Slip’s hurt his foot and is on box rest at the moment, which is trying for all concerned. Slip hates being confined indoors and makes his feelings known by bellowing at the top of his voice and jumping up and down on three legs. I have to wrestle with his foot, a hot poultice, a disposable nappy and a carrier bag twice a day, sometimes while he’s trying to dance the Charleston at the same time. The poultice goes on the foot, the nappy goes over the poultice as padding, and the carrier bag goes over the whole lot to keep everything lovely and dry. That’s the theory anyway. Slip has mastered the art of kicking the entire package off in one fluid movement if he’s feeling emotional, which he is quite a lot of the time at the moment. As I say: trying for all concerned.
Anyway, because of Slip’s little problem I walk up and down our lane several times a day to reach his stable without having to wade through the lake of goo that our pleasant meadow has become, and it’s quite remarkable how empty the place is at the moment. It feels as if the entire village has been abducted by aliens leaving only me. And of course Slip, trying to kick his manger off the wall. I don’t think the aliens wanted Slip – too noisy.
In normal times I would meet Frank, swatting at the hedgerows with his stick. Or Julia, training for what was initially a marathon until she decided to lower her sights to a half marathon and has been recently been overheard saying that fun runs are actually very taxing. I think she’ll end up doing a bracing walk, but I haven’t seen her out training for anything for weeks. Or Audrey with five terriers on leads, each terrier heading in a different direction. I haven’t even seen Mr Addington who normally would appear out of nowhere and tell me I was doing Slip’s poultice wrong.
Nothing. I blame it on the mud – the lanes are thick with it and the bridlepaths and footpaths are more or less unusable. I think that the villagers have given up the unequal struggle and are hibernating like hedgehogs until the sun comes back and the mud dries out. I can’t blame them and I think I’d join them if it wasn’t for my daily poulticing duties.