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,