I know, I know – it’s been a very long time since my last blog and I do apologise. If I’m right, I last wrote just after Christmas and that was weeks ago. This isn’t my fault, Readers – none of my family has spared me the time to help with the blog and this is very disappointing as we’re in yet another Lockdown so it’s not like there is a lot else to do. Anyway, sit back with a nice drink and I will try to bring you up to date.
New Year came and went in a fairly underwhelming sort of way due to Lockdown and I’m sure it was the same for you. She and I shared the sofa on New Year’s Eve with Netflix and something nice to eat, and of course She’s good friend Gordon popped round too. Clink clink. We were in bed well before anyone let off any fireworks and I think there was a general reluctance to do any celebrating. That suited me just fine. Although a plate of Tempura Prawns wouldn’t have gone amiss to be honest.
The Christmas decorations were torn down as early as possible this year and the tree – which definitely looked better than the Lidl one from last year – has been plonked out in the back garden where I imagine it will stay until the summer. Or possibly next Christmas. Young Lad and Lad were ordered to put all the decorations back up in the roof as a team-building, bonding type of exercise. Lad climbed up into the roof and reached down for the boxes which Young Lad was meant to stand on a lower rung and pass up to him. You would think this was straightforward.
It wasn’t. Lids weren’t properly on boxes, and some boxes had no lids at all so there were many escaping baubles and rolls of gold ribbon. I ask you- it is not that difficult, is it, just to take a little time and care. What’s the saying, Friends – a stitch in time? But no, everything had been crammed into boxes any old way with a strong whiff of, “thank God that’s over” and so it was carnage . Lad became cross with Young Lad and Young Lad became cross with everyone and so it went on. The final straw was when Young Lad couldn’t lift a particularly heavy box and lots of shouting ensued – eventually She pointed out very, very snippily that She had got ALL the decorations out of the roof BY HERSELF WITH NO HELP WHATSOEVER.
When everything was finally away there was some bad-tempered hoovering but then the house was relatively tidy and not a sign of bldy Christmas remained.
Since then, Readers, it has been very quiet most of the time. This is because Lad has been studying very hard for his exams – yes, I thought we’d left all that behind when he finished school, too – and whilst it’s commendable that Lad works so hard, I do wish he wouldn’t keep reading his work aloud and muttering when I’m trying to sleep in my chair. I don’t understand a word of what he’s talking about – it’s degree level Psychology – and as none of it is about food I couldn’t care less. And yet still he mumbles and says key words to himself. Boring as.
And then, Friends, there is the Utter Joy that is Home Learning. Hurrah! cried absolutely no parent, when the schools were closed once again (even though they are ‘very safe’ places, apparently. I know!) and all pupils from the age of five upwards are once again enjoying Home Learning. Now, this wasn’t too much of a shock for Young Lad as you may remember that Young Lad has barely set foot in his school for what seems like a year or two. As soon as Year 10 were allowed in, somebody always tested positive for coronavirus and they were all sent home again. It was like the Okey Cokey for Young Lad and Year 10. So they were quite used to the idea of taking part in Zoom lessons in their pyjamas and playing on their phones out of sight of the camera.
I try to liven up the days for Lad and Young Lad by whining to go out in the garden in the middle of Maths or Science, and then as soon as Young Lad has let me out and run back to his lesson (ok maybe not actually run, more wandered back via the cupboard where the Pringles are kept) I stand and bark to be let back in. Personally I would have thought this counts as PE for Young Lad but allegedly it is very irritating and Young Lad has to say sorry to his teachers, that he is having to let the dog out/in. So for the rest of this week I am going to daycare with my dear friends Pippa and Ebony as I am never a pain at their houses and behave impeccably.
Readers, I don’t know what your experience of Home Learning has been like but I find the quality of Young Lad’s questionable at times. Today, for example, he had Media Studies for which the instruction was, “Watch the film Spectre.” That’s it. Then for English the instruction was, “Watch Macbeth.” Hmmmm. Young Lad is yawning and saying he feels he’s worked very hard today but She said he wouldn’t know hard work if it bit him on the nose, which is a little harsh. Young Lad didn’t set these tasks, after all.
She worked from home today. This is unheard of and I don’t remember it ever happening before. I tried to liven things up for her, too, during all the Zoom calls by wanting to go out in the garden a lot – look, if you put a load of stale bread out on the bird table, of COURSE I will want to go in and out of the garden ALL BLDY DAY to see if any has fallen on the lawn. Boy was I moaned at. She is going back to work tomorrow as working from home whilst keeping an eye on Year 10 Home Learning is not the fun it sounds. We did have a lovely long walk this afternoon over the bridge and up into Pheasant Field – I could hear some pheasants but none showed themselves near me, which is just as well for them as I am a hunting dog, after all. It was quite muddy in Pheasant Field but nowhere near as muddy as up in the woods where we went yesterday – under the ill-thought-through notion that it wouldn’t be as muddy in the woods as the trees stop some of the rain getting through. It’s winter and there aren’t any leaves. So the rain does get through, the ground turns to a bog and teenagers ride their BMX bikes up and down in the woods. It wasn’t the best decision, Readers.
I’ve seen so many people recently out my walks as this is now what passes as a social life for everyone. Waving at someone across a field counts as intimate social contact in these strange days of Lockdown. Several people have had dog treats with them – indeed I bumped into dear, dear Ebony and her Pack Leader last week, and of course they had treats for me. Alas, in my excitement I forgot to be gentle and nearly took off Ebony’s Pack Leader’s arm as I grabbed it. I was scolded. But I can be gentle when taking tasty snacks from the hands of nice people with food – you just have to remind me. Several times.
Returning to the subject of Home Learning, I’m sure many of you and your offpsring have resorted to Youtube videos to help with expanding brackets in Maths or learning how to re-boot your laptop. It seems there is a Youtube video for everything these days. Readers, I don’t know how to tell you this. At the weekend, a Youtube video called, “How to express your dog’s anal glands” was found and pored over with interest. True, I was having a few problems with blockage in that area and the stench of old oily fish was everywhere, but normally this either sorts itself out when I pass a good hard motion, or I go to see the Evil Vet who drains them for me. Never before have we ‘had a go’ at home.
Well. All I will say is that I was forced into my muzzle – upside down initially as She has no clue how to put it on – and squashed up against the kitchen cupboards. Rubber gloves and kitchen paper were required, as was someone to hold up my tail and stand well back. A lot of prodding and squeezing later, a small amount of clear yet foul-smelling liquid was released and I was set free. I was FURIOUS!!! I will not be treated like this, even if it does save the vet bill. It hurt, both my backside and my dignity. Whoever made a Youtube video instructing Pack Leaders on how to express their dog’s anal glands needs shooting. This takes Home Learning to a whole new level. Really, I was aghast.
Because we are in Lockdown again and only allowed out for essential reasons or exercise, there have been lots of times we have combined the two and exercised ourselves by walking through the Rec and into town, where one can buy a take away coffee to support local businesses and then exercise all the way back home again. I do quite enjoy these outings but it would be nice if anyone thought about providing me with some light refreshment halfway through our exercising, too. It’s all very self-centred. Young Lad’s exercise is normally restricted to emptying the airing cupboard or other domestic chores, poor Young Lad, so imagine his excitement today when his PE task was to walk down the road and round the corner to Lovelydor’s house with some lemon drizzle cake. This gave Young Lad fresh air and exercise at the same time!
Alas, Young Lad is meant to have done his Food Tech practical work today and everyone has forgotten. Young Lad is meant to have made meringues and lemon curd from scratch – the ingredients are all here and ready, but there was so much Online Learning and Zooming going on that the Food Tech practical work has only just been remembered and ‘hell can freeze over’ before She embarks on supervising Food Tech practical work at 8pm. This isn’t the right attitude and is yet another example – amongst so many – of shoddy parenting. Anyway, Young Lad is on the Xbox after a tough day of Home Learning, so it’s doubtful he would be thrilled at the prospect either. I’m not sure when Young Lad’s Food tech practical will now be done, Readers. Poor Young Lad.
Perhaps if a little more effort had been put into parenting at the weekend, Friends, things wouldn’t have gone so awry. Apart from the lovely muddy walks, the weekend was spent ‘relaxing’ – watching Netflix and Sky Atlantic – after a tricky week at work. Yes the house was calm, relaxed and everyone was very happy. Yes this is very unusual here. But really – a little thought about the educational needs of one’s offspring wouldn’t have taken much out of the weekend, would it? Poor Young Lad and his meringues. I will let you know when he finally gets round to making them, and I will also give you some feedback regarding their quality.
Stay safe and well in these strange times, Readers, and check out that Youtube video.
See you soon,