Tuesday 27 February 2018


Quite often, on learning my name, people will say: "Bertie? Ooh yes, he looks just like a Bertie".

I am wondering how many folk say something similar to the little guy I met in the park yesterday?
His name is 'Rocky'.

Saturday 24 February 2018

Scottish rugby fans everywhere are celebrating...

Apparently I am not allowed to gloat too much, 'cos I live with an Englishwoman, but...

.......WE WON!!!! 

Scotland 25 - England 13
24 February 2018, Murrayfield.

Friday 23 February 2018

FFF: Talitha's Tail/Tale

Today I, Bertie, am entering YAM-Aunty's Final Friday Fiction challenge.

The source text is P.G. Wodehouse's 'The Code of the Woosters', and the phrases (from p87) to be used in the story are:

Line 8:  I noted that he was looking at me oddly

Line 12: filling in till...

Line 16: ...had better go and inform...

I have to confess that in my enthusiasm I have by some margin exceeded the recommended 500 word limit, but I am confident you will want to read on through to the story's dramatic denouement.

Talitha’s Tail/Tale

I, wire-haired fox terrier Talitha, could tell from the minute I was able to open my eyes that my litter-mate Lucy-fur was a piece of work.

Granted, she was a pretty thing. As wee pups, she and I were judged by our breeder to hold great promise as future show dogs, both being true to our breed type and with perfectly set WFT tails, so we were not put up for sale. But somehow it was obvious to all that I was the one with that special quality, and destined to be a star in the show ring.

Of course it didn’t take long for Lucy-fur to twig that folk tended to favour me. “Oh look, isn’t that Talitha just such a character, she really is such a adorable, sparky wire-haired fox terrier”. Such comments directed towards me were common, and not one bit appreciated by my sister.

One day when we were a few months old, Lucy-fur and I were playing outside in the nearby field, and Lucy-fur dared me to jump over a deep muddy ditch. “Bet you can’t do it Talitha, you’re just a wimp!” she taunted me. I was a tad reckless in those days and overestimated the strength of my rapidly growing, pipe cleaner legs. I took a running jump and failed to clear the water.

You will never convince me that Lucy-fur was unaware of the rusty old lawn mower hidden at the bottom of the ditch.

Oh the pain when my tail got caught in the mower blade!  I squealed and squealed as I tried and failed to free myself. Lucy-fur looked on with an ill-concealed smirk and said “Oh Talitha, what a shame, I had better go and inform our breeder of your predicament”. The upshot was that my perfect WFT tail was so badly damaged that it had to be docked to an inch long stump. I was then no longer eligible for the show ring, so the breeder decided to sell me after all, and I went to live with a nice man called Frank.

To be honest, I was not sorry to be shot of Lucy-fur, but oh how I did regret missing out on the glamour of life as a show dog. I would have so loved all the attention and excitement…

By the time I was three years old, my owner Frank and I had developed the sort of telepathic bond not uncommon between human and pup. So that year, when I spotted Lucy-fur on TV, prancing around the show ring in the terrier group at Crufts, and I started to bark and howl with a passion, Frank understood the cause of my distress, that all I wanted in life was to be a show dog, and that I would not easily accept my fate as a mere pet with a docked tail.

Oh what it is to have a resourceful and creative owner! You will never guess what Frank did next.

On eBay he purchased one of those fox terrier wheelie dogs (at great expense, I understand). He cut off the tail and stuck it on my poor old stump. It took a bit of practice with glue and some concealed supports, but after a few attempts, I was proud possessor of a perfectly formed and eminently waggable WFT tail, and ready to enter the show ring. It has to be said that in private, the false tail was always carefully removed. In truth it was not so very comfortable to wear.

Well you will not be surprised at all to learn that I aced the qualifying shows and made it to Crufts the following year. I was four years old and in my prime. And who should I meet an hour before the fox terrier class was due in the ring? Why Lucy-fur of course! My tail had just been glued on and I was standing around taking in the atmosphere, filling in time till the glue set. I noted that she was looking at me oddly, but thought nothing more of it.

It is hard to decide whether it was winning the WFT class or simply coming ahead of my arch enemy Lucy-fur which gave me more pleasure. To gain victory in the next round, competing against all the other breeds of terrier, was to my mind a formality. And so it proved.

I was in the Final, with a shot at Best in Show!

So proud and thrilled was I to have come this far, that I didn’t spot Lucy-fur, who had slipped her collar, lurking in the shadows as I waited patiently to be called into the arena one last time.

Suddenly Lucy-fur pounced, and growling with satanic venom, she dug her teeth into my false tail, and wrenched it away from the stump. She then ran off and disappeared out of the building while everyone was staring at me in horror. The skin on my stump was badly torn in the attack, and was bleeding profusely, and so no-one in the crowd of anxious onlookers suspected that the missing tail had not been real.

Of course, I was unable to continue in the competition. But friends, do not imagine for one minute that I was disappointed by the way my show career ended so abruptly. I was more than satisfied with my brief moment in the limelight. And what became of Lucy-fur? After a few weeks she was recognised rummaging in some municipal rubbish dump on the periphery of Birmingham. She was disowned by her breeders, and, on the basis of ‘unreliable temperament’, disqualified from ever again taking part in a dog show.

A most satisfactory outcome all round, and I lived quietly and happily ever after as a much loved and tail-free pet.


Click here for links to the other Final Friday Fiction pieces. 

Monday 19 February 2018

I am eight!

It is my misfortune to live with a human who is in general totally useless at birthday celebrations.

So yesterday I reached the grand age of eight years old and all I got was a rawhide bone, pigs ears and Dentastix (like a toothcare product counts as a present?) plus a quiet domestic night in Nottingham with Gail, her lovely friend Janet and Janet's lovely young friend Helen.

In fairness, Gail was tired after all the running around after Human Granny, Helen was tired 'cos she's at that stressful stage of writing up her Physics PhD thesis, Janet was tired after her recent influx of visitors, and I was a bit below par 'cos my paw problem has flared up again.

Well I must say I found Janet's piano playing most beautifully mellifluous and soothing. And now I understand why Gail is so modest about her own lack of talent in this area.

And then there were wonderful smells emanating from the kitchen where Helen was relaxing by cooking a delicious (although from my perspective disappointingly vegetarian) sweet potato chilli supper for the humans.

The highlight of the evening came just before bedtime, when Janet introduced me to a blissfully yummy new treat - sliced pear.

More please!

All in all not such a bad way to celebrate one's birthday, I suppose.

Friday 16 February 2018

Watch it. Woof it. Work it.

So Gail and I are back in Nottingham again to check up on how Human Granny is settling back into her care home after her time in hospital. The good news is she's doing perhaps better than expected and when we saw her last night she even thought to ask after my paws!

Yesterday was a beautiful sunny day for the long train ride down the East Coast line.
While Gail was enjoying the window view of the winter scenery, I was conducting important sentry duty in the aisle.

After all, these days one is instructed to keep an eye out and report if anything amiss on the train.

The slogan is:
See it. Say it. Sort it.

Although I think my version is better:
Watch it. Woof it. Work it.

 A man towing a most enormous suitcase got on at Kirkcaldy (the name of the town has the usual unnecessary number of letters in its Gaelic version) and he apologised profusely to me for disturbing me as he passed down the carriage.

You do meet the nicest people on the train.

Saturday 10 February 2018

It wisnae me!

So Gail and I are now safely back in Scotland, and I am delighted to report that Human Granny is recovering from her hospital stay (precipitated by something called a UTI, with complications). She is back in the familiar environment of her care home, being no doubt fussed over by the kind carers and looking so much better than she did a couple of weeks ago.

You will never believe what a colleague apparently asked Gail when she went into the office yesterday morning.

"Oh dear Gail, whatever happened to your cheek? Did Bertie bite you?"


It wisnae me!

Perhaps I had better let Gail explain.

Gail here: it has been a stressful ten days in more ways than one. As if the drama of mother's unscheduled hospital admission was not enough, while down in Nottingham I went to see a nurse about what I thought was a boil which had erupted on my cheek, only to be told it had all the characteristics of a skin cancer. Cue a hastily arranged visit to a doctor to learn I had a 'keratoacanthoma' (a fast growing but usually benign type of tumour). I managed to get it removed on Wednesday afternoon, just before returning to Aberdeen. The wound doesn't look too pretty at the moment, but at least I can't blame it on Bertie! 
So Gail and I are looking forward to a weekend of recuperation watching the Six Nations rugby, with Gail fervently hoping for an England victory against Wales this afternoon and me willing Scotland to defeat France tomorrow. Go Hoggy and wee Greig!

I would like to be licking Gail's cheek better, but that seems to be frowned on at the moment...

Thursday 8 February 2018

Bertie and Addi land in Normandy...

Gosh you have no idea how thrilled I am that my massively gorgeous girlfriend Addi has recovered well from her recent and horrid episode with stones in her bladder, and she has agreed to join me for Blogville's forthcoming Valentine's Day event in Paris.

In fact, we have already set off.

And after yesterday's Normandy Beach landing, we are currently storming our way to the French capital...

Tuesday 6 February 2018

A Day in the Life of the Perfect Dog

A recent post from my blog friends Bob and Sophie has had Gail wondering what it would be like to own a perfectly behaved dog.

So I, Bertie, am going to conduct a thought experiment today, imagining a blog post describing a day in the life of such a dog.

Here goes:

Woke up. Realised that my owner was still fast asleep and so lay still for a while to avoid disturbing her.

Waited patiently until she had prepared her own breakfast, and when mine arrived, ate my kibble at a moderate pace, ensuring no food was caught in my beard, and delicately sipped my water without spilling any on the floor.

Played gently with favourite toy until my owner was ready to take me for a walk. Sat quietly and did not bark in frustration as she donned the many layers necessary for a winter walk in Scotland.
Perfect dog waits patiently for his walk 
Also did not bark as I walked down the street, out of consideration for the residents who were still asleep. Maintained a brisk pace en route to the park, despite a plethora of interesting smells, knowing that my owner gets irritated if I stop too much.

Once at the park, carefully evacuated bowels in a neat heap right under the dog waste bin, then ran free, but didn't stray far and always listened out should my owner want to recall me to her side. On observing a large and grumpy dog, steered well clear, as discretion is the better part of valour. Then played nicely with some dogs of roughly my own size and never ever growled at any young, tiny or submissive pups. Walked carefully around any dirty puddles, striving hard at all times to keep paws mud-free.

Back home, sat peacefully on my bed and later refrained from giving my owner the 'You should feel really guilty for leaving me as I shall be quite desolate without you' face when she went to work for a few hours.

On my owner's return, ran up and greeted her to let her know she is the most wonderful person in the world, but somehow did this without conveying any hint of neediness.

Settled down again, stayed in the same room as owner except when she visited the bathroom, as the perfect dog knows that humans do not necessarily appreciate being accompanied to the bathroom.

Noticed that owner had left some lamb chops in a shopping bag on the floor, but of course ignored them, aware they were not intended for me...

Oh what's that Gail? You're saying the post is getting quite preposterous, as well as long-winded and boring? 

Well anyway who ever would want to read about a perfectly-behaved dog....

Saturday 3 February 2018

News from Nottingham

What do you like to do on a cold, wet Saturday morning in early February?

Speaking for myself, I, Bertie, would be quite happy these days with a long lie in, but as usual Gail has different ideas.

So we are still in Nottingham, staying with our lovely, kind friend Janet, and Human Granny is still in hospital (where I am not allowed to visit her, boo hoo). And before heading off to see if HGY had had a good night, Gail took me for a walk this morning along the River Trent - a longer walk than necessary I thought, given the conditions, but Gail seemed in need of a good leg stretch.

And believe it or not, some humans are even nuttier about exercise than my owner! I don't know if you can spot the big crowd of runners in the background of the picture below. Apparently they gather at the same place every Saturday morning, come rain or shine for this 'Park Run' business.

Most inconsiderately, they follow my favourite walking route, and I am not allowed to mingle with them.

Even though it is many years since I last attempted to grab a juicy morsel of jogger's calf muscle for a post-breakfast treat.

Thursday 1 February 2018

Confused about Scotch Corner

Yesterday lunchtime Gail made me pose in front of a less than scenic truck stop close to Scotch Corner in North Yorkshire.

You might it be wondering why it is called Scotch Corner, when it really is not so close to Scotland. 

Or you might be wondering what Gail and I were doing on the A66 in North Yorkshire in the middle of the week when we should be in Aberdeen.

Well I can answer the second point. I'm sad to report that Human Granny has been admitted to hospital in Nottingham and is not very well at all, so Gail and I have made an unscheduled emergency trip South. 

Gail says my readers will understand if this blog is quieter than usual while we focus our attention on HGY.