Come on Gail! Oh come on, over here, COME ON, COME ON!!!
Look outside the window! All the snow is gone. It doesn't even feel cold. It must be nearly Spring.
And don't imagine I've forgotten what you promised last year. You absolutely promised that come Spring I would be allowed to climb a Munro.
[Readers, you know what a Munro is? A Scottish peak over 3000 ft high. There are 283 of them. Between you and me, it's my ambition to 'bag' every single one, like boxer dog Kerry did a couple of years ago.]
So Gail, look, I've even found this book on your shelves. Called, yes you've guessed it, 'The Munros: The Scottish Mountaineering Club Hillwalkers Guide'.
Now what do I see here, scribbled this inside the book? A list? In your handwriting, Gail, if I'm not mistaken?
Stob Choire Claurigh
Stob Coire an Laoigh
Stob Coire Easain
Oh, is that so? Seriously? You're telling me that my predecessor Hamish the Westie in his younger days climbed each of those peaks on your list. All the way up to the top and him with such little legs?
So these Munros would be, like, no problem at all for an eager, fit and bouncy chap like me, eh?
What do you mean a fine line between 'bounciness' and 'recklessness' Gail? Oh, you're just saying that for the first time, perhaps we should try a nicely rounded Munro, not one of the one with jaggy edges and precipitous drops.
[I guess Gail is frightened of heights but doesn't want to admit it. I'll have to humour her for now.]
Well OK then. How about Ben Macdui? Looks good eh? Scotland's second highest mountain. Dramatic and imposing, yet suitably curvaceous...
Yes, that's the one for sure. What are we waiting for?
Oh what is it now? Must we really wait for longer days too?
And now I am getting a lecture from Gail who has reached for another of her books* and is reading aloud from it:
'Beginners, not unnaturally...want the startling view, the horrid pinnacle - sips of beer and tea instead of milk. Yet often the mountain gives itself most completely when I have no destination, when I reach nowhere in particular, but have gone out merely to be with the mountain as one visits a friend with no intention but to be with him.'
All well and good Gail. BUT I STILL WANT TO BAG MY FIRST MUNRO!
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....)