89 Not Out: Day 29, The ‘Free Willy’ Weekend

S&C contributor and Pompey Politics Podcast host Ian Morris shares his experience of the lockdown, as someone with diabetes. It’s Day 29, and Ian is trying to control his guide dog, Millsey, who appears to have a case of cabin fever…

Tuesday 14th April Day 29 of 89 

The Free Willy weekend. 

Well, we made it through the 4 days. The Easter weekend has always fascinated me in that it always feels like you get two Saturdays and two Sundays. It is also usually the pivotal changing of the season in the sports’ world, as the rugby season draws to a close and the cricket season begins – the latter usually with blue hands, as you freeze to death and wonder why we opted for a pre-season friendly in the middle of April. 

But this weekend was different. It contained four Sundays and needed careful planning as to how to occupy all that free time. The grass is cut, the garden is well ordered and we learned that Millsey – my faithful hound – is sick and tired of the lockdown. Saturday was grass cutting day and as I am fair in sharing the opportunity, my wife was driving the lawnmower whilst I attended to the BBQ and obviously Millsey was also giving managerial advice.

As the lawnmower was being packed away, someone asked ‘Where’s the dog?’. As mild panic set in, the door was knocked by a neighbour from across the road,

‘Your dog is over at my house.’

We retrieved a very happy retriever and heard how delighted he had been to come visiting and what a lovely dog he was, but the main thing for us was at least we had him back safe and sound. 

On Sunday, my eldest lad was clearing stuff from the garden and had been warned to keep an eye on the dog if he went through the gate. Suddenly, my wife called me to say there was a lady on the phone from the Guide Dogs – you are already ahead of me here.

The git had escaped again and gone a bit further in his search for new friends. Luckily, the tag on his collar has the Guide Dogs’ contact number on it and had been called. I despatched the eldest lad with Millsey’s lead to retrieve him again. Then I dealt with the Neighbourhood Watch posts about an escaped retriever, thanking everyone profusely for their collective goodness. 

Like all of us, Millsey is not loving lockdown. I take him out on guiding walks every day to keep his skills up and he is getting a free run more often, but it’s not the same. When we walk, we go with a destination in mind: the train station for work, the gym or one of the local cafes for lunch. On all of these walks, at the end when his harness comes off, there are people for him to meet and greet; he is a very social hound and this is why I think he is going full ‘Free Willy’, making the break for freedom and looking for new friends. The circular block walks just aren’t cutting it. 

 So, the back gate is now blocked off with the wheelie bin, and my roving retriever has a bell attached to him so I can keep an ear out for him at all times.

I am hoping that’s now the end of it, and we don’t have to rely on the goodness of the community again to retrieve the retriever. 


Don’t miss Ian’s diary each day, keep an eye out for new entries here, along with past editions of the Pompey Politics Podcast. How are you managing the lockdown at the moment? Get in touch with us over on Facebook or Twitter and let us know your experiences and any hints and tips you’re finding helpful right now.

Image by Amy_Gillard from Pixabay.

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