|Bertie in Glen Muick, midday on 18 November 2017|
You might be looking at the picture above and thinking, gosh you are a lucky chap Bertie, living in such a beautiful part of the world with a human who loves to go exploring.
So there I was last weekend, trotting along the tranquil farm track on the western side of Glen Muick, when a Royal Mail van - the first vehicle we'd seen - came bowling along.
I don't know about you, but generally I like to walk in the middle of a road if given the chance, and believe it is the responsibility of others to avoid running me down.
So I ignored Gail's shouts and forced the postman to stop. He wound down his window as Gail, having put me on a lead and dragged me to the side, was babbling apologetically:
"I'm so sorry, thank you for stopping, my dog has absolutely no road sense...."
The postman had a nice round ruddy face and a wide smile. He ignored Gail, looked down at me and said fondly "ach, you're an affa bonny pup, maybe you'd like a treat?"
And lo an behold he dug into his pocket and produced a gravy bone and offered it to me whole! (Gail normally breaks them in two, or on a bad day three).
This agreeable episode has confirmed my belief that is is always best to stick to the middle of a track, although Gail disputes this conclusion...
After the walk we stopped in the nearby town of Ballater, where a rustic nativity scene was being erected on the green by the church.
Gail was amused to see that the workman setting up the floodlighting had used the praying hands of one of the Three Kings as a coat hook.