Sunday 26 August 2012

Observe. Describe. Interpret.

"He's brilliant. He's been a star. Every field trip should have a Bertie."

These words from Jim, the leader, at the end our our two-day geological excursion to Lossiemouth are still singing in my flappy little terrier ears.

Oh I can't tell you how much fun I had, I am so, so grateful that I was allowed to take part. To show just how happy I am, and that I learned lots, I am going to present this report according to Jim's rules for geological field work.

So first you will have an observation (in the form of a photo), which I shall describe carefully and only then shall I propose an interpretation.

(1) At CoveSea East, the first outcrop

Description: The leader Jim is standing in front of some sandstone cliffs discussing the rocks with three members of the field party. A small handsome terrier is on the move.
Interpretation: Rocks are very fascinating, for sure, but sometimes one must attend to important sniffing business.

(2) Further along the shore at CoveSea

Description: In front of the cliff, some of the geologists are looking at the rocks and others are admiring a handsome wee terrier.
Interpretation: Geologists may need a break from struggling with the concept that back in the Permo-Triassic Scotland was a desert with dunes and all.

(3) At Hopeman

Description: The field party  relaxes besides colourful beach huts. There are no rocks in sight.
Interpretation: It was that time of day when stomachs were starting to rumble. Oh and I absolutely must point out Victor, the nice geologist on the left in the green shirt. Apparently back in his homeland of Romania, he too has a fox terrier.

(4) Interesting sedimentary feature

Description: A handsome wee terrier, for once sporting a lead, although this is not attached to a human, is standing on some wavy rocks.
Interpretation: The fact that many of the field party had taken a photo of this feature even before I stood there tells one that it must have a particular geological significance. But who could argue that the feature is greatly enhanced by the presence of a handsome wee terrier, and not just because he is providing a 'scale'? (Shoulder height 42 cm, for the record).

(5) Art work

Description: Handsome wee terrier sitting in front of a concentric pattern of differently coloured pebbles, arranged on the shore near Hopeman.
Interpretation: Geologists can be a tiny bit philistine, just possibly, as none of them came over to look at what most would consider a rather attractive human artwork.

(6) A demonstration

Description: Jim is kneeling on the beach with a small red bucket in his hand, in front of some failed sandcastles. A handsome wee terrier is also present.
Interpretation: The notion that this is 'serious field work' stretches credulity. Does Jim truly expect me to buy the line that he is attempting to demonstrate an important principle of soft sedimentation? I think that the short video below says it all, really.

(7) At the Skerry Brae hotel, Stotfield

Description: Handsome wee terrier is resting on the only bed in a basic but comfortable hotel bedroom. His food and water bowls can be seen bottom right.
Interpretation: Keeping the troops entertained during a long day out in the field is an exhausting business. Oh, and I wonder where Gail is going to sleep?

(8) The next morning at Burghead

Description: An encounter between geologist Iain and wire-haired fox terrier Bertie, half way up a sandstone rock face.
Interpretation: Iain proposes that these rocks are different from the ones we saw yesterday, in that the sediments appear to have been transported by an ancient river, rather than being part of a system of wind blown dunes. Bertie is not yet convinced.

(9) A closer look

Description: Bertie joins the other geologists for a closer look at the rocks.
Interpretation: You know, Iain could be right. Isn't geology just intriguing? Yes, those larger pebbles must have been transported by water not wind, don't you think?

(10) And a little bit of history

Description: Fox terrier examines a sign telling all about the history of Burghead, site of possibly the largest Iron Age Fort in Britain, where the native Picts gathered to defend themselves against the marauding Viking hordes.
Interpretation: Warring tribes? Marauding hordes? Well the rocks here may speak of a different environment in Northeast Scotland in times past, but frankly that sounds just like Union Street, Aberdeen on any Saturday night...

(11) More interesting features at Clashach Quarry

Description: Geologist, with can of Irn Bru in left hand, is pointing at what look like tyre tracks on a slab of rock. Handsome terrier inspects.
Interpretation: Conclusive proof here that this field trip is taking place in Scotland, as nowhere else on earth would Irn Bru be considered a potable liquid....Oh and the 'tyre tracks' were apparently left behind by some Permo-Triassic reptile dragging its tail across the sand. The 'eye of faith' will also detect the ancient beast's paw prints. Wow!

(12) A new role?

Description: Wee fox terrier stands confidently besides leader Jim, in front of some knobbly, partly crystalline rocks at Stotfield Bay.
Interpretation: This has the look of a promising partnership doesn't it? Wire-haired fox terrier has proved his worth as geological field assistant, one feels.

(13) And finally

Description: Gail is standing in the main street in Lossiemouth, holding a cone of Miele's vanilla ice-cream. Fox terrier is sitting by her, patiently, but with tail wagging furiously.
Interpretation: It is the end of the field trip. Fox terrier knows that he has played a blinder, having been on best behaviour throughout, and has every expectation of being rewarded with a tasty fragment of ice-cream wafer.

(14) Yes! Result!


  1. Wow, what a wonderful trip. You were the hit of it all, I am sure! Glad you got a little bit of ice cream too. You didn't share the bed with Gail at all?? BOL!

  2. Wee fox terrier makes learning fun. I found those rocks infinitely fascinating when observed with your educated self in the frame. Momma is all keen on the history of those rocks. As if! I am more keen on snagging an ice cream wafer for myself.


  3. A highly interesting expedition, Bertie. You are a most lucky fellow to have been invited along. This will look good on your resume. Overuse of the word Handsome, not needed at all for we have eyes and can make that determination ourselves.

    Cheers and good wishes in bagging another trek like this one in the near future.


  4. Goodness Bertie! You are so well versed now and could be teaching your own group. Butt our question for you is this... Where was your hard hat? Safety is very impawtant ya know.

    Glad to see you had such a great time!

    Lily Belle & Muffin

  5. What a great trip! I learned tons. Did they not have a hard hat in your size? Or did they not have one with ear holes?

  6. My mom is going all SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEee over this post. She LOVES ROCKS. I think they FILL HER PATE... hehehehe
    She LOVES them SOOOOOO much that when she was at University... she took TWO courses in GEOLOGY. Two A's by the way... Told you she had Rocks Minerals and FOSSILS in he Pate.
    Mom says THIS was a super Field Trip fur you and Gail. She just wishes that SHE could have come along. She still has her little Hammering thingy and the Hand Lens ... after all these years.
    Bertie Ernie and I would have LOVED going along also. YOU would have taught us SOOOOOO much... and then we could have shared the I Scream with you.

  7. It is quite clear from the evidence presented above that future field trips will benefit from your wee and handsome presence. How did Jim do his job before you joined the team??

    -Bart and Ruby

  8. Bertie, what an educational and interesting post. Of course it was made all the more interesting by having your Handsome self in all the pictures.


  9. How fun! You are a lucky pup to have gotten to go along!


  10. Oh, you were the best assistant that ever was. WTG Bertie!! Good snag on that ice-cream and poor Gail on the floor!! BOL Oh well!!
    Addy is in Missery!! (missouri)


  11. Bertie, sterling job. You're adherence to the scientific method and valuable assistance we're sure will never be forgotten. You deserved that whole ice cream in our opinion.

    XXXOOO Daisy,Bella & Roxy

  12. Dear Bertie,

    What a great report. My humam and I loved reading about your field trip, and seeing all the photos. I hope everyone agreed on the advantages of having you around, and that you can now go with Gail to her office to report back to us on what her workmates keep under their desks with the same ODI format.


  13. you are right in the midst of things Bertie
    Benny & Lily

  14. Wow, I don't know how they could've done it without you there! What a grreat help you were!

  15. Wow Bertie! Agility? Geological field trips? You sure are getting around and putting us all to shame. What an amazing pooch you are turning into. Gail must be so proud of you. BTW, I think you would have a field day here in SA (Pun intended). We have so many amazing geological structures here. You will just have to come and anoint them.
    Sending lotsaluv (from Maxmom) and licks (from Toby)
    Happy trailing!

  16. Bertie, you made that so interesting. I don't know what they would have done without you. I really enjoyed learning about those rocks and also about you. You should be teaching a rock appreciation course. You totally deserved that cone.

    Loveys Sasha

  17. Bertie you are one learned pooch! Have a great Monday.
    Best wishes Molly

  18. Bertie, you made terriers everywhere proud today!!

    Lilly, Piper, Argie and Ivy

  19. Well Bertie in about 500 years somebody will be digging up your remains and be saying it must have been a handsome wee terrier!
    Sweet William The Scot

  20. I salute you, Bertie!! You are smart, knowledgeable, and fabulous! You make us all proud.

    Your pal, Pip

  21. hey Bertie,

    Fantastic report! My human LOVES rocks! She once had a very large old sandstone rock which she got as a gift when she was a little bean, but, sadly, somehow lost it as she grew up. She still misses that rock.

    My human said we must go and visit the wavy rock. That is so pawsome! And yes, Bertie, the rock is totally enhanced by your presence! :->

    Burghead sounds fascinating. Picts and Vikings, pretty amazing! K and I both really enjoyed all the photos and the details of each photo. The video was funny! You are so smart and funny! I think you should be a necessity on every field trip!

    Thanks for sharing! I love learning!

    Suka (and K)

  22. You are a superb scientist and field team member Bertie. The excursion would not have been near as successful nor as fun without your presence :)

    Luv the wavey rock formation! Wonder what caused that?

    Thank you for sharing your trip!

    Waggin at ya,

  23. Bertie we are most impressed with your report. A* material.

    Now on to the important stuff.

    You mentioned a fragment of ice cream! WHAT! You should have insisted on the whole blooming lot! You still have much to learn Bertie.

    Molly, Taffy, Monty and Winnie

  24. That sounds like an interesting trip Bertie. Are you going to be giving your thoughts on the recent decision to save a green space in the middle of Aberdeen city centre?

  25. Bewtie
    What vewy lucky Geologists..not just seeing those magnificent wockses, but having you thewe to intewpewlate fow them..I am shoowe jim will be wequesting yoow pwesencie fow footoowe talks..i see lots of ice cweamie tweats in yoow footoowe..I've missed you too Bewtie..Mommi is such a failoowe as my assistant. and sadly,no, I didn't get anywhewe neew swimming..stoopid place doesn't allow doggies in watew
    smoochie kisses

  26. Bertie, just brilliant work. Field trips will never be the same again, unless of course, you are invited along. Loved the short video of you too mate. No worries, and love, Stella and Rory

  27. That is excellent Bertie mate! I was wondering if you could diversify and get a job as David Attenborough's assistant? Deccy x

  28. OMG, what a fantastic adventure! You are a star, my dear Bertie! And soooo handsome!!!

    But wait a come you aren't wearing a doggy helmet?

    BTW, we're still in ROFL mode after reading your comment about w* bankers :)

  29. Strange hotels. rock strata and ice cream. What an adventure.

  30. AWwwwwww he's so cute! I love that anyone you see looking at him in a picture is smiling like him being there made their day better. :)
    Thanks for stopping by my blog! :) :)

  31. Hi Angel Bertie, your new brother sent us to see your trip to the Moray Coast. You were excellent and my favorite photo is you in your room. miss you angel