Tuesday, 28 March 2017

It all turned out perfectly in the end...

In the gardens of Inshriach House
I'll be straight with you. On Day Two of the long weekend at Inshriach, I wasn't altogether sorry when Gail decreed I was to stay in the house and be cared for by fellow guest Sean, while she and some of the others went off for a nine mile tramp over to Loch an Eilein and back.

I mean, it's true that my paws are lots better, but after a day of setting to rights that young Border collie chappie Hemp, it felt time for some rest and relaxation.

And anyway, Sean and I have so much in common, both being noted writers and poets and all that. In fact I wondered if I should show him a few of my poems - perhaps he might welcome some tips? But Gail said she thought on the whole perhaps not, and it would be much better if I just sat there quietly and did not disturb him while he worked. And being an obedient sort of a chap, I did just that.

Come the morning of Day Three, and after John had supplemented my breakfast with a generous helping of the 'Best Black Pudding in Scotland' I was fairly bouncing off the walls of Inshriach House, and made it quite clear I was up for the planned four mile walk around Glenmore Forest Park.

Gosh it was hard to believe it really was March and we really were in the Scottish Highlands.

Don't tell Gail this, but I was secretly pleased that she had stripped my furs the other week! The humans were sweltering in their merino wool thermals and by the afternoon, when the temperature hit 20ÂșC, some of them were even wishing they had packed their shorts.

(Although, curiously, no-one saw fit to join me when I went to dip my toes in the pretty lochan at the top of the path.)

All too soon it was over and Gail said we had to head back to Aberdeen.

Oh I do hope I shall not have to wait another six years before I visit Inshriach and spend time with such a lovely group of people again.

Lyn (above) gives the best ever cuddles. And who knows, I might even make friends with Hemp one day...

Saturday, 25 March 2017

First 24 hours at Inshriach

On arrival Thursday evening:

But Gail, you told me there wasn't going to be another dog at Inshriach this year. So just what is Jamie's border collie Hemp doing here?

Friday morning:

And then you said he's going home today but he's still here Gail!

And gosh, Hemp is such a poser.

Ok I'll sit nicely for the group photo, but only so long as you absolutely promise he really is going home after lunch.

Friday afternoon:

So you are quite sure Hemp is now on the train back to Perth?

Phew. Finally I can  relax and enjoy my weekend break.

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Spring? FAKE NEWS!

Ode to So-called Spring

Really? Winter's over?
Please present your evidence!
The London-centric media may declare it so,
And talk of balmy days, but we have snow
On higher ground.
The case that Scotland is another country
Climate-wise at least, makes sense.

I’ll grant you, for the pre-work park walk
My collar-light’s required no more.
And by midday my square dog shadow
(Should the shy sun grace us with a beam or two)
Is less elongated than before.

But down by the North Sea
(The clue is in the name)
A fierce onshore gale cruelly exposes
The folly of last week’s over-zealous grooming session.
Oh how I wish those furs were still attached,
All seven ounces of them…

It’s true, brash ranks of daffodils
Are now amassed on southern facing banks.
They breed ‘em tough at these high latitudes.
But as for me, tho’ born of Buchan stock,
I’ll keep my Fair Isle jumper on
Until my precious wiry fur’s regrowed.

PS Thank you dear friends for all your kind messages about my paws. Delighted to report they are feeling loads better now. 

Monday, 20 March 2017

A wee sniff around Johnshaven

I know you'll all be bored with hearing about my podiatric issues, but I had a bit of a setback last week, when the horrid cyst thingy on my right front paw reappeared.

So it was another trip to vet Katrina. We came home with a bucketful of antibiotics, and with these and yet more gentle paw washing I am again slowly recovering my bounce.

I indicated to Gail that although I did not feel like walking too far, I would appreciate a change of scene at the weekend, and she kindly agreed to drive me down to the wee fishing village of Johnshaven, about 30 miles south of Aberdeen.

It is a sleepy place, especially in March, but of course I found plenty of interesting things to sniff out.

Someone with a cottage by the shore has an unconventional idea of garden ornamentation, don't you think?

You will of course deduce from the sandstone houses that we are south of that most important geological dividing line in Scotland, the Highland Boundary fault.

Gail liked the nautical theme of this front door,  and politely requested that I pose in front of it.
Which of course I was happy to do, on the promise of a 'baked cheesy oatie (wheat free)'.
I'm please to report that, unlike when I was younger, Gail now trusts me not to be jump recklessly off harbour walls and into the sea.

Although in truth it was more fun deciding which bit of fishing equipment was most in need of 'decoration'.

Next weekend Gail and I going off with friends to stay at Inshriach, a big house on the edge of Cairngorm Mountains. (We went to Inshriach once before, many years ago, you can read all about how that went if you click here and here).

I am hoping my paws will be in better shape to tackle more adventurous walks by then.