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A chance encounter

Me: Well, we weren’t expecting that to happen, were we?

Nell: It is always good to make a new friend.

Me: There we were browsing at The Barn, one of our favourite shops at the Garden Centre, when a lovely young woman…

Nell: Her name is Faye.

Me: Yes, but we didn’t know that at the time. Anyway, when a lovely young woman called Faye said ‘I recognise that face. It’s Nell.’

Nell: Yes. Very flattering to be recognised even though I was actually incognito as I was wearing a boy’s collar.

Me: She knew all about you because of our conversations. She reads them every day and loves them.

Nell: She was certainly delighted to meet me.

Me: She really was. In fact we are thinking of doing a book signing there, aren’t we?

Nell: Yes. It would be the perfect venue. Although I have another matter I would like to discuss with you before agreeing.

Me: Oh dear. What is it?

Nell: Would you kindly refrain from calling me Noodle in public?

Me: But you are my Noodle. You know Kev and I call you Noodle.

Nell: You are oversharing again. We’ve discussed this before.

Me: Mutley doesn’t mind being called Mutliano or The Mutt.

Nell: Mutley can’t hear.

Me: Kev sometimes calls Harriet, Harry Jet Long Face.

Nell: Yes. I wish he wouldn’t.

Me: And Poppy knows she is Popsicle.

Nell: Poppy is far too busy to care about names.

Me: Do you know Dave answered to David Hercules Martin recently.

Nell: Did you have a biscuit?

Me: I might have done.

Nell: David would answer to David Gloria Martin for a biscuit. It doesn’t mean he wants you to call him Gloria in public.

Me: I would never call him Gloria.

Nell: That’s not the point and you know it.

Me: Yes. You are right. Sorry, Noodle.

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Monday prawns

Me: What are you and Dave doing?

Nell: Checking for prawns.

Me: Prawns?

Nell: Yes. The Beefies have been dropping prawns on the roofers.

Me: You don’t want to miss one.

Nell: Certainly not. Although, I can think of better ways to spend a Monday morning.

Me: I don’t like Mondays.

Nell: You need to change your attitude. See Mondays as a new beginning. A fresh start.

Me: Every time I start writing, the roofers start banging.

Nell: All right Miss Grumpy Two Shoes.

Me: It’s Goody Two Shoes.

Nell: It most certainly isn’t. Nothing good about you. Walking around with a face like a wet Westie.

Me: You mean wet weekend.

Nell: I do not. The weekend was sunny. ‘Don’t eat the prawns, David. We don’t know where they’ve been. Just pass them on to Malcolm.’

Me: Talking of Malcolm, he looks like he has the cares of the world on his shoulders. If flamingos had shoulders.

Nell: Malcolm is going through a crisis.

Me: Wedding nerves?

Nell: Prawns.

Me: You’ve found most of them.

Nell: No. He’s gone off them.

Me: I don’t blame him.

Nell: He needs to eat them to maintain his colour. He can’t get married in grey.

Me: Many people do.

Nell: But Malcolm is a flamingo. He needs to be pink.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Poppy is on the case. She is making a carrot cake as we speak.

Me: Cake is always a comfort.

Nell: It’s about the beta carotene not the comfort. Do keep up. Did I just see Gladys being lowered down in the roofers’ bucket?

Me: I’m not sure it’s called a bucket but she is having great fun. Dave wants a turn later.

Nell: Do you seriously think David is going to be lowered off the roof in a bucket? He is the size of a small pony.

Me: No. Probably not. Sorry.

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Mother’s Day thoughts

Me: Smiling, sunshine faces.

Nell: Actually those are Waiting for Treats faces. The trick is to focus intently with a winning smile. Harriet is exceptionally skilled. Poppy is over keen.

Me: I think Dave’s winning smile is a bit forced.

Nell: David struggles with the concept of Waiting.

Me: Yes. He is more of an immediate boy.

Nell: He is a product of his time. It’s all now, now, now with these young things and their iBones.

Me: I’d be lost without mine, to be honest.

Nell: Poodle has made them lazy. Nobody looks anything up in books anymore they just Poodle it.

Me: You mean Google.

Nell: I do not. Google isn’t a word. I don’t know why they had to choose a Poodle. I’ve never seen them as particularly wise.

Me: Did you know that it is Mother’s Day in lots of countries today?

Nell: Yes. David asked that know-all Alexa and she droned on and on listing countries.

Me: It’s her job to tell us things, Nell.

Nell: Insisting on us saying her name all the time. Imagine if you had to start every question with Nell and I ignored you if you didn’t?

Me: You often do.

Nell: Anyway, Alice will be celebrating Mother’s Day in Germany with Jonathan Sky no doubt.

Me: Yes, and with Baby Snail too next year.

Nell: We mustn’t forget our friends in the United States, Australia and Canada. Chris is with his girlfriend Shannon and her dear mother Ann.

Me: Yes. It’s almost everywhere today except the UK. I wonder why.

Nell: Ask know-all Alexa.

Me: Let’s just celebrate mothers around the world. Treasure them while you can.

Nell: And remember they are always watching over you from near or afar.

Me: Yes.

Nell: She is, you know.

Me: Yes. I miss her. Sorry.

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I was under that table

Me: I love your sandy face, although you are giving me a rather hard stare.

Nell: It’s not just sand. You remember the incident just now with Kev’s cold tea?

Me: Yes. It was quite funny. When I put my empty paper cup into his I didn’t realise his cup still had tea in it and it went all over the picnic table.

Nell: I was under that table.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: I was busy clearing up when I was showered with cold tea. Notice my face.

Me: I do apologise, Nell. Fortunately it’s only a little.

Nell: Easy for you to say.

Me: I’m sure Dave will clean it off. He is ever so good at that. Remember Gladys and the jam?

Nell: Yes. And Harriet and the Parmesan cheese?

Me: And Mutley and the tomato sauce?

Nell: The list is endless. Now, as it is Saturday and the weekend there will be no roofers.

Me: I know. Peace and quiet for two days.

Nell: Apart from choir practice.

Me: Excuse me?

Nell: You know Myfanwy invited Mutley to sing at their next concert? Well, they are rehearsing later.

Me: I didn’t know.

Nell: Don’t worry. They will be gone by 4pm because of the cheerleading Chow Chows.

Me: The what?

Nell: The cheerleading Chow Chows from Chichester. They are down here on holiday and got chatting to David and Gladys at the Quay.

Me: Of course they did.

Nell: To cut a long story short they are coming to tea. Poppy knows. She did a lot of cheerleading in her youth.

Me: Why am I not surprised? Is Dave carrying a Pom Pom?

Nell: No, it’s just Gladys. Easy mistake to make though. I think he left his Pom Poms at home.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Friday thoughts by the sea

Me: What were you thinking about down at South Milton Sands, Nell?

Nell: Life. Love.

Me: Deep thoughts. The sea does that to me, too.

Nell: And Lettuce.

Me: Lettuce?

Nell: Yes. I don’t see the point of it. Why ruin a perfectly good sandwich?

Me: I really like lettuce. I could eat it every day.

Nell: And don’t get me started on cucumber. Slimy stuff. As for tomatoes.

Me: What brought this on?

Nell: Poppy and I were discussing summer sandwiches and she wondered if she needed to start adding salad.

Me: It’s an idea.

Nell: Well, it’s one I have knocked firmly on the head. Egg and cress is acceptable at a pinch but the minute you start adding salady stuff your sandwiches go soggy.

Me: True. Nobody likes a soggy sandwich.

Nell: You know The Cat suggested edible glitter?

Me: In a sandwich?

Nell: In the bread. It said it will make your sandwich sparkle like the sun on the sea.

Me: I rather like that idea.

Nell: Ridiculous nonsense. We’ll be having sandwiches as fashion accessories next.

Me: How awful. Did you know they were going to choose Archie Harrison, by the way?

Nell: Of course I did. Meghan, Harry and I were in discussion for months.

Me: It’s certainly unusual.

Nell: Harrison means son of Harry and they both love the name Archie. Personally, I think that is a good enough reason for anyone.

Me: I agree.

Nell: Master Archie may not have the title of Prince but that’s what he will be for those who love him.

Me: Just like you are our queen.

Nell: I have no need of a title. I am your Nell and always will be. That’s enough for me.

Me: It’s enough for me, too. Sorry.

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National Lost Sock Day

Me: Goodness me. You Labradors are tired.

Nell: I think you will find Poppy has joined us for a nap too.

Me: Oh yes. I didn’t see her at the back.

Nell: All this roofing is getting us down. Bang, bang, bang. All day long.

Me: It’s only just started. I must say I am finding writing quite difficult.

Nell: Fortunately we have other things on our minds.

Me: You do?

Nell: Yes. Today is National Lost Sock Day.

Me: You are making it up.

Nell: I am not. It is a day most dogs like to celebrate. There is nothing more enjoyable than a lost sock.

Me: I don’t think Kev would agree with you.

Nell: Yes. He can be a little tetchy.

Me: That’s because you lot keep stealing his socks.

Nell: Stealing is a little harsh. When a sock looks lost a Labrador feels bound to rescue it.

Me: And tear it to pieces. How are you celebrating?

Nell: I’m afraid I can’t tell you but it involves David, Gladys and my handbag.

Me: You haven’t found out where Kev has hidden his socks, have you?

Nell: I couldn’t possibly say.

Me: If you think Dave can throw Gladys up onto the top shelf in your handbag you are very much mistaken.

Nell: I’m sure I am.

Me: And if you think Gladys can hide the socks in your handbag you have got another think coming.

Nell: Works every time.

Me: What does?

Nell: I knew you would come up with answer.

Me: Wait a minute. Where is Dave going with your handbag?

Nell: Nowhere.

Me: Kev will be furious.

Nell: C’est la vie.

Me: It’s not life, Nell. You tricked me into giving it away.

Nell: I am only joking. David is taking Gladys over to The Cat’s for a game of Scrabble. As if we would steal Kev’s socks.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Sharing is caring

Nell: I’m not sure David’s appointment as Roofing Liaison Officer was the correct decision.

Me: He seems to be taking the job very seriously, though.

Nell: He is certainly taking the distribution and sharing of bacon sandwiches seriously.

Me: He is such a sociable boy.

Nell: He is a greedy boy.

Me: He may have eaten a few too many sandwiches by mistake.

Nell: He spilt brown sauce on his sequinned vest. The Cat has taken it to be cleaned.

Me: Oh dear.

Nell: Gladys has already been reprimanded for incorrect footwear.

Me: She hates those boots.

Nell: Who wears stilettos on a building site?

Me: She needs them for the Argentine tango.

Nell: And why does Mutley have to be her partner? He is wearing a moustache and a dinner jacket.

Me: I think he wants to impress Myfanwy.

Nell: But Gladys is having to lead and that up and down rubbing the leg movement makes them look like they have fleas.

Me: It’s part of the dance.

Nell: One of the roofers nearly fell off the scaffolding.

Me: It’s not every day you see a Patterdale and a Pomeranian doing an Argentine tango.

Nell: We definitely don’t need a Welsh corgi choir. They aren’t even vaguely Argentinian and they keep knitting in between songs. There is wool everywhere.

Me: I think it was Myfanwy’s idea, to be fair.

Nell: The only good thing is, it is making Charlie laugh.

Me: That is a very good thing.

Nell: Anyway, would you kindly ask the Roofing Liaison Officer to return my handbag?

Me: That’s an awfully unusual object for a roofer to take. Are you sure you aren’t mistaken?

Nell: It’s not a roofer, it’s David. Do keep up.

Me: Oh yes, I forgot.

Nell: Please tell me the Whippets Institute didn’t just arrive in their minibus?

Me: I’m afraid they did. Sorry.

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How cute was she?

Nell: It’s Kev with baby Harriet.

Me: Yes. All this talk of babies made me look through the old photos. How cute was she?

Nell: Harriet has immense charm.

Me: Kev fell in love with her the moment he saw her.

Nell: It was mutual.

Me: What do you think about the royal baby?

Nell: I am delighted for them both. Meghan and I have been in touch this morning. She and Baby Sussex are doing well.

Me: Any ideas about his name?

Nell: My lips are sealed. You will find out soon enough.

Me: What does everyone else think?

Nell: David is sure he is going to be called Dave which is clearly ridiculous.

Me: It is unlikely, as is Malcolm, or Timothy.

Nell: And Mutley is definitely off the cards.

Me: What about Charlie and Jim?

Nell: Yes. James and Charles have history behind them.

Me: I’m afraid Kev isn’t likely either.

Nell: No, and I’ve told Count Bingo it’s never happening.

Me: It’s so exciting and granddaughter Baby Snail is due on 28th May too.

Nell: I shall be glad when she isn’t called Snail.

Me: It’s from that lovely children’s book ‘The Snail and the Whale’.

Nell: I am aware. I feel Nell might be a possibility but Gladys is a definite no.

Me: Yes.

Nell: On another note I am able to inform you that the roofing has started.

Me: Finally.

Nell: We are now living on a building site. You will also be pleased to hear that we are having a Health and Safety meeting on your return.

Me: I’m not that pleased, to be honest, Nell. I might be a bit tired after all the travelling.

Nell: Nonsense. You can never be too tired to discuss the importance of a hard hat and a sequinned vest. Now hurry home.

Me: Yes, of course. Sorry.

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Bank holiday delivery

Me: Look at your cousins Boo, Seamus and Naughty Nigel in the bluebell wood.

Nell: Yes. You appear to be enjoying yourselves in leafy Buckinghamshire.

Me: We had a lovely time on our walk. The countryside is looking particularly beautiful at this time of year.

Nell: No sea there, of course. No beaches to walk along.

Me: I know. Is everything ok at home?

Nell: Mutley has an admirer.

Me: Really?

Nell: Yes. Someone left a bowl of cockles and a hunk of black bread on the doorstep this morning with a card saying ‘For lovely Mutley’.

Me: That will be laverbread. It’s made from seaweed. It’s ever so popular in Wales.

Nell: Exactly.

Me: What do you mean?

Nell: A round corgi in a lace neckerchief and a tall hat was seen leaving the area with an empty basket.

Me: Probably collecting for charity.

Nell: No. Her basket was empty.

Me: Oh dear. Not one donation?

Nell: No. It was a delivery.

Me: Impressive. On a Bank Holiday.

Nell: For Mutley.

Me: Oh, I see. I wonder who it is.

Nell: We suspect Myfanwy. Her head is easily turned.

Me: Have you tried the laverbread?

Nell: Certainly not. We have more than enough seaweed in our lives without having to eat the stuff.

Me: What about Mutley?

Nell: He is having the cockles for tea and says Myfanwy is welcome to join him for quiet conversation but he can promise nothing more.

Me: Well, he is of a certain age now.

Nell: That’s not it. His heart belongs to Maggie, a beautiful American Shih Tzu from Pennsylvania.

Me: I never knew. By the way, I’m coming home tomorrow afternoon. Do you think you can collect me?

Nell: Now you tell me. I’ll have to change my hair appointment. Needs must I suppose.

Me: Yes. Sorry.

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Sunday goodbyes

Me: Don’t look at me like that. I feel awful.

Nell: Why do you have to go away again?

Me: I’m visiting my sister Charlotte. She is alone this Bank Holiday weekend.

Nell: All I wanted to do was rest my paws after all the excitement. Instead I have to trek across Devon to take you to the station.

Me: It’s only half an hour away, Nell.

Nell: You are going to miss the celebratory afternoon tea.

Me: I know.

Nell: You realise we made the headlines in the Sunday Growl and Barking Weekly.

Me: I’m not surprised. It was an amazing performance. The way Mutley flew down from the roof singing.

Nell: Mutley wasn’t meant to fly. The Beefies hit him with a mackerel and he lost his footing. Fortunately David managed to lower him down gently on his safety rope.

Me: Gladys and the chihuahuas covered it really well with their impromptu contemporary dance to ‘America’.

Nell: Yes, although it was all a little chaotic. Especially when the Welsh corgis launched into ‘I Feel Pretty’.

Me: Mutley wasn’t singing either of those songs.

Nell: No. He was singing ‘My Way’. It’s his default song in times of crisis.

Me: I don’t think anyone noticed.

Nell: The headline says ‘Mutley and the Martins do it Their Way’ so I rather think they did.

Me: Never mind. The audience went wild.

Nell: No wonder. They were being pelted with mackerel. Fortunately there were a number of flamingos and the odd heron who took it in their stride.

Me: How did they get past Owl Pacino?

Nell: Malcolm was on the door and they tied him up with an octopus. By the time he was released the Beefies had got through.

Me: Gosh. At least he wasn’t squidnapped.

Nell: Stop. You have a train to catch. Give our love to Charlotte.

Me: Yes. Sorry.