Testing Times

blog bean bag

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