Think Twice

Me: Well, I think the puppies could ask for a bounce on next door’s trampoline.

Nell: There will be no trampolining so they can stop gazing out of the window at it.

Me: You are mean.

Nell: David always gets carried away. Don’t you remember last time?

Me: No.

Nell: David bounced Poppy and Gladys right up into the sky.

Me: They loved it.

Nell: Both puppies have a lot to think about and it’s not trampolining.

Me: What is it then?

Nell: If you must know we were discussing ‘Think Twice’ at Morning Thoughts. David in particular struggles with the concept.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: He and Harriet are taking today to do some Careful Considering.

Me: But it’s Sunday.

Nell: Sunday is a day of rest and contemplation.

Me: Not when it starts with show tunes from the Welsh corgi choir.

Nell: I know ‘Hello Dolly’ isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but you must admit the hats were excellent.

Me: I noticed Lady Anwen was there with Knitwear Wolf.

Nell: Yes. She wants him to visit Buckingham Palace.

Me: Does she now?

Nell: Yes. And she suggested he takes David.

Me: Dave would love it. He’s got a top hat.

Nell: All I can say is ‘Think Twice’. If he hasn’t mastered that he shouldn’t be meeting royalty.

Me: The thing is, Nell. I don’t think he ever will.

Nell: I beg your pardon?

Me: Some of us are impulsive by nature and I don’t want my Big Brave Beautiful Boy to change.

Nell: It’s not often that I say this, but you might be right.

Me: Really?

Nell: Shall we see if next door will let the puppies bounce on their trampoline?

Me: Will you be joining them?

Nell: Enough. Quit while you’re ahead.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


An eventful dinner party

Nell: Where’s David?

Me: Having cuddles and telling Tony about yesterday’s dinner party.

Nell: It was certainly eventful.

Me: Why?

Nell: Lady Anwen nearly choked on a fish.

Me: I didn’t know Poppy was serving fish.

Nell: She wasn’t. Someone threw a mackerel through the window.

Me: Why was the window open?

Nell: Because the Welsh corgi choir were singing outside. But that’s not the point.

Me: Why did Lady Anwen eat it?

Nell: She used to play netball in her younger days so when it came flying in she caught it.

Me: In her mouth?

Nell: Obviously. Luckily Knitwear Wolf knows the Dry Stick Manoeuvre.

Me: Don’t you mean the Heimlich manoeuvre?

Nell: No. You simply hit the person choking on the back with a stick or, in this case, a baguette.

Me: Good for Rupert.

Nell: Yes. It was a tense moment.

Me: I presume the Beefies were behind it?

Nell: Of course. Fortunately Gladys performed a contemporary dance before any questions could be asked.

Me: Quick thinking.

Nell: It was a frosty start until Charlie said ‘May I introduce Prince Rupert?’ and her eyes lit up.

Me: I bet they did.

Nell: She had no idea that Knitwear Wolf was royal.

Me: He isn’t. It’s just where he comes from in Canada.

Nell: I know that and you know that, but she doesn’t.

Me: No.

Nell: At dinner Mutley was on her left and nodded regularly in an interested way.

Me: Who was on her right?

Nell: Rupert. He was wearing an elegant knitted suit and was charm personified. He soon had her eating out of his paw.

Me: I don’t think he should have been feeding her, Nell. She can do that on her own.

Nell: Not literally. I despair of you sometimes.

Me: Yes. Sorry.



Nell: Why anyone would choose to be a diplomat is completely beyond me.

Me: But you are so good at it.

Nell: It’s absolutely exhausting. Do you know that corgi actually sniffed at one of Poppy’s scones?

Me: No?

Nell: And asked if they were shop bought.

Me: Shocking.

Nell: I said ‘Lady Anwen, these are Poppy’s award winning scones. People travel from far and wide just to taste one.’

Me: Good for you.

Nell: David ate three by mistake.

Me: I don’t blame him.

Nell: He was supposed to be handing them round.

Me: He was just showing solidarity.

Nell: He’s terrified of her.

Me: Why?

Nell: She’s taken a shine to him. She calls him her Handsome Boy.

Me: What? He is my Big Brave Beautiful Boy.

Nell: She says he would be perfect for Myfanwy and the palace would love him.

Me: Sally can’t be pleased about that.

Nell: I told her. Young people must be allowed to make their own decisions.

Me: Quite right too.

Nell: But she kept saying: ‘A wolf, Eleanor? We can’t have a wolf in the family.’

Me: Who is Eleanor?

Nell: It’s my full name.

Me: No, it isn’t. You are Nell.

Nell: I am usually Nell but there are times when I am Eleanor and this is one of them.

Me: If she met Knitwear Wolf she would change her mind. He is such a charming wolf.

Nell: Exactly. So I am having a dinner party and everyone is invited.

Me: Even the large beasts?

Nell: Of course not. I mean Myfanwy, Knitwear Wolf and Lady Anwen.

Me: Can I come?

Nell: I think not. Charlie will join me in hosting and we will sit Mutley next to Lady Anwen.

Me: But he can’t hear.

Nell: Exactly.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


A Surprise Visitor

Me: It was lovely down on the beach, wasn’t it?

Nell: I don’t think Gladys should use Alejandro as a surfboard though.

Me: He doesn’t seem to mind. He says the waves remind him of his hammock.

Nell: It’s undignified.

Me: I expect he misses sleeping outside.

Nell: You can’t expect an alpaca to sleep in an outside hammock in this cold weather.

Me: No. You are right. Maybe we could put his hammock up in the barn?

Nell: Yes. I’ll talk to Ron Gilbert. He’s very handy with his paws.

Me: But Ron’s not very keen on Alejandro. He still carries a torch for Gladys.

Nell: Gladys doesn’t need anyone to carry a torch. She uses her iBone light like everyone else.

Me: It’s just a saying. Is Ron coming over then?

Nell: Yes. The Cat is hosting the Knit and Natter group at the Big House so he said he would pop in for a scone.

Me: I didn’t realise Ron knitted. An unusual pastime for a Great Dane.

Nell: It’s not only Welsh corgis who knit you know. Knitwear Wolf himself is joining them.

Me: Well, that will be because of Myfanwy.

Nell: You might be right. They are rarely apart nowadays.

Me: I think it’s sweet.

Nell: Is that someone at the door?

Me: Yes. An irate corgi in a twinset and pearls.

Nell: She’s come to the wrong place. Tell her the Knit and Natter is over at the Big House.

Me: She says she’s from Buckingham Palace.

Nell: Oh dear. I don’t know how they expect me to help them with this.

Me: Is it about Harry and Meghan?

Nell: No. It’s about Myfanwy and Rupert. The royal side of the family aren’t keen on wolves. You’d better show her in.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Thank you

Me: What’s going on here?

Nell: Some of us are trying to rest.

Me: Dave’s on the bed with his big bowl.

Nell: David is protesting.

Me: What about?

Nell: Reduced rations.

Me: It’s January, we’re all cutting back.

Nell: I’m afraid one dippy egg and a single slice of hot buttered toast is not enough for a growing animal.

Me: He ate a bowl of porridge too.

Nell: Yes, and not even by mistake. Out of necessity.

Me: With honey from Malcolm’s bees.

Nell: You don’t expect a flamingo to be a beekeeper. It is one of life’s surprises.

Me: We seem to have a lot of those. Anyway, don’t change the subject. Dave had two breakfasts and look what you’ve all done to the bed.

Nell: Malcolm says Henry and Horst are an enormous help with the bees. They can talk to them you know.

Me: I didn’t know.

Nell: Beefies are scared of bees, of course. It’s because they won’t take any nonsense.

Me: A bit like you then.

Nell: I shall ignore that remark. Have you thanked everyone yet?

Me: No, I was just about to when I saw Dave.

Nell: The publishers were very impressed with yesterday’s comments. They found them most helpful.

Me: Yes, they did.

Nell: And you were quite overwhelmed with people’s support.

Me: I was, thank you all so much.

Nell: Now, I think on a grey and chilly day like today a nice cup of Earl Grey and some freshly baked shortbread is just what the vet advises.

Me: No, he doesn’t Nell. He said you all need to lose weight.

Nell: Perhaps Kev could light the fire and you and I could do the crossword.

Me: That does sound awfully tempting.

Nell: I knew it would.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


The Nellness of Nell

Nell: What is the matter with you?

Me: I’m a bit tired.

Nell: I know. You hardly slept.

Me: The publishers contacted me last night about a problem they are having and I couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Nell: What problem?

Me: It’s about you.

Nell: Me?

Me: Yes. How do we explain the ‘Youness of You’ to people who have never heard of you?

Nell: ‘The Youness of You’?

Me: Not me. You. ‘The Nellness of Nell’ and the world we live in.

Nell: You obviously need a cup of Earl Grey and a scone. You are not making any sense whatsoever.

Me: And then there’s that part where they say: ‘If you have enjoyed reading (insert book title) then you will definitely enjoy reading ‘Conversations with Nell’.’

Nell: Insert book title?

Me: Exactly. Which books are like ours? I just keep thinking of Maggie Smith in ‘Downton Abbey’ or Lady Bracknell from ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ and her handbag.

Nell: You are rambling again. Where is my handbag? Gladys is going to have to start sleeping in a bed.

Me: The trouble is that you are unique. You all are.

Nell: I grant you that ours is not a conventional family. Poppy’s cooking skills are exceptional and as for David. Where do I begin?

Me: It’s not just about talking to a Labrador. It’s about talking to you.

Nell: I am extremely gratified that it is all about me, even when we both know it isn’t, but all I can say is that it will come to you. It always does.

Me: Not this time.

Nell: Maybe our friends will have a few ideas.

Me: I just want everyone to know how wonderful you are.

Nell: We both are. You and me. Always. Remember?

Me: Yes. Sorry.


The Case of the Missing Flip Flop

Me: Why are you and Harriet sitting at the top of the stairs?

Nell: We are conducting an important investigation.

Me: Into what?

Nell: The Case of the Missing Flip Flop.

Me: Has someone taken one of Kev’s bathroom slippers again?

Nell: Yes. The remaining flip flop has been carefully placed on the landing chest of drawers for all to see.

Me: Yes. I can see it. Thank you.

Nell: Should the guilty party attempt to climb the stairs carrying the missing flip flop he will be apprehended by Harriet and myself.

Me: I’m guessing you have a suspect.

Nell: Correct.

Me: Might he be Big Brave and Beautiful?

Nell: Possibly. She might, however, be small and fluffy.

Me: Poppy is cooking breakfast with Malcolm.

Nell: Or elderly and deaf.

Me: Mutley is still asleep in his chair.

Nell: It might be large with hooves, although we think it is unlikely.

Me: Alpacas, moose and reindeer are not allowed upstairs.

Nell: Interesting. The culprit could perhaps be feathered.

Me: Malcolm is making pancakes and Timothy is laying the table with Ginger. I think Susan is up at The Nest.

Nell: I think the culprit is likely to be coming upstairs quite soon.

Me: What makes you say that?

Nell: Because Kev is about to start shouting ‘Have you taken my flip flops again?’

Me: So this is a common occurrence?

Nell: It is.

Me: I think it’s a case of a Mistake rather than a Theft.

Nell: You would.

Me: The animal I am thinking of takes footwear to give as a Present. It always brings it back.

Nell: But not always in the same condition.

Me: Shall I go and find Dave then?

Nell: Yes please and hurry because I can hear Kev starting to grumble.

Me: Yes. Sorry.


Please do not Disturb

Me: Harriet just gave me one of her looks.

Nell: Were you taking photos of us asleep again?

Me: I couldn’t resist.

Nell: It’s Sunday. A day of rest. We were up early for Morning Songs and now we want some quiet.

Me: But Knitwear Wolf is here with the Sunday newspapers and he says ‘Robin Woof’ is a huge hit with the critics.

Nell: Well, I’m awake now so you might as well bring them in.

Me: Good.

Nell: Can you get my reading glasses back from David, please?

Me: I didn’t know he was having trouble with his eyes.

Nell: He isn’t. He saw a film with Cary Grant wearing spectacles and Sally said he looked dreamy.

Me: Here they are. Poppy has made shortbread to go with your Earl Grey.

Nell: The photos have come out well. They particularly capture the galloping of the large beasts across the sand with the sea behind them.

Me: And Henry and Horst hanging on for dear life. Or even deer life. See what I did there?

Nell: Good grief.

Me: Dave’s duet with Sally was wonderful and who organised those doves?

Nell: They weren’t doves. They were Beefies painted white.

Me: Really?

Nell: Didn’t you wonder about the shower of prawns?

Me: I thought it was unusual but then Dave casually threw them into the audience.

Nell: He is good at thinking on his paws.

Me: Knitwear Wolf was awfully convincing as a baddie.

Nell: Yes. People were terrified.

Me: When I saw him just now I almost ran away except he was wearing one of his cuddly sweaters and smiling so I knew it was him.

Nell: Of course it was him. It’s called acting. David isn’t really Robin Woof you know.

Me: He is in my eyes. Sorry.


The Big Day

Me: Look at my Big Brave Beautiful Boy. He is so handsome in his feathered hat.

Nell: Yes, David certainly has style.

Me: But I thought Robin Woof wore green.

Nell: That’s David’s pre-show hat.

Me: Oh, I see. Do I have to wear more than one?

Nell: No, of course not. David has several hats. He is the star of the show and his fans expect it.

Me: Well, they certainly seem to be gathering. When I looked outside just now the garden was full.

Nell: Those are not fans they are the Merry Dogs. There seem to be hundreds of them and half of them aren’t even dogs.

Me: I wondered why those rabbits were wearing green. What about the other actors?

Nell: Knitwear Wolf is escorting Myfanwy and the Welsh corgi choir down to the beach. He is worried about a Beefy attack.

Me: Has there been any sign of them?

Nell: The usual mackerel and a few stale baguettes but nothing major. Now, most of the cast are getting a lift to the beach with the large beasts.

Me: I presume you mean Alejandro, Olive and Monty.

Nell: Yes. Now I thought the rest of us could walk down there together. Safety in numbers. David and Harriet will lead the way as Robin Woof and Will Scarlet.

Me: Can I start the singing?

Nell: I don’t see why not.

Me: ‘Robin Woof, Robin Woof in his feathered hat.

Robin Woof, Robin Woof and his friend The Cat.

Beefies are bad, Reindeer are good,

Robin Woof, Robin Woof, Robin Woof’

Nell: Stop. You can’t sing that.

Me: Why not?

Nell: Didn’t you read the Terms and Conditions?

Me: I didn’t know I had a contract.

Nell: Number one: Don’t bait a Beefy.

Me: Of course. Sorry.



Me: Why is Poppy watching Harriet sleep?

Nell: It’s called Caring. I do that with you.

Me: Do you?

Nell: Yes, you know the puppies and I like to go up to bed with you every evening?

Me: Yes.

Nell: Well, it’s because we watch over you.

Me: I thought it was the electric blanket.

Nell: The electric blanket helps but it is mainly about Caring.

Me: Well, I am really touched.

Nell: Now, the forecast for tomorrow is cloud but no rain which means the pantomime can go ahead.

Me: Thank goodness for that.

Nell: Stephen Seagull and his band of Beefies may be planning an attack so we need to be on the alert.

Me: Do we have any security?

Nell: The Whippets Institute will be armed with stale scones and Poppy has her sword.

Me: Should I wear my all encasing hat?

Nell: Yes. We are advising hats to worn by everyone. Cast, crew and the audience.

Me: Where is Dave? I haven’t seen him all morning.

Nell: He’s down at the beach rehearsing with the noble steeds.

Me: Do we have horses?

Nell: No. Olive the Other Reindeer and Monty the Moose have volunteered. Henry and Horst are going to ride up front.

Me: Are you sure they should? It sounds ever so dangerous.

Nell: They will be wearing a full coat of armour.

Me: I didn’t know there was armour for woodlice.

Nell: The Cat made it from extra sturdy tin foil and a couple of thimbles.

Me: Are Fred and Ginger performing?

Nell: Timothy and the Canada Goose are involved.

Me: As Merry Dogs?

Nell: Certainly not. Ginger is doing a warm up with the audience before the show starts and Timothy will be selling ice creams in the interval.

Me: Of course. Sorry.