THE dug was lying draped around my neck and shoulders like a scarf while I was reading an article on how dugs are going to cope when their owners go back to work once lockdown is eased. It said that due to our pets now having gotten used to us always being at home, they’re going to have a difficult time in re-adjusting back to the old routine.

The article suggested leaving your dug home by themselves for five or 10 minutes at a time then gradually build that time up. I’m home a lot of the time anyway but the times I am away at meetings or teaching in schools and prisons, the dug seems to be fine when I get back. No mess, no accidents, just him yawning as he wakes up when I get back in. I imagine he says to himself, “Aw naw, he’s back awready”.

So I thought I’d try leaving him in the house while I jumped to the shops the other day.

He gets all excited when he sees me putting my shoes on and grabbing my car keys, running through all the places I could possibly be taking him in his mind. Normally he’ll come with me to the shops and either wait in the motor if it’s raining or sit outside the shop if it’s nice, enjoying the attention from other shoppers as they fuss over this bizarre looking wee creature. He knows that he’ll be rewarded for his patience with a bag of treats.

This time though, I told him to “be good” and that I’d “be back in 10 minutes”. If he was a person I imagine he’d say something like, “Excuse me? Where you gawn? Withoot me? Naw, am no having this.” His mouth hanging open in incredulity.

As I got in the motor, I could see him staring out at me from the living-room window. I don’t know if this possible but I’m sure he shook his head in disgust. Like I just betrayed him in spectacular fashion. I remembered earlier in lockdown, me and my girlfriend were trying to do this thing with him that was doing the rounds on Twitter. You put a treat down for the dog and leave your phone to record what he does. You tell him to leave it and then leave the room.

I did it and left the room at which point he left the treat and followed me. As soon as I remembered that I had to go back in and get him. A tragic state of affairs. I suppose it’s me who’s going to have to adjust to leaving him rather than the other way around.

In other news, I went to see my maw the other day for a wee flying visit. I hadn’t been looking too well the last time I saw her pre-lockdown, thanks to a combination of not sleeping or eating properly. Now though, I am a picture of health having been sorted by my girlfriend’s maw and da feeding me proper dinners while we’ve been staying with them. I even have a bit of a tan. I couldn’t wait for my maw to see me, feeling like I’d had a makeover.

She just laughed when she saw me. “Wit happened tae you?” she asked.

“How? Wit is it?” I said.

“Ye look like Castaway,” she laughed. “I don’t know who looks worse, you or the dug.”

Me and the dug are both sporting overgrown masses of hair. We are quite a sight.

“Wit’s wi the beard?”

I felt around my patchy, scraggly neck-beard. “I thought it looked awrite.”

“I’d get it shaved aff if I was you, Robinson Crusoe.”

“Aye awrite, nice tae see you anaw.”

I went to shave it all off last night but I’ve managed to lose the charger for my wee trimmer.

I don’t want to take it all off, just trim it down a wee bit. It could be said I’m hoping to implement a phased return to facial normality.

I can’t stress enough how horrible this “beard” looks just now. It looks like I ran a Pritt-stick over my face then rolled about the floor of a barbers, picking up hair of different lengths and colours while leaving big empty patches here and there.

My hair though is a different story. Now that I haven’t had it cut since January, I’ve grown very attached to it. It reminds of the summer I decided I wanted to grow my hair long in secondary school. I had visions of going back looking Paolo Nutini but instead it simply grew out the way, getting bigger, curlier and more voluminous every day.

Returning to school, my pals burst out laughing at me and I went straight to the barbers as soon as the bell went that afternoon. I’ve decided I’m not allowed to cut it until I finish writing my new book which may well mean I’ve already had my last haircut of the decade.