Sunny beaches and Missed Messages

Me: It was beautiful down on the beach yesterday, wasn’t it? Sudden blue skies after all the rain.

Nell: Yes. So many people are dealing with the cold and snow at the moment that I thought a few sunny photos might cheer them up.

Me: Good idea. We also wanted to say that for some reason we have missed some of your messages recently. We don’t know why.

Nell: So a great big belated Happy Birthday to Tracy Woolliscroft.

Me: Yes, and a huge hug to Glenys Williams. Keep writing those poems. We love them.

Nell: And even if we don’t see your messages immediately we will always respond when we do.

Me: Yes. So please keep writing to us. We are always here for you.

Nell: David has asked for extra bacon today after surviving that traumatic trip to the vets.

Me: It wasn’t a traumatic trip, Nell. Dave bumped his leg and it was a little sore so we wanted them to check it. Just in case.

Nell: They took him away. On his own.

Me: They have to do that at the moment because of COVID19. You know that.

Nell: Yes, I know that, but David doesn’t. You should have allowed me to accompany him.

Me: He was fine, Nell. Kev waited for him outside and he wasn’t in there for very long.

Nell: They stuck a needle in him.

Me: It was just antibiotics.

Nell: Well, I think bacon is a reasonable request for all concerned.

Me: What do you mean by all concerned? Are you angling for bacon too? It was only Dave who went to the vets. You all stayed at home by the fire.

Nell: But we were all concerned. Very concerned, if you must know.

Me: Yes. I suppose you were. Sorry.


Pancakes and Snow

Me: It’s Chris and Marvin. How lovely to see them.

Nell: Yes. I was chatting to young Marvin in our WoofsApp group and he sent over these photos from Toronto for us all to see.

Me: It looks really cold there, doesn’t it?

Nell: Yes, it’s very cold in many places. Aphrodite said they were shovelling snow in Athens.

Me: Aphrodite the Goddess of Love?

Nell: No. The Cretan Hound from my Pilates class.

Me: How can that be happening?

Nell: It’s the change in the climate.

Me: I meant is Pilates still allowed?

Nell: It’s all online. Do keep up.

Me: I thought I saw Gladys and the llamas in the field.

Nell: You did. Our Penguin is filming their class outside. Gladys thinks it will lift morale if people can see the countryside and the llamas need space to express themselves.

Me: I see.

Nell: Rupert has provided them all with warm undergarments, so they are perfectly warm.

Me: He is such a kind wolf.

Nell: Yes. I really don’t know what I would have done without Rupert’s support since I lost Charlie. He is a dear friend.

Me: Yes, he is.

Nell: Why are you looking at me like that?

Me: Nothing. Just wondering to myself.

Nell: Well, don’t. Now, today is Pancake Day and this year Manuel is in charge. He has four frying pans on the go and is taking orders. Savoury, or sweet?

Me: Sweetish.

Nell: What do you mean?

Me: Lemon juice with a little sprinkling of sugar.

Nell: David is having his with bacon.

Me: No surprises there. I suppose Manuel will be able to toss several pancakes at once with those tentacles.

Nell: You’d still better get in the queue. The larger animals will be joining us soon.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Malcolm speaks up

Me: I do hope the puppies are comfortable enough.

Nell: Yes. Harriet has your chair and pillows and David is luxuriating on my blanket.

Me: I’m never going to get that chair back, am I?

Nell: Stop grumbling. Yesterday was exhausting enough without starting today off on the wrong paw.

Me: I didn’t expect Malcolm to raise his voice.

Nell: Nobody did.

Me: I didn’t realise Malcolm could be quite so commanding.

Nell: It was the only way to shut Squawk up.

Me: It shut everyone up.

Nell: ‘Kindly close your beak, sir, and leave this luncheon.’

Me: I know. Magnificent, wasn’t it?

Nell: Squawk has no manners at all. Shovelling in prawns like there’s no tomorrow and walking up and down the table.

Me: That was rude.

Nell: And he could have washed his feathers. Nobody wants seaweed at the dinner table.

Me: Sushi fans might disagree. I love the crunchy stuff and James Beddall is partial to a portion of laverbread.

Nell: That’s not what I meant and you know it.

Me: Yes.

Nell: He had it hanging around his neck.

Me: It might have been a fashion statement, or he just forgot it was there.

Nell: He knew it was there. He kept throwing it over his shoulder like a scarf.

Me: At least he left after Malcolm’s stern warning.

Nell: Yes. Terry was so relieved. He apologised to me for his brother’s dreadful behaviour. I think he finds being a Beefy hard enough without being related to Squawk.

Me: You don’t think you might be giving Terry the wrong idea, do you?

Nell: What on earth do you mean?

Me: That you like him more than you do?

Nell: What utter nonsense. I despair of you sometimes. I really do.

Me: Yes. You’re probably right. Sorry.


Valentine’s Day

Me: Oh Nell, what’s the matter? Why are the puppies watching over you?

Nell: It’s nothing to worry about. I was just feeling a little low and missing Charlie.

Me:I think this is a difficult day for a lot of people.

Nell: Yes.

Me: You probably aren’t in the mood for Cheeky Animals.

Nell: Is David playing again?

Me: I think he’s just trying to cheer you up.

Nell: Bless him. He’s right. There is no point in moping around. Charlie wouldn’t want that. It’s Valentine’s Day and we should be celebrating love.

Me: Shall I get your cards?

Nell: I suppose so, although I can’t think who sent them.

Me: What do they say?

Nell: ‘From one who loves you from afar and always will.’

Me: How romantic. And the other one?

Nell: ‘Be my Valentine. I know you like me.’

Me: That’s a bit over optimistic.

Nell: It certainly is.

Me: Why is Poppy clattering around in the kitchen?

Nell: She’s annoyed. Babycakes Gillespie made her a heart shaped bagel.

Me: How sweet.

Nell: Poppy has no time for ‘sentimental twaddle’. Her words. She sliced it in two with her sword.

Me: Lunch is going to be a bit tense then.

Nell: Squawk is going in the corner. If Susan insists on inviting that disreputable seagull then he can keep his distance.

Me: What about Terry?

Nell: Terry is sitting near me. He knows how to behave.

Me: Oh look outside, Nell. Dave is about to sing his song for Sally with the Welsh corgi choir.

Nell: Two songs, actually. ‘Daydream Retriever’, and my personal favourite, ‘I’m a Retriever.’

Me: ‘I couldn’t leave her if I tried?’

Nell: How did you know that?

Me: Just a lucky guess.

Nell: Well, stop talking and listen.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Together Again

Me: When Sally’s car pulled into the drive I thought Dave was going to explode with joy.

Nell: You squealed.

Me: I know I did. I was trying ever so hard not to, but it just happened. Where are they now?

Nell: They’ve gone for a walk. Some alone time.

Me: It has all been very busy since she arrived.

Nell: David wanted to introduce her to everyone.

Me: He is so proud of her. Darling Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: He’s lucky she could visit.

Me: How did she manage that?

Nell: Official business. Don’t ask me what about.

Me: Spy stuff I expect. I wonder if Harriet knows.

Nell: Of course she does.

Me: Talking of spying, did I see a couple of envelopes addressed to you?

Nell: You might have done.

Me: You have secret admirers.

Nell: Just silly nonsense.

Me: Have you looked at them?

Nell: Of course not. Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day.

Me: I noticed Romeo delivering red roses to Susan. Does Malcolm mind?

Nell: No, but Terry does. He has given Romeo a stern warning.

Me: I think Terry should keep out of it.

Nell: Susan is his sister. He is naturally protective.

Me: Any sign of Squawk?

Nell: You are not going to believe this.

Me: What?

Nell: Susan has asked Poppy if we can invite Squawk to our Valentine’s luncheon tomorrow.

Me: Luncheon?

Nell: She says she needs to get to know him. He might be a bad Beefy but he is still her half brother, just like Terry.

Me: Good for Susan. She is such a kind seagull.

Nell: And Sally supported her.

Me: Did she now?

Nell: Yes. Terry is most unhappy about it.

Me: Isn’t he invited?

Nell: Of course he is. That’s not the point.

Me: No. Sorry.


Waiting in Anticipation

Me: What are those three doing?

Nell: Waiting in Anticipation.

Me: Of what?

Nell: Lots of things.

Me: Bacon?

Nell: Always.

Me: Tony?

Nell: Tony’s arrival is much anticipated.

Me: Because it’s Friday?

Nell: No. Because it’s nearly Sunday.

Me: Has Tony joined the Welsh corgi choir?

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: Is he going to be singing at Sunday Songs?

Nell: Tony sings sea shanties and that’s not allowed at the moment.

Me: You can sing them at home.

Nell: I meant in groups. Together.

Me: I’m confused.

Nell: Nothing new there. What’s happening on Sunday?

Me: Roast dinner?

Nell: Apart from food.

Me: Tell me.

Nell: It’s Valentine’s Day.

Me: So, they’re waiting for cards?

Nell: Yes, and any other suitable gifts.

Me: Like flowers?

Nell: Exactly.

Me: Or fish?

Nell: Hopefully not.

Me; I wouldn’t mind some fresh sea bass.

Nell: Book a Beefy and Terry will bring you some.

Me: It might not be Terry. In fact I bet Romeo is one of the busiest seagulls with a name like that.

Nell: Possibly.

Me: I hope they aren’t all disappointed.

Nell: Why would they be?

Me: Sometimes things don’t turn out quite as anticipated.

Nell: I can assure you that David is not going to be disappointed at all.

Me: How do you know?

Nell: Because Sally is his Valentine and she is on her way here right now.

Me: Do the others know?

Nell: Of course they do. Why do you think they are Waiting in Anticipation?

Me: I would love to see David’s face when she walks in.

Nell: Well, join us at the window then. Quietly though. No giving it away by squealing or telling David he’s a very lucky Big Brave Beautiful Boy. I know what you’re like.

Me: Yes. Sorry.



Me: My goodness, Harriet certainly loves the sea. The way she just ran into it despite the cold.

Nell: Yes, Harriet is a real Devon girl.

Me: There were so many surfers out yesterday riding the waves.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: Feeling the rush of excitement as a wave carried them along and the salty sensation of the sparkling sea.

Nell: Salty sensation? That sounds more like a packet of crisps.

Me: It does a bit, doesn’t it? I think I got carried away.

Nell: Nothing new there.

Me: Did you enjoy the workshop?

Nell: Very much. Especially as I noticed another dog on a bed.

Me: Yes, that was lovely to see.

Nell: I’m afraid David and Harriet were a little noisy at the beginning.

Me: What were they doing there, Nell? I thought we agreed it would only be you?

Nell: They assured me they could keep quiet but then Next Door’s Dogs ruined it all.

Me: By playing in their own garden?

Nell: Exactly. Dreadful behaviour.

Me: They’re allowed to be in their own garden, Nell.

Nell: But we can see them.

Me: So what?

Nell: It’s unacceptable. Ask any dog.

Me: I don’t know why you can’t just get on. They are new to the area. Be friendly.

Nell: So, have you organised something for Kev for Valentine’s Day?

Me: You are changing the subject.

Nell: Terry says he’s been inundated with deliveries this year.

Me: Did he get a new hat like Tony suggested?

Nell: Yes. It covers his ears nicely, although he can’t hear much when he’s wearing it.

Me: Maybe I should have been wearing my hat at the Zoom meeting. It would have drowned out the barking.

Nell: Just learn to press the mute button like everyone else.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


It’s cold

Me: Have you just been out in the snow?

Nell: Yes. Where were all of you?

Me: Inside in the warm. I’m upstairs writing and the others are having breakfast. Why did you go outside?

Nell: It was Tony in his cold weather clothing.

Me: Oh, I didn’t realise.

Nell: I think we have already established that you don’t realise anything when you are writing.

Me: I know.

Nell: How many cold cups of tea has Kev had to carry back downstairs?

Me: Lots. How is Tony?

Nell: Cold. We were discussing hats. Poor Terry is struggling with the cold wind in his ears so Tony recommended a more fitted kind of cap.

Me: Do seagulls have ears?

Nell: What a ridiculous question. Of course they do. How do you think they hear anything?

Me: They don’t have ears like us though, do they?

Nell: Do you mean human ears, or Labrador ears? Because either idea is preposterous.

Me: I mean outside ears.

Nell: No. Their ears are inside covered by feathers and near their eyes. But that’s not the point.

Me: Maybe a bandana would be better.

Nell: Bandanas are for Spring not Winter. Everybody knows that.

Me: By the way, the bedroom is out of bounds this morning.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: I’ve got a Wednesday Writers workshop on Zoom.

Nell: And?

Me: I can’t have any barking.

Nell: Are you suggesting that I bark?

Me: You know you do.

Nell: I might raise my voice on occasion but only when severely provoked.

Me: I can’t risk it.

Nell: There’s a mute button on Zoom you know.

Me: Ok.

Nell: So what time is the workshop?

Me: It starts at 10am.

Nell: I suggest we log on at 9:50. See you then.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


It’s not fair

Nell: Don’t just stand there. You’ve obviously got something to say. Have we had another power cut?

Me: No.

Nell: Well, that’s a relief. I was absolutely gasping for a cup of Earl Grey by the time it came back on yesterday.

Me: This isn’t fair, Nell.

Nell: What are you talking about?

Me: Look at you all cosy and warm, wrapped in your special blanket from Knitwear Wolf and snuggled up in your comfortable bed.

Nell: Yes, it’s exceptionally kind of him.

Me: And my poor Big Brave Beautiful Boy is left to freeze on the sofa with only a corner of your comfortable bed to rest his little head on.

Nell: David does not have a little head.

Me: You know what I mean.

Nell: He is perfectly happy. Both puppies are aware that as the senior dog I am entitled to a little extra comfort and they are fine with it.

Me: Are you sure about that?

Nell: Yes. May I remind you that you have an electric blanket on your bed?

Me: I know I do.

Nell: When Alice and Chris come to stay do they have an electric blanket on their beds?

Me: No.

Nell: Do they complain about it?

Me: Of course not.

Nell: Do you ever say to yourself, ‘Oh my goodness, poor little things. I’d better take this lovely warm electric blanket off my bed and put it on theirs’?

Me: No, I don’t.

Nell: I rest my case.

Me: It’s been nearly a year since I saw them.

Nell: I know it has.

Me: It’s the not knowing when I’m going to see them that’s so hard.

Nell: You might not know when, but you do know it will happen. Focus on that. One step at a time.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Monday Ramblings

Me: Wasn’t it glorious to be able to go on our old walk through the fields?

Nell: It was delightful.

Me: It was one of those crisp, cold, sunny, winter days that makes your heart sing.

Nell: Here we go.

Me: That makes you glad to be alive.

Nell: Although it’s particularly cold at the moment.

Me: Yes. The temperature has definitely dropped.

Nell: Yes. I was talking to Knitwear Wolf about it over breakfast this morning. He is organising a warm blanket for me, as I felt a little chilled last night.

Me: How kind of him. Any bacon?

Nell: No. It’s Monday. Toast and marmalade for me with a nice pot of Earl Grey, and a bagel and coffee for Rupert.

Me: He is Canadian.

Nell: Yes, and he supports Babycakes Gillespie. It’s cold out there with the cart you know.

Me: It must be.

Nell: Fortunately the llamas are excellent customers. They love nothing more than a coffee and a doughnut.

Me: I thought Babycakes only sold bagels.

Nell: In this weather? No, doughnuts are a must.

Me: I haven’t had a doughnut in years.

Nell: Well, go and get one then, before they’ve all gone.

Me: Why? Do you think there’s going to be a rush on doughnuts this morning?

Nell: Of course. It’s Monday and the Whippets Institute are rambling.

Me: I didn’t know.

Nell: Haven’t you noticed the minibus is parked here every week?

Me: I can’t say I have, but if it’s during my writing time I don’t really notice much.

Nell: They like to begin and end their walk from here. Sometimes the larger animals join them.

Me: But they’re not whippets.

Nell: Whippets are allowed guests. How else would David be allowed to join the debating society?

Me: I see. Sorry.