There’s been a change in The Boss during this COVID thing – not all of it good.
He’s paid more attention to my behaviour, which is a bad thing. I don’t do scrutiny well and I’ve been used to a life where I see him early and late and not much in between.
That allows me time to poke around the river on my own, or with Queenie, my mum, and see what the campers have left behind in the way of lamb and chicken bones in the fire pits. And other pieces of human flotsam that may be of interest. He says those cooked bones will kill me but I’m managing, so far.
These days he’s around rather more often and, if I can’t distract him or keep him busy on some job around the place, he pays unnecessary attention to how I spend my time. He’s becoming a pest, to be frank.
The one thing that saves me is the telly. The Boss has not been a great telly watcher in the past but there’s no doubt he’s watching more - and even enjoying it.
Apart from the footy getting a new lease of life with crowd noises and the AFL teams enjoying their bug-free existence in Queensland, he has been studying what the little tackers are looking at, given they’ve been here for most of the Lockdown.
You can see where this is headed: I think he is regressing to childhood.
I don’t know whether to be pleased or appalled but he has developed a particular liking for Shaun the Sheep, which everybody else knows has been a hit with the kids for the last ten years.
The Boss has just discovered it. And he laughs at it, which is kind of embarrassing.
But he has learned that it comes on ABC ME 23 at 7.30, right after the TV news when the 7.30 Report happens on ABC 20. And that’s become his trigger to switch channels. The grandkids seem astonished that he keeps doing it too.
Now, he’s watched the 7.30 Report for ever, at least ever since I was allowed inside (after learning to pee outside) and that’s a long time ago.
But I can tell he’s had enough. He reckons it’s full of gloom, sad-sack stories and rude questions and he doesn’t learn anything he didn’t know. “We don’t need more misery, General,” he says. “We need a laugh.”
The Boss has always said he would have been happy living before the undersea telegraph was invented, when a pile of newspapers turned up every six weeks on the next sailing ship into Port Philip. An exchange of letters “back home” took the best part of a year.
He reckons there were less comforts in daily life then but people only had their own problems to deal with, instead of having the problems of the world descending on them every day.
“It makes people anxious over things they can’t do much about,” he says. “It’s hard for people to keep some perspective.”
Perspective means we’ve got to watch Shaun the Sheep with him now, instead of hearing more about the virus, who messed up and whose fault it is, who to shame and who to blame. Or another dose of bad news about….fill in the blanks yourself, he says.
Shaun is very clever for a sheep and he conspires with Bitzer, the sheep dog, to keep a semblance of order while the sheep at Moss Bottom Farm get up to mischief and the nasty pigs cause trouble.
The farmer is a bespectacled red-headed bloke with long side-boards who grunts a lot, likes gadgets and new hobbies (just like The Boss does) and gets excited about his plans for dating girls, which the sheep enjoy upending when they don’t quite like the new house guest…. Which is all of them.
Shaun the Sheep doesn’t go for long, ten minutes or less but it gets the Boss past the burden of the television news and into a good humour. I just wag my tail, wondering if he’s going to start watching kids’ comedy all day. Anything can happen. Woof!