Friday, 19 October 2018

Stop Press from Plockton

Bored with Brexit?
Troubled by Trump?
Petrified of Putin?

I have just the thing for you today!  Let's turn to the pages of the West Highland Free Press, and read about the controversy currently raging in the village of Plockton*, where local crofters have applied to reinstate the right for their cattle roam freely around this popular tourist destination.

It seems things got heated at a public meeting held to debate the issue last week, and some folk were worried about potential for disease, and gardens being trampled on, and roads blocked.

If I were a Heilan' Coo I would like to live in Plockton and roam up and down the main street, never mind any disruption to traffic and nuisance caused to nervous visitors.

But I guess the local bovine population did not get a say in the matter.

*As the crow flies, the pretty village of Plockton lies 15 miles south of our Torridon cottage; by the twisty West Highland roads, it is a good 45 miles.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Decisions in Torridon

Last weekend Gail and I visited our cottage in Torridon. On the basis of a weather forecast on Thursday, promising heavy rain and gale force winds for the next few days, we nearly stayed in Aberdeen, but I'm pleased to report that Gail decided to ignore the best advice of the Met Office and head west anyway.

You can however understand why I decided not to go for a paddle in the normally calm waters of Loch Torridon on Friday afternoon.

On Saturday the wind had died down and I was most alarmed to overhear Gail and her neighbour Julia discussing whether they might go sea kayaking the next day, rather than taking me for a walk.

Thankfully sense prevailed and they decided on a Sunday morning ramble around the Shieldaig peninsula. At the spot where the pathway divides, we opted to take the right hand trail, thus an anti-clockwise circuit.

It wasn't a fast walk, and there were many 'posing for treats' stops.

Some of the posing locations required careful negotiation of the rocky shoreline. I just point this out so you are aware of the considerable effort that sometimes lies behind the production of my blog.

After a while, it occurred to me to add variety to the photo opportunities by changing the colour of my lower limbs. In areas of peat bog, the colour change thing is not the exclusive preserve of the chameleon. (OK, so we don't have chameleons in NW Scotland, but you get my drift I'm sure...)

Most unreasonably, before we returned to the village of Shieldaig and a bar lunch in the Tigh an Eilean Hotel, Gail decided my paws needed a thorough wash in a clear but very chilly stream.

I would like here to point out to Julia (who is nice, on the whole) that one does NOT appreciate being photographed at moments so disadvantageous to one's dignity!

The cold bath was the first of two poor decisions on Gail's part, the second being that she refused to give me a single morsel of her fish and chip lunch, and I was made to lie quietly beside the table while Gail and Julia munched away, and pretend to be happy with the occasional pat on the head from other passing customers.

PS Some readers may not already know that Julia has a beautiful blog called Hand Knitted Things. Fans of knitting, or Torridon scenery, or sheep, will love her latest post (click here).

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

The decomposing hare

Isn't it strange how some subjects are considered suitable ones on which to flex one's poetic muscles, and others are not?

Take last Saturday's walk for example. OK so I was happy enough to wax all lyrical about the glorious freedom to roam the Aberdeenshire hills (see previous post) but what I really wanted to commemorate was another aspect of the walk entirely.

I was getting some way towards describing in verse by far the most thrilling aspect of the day's outing when Gail stopped me firmly and said, "Bertie this is absolutely not all suitable."

I hope you'll agree she was being unfair....

How fine it is to sniff
A decomposing hare,
Oh what a pungent whiff,
Just nothing can compare.

I raced across the heath,
And there I found, its rank
And fetid guts hid right beneath
A gorse bush on a bank.

They lay before me in a state
Of sumptious putrefaction.
When Gail caught up it was too late,
I'd gorged to my full satisfaction.

When further on the walk I tried 
To kiss Gail with my slime smeared nose,
She backed away in horror, cried,