Monday 27 September 2010

Earth science is not just for terriers

What sort of rock is the wall behind me made of?  (clue: I am in Aberdeen)

Bouncing Bertie Boffin here (you may called me B-cubed).

The next topic we will tackle in my lecture series for budding canine scientists will be geology.

Now the study of rocks is best conducted outdoors. OK, I know what you're thinking, after last week, it's clear that any class involving dogs is best conducted outdoors....

It just so happens that the North of Scotland, my home patch, is widely known as a Mecca for geologists. So in two weeks time I shall be leading a field trip and we shall visit some famous localities in the stunning landscapes of the Highlands and Islands.

I would love to say that all my friends are welcome, but I am a little concerned that this class (and Stella there is no need to write 'class' in inverted commas, it sends out entirely the wrong message...) will be oversubscribed. We can only take a small minibus down the narrow and twisty Highland roads. So before accepting your registrations I am going to ask you to complete a little task.

I want you to provide some evidence - we scientists like evidence - that you are well prepared for field work in Scotland.

Please feel free to use your imaginations here. All the best science students have a strong creative streak. There is no single right way to complete this exercise. But here are just a few suggestions to get you started:

Perhaps you can demonstrate a prior interest in the practical aspects of Earth Science.

Perhaps you could show me that you will be able to withstand our inclement climate / possess the appropriate weatherproof clothing. (A hint to my more fashion forward friends: what works on Seventh Avenue is not necessarily suitable for a Scottish bog).

Maybe you have some photos illustrating that boulders, cliffs, mountains and midges are totally your thing.

A familiarity with the customs and traditions of the Scottish Highlands would be a distinct advantage.

You can submit your applications for the field trip by adding a comment on this post, or better yet by posting something appropriate on your own blog (but please let me know in the comment box if you do the latter so I can make sure I link to it). Deadline for submissions is Friday 8th October. The field trip will take place on Monday 11th October.

I look forward to hearing from the students who attended last Monday's class, and perhaps some new ones. And yes Stella, please do encourage Ludo to apply. I know his Mum is very busy at the moment but I think this subject will suit him down to the ground.

Finally, feedback from the Thermodynamics lecture has indicated a rather regrettable obsession with the availability of 'foodables'.  Please remember that these classes are about expanding one's mind not one's girth.....


  1. Oh Bertie, we would just love to come on your field trip to the Highlands!
    We are great explorers and the Highlands are our very favourite!
    We have already posted about some of our adventures and indeed once did a post about midgies!
    Oh please take us along - we are great sniffers - we could help you if you get lost!
    We can bark if you meet anything scary.....!
    We sometimes need a little help with the very big boulders but we never give up!
    You are looking very cute beside that boulder - would that be made of granite?
    love and kisses
    The Aunties xxxx
    ps our humans are ancient but today they have an extra holiday so they should recover!

  2. We're Scottish!! And that's all we need to say.

    Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Ruairi

  3. Dear Bertie,

    We hope this message won't be gobbled up before it gets sent as our previous long post did. In that one, we said you were the very best teacher we'd ever found -- teaching by example instead of by book -- and we appreciated your concern about our trying to learn certain quirky across the pond expressions. Since our humans just spent a week in Nova Scotia, we think perhaps they'll have learned something teachable too, eh?

    As for our earth science quals -- as you the geologist in training probably know -- we live in Flatland -- so we'd love to experience the joys of the Scottish Highlands. And we once wore kilts to a wedding in Scotland -- which kind of sets the stage, eh?

    So please sign us up and we'll be training for the more strenuous walks by running up and down our stairs and jumping on all the furniture.

    Wirey woofs!!!

    Jake and Just Harry

  4. Oh Berti
    Road trip!! YAY!! I have all the stuffs I need and I love earth science. I will post bout it this week and will send you a link. Cant wait!!


  5. Oh dear. This is hard. You must know by now that we are VeryModestTerriers. We're sure that there are many capable and well qualified students from whom you will want to choose for your class (and FieldExperience) focusing on Geology. Many of whom have that (enviable) well developed skill of hiking and climbing off-leash. (Sigh. That'll never happen for us. And, honestly, it's sort of a mutual agreement.) But ... in the event you value diversity and decide to consider us ... you may recall our recent trek up Alderfer/Three Sisters ... and our focus on the geologic aspects of our Colorado mountains. As well as my interest in rock climbing in my own front yard. (I still don't know where that mountain went. It's gone. Now there are just a bunch of scattered boulders and rocks. Looks sort of like a glacier moved through and deposited those hunks of granite sort of randomly. But I know better. It has been way too hot for that to have happened any time recently.)

    Of course, now that we think about it ... we could serve to be the respectful, attentive, inquiring, studious students that all professors tend to appreciate.

    It's your choice, B Cubed (Is that some sort of a multiplication of Square Dog? Seems like a mathematics lesson may be appropriate.)

    Respectfully submitted,
    MasterJake and MizzzFergi

    Pee esS. Our veri-word is glycla. Seems like some reference to a mineral. Or something. Right? Yes? Maybe? Do you think? Sort of like ... say ... silica?

  6. Bertie, please, please can I come on your field trip, I think I am well suited to it.
    You know I love steps.
    I have been to the top of the Stiperstones.
    I've done a sponsored walk
    Lost count the times I've been runing around Attingham Park
    I've been to the top of The Wrekin.(not bloggged about that one)
    Me Space mission I'm going on.
    I will try and put a post up before the date with all the photos of me doing these things.
    I suppose I'll have to leave the beer at home!

    Its Granite behind you, cus Aberdeen is also called the granite city. See I do know something.

    See Yea George xxx

  7. Thats a wonderful gesture Bertie.

    I will not be able to go as I need to always be with my Mom. She needs me to pick things up for her and bring things to her. so I will be staying close to home and Mom.

    I sure hope that everypup who attends has a wonderful time.

    I sure look forward to seeing the pictures in your post though.

    woo woos, Tessa

  8. Instead of B-cubed I prefer to think of you as 3B like the pencil - something that is slightly soft with a core of graphite and clay (for this geology lesson) and which has just the right amount of blackness!

    However I need to consider if I'm up to the harsh requirements of your field trip. My Golden Reteriever breed originates from Guisachan in the Highlands of Scotland - but I've lead a sheltered life in the southern climes of New Zealand.


  9. Bertie my boy. Course you'll be taking me your Uncle E. Precisely for that reason.But as you know I don't do rain.Ever. And by jingo it's always raining in the high lands isn't it?

    Now how's about I drive the bus???? Haaaaa!! Smashing. Just like the Monte Carlo rally. That's up and over rocks too. (Take note how smart I am about rocks Bertie) Aunt's Martha and Bailey were yapping for weeks after what a fur raising time they had in my zoomer.

    Hey. I would even hang some of that dried up old lucky heather them leggeds are always shoving under Momma's nose by the rear view mirror next to the dangly furry tennis balls. Good idea eh? (Impressed by my knowledge of Scottish customs?)

    Course I'll look after everybloggies stuff while they're off walkies. Like their lunches. And snack packs. Haggis sandwiches,white pudding for puddin' and some nice petticoat tails shortbread for afternoon tea along with a slab of Dundee Cake. (See.I know all about Scottish traditions too)

    Wiry love my boy Eric x x x x

  10. Bertie, I would love to apply for a position on your Highlands hike but regrettably I an currently incarcerated. I was a no-no bad dog, you see, and I have yet to prove that I'd behave myself if let out of Mom's sight again. However, I've always wanted to see Scotland, and felt I had the legs for a kilt (very important), and I play a mean set of bagpipes. Perhaps I can be on your 'B' list as an alternate runner-up? Just in case I get paroled, you know.

    Happy Tails,
    William Tell

  11. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? WE HAVE TO GO... I am Agatha J.E...... JUNIOR EARTHDOG Bertie HELLOOOOOOOOO... How did I get that Bertie???? BY DIGGING DIGGING DIGGING DIGGING and MORE DIGGING in DIRT AND ROCKS AND STUFF so of course I am a natural.. and Archie has several kilts to go along with his bag pipes.. He plays the accordian AND the bag pipes.. so I think he should be all set too Only he said to tell you he does wear a little something under them cuz he is a little modest... Love A+A9 are we in?My only concern is if Eric is going to drive... I have been in a car with him... WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE

  12. Please, please, please can we come on your field trip?

    Ok we are very good at digging. We can climb mountains and as me (Molly) and Monty are a bit bigger than some of the other applicants for your field trip we feel we would be able to hold the emergency first aid kits! Taffy would be more than willing to bring up the rear and ensure there were no stragglers.

    Taffy has recently had a hair cut but he has woolly jumpers and water proofs to protect himself from whatever the elements throw at him.

    Monty and I are very hairy and feel our coats will be most adequate.

    With regards to Scottish traditions we would be more then happy to munch haggis....................

    We do hope we are picked for your field trip Bertie it looks to be a most informative, oh and did we mention we can bark with Scottish accents............. well it may come in useful!


  13. Hey Bertie Boffie!

    This is your pal, Toby here!!!! (Did you get it...Your PAL!...PAL+FRIEND!)
    Here in SA it's all about "who you know" and not "What you know", so I think I am a very likely know me, BOL!

    Also...that rock type???...It's a peeing rock, silly!...and I think I might be the only one who came up with an answer to my esteemed lecturer's question.
    Other things to support my education application:

    * I need education desperately!!!
    * I am naturally weather-proof and I need to know a little more about my 'homeland' - Maxmom tells me that is where I came from...huh?
    * I'm your buddy - 'Telligent Toby' and that counts the most!!!
    * I am an earthy dog - you saw the evidence of my vegetable patch on my blog.
    * Perhaps I can borrow Miss "R"s kilt?...a good tug toy, I think...will you play with me?
    * I need to education the "KING" (Ps - please DON't even consider his application - he'll growl at all your students!)

    Bottom line...Can I go?.....please?

  14. Good afternoon, Bertie,

    Please check out our latest post to see if indeed we can be part of your necxt field trip. It's been pouring rain here since yesterday morning, so we have added puddle-jumping to our training routine!!!

    Wirey woofs,

    Jake and Just Harry

  15. Hmm....I think I may need to run off to New York to buy some appropriate hiking OUTFITS...

    Yes, I do DIG...and could certainly be able to offer some educational instruction on Earth Science...we had a rodent in the garage this week...never did catch the little guy....

    As for foodables, it most important to have a blender along on a field trip; one never knows when one may need a smoothie...

    Kisses, dear boy....

    Lacie Haggiscakes who can make a mean cup of Lipton tea and loves scones....

  16. I think I missed a few posts. I haven't been keeping up in general very well. I'm not so sure we're suited to this. It's not myself I'm concerned about, of course. I'm rather intrepid, I think. It's Franklin who worries me. He loves going places, but gets homesick very quick and he'd be a wreck if I went without him. Perhaps we should just nap here on these cushions and look at the pictures when you all get back?

    lotsa licks, Lola

  17. Uh, Bertie! Like Eric, I hate the rain and refuse to go out in it, also dislike midges and their types, I'm very strong and determined to complete tasks, so if the weather behaves, I may come. If I do and it rains, I will stay in the van and assist Eric Square Dog in his chores of watching over things. I won't be hurt if I am not listed in the class roll, because I also love to stay home and do my neighborly walkies. Suit yourself, Bertie.
    I will check with Ludo, this would probably be his cuppa tea.


  18. Okay Bertie, All I can say is that I love the song "Danny Boy" & have a terrible urge to eat haggis. IS that enough to get me on the minibus??

    He's such a dork. While in Phoenix my daddy took me on many hikes up Squaw Peak and Camelback Mountain. I was a big help in pointing out different rock formations and also scorpians and rattlesnakes.
    A Scottish field trip sounds like a blast...DO NOT invite Hootie. He's a clown!

  19. Oh, "Wordy Bertie" - our post about the field trip is on our blog!

    Lilly, Piper, Carrleigh and Ruairi

  20. We would love to go on the field trip. We see you already have 20 (count'em 20) students signed up - and you only have a small minibus. We love rocks, we love the earth - we've pee'd on both for years! We think we would be great on the trip particularly if an archeological dig is in the cards - we can dig like no body's business! We can be quiet when required and we are very good guard dogs. We will grovel if that will help us onto the minibus!

    Love, Dozer and Cooper

  21. we're Scottish dogs - we can take it. Maisie has a hard time concentrating though....
    your pals, Morgan & Maisie

  22. I just popped over from the Road Dogs blog. I am not sure I would suited for such an adventure, but I can't wait to read about it! I am your newest follower - hope we can be friends.

    Your pal, Pip

  23. Hi,
    I was looking on-line for some information about the J.Bellamy & Sons Ltd.,Castleford,Yorks. As I have just recently purchased a large tin which was probably used in a store as it is larger-11 1/2" high x 9 3/4" wide and 6 1/4" deep with six sides.It reads "Bellamys' Liquorice All-Sorts,J.Bellamy & Sons Ltd.,Castleford,Yorks".So I am writing for two reasons.I would like to know,if you know,when this business was in operation. Or if you are at all interested in buying it.I sell on E-bay and that's what I was going to do with it but when I saw it was from your family..I always prefer to sell to someone who would have the sentiment for it.If you are interested,I could give you my E-bay name,so you could see my rating.I,also,could send you some photos.My e-mail address,if you would let me know any information is thank you for your time and any information would be wonderful.