Thursday, 22 August 2019

A pep talk from Bertie

Advice in Verse

(especially applicable to those enduring the Scottish summer...)

Why fret about the wet?
Don't be cowed by too much cloud.
There is much to gain from lots of rain,
Why fret about the wet?

Don't grizzle when there's drizzle,
And if it's dreich, stand tall, look chic!
When skies are grey, go out to play,
Don't grizzle when there's drizzle.

A blizzard can be wizard!
And ice is rather nice.
In heavy snows, just wear warm clothes,
A blizzard can be wizard!

There is no doubt, we won't have drought.
Evapo-transpiration's low in this location.
Enjoy walkies through mud when everywhere's humid.
There is no doubt, we won't have drought.

Yes, why fret about the wet?

Monday, 19 August 2019

The wrong kind of rainbow

The weather forecast for Torridon last weekend was mixed. Gail has a tendency, inherited from Human Grandad, to look on the bright side, and claimed, as we headed west to our cottage on Friday morning, it would at least be excellent rainbow weather.

On arrival we walked up the road and passed the local farmer who greeted us with his customary "nae a bad day".

But as the skies darkened, and the last vestige of brightness fell victim to a pincer movement obliterating any hint of a cloud break, even Gail had to concede that her optimism might, on this occasion, have been misplaced.

As you know, I am not one of those soft southern pups who disdains to to venture out in rainy weather. 

"Why fret about the wet?" could be my motto.  

At least the wind was strong enough to keep the midges at bay. 

And eventually, on the road up the hill from the cottage, I did spot a rainbow of sorts...

Friday, 16 August 2019

What they don't tell you about summer in Scotland....

On Wednesday morning, normally an office day for Gail, I was surprised to see her loading up her backpack with a picnic lunch, flask of coffee, waterproof clothes, insect repellent etc. and surmised that she had the day off and was going to take me for a nice walk.

So initially I was disappointed to learn she was meeting some other volunteers in Glen Tanar, and together they would be conducting something called a 'habitat survey' as part of a wildflower conservation project for Plantlife Scotland, and that "dogs are not invited".

Disappointment turned to relief when she later showed me the photos of the volunteers er, 'enjoying' their lunch break in the company of a few million members of Scotland's most prolific and notorious form of wildlife, Culicoides impunctatus, aka the Highland midge.

Apparently if you walk at more than 4 mph the Highland Midge cannot keep pace.

But for once, I was not unhappy to have been left at home.

Happy Nature Friday friends!

Thursday, 15 August 2019

No dog is an island? Wrong!

While Gail has been busy at work this week, I have been pondering the question of why so many of my fellow canines hereabouts are named after Scottish Islands.

The thought was prompted by a recent encounter with two pretty cocker spaniels named Skye and Iona. These are of course two rather famous islands, perhaps known even to some of my more far flung readers.

I have Vizla friend in Edinburgh called Harris, after that island of barren, austere beauty on the far northwest fringe of the UK, source of the famous tweed.

Nearer home in Aberdeen, we know of an Arran (Jack Russell terrier) and a Lewis (Lab). Yes you've guessed, both islands* too - look them up in the atlas!

A lady in Gail's book club who was raised on the Orkney archipelago (off the north coast of the Scotland) has a border collie called Rousay. This is one of the Orkneys and a great place to visit if you like archaeology and wind.

Not a million miles from Rousay, but closer to the Scottish mainland, you'll find on the map a wee islet called Stroma. I'll confess that the only thing Gail and I know about Stroma is that it's also the name of our next door neighbour spaniel.

When Gail eventually got home from work I asked her if she had ever considered giving me a Scottish island name.

"Oh yes, quite often Bertie. Sometimes I think your name should have been 'Muck' and sometimes I think  'Yell' would have been more appropriate."

So not funny.

On reflection, I am quite happy with my 'official' Kennel Club name, Granddach Beinn Alligin - more elevated to be identified with a mountain, don't you think?

*Just to head off any geographical pedantry - Gail and I are well aware that Lewis and Harris comprise, respectively, the northern and southern parts of the same Outer Hebridean island...