When I was young, quarantine was for dogs. Specifically, those coming from abroad. A stay of six months was the norm, although that was increased to twelve months for a while when a dog named Sessan died of rabies in Newmarket. These days quarantine is for humans – and it seems that dogs are our best way out of it, as it has been accepted that they need two exercises a day while we are allowed just the one.
Our Labrador Retriever celebrated the first day of lockdown by rolling in something unspeakable during our single excursion from the house. We have various names for the fields that we walk in, based on previous sightings and happenings. There is the Old Deer Field, the New Deer Field and the Ducking Pool (where Ella wades and slurps water before coughing like a Covid patient). There is also the Manor field, and the more descriptively labelled Dead Badger Field. To that list we can now add the Second Dead Badger Field (DBF II). We had to keep the dog down wind from us as we strode home.
I was deputed to put on my own Personal Protection Equipment, consisting of rubber gloves and an old anorak, which is not dissimilar to what the Government is supplying “our” NHS, it seems. The dog herself could not understand the fuss and took it all as her own PPE (Personal Pampering for Ella). So, after anointing herself with the odour of badger carcass, she now got to choose from a range of shampoos, left over from the Christmas hamper, with which to have a wash and shake. She went for ‘After the Rain’ (from Arran Aromatics) and she looked gorgeous on it. Fluffy and happy, smelling like a Highland Hunting party: notes of heather and gorse, with a hint of rotting cadaver on the finish.
Ella does not see Lockdown as a problem and does not understand the concept of Social Distancing either; wandering out into the lane every time another villager walks past on their daily exercise. It is not that she is being sociable – she is simply checking their pockets for biscuits.
Self-isolation is something that the hen has decided she is going to rebel against too, as she escaped from her run twice yesterday and attempted to scratch away at the flowers coming up in the cold spring sunshine. We sent her packing with a warning – next time it will be a fine, or perhaps a really hard stare from our Prime Minister.
That should do it.