Gail and I just want to say thank you to all our readers for your incredibly kind and supportive comments over the past few difficult days and weeks. We are now safely back in Aberdeen, the early mornings in the park, though frosty, are still our favourite time of day, my paws are in tip top condition, and I'm pleased to report that Gail is taking the advice of a wise relative, who told her the best possible tonic is a long walk with the dog followed by a nice glass of wine...
Today Blogville is celebrating our dear friend (and esteemed former Mayoress) Madi's 16th birthday with posts about road trips.
One of Gail and my favourite road trips is along the shores of Loch Torridon, eastwards from our cottage on the northern shore then around the head of the loch to the village of Shieldaig on the south side, a distance of thirteen miles by road (although less than two if you have a boat).
For those of you who aren't familiar with the area, Loch Torridon is a sea inlet/fjord in NW Scotland.
The photos below were taken yesterday. As you will see, Spring has yet to arrive in this part of the world.
Oh and this, er, 'tail-end' photo is especially for my most favourite Diva!
Happy Birthday Madi!
PS from Gail: A word about driving safety! The roads around Loch Torridon are almost deserted at this time of year so, just this once, I allowed Bertie the freedom of the passenger seat. There are many places where one can pull off the road and stop, and all the photos were taken from such spots.
Gosh don't you think the event described below (or click here for link) would be absolutely the perfect brain food for Gail and myself?
Yes, you read that right. DOGS WELCOME!
Unfortunately this very intellectual discussion takes place on Easter Saturday, when we will be visiting Human Granny in Nottingham. Or might I perhaps jump off the train at Edinburgh Waverley station on our way south? Just a thought.....
Oh gosh I would so love to attend, and put everyone straight on the important distinction between intelligence and obedience, a matter which many humans seem confused about when it comes to their canine companions.
It seems sort of appropriate here, even if a day late for International Women's Day, to end with the quote with which one of Gail's book group friends always signs off her emails:
The boots are, Gail says, the latest weapon in our ongoing battle with the horrid interdigital cysts which now and then erupt quite painfully on my front paws, especially in the winter months.
Now I want to make it quite clear that there is absolutely nothing babyish or soft about wearing these 'Proff Shoes' (size 3) from Rukka Pets. They are advertised as worn by border patrol dogs on active service in Finland. And if they're good enough to sport when defending Scandinavia against invading Russkies, then they're good enough for a roughty-toughty terrier in Scotland, don't you think?
I admit I was a bit hesitant at first, but soon got the hang of the new footwear, and I must say it was nice last weekend to have a layer of rubber between my sensitive paws and the late winter snow.
So my nice friends Yvonne and Neil invited me and Gail round to their house last night to watch the BBC's new TV series 'Civilisations'. As Gail was cuddling me in the kitchen, Yvonne mentioned that her younger son Aaron, who is studying at university in Edinburgh, had asked on his last visit home when they were going to get another dog.
Can you imagine how insulted I felt when I learned that what Aaron has in mind is not a medium sized and unfeasibly cute terrier, but what he calls a "real dog"? He has suggested maybe a rescue Rottweiler....
Meanwhile I am still having a wee bit of trouble with my paws - hence all the cuddles. I made it very slowly to the park this morning, but then had to be carried back. Gail says at least her arms are getting lots of exercise!
PS We are waiting until my paws are no longer too sore before trying out my newly purchased boots. Yes, we know, kind of a Catch 22 situation. ..
But in normal circumstances, I like to take my time over the early morning park circuit. Why rush when all that achieves is to bring forward the hour when your human abandons you to go to work?
And when, as yesterday, new snow has fallen, adding that touch of novelty to the otherwise familiar scene, there is all the more reason to linger.
I should also let you know that just at the moment I am trying, when out and about, to keep my distance from Gail. As would you if your owner had, on the basis of a cold late February blast from Siberia, excavated from the depths of her wardrobe the outsize padded jacket she was issued two decades ago for winter wear on a Northern North Sea oil platform... (Her theory that this jacket looks OK 'cos it's the same blue as my own natty winter coat only betrays her woeful lack of fashion sense. As if the notion of dressing up all matchy matchy with your dog somehow compensates for appearing in public like a heffalump who just ate all the pies.)
Tell me, are you ever embarrassed to be seen out with your human?
Hi, I'm Bertie, a wire-haired fox terrier pup. I live with Gail in Aberdeen, Scotland. An old Westie called Hamish used to live here but he died on 18th February 2010 (exactly the same day I was born). People tell me that he used to have a blog and that I have big pawprints to fill. That's a bit too much responsibility for a very young puppy - and anyway, I intend to make my own mark!
(Gail says that Hamish could certainly have taught me a thing or two about marking stuff....)