Dexter: Arch, Arch, what’s this white stuff?
Archie: It’s snow, Pipsqueak.
Dexter: It doesn’t smell. It doesn’t taste. But my paws are cold – and it’s skiddy!
Archie: The first time I saw snow, I was five months younger than you are now. And we had a trampoline. Snow’s fun.
Dexter: I’m cold. I’m going in for a biscuit and a cuddle.
Archie: We didn’t get our New Year walkies by the sea, Pipsqueak – thanks to lockdown and the weather. So let’s look back at last summer in our favourite place. We can sing about it…
Every dog delights to have a doggy holiday
Down beside the side of the silvery sea.
We’re no exception to the rule, in fact, if we’d our way,
We’d reside by the side of the silvery sea.
But when you’re just a spaniel you can’t drive out to the sea
You have to wait and plead
Until the parents agree
You save up all your biscuits so you can have a packed tea (Archie: Unless the cafe’s open and you can beg a sausage roll)
Then away they take you to Wells-next-the-Sea…
Oh! We do like to be beside the seaside!
We do like to be beside the sea!
Oh we do like to stroll along the Prom, Prom, Prom! (Dexter: Arch, there isn’t a prom, just endless sand and dunes! Archie: Shh, Pipsqueak, it’s the chorus!)
Where the brass bands play, “Tiddely-om-pom-pom!”
(Dexter: Arch, there aren’t any brass bands, either! Just dogs. Archie: All right, Pipsqueak…)
Where the other doggies say, “Woofity-wuff-wuff-wuff!”
So just let us be beside the seaside!
We’ll be beside ourselves with glee,
And there’s lots of dogs beside,
I should like to be beside,
Beside the seaside,
Beside the sea!
Dexter: Arch, Arch, what’s New Year?
Archie: It’s the first day of the year, Pipsqueak. Your first new year (just as this was your first Christmas).
Archie: Usually we go to the beach.
Dexter: Running around, playing with lots of dogs, jumping in the waves, then going to the cafe so the parents can get coffee and we get a hot sausage roll.
Archie: Yes. But not this year. We’re back in lockdown. So we’re home. Naps on the sofa. Oh, and we’re supposed to make resolutions.
Dexter: What are resolutions?
Archie: They’re things you try to do in future so you’re healthier and happier.
Dexter: That’s easy. More walkies — and more snacks.
Archie: I think Mum would prefer you only to eat food in future. Not the tea towels, not the corner of her favourite tablecloth you chewed this morning, and definitely no more scourers.
Dexter: You have to admit, it was great having chicken and mash three times a day.
Archie: Yeah, but Mum in worry mode is like the worst thing ever. We need to give her more cuddles to make up for it.
Dexter: Then that’s my resolution. More walkies, more snacks and more cuddles.
Archie: That’s a good one. I think humans ought to do that, too — well, when they’re allowed to hug again. Happy New Year!
Archie: Pipsqueak, it’s when Santa Paws brings us new toys and yummy things. The parents eat too much and play board games with the kids and there’s cheese – and we get Christmas Dinner. Like Sunday roast but better.
Dexter: Is that why that tree is on top of all the music?
Archie: It’s there so you don’t pull the reindeer off and chew the tinsel. But, yes, it’s a Christmas tree and if it’s like last year that means some of the parcels underneath it are ours.
Dexter: Arch, Arch, is Santa Paws here yet?
Archie: No, but we’ll keep watch…
(Christmas Day, morning)
Dexter: Arch, Arch, Santa Paws has been! That thing I sniffed under the tree when I stood on the arm of the chair – it’s ours!
Archie: Calm down. You’re moving so fast Mum can’t take good pictures. We’re blurs! Calm down. We have all day. And you’re licking the wrapper, Pipsqueak. The good stuff is actually INSIDE the stocking…
(Christmas Day, evening)
Dexter: Mmm. Turkey. Walkies. Sausages wrapped in bacon. More turkey. A roast potato. Walkies AGAIN, yippee! Though the parents got a bit excited about the light in the sky.
Archie: Dad says it was a UFO. Mum says it was probably a bolide.
Dexter: What’s a bolide?
Archie: I don’t know, either.
Dexter: I don’t understand half of what Mum says. But never mind. My tummy’s full. And did you see how well I’ve trained Chloe? I lay on my back and lifted my paws, and she came and sat next to me and rubbed my tummy.
Archie: Yeah, but Chris gave me extra bacon.
Dexter: Because you’re bigger than me. I’m exhausted. What a day! I’m going to have a nap on Mum’s lap.
Archie: So am I. Though I really think you shouldn’t have scoffed those Brussels sprouts. They’ve made you a bit gassy.
Dexter: The turkey made YOU gassy. Haha. Can we do it all over again tomorrow? Christmas EVERY DAY?
Dexter: Look at this, Arch! It’s a big pile of sand with a racetrack round it.
Archie: It’s a sandcastle, Pipsqueak.
Dexter: What’s a sandcastle?
Archie: It’s where kids — and sometimes teens — build a castle, and what you think is a racetrack is a moat that gets filled with water when the tide comes in. Sometimes they bring buckets of water from the sea but it sinks down and never fills.
Dexter: Water to play in — yay! I love the sea.
Archie: I know, Pipsqueak. And sometimes they sing songs. I think they’re meant to stand on top and sing, ‘I’m the king of the castle and you’re the dirty rascal…’ Except you’re the rascal, Pipsqueak! Let’s have a race!
Archie: Pipsqueak! Pipsqueak! I know Chloe’s in the front garden but you can’t climb out of the win— phew. So glad Mum just heard me barking and grabbed you before you fell.
Dexter, rather sulkily from the floor: But I wanted to go out and play.
Archie: Through the front door with your lead on, only.
Dexter: Huh. You spoil *all* my fun. My life is RUINED.
Archie, realising pup is about to have a teenage strop and planning distraction: There’s a song about dogs and windows. We can go and pose for it in the conservatory and sing, if you like.
Dexter: Sing? All right, then.
Archie: How much is that doggie in the window — the one with the waggly tail? How much is that doggie in the window? I do hope that doggie’s for sale.
Dexter, flouncing: So you want to get rid of me now, do you?
Archie: Arggh! No. I would like you to stop pulling my tail when you want to play, but I’m used to you being around. It’s just a song. All right. We’ll sing a different song about windows. It’s one Mum loves by Travis. Flowers in the Window.
Dexter, still flouncing: I don’t want flowers. I want a biscuit.
Archie: I can’t open the treat tin. You’ll have to go and find Dad. He’s a pushover…
Dexter: So Mum’s an author.
Archie: That’s right, Pipsqueak.
Dexter: So she likes words.
Dexter: That’s why she’s playing Scrabble in the garden.
Dexter: We could play Scrabble with her. B-I-S-C-U-I-T — hey, that’s a 7-letter word, so I get bonus points for using all my letters!
Archie: Yeah, but you need to *have* those actual letters on your tray before you can put the word on the board. You can’t just make up any word you like.
Dexter: Hmm. I’d rather have a proper biscuit, anyway…