Sunday, 19 April 2015

There's nothing better…?

So, now we are settled back in Scotland, I decided it would be a good idea to treat Gail to a day out in the hills, to spend some quality time together.

OK, I admit it (you'll have guessed anyway). Being a canny wee laddie, I did have an ulterior motive.

The time was right to remind my dear human that she lives in an incomparably beautiful country with - let's not be modest here - with an exceptionally adorable dog.

I happen to know that Ballochbuie Forest, at the western end of the Queen's Balmoral Estate, is one of Gail's very favourite places.

And I knew it would be looking particularly stunning this spring Saturday, under sunny blue skies and with the mountains still capped with snow.

I led Gail along the track through the heather.

And allowed her a stop for coffee while I did a little exploring on my own.

At one point I tried my paw at deer stalking, but returned to Gail as soon as I realised she was distressed by my absence.

Oh gosh you can't believe how good I was being.

I even voluntarily cleaned my paws in the river Dee, just before we returned to the car.

I don't think Gail will be wanting to abandon me again for foreign parts any time soon, do you?

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Unfair to Bosnia-Herzegovina?

Oh dear.

Now that Gail is back and her head has recovered from sharing a late evening Frankfurt - Aberdeen flight with a stag party comprising builders from Fraserburgh, she is worrying that I may have unfairly misrepresented the country  of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) in my last post. She has asked that I correct any unfortunate impressions that the country in any way resembles Cumbernauld*.

Bosnia and Cumbernauld - absolutely no similarity?

Given that Gail claimed to have been on a bicycling tour, I imagined that her photographs of BiH would involve lots of energetic folk puffing and panting up the mountains on their bikes.

So I was a bit surprised when she said: “Look Bertie, see how we were treated like royalty in Bosnia. Like at the Hotel Park in Siroki Brijeg, where we were plied with a champagne breakfast on the house before setting off on the day’s ride”.

Gosh, and Gail claims it is mere coincidence that they got lost up a remote mountain track later that particular morning...

Then Gail showed me some of her photos of the town of Mostar…

… but when I examined the pictures more closely, and saw that some of the buildings are still pock marked with bullet holes from the 1992-5 war, I wondered if Gail might have been better off visiting Cumbernauld after all.

Oh but look, here is Gail’s friend Jo, still in Mostar and mighty happy at having tracked down a replacement for her Lufthansa-damaged gear levers. Or had she been at the champagne again…?

More photos and I was beginning to think these so-called ‘cyclists’ spent all their time inside, eating and drinking. In which case, they could have taken me along too, don't you think?

In this cafe, behind the men playing cards, there seems to be a poster of a General on the wall. Gail tells me she asked the friendly cafe owner about him and was proudly told that this man was a big local hero from 1993,  who had been "sent to the Hague but later let off." So, er, that's all right then?

Oh my goodness, at last, a photo in which, on the hairpin bend, you'll see some of Gail's group actually riding their bikes!

But we have to wait until they reach Croatia before the sun comes out it all starts to look a bit more like the sort of holiday normal humans take...

Oh and, since you ask, yes I was OK in 'camp'. 
I suppose.

*See comment from Angus on previous post

Monday, 13 April 2015

A new rival?

So Gail sent me a too brief message saying she was having a brilliant time cycling in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, but was disappointed so far not to have seen any Dalmatians. 

She did however make friends with this good looking girl relaxing outside one of the less picturesque Bosnian cafe stops.

Normal blog service will resume in a few days time.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Oh no it's that time of year again...

Yes, you've guessed it. The time of year when I am forced to play second fiddle to, gulp, to a BICYCLE.

Between you and me, I had been hoping, what with Human Granny's illness and so on, that Gail might forgo her annual Easter cycling holiday with her old friends from London, and stay home with me instead.

But no, and it seems they are going even further afield than usual, for an eight day tour round Croatia and Bosnia-Herzogovina  (the latter a place I thought only existed in European history books).

Most years, I've noticed that prior to the Easter Tour, Gail disappears out on her bike for a few hours every Sunday for a training ride. Something she has not had much opportunity to do this year.

So yesterday, when I caught sight of the itinerary, I started to worry...

Let's look in more detail. This is the route profile for the first full day's cycling...

Remember, we have been in Nottingham most of the year, where the hills typically look like this:

From molehills to mountains indeed. To be honest, I am far from convinced that Gail's legs will be up to it.

What will a poor pup do if his human collapses on a steep Croatian ascent, never to return?

Perhaps someone out there would adopt me?

I really am very cute.

P.S. from Gail: this blog will be quiet for the next couple of weeks while Bertie is at 'camp' and I am pedalling  with my friends round a scenic part of former Yugoslavia. Unfortunately, Bertie's assessment of my lack of fitness this year is all too accurate, and the route is tougher than usual, so wish me luck!