Here at Human Granny's we have been been going through the cupboards and Gail found a poem, one she was fond of as a child but had forgotten all about:
Lone Dog Irene McLeod I'm a lean dog, a keen dog, a wild dog and lone, I'm a rough dog, a tough dog, hunting on my own! I'm a bad dog, a mad dog, teasing silly sheep; I love to sit and bay the moon and keep fat souls from sleep. I'll never be a lap dog, licking dirty feet, A sleek dog, a meek dog, cringing for my meat. Not for me the fireside, the well-filled plate, But shut the door and sharp stone and cuff and kick and hate. Not for me the other dogs, running by my side, Some have run a short while, but none of them would bide. O mine is still the lone trail, the hard trail, the best, Wide wind and wild stars and the hunger of the quest.
I'm sure you are eagerly awaiting my opinions on the literary merits of these three short verses.
Well it is my considered view that this Ms McLeod has set up what I believe is known as a 'false antithesis'. As anyone has met me will already be aware, it is quite possible both to be a lean, tough dog AND a lap dog. Oh and by the way, what is wrong with a well-filled plate?
Other than that, I guess the poem is fine.
Why is Gail saying perhaps stick to the science Bertie?
On the way down to see Human Granny in Nottingham, we stayed one night at a hotel in the quaint town of Appleby in Westmorland.
I convinced Gail one should be allowed to sleep on the bed in any place that charges a £15 'dog supplement'..,
[I am sure my Westie friends will appreciate that in the above picture, I am not dirty, just a different shade of white to the sheets].
Come Sunday evening in Nottingham, Gail and Human Granny enjoyed watching Germany beat Argentina in the World Cup Final, but I was more equivocal about game's appeal.
PS from Gail: Keen eyed readers will have spotted the subtitles on the TV. The live transcription of the commentary is a great service for deaf viewers like my mother, and the shortcomings of the BBC's technology can make for some entertaining versions of foreign names. I am still smiling at 'Jo Cain Lurve', the German team manager!
So I was expecting to spend the weekend in intensive training at the agility field, commencing the mammoth task of bringing Gail up to scratch in time for the big team relay event in late August.
It was not to be.
On Friday afternoon my dear owner pointed the car northwards and said, as if without a care in the world, come on Bertie, hey ho, we're invited to a party at Molly's in Macduff.
Do you suppose Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer prepared for Wimbledon by swanning off to the Moray Firth to visit old university friends for a summer barbecue? Would Lionel Messi improve his dribbling skills by staying out late emptying bottles of rosé and scoffing sausage rolls, burgers and strawberry gateau?
I'm telling you, with Gail's attitude to training, Chris Froome would struggle to pedal up Holme Moss, much less La Planche des Belles Filles or the Tourmalet.
What is a pup to do?
Well OK, we had a nice enough time at the party, even if torrential rain forced the barbecue indoors. And I did get a chance to practice both being admired (by the other partygoers) and being tolerant of uppity dogs - yes I mean you, Maisie the Lurcher with your glossy black coat and your Suarez-like teeth baring tendencies.
You will already have guessed we did not rush back to Aberdeen that night so as to be up bright and early rehearsing baton changes.
But even I was surprised when next morning Gail insisted on taking me to visit a phone box…
Yes, you read that right. We drove east a few miles along the coast from Macduff and ended up in the village of Pennan…
…all so Gail could take a photograph of me in front of a traditional red telephone box.
As if Apple and Samsung had never existed.
I'll grant you that Pennan is a cute wee place, really just a row of cottages sandwiched between sea and cliff, with the only landward access via a narrow and precipitous road.
And whilst I was wholly unimpressed by the phone box (after all, there are plenty still around in the UK), Gail assures me that fans of the 1983 film 'Local Hero' will understand why this particular one is so special.
I had a peek at Gail's email yesterday - fellow pups, don't pretend you never do the same - and was most excited to see this from one of our of the trainers at Deeside Dog Agility Club.
Since you are not on Facebook, I thought I'd email you to ask whether you would be interested in being part of the Deeside team aiming to qualify for Crufts?
The format is a team of 4 dogs/handlers (+ up to 2 reserves) running an agility course in relay with the winners of the qualifying heat progressing to Crufts 2015. The qualifying heat is on Saturday 23rd of August at the Scottish Kennel Club Show in Ingliston, Edinburgh. Crufts is early March 2015 at the NEC in Birmingham. If you were wanting to be part of the team, you would be committing to attend the SKC show and, hopefully, Crufts should you qualify.
At present, the Medium team consists of Jeri + Burns, Alison + Maddie and Yvonne + Phoebe. We hope to add Denise + Scally (yet tbc) and yourself to make up the team + 1 reserve.
It should be noted that a relay is not simply about speed, with consistency and an ability to not get eliminated being important components of a good team.
Let me know what you think. I'll be at training tomorrow night so give me a shout if you want to chat it through. The closing date for entry is ~15/7.
Thanks and regards.
Oh my goodness I am so flattered. Imagine me at Crufts! I am going to be a star. What could possibly stop me?
You can trust my human to pour cold water on a pup's dreams of glory.
Gail is pointing out that there are rather few medium sized dogs in our club, in fact probably only five, so making the team is nothing to bark about. Also, rather nastily I thought, she mentions the minor detail that I have yet to be promoted from Grade 1, the lowest level of agility, so may not exactly be considered an asset to a team otherwise comprised of high achievers.
Still, she agreed we could take part.
Neither Gail nor I are sure of the rules for an agility relay. I will admit that at least two of the dogs in the team are, to put it diplomatically, not my best friends, and, on mature consideration, I don't think I would be prepared to engage with them in mouth-to-mouth baton passing.
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....)