Sunday, 1 May 2016

On 'Being a Beast'

Gail, I see you have a new book, 'Being a Beast' by Charles Foster. The title sounds interesting. Do tell me what it's all about.

Well Bertie, where to begin? The author, who is an Oxford academic and also a qualified vet, decided he would attempt to experience life as a variety of wild animals and then write about it. So he spent several months living as a badger in a makeshift set. He also had a shot a being an urban fox, an otter, a red deer and, perhaps least successfully, a swift.

Hmmm. Most intriguing. How did the badger thing go?

So the badger chapter opens with the arresting statement: "When you put a worm in your mouth, it senses the heat as something sinister". Later on he deploys the wine tasters' concept of 'terroir' to describe the way the taste of a worm varies according to the soil type in which it lives. 

Gosh, isn't that a tiny bit pretentious? As well as unpleasant. Did he fare any better as an urban fox?

Not really. It seems the policeman who found him sleeping rough under a rhododendron bush on private land was not too impressed with his "I'm trying to be a fox" line and told him to "bugger off home, SIR, and get a life".

Oh dear, it all sounds a most unpromising enterprise. Perhaps it would have been easier if the author had chosen to replicate a dog's life?

Well Bertie, I suspect that a daily routine of being taken for nice walks, having all one's food provided in a clean and convenient bowl on the kitchen floor, and spending evenings being given belly rubs on the sofa, would not offer the sort of 'nature red in tooth and claw' experience Mr Foster had in mind for the book.

You have a point Gail. And anyway, who needs to read about humans pretending to be dogs when so many of my own species have already mastered the art of social media….?

P.S. For those readers interested in the progress of my 'Ambassadog' application - there will be an update on Tuesday this week. Watch this space!

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Just imagine...

Silly Gail has been worrying a bit about the future of her job.

Over in Torridon this weekend, I tried to help her get things in perspective.

Just imagine, I said, how good life could be if all that tedious 'going to the office' business wasn't getting in the way.

We could spend more time at the cottage, greeting friends...

Relaxing in the garden…

Enjoying the ever changing views across the loch...

Getting to know the neighbours better…

Honing our mountaineering skills...

And exploring every nook and cranny of the magnificent coastline (that's the Isle of Skye in the distance, you know).

Oh yes, and we could go down to Nottingham more often too, and wouldn't that bring a big happy smile to Human Granny's face?

And now that I have a passport, perhaps I could visit some friends overseas?

You know what? 

I think Gail is almost convinced.  

Sunday, 24 April 2016

The sad demise of Rory the Lion

Gail here: I awoke this morning to the scene of a massacre.
Bedroom scene 24 April 2016

Bertie is an occasional rather than an obsessional toy de-stuffer.

Rory the Lion has been his much loved night time companion for the best part of a year.

Quite why Bertie decided now was time for some true terrier-style action on the poor lion's head is anyone's guess.

However, Rory has not roared his last as, due to an anatomical quirk, his voice box is located in his still intact tail.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Hello! Hi there! What ho!

I like to greet folk when I am 'oot an' aboot' and so does Gail.

Whether we're visiting the park, strolling by the river, having fun at the beach or a-roaming in the hills, wherever we are, you'll get a cheery 'hello' from Gail and a friendly sniff and a tail wag from me.

Nothing unusual about this, at least in Scotland, and our salutations are most usually acknowledged and met with one of the following weather-related responses:

"Beautiful weather today!" (Meaning the sun actually shone at some point in the last three hours).
"Nae such a bad day" (i.e. it's not actually raining, although it might be freezing cold with a gale force wind).
"They say it'll be better later in the week"(i.e. no redeeming aspects to current conditions).

It is true that, especially in the early mornings, a percentage of the humans we encounter will be striding along on Planet Headphone, but they are very much in the minority (and of course you don't get this with dogs).

Well all this preamble is by way of explaining how shocked we were to learn that there is currently a campaign exhorting visitors to the South Downs National Park to say hello to one another when they cross paths in this beautiful region of Southern England.

Yes really! See the poster below:

The video which forms part of the campaign is downright weird. Although I must say I did enjoy the bit at around 1 min 56 seconds..

What's odd too is that I'm sure people from that part of the world are nice and don't need lessons in treating each other well. My beloved late Human Grandad came originally from Sussex, and he would never fail to offer a polite 'good day' to a passer by, and if she were a lady, to touch his cap.