Monday, 26 June 2017

The right kind of visitors...

...will drive all the way up from England to visit Gail and me in Torridon.

They will accompany us on intrepid walks through the forest, 

And venture up and down steep paths,

Not minding that it is rather chilly for 'midsummer' and looks like it will rain any minute.

And when we return to the cottage, they will not be selfish and will be prepared to share. 

I am pleased to report that Gail's cousin Sue and her husband Martin have this weekend proved themselves the very best kind of visitor. 

Friday, 23 June 2017

Can a dog issue a fatwa?


This all came about 'cos I overheard Gail say she was a wee bit embarrassed at having to give a presentation to some Iranian clients while her face was still all bruised and grazed from last Saturday's bicycle accident.

She mentioned she'd recently read an article in the paper about women being banned from cycling in Iran.

Gosh it seem to me these Mulllah types are onto something here.

Long time readers of this blog will be aware of all my trials and tribulations surrounding Gail's passion for two wheeled transport and exercise.

I had no idea that one could simply issue a decree stating that females are just not allowed to ride bikes. Problem solved!

Come to think of it, maybe we could extend the ban to human males too. Especially the sweaty mid-life crisis types that wear unwise lycra and often nearly run one over in the park of a morning.

Of course I would make allowances for those folks riding bicycles with baskets, trailers or other adaptations to enable transport of one's pet.



Oh, it seems that you only get to issue these decrees if you are some kind of a high heid yin of the Muslim faith.

So where do I sign up for Ayatollah School?

PS Gail apologises to her Muslim friends for any offence caused by Bertie's sketchy theological understanding...

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

It serves her right


Really, our humans, you can't let them out of your sight for one minute.

Well I say it jolly well serves Gail right for leaving me at Janet's house on Saturday and heading off on her old bicycle (without me) to visit Human Granny again.

So Gail returned eventually, looking a bit sheepish and mumbling something about a large twig getting stuck between the mudguard and the wheel of her bicycle causing her to take a tumble.

But you and I know that the accident was all about people who abandon their pets getting their just deserts, don't we?

Believe me, the photo above is the most flattering one you can take of Gail just now. Oh my word that bruise is beginning to look more colourful than I'm guessing Gail's language was when she picked herself up off that bike path.

But anyway, I'm pleased to report that things improved on Sunday, when Gail and Janet took me on a lovely walk in Derbyshire.

Clever Janet found a route that was mostly in the shade, which helped me survive the thirty degree heat.

But to be honest, on Monday both Gail and I were happy to be boarding the train back north to cooler climes.

And of course you will want to meet my new friend from Hong Kong, on a month long holiday to Europe with her family, to celebrate her graduation. You do run into the nicest people on the East Coast line to Edinburgh.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

What to do about Danny?

I am so put out I can barely compose myself, even a day after discovering the shocking news.

Can you believe it? I went to vist Human Granny yesterday and found there was ANOTHER DOG in residence at her care home.

In residence you understand, not just visiting! Danny, he's called, a ten year old Shih Tzu, and he's been there for a month with his owner Doreen.

I went to say hello to him and he just growled at me, guarding his bowl of food. And I was only trying to be friendly. And then, to cap it all, it was ME (innocent little me) who was banished to Human Granny's bedroom while Danny boy continued to lord it over the communal sitting room, where the treats are to be found.

What's to be done?
PS Pleased to report we found Human Granny in good spirits. She moves ever more slowly and has become rather wobbly, but Gail says her positive attitude and refusal to feel sorry for herself sets an example I would do well to follow should my paw problem recur...

Thursday, 15 June 2017

A TRUNK WARMER ??

Have I ever introduced you to Edward Elephant?

This somewhat inanimate fellow shares the bed with Gail and me. Apparently he has been around since Gail was a wee girl.

If you are wondering about that hand-knitted dark blue thing covering his trunk, let me explain.

Edward has the large ears typical of an African elephant. He is built for the savannah, not the perennially chilly climate of Northern Scotland.

This is why, now that he is getting on in years, Edward wears a trunk warmer.

It is totally logical and scientific, and not at all silly.

(At least that's what I promised Gail I would say on this blog.)

PS We are heading off to Nottingham today to check up on Human Granny, and are looking forward to some warm(er) weather Down South. So it's goodbye to Edward for a few days.

Monday, 12 June 2017

Decisions, decisions….

You know how it is when you go for a Sunday afternoon walk with friends...

You pose nicely amidst the buttercups and speedwells...


You pose patiently while they text pictures of you to daughters in Denmark...


You pose gracefully beside the loch...


You even pretend to admire the water lilies while cooling your paws...


Then when they stop for a breather and a bite to eat, you are faced with a most dreadful dilemma.

Is it best to target Neil for treats...


Or will Yvonne prove the softer touch?


Tell me, how would you choose?

Friday, 9 June 2017

UK Election Special - respect to Wilson!

You may or may not be aware that we had yet another General Election here in the UK yesterday.

One big winner of the night was Ruth Davidson, known to the tabloid press as the "kick-boxing lesbian Leader of the Scottish Conservatives". The main theme of her election campaign was about keeping Scotland part of the UK and saying no to a second independence referendum.

There are now thirteen Conservative MPs from Scotland (before the election it was just one) and without them Theresa May would not be able to form a government.

Ms Davidson is often pictured with her spaniel Wilson.



Who seems a cool sort of a guy.


Gail is wondering if the shredded document above contained the Scottish National Party's plans for  #indyref2.

As for whither Brexit - don't even ask...

Thursday, 8 June 2017

To whom do these feet belong?


Can you guess?

Ok, I won't keep you in suspense.

The feet belong to Blogville's very own YAM-Aunty and her lovely sister Mac#1 (or Mach#1 as I call her, as she is quite the speedy runner these days).

We met up last week in the charming town of Nairn, on the Moray Firth just east of Inverness, and spent a relaxing day exploring the beach and the wee park (where I gazed in admiration at YAM-Aunty's prowess on the fitness equipment). 

Naturally we also sampled the local cafés, and finally we had a nose around the old 'Fishertown', where we happened upon this wonderful mural, an unexpected source of distraction and delight.

All in all, it was a splendid day.

Isn't it nice to have friends?

Monday, 5 June 2017

Celebrating Our Green and Pleasant Land


And wishing peace to all our friends.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Bertie Boffin says THANK YOU!


Bertie Boffin here in Torridon, bouncing over to say Hi to all my friends around the world.

In particular today, I want to say a big THANK YOU to the many fine folk in the USA who continue to back global action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

So thank you to the Governors of California, New York and Washington State, and to all those city mayors for showing leadership in supporting the Paris climate accord.

All over our precious planet, we are blanketed by the same atmosphere and we share a responsibility to ensure, using the best of our scientific knowledge, that our actions do not cause our climate to destabilise.

Did you know that my Human Granny was brought up in heart of the Yorkshire Coalfield, and her father, Gail's Grandad, used to work for the National Coal Board? And that when Human Granny moved to the city of Nottingham to work at the Boots factory, the environment was so clean in comparison, she once told Gail she thought she had moved to Paradise! When Gail was a little girl, her own Granny (HGY's mother) used to fuss over her all the time, worrying about potential chest infections, and later Gail understood this was because her Granny came from a region where lives were too commonly blighted and shortened by lung disease caused by the pollution from the coal mines and from industries fuelled by coal. So while Gail and I feel very sorry for those many people around the world who have lost jobs due to closures of coal mines, and are well aware of the devastation wrought on the mining communities, we firmly believe, President Trump, that there are better, smarter ways to create new employment.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Artemis the Westie

So we have a new dog in the Duthie Park. A fluffy white Westie pup, all of three months old.

Nothing remarkable about that, I hear you say. And indeed it is true there is no shortage of cute wee Westies (and some larger and grumpier ones) in these parts.

But this new friend does have one unusual feature: her name!  None of your common or garden  Kirsties or Floras or Mollies for this little lady.

"Artemis! How very distinguished!" Gail exclaimed, and I experienced a brief pang of jealousy, wishing for a moment that I was named after a rather awesome Greek deity.

When folk hear my name, the most common response is thus.

"Bertie? Oh yes, he looks like a Bertie!"

And what's more, it is said in a voice which suggests the person is suppressing a gentle chuckle, hardly calculated to make a chap feel important or distinguished. 

What do people say when they learn your name for the first time?

PS We do not have a photo of Artemis, so you will have to make do with yet another picture of me in the park, taken a couple of weeks ago - there are far more leaves on the trees now.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Imagining a different future


We've been having super lovely weather in NE Scotland this week, and my paws are now feeling tip top, so on Saturday morning (I'm delighted to report) Gail decided to abandon the household chores and take me for a walk up Morven, long our favourite Deeside hill.

One learns, given the climate in these parts, to seize the moment.

Half way up the initial steep ascent, we ran in to a chap who Gail knows a bit through her work, who was out walking with his wife. It was a good excuse to stop for a breather, and it turns out this couple are both geologists and hail from the southwest of France, near the Pyrenees. Wife was ever so friendly and as she tickled my belly in a way I might describe as 'très agréable' her husband warned Gail to keep a close eye on me, as wife yearns for a dog and he said there was a danger I might be kidnapped.

You know what, I am thinking, would it really be so bad to be kidnapped by a French geologist and maybe end up living close to the Pyrenees?

I am imagining a life spent hiking in the dramatic mountain landscapes, enjoying croissants for petit dejeuner, a selection of smelly fromages for lunch and maybe cassoulet cooked with generous quantities of goose fat for dinner.

Gail could still come to visit and perhaps even fulfil a lifetime ambition of cycling up the Col du Toumalet.

Who knows, I could get the chance to visit my blogging friends Bob and Sophie and thank them properly for sending me that comfy soft collar earlier in the year.

Oh and if I stay in France long enough, that nice young Monsieur Macron might yet permit me to retain my precious EU passport?

For some reason, when we reached the summit, Gail seemed keen to hold me tight …

… and was reluctant to let me get too close to the French couple (that's them, sat behind me in the picture below, sheltering from the inevitable wind).