing my duty. My nephew needs me.

Me: He’s looking a lot better, Nell. His coat is shiny again. It must be all the cuddles.

Nell: David enjoys attention and he’s certainly getting enough of it. Although the llamas are a little too demonstrative for my liking.

Me: Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Your other boy will be here soon.

Me: Not as soon as I thought.

Nell: Why? Isn’t Chris arriving on Friday?

Me: No. He had to change his flight to the 5th October because the government aren’t accepting visitors with mixed vaccinations until 4th October.

Nell: Good grief.

Me: So we won’t be seeing him until Wednesday week.

Nell: That’s not too much longer to wait.

Me: It isn’t and Dave should be completely well by then and able to go on walks.

Nell: Every bowl has a silver lining.

Me: Don’t you mean cloud?

Nell: No.

Me: Sorry.


A Quiet Sunday

Me: Are you wearing slippers?

Nell: Of course I am. Where are yours?

Me: Upstairs.

Nell: Well, put them on quickly. We need a quiet house. Have you finished your porridge?

Me: I’m not really in a porridge mood.

Nell: It’s made with honey.

Me: I was hoping for bacon as it’s Sunday.

Nell: Don’t mention that word.

Me: Why?

Nell: David is on soft food and we’re all supporting him. Were you even listening to the new guidelines at Morning Thoughts?

Me: No. I was thinking how wonderful it was of Kev to sleep downstairs with you all so I could get a good night’s sleep.

Nell: Kev might need to go back to bed this afternoon as we had a very disturbed night with David coughing.

Me: Was Dave awfully sick?

Nell: I’m afraid he was but he likes his new toy.

Me: My poor darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: Now, although there is a no dancing rule around David at the moment, couples can still practise elsewhere.

Me: Is Sunday Songs still going ahead?

Nell: Yes. With quiet songs. The Welsh Corgi Choir are fully informed and the llamas are wearing ballet shoes.

Me: Is there any chance of a roast dinner later?

Nell: No. We are saving that for next weekend when Chris is here.

Me: What about afternoon tea?

Nell: I’m afraid scones are a little too crumbly for David’s sensitive throat.

Me: Jam and cream are soft.

Nell: You can’t have jam and cream without a scone. Don’t be silly. David will be having a banana split. Ice cream is cool and soothing and bananas are nutritious.

Me: I don’t think Dave likes bananas.

Nell: He won’t know they’re there. Poppy is turning it into a milkshake. Do keep up.

Me: Yes. Sorry.