So I was standing in the sink undergoing my routine post-walk paw wash when a voice from the radio caught my attention.
Gail was, as usual, listening to BBC Radio 4 (American readers, think NPR but with less music).
Someone called Sarah Dunant, ruminating on the potentially enfeebling impact of inherited wealth, noted how in the stories of P.G.Wodehouse, an infantilised Bertie Wooster is "blissfully unaware that his life is entirely controlled by his butler Jeeves".
Now you may or may not be aware that I, Bouncing Bertie, was actually named after Wodehouse's comic creation.
But it strikes me, when considering the relationship between Gail and myself, surely she is the Bertie and I am the Jeeves?
You would have thought the fact that today I, Bouncing Bertie, am celebrating my one thousandth blog post would be the day’s biggest news, and I would get to discuss this achievement at length.
But no! Instead, Gail is elbowing me aside for what she insists is an even bigger occasion for celebration. And so, somewhat reluctantly, just this once, I am handing over to my owner.
Breathe easily, those of you worried I might be focussing on the England team's performance in the FIFA World Cup. This is not about football…
Rather, what I want to talk about is that it is ten years ago to the day since I pressed the ‘publish’ button and my (or rather Hamish the Westie’s ) first ever blog post.
A whole decade of blogging! What started as light relief from the tedium of finalising a PhD thesis, a much-needed release from the constraints of writing in the accepted 'scientific' style, gathered a momentum of its own once I gained some readers and discovered the Dogs with Blogs (DWB) community.
Hamish the Westie (pictured below) died on 18th February 2010. By coincidence, on the same day, Bertie was born and Bouncing Bertie’s Blog followed shortly.
Over the years, readers and bloggers have come and gone. DWB somehow morphed into Blogville. Some of you have stayed the course. Rich and enduring friendships with bloggers have been formed. There was something particularly special about the very first blogging connections, and I have felt a real sense of loss when animals I’ve only known over the internet have died, or their owners have moved on.
I hope you’ll allow me here a few reflections of a more personal nature on the past decade. In the first month of Hamish’s blog I described a short holiday with my parents in SW Scotland. What I did not mention on Hamish’s blog was that this trip was when I first realised that my father was becoming disorientated and confused. A man whose sense of direction had always been second to none could not get to grips with the layout of a small village in Dumfries and Galloway. Human Grandad's subsequent slow and distressing descent into the fog of Alzheimer’s disease ended in his death in 2014, and a few months later my mother became very seriously ill. She was not expected to recover but did, and 'Human Granny' even became quite a star on this blog before the infirmities of old age claimed her earlier this year.
HGD's 92nd birthday. The last photo I have of my parents together
I have endeavoured to keep the blog light hearted (mostly) during a phase of my life which has contained the full spectrum of emotions. Without intending it, the blogs developed a more serious sub-plot, becoming a record of my parents’ last years. This I now treasure in the form of a series of 'blog books'.
I am so grateful to my blogging friends for their support. I know that many of you have gone through similar difficulties and much worse. I hope that, like me, you have found and will continue to find in the world of (mostly dog) blogs a source of fun, friendship, comfort, surprise and delight.
Oh yes, and please do congratulate Bertie, my faithful companion, on his 1000th post!
Hi, I'm Bertie, a wire-haired fox terrier pup. I live with Gail in Aberdeen, Scotland. An old Westie called Hamish used to live here but he died on 18th February 2010 (exactly the same day I was born). People tell me that he used to have a blog and that I have big pawprints to fill. That's a bit too much responsibility for a very young puppy - and anyway, I intend to make my own mark!
(Gail says that Hamish could certainly have taught me a thing or two about marking stuff....)