Saturday 27 December 2014

Yoicks and Tally Ho!

Well my friends, I might not have got quite so many Christmas presents as most of you did (yes, Sweet William, you are so right about Gail being a bit of a Scrooge), but let me tell you, my Boxing Day outing more than made up for any meagre haul from "Santa".

Of course you know that I am a fox terrier and my kind were originally bred to take part in the traditional English sport of fox-hunting. Our role was to unearth foxes that had gone to ground when being pursued by the hunt.

Now some of you may be aware that since 2004, more's the pity*, the hounds are no longer allowed to tear their quarry to shreds, and us terriers play no part at all in what these days is basically a gallop across the fields, either following an artificially laid scent or ending up with a fox being shot.

But it remains a strong tradition in South Nottinghamshire for the local fox hunting fraternity to gather in the village of Car Colston for the annual  'Boxing Day Meet'. Many's the time Gail has told me how it was an important part of her family Christmas festivities to drive out from their suburban home and enjoy this spectacle, in the days when 'real' fox hunting was still permitted'.

You can imagine how excited I was when she suggested we go along this year to Car Colston to see what this event looks like in 2014.

And when I caught sight of the splendidly turned out huntsmen (and women and children) astride their handsome mounts, I gazed enviously at the pack of hounds baying at the horses' hooves, and every single one of my wiry terrier hairs stood on end as, in my mind, I re-enacted my ancestral role...

*Gail says: please remember, those of a sensitive disposition, that this is the terrier perspective...

Friday 26 December 2014

Scenes from Christmas Day

Dawn walk near the River Trent
Quiet time remembering Human Grandad
Visiting the poodle cousins in Derbyshire
Present opening excitement!
The natural reaction to a poodle wearing antlers...
Ending the day beside new octopus friend

Wednesday 24 December 2014

FFHT: And then the chubby elf says...

It's Murphy and Stanley's FFHT time again…..

As related by Gail, to Bertie, upon her recent return from Lapland.

A Christmas Cautionary Tale

Oh Bertie, I am so relieved
To be safe home with you.
My trip to Lapland’s made me see
So many things anew.

I’d always had this fantasy
To visit Santa Claus's home
And ride upon a jingling sleigh,
Pulled by reindeer, noses glowing.

Who knew that reindeer were so wild
And sometimes lose their way?
When lastly we found Santa’s lair,
A sign said ‘Grotto closed today’.

Just two of Santa’s helper elves
Were still on site, one fat one thin.
Oh please, please, please, I cried, oh please
You have to let me in!

“You’re late, the thin one sternly squeaked
And then the chubby elf said
“I’m sorry pal, you’ll have to leave
‘Cos Santa Claus has gone to bed.”

And won't be up now 'til next year.
He's done with all this Christmas stuff,
He can't compete with Amazon,
Those reindeer are not fast enough.

Such bitter disillusion Bert!
This was not what I had in mind.
I did not travel North to meet
A frosty welcome of this kind.

I'm so relieved to be back home
From Lapland. I feel so much merrier
Sat on the sofa, snug and warm
Besides my dear wire-haired fox terrier.


Sunday 21 December 2014

A misunderstanding about pancakes

A picture appeared on the BBC Scotland news website a couple of days ago, showing what they said were 'ice pancakes' on the River Dee, about 30 miles or so inland from Aberdeen.

Pancakes. Mmmm. Interesting. We all trust the BBC don't we?

You know, I am not a big fan of venturing into any sort of water, especially not the icy sort, but the weather here in the city has been relatively mild of late, and, there being foodables involved, I took the trouble to make some calculations.

According to my analysis, involving average flow rate, air and water temperature and latent heat of pancakes, any pancake that was in a frozen state in the river in our chilly hinterland would have melted to a nicely palatable texture by the time it had floated downstream to besides Duthie Park.

Why did Gail laugh when I insisted on a small extension to our usual walk this morning, to check out the options for a free second breakfast? And then suggest that my equations were probably wrong because I had not allowed for the effects of currants in  currents on the pancakes? (I think that last comment was supposed to be a joke…)

So where are all the pancakes then?

PS from Gail: Bertie and I are heading down south today to stay with Human Granny over Christmas, and the blog will be relatively quiet for a week or so (although we will definitely be FFHT'ing on Christmas Eve). 

Friday 19 December 2014

Weimeraners - a bad influence?

The scene is early morning in Duthie Park...

Tuesday 16 December 2014

Noisy Koreans and EU Bureaucracy

If, like me, you live with a human who goes out to work at a 'regular' job, you'll know how delightful it is when said human comes home early, unexpectedly.

Oh those magic words: "Bertie, I'm working at home this afternoon, please make room on the sofa".

It seems that Gail had been tasked with deciphering an impenetrable European Union tender document, concerning a topic somewhat outside her area of expertise, and her office was swamped with noisy Korean visitors energetically debating 'issues' relating to the execution of a different project, so she had come home for some peace and quiet.

I thought maybe I could help her translate the EU-ese into plain English.

I looked closely at the document, …

… told Gail it could be summarised in the simple word 'gobbledygook', and continued my nap.

Two hours later, Gail sighs heavily and says: "Bertie, you were right". Then: "Come on, we'd better go out for some fresh air before I start coming over all Nigel Farage".

Sunday 14 December 2014

A true and scary story about a dog sitter

On two of the four days* a week when Gail is out at work, I am taken for an hour long walk at lunchtime by one of my lovely dog walkers. I would like to tell you more about them, even post some pictures, but they are internet-shy and Gail says we have to respect that.

I only bring them up 'cos I thought of them with gratitude when last week I overheard our neighbour Kirsty the vet telling Gail a really scary story involving a dog walking/sitting service.

Kirsty related how a couple had brought an adult dog into a veterinary surgery (not hers, but elsewhere in Scotland), having recently purchased the dog over the internet. It turned out that the dog was microchipped and when the person named on the microchip was contacted, she said, that can't be right, my dog is dead.

Further enquiries revealed that the previous owner had gone on holiday and left the pet in the 'care' of someone who offered a dog walking and pet sitting service. Who told her that the dog had run in front of a car when out for a walk. Who handed her a jar of ashes upon her return saying that was all that was left of poor pup.

Except for none of this was true. The wicked pet sitter had made the whole thing up and, through an intermediary, had organised the sale of the dog.

The story had a happy ending in that dog and owner were reunited and the miscreants prosecuted. We hope that the unfortunate couple who were duped out of £200 found another genuine rescue dog to bring into their home and love.

Gail and I feel so lucky in having a dog walkers whom we trust completely. (They are a husband and wife team, a retired prison officer and schoolteacher, so I do have to mind my P's and Q's…)

Oh but if only everyone understood and respected the precious bond between us dogs and our humans.

*On the other two days, Gail comes home for lunch and walks me round the block.

Thursday 11 December 2014

Equations for calculating floofiness

Equation (1)


Equation (2)

A post inspired by a comment about Scottish weather from our dear friends Bella, Roxy and Dui.

Friday 5 December 2014

Friday morning encounters in the Park

So first we had a cheery wave and a "hello Gail and Bertie" as Simon, one of Gail's former colleagues, zoomed past at the helm of a tandem.

Simon now works at Shell, whose offices are a couple of miles up the hill on the other side of the river, and he rides to work with a blind fellow employee on the back of the tandem, and has been doing this for many years. I guess even I, Bertie, would have to approve of this use of a bicycle.

Of course Gail was too slow with the camera to get a picture before they had shot off beyond the park gates.

Next we ran into a couple of community support wardens.

I want to report that I stopped them in their tracks, so struck were they by my extreme handsomeness. I do not agree with Gail's theory that they paused to chat because they were bored and in need of diversion.

The conversation went thus:

Female warden: "Och he's affa bonnie."
Male warden: "Fit's his breed? It's a schnauzer, no?"
Female warden: "He's nae a schauzer, he's an Airedale, ken?"
Male warden: "Och, I hivnae a clue. But I love coming tae the park and seeing a' the different kinds o' dogs."
Gail : "Well in fact this one's a wire-haired fox terrier. Sort of similar in shape to a schnauzer or an Airedale, but different colours". Then, changing the subject, "Is this a routine patrol or has there been a problem?"
Male warden: "We're just here deein' a wa'kaboot, tae mak sure a' the responsible dog owners are being responsible, ken?"
Gail: "Most of the folk who walk their dogs in this park seem OK I think."
Female warden: "Aye, there's nae many pit bulls in these pairts."
Gail: "No indeed. Oh well, best be on our way. Bertie, that's enough ear rubs for now. Have a good day."

Can one ever have enough ear rubs?

Wednesday 3 December 2014