• neil

Day 19 (5 April): Be aware of the dog

Getting Ready:

It wasn’t so long ago that President Donald Trump suggested this business would all be done and dusted by Easter. Easter is now just around the corner and clearly we are not out of the woods yet .

So, two sentences into today's missive and we have already dusted, turned corners and gone for a walk in the woods.

And therein lies my point. We are no longer used to busy schedules.

What are we going to do when we eventually take off our pyjamas and go back down the salt mines?

Remember the way it goes? You get up slightly too late, stress yourself silly picking the right clothes, run out of the house with a piece of toast and a thermo-mug of coffee; you can’t find a parking space, miss the commuter train and arrive sweaty, dishevelled and seventeen minutes late at the office. You dash into your first meeting trying to project that fierce look of having been elsewhere saving the business. It is still only 09:20. And you do this day after day until you are ancient, wrinkled and withered.

You had better start practicing. We'll be there again.

I don’t have these worries. I’m retired. My only concern will be what to do with all the bloody face masks I'm making from my knitting kit. Could I market them for Carnival or skiing?

Make Do with Stew:

Should you wish to avoid the kind of horrid shopping experience I had recently - see Day 18 - you can make a tasty old-fashioned stew with the ingredients you have lying around - I’m talking old carrots, onions, potatoes, a clove of garlic, the rest of yesterday’s red wine and the dog.

I know I said I was going to wait until Day 27 before using up Alfie, but when she looked at me with those big brown eyes I just couldn't keep my mouth from watering.

It needn't, of course, be your own dog. You can use the neighbours' dog but you might find that familiarity with the beast facilitates the jointing.

Bear (don't try this with a bear) in mind that If you don’t really need that extra dash of colour you should take its collar off first; and if you are getting cabin fever, give yourself a giggle by phoning the number on the ID plaque to say you know exactly where Fido is.


You think dog stew is cruel? Check out the fairy stories your children or grandchildren are reading right now.

I will cite but three - in fairy stories they always do things in threes:

- In Rumpelstiltskin the miller’s daughter happily marries the King who was dead set on executing her if she didn't turn straw into gold. Rumpelstiltskin doesn't live to claim his pension.

- In Hansel and Gretel parents abandon their children so that they can guzzle all the dog stew while the neighbourhood witch fattens Hansel for the pot. The witch doesn't live to claim her pension.

- In The 12 Dancing Princesses the princesses orchestrate each of their suitors’ deaths so they can going dancing. Well, why not? Who wouldn't?

But for absurdity nothing beats opera. I will leave you with the link to a clip from a production of Shostakovich’s “The Nose” in which a barber accidentally cuts off his customer’s nose , as they so often do, and it goes off on adventures of its own, as they never do.

Remember what a nose looks like? Ah - those pre-mask days.

Keep in contact with each other and be kind!



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