Joe Gibbs: ‘He’s clearly convinced the laird that, if he is vaccinated, he will be controlled like a drone via a remote console by lizards in tailcoats from somewhere near Middle Earth’

Joe Gibbs' dispatches from his farm in Scotland take in vaccinations, conspiracy theories and pulling teeth.

Our friend, the lovelorn laird of the West, was reluctant to take his mother to have her Covid-19 vaccination. However, he drove her to Dingwall and, to make the most of the trip, he attached the stock trailer to carry a bullock to the slaughterhouse, which is conveniently near the surgery. As they rattled east, he ruminated on an unfortunate similarity between the bullock’s predicament and his mother’s. You may gather from this that he has his doubts about the safety of the vaccination, rather than about his mother’s suitability as meat; he mistrusts the jab on the basis of its accelerated test period.

In truth, I think he has been spending too much lockdown time in a bubble with the tenant of his static caravan, who is rumoured to have a penchant for the dried herbs and has filled the laird’s head with conspiracy theories. He was an ex-postie who, if the tall tales of the West are to be believed, which I very much doubt, piggybacked herbal deliveries on the back of the mail to various connoisseurs in the area he served.

There’s something dodgy about the karma of this particular static. The previous tenant went tonto on vodka and Coke and methodically extracted his teeth, one by one, by wobbling each with a finger. By the time he left, he had completed the bottom lefts and was starting work on the top rights. History can’t bear to relate where he has reached now.

“He tipped the bottle over his head, let it trickle down his back, and has been feeling a little odd ever since, which he takes as a good sign”

This cove had been working as a farmhand and his departure came as a relief to his employers when they discovered he had taken a somewhat unorthodox approach to deadstock. Rather than going to the bother of burying the dead animals in a pit, the approved method, he tossed them off a bridge, where they piled up rather.

The spot he had selected was one where a geocache had been hidden. You may have come across these wonders of the modern age: someone buries a box containing something laughably analogue such as paper clips, a bit of chewed gum and a conker and leaves a clue to the location online. Then an army of sleuths set to finding it. Fighting their way through a mountain of piquant carcases in varying states of decay must have added an extra sense of achievement to discovering that particular cache.

Anyhow, the tenant is clearly convinced the laird that, if he is vaccinated, he will be controlled like a drone via a remote console by lizards in tailcoats from somewhere near Middle Earth. It took a threat of resignation from a trustee to persuade the laird that his mother should be allowed her jab, hence the moodily reflective trip to the east and his mother’s miraculous post-hypodermic survival.

After research online and after consulting the extensive medical knowledge of the local crofting community, the laird reckons he has solved the vaccination dilemma by self-medication. Ivermectin, a broad-spectrum anti-parasitic agent, is his drug of choice. As usual, there is a practical farming angle. He’s got plenty of the stuff there for dosing the cattle, in which it kills roundworms, lungworms, sucking and biting lice, mange mites and horn flies. You pour it on from the withers to the tailhead.

In humans, it’s anyone’s guess what it does, although there has been some research into its use as a Covid-19 prophylactic. Anyway, he tipped the bottle over his head, let it trickle down his back, and has been feeling a little odd ever since, which he takes as a good sign. Positive chap. They’re an interesting lot over there.