Sunday, 26 February 2017

Short but sweet

So several passengers could have slipped unnoticed through the ticket barrier at Aberdeen station while two of the staff kept me entertained and another disappeared for a few minutes and came back bearing shortbread..

It is a long train journey to Nottingham. For the first part of the ride, the Edinburgh and Newcastle bound Hen Parties kept me entertained...

But after light refreshments kindly provided by Virgin trains at Newcastle (although where were the complimentary dog biscuits Mr Branson?)...

...I settled down for a wee snooze. Which Gail assures me is the best way to travel through Doncaster.

Of course I was impatient to visit Human Granny...

And we enjoyed a mutually satisfying half hour together comparing notes on poorly paws.

Then Gail spent some time - actually quite a long time - instructing HGY in use of the laughably named 'EasyCall' device linking her hearing aid to her mobile phone...

And all too soon it was time to depart.

We head home to Aberdeen tomorrow. Gosh I hope it is not too long before I visit Nottingham again.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Pangaea and Mini BAR

Did you see Arty's Special Blogville Announcement this week that he and Dory, along with Murphy and Stanley, are organising a Mini BAR retreat in Oregon this August?

I wasn't able to go to the BAR (Blogville Awesome Retreat) in Indiana last year, 'cos I live on the wrong side of the Pond.

The idea behind a Mini BAR is that small groups of Blogville citizens can organise local meet ups, to make the travelling easier. 

Of course, to your geologically minded Bouncing Boffin, alternative solutions sprang to mind.

Oh but what a shame it is that we are not living around 270 million years ago, when all the continents - yes, even Australia - coalesced into one huge land mass called Pangaea and one could have travelled by automobile or railway train (had those forms of transport then been invented) from Scotland to Sydney via Seattle without once having one to dip one's paws in the briny or, horror of horrors, board an airplane.

It is of course perfectly possible that, at some point in the next few hundred million years, the world's tectonic plates might realign themselves such that our continents all come together again. (Just think how many walls Mr Trump would then have to build...)

However, the truth of the matter is, at least as far as Europe and North America are concerned, the direction of travel is not just now in our favour, with Iceland pulling itself apart at a rate of centimeters per year for the foreseeable future.

Hmmm.

Reluctantly I have to conclude that the prospect of seeing my dear non-European friends in the furs is remote indeed.

Anyone for a Mini BAR in Scotland? 

We can guarantee a warm welcome at Aberdeen railway station.
Slight delay in setting off for Nottingham this morning...


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Empathising with Human Granny



Friends, I have most excellent news to report. My paws are finally feeling a whole lot better. I even ventured to run a short distance on the grass a couple of days ago. Yes, I actually ran! For the first time in over a month. Gail caught in on camera and says it is the best ever video of me (albeit only eight seconds long).

This coming weekend, Gail and I are heading south on the train, as a visit to Nottingham is overdue.

Gosh I am so looking forward to seeing Human Granny. She suffers badly from arthritis in her feet. In fact Gail says that aching feet have been one of HGY's favourite topics of conversation for many decades now, and so I am sure she will be full of sympathy for my recent plight. Oh yes, we will have much to discuss.

Won't that be fun, Gail?

Sunday, 19 February 2017

My 7th Birthday Weekend has included....

...a super special card from my dear friends Madi and Mom,


....lots of snuggles with Gail,

....a short trip to the beach,


....followed by a meet up with Gail's friends at the Inversnecky Café.


....Then I sniffed out the early Spring blooms in the Cruickshank Botanic Garden,






....enjoyed freshly cooked liver for my Birthday Tea,


....plus pigs ear treats from 'Pet Comforts',


....and finally, er, some different antibiotics.


I only wish I could tell you that my paws were completely healed; that would have been the best birthday present by far, but it was not to be. Although the itchiness has now died down, the infection is proving hard to shift and I still find it hurts to walk, which is making Gail very sad. We live in hope that the new antibiotic will finally do the trick.

Friday, 17 February 2017

Finding common ground with the POTUS...

Friends, I have come to realise this week that I, Bouncing Bertie Boffin, have something in common with the current President of the U.S.A!

That got your attention, didn't it?

Yes, the fact is, we are both big admirers of former British Prime Minister and wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill.
Churchill and his beloved poodle Rufus
So much has been written about Churchill's colourful life and personality that it's hard to come up with anything new to say about him. But this week, both Gail and I were amazed and impressed to read in a newspaper article how Churchill was so keen to keep abreast of developments in the world of physics that one morning in April 1926, when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer in Baldwin's government, he set aside his papers to dictate a summary of quantum theory, then the latest big thing in science.

Gosh, a man after my own heart indeed!

What a great example to the current POTUS don't you think?  Wouldn't it be nice to think that, taking inspiration from his hero, Trump too might be attempting to inform himself about the current state of scientific knowledge (and in doing so gaining a respect for facts, evidence and rational thinking)...

Perhaps I should direct the Donald to my blog page with links to all my past science posts?

It would be a start wouldn't it?

PS It's my 7th birthday tomorrow, although it is never a given that Gail will have remembered. One lives more in hope than expectation, on this and other matters......

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

A 'webinar'? More like an OUTRAGE!


Friends, it pays sometimes to keep close tabs on what one's human is up to, doesn't it?

Perhaps you should know that Gail signed up for a free 'webinar' last week, titled 'How to write a blog that people want to read'. It was organised by some 'Women Writers' School' that she came across while working on something entirely unrelated. She thought it might be interesting.

Entirely behind my back, she submitted MY BLOG for evaluation, as part of the process. Like it was written by her, not me!

A few days later, she received this email from Laurie, the lady who runs these webinars. I have highlighted my particular areas of concern:

Hi Gail,

Many thanks for sending in your blog and for coming along to the webinar. I've had a look and, whilst you're clearly a really good writer, I think you'd need to do quite a bit of reshaping to bring your blog into the kind of form it needs to bring a lot of traffic to it. 

Your topic is one that I'm sure could be worth pursuing professionally. A quick search for blogs about pet behavior or health brings up lots of results. I also think that a blog told from the point of view of a dog would appeal to readers searching on these topics. 

However, I would strongly recommend that you work on developing the voice of this blog, namely with the goal of creating a fictional character that is the dog narrating the blog. I wouldn't center the blog around a living pet, but rather an imaginary pet with a strong personality. This would take some creative writing know how. I'm not sure how much creative writing experience you have or if that idea appeals at all, but I think that could be a way of bringing this potentially really original, quirky blog into a more professional realm. 

For my market research, could you take a look at my Online Self Promotion course and let me know if it would be of interest and why or why not? Here's the relevant link: http://womenwritersschool.com/online-self-promotion/ 

Any thoughts you can give me about it are very helpful - this is how I make sure my courses work well for my clients!

Best wishes,

Laurie.

So what's all this then about needing to work on "developing the voice" and suggesting the blog would be better if it featured  "an imaginary pet with a strong personality"?

AN IMAGINARY PET!!!! 

Talk about kicking a chap when he is down. (Yes my paws are still sore.)
 
Really I am quite hurt and insulted. I asked Gail to promise me she will not engage in any further exercises of this kind. 

I am pleased to report that she has assured me she signed up for the webinar only out of curiosity, and and she is quite happy with my blog just as it is.
 

Saturday, 11 February 2017

A trip to the vet / recuperation in Torridon


First things first: I know some of my kind friends are anxious to hear the latest on my poorly paw and what happened at my appointment with the vet on Thursday evening.

Well my vet, whose name is Katrine, agreed with Gail (and me) that the horrid Apoquel tablets were not doing me any good at all, and so I have stopped taking them. Katrine is concerned that my sores are still seeping and apparently infected, despite three weeks on antibiotics. So eventually I allowed her to take a 'swab', which is being sent off to a lab for testing, and I may get a different antibiotic when the results come back. I do not have a high temperature - I will not go into how she found that out...

For the itchiness, apparently there is another medication I could try, but in fact my paws are not as itchy as they were and so we are "seeing how things go"  this week.

Needless to say, the frequent paw washing continues.


Perhaps you will have figured out from nice view behind the sink that we are at the Torridon cottage for the weekend. Hooray!

It is true that I still do not feel like walking very far, so when we woke up this morning and saw the weather was, for mid-February in NW Scotland, quite spectacularly lovely and sunny, I suggested Gail go for a walk by herself, and maybe take some pictures to show me later. I know from experience that if Gail does not get her regular outdoor exercise, she can become grouchy alarmingly quickly. And as for myself, I envisaged a few hours happily curled in front of the wood-burning stove, dreaming of my forthcoming date with Nurse Addi....

So this is the photo Gail came back with.


It only took a momentary glance for me to realise that this would not do at all. Something important was missing! It is part of our unwritten contract that this blog supplies its readers with pictures of our stunning Scottish landscape, but also that these should where possible be enhanced by the presence of a certain handsome wire-haired fox terrier.

What to do? A dilemma indeed.

In the end I persuaded Gail to take me for an afternoon drive around Loch Torridon, stopping at various scenic spots so I could pose for photos which might meet the high standards my friends have come to expect, without me having to hobble too far.

I hope the results are to your liking.


 
 
 


Last but not least. A most generous spirited and thoughtful blogging friend took pity on me for having to wear the dreaded 'lampshade' and sent me this soft collar all the way from France Profonde. It is super comfy, and came ready decorated with a few furs which may possibly once have been attached to a much loved PON.
 

The collar is very chic, don't you think?

I am wondering, if I were to accessorize it with a black beret, then might someone reward me with a wee sliver of croissant...?


Thursday, 9 February 2017

Peak tail?

Here I am, standing in the sink, my sore paws having a soothing soak in warm water. There has been happening a lot just lately.

I don't know if you remember, but this winter, I am, in the cause of science, engaged in a 'no fur stripping experiment'.

It is scheduled to come to an end in a few weeks time.

Meanwhile, Gail believes I might have reached 'peak tail'.

What do you think?
 
PS Silly Gail, who has been a a bit distracted this week, got confused in my last post about the date of my next visit to the vet. We are in fact going this evening (Thursday). Meanwhile, my paws are a teeny bit better but far from properly better. 


Monday, 6 February 2017

Blogville's Director of Scientific Affairs at work!


Greetings from Bouncing Bertie Boffin, Blogville's Director of Scientific Affairs!

As part of the Blogville City Hall's Open House/Coffee Morning, I am delighted to welcome you to my 'office'!



Feel free to snoop around my workplace. As you can see, I am in the midst of an important and very scientific experiment, so I shall leave you to explore by yourselves (what could possibly go wrong...?)

I regret to have to point out that modern day health and safety standards have caught up with us*, and so you are not allowed to consume coffee in the laboratory.

In fact, now that I have set up my distillation equipment, let us all adjourn to the Princess Leah's office for our Puppicinos, and I shall explain my mission to educate Blogville about all matters scientific and to ensure that all our policies are rational and firmly evidence-based...

*Human Grandad had a favourite story about his early days as a researcher for Boots the Chemists in the 1950s, when they used to make morning tea and coffee in glass beakers in the lab. One day the boss brought round some Very Important Foreign Visitors and one of them asked HGD to tell him about the experiment with the different hot brown fluids lined up on the bench....

PS From Gail: it was quite heroic of Bertie hobble in to work today, as his paws are still sore (although slightly better than a couple of days ago). We see the vet again on Wednesday. Meanwhile, I would like to say thank you again to all our dear blogging friends for your helpful advice and support.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Not so sure about this Apoquel stuff...


The vet gave me some new pills last week, a drug called Apoquel, to calm down my inflamed paws. (Both front paws are now affected with these horrid interdigital cysts.)

I took my first tablet on Wednesday evening, with my meal, and it slipped down nicely. But in the middle of the night, I started to feel queasy and my supper reappeared in slightly altered form on the bed I share with Gail.

When Gail woke up in the morning she didn't seem too happy. 

But she gave me another tablet in the morning, and went to work looking worried, leaving me in my lampshade.

By midday when my dog walker George arrived I had 'decorated' my lampshade with my regurgitated breakfast. I totally refused to go out for a walk with him.

A little bit later my nice neighbour Neil came over and carried me across the road to his and Yvonne's house. I like it there, and I even roused myself for a few minutes to explore their back garden.

When Gail turned up later, muttering something about a busy project at work, I thought she might have sprouted a few additional grey hairs.

She did cook me a nice dish of chicken and rice, and gave me another of these tablets.

Since then, I have been having chicken and rice and Apoquel twice a day but I must say my paws are still very itchy and very sore, and I have been feeling so tired and generally unwell these last couple of days that I can't even be bothered to follow Gail around the house like I usually do when she is at home. I just lie immobile on the sofa, feeling sorry for myself. 

As for walks, well NO THANK YOU!

I guess Gail doesn't like her new grey (strictly 'even greyer') look because I heard her say on the phone to a friend that she is "tearing her hair out"...

Oh and apparently I am due to visit the vet again on Wednesday.

PS from Gail: A big thank you to all of you who responded to my last blog post with helpful suggestions. I do appreciate your advice and support. I am trying soaking his paws in warm water and Epsom salts (which he seems to find soothing at least), and am reconsidering his diet. Bertie has had these interdigital cysts before, but has never been as lame or miserable as he is just now. I shall continue giving him the Apoquel tablets until we next see the vet, but as far as I can tell they are not doing him any good at all. It has been a difficult week.

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Bertie's poorly paw

Gail here:

The photos above sum up Bertie's last couple of weeks. His problem with inter-digital cysts has flared up with a vengeance, and it has become increasingly clear that the root cause is an allergic response to we know not what. He is very reluctant to put any weight on the affected paw, and becomes (understandably) aggressive if I go anywhere near it.

The vet is on the case and has today prescribed some new medication (Apoquel). Googling this drug comes up with a lot of scary stuff, but just now Bertie is clearly in pain and thoroughly miserable too, so, with some reluctance, I have decided to go along with the vet's recommendation and give him a short course of these tablets in the hope of calming the inflammation. He has been on antibiotics and painkillers for twelve days, and although these may have done some good they have not resolved the underlying issue. It has reached the point where Bertie will scarcely walk at all. If I take him outside he just stands in the street looking bewildered and disorientated.

I so miss having my wee pal bouncing happily around the house, and hate to see him in distress. I hope to have something more positive to report before too long.