Yesterday I overheard Gail talking to a friend.
"I can't believe how much rubbish is being written about Scotland's future North Sea oil reserves. Honestly, I think even Bertie has a better understanding of the issues involved than most of the media commentators".
For once I shall ignore Gail's rather insulting use of the word 'even' and take her statement at face value.
After all, I live in the heart of Europe's oil capital and my human, a geophysicist, has been engaged in the business on and off (mostly on) for over 30 years. Naturally, my keen and attentive flappy little ears have picked up a wealth of knowledge about the petroleum industry.
But I think it will help if, instead of oil and gas, we consider the subject in terms of doggy treats.
Got your attention, right?
Let us imagine that once upon a time, many millions of years ago, a huge number of doggy treats were buried under the ground in deposits of varying size and depth. And that this would form the only local supply of treats ever available to dogs in the UK.
For years, no-one knew they were there, but one day, a basset hound caught a faint whiff of something interesting in a field. A passing Scottie noticed the hound sniffing the earth, and started digging. Lo and behold, he had discovered the UK's first treat hoard.
A border collie, observing the action, used her brain and figured out that there were likely more treat deposits scattered around, and hired a gang of scent hounds to sniff them out and terriers to do the excavation work.
Initially only the larger and shallowest deposits were found, but selective breeding of scent hounds with ever more treat-sensitive noses meant that medium sized treat stores could also be detected, and likewise terriers with bigger and bigger front paws made for ever more effective digging operations. Meanwhile, the increasing global population of dogs meant the market for treats grew and grew, increasing the value of each individual treat.
Naturally it was the canny border collies, in partnership with some poodles, who organised and ran the sale and distribution of the treats and made off with most of the profits, although they did have to pay an annual tribute to a gang of powerful German Shepherds and Rottweilers who also controlled the permits to dig.
No-one knew exactly how many dog treats were buried at the outset, and so estimates of the number left at any point varied considerably. The uncertainty was compounded when the task of calculating remaining treat reserves was sub-contracted to a litter cross-bred from a Bulldog and a Shih Tzu……..*
It was also unclear if, as locally sourced treats became scarcer and scarcer, people would be prepared to pay ever more to extract them, or if they would look to overseas treat supplies instead. And no-one was certain whether further selective breeding could improve performance of the terriers and the scent hounds sufficiently to locate and dig out the remaining small or more deeply buried deposits. The cost of maintaining these precious (in every sense of the word) specialists was already going through the kennel roof.
One dog who without doubt understood all this was an Aberdeen-based billionaire treat magnate, a border collie known as 'Woody'. Although Woody's judgement had in recent years been called into question when he attempted to move beyond his core expertise and started trying to design a city centre dog park, no-one questioned his deep knowledge of the complexities of the treat business.
And so when he said that there are not so many treats left as a certain power hungry but deceitful Gordon Setter named Alex had claimed (based on so-called 'expert advice' from a grovelling lapdog), then we can all agree that Woody should be believed.
All clear now, I trust.
*Blame Her from Scotsmad for this one…
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