Thursday 31 May 2012

Bertie makes a splash...

Can you believe that Gail has been doubting my swimming ability?

Just because, when I encounter a river, a loch or the sea, I act prudently and choose to keep four paws firmly planted on terra firma.

It is perhaps not so surprising that Gail decided to "conduct an experiment".

So, on Sunday afternoon, the mini heat wave still being enjoyed across the land, I was driven out to Potarch Bridge, a favourite picnic spot on the river Dee.

I was happily scrounging for food and entertaining everyone with my mellifluous voice while Gail went into the river for a swim. After a few minutes of trying but failing to swim upstream against the strong current, she returned to dry land to find me. Her friend Yvonne recorded the subsequent shocking events.

Yes, I was picked up, carried under Gail's arm a few paces into the river, to where the water was quite a bit deeper than I am tall.

Then she let me go!

Well of course I doggy paddled right back to the river bank faster than you could bark "Rebecca Adlington".

Really, the cheek of it. Look at me, my furs all bedraggled.

How does one go about applying for a new owner?

PS The blog will be quiet for the next week as I am going down to Nottingham with Gail to check up on the human grandparents.

Monday 28 May 2012

Fun in the Sun in Scotland. Yes Really.

Gail says I owe you an apology for putting pictures of such unappealing humans on my last blog post, a shock perhaps when you normally expect to see cute little me and perhaps some of our lovely Scottish landscape.

Well today, and especially as it's Monday morning and you might need cheering up, I am going to redress the balance and show you photos of me out and about enjoying a rare (VERY rare) Scottish heatwave. It's been over 23ÂșC!

On Friday I went for a bicycle ride with neighbours Mike and Kirsty and their dogs Bonnie and Jack, and then later Gail and I travelled north to Macduff, right by the sea, to stay a night with Gail's friends Molly and Neil. I'm also showing you some photos of a sandcastle building contest on Banff beach, just by Macduff.  For some reason, I was made to stay in the house when this event was taking place, although Gail later reported that other dogs were present. SO unfair. Anyway, Molly's daughter Nancy and her friend Sorley won a box of chocolates for their magnificent effort, well deserved, as I'm sure you'll agree when you see the pictures.
On the Old Deeside Line
I lead, Kirsty follows
The humans refresh themselves, we are left in the shade with a big black stranger
At last, some attention. From Kirsty (she's a V.E.T.)
The return leg. And muddy legs...
At Macduff beach, I join Neil, plus lurcher Maisie and collie Jess, for a paddle
Post-paddle legs
Molly and Nancy hard at work on the sandcastle - Sorley supervises
The prize-winning construction 
 Sorley (holding the prize) and Nancy
The sandcastle meets the fate of all sandcastles...

Saturday 26 May 2012

LOL and BOL confusion

When Gail has her radio on in the morning I keep hearing about this thing called the 'Leveson Inquiry'. Something to do with investigating the relationship between politicians and the press, I believe. It's been going on, like, forever.

One fact emerged recently that most folk here will actually remember. Apparently our Prime Minister David Cameron used to sign off texts to Rupert Murdoch's UK henchwoman Rebecca Brooks with 'LOL' DC, under the mistaken impression that this meant 'Lots Of Love'.

Well I thought this was just hilarious. Who could be so ignorant? And then Gail confessed, very quietly to me, that when she first came across this text usage, she too was under the same misapprehension as Mr Cameron. The only difference being that she never used it in text messages to the most powerful woman in the British media.

But now I am worried about a related matter. I have been most neglected this week as Gail has been involved in some rush project at her new workplace. Up till now I had bought the line that Gail had a serious job, worth the sacrifice of spending less time with me.

And then I find see she has brought home some work-related papers and every other word in them is 'BOL'.

Bark Out Loud, surely?

BOL reports....The BOL estimate for reserves of gas is.... BOL is a unique entity in the North Sea.... The asset is operated by BOL....

Well I am puzzled. Is Gail working with a bunch of other dog bloggers? Do they really spend all their time laughing. Why have I not been invited to join in?

Oh. Gail is telling me that BOL in her work context does NOT mean Bark Out Loud.

Should I be disappointed or relieved?

Tuesday 22 May 2012

Request for promotion

Dear VisitWoods Project Leader,

As you know, I have been working as an Assistant Web Guide Volunteer on the Visit Woods project for the last couple of months.  I hope you are pleased with my work to date. I have been taking my new role very seriously.

Several of my canine blog friends (well, one or two) have suggested to me that I deserve a more elevated title, and that a promotion to  'Associate Web Guide Volunteer' is in order. On reflection, I believe that they are right. Organisations being what they are these days, I understand that a promotion cannot be offered to any random dog that demands it, and that I need to make a solid case in support of my request. Now let me see....

Well first, I would like to stress the unique nature of my contribution to the Visit Woods project. Which other of your volunteers has so sensitive a nose and so cute an appearance? Let's be honest, a tree looks much more interesting with a wire-haired fox terrier posed in front, and of course the fact that I stand 17" high at the shoulder provides a useful reference scale.

Next, I think you should be aware I have made not inconsiderable personal sacrifices in the line of duty. For example, did you know that, after my inspection of Countesswells Wood, I was subjected to my first ever bath with shampoo?!!! And that on my 15 km run around Pitfichie, following Gail and Mike on their mountain bikes, I was so exhausted by the end that I kept running in the wrong direction? A situation made all the more embarrassing when it became clear that my companions border terrier Bonnie and toy poodle Jack completed the circuit with no apparent difficulty?

My high level of enthusiasm for 'meet and greet' activities should also be noted. How many other of your volunteers will cheerfully bounce up to and jump all over other woodland visitors, fondly licking any accessible bare flesh and establishing a special form of intimacy by fervently sniffing the area I believe humans refer to as their, er, crotch?

The heroic role I played in preventing a wee human volunteer from being crushed by a Forestry Commission vehicle has been documented elsewhere. (I am considering initiating legal proceedings against those who maintain that this interpretation of events in Durris Forest is incorrect).

My scientific credentials will be obvious to anyone who has perused the 'Bertie Boffin's Science Posts' page of my blog.

Last week I participated in an extra-curricular Woodland Trust activity, namely the Ancient Tree Hunt in Glen Finglas. I believe that this sort of thing earns one extra brownie points. The montage below illustrates my conscientious efforts, hunting out fat, gnarly alder and birch trees, overseeing accurate recording of data and patiently posing as a mascot. This is probably not the right place to express my disappointment that at the end of the day, unlike the human volunteers present, I was not awarded a certificate commending my contribution, but I thought I'd just mention it anyway...
click on picture to biggify
Well, all in all, I think it is clear that an upgrading of my status within your organisation is well overdue. Should further evidence be needed, please do get in touch.

I  look forward to receiving official confirmation of my new rank forthwith.

Yours faithfully,
B. Bertie of Aberdeen.

Saturday 19 May 2012

Pipe cleaners? And farewell to Wilf

Gail says I am lucky that pipe smoking is no longer in fashion, else someone might find an alternative use for my front legs...

PS A fond final goodbye to our dear blog friend Wilf, who delighted so many of us for so long. Heartfelt thanks to Angus for sharing his story.

Friday 11 May 2012

Oh a riot!

No, silly, of course I wasn't really involved in a riot.

But can you spot the anagram...?

Last Sunday was my long anticipated Deeside rendezvous with my wiry pal HORATIO.

He is the best company ever.

Horatio and his family (including golden cocker spaniel Tilly) were on holiday, staying in a house on the Queen's Balmoral Estate. We all met up on Sunday for a walk in the hills near Ballater. Here's a team photo taken at the finish.
Left to right: Amanda, Bertie, Horatio, Scott, Tilly, Sylvia

Gail persuaded me to dress for the occasion in my red tartan scarf. Doesn't it blend nicely with Scott's splendid socks?

By the way, we are NOT kissing in the above photo. Oh no. That would be girlie, and we are rather boisterous boys, even if Horatio does still need training in how to pee the manly way.

Talking of boisterous, does your human ever exhort you to "play nicely"?

It's a phrase I hear a lot.

The problem is, I've come to realise, humans and wire-haired fox terriers have different ideas about what constitutes playing nicely (as was clear in Durris Forest with wee Kate).

Well I'm delighted to report that Horatio and I are in perfect agreement that chasing around at top speed and jumping on each other, accompanied by lots of barking and growling is just the nicest sort of recreation. Oh we had a fine old time of it, even if it was Horatio doing most of the chasing and me the running away... And Gail claims she still has a bruise on her shin from when I crashed into her at full tilt during one of our games. 

However, the best bit of the day was lunch. (When isn't it?)

This wee video illustrates the peaceful scene.

I hope you noticed how well Horatio and I acted as a team, me as decoy whilst he raided the backpack...

After lunch, Horatio insisted on washing his paws in a ditch, which I found most extraordinary. Especially as, having jumped in, he couldn't figure a way out. 

Perhaps there is something in this idea that WFT's are crackers after all....

But come on, you couldn't possibly deny that we make a perfect pair? 
If only Gail would bring a brother home for me.

Oh, by now I expect you are wondering what happened to that promised leg lifting tutorial? Well to be perfectly honest, with all the excitement, I clean forgot about it. And then, when right at the end of the outing I did remember, my young pupil was too tired to lift even a paw.