Here I am, Readers, looking very handsome and distinguished this week. The eagle-eyed amongst you might recognise the blanket as it is the one that covers the garden sofa – yes indeed, the weather turned a little more clement recently and Pack Leader put the sofa cushions back on, ready to sit down with a cup of tea and a good book for ten minutes. As She dashed back to the kitchen to fetch her mug, I took over the garden sofa as I felt sure the cushions and blanket had been put on for my benefit. Apparently this wasn’t the case and I was shouted at for putting mud all over the clean blanket and spoiling the first garden sit down of the year.
You can see by my regal expression that I was actually waiting for some sort of table service but of course that never happened.
Friends, it has been a very busy couple of weeks and I am quite worn out by all the goings on. There have been a ridiculous number of walks as the last week has been ‘half term’ and it was felt that stamping through miles of muddy countryside would be a good antidote to the weeks of sitting in front of a laptop day in, day out. I beg to differ on this. Last weekend I was dragged out for walks into town, stopping for coffee of course, and then a ‘scenic’ route back home again to make the walk as long as possible. Now I don’t like to complain, but the scenic route back involved walking uphill a little, and this was hard-going.
Undaunted, the following day She arranged with her good friend Madame to meet for exercise (collecting coffee on the way, naturally) and we set off for another walk. Now Madame is known for her epic walks, and I knew this was likely to be gruelling, but even I wasn’t expecting nigh on 8km through fields, woods and deep mud. Readers, I could barely stagger back up the road. What I find very intriguing is that Madame and She manage to talk incessantly and giggle throughout these fast-paced marches, hardly pausing for breath. It beggars belief.
That was Monday, Friends, and the following morning She decided to look up my paperwork to see how old I was. Call me old-fashioned but wouldn’t a responsible dog owner know how old their pet is? Such is the level of care here. Anyway, you could have knocked me down with a feather as it turned out that Tuesday was in fact my birthday! Yes! What a stroke of luck! Readers, I was nine years old last Tuesday – which in human terms is 63 – and that puts into perspective the 8km hike through the fields the day before. Cruel, heartless and unnecessary. At least you would think it would put things into perspective.
As it happened, I was in for a treat on my birthday – a sleepover at my New Buddy’s house! She didn’t want to take me and grumbled that I would be a pain in the backside, run round looking in all the rooms, keep wanting to go out in the garden and insist on sleeping on the bed with She. It’s good to know your loved ones hold you in such high esteem. Anyway after some persuasion I was allowed to go to New Buddy’s house, taking my bed, clean sheets and towels and food supplies with me. And poo bags.
Friends, I was impeccably behaved. I only sniffed around the kitchen briefly looking for crumbs ( New Buddy had been cleaning so that was disappointing), but other than that I was the Model Guest. I climbed straight onto the sofa allocated to me, put my head awkwardly behind a sheet and went to sleep. I was SO well -behaved. I didn’t even need a comfort break for most of the day – though I did cock my leg against an interesting stick in the garden a few times – but no other motions were needed until the following morning. I did very well.
And as for being a pain at night and wanting to sleep on the bed – well, how wrong can a cynical Pack Leader be. I slept in my bed on the landing all night long without the slightest fuss. The nerve of some people.
I had a simply lovely time at my birthday sleepover, and was treated with far more kindness and respect than I get at home. And far more treats. I would love to go back again at some point as I really did form quite an attachment with the stick in the garden. So much so, that my New Buddy has thoughtfully placed a stick in the middle of my lawn at home here, so that I can cock my leg against it.
We went for a walk on a big field that contains evidence of a Roman settlement – it seems there was once a large amphitheatre and temple where we dared to tread – but frankly this all bored me rigid and I was just glad it was less than 8km all the way round the field. The next day, Friends, as if things couldn’t get any more exciting, I had my first ever ride in a camper van to go for a walk at a nearby coastal area. This was so much fun, and much more up my street as I could lay across the bench/bed thing in the camper van and snooze. Plus the walk took us past a coffee shop that made huge and outstanding sausage rolls, and the smell was divine. Obviously I wasn’t allowed to eat one but a dog can dream.
What a week! Add to that the fact that I have rolled in fox poo, got very muddy AND rolled in something decaying in the garden, so in the space of a week I have had two baths and a shower. I know my dear friend Pippa has rolled in fox poo this week too, and she is a long-haired golden retriever so I’ll let you do the visualising of that, and Loadsakids’ spaniel has also rolled in some fresh stuff, this very morning.
Pack Leader has been cross about all the baths and showering, as there has to be a deep disinfecting clean of the bathroom after each one of these. She says She has better things to do than be endlessly scrubbing with the Viakal, but if I’m honest I don’t know what these better things are.
So that was my week. Young Lad has been on half term so there has been some respite from Year 10 Home Learning (hooray scream millions of anguished parents). Instead, Young Lad has had a nice lie-in each day, wandering around in his pyjamas until lunchtime and doing very little other than going on the Xbox. She did insist he made a proper loaf of bread for GCSE Food Technology, as She felt the naan breads Young Lad had made the previous week were a bit of a cop out and didn’t involve much skill. So poor Young Lad had to come off the Xbox to mix and knead dough by hand – in this day and age, for goodness sake? – as it is Important To Know The Basic Skills. Young Lad found kneading the dough very tiring and there was an argument over whether he had done the full ten minutes of kneading or, in fact, three. Poor Young Lad, too much is expected of him. Anyway, the bread was like a brick and totally solid so really that settled the was it a full ten minutes of kneading? argument. Young Lad has now learned the hard way that no pain, no gain. I don’t think Young Lad cared very much as he was busy downloading a new game on the Xbox.
Young Lad is really looking forward to Year 10 Online Learning starting again on Monday morning – at least I think that’s what Young Lad said.
Lad – and I know some of you have been worrying about him – is back at university so that he can concentrate on his studies and finally get to grips with the crappy campus tumble dryers. It seems that University Laundry Facilities are still not up to Lad’s high standards and he finds this vexing. As the gyms and sporting amenities on site are closed due to coronavirus, Lad has had no choice but to set up all his weights and gym stuff in the shared kitchen area. I should imagine this has made Lad very popular, particularly at meal cooking times. There is no pain like catching your ankle on a large dumbell – other than treading barefoot on Lego.
She moaned at Lad a bit today and said he needs to make more effort to join in the weekly family Zoom quiz (more shouting and swearing last week), but Lad says he is too busy. She snorts derisively at this idea and says she does remember university life and it’s hardly a ten hour day at the office, but Lad is not to be moved on this and says he simply doesn’t have time between studying, sleeping, using the Crap Laundry Facilities, working out in the kitchen and cooking his dinners. Today for example, he was also having to fit in a trip to Aldi! Poor Lad. I miss Lad and feel he is very misunderstood, much like myself.
Well, Friends, Young Lad’s dinner is nearly ready – Young’s Cod in batter and oven chips, haute cuisine as ever in my house – so I will have to finish here. We are, of course, all eagerly waiting the announcement on Monday afternoon from Boris Johnson to see when schools might re-open and then, importantly, hairdressers. She says if Year 10 don’t go back to school on March 8th, things could get ugly round here. There is some doubt as to whether Young Lad’s uniform still fits as it is nearly four months since he last wore it.
Stay safe Readers – enjoy the sun when it comes out, notice the bulbs peeping through and just imagine that life might be a bit more exciting before too long. There’s only so much excitement I can take, frankly.
Golly I’m tired.
See you soon,