Saturday 29 December 2018

What? No Sombrero!

Gosh it's been a while, hasn't it?

So Gail, you've been in Mexico, I believe?

Yes of course I recognised the volcanos Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl in your photograph.

And no, I really don't want to hear any more about the Christmas Day party at some 'secret beach', two miles down a rough jungle track in the state of Nayarit.

I think my readers will be more interested in learning about the Mexican dogs you met. Like this fellow who is licking the face of your friend Salvador.

As for these hairless (or nearly) Aztec pups, well, they might be an ancient breed, but they won't win any prizes for looks will they, even if Señor Diego Rivera did put one of them in a mural?

What about some photos of terriers then?

I cannot believe you did not see any terriers in Mexico City! Not a single one? Are you quite sure? Not even a wee handbag Yorkie in one of those stylish, upmarket mercados in Colonia Roma?

Well I guess we'll have to make do with this white schnauzer chap then. Although he does look a little bored.

Oh and you saw lots of Bichon Frises and other small curly haired types, all wearing smart woolly sweaters and out for walks near your hotel in the neighbourhood of Cuauhtémoc, but you failed to take any photos? Well Gail, I must say that was very lax.

So, yes, I was perfectly fine with Yvonne and then in the boarding kennels, thank you very much for asking.

And no I am not sulking because you did not bring me back a souvenir sombrero.

I am just tired and do not feel like posing today.

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Bertie shows his lack of patience...


When northern air is crisp and bright,
And woodland scents excite one's nose,
A bouncing chap thinks it not right
To have to sit and calmly pose.

That perfect Christmas photograph
Can wait another day (or year).
Just watch me gallop down the path,
Then pause to sniff - is this a deer?

My mission's to investigate
Each blade of grass, each fallen leaf.
I absolutely cannot wait,
Our winter daylight's all too brief.

So please accept apologies,
We have no festive pics to show.
This turbo-powered WFT
Has things to do, places to go.

PS from Gail: tomorrow Bertie and I are heading our separate ways on our Christmas vacations, and so this blog too will be "out of office" for a couple of weeks. We wish all our friends a joyful Festive Season. Thank you so much for reading, and we'll be back again just before New Year.

Sunday 9 December 2018

But where were their kilts?

In the failing mid-afternoon light, Gail took me for a walk yesterday in the grounds of Crathes Castle.

As I did my "pose nicely Bertie" bit in front of the 16th century tower house, I could hear sounds of high spirited humanity echoing in my flappy little ears.

I wanted to run across and make friends with the group behind me, who all seemed to be having such a fun time taking each other's pictures and generally larking about. But Gail told me I had to keep my distance, 'cos the bride and bridesmaids wouldn't want muddy paws on their dresses.

Well you could have knocked me down with a feather. A wedding party? Surely not! I mean, look at all those men in suits. Where were their kilts??

I had always assumed kilts were compulsory male attire at these occasions, especially if your wedding venue happens to be a genuine Scottish Castle.

But Gail insisted that it is, in this country, permitted for the groom and best man etc. to wear suits with trousers, or in fact any other outfit of their choosing, and the near ubiquity of kilt-wearing is through choice and is in no way obligatory.

Well my oh my, you learn something new every day.

Friday 7 December 2018

Nature Friday: Bertie takes care of the ferns

Welcome to the LLB Gang's Nature Friday folks.

So I came across this fern in a walk through the woods last week, and suggested to Gail that it might need watering.

After all, dehydration is always a danger, right?

Gail says "wrong", and dehydration is not in general an issue for woodland plants in December in Scotland.

But I still say the precautionary principle is always best...

And I'm off to find some more ferns to water now.

Wednesday 5 December 2018

Spanish lessons

I suspected something was up when I noticed how much time Gail was spending staring as some app on her phone called Duolingo, and leafing through an ancient Spanish dictionary.

Finally today she confessed to me that she will soon be going away on a Christmas holiday to Mexico, abandoning me to spend a week at neighbour Yvonne's (OK) and then a week in 'camp' (the horror....)

Now I will say I am at least relieved Gail is making some attempt to master a few phrases in Spanish, as I suspect a combination of schoolgirl French, German learnt as an adult, some long forgotten bits of Latin and the ability to speak English loudly and slowly, might not be much help when trying to negotiate her way round Mexico City and environs with her American friend Marse.

However, I fear that Duolingo is not quite coming up to the mark in some important areas, so I have been doing some research on Google Translate, and respectfully suggest that Gail might commit to memory the following text:

 Or what about?

Or best of all?

Perhaps my friends could suggest some more useful phrases Gail might learn. She is not leaving for another week so there is time...

Monday 3 December 2018

Casting a long shadow

Welcome to December folks! 

I bet some of you are looking at the picture above and thinking gosh, that Bertie chappie is casting a long shadow, he must be out and about on the beach in Aberdeen near sunrise or sunset.

Oh but how wrong you would be. Here at the onset of winter, at over 57ºN, this is about as good as it gets, sun-wise. The photo was taken close to midday and believe me, there is precious little warmth when the rays are coming from so low in the sky.

What sort of shadow do you cast?

(Please not that this question is a purely scientific one, and not to be answered in terms of Jungian psychoanalysis....)

Friday 30 November 2018

FFF: Immortality?

Once again, we are delighted to be taking part in YAM-Aunty's Final Friday Fiction challenge. Our November book is 'The Great Soul of Siberia' by Sooyong Park, and on page 87 we find:

Line 8: Passing on the gene, in September even the creatures
Line 12: On Crow mountain would be good, and the wild walnut forest
Line 16: Bad either, the upstream region of Shauka River was probably

Bertie has been quite restrained this month, his piece is barely longer than the three lines from which the prompts are taken.

Bertie's Suggestion

When I have shuffled off
This canine mortal coil
You'll miss me, probably.

Passing on the genes
For perfection
Would be good, don’t you think?

So how about you have me cloned?
A snip at fifty thousand bucks these days.
Why stop at one?

Imagine a multitude of Berties,
Bringing bouncing bliss
To the many not the few.

Click here to link to the other FFF challenge entries. We can promise you an excellent read!

Wednesday 28 November 2018

Birthday celebration, as it happened

Sunday, 25 November 2018.

So Gail, it has come to my attention that today is your 60th birthday. Happy Birthday Gail! That is really quite old in human years, isn't it? I guess we will be going shopping today for a Zimmer frame and some incontinence pads. Provided you can remember where you have put your car keys of course...

Gail that is not nice language at all!

Oh, so the birthday plan is in fact to go to Glen Tanar for a walk with your friends, followed by tea and cake at the 'Black Faced Sheep' cafe in Aboyne. Well that doesn't sound too bad. And for the first time this week it is not actually raining. OK, so let's get ready.

I'd better go and wake up our house guests, Mark and YAM-Aunty.

Well, we have quite a big group assembled here at the Braeloine car park. I am so glad that wee Rosie Westie is joining us. Doesn't she smell nice!  I had been worried I would be lacking canine company when you told me how Jasper's owner got his dates confused and turned up in Glen Tanar yesterday...

So come on, let's get going. Now Gail, you are sure you'll manage the five miles aren't you? You are not as young as you used to be you know. At least the route is fairly flat, and there will be opportunities for rest breaks. And Praise the Lord it is still not raining!

Gosh those date slices you baked for everyone do look yummy. Where's mine? Oh, they're NFD*. Well, the 'doggy mince pie' YAM-Aunty bought for me will do nicely then, thank you very much.

Come on guys, chop chop! That's enough admiring the view. We need to move on.

Mark is taking a lot of photos, despite the rather dull weather. And I must say the results are pretty good.

OK, now we're on the home straight. Hurry up everyone, it's time for tea!

So we all made it safely back to the car park on schedule. Well done team! You really were quite well behaved (for humans). Now onwards to the 'Black Faced Sheep'.

WHAT? Dogs are not allowed in the tea room!!  Gail that is Very Bad Planning. Although, to be honest, I am quite ready for a wee snooze in the back of the car. I can look at Mark's photos later I guess.

Gosh it does look like there were some intense conversations going on in there. Please please please tell me no-one was discussing Brexit...

So did you enjoy your 60th birthday Gail? You did? I'm glad. It was nice that so many of your friends were prepared to brave the elements. And I gather that several of them are even older than you are. Perhaps there's hope yet....

*NFD = Not For Dogs

A big thank you to Mark and Max for all their lovely photos.