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