Gail, please can I come on your lap and have a cuddle?
Bertie, dear darling Bertie, you come here. You're looking quite down in the mouth. What's all this about?
(Big sigh) Oh Gail, it seemed such a good idea at the time. A Highland geology field trip with my pals. How did it all go so wrong?
Little Bertie, I'm sure it didn't ALL go wrong... OK, I admit, reading your previous post, that I was a mite concerned you had bitten off more than you could chew. It was a big project for such a wee man. Where do you think the trouble started? Oh little Bertie, please don't cry, you can tell me all about it, no-one else need know.
Well Gail, let's see, I think my first mistake was to let Uncle Eric drive the bus. Yes, I know, I had been warned.....Then the incident with Stella at the airport didn't help did it? Although, as it turns out she is a deluded fantastist, perhaps we were perhaps still better off without her? Despite all Ludo's whinging. I mean, you'd have to be deluded to imagine that a holiday on Lake Como with George Clooney would be more fun than a Highland geology field trip in the pouring rain, wouldn't you Gail?
(Gail seems distracted, a bit dreamy eyed, for a just moment).
Er Bertie, yes you're right, quite right there. Of course you would.
And then Gail I'd always thought that at least my bassett Aunties Martha and Bailey were respectable and responsible types, despite being from the Glasgow area. How could I have known that they'd organise a lock-in in the hotel bar, behind my back? It was supposed to be only me and George that had access to alcohol...
So you see it was late the next day by the time we got back to the bus, and we saw that it had all but disappeared into the bog! All the terriers, big and small, plus of course Kira and Riley and the rest, they all dug and dug and dug, but the bus just kept sinking deeper.
And that Mango, when he eventually turned up, was a hindrance not a help. Honestly Gail, knocking poor Toby over that ledge of Torridonian sandstone with his purple manbag while dancing the Highland Fling indeed! At least nurse Asta's unexpected appearance meant that
As if all that wasn't enough, George and I had a bit of a barney over the merits of geologist Sir Roderick Murchison, who, as everybody knows, got his Highland geology all wrong. You know what he said at the end of it? "That's the last time I'm letting you share my secret beer supply Bertie". Boo hoo.
Oh my poor chappie, could it have got any worse?
Yes it could! I can't believe that, of all dogs, it was Jake and Fergi who led the mutiny after I suggested we hike on over to Ardnamurchan to look at the volcanic ring complex. Then Jazzi, who I thought was such promising student, flagged down a tour bus destined for Aberdeen, saying she'd heard that the 'Oil Capital' had some Mexican restaurants to cater for all the Texan roughnecks. You know, that was when I realised I'd totally lost control.
Bertie, Bertie, Bertie, I just hate to see you all upset like this. (She wraps a blanket around her beloved, distraught young wire-haired fox terrier). Was there anything else?
Only that Uncle Eric insisted on a diverting the bus to the Walkers shortbread factory in Aberlour, and forced us all to take part in some dumb competition. Then when we finally reached Aberdeen, and I tried to tell everyone about the very interesting Rubislaw Quarry, source of the granite that built the city, and one of the biggest man-made holes in Europe, they all threatened to throw me right into the big hole if I didn't immediately show them the way to Chiquitos....
Now little Bertie, don't take it so hard. Surely there must have been some bits that were fun?
Well Gail, OK, I guess it was rather lovely to have Katie and Fergi in my room late at night, looking so cute in their jimjams. Even if George did seem a bit miffed that they insisted on keeping them on. (That's the story we agreed, isn't it George?). Yes, that was pretty nice. Mmmmm.
And Bertie, I'm sure you learned a lot. So there's no need to be downhearted. Do you plan to carry on with the science lecture series? Maybe you need a bit of a break?
I've been thinking about that, Gail. I've decided I will take a break for a few weeks, and then I'll perhaps try something easier than geology.
Good idea Bertie, good idea. So what subject do you plan to tackle next?
Quantum physics would be suitable, I'm quite sure. Yes, definitely, it's going to be quantum physics.
Oh Lord give me strength.....
Gail? Gail? Er, I thought you said you were an atheist?
LATER, AFTER BERTIE HAS HAD A GOOD LONG SLEEP
Oh and Bertie, just one more thing? I really want you to make it up to Stella. For Hamish's sake. She and him were such good friends. And I'm sure you and Stella could be too if you would only show her a bit more respect. Will you do that for me? Please?
OK Gail, I will. I promise. I like Stella too. A lot. I'll tell her I didn't mean what I said earlier....