Friday 30 December 2016

Janet and Bertie go exploring

For an intrepid terrier, nothing is more fun than exploring new territory.

Before leaving Nottingham to head back to Aberdeen, Gail and I went on a lovely winter walk with our friend Janet.

Of course, even if I had not told you, you would have guessed from the gently undulating fields of winter wheat and the electricity pylons in the background that we were still in the East Midlands, not Northern Scotland.

Janet is a very nice walking companion, although she did stop once or twice to say hello to sheep, which I thought unnecessary.

For me the highlight of the route was the Ticknall tunnel, part of a tramway built in 1805 to link an old limeworks with the nearby canal.

I was brave in the dark tunnel, and only stayed very close to Gail to make sure she did not get frightened.

PS We are now safely home in Aberdeen where, incredibly, the weather just now is much warmer than in England!!

Wednesday 28 December 2016

A Candle for Easy

We are joining our Blogville friends today in lighting a candle for one of our number, our Weimeraner friend Easy, who brought so much brightness and hilarity to our world.

We also remember all those others who passed away in 2016, and send our love to their close ones.

In the candle we see hope that their light will shine on long after the pain of loss diminishes.


Tuesday 27 December 2016


The traditional Boxing Day walk...

The traditional aftermath...

Saturday 24 December 2016

Bertie's Christmas Message


I don't see why the Queen should have exclusive rights to the Christmas Message business. Do you?

Well it has been quite a year, 2016, I must say. What a funny old world this is. And not always in a good way.

For me, it has been a time to expand my horizons, and I want to tell you about a couple of the people I met on my big tour of Europe back in October.

It was late in the evening at the ferry terminal in Harwich when we came upon a bus-load of British Asians heading off for a weekend in Holland. A elderly, sari-clad lady tottered across to us, accompanied by her daughter. While the older lady made a big fuss of me, daughter acted as translator, telling us how her mother had owned a wire-haired fox terrier when she was a wee girl, and how seeing me would probably be the highlight of her trip.

Then there was the nice-looking young Argentinian in the hotel lobby in Amsterdam, who ran over the minute he spotted me and, struggling to hold back tears of emotion, explained how much he was missing Lupe, his beloved WFT, whom he'd left behind in Buenos Aires.

So you know what? It seems to me that humans all over the world, whatever their backgrounds, must have lots of things in common, if only they would take time to talk to each other with goodwill, and kindness in their hearts.

With that, I wish all my friends in every corner of the globe a Happy Christmas and a Peaceful New Year.

Thursday 22 December 2016

En route to Nottingham for Christmas

As Gail is a wimp about driving long distances, we are staying overnight in the little town of Appleby on the way down to Nottingham for the Christmas holiday. What a delightful place this is! Before checking into the Royal Oak we took a stroll around and ran into Sidney, pictured here.

Although I must say, Gail was a lot more interested in talking to his owner that I was to him.

Inspecting the hotel bedroom, Gail and I had a disagreement on the issue of muddy paws on white cotton bed linen. I asserted that the outcome of my walk across the quilt would ensure she got her money's worth from the £15 'dog supplement' but she failed to see my point.

Later in the bar I listened engrossed to the men sitting across the other side of the room. It is not often my privilege to eavesdrop on conversations amongst humans of my own gender, and I must say I was impressed by their capacity to recall the finer details of football games played many decades ago between clubs of no notable distinction.

For sure this ability must confer some evolutionary advantage on the human species, although precisely how is not yet clear to me.

An interesting scientific conundrum to ponder as I make myself comfy for the night. 

Tuesday 20 December 2016

In need of protection?

In future I am thinking of demanding a security detail for outings in Lower Deeside. 

Yes really!

What? Do I hear someone saying don't be ridiculous Bertie, the Banchory area is hardly Aleppo.

OK, so I admit you might be looking at these photos taken on a Sunday morning walk up Scolty Hill with Gail and her friend Yvonne, and thinking how lucky I am to live in a tranquil and beautiful (if seldom sunny) corner of the planet. 

Well let me tell you, appearances can be very deceptive. 

Prepare to be horrified. 


First by a pair of runners at the top of the hill. Then later by barista Sophie outside Yvonne's favourite cafĂ© in Cults. 

What's worse, I cannot get Gail to take this perilous situation one little bit seriously. 

PS I am delighted to report that my sore paws are so much better, not itchy at all, and so I am back to my bright and bouncy best in time for the Christmas holiday. [Gail adds: fingers crossed that the improvement persists after Bertie's short course of Prednisolone finishes tomorrow.]

Sunday 18 December 2016

A less than thrilling weekend outing

The walk to the Ford Service Centre is not Aberdeen's most  picturesque.

What's more, it is very boring waiting your turn at reception.

And when you do spot something interesting,

You want to investigate,

But are promptly dragged back.

Life is not all wine and roses.

Thursday 15 December 2016

No costume necessary

Friends, I have a confession to make.

I guess I am not the only chap in a long term relationship to be guilty occasionally of taking his beloved partner for granted.

Can you believe it is nigh on five years since I enjoyed my first ever date with my massively gorgeous girl Addi?  Some of you may recall that the date turned out to be, quite literally, a blast....

Well since that time we have enjoyed several more adventures together and settled into a routine of mutual admiration from afar.

But then on Saturday, I saw this photo on Oreo's blog and my heart missed a beat as I remembered all over again why I first fell for Addi.

Is she not the most adorably beautiful figure of an American bulldog ever to walk this earth?

It occurs to me that every minute I spend away from my girl is a wasted minute.

Look at her magnificent jawline! Her intelligent and thoughtful expression! The set of those long and  graceful  paws! And above all, the vast and smooth expanse of pure white belly...

Oh Addi, I do hope you still feel the same about me. Us boffin types are not always the best at expressing our emotions, but I want you to know how much you have meant to me over the years.

Addi, will you do the honour of accompanying me to Dory's 13th Birthday Party and Holiday Gala?

I am confident that Dory will understand if you chose not to wear a costume for the occasion - after all, it would surely be sacrilege to cover up even one single square inch of your stupendous figure. And to be honest, I too prefer to remain 'au naturel' if given the choice.

Please Addi, say you will come, and make me again the happiest dog in Scotland  the Universe.

Sunday 11 December 2016

The Luib Hotel: my kind of place!

I don't know if you noticed, but I was not around very much last week.

Don't worry, nothing is amiss, in fact I was having the most splendiferous time.

I admit that at first I was a bit concerned when Gail told me we were going down to Stirlingshire to meet up with Aunty Yam for a couple of days.

No don't be silly, I was of course thrilled to hear we would be seeing Aunty Yam again. It was just that, well, one has low expectations of the weather in Scotland in mid-December.

I only hope the accommodation is up to snuff, I thought.

Well I am delighted to report that the Luib Hotel, near Killin, is simply the most brilliantly dog friendly establishment I have yet encountered in my extensive travels.

Gosh, where to begin?

It's promising isn't it, when the resident pup - a Patterdale terrier called Tilly -  is, shall we say, 'nicely rounded'.

It suggests the presence of a human who is generous with the treats. And so it proved.

And I found Jim the proprietor remarkably easy to train. If the treat supply failed, I only had to bark once or twice and he came running back bearing another handful of yummy biscuits. In fact, by the second day I wasn't even having to bark.
That's Jim and Mary, leaning by the bar
Jim's wife Mary was equally generous with the shoulder massages.

I was given the run of the lovely big bar and restaurant area. It was always a tough choice whether to settle beside the crackling log fire or over by Jim (and his treat supply) at the bar.

The bed was super-comfortable too, with plenty of room for Gail as well as myself.

Of course having Aunty Yam there made it even more special. She has the warmest of smiles, don't you think? And she bought me a brand new toy, something Gail scarcely ever does.

We did get out and about a bit but one has to say, the weather lived down to expectations...
Loch Tay, near Killin
General Wade's bridge, Aberfeldy (built in 1733)
The Watermill, Aberfeldy

And as you can see below, my paw problem flared up again, so I was not able properly to appreciate the interesting history associated with this ancient dwelling on Loch Tay.

All the more excuse to linger indoors enjoying the Luib Hotel's outstanding hospitality.

For some reason, now we are back in Aberdeen, I have been put on a diet (as well as medication to calm my sore and itchy paw).

PS You will want to click here to read what Aunty Yam has to say about the trip!

Thursday 8 December 2016

Could do better?

This tree in Duthie Park...

I think it could do with some more decoration, don't you?
That's more like it.  

Monday 5 December 2016

Bertie has been thinking about his friends...

An Ode to Blogging Friendships

I read about you almost every day.
From countless photographs I recognise
The angle of your tail when you feel joy;
The precise set of your anxious ears;
Your food-expectant head tilt.

Although you live a world away,
I’m confident that I could navigate
From your front door
Directly to your well-worn comfy bed, or better yet
Your kitchen where the treat jar sits.

Your daily routines, though different from mine,
Are quite familiar now to me.
There is more sunshine where you live (most probably).
But then my park, I think, has fewer rules than yours,
For dogs, that is.

For all the fun we share when life is sweet,
There are those other times
When you are injured, ill, or nameless terrors strike.
And then I yearn to help you, but
Feel at a loss.

We’re old friends, are we not (though never met)?
Our lives are now entangled, in
A precious world wide web of friendship,
An unanticipated bond.

PS Thank you to all who have expressed concern about my paws. They are feeling much better and I do believe I set a record for the circuit around Loch Kinord on Sunday morning.

Friday 2 December 2016

Sammy flies to Torridon


Today I am delighted to have globe trotter Sammy the Onespoiledcat come over to visit me in Torridon, my favourite part of Scotland. 

I am going to offer him a choice of activities. 

Perhaps he would like to join me on an ascent of MY mountain, Beinn Alligin? (You know, of course, that my 'proper' Kennel Club name is Granddach Beinn Alligin.)

It does look like there is quite a bit of snow on the summit just now. If Sammy has forgotten his ice axe and crampons, he might prefer to laze around in the garden of my cottage, overlooking Loch Torrridon. It is a tranquil and beautiful spot, and catches the sun, even in winter.

What do you think Sammy?