Sunday 29 August 2010

The impatience of youth

Hey Gail! I so want to bag a Munro. Please please please. Why not next weekend? Let's go up Beinn Alligin. I know I can do it!

Why Bertie, what ever put that idea into your cute little noddle? Munro bagging indeed. You know you're still far too young to be climbing up our highest Scottish mountains. 

Cute little noddle? Oh puh-lease. Don't be so patronising, I'm not a baby any more. I'm getting quite the big and strong young laddie. You said so yourself, only a few days ago. I've got loads and loads of energy. I wasn't even tired after that five mile hike last Sunday.

But Bertie, you're only just over six months old. And that outing on Sunday was on the level, on nice smooth tracks and soft grass. It's a whole different proposition, climbing a Munro. 

But, but, but...I've already been up Scolty. And Millstone Hill. And Hamish climbed lots of the biggest hills. And my legs are longer now than his ever were.

Yes Bertie, but on a Munro there'll be lots of rough ground and boulders to clamber over, and steep slopes and ledges where you need to be very careful to keep your footing. Remember how you jumped right onto that cattle grid last weekend and fell in between the metal bars, and then got into a tizzy and I had to rescue you? You must learn to look before you leap. Hamish now, he was always careful to assess how safe it was before proceeding. But with you, it's all a bit 'fools rush in' at the moment isn't it Bertie?

Hamish Hamish Hamish. I'm so fed up of hearing about him. I'm ME! And anyway, why is my 'posh' name Beinn Alligin if I'm never going to be allowed to climb it?

Bertie! Don't be a silly billy! I didn't say never just not yet. And it's only because I love you so much, you're so precious to me and I don't want you to come to any harm. Your half-year old bones still aren't so strong, you see, and you haven't yet learned to judge things very well. Then there's the weather. I couldn't help but notice that when we turned around that headland on our boggy walk last weekend, and we were suddenly hit by a 30 mph wind, you were just a little bit frightened. As you indicated by all that nipping at my ankles.....

Oh that. Well OK, yes, I was sort of scared. I didn't think you'd noticed. Will it be very windy on the top of a Munro then?

Almost certainly, Bertie, almost certainly. Now listen, we'll do some more practice hills this winter, and then next year, when the snows have gone and you're past your first birthday, I promise you, we'll go over to Torridon and climb Beinn Alligin, all the way to the top. 

Promise? Really?

I absolutely promise Bertie. 

Thursday 26 August 2010

Up with Skool!

[I have been told to warn you that this post will be comprehensible only to readers familiar with a certain important British literary personage called Nigel Molesworth. As any fule kno.]

Hello clouds, hello sky!

Basil Bertie Fotherington-Thomas here.

Today I am  bouncing skipping around so galie coz the new skool term has begun!

All my super puppy pals are back agane too. Including my grate frend Daisy Dachshund.

Unforchoonately I have to wate anuther week before I see them agen chiz moan drone.

And no it is not all uterly wet and weedy to like skool is it?

Oh it is?


(Gail here - don't panic readers, normal service will be resumed shortly when whatever Bertie was given at puppy class last night has worn off)

Sunday 22 August 2010

Whisky, bogs, mountains, lochs and a nice cup of tea

Yes I am going for some Scottish stereotypes today.....

Just had a wonderful weekend over at the cottage in Torridon. We drove a different way from usual, and stopped at Dufftown en route.
Apparently I'm not old enough for whisky, which is a shame, 'cos there are lots of famous distilleries nearby. Hamish would have loved it.
Meanwhile the west coast of Scotland was enjoying its usual summer weather.
Of course, that never deters us from going out. I do hope Uncle Eric reads this as I think he would be impressed by the state of my coat...
Only one hour after this walk on Saturday, we went to visit our German neighbours Renate and Michael for afternoon tea. Don't you think I scrub up nicely?
I snuggled up on Renate's super-comfy lap, happily daydreaming about bogs as she and Michael and Gail chattered on and on (I think the subject of the FIFA World Cup came up).

We went for another walk this morning, but it wasn't as good as yesterday's. No bogs.
I was well-behaved and obeyed the rules.
But it was quite a long hike, and I can tell you I was mightily miffed to be woken up on the drive home, ejected from my cosy spot in the rear of the car and made to pose for yet another picture.

Thursday 19 August 2010

One tries to influence one's human's reading habits..

I suspect I'm not the only blogging dog to live in a house full of books.

But I do wonder how many of you have to put up with a human whose summer reading has included titles like "The State of the Universe - A Primer in Modern Cosmology" or "Quantum: Einstein, Bohr and the Great Debate About the Nature of Reality".

Yes really! I'm beginning to understand how Hamish the Westie turned out the way he did. (Remember his Parallel Universe Theory?)

OK I will admit that we have lots of fiction and travel books too, and a smattering of biographies, as well as all the sciencey stuff.

Now you might imagine that I, and Hamish before me, would be sufficient inspiration also for a whole shelf full of canine-related literature. But no, not at all, our house is woefully deficient in this particular category. 'Call of the Wild' sits alone in its own barren wasteland in the bookcase.

Well a couple of weeks ago I decided to take matters in hand and use my fast developing computer skills (us six month olds are such quick learners) to order a new book for Gail.
I hope I do not sound too self-congratulatory if I say that this book was cleverly and subtly chosen. You see, I have come to realise that Gail likes her dogs to be fluffy, but not her reading material. So didn't I do well to unearth a story about a fox terrier set in communist Hungary*? Gail could kid herself that she was reading something 'worthwhile' and 'serious' about the human condition, but really we know that she was enjoying a nice tale about a cute little pup!

Now that I have got her started, I wonder if any of my friends have other recommendations for books about dogs, preferably one that aren't too blatantly sentimental?

*'Niki: The Story of a Dog' by Tibor Dery.

Sunday 15 August 2010

Party for her, prison for me...

It's not fair.

I blame Hamish.

I'm sorry but it's true. Just because my esteemed predecessor threw a bit of a tantrum when the train down to Nottingham got delayed last year (you can read his version of events if you follow this link). Oh and something too about me being 'immature' and even 'bouncy'. Anyway, it seems that Gail has decided to leave me behind when she travels by train.

Well no. It's actually worse than that.

I get put in prison for three days. This is the prison.
Isn't it horrible. And all for the crime of being too bouncy. Disproportionate or what?
Meanwhile Gail gets to see all her family.
Including her lovely and so-generous-with-the-doggie-treats mother. There was a big party to celebrate my human Granny's 80th birthday. Everyone was there. Except me. Who was in prison. I just had to make do with the photos. No-one even saved me any birthday cake. Not that I'm sore or anything you understand...
This is human Granny and her two grandchildren. I haven't yet met the grandchildren. They have a poodle called Izzy and a pony called Eva. I haven't met them either, although, from reading back through Hamish's blog, I gather that Izzy is a bit of an air-head who puts nail varnish on her claws....

You might be wondering who this fine fellow below is....(Yes it's me on the left, obviously, I know you know that).
The other fox terrier's called Riley. He's a year old, and apparently originates from the same breeder as me (Granddach Terriers). We met him at the end of a walk in a wood near the prison, soon after I was released. He's very handsome and friendly. I guess we are probably related somehow. Well at least it would be nice to think that I did meet up with some family too this weekend......

Tuesday 10 August 2010

Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the loch*

I have been accused of 'over-sharing' in my previous post, and so shall try to stick to more 'appropriate' literary and philosophical matters today....

Now I've been thinking.

The other day, I overheard Gail saying (inelegantly misquoting Ratty from 'Wind in the Willows') "There is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply going for a pleasant walk with your dog and seeing him run around, healthy and joyful".

Yes, I've been thinking, these humans have it lucky don't they? But so many of them don't realise it. They imagine that loads-a-money, fancy cars, designer clothes, high status jobs etc. etc. will make them happy.

When the truth is that all it takes is a well-loved canine pal, some fresh air and a nice place to explore together.
* with apologies to Wallace Stevens

Saturday 7 August 2010

I've got spots too Katie!

There is this dearest little foxy terrier called Katie who lives in Iowa U.S.A. I think that many of you already know her. She's almost exactly the same age as me and, although we've never met and I'm told I'm too young for that sort of thing, I think of her as my very own sweetheart.

Well last week she posted a lovely picture on her blog, showing off her newly developed and totally adorable dappled look. Like sunshine on a forest floor. I do hope she doesn't mind me showing the photo again.
Hmm. So it seems that a pseudo-dalmation appearance is the in thing at the moment.

Well I don't have any cute little polka dots any on my back, at least not yet, but, Katie, I don't want you to go thinking I'm completely spot free. It's just that us Scots lads like to hide our light under bushel (and no I'm not talking about the kilt business.....)
Yes that's right, I have spotty paws!
Rather fine don't you think Katie?
Now Katie, I would like just a word in private.

A little bird has told me that you were flirting with your celebrity visitor Jake a few days ago. That's Jake of Two Special Wires fame.

Tell me it isn't true!

PS And Katie, something even more private. It's a bit, er, embarrassing but I don't want us to have any secrets from each other. How to put this nicely? Well, since we were on the subject of Scotsmen and kilts, you know what you see if the wind blows the kilt out of postion? Two round dangly 'boys bits'. Well so far it seems I only have one of them.

Please don't tell anyone else.

Wednesday 4 August 2010

Monday 2 August 2010

Weekend activity (involving an egg box)

Since I didn't get to meet Donald Trump on the beach walk last week (more's the pity),

I pretended this green egg box was him instead.....
Quite an art work, n'est ce pas? Do you think the Tate might be interested?

Feeling so much better after this spot of imagined dismemberment, I accompanied Gail on a lovely - although damp - excursion up Millstone Hill, one of old Hamish's favourite haunts (click to biggify).