Sunday, 31 October 2010

A musical interlude in Torridon

Sorry I haven’t been in touch much these last few days.

You see, we were over in Torridon. It’s been an interesting time.

I have been discovering that information from Gail is not always to be relied upon…

During the drive West on Wednesday, Gail told me that this Wind Quintet from the Netherlands (the Anemos Arts Ensemble) were coming over to give a concert in the local Community Centre and that they would all be staying in our cottage for the week. Well that much was true.

She went on and on about how I would have to mind my P’s and Q’s because these classical musicians would certainly be very prim and proper. But they look quite relaxed and normal when performing an afternoon concert for the local school children, don’t you think?

I was told that they would likely bring along only high-minded and intellectually stimulating reading material. But this is what I found on the coffee table in the cottage. Believe me, Gail never would buy magazines this interesting…

I was also told that I wouldn’t be allowed within a mile of all the precious musical instruments. But in fact I was given permission to stand on the table to get a closer look.

(I wanted Gail to take the photo with the instruments outside the cottage, but Sander was worried that it would be too cold for his oboe. An ‘interesting’ excuse for staying inside in the warmth, if ever I heard one.)

Gail said that the quintet would be very wary of letting me anywhere near their delicate and sensitive musicians’ hands. But French horn player Cleo was well up for a scrap…

Gail also said we were to expect a clean living and abstemious group, who would always go to bed early and not stay up late after the evening concert and demonstrate levitation phenomena and make rude jokes about Dutch horse breeders. 

Oh well, I guess the whisky, wine and beer bottles emptied themselves then…With no help at all from Karel the clarinettist or any one else…

Only orange man Lucas the bassoon player went to bed early. No doubt to contemplate the final of last summer’s soccer World Cup.

I do, by the way, resent Gail’s suggestion that it’s me that’s looking a bit squiffy in this next picture.  What you see here is the mature expression of dog who has just this week figured out how to cock his leg in a truly grown up and masculine fashion.

Oh and another thing. I don’t know if you noticed a rather strange new object leaning against the wall in the back of the photo of the Wind Quintet and their instruments.

Look here it is again, without anyone in the way.

This, Gail says, is a hand-crafted sea kayak, a gift to Gail from the musicians, for letting them stay in our cottage two years running.

Now I’m no great boatbuilding expert, but, well er, it doesn’t exactly look seaworthy, does it. Do you think we’ve been had….?

Gail here: I feel duty bound to explain that the wooden sea kayak frame was in fact made by flautist Angela’s wonderful husband Florian, also a musician although not one of the Quintet, and that he has promised to come over to Torridon next year and give the kayak its ‘skin’!

Oh. Well then, can I just add, Florian, that I am an Earth Dog, and have no intention of boarding any kind of a kayak, with or without holes in it, and as far as I am concerned, you can take as long as you like to finish it, as one thing is for certain, time Gail spends in the kayak will be time diverted from her primary duty of paying attention to me.

Anyway, moving on.

After the musicians had departed, Gail and I went for a long walk to Coire Mhic Fhearchair, round the back of Beinn Eighe. It was very windy and scary at the corrie, and on the way up there was a nasty stream crossing with stepping stones, which Gail kindly carried me across (as I said earlier, I don’t do water). 

We’ve had enough words today, so here are some pictures from the walk.

I am still waiting for that cheque from the Tourist Board.


  1. Beautiful and what a grea adventure. Bertie we see you were conducting the band..BOL
    Benny & Lily

  2. Well Bertie, want a interesting post, I think you can say to had a very eventful week.
    They look what I would call a down to earth kinda group of peeps!!!
    Like the mags did you bring one back, you could take it on the next field trip ;)
    I'd like to see Gail in that kayak looks a bit on the small side to me, I not saying Gails big!! you get my meaning.
    Bertie hope you saw the comment I left on your last post, pop by my bloggie in about 8 or so hours or tommorrow. I've got some thing going on and I would love you to take part, if Gail says its OK
    Your pal George xxx

  3. My, what a Scottish time was had by all. Love the picture with Bertie standing by the wee table.

    Thank you for your comment - it was very kind. Your time with Hamish is somehow so similar, confusion and all. The kindness and shared experience of dog bloggers is a great help when the books don't say anything about what to expect next.

  4. Oh Bertie, we are both so proud to hear that you can now cock your leg!
    You are growing up so very fast.
    We can only hope that you have not been adversely affected by spending the weekend with these musicians!
    You know how easily influenced you young dogs can be - all that drinking and inappropriate reading material!
    We loved the pics of Torridon as always - just wonderful.
    Please make sure Gail does not set out on her beautiful Kayak!!!
    We are sure it is for ornamental purposes only - and really what nonsense about an oboe not liking the cold............!
    Your adoring Aunties xxxx

  5. Bewtie
    You cewtainly awe an amiable those moosician what they twooly weading, adult bevewages and most of all time to scwitchie you and spend time wif the most impawtant pawson in the glad you didn't have to get youw tootsies wet.
    Which instooment awe you going to take up Bewtie???
    I'm suwe you would be a gweat addition to theiw gwoup when next they come f to pawfowm
    smoochie kisses

  6. I was a little concerned about that canoe...

    I don't "DO" water either, my terrier toes are much too delicate for water, bol!

    Nubbin wiggles,

  7. Oh, Bertie. We'll be shooting this blogpost up to OurGirl in her college town. She'll like it, for sure. Why? 'Cause she's an oboe player, herself. And we're hear to tell ya ... she tells the story about the cold weather, too. And now we've heard a professional repeat it. Does that mean there's validity? Or that both of 'em are lightweights? Whatever. What we DO know is ... those reeds taste real good. REAL good. Sorta like a big thick toothpick. (Did ya sneak one?) And. The sounds those "horns" put out! Did ya get to rehearse with 'em? We tend to go hide, but Molly (before us) ... she'd sing right along. Aroooo! Just like a tenor basset. Yep.

    Love love LOVE those pictures of your walks near Torridon. All of 'em. But 'specially the one with mist risin'. Oh yeah, and the one with the rainbow and shadows and dark blue sky. And ... well .... you get the idea. We liked them ALL.

    Rest up. Winter's around the corner!
    Jake and Fergi

  8. First of all, congratulations on the cocking the leg thing. You're growing up sooooo quickly.

    Sounds like the guests were great fun. We're Glad Gail wasn't right in her assessment of the guests.

    And of course, we love seeing all the scenery!

    XXXOOO Daisy, Kendra & Bella

  9. Ah Bertie you certainly are getting to be a big boy!

    Sure looks like you had lots of fun with all the stuffy, non drinking, non playing musicians! BOL

    woo woos, Tessa

  10. Happy Howl-o-ween, Bertie!

    You are growing up so adorable. Enjoy the wonderful music that surrounds you. Watch out with the drinking.

    Piappies Fudgie, Princess, Frappie, Mocha, Sugar, Wai-Pai & Wai-Max

  11. I was impressed to see bassoon guy playing his instrument standing up. Not easy. I can see that they were not as high minded as originally supposed and certainly great company for a crafty terrier.

    Despite your mom's words, I am with you that the boat is suspect. I think perhaps she is a bit gullible.


  12. It looks like you had a great weekend Bertie with all those musician people and I’m glad you didn’t mistake any of their instruments for large sticks to chew on or Gail would not have been happy. The photos of your walk are lovely.

    Congratulations on the leg thing – I have to confess that it took me years to use three paws. Maybe it was a lack of male influences (my Goldie dad lives 12,000 miles away in the UK), maybe it was confusion about my name (there are girls called Riley) or maybe it was just because I figured “why stand on three legs when you have four”. Whatever the reason I now have a trick that still gets me lots of praise and comments when I remember to do it that way!


  13. Bertie! Bertie my clever boy how wagging you learning to lift your leg!! Don't tell everybloggie but the first time I lifted mine I sort of startled myself, nearly stumbled tail over tete!!

    Now your visitors looked most entertaining as well as enlightening on all the finer points of the spice of life. And well done on not using their travel bags and instruments as target practice. I'm sure you get my drift.

    Nice walkies for you both Bertie and Gail took smashing photos though the one with you in are the best. Excellent photoshopping too getting rid of those ugleee buidings from the lovely scenery.

    Last thing, give Gail the run around over the Tourist Board....I'm sure I heard Gail mention something to Mother Square about a direct debit doing nicely thanks......

    Wiry love, Uncle Eric xxx

  14. Oh, Bertie, that's a fabulous walking place!

    We wonder how many of those musicians went home and talked about how they MUST have a Bertie of their own. We're betting all of 'em!

    The Road Dogs

  15. Sigh.... Archie is on his way over...He saw those magazines and the bottles and stuff and also said he was soo hopping proud of you for being a big boy ( in the pee department )that he thinks he should come over and give you personal lessons on stuff(he was muttering something about birds and bees and stuff) Listen I don't really think lifting your leg is that big a deal I do it sometimes when I what?? and I was hopping proud to hear you say you were AN EARTHDOG!!! Here in the states those are the dogs that dig in the tunnels to get the rats and stuff( LIKE ME!!!) Good show there little buddy... ahhh they grow up so fast.. Love A A+A PS Archie wants to know if he should bring his Sherlock Holmes hat? I don't know why....