Mothers In Need

Look at the beautiful Autumn colours I saw on my walk today, Readers – the stunning golds, reds and bronzes of the leaves on the dew-covered grass. And look at all the cack on my back where I rolled in something. Nobody shouted at me though, as I was out with dear, dear Ebony and her Pack Leader so they just laughed whimsically and told me I’m a little rascal. Obviously if I had been with my Pack Leader things would have been different and I would have been screamed at and dragged home with non-stop scolding all the way.

Today, Readers, it is something called “Children in Need” which is an annual national fundraising event that brings the country together in the spirit of goodwill and charity. Correction, most of the country. Regular Readers will know that in previous years She and her good friend Loadsakids always go out for a few drinks on Children In Need night as they feel that Mothers In Need is sadly overlooked and frankly just as important. Loadsakids and She discuss things like their bldy teenagers and bldy dogs over a glass or two of lemonade and then sit in a dark cinema for the rest of the evening, not having to be sociable or indeed charitable. I know, Friends. What an attitude.

However, due to coronavirus we are in another National Lockdown which means that She and Loadsakids cannot go out to celebrate Mothers In Need in their usual style. This has vexed them both greatly and they are having to come up with a plan B. I suspect this will involve drinking glasses of lemonade at home in their pyjamas and discussing their bldy teenagers and bldy dogs over Whatsapp. I ask you.

I’ve had scant attention at home this week, Friends, due to an Extended Working Schedule which has involved Extra Long Days and A Heavy Workload. Thankfully dear, dear Ebony and Pippa’s Pack Leaders have picked up the slack so I’ve had some company of a day, but really it’s not good enough. Then at night I sprawl across the bed hoping for a small crumb of comfort but no, I am shoved and moaned at and I have to fight back quite aggressively to stand my ground in the middle of the bed. I will NOT be moved on this, Readers, and refuse to surrender to the foot or side of the bed or even, God forbid, my own dog bed. One has to make a stance at times.

There has been the usual palaver of Year 10 schoolwork all week as Young Lad is still just a smidgeon behind with some tasks. The chicken madras that he made for Food Tech quite a while ago still hadn’t been given a written evaluation, plus he was now a week late in making vegetable samosas. And so it was that one evening there was an emergency trip to Tesco Express at the top of the road to buy garlic (if you remember, Young Lad was a little heavy-handed with this in the chicken madras) and vegetable oil – we never fry in this house, Readers, and so vegetable oil is never in our pantry – and Young Lad was told to get on with the bldy samosas. She acted as sous chef doing lots of chopping and prepping, to speed up the whole bldy process, while Young Lad did the more interesting aspects of the task such as making the pastry. This had to be rolled out very, very thinly and there followed a very amusing half hour Friends, as they tried to work out how to make triangles from a semi-circle. The recipe said “cut a 20cm circle of thinly-rolled pastry in half, and then roll it round your finger to make a cone, add the samosa filling, and close into a triangle shape.” Neither of them had the faintest idea what they were doing and I did think, Readers, that perhaps if She had been the sort of Mother to do lots of art and craft with Young Lad at home when he was little, they would know how to turn a cone into a triangle. Unfortunately the attitude used to be “that’s what I pay nursery fees for,” and so not much cutting and sticking ever happened here in the halcyon days of childhood.

By the end of Young Lad’s Food Tech practical, there was thinly rolled pastry hanging off the working surface and washing machine, and samosa filling everywhere. I have never seen so much mess from a simple task that a fourteen-year old was meant to be doing unaided.

The samosas were oblong.

They tasted nice, though, to be fair to Young Lad. Young Lad has watched Masterchef The Professionals AND the Great British Bake Off over the last couple of nights as he knows he needs to up his game.

I am missing Lad, Friends, as he is busy at university doing his laundry. The last we heard from Lad was that the university tumble dryers are still shxt and still don’t dry his brushed cotton duvet cover so he has damp bedding hanging everywhere. Obviously this causes me great concern about Lad’s health and I do hope he is eating properly. Steak and the such like. Lad is facing Lockdown at university just like the rest of us and is most upset that the gym is closed, so has to workout in his very small room. Poor Lad. These really are challenging times for everyone.

I saw on the news that universities will send students back home in the first week of December so I haven’t got long to wait now until Lad is back, and not taking me for walks as usual.

She was feeling quite chipper this morning, Friends, as it was the end of a long week and was laughing gaily with her colleagues at work, when the mood was changed quite dramatically by Young Lad phoning to say that Year 10 had another positive case and were being sent home immediately. Yes indeed, Young Lad now has another ten days off school but he must be due for a rest as has just managed seven whole days in school without much of a break.

And so, Friends, Gingercat and I face another week of Young Lad not doing his home schooling whilst home alone, choosing instead to look at more interesting websites, and the row that will ensue when She gets home from work. Every night. Sometimes Gingercat and I think about moving out.

It’s meant to be wet and windy this weekend – no doubt I will be dragged out for long walks through the sodden countryside but I hope the rest of you batten down the hatches and enjoy Lockdown once again.

Someone here is already enjoying Lockdown as I can hear that tell-tale clink of ice.

Stay safe,

See you soon,

Russell

Here We Go Again

Readers, I’m sure many of you have a similar expression on your face today following last night’s announcement that we are going into another National Lockdown. Now, nobody wears a depressed face quite like me but I would imagine some of you are not far off today. All I can say is that I will do my best to distract you from the current situation for a short while, as I narrate the banal minutiae of life in my home. With everything that’s going on in the world at the moment you would think that daily life here might step up a little, but no, Friends, it isn’t to be.

Take today for example. Young Lad has been at home for three weeks – yes, three! – due to Year 10 having to self-isolate followed by half term. In the space of that three weeks there has been ample time for him to carry out the next GCSE Food Practical, but no: it had to be left to the last minute today. To start with there was a fierce argument with Young Lad about what ‘Food Miles’ actually means; Young Lad wanted to cook a curry as this is from India, which is a long way away, but She insisted the point of Food Miles is to source ingredients from as close to home as possible. Young Lad didn’t agree and put his foot down. In Young Lad’s mind, the more miles the better and he would not be dissuaded from this line of thought. Eventually She gave in and there was a bad-tempered march round Sainsburys whilst Young Lad found all the ingredients. All the joy was sucked out of this experience by making Young Lad write down the origin of each product – the tin of tomatoes, for example, was from Italy and the basmati rice was from Pakistan. Surprisingly pretty much everything else Young Lad needed for his chicken madras was produced in the UK, but then even more joy was sucked out by forcing him to research how far away Pakistan and Italy are from the UK, and record this in boring detail.

For goodness sake! How to stifle creativity.

Finally Young Lad was actually allowed into the kitchen to prepare his meal. It smelled fantastic, Readers, due to the large quantities of garlic that went into it (I’m not sure Young Lad knows what a ‘clove’ is) and the carefully measured teaspoons of cumin, coriander, chilli and the like. The aroma improved even more once the expensive Free Range It Had A Nice Life Before The Processing Plant chicken was added – my mouth watered at this point. Young Lad served his chicken madras with basmati rice and naan bread, and even chucked some fresh coriander on top as decoration. Well done, Young Lad. There was plenty left, so Lovelydor down the road was offered an Indian takeway and not really given any choice in the matter – on my walk this afternoon we deposited foil containers of Young Lad’s curry with her.

The kitchen, after Young Lad’s efforts, was disgusting. I had to clean up loads of sauce that had spilled on the floor and it was all over the cooker too. I couldn’t reach that.

In amongst the somewhat fraught Year 10 Home Learning that has gone on, and on, and on, there have been some pleasant moments. She seems to have spent an inordinate amount of time going out for coffee with friends – it’s important to get as many of these opportunities in before National Lockdown as possible – and one day last week I was taken along too! We met some lovely friends and drove to a local area of natural beauty – however, several thousand other people had the same idea and we couldn’t get in the car park so had to give up and think of a plan B. Plan B turned out to be a lovely long walk through public footpaths and round a golf course – nobody seemed to have the slightest idea where we were going and more than once Serious Golfers had to wait for us to wander across the fairway, but She and her friends always had a smile and a cheery wave for the Serious Golfers who found the whole thing amusing rather than annoying. Eventually we made our way out of the golf course and to a pub, which was much happier all round. I sat very nicely with my bowl of water and only barked once when the food was brought out. She told me crossly to be quiet, but one of her friends, who is considerably nicer, gave me some crisps. I then had to put up with an hour and a half of idle gossip – bear in mind they hadn’t paused for breath round the golf course and public footpaths – really it was exhausting and hardly profound.

Even this afternoon, really quite late in terms of socialising opportunity, She met her good friends Loadsakids and Madame for an outside coffee. I wasn’t taken along this time, but I know for a fact there was a lot of staring bleakly into their cappucinos and shaking their heads. This was interspersed with bursts of raucous laughter as they told tales of their bldy kids or bldy dogs. Readers, I’m quite glad I stayed in my armchair for this one.

Down at the river this afternoon we saw Oscar the border terrier, who always jumps up at She’s legs and smothers her jeans in mud. I like Oscar. He’s funny. True to form he has plastered her jeans in thick black cack. Well done, Oscar. I haven’t seen any deer for a while in the woods, but there are plenty of squirrels and I feel sure that I am coming close to catching one of them.

There was a sweet small child by the river today, who stroked my ears and said, “I like your dog!” She replied that I am very naughty and can’t be trusted, which was rather unnecessary and spoiled the moment.

Anyway I haven’t been naughty for ages. I haven’t had the chance. However. tomorrow everyone is back to school and work so I am coming up with some ideas.

Readers, I can hear you asking for news of Lad. Well, Lad was allowed out of isolation at his university last weekend, and so She and Young Lad drove all the way down there to take Lad out for lunch and to buy him some food. This meant a visit to Express Pizza as they haven’t used their Tesco vouchers for a while and the points are mounting up – and then a trip to Asda for Lad to stock up on food for life at university. Lad put quite a lot of steak and mince in the trolley, which I applaud, but She made disparaging remarks about students should be eating tuna pasta not steak. This shows a total lack of regard for Lad’s iron levels and overall health, and I’m glad that Lad stood firm and wouldn’t put the steak back. Lad did comment, however, that Aldi is much cheaper and compared the prices of everything in the trolley at Asda to its equivalent at Aldi – She said Lad is becoming boring and what on earth has happened to him. Poor Lad.

Well, Friends, I am worn out from my walk this afternoon and ready for a sleep. There will be some frantic Whatsapping this evening to sort out doggy daycare for me this week, and I’m looking forward to seeing my good friends Pippa and Ebony again. I know for a fact that they have missed me a lot. Another of my dear friends, Delilah the Basset Hound, is experiencing problems with her anal glands at the moment and I do hope they clear soon for her. I know how they feel (and smell).

Chin up Readers – we will all manage to come out the other side if we keep each other’s spirits up. Talking of which, I can hear the clink of an ice cube and the shwoosh of the tonic being opened.

See you soon,

Russell

Browsing History

Here I am, Readers, looking thoroughly fed up in the bath again. This was at the weekend, after a lovely walk during which I found not one but two piles of fresh fox poo and had a good roll. The pleasure this brings me is short-lived however, as I am dragged up the stairs when we get home and made to stand in warm water in the bath. It’s incredibly annoying.

Friends, settle down with a nice drink as I will write you a bumper edition tonight. I know many of you are fed up with coronavirus and Tier 1 or Tier 2 – which makes it sound like a wedding cake or a rather jolly theatre – and many of you have been stuck indoors again for a while now. I will do my best to lift your spirits. Not that anybody ever tries to lift mine.

Well, you really couldn’t make it up. Young Lad should be at school but has to stay at home and isolate because some random person in Year 10 that MIGHT have walked through the same room as him, has tested positive for Covid. Young Lad is very happy about this state of affairs and has been at home for ten days now. Young Lad is supposed to do online lessons all day every day, but this seems to have bypassed him and it’s all been a bit of a struggle. She became rather concerned about the lack of schoolwork being done while She was out at work, and carefully/clearly/in words of one bldy syllable wrote out the instructions for Young Lad’s work yesterday. When She returned four hours later from work, Young Lad had not completed any of the tasks. Poor Young Lad does not know about the Browsing History on his laptop, and did not realise that any Fuhrer type person would be able to see which youtube videos and non-educational websites he had been on all morning. Personally I feel this is an invasion of Young Lad’s privacy, but anyway there was a lot of shouting and bad temper, with the odd incredulous “FOUR HOURS!!! How can you not have done ONE task?”” and so on. It was all a bit much to be honest, so Gingercat and I hunkered down in our armchairs and slept through it all.

Young Lad was banned yet again from the Xbox. Poor Young Lad.

Today She stayed at home and sat at the table ALL day next to Young Lad so there was no chance whatsoever for him to be looking at WWE wrestling when he should have been writing a character analysis for An Inspector Calls. I’ve been exhausted just listening to it all.

The only respite was when I was dragged out for a three mile walk across the sodden fields this afternoon. Readers it has poured all day; was I even consulted about whether I wanted a long walk in the rain? No I was not, and frankly I was more than happy in my armchair. But no, in the spirit of ‘exercise’ and ‘being healthy’ we had to power walk down to the river and over the bridge, then up into the fields beyond in non-stop rain. At some point in Pheasant Field it dawned on someone that there is a large hole in their wellington boots, and so the power walk became a little more irritable as feet were soaked and we still had over a mile to go. Plus these wellington boots were purchased from a garden centre last year at considerably more expense than the usual ones from Tesco, but have not lasted any longer. Lessons have been learned.

There weren’t quite so many people out with their dogs today, unsurprisingly, but I did bump into Teddy who is a large white labradoodle. Teddy bounded over to me and in a rare moment of recklessness, I played with him and we chased each other round the sodden field and jumped on each other’s backs, growling. Neither Teddy nor I were still white by the time our Pack Leaders caught up with us. It was terrific fun and I haven’t played like that for a while.

Then we came back and Young Lad was held down and interrogated to see how much work he had done while we were out for my walk. The answer was not much, Friends.

In an interesting parallel of life in this house at the moment, Lad is also having to isolate at university. This is because someone in his flat tested positive for Covid, and now several other students have, too. Lad hasn’t tested positive for Covid and feels he is invincible, but still has to stay in. There was an emotional phone call home on the first day of isolation, as Lad could not face the prospect of staying in his room for fourteen days, as the cable for his TV and Xbox was broken which would make life unbearable. If Lad was expecting sympathy he was greatly disappointed, as She’s curt reaction was “two words: Freshers’ Week.” Then there was some ridiculous analogy about if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime and I think Lad probably found someone else to ring for sympathy, such as Nana aged 89. Poor Lad.

I am greatly concerned, Readers, about how Lad is managing to eat. You know how important food is to me, and it worries me sick that Lad can’t get out to buy food. I don’t want Lad to starve! Anyway, it turns out that he had done a late night shop at Aldi the day before going into isolation, and that £30 of food from Aldi can last two weeks with no problem. Lad is this very evening making himself pasta pesto and having a lovely time.

Oh, and Lad managed to fix the cable for his Xbox and TV so life didn’t look so bleak once he’d done that and it appears he can stay in his room for two weeks after all. Well done, Lad.

Well, due to Young Lad being at home I haven’t had to go to daycare at dear Ebony or Pippa’s house for a week or so. I miss them dreadfully and would infinitely prefer to be there than in my own house, where I am ignored. Ebony and Pippa’s houses are in much better states of repair than my own home, which is quite honestly going downhill again. I did think things had improved in terms of shoddiness for a while, but we’re now back to living in a hovel. The cord pull for the bathroom light broke off ages ago, and kept getting shorter and shorter until one had to stand on tiptoe to be able to pull it, and even then with a bit of a jump. I can’t tell you how ludicrous it looked whenever anyone needed the bathroom in the dark and had to leap up and down trying to snatch one centimetre of cord. Has anyone bothered to fix this properly? Of course not. She eventually found a ball of string and stood on a chair, simply tying a long piece of thin string to the tiny piece of cord. It looks like nothing on earth.

Plus, back in the summer (yes, MONTHS ago) Young Lad was playing football in the garden with his friends when one of them kicked the ball into the shed and broke two of the three windows. Nobody has attempted any sort of repair whatsoever, so not only are the families of tarantulas that live in the shed free to leave whenever they want to, but the cushions for the nice garden sofa that was purchased during lockdown are going damp and a bit mouldy. It just takes a little care and forethought, Readers, that’s all.

To be honest, all these jobs plus cleaning the filthy oven and giving the carpets a steam clean could all be done this week, while She has some time off work. Plans for this time off originally involved a lot of lunches with friends, much laughter and clinking of glasses, but now that our area has moved to Tier 2 that’s well and truly off the agenda. What a perfect time, Friends, for catching up with those household jobs instead of dragging me out in the rain or making poor Young Lad’s life a misery. This morning She had a brilliant idea and texted Lovelydor down the road to see if Lovelydor fancied meeting up for coffee and a natter this afternoon. This was incredibly cruel and heartless, Readers. We are in TIER TWO! This means no meeting up with friends for coffee and nattering! How thoughtless to suggest something nice and sociable to Lovelydor, only to snatch it back seconds later with “oh sorry, no we can’t can we.” For goodness sake, I wish She would think things through. Poor Lovelydor took it very well, and made a very wise remark that at least we’re all still here to tell the tale of being in Tier Bldy Two.

Amongst the very long list of home learning tasks that Young Lad is meant to be doing, is a new GCSE Food Practical. This time it is all about ‘Food Miles’, but I have no clue as to what that means and couldn’t care less. I am quite keen for Young Lad to need sirloin steak again for his food miles recipe and will suggest this to him.

She, in an unusual moment of kindness, has decided to reward Young Lad for being chained to the table all day and actually putting a shift in for once, by making pineapple upside down pudding for dinner. This is one of Young Lad and my favourites. It makes a godforsaken mess of the oven and drips all over the place, which pleases me as I get to clean up whatever falls on the floor. I will sit in front of the oven as the pudding is taken out, ready to catch any drips even if they’re boiling hot, and then I will stamp my feet and whine while Young Lad is eating his pudding later on. I’ll be shouted at and told to get in my chair but it’s always worth a try.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring, Readers. I hope the weather improves if there is any thought of long power walks again, and one can only hope that Young Lad is let up for air from his school books at some point. I will do my best to find some bins to empty and to drag the recycling round the garden, as it is always much more fun to clean this up when it’s wet and soggy. I hope that Lad’s pesto pasta maybe stretches to two days, and that someone takes him supplies of fresh fruit and vegetables soon otherwise he’ll get scurvy.

What strange times we live in, Friends.

Keep washing your hands and stay safe.

See you soon,

Russell

Cor!

Readers, I found it intensely annoying last night that Young Lad took so long to eat his apple. He was distracted by something on Netflix and it really was vexing that I had to wait so long for the apple core. Apple cores are not very good for dogs, in fact, but I have never let this kind of detail deter me. In the end I had no choice but to lean over and snatch the apple out of his hand. I was shouted at.

I’ve been shouted at tonight, too, for trying to steal a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios; to be honest I can’t quite believe that cheese on toast and a bowl of cereal could be considered dinner for She, but there was a general air of apathy around cooking and so out came the Cheerios. If you will leave them on the coffee table while you pop back to the kitchen, what do you expect? I’m now sulking in my chair and intend doing so for the rest of the evening. I’m never shouted at when I go to dear, dear Pippa or Ebony’s house.

On the whole it’s been a super day, though, as I went to Pippa’s house for daycare. We had a long walk and I have spent the rest of the day asleep in a nice armchair, surrounded by people who care about me. Yesterday was good, too, at Ebony’s house – apart from rushing to the kitchen when I heard the biscuit tin touched, I had a marvellous time sleeping on the soft furnishings there as well. This is the sort of life I deserve and which is so sadly lacking in my own home.

Last Sunday morning was gloriously sunny, with a clear blue sky and crisp autumnal air. She took me for a lovely walk up to the lake, and we both stood there for a while looking over the beautiful scene and thinking that life is good. Then I found some fox poo to roll in on the way home and life suddenly didn’t seem quite so good for one of us. There were two squirrels running along the path on the way back, but I was on the lead by then due to the fox poo, so I couldn’t chase them. Had I been able to, I’m sure I would have caught them both for I am a Hunting Dog. This has yet to be proved but I’m sure it’s true.

Friends, I know many of you are keen for news of Lad and how he is getting on at university. I’m happy to report that all is well and he has settled in very nicely; Lad is still coping with sharing bathroom facilities with one other person. Well done, Lad. He has even started doing some work and attending online lectures (when he wakes up in time)look, Lad has to go to bed very late because that’s what you do at university and its not his fault if he doesn’t set the alarm on his phone properly. The biggest problem facing Lad is the poor standard of laundry facilities – Lad has had to phone home for advice because the tumble dryers are “shxt” and don’t dry his designer tracksuits properly. She asked him what setting he had selected on the tumble dryers and Lad said they have to be on ‘delicates’ as otherwise his designer tracksuits might shrink. She sighed in an irritable way and said the choice was simple – dry but slim designer tracksuits or damp, loose fitting designer tracksuits. I feel that Lad was looking for a little more support than this, and just snapping ‘turn the temperature up’ was not what he needed.

Actually Lad had a splendid idea last week and asked if She would like to drive down on Sunday, to see Nana aged 89 and take Lad out for lunch. Then Lad expanded on his idea and said maybe She could go and pick up Lad and his washing first, take him to Nana aged 89’s so he could put it in her washing machine, take Lad out for a nice lunch somewhere, pop to Asda on the way back so that Lad could do his food shopping, and finally collect Lad’s washing and take him and his laundry back to his room in university. Lad wondered what She thought about this idea, and what a nice day it may be.

She said that Lad’s idea would involve at least five hours of driving and She would rather stick pins in her eyes.

Poor Lad. I feel this is yet another example of shoddy parenting, because if you can’t be bothered to give up your time for your offspring and dogs, why have them in the first place? What a snub for Lad, to tell him his idea was rubbish, and to just use the bldy laundrette at the bldy university and turn the bldy temperature up.

Undeterred, though, Lad has come up with another idea and wondered whether She would like to drive down to see Nana aged 89 at half-term; coincidentally he would like to come back to this part of the world to visit his friends (and me, obviously) and he could hop in the car rather than having the expense and inconvenience of rail travel. Lad is very clever and comes up with excellent ideas – I do feel his brilliance is not fully appreciated.

Young Lad has had another GCSE Food Technology Practical lesson which was carried out at home due to coronavirus. To my utter joy, Young Lad decided to make sirloin steak stir fry and so we actually had some decent quality meat in the fridge. She knows nothing about cuts of meat and had bought a very thick piece of sirloin (moaning incessantly about the price) so poor Young Lad had a heck of a job to cut it into strips with a large butcher’s knife. Then Young Lad, who has high standards in these things, decided there were some fatty bits that needed cutting off so these were dropped into my food bowl. Raw sirloin steak fat, Readers!! I was beside myself!

Young Lad said his sirloin steak stir fry was very tasty and gave himself a high mark in the assessment of it.

Last week was quite an eventful week here, Friends, with various things happening and it meant that She’s friend Gordon popped round quite a lot. I lost count of the times I heard the fizz of the tonic water and the plop of the ice, but really it can’t go on like this. I’m sure responsible parents and Pack Leaders turn to things like yoga during stressful weeks rather than hard spirits. I might suggest this to She – I know for a fact there is a yoga mat and blocks upstairs which haven’t been used for about ten years.

No, I can’t see it happening either.

Stay safe Readers, and pop round to see your friends while you still can.

See you soon,

Russell

Broken Record

Here we go again, Friends – yet another picture of the bin tipped over on the kitchen floor. Really, it’s the same old thing over and over again, and I do wish She would find a more interesting picture for my blog. Even a picture of the Bastard Swans would make a nice change.

There was an unfortunate incident with the bin last Friday evening but it wasn’t my fault at all. Firstly She had forgotten to put the bin outside the back door before going to work early in the morning so it was her fault. Secondly, Young Lad came home from school and went out again without noticing that the bin was still in the kitchen, or shutting the kitchen door, so it was his fault. It totally wasn’t mine and I had no choice but to tip the very full bin over and drag the contents through the house. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Empty. The. Bin. More. Often.

The last time the house was trashed with kitchen rubbish, if you remember, I found a tomato passata carton and ripped it up over the beige lounge carpet. This time it was an empty packet that once contained frozen blueberries, so now there were large purple splodges to accompany the orange ones. It gave a retro 1970s feel to the carpet and made it far more attractive if you ask me.

She was incredibly tetchy on returning from a long day at work after a long week at work, and finding She had to get the Dr Beckmann’s stain remover out yet again before pyjamas and Gordon time. I don’t feel it required quite the amount of shouting and moaning that I had to endure.

In other news – and I know many of you have been eager to hear this – Lad made it to university and has stayed there. It didn’t go entirely smoothly (nothing ever does here) as early on the Saturday morning when She took Lad his final cup of tea at home for a long time, Lad was already sitting up in bed looking aghast. It turned out, Readers, that he had received an early email from the university saying that he had been moved to a different room and no longer had an ensuite bathroom. This was appalling. Lad simply could NOT share bathroom facilities with anyone – Friends, he COULD NOT and WOULD NOT sit on a toilet seat that someone else had sat on. Poor, poor Lad. There were some tense moments during which She wondered if he was actually going to refuse to go to university due to the lack of an ensuite and so they would have to unpack the roofbox, and it didn’t really help saying “for the love of God we had to share bedrooms back in my day never mind the bathroom…” This was of no comfort to poor Lad who felt strongly that he needed a bathroom in which he could take his time and have sole use.

Finally Lad was persuaded to stop being so bldy precious and get in the bldy car, and off they went.

Lad has had such a nice time ever since that he has completely forgotten about his early objection to sharing a bathroom and it doesn’t seem important any more. Lad has also found a nice flatmate who can cook; indeed he made Lad sea bass and asparagus with crushed new potatoes for his birthday lunch. I think Lad will be fine. I do miss him though, and occasionally go into his bedroom for a look round.

Young Lad doesn’t appear to be missing Lad much and has remarked on how peaceful it is here of an evening. Young Lad has been – very gradually – settling back into school after six months off and is being told every five minutes that he needs to up his game. I’m little disappointed on the Food Technology GCSE front, as due to coronavirus the pupils are not able to cook at school. This means they are doing a lot more theory and any practical work has to be done at home. So far there has just been the one dish – a Jamie Oliver pasta thing with rocket and tomatoes – and I wasn’t offered any of it. Not a sniff.

I have, however, managed to steal Young Lad’s toast a couple of times in the mornings, and also an entire bowl of Shreddies as I grabbed the bowl when he wasn’t looking and ran off with it. Young Lad and I have an understanding about these things.

Readers, I’ve had a wonderful couple of weeks because now that Lad is no longer here, I cannot be left on my own during the day when everyone is at work or school. This means that every day I go to doggy daycare at dear, dear Ebony’s house or – and this was the first time for SEVEN months – dear, dear Pippa’s house. Oh it was wonderful to be back amongst people who give a damn about me and allow, nay encourage, me to have the best armchair for the day. It’s such a wrench to come back here at the end of the day. Tomorrow I’m going to dear Pippa’s again, and I know for a fact that she will be very pleased to see me.

I’m slightly worried that should the coronavirus rate keep rising there will be some sort of lockdown again, which means I might have to stop going to doggy daycare – but She says no bldy chance as bldy keyworkers have to go to work regardless – really. This is hardly the spirit in these difficult times and I do feel a little less feeling sorry for oneself is in order.

Readers I’m exhausted after another tough day, and the highly exciting meal of jacket potatoes and baked beans is ready for Young Lad, so I must bring my blog to a close. I feel Lad should stay where he is for a long time, in terms of quality of cuisine.

Hope you are well Friends and staying safe.

See you soon.

Russell

Scapegoat

Readers, it has been a very long time since I last wrote. Much has happened and things have been as chaotic as usual here. Young Lad has started back at school after six months off due to coronavirus and Lockdown , Lad has been busy seeing his friends in a town far away and I’ve had scant attention from anyone as normal.

One day this week. Lad decided to go and see his friends in a town far away, just for a change. He had been instructed to take me for a walk first (it was a very brief one round the rec), and to close all doors as I would be Home Alone until She got back from work. Lad did follow most of these instructions, but forgot about the kitchen door as he has a lot on his mind, poor Lad. As you can see from the above photograph, Gingercat trashed the kitchen. This was shocking behaviour on Gingercat’s part and I was appalled. I told Gingercat how much trouble he would be in when She got home from a long day at work, but Gingercat didn’t care.

Gingercat also dragged the rubbish into the lounge and found a nearly-but-not-quite empty carton of tomato passata, that had been used to make the previous night’s lasagne. This made red smears all over the beige carpet and it looked like there had been a massacre of some sort. Strangely there were red smears all over my mouth and forehead too, but I feel Gingercat must have put them there.

Anyway, when She got home from work all hell was let loose and it took ages to clean everything up and try to remove tomato passata stains from the carpet. Unfortunately we had run out of Dr Beckmann’s Carpet Stain remover as it tends to get used quite a lot here, so some improvising with Vanish was needed. Of course, She told Ebony and Pippa’s Pack Leaders how bad I’d Gingercat had been, and there was much amazement expressed.

On Sunday night, Young Lad was told to get all his things ready for returning to school the next day, after six months off. New uniform was hanging in the cupboard, new shoes were cleaned and ready to go, but Young Lad needed to pack his school bag. “What school bag?” Young Lad asked, and it transpired that I had chewed his school bag up several months ago and it had been thrown away, but everyone had forgotten and nobody had bought a new one. Friends, it beggars belief that this was left until 8.30pm on the Sunday night. She said he would have to make do with a JD Sports carrier bag, but Young Lad said he would get into trouble on the FIRST DAY BACK for walking around with a carrier bag. Some bad-tempered rummaging around in Lad’s bedroom found two of his old school rucksacks – one of them had a broken zip and didn’t do up, and the other one had been chewed into holes. An emergency text message was sent to a friend round the corner to see if they were slightly more organised than my family and had a spare working rucksack that Young Lad could borrow until a new one arrived. Thankfully they did.

Poor Young Lad is quite exhausted from the first week back at school after six months off. Not only has he had to walk home most days, which is a very long walk, but he also had to do three laps of the school field in PE. That evening he was unable to move and had to lay on the sofa all evening groaning. Poor Young Lad.

I’m very pleased to say that Young Lad is taking Food and Nutrition GCSE which will involve lots of cooking. This is exciting. It will also be exciting when he mentions at 10.00pm the night before a practical activity that he needs Garam Masala or some such ingredient. This is always great fun and creates a frisson of excitement round here.

Now that She is back at work, I tend to have my walks at tea-time or early evening. These have been truly lovely and we have seen an abundance of wildlife. One evening there was a large slow worm wiggling across the path and a lady stopped to take a photograph of it and put it on Facebook. Another evening there were rabbits playing in the field, so I was put swiftly on the lead before I noticed them. And the best walk of all was the evening when a muntjac deer was wandering along the path by the river under the trees, just in front of us. I didn’t notice it as I had my nose on the ground looking for food, but She spotted it and cursed wearing her flipflops which make a silly noise and were bound to frighten the deer. Anyway, Nana aged 89 phoned She’s mobile at that point so the muntjac disappeared into the bushes as the combination of noisy flipflops and a mobile phone ringing were too much. Still, it was a beautiful sight and I suddenly picked up a scent of the muntjac and started straining at the lead as I am a killing machine when it comes to deer. That stag in Harty Farty Forest all those years ago only JUST got away with his life.

Readers, Lad will soon be going to university. In fact, this is the last week Lad will be at home for a while and we are wondering whether he might actually spend a day here at some point. Lad hasn’t got anything ready for going to university. She keeps telling him he has no idea how much he needs to organise, but Lad has been very busy looking for clothes online again. He will need clothes at university, and I think Friday will be the perfect day for packing and organising everything else ready for an early start on Saturday. That’s ample time. Too much is expected of Lad .I will miss Lad a lot when he goes to university.

You may remember from my last blog that both She and Young Lad had coronavirus a few weeks back. I’m glad to report that Young Lad is absolutely fine – as indeed he was when he ‘had’ coronavirus – but She still can’t smell or taste anything. This has been going on for seven weeks now and is becoming vexing. I don’t know what the problem is to be honest – I rarely taste my food as it doesn’t touch the sides when it goes down, and I don’t complain. Plus the lack of smell means less moaning at me when I have flatulence. We haven’t lit any scented candles here for months as there’s no point! Plus it would be dangerous as She wouldn’t be able to smell the smoke if the house caught fire.

Due to the incident with the kitchen bin and the tomato passata this week, there was an emergency text message to dear Ebony’s Pack Leader one day when it was realised I would be home alone again for a few hours. Ebony’s Pack Leader was very kind and came to get me ; even though nobody had bothered to put my collar on that day, Ebony’s Pack Leader was very resourceful and did something clever with a loop in my lead to take me down to their house. Oh Readers it was marvellous! I haven’t seen my friends for so long, and we romped and played – very briefly, then I curled up in the best armchair. I love it there.

Well, it is Saturday evening after a warm, sunny day and there is a mini-heatwave forecast for the next two days. Frankly I think heatwaves are over-rated and someone has selfishly put the large paddling pool thing away, which I feel was a little premature. I will have no cold water to stand in looking sad, and will have no choice but to lie in the full sun in its glorious 30 degrees (as is forecast for Tuesday) and pant heavily. Nobody thinks about my welfare, ever.

Hope you are staying well, Readers, and don’t forget: Hands Mask Space or whatever the current silly slogan is.

See you soon,

Russell

Testing Times

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Don’t be fooled by this picture, Reader, for I have had a Very Difficult Time recently.  This all revolves around tests and results of different types and it has been utterly exhausting.  It also explains why there hasn’t been a blog for ages, as nobody has had time to help me write one.

First of all, a few weeks ago She felt very unwell with something called Her Sinuses – now I think I may suffer from sinus problems too, and it may be the reason I snore a lot.  Anyway, there was a week of Not Being Well and a lot of laying around on the sofa looking like a dying duck (that wasn’t me of course.)  Eventually after various antibiotics from the doctor (all negotiated by phone as nobody is allowed to see the doctor any more because of coronavirus) and some very strong painkillers from a dear medical friend, the situation improved.  She celebrated by buying a new reed diffuser thing for the lounge which they use to cover up any bad smells I might make – now, normally one can smell the lovely fragrance of the reed diffuser as  soon as one opens the packet, but She noticed that She couldn’t smell a thing and thought this was strange.  

And so it was, Readers, that all the testing began.  She went to the long stay car park at Stansted airport to have a drive through coronavirus test which I gather is very similar to going to MacDonalds drive-thru.  It was such fun.  Imagine She’s surprise the next day, however, when the test came back positive – then poor Young Lad had to be dragged over to the long stay car park at Stansted airport to be tested too.  (Lad was away at the time, but don’t worry, he was taken to the now very familiar long stay car park as soon as he returned.)  So the long and short of it was that She and Young Lad both tested positive and had to isolate for the best part of two weeks.  This meant they had to stay at home with me ALL the time.  No popping to Tesco, no trips to Costalotta, no meeting up with friends…just lots of quality time with me.  Lad tested negative, you’ll be glad to hear, but he had to stay at home too. He was thrilled by this and spent a lot of time punching things and lifting heavy weights in the bedroom known as the gym.

Gosh, it was unexciting.  All of us at home for all that time.  To start with there was a heatwave – it was a horrid 35 degrees one day – so the large paddling pool thing was put up and I frequently climbed into it to wander around and have a drink.  To be honest, Friends, having them all here all that time was quite annoying as day after day after day I was unable to get up to any mischief whatsoever.  Weeks of good behaviour!  Oh there was the odd moment of snatching food from Young Lad’s plate while he watched A Place In The Sun, or taking the cat food bowl under the dining room table to clean it out etc but this was all pretty small fry.  I did rip up the recycling – the Young’s cod in batter box was my favourite – and throw it round the garden, but I had no opportunity whatsoever to open cupboards and steal things.  It was very frustrating.

As nobody could leave the house, they had to rely heavily on friends and neighbours to leave shopping by the front door and then run away as fast as they could to avoid contamination – and I have to say I am very lucky to have so many good neighbours and friends.  Really this service should have been kept to essential items and I’m not sure that a takeaway from Costalotta was needed but it was gratefully received.  Twice.   Dear, dear Ebony’s Pack Leader was very kind and ensured we didn’t starve, as did Tesco Home Delivery.  The only problem with all these visitors to the front door (which was disinfected hourly) was that I had a lot of barking to do, as obviously it’s my role to bark ferociously whenever someone approaches our house – I became really quite hoarse through all the extra barking over the isolation period and got quite cross with Lad telling me to shut up each time.

So that was that set of test results.  Then in the middle of all this, came A Level results day.  Well, Friends, I’ve never seen anything like it.  The chaos!  Poor, poor Lad logged on to the website at 8am, helicopter-parented by She, and I sat on his bed too, to show support.  By 8.30am I had tired of it all, as the website had crashed straight away and Lad still hadn’t managed to log on.  Seemingly hours later, he managed to view his grades – please remember, Regular Readers, all those hours and hours of hard work that Lad put into his studying. 

Look, I don’t understand the mechanics of it all, but suffice it to say that something called an algorithim, a poxy Government and stupid Coronavirus had muddied the waters of the A level results and Lad’s grades were not quite what he was hoping for – poor Lad and his friends (and thousands of others, She says icily) had missed out on their university places.  The drama went on for DAYS, Friends.  These days were spent avidly watching the news for Developments, or in Lad’s case patiently sitting in phone queues and being glued to the laptop.  You might wonder where Young Lad was during all this, and that is a very good question – in fact, Young Lad spent five days on the Xbox with no attention at all, and when he wandered into the lounge one day during the six o’clock news to enquire about sustenance he was told to “SHUSH!”  so wandered back out again.  Poor, poor Young Lad.

Young Lad and I have been totally neglected for days.

Thankfully the situation has now been resolved and Lad’s grades  (which were quite good, to be fair) mean he  is going to University at the end of next month.  I have no idea what this means, but I will miss him a lot.  Young Lad says he won’t.

The day finally arrived where She was allowed out of the house once more, and I celebrated this on a long dog walk up in the woods and round Pheasant Field by rolling in loads of fox poo.  Lad had to bathe me when we got home.

Readers, I hope you are all staying well and washing  your hands regularly as you really don’t want to be in the pickle in which we found ourselves.

Take care and stay alert,

Russell

 

Good As Gold

blog frideayHere I am, Readers, trying to cool off in the river this week.  It’s been ridiculously hot with temperatures today of 34 degrees and frankly our country is not cut out for this sort of thing.  Those of you that read my blog from Australia and the US, you can’t possibly understand what I mean – my home’s air conditioning is just the French door being open, and this simply isn’t good enough.  Today I have felt thoroughly miserable and have huffed and puffed round the house trying to find somewhere cool to lie.  There are other reasons for my state of discomfort but I’ll go into these later.

It hasn’t all been bad this week though!  On Wednesday evening I was allowed to spend the WHOLE evening at dear, dear Ebony’s house – I haven’t been there for months, actually  pre-Covid! Oh it was simply glorious.  Ebony and her Pack Leaders were just delighted to see me, and made such a fuss!  I never get this treatment at home and am generally ignored.  Ebony has another dog staying with her at the moment – an elderly labrador – but she was no threat to my friendship with Ebony or in fact my place in the pecking order at their house.  I sat on knees, I was given chocolate buttons, and generally treated like a prince.  It was wonderful to be back.

Now I know what you’re thinking.  With social distancing and everything, why was I at Ebony’s house?  Well, it was all because of Lad.  Poor Lad has had a difficult year – like most people, She says with very little sympathy – and Lad’s holiday to Magaluf with his friends was cancelled due to the worldwide pandemic.  However, there was good news as they managed to get a week on a Greek island instead!  Imagine their joy and exuberance.  Obviously nobody in their right mind would be travelling abroad on holiday at the moment, but please remember that Lad and his friends are 18 and so ‘right mind’ doesn’t really enter into things.  Anyway, a week prior to this She had given Lad a lift to the nearby airport to see him on his way.  What Lad failed to mention until quite late on in proceedings was that the return flight came in to a different airport, just a teeny weeny bit further away, as this made things cheaper.  Allegedly.

And so it was that on Wednesday evening, Young Lad and She set off on a road trip to the airport that isn’t very close by, to collect Lad late at night.  The journey only takes an hour and a half on a good run, Friends. However coming home wasn’t a good run as all the motorways were shut for overnight repairs.  This meant at least three different detours, including one right into London and back again, and there was some atrocious parenting in the car with a lot of awful language.  Lad and Young Lad really needed to see how to cope well in situations like these, not screaming, crying and shouting obsceneties as they circled round the Surrey countryside for the fifth time.  I know for a fact that Young Lad was quite traumatised by it all, especially when his mother got out of the car at a petrol station near Reigate and shouted at a random nice man , “do you have any idea where the xxxxing M25 is?”  This is not the right sort of example to set. 

So that’s why I went to dear, dear Ebony’s house as obviously I couldn’t be left alone for all that time as I might have got up to things.   I was so happy at Ebony’s, and as good as gold.

The next day, Readers, everyone was a little tired and fraught after the stress of the night before.  Lad had missed out on quite a  lot of sleep on the Greek island – I can’t sleep when it’s hot, either – and Young Lad was exhausted from 5 hours of sitting in the car.  I sensed a certain amount of tetchiness which was unfair on Lad, as really he should have been treated like the prodigal son returning to the fold.

What didn’t help matters was that the fridge freezer had packed up.  Now, Regular Readers will know the trouble we have with White Goods in this house – my blog has only been going for 3 years but since I started writing we’ve had to replace everything with a motor – and this time it was the fridge/freezer’s turn.  The problem was only noticed once the cheddar went mouldy and every time someone tried to pour milk on their cereal it was lumpy.  And so a repair man was called, and he very nicely ran some tests and said there was no hope, and that would be £70.

A new fridge/freezer was due to be delivered on Thursday afternoon.  She took me out for a long walk over in the woods to de-stress from everything, and Lad was left with instructions in case the new fridge/freezer was delivered in our absence.  It was.  Lad had to take all the food out of the freezer and put it in a big bag – it had mostly defrosted anyway.  Lad left this bag on top of the working surface and went out.  Later in the afternoon, Young Lad needed  a lift to hang out with his friends and She decided to stock up on fridge and freezer food as ours was all ruined.  The bag of defrosted freezer food was pushed right to the back of the working surface.

I still managed to get it.  Readers, I  had a marvellous time.  First I ate a bag of defrosted raw oven chips – Regular Readers will remember I did this once on Christmas Eve. Then I found a raw slightly defrosted salmon fillet.  A bag of peas and a bag of sweetcorn later, and I was full.  You see, I don’t over-eat!  I just take what I need.  I left the Young’s cod fillets and the Lidl bruschetta.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that I had a very swollen belly and a lot of dreadful wind for the night.  I farted loudly all night long and made whimpering noises in my sleep as my stomach hurt so much.  I also needed several comfort breaks in the garden during the night.

She was very cross with me, and had to clear up 10 piles of comfort break this morning, none of which were very pleasant.  Peas and sweetcorn don’t break down, as you probably know. She made a point of telling Ebony’s Pack Leader how bad I’d been which I consider disloyal and unnecessary.

The irony of all this, Friends, is that I had been to the Evil Vet that morning for my annual booster jab.  The Evil Vet had weighed me and congratulated She on keeping my weight stable over the year.

My weight is no longer stable.

Gingercat was meant to come to the Evil Vet too, for his annual vaccination.  However, Gingercat decided not to come home that morning and disappeared from the face of the earth – Gingercat is very clever as nobody had even got the cat basket out of the shed by then, so goodness knows how he knew about the impending visit.  She had to apologise to the Evil Vet and say ‘I can’t find the cat.’

Gingercat came home as soon as we returned from the Evil Vet.

Young Lad has been very busy hanging out with friends, playing football in his socks (don’t ask) and enjoying his first ever experience of a BB gun whatever that is.  I know She frowned a lot and said that doesn’t sound very nice but Young Lad had enjoyed a marvellous afternoon of fun so I don’t see what the problem is.

Lad said he had missed us while he was on the Greek Island with his friends, but Young Lad says he’s lying.

I will leave you, Friends, with a photo of Gingercat taken this morning.  Gingercat is very elderly and needs to grow up a bit.

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Stay safe, and don’t forget your masks.

Russell

 

 

The Shame of It

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Readers, it has been a while yet again and I can only apologise.  Standards in general round here have dropped even further in every aspect of life and you would not believe what I’ve had to put up with.

Let’s begin, however, by the rare hour that I was left on my own today during a very brief shopping trip.  It is very unusual these days that everyone is out of the house at the same time, as thanks to Covid and Lockdown, Lad and Young Lad are here most of the time.  However, today there was an hour – no more.  The bins had been put out, the upstairs doors all shut and I couldn’t find anything to eat – then I remembered the bag of mouldy bread that had been put on the shelf in the back porch ready for the birds.   This had been stuffed down behind the china plant pot that contains my poo bags.  Someone had obviously thought that I wouldn’t be able to reach the mouldy bread there.

Readers, I could.  All I had to do was knock the china pot off the shelf, so it smashed into hundreds of little bits, and hey presto, I could reach the mouldy Hovis.  I ate the lot and left the wrapper under the dining room table.

When everyone came home they said, “have you been a good, good boy or a naughty, naughty boy?” in the usual silly voice and then saw what I’d done so that answered that.

Anyway, it served them right for making me put up with things.  The other evening we went for a lovely long walk at the river as usual, and I was looking forward to going up in the woods to the stream and maybe spotting a deer.  However, as we were walking along the narrow, rather treacherous piece of boardwalk we saw a lady and a toddler coming towards us, so in the spirit of social distancing, She stepped off the boardwalk to give them room to pass.  Unfortunately the ground was rather uneven below the boardwalk and She was wearing flip-flops which are not suitable for dog walking, or uneven ground by boardwalks, and so She found that her foot turned right over and a very undignified fall into a large bush of nettles resulted.  It all happened in slow motion and I really could not believe my eyes – one minute my Pack Leader was holding my lead, the next She had face-planted into the greenery.  It took her a while to start getting back up as obviously there was no option other than to put one’s hands down on the ground, which meant in more nettles.  The lady and her toddler looked at my Pack Leader lying half under the boardwalk and asked if She was ok, and of course being very polite She said, “yes fine, don’t worry,” and gaily waved them on.  I think my Pack Leader was trying not to cry.

I was mortified, Friends, mortified.  I didn’t know where to look or what to do.  Eventually She managed to get to her feet and hobbled on, with a large egg swelling sticking out of one foot which added to my embarrassment.    We carried on walking for another mile or so, which wasn’t a bad effort to be fair, but then had to go home as the stinging from the nettles all over the arms and face was just too much.

It was SO embarrassing – other dogs manage to go out for walks with their Pack Leaders without this sort of carry on.

We have spent a lot of time out in the fresh air over the last few months, which is meant to be very good for you.  However, in addition to the falling over in the nettles, I’ve also had to listen to moaning about horsefly bites and bldy hay fever.  It seems it is not so healthy in the countryside after all.  I am perfectly happy in my armchair and wish they would leave me there.

Take this afternoon, for example.  I was quite happy having a sleep – we’d been for a long walk this morning – when Young Lad decided to walk down to the cricket ground for an hour to watch the match.  This was an unusual burst of energy from Young Lad, and he wanted to take me with him.  However, I had my sights on the garden sofa in the sun, so when Young Lad put my lead on me and tried to drag me off to the cricket club, I dug my claws into the grass and wouldn’t move.  Eventually Young Lad got the message and went by himself, and I spent a very happy hour sleeping in the sunshine instead.

Lad is supposed to be going away for a few days this week with his friends, for a little summer holiday.  He is being given even more lectures than normal about hand gel and social distancing, neither of which are top of Lad’s agenda I don’t think, but Lad has had a strange old few months with no exams and nothing much to do, so I feel he should have some fun.  I’m sure Lad will be very sensible and there is nothing at all to worry about.

Well, Readers, I’m really quite exhausted after my long walk this morning and then the trauma of nearly being forced out for another one.  I think I will have an early night and perhaps hope for rain tomorrow – as this will minimise the chances of insect bites, falling over and other ailments.  A day indoors might be a good thing.

Take care,

Russell

 

 

Lessons Learned

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During this very strange time of Coronavirus and Lockdown, Readers, we have all learned some invaluable lessons.  Many of you have learned the importance of taking life more slowly, appreciating nature and the world around you, and not rushing around so much.  Some of you will have learned the utter pleasure that is Home Learning when one’s offspring can’t go to school – I’ve heard this is such fun. And I am certain that lots of my Friends have by now mastered the one-way system in Tesco.

I have learned that if you stand under a basketball net while someone is playing, and you get hit by the ball, it hurts.

It took me a while to understand this, in all honesty, and I have continued to stand under the basketball net while Young Lad is shooting hoops or whatever it is they do, but I am beginning to realise that basketballs are heavy great things and if they doink you on the head, it smarts a little.  I might choose to stand somewhere else in future.  This does irk me, somewhat, though, as I feel the garden is my territory primarily and I should be able to stand or lie wherever I like.  If I choose to lie across the goal mouth whilst Young Lad and his friends are playing football they should see this as a sign that they need to do something else – possibly some Home Learning –  not carry on around me.  The same with the basketball, and even cricket on the odd occasion that I plant myself squarely in the way of the bowler.  A little consideration for me wouldn’t go amiss.

Anyway, it’s been a funny couple of weeks or so since I last wrote and I do apologise yet again for the infrequency of my thoughts. Someone has been ‘toobldybusy’ and by the time She is home from work, walks me for an hour, cooks dinner and sits down there is precious little energy left for writing my blog or giving me any attention whatsoever.  Young Lad and Lad don’t get much either.  Really and truly, She has no idea what we do all day at home (or don’t do) as we are all completely left to our own devices day after day.  It’s poor parenting at its worst, Readers.  Occasionally Young Lad is admonished for not having completed all his Home Learning, but then if the responsible adult is never here to keep him off  Youtube, it’s hardly his fault!

It’s been lovely down at the river of an evening – though there are still a lot of groups of teenagers hanging around, with their accompanying picnics and strange smells.  We tend to skirt round the groups of teenagers with our heads down, so that no eye contact is made.  The thought does occur to She, occasionally, that we ought to warn the teenagers about the grass snakes living in the long grass near the river, but on the other hand they could just find out the hard way.  That would be a lot more entertaining.  Of course I’m kept firmly on the lead so that I can’t eat any sweets/crisps/rubbish that the teenagers leave in a pretty array of colours every time they leave.

At the weekend, when I was up in Top Woods past Pheasant Field, the phone rang and Lad asked if we were near Tesco.  We stood still and looked around but all we could see were trees as we were in the middle of the BLDY WOODS and so NO we were NOT near Tesco.  Sometimes I wonder about Lad.

Several times lately people have stopped to ask if I’m a Beagle (doh!) and to chat about the nature of my breed.  Two people said they were thinking of getting a Beagle.  She said, “just don’t do it,” and snorted.  

This is harsh.  All I have done over the last couple of weeks is roll in fox cack twice, run off in Pheasant Field for so long that a nice man with a spaniel had to help search for me, rip up the recycling and empty the vegetable peelings bag over the kitchen floor as I helped myself.  “Just don’t do it” my arse.

It was Young Lad’s birthday at the weekend, and to celebrate this and the easing of Lockdown the decision was made to go out for lunch for the first time in four months.  Normally this would mean Express Pizza, but sadly Express Pizza hasn’t reopened yet so a local greasy spoon had to suffice.  Young Lad was thrilled with this as there on the menu was steak and chips!  I would have chosen this, too.  Young Lad ordered the steak, Lad had a New York Burger, and She had a halloumi wrap.  Can you see which of my family like to live dangerously?

Young Lad then brought a couple of his friends back here for an afternoon  of football and basketball in the garden, which was good news for me as they constantly ate snacks and dropped bits.  Then, before you know it, they were asking what was for dinner and could they have a McDonalds – how She laughed as She headed off to sit in the bldydrivethrough queue on a Sunday afternoon.

Two days later the car still ‘stinks of McDonalds’ as apparently the smell hangs around much like some of the ones I produce. 

There was a terrible disaster here on Sunday night, Readers.  I had to cover my ears and so did Gingercat, due to the amount of bad language and the hostile atmosphere.  On moving the Xbox (sorry, the bldyXbox) from one room to another, She managed to do something to one end of the lead adaptor thingy, and the Xbox would no longer turn on.  Readers, Young Lad had JUST THAT DAY been given a new martial arts game to play, and the RUBBISH STUPID POXY XBOX was broken. Then Lad joined in the hysterics, as he was due to play online with his friends later in the evening and WHAT ELSE IS THERE TO DO?!!!!

Root canal surgery without an anaesthetic would have caused less pain.

The following day, She worked out which pin in the adaptor cable thingy was broken and ordered a replacement from Amazon – thank God for Amazon – and by paying a ridiculous amount for super- duper- speedy -teenagers- on- the -brink delivery, the cable arrived today.  Peace has been restored, everyone is speaking to each other again and there has even been a slight show of gratitude from Lad!  Well done, Lad.

It’s dismal here this evening, Friends – grey and rainy, more like a winter’s day.  I can’t wait to go to bed – I think I’ll go early tonight.  She has been cross with me lately as I’ve developed a habit of needing a comfort break in the garden at 5.20 am and although I go straight back to bed and into a heavy sleep for hours, She moans about having 20 more measly minutes nap before the alarm goes off.  Seize the day, I would say; get up and do some yoga, clean the bathroom or just enjoy the quiet of the early morning.  Not me, obviously, as I’ll be sound asleep with Gingercat on the bed, but She might as well carpe diem.  Rather than carping on.

Readers I do hope you are keeping well and enjoying the extra freedom since Lockdown started easing. It’s made no difference to me whatsoever other than having everyone at home more, which has been rather nice.  

Keep washing your hands, and see you soon.

Russell