These words from Jim, the leader, at the end our our two-day geological excursion to Lossiemouth are still singing in my flappy little terrier ears.
Oh I can't tell you how much fun I had, I am so, so grateful that I was allowed to take part. To show just how happy I am, and that I learned lots, I am going to present this report according to Jim's rules for geological field work.
So first you will have an observation (in the form of a photo), which I shall describe carefully and only then shall I propose an interpretation.
(1) At CoveSea East, the first outcrop
Description: The leader Jim is standing in front of some sandstone cliffs discussing the rocks with three members of the field party. A small handsome terrier is on the move.
Interpretation: Rocks are very fascinating, for sure, but sometimes one must attend to important sniffing business.
(2) Further along the shore at CoveSea
Description: In front of the cliff, some of the geologists are looking at the rocks and others are admiring a handsome wee terrier.
Interpretation: Geologists may need a break from struggling with the concept that back in the Permo-Triassic Scotland was a desert with dunes and all.
(3) At Hopeman
Description: The field party relaxes besides colourful beach huts. There are no rocks in sight.
Interpretation: It was that time of day when stomachs were starting to rumble. Oh and I absolutely must point out Victor, the nice geologist on the left in the green shirt. Apparently back in his homeland of Romania, he too has a fox terrier.
(4) Interesting sedimentary feature
Description: A handsome wee terrier, for once sporting a lead, although this is not attached to a human, is standing on some wavy rocks.
Interpretation: The fact that many of the field party had taken a photo of this feature even before I stood there tells one that it must have a particular geological significance. But who could argue that the feature is greatly enhanced by the presence of a handsome wee terrier, and not just because he is providing a 'scale'? (Shoulder height 42 cm, for the record).
(5) Art work
Description: Handsome wee terrier sitting in front of a concentric pattern of differently coloured pebbles, arranged on the shore near Hopeman.
Interpretation: Geologists can be a tiny bit philistine, just possibly, as none of them came over to look at what most would consider a rather attractive human artwork.
(6) A demonstration
Description: Jim is kneeling on the beach with a small red bucket in his hand, in front of some failed sandcastles. A handsome wee terrier is also present.
Interpretation: The notion that this is 'serious field work' stretches credulity. Does Jim truly expect me to buy the line that he is attempting to demonstrate an important principle of soft sedimentation? I think that the short video below says it all, really.
(7) At the Skerry Brae hotel, Stotfield
Description: Handsome wee terrier is resting on the only bed in a basic but comfortable hotel bedroom. His food and water bowls can be seen bottom right.
Interpretation: Keeping the troops entertained during a long day out in the field is an exhausting business. Oh, and I wonder where Gail is going to sleep?
(8) The next morning at Burghead
Description: An encounter between geologist Iain and wire-haired fox terrier Bertie, half way up a sandstone rock face.
Interpretation: Iain proposes that these rocks are different from the ones we saw yesterday, in that the sediments appear to have been transported by an ancient river, rather than being part of a system of wind blown dunes. Bertie is not yet convinced.
(9) A closer look
Description: Bertie joins the other geologists for a closer look at the rocks.
Interpretation: You know, Iain could be right. Isn't geology just intriguing? Yes, those larger pebbles must have been transported by water not wind, don't you think?
(10) And a little bit of history
Description: Fox terrier examines a sign telling all about the history of Burghead, site of possibly the largest Iron Age Fort in Britain, where the native Picts gathered to defend themselves against the marauding Viking hordes.
Interpretation: Warring tribes? Marauding hordes? Well the rocks here may speak of a different environment in Northeast Scotland in times past, but frankly that sounds just like Union Street, Aberdeen on any Saturday night...
(11) More interesting features at Clashach Quarry
Description: Geologist, with can of Irn Bru in left hand, is pointing at what look like tyre tracks on a slab of rock. Handsome terrier inspects.
Interpretation: Conclusive proof here that this field trip is taking place in Scotland, as nowhere else on earth would Irn Bru be considered a potable liquid....Oh and the 'tyre tracks' were apparently left behind by some Permo-Triassic reptile dragging its tail across the sand. The 'eye of faith' will also detect the ancient beast's paw prints. Wow!
(12) A new role?
Description: Wee fox terrier stands confidently besides leader Jim, in front of some knobbly, partly crystalline rocks at Stotfield Bay.
Interpretation: This has the look of a promising partnership doesn't it? Wire-haired fox terrier has proved his worth as geological field assistant, one feels.
(13) And finally
Description: Gail is standing in the main street in Lossiemouth, holding a cone of Miele's vanilla ice-cream. Fox terrier is sitting by her, patiently, but with tail wagging furiously.
Interpretation: It is the end of the field trip. Fox terrier knows that he has played a blinder, having been on best behaviour throughout, and has every expectation of being rewarded with a tasty fragment of ice-cream wafer.
(14) Yes! Result!