Miss Best Friend has been to the vet. She has come back, smiling bravely, wearing a bright pink sock on the left front paw, and a bandage on the right front elbow. She looks as if she’s been in a traffic accident. These are what, in the Labrador book of rules, are known as ’sympathy inducing bandages’, designed to make nice old ladies say ‘what a shame’, and ‘here’s a wee something’. It seems a pity, in the circumstances, that we have nobody working in the house from whom sympathy, to say nothing of half-sandwiches, the pastry off Scotch pies, and Kit-Kats, may be elicitited. Starting with the left front, she had a fistula between the two middle toes a month ago, and this has opened up again. The pink sock is to keep it clean and prevent her from biting at it. The right shoulder is also now explained. I had observed that there was a dimple in the bright pink satin skin exposed by this constant licking, but I’m happy to say that I have no detailed familiarity with what dogs look like sans fur, and had assumed it was an aspect of the shoulder anatomy. It wasn’t, it was, and is, a small ulcer, which hasn’t gone very deep. Apparently elderly dogs are liable to such things, and if it’s not interfered with, it should clear up. The old canine seems perfectly cheerful, albeit much inclined to come the old soldier. Some very strange fishy treats from North Norway (unidentifiable bits of dried cod, I think) are going down well. On another tack entirely, the Professor came back from Edinburgh with a couple of match-pots, and I have put some experimental Parma Gray on the front of the house. It looks pretty good, though I’m waiting for it to dry and darken before I’m quite sure.
PS. It’s dawned on the old quadruped that she can’t get at her shoulder to lick it, and she’s absolutely livid. She’s been lying about in the kitchen for the last half hour, grunting and groaning indignantly, like a bassoon tuning up. I don’t know when I’ve ever seen her so cross.