Monday 30 April 2018

Wind power Trumps golf....

Gosh we had a super-exciting trip down to the the beach at Balmedie at the weekend.

Can you see something new on the horizon?

Perhaps you can see better in the picture below. Especially if you biggify it. 

A cluster of huge wind turbines are being installed in Aberdeen Bay, a mile and a half out into the North Sea. Apparently they are among most powerful in the world, and this site is a test bed for new technology for offshore wind generation.

A good idea, don't you think? It is mighty windy in these parts, and surely the future lies in renewable energy. The world needs to learn to reduce its use of fossils fuels! And in Aberdeen in particular, the so-called Oil Capital of Europe, a new and more sustainable source of prosperity is sorely needed (or so the humans tell me).

Well you'll never believe this, but a certain very prominent person was totally opposed to the wind farm project. In fact he even tried to bully the authorities into refusing it permission. He said it would ruin the view from his golf course. (The one he bulldozed a protected conservation site to build).

But these golf links seem empty anyway, even on a nice spring Saturday afternoon.

And really, the the view from the dunes behind the course is not, in my opinion, in any way spoiled.

Long time readers of this blog will already have guessed that the owner of the (loss making) golf course is none other than a certain Donald J Trump. Perhaps some of you might even be interested in a few statistics, now that the Trump International course has been in operation for nearly six years.

Promised (2008): 6000 jobs, 2 golf courses, a new 450 room hotel, sports complex, timeshare flats, housing estate with several hundred new homes.

Delivered (2018): Less than 100 (full time equivalent) jobs, 1 golf course (closed for 5 months of the year), a 19 room hotel in an existing building, a small clubhouse with restaurant and shop, no houses. Plus devastation of an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) by ploughing up the ecologically precious and unique sand dune habitat and drenching the land with chemicals...

Friday 27 April 2018

FFF: Magical Realism?

Gail, it's YAM-Aunty's Final Friday Fiction time again. I trust you have your story ready!

Oh dear Bertie, I have been struggling terribly this month. I selected a book about Scotland that I greatly enjoyed reading recently, 'Love of Country: A Hebridean Journey' by Madeleine Bunting, but the phrases on page 87 have proved terribly difficult, and as you know I am not a natural at this story telling business anyway.

Let me have a look. What do we have here?

Line 8: The pictures of animals are a form...

Line 12: Common abstract elements in the lozenge representing Logos...

Line 16: earth, air, water, fire, the four properties heat, cold, moisture...

Well Gail, this reminds me of something quite remarkable that happened a while back when you were out at work. Perhaps we could weave a story around that?

Oh, did I never mention about how all your pictures of animals came alive one day? I mean, to be precise, the animals in the various paintings decorating our living room, study, and bedroom walls - they all of a sudden, quite unexpectedly, sprang to life. Yes really!

Gosh it was so exciting. First the jolly band of penguins marched off down the hallway to rendezvous with the geese from the farmyard picture in the study. There was a terrible commotion when my brethren, the pack of fox terriers, set upon them. The air was filled with fur and feathers and there was earth and water all over the carpet... As it was daytime the wise owls slept through it all, but our Highland 'coo', accustomed to the tranquil moorland environment, did not appreciate being disturbed one bit and stampeded up the stairs, whereupon the hoppity mountain hare in the top bedroom jumped out of his picture frame and nearly out of his skin.

Fortunately, it all happened on the same day our cleaner comes, and as we know, her powers of transforming chaos and mess into a spick and span household are beyond magical, which is why you never detected that anything unusual had occurred.

Gail you are looking quite perturbed! Well I'm sorry I never told you about this before. Why, I knew you'd only worry.

Perhaps in future you should just buy paintings comprising abstract elements? That might be safer don't you think?


Click here for YAM-Aunty's blog, where you'll also find links to the other FFF pieces.

Wednesday 25 April 2018

Watch out Andy Murray!

While Gail has been away in Amsterdam on business this week our nice friend Yvonne has been teaching me tennis.

Although I confess to some disappointment that the concept of 'serving' apparently does not involve food...

How long to Wimbledon?

Sunday 22 April 2018

Older and wiser?

We are all growing older, I fear.

Yesterday afternoon Gail took me for a walk round Durris Forest. It's been a long time since we were last there - over four years, I'd say.

Apparently on that previous occasion I chased a deer into the dark depths of the conifer plantation. Gail claims I "shot off like a bullet"  and did not come back when called. She says she spent ages looking for me, and was really worried 'cos it was winter and it would soon be dark and ours was the only vehicle in the car park.  

[I have to say, this is not how I remember it at all. Not for the first time, I find myself wondering if my owner suffers from false memory syndrome.] 

What is true, I admit, is that when I was a young pup I was firmly convinced I could chase down even the biggest of stags, if only given the chance.

These days I am older and wiser, and am aware that my dreams of deer-hunting were a tad unrealistic given the discrepancy in leg length. In retrospect, it was all a bit of a waste of time and energy, wasn't it?  

So anyway, Gail has decided to reinstate Durris Forest on our list of nice places for a weekend walk, hence the outing yesterday. 

Our favoured route is circuit of just over seven miles. 

It seemed shorter four years ago. And it was easier in those days to bounce into the car at the end of the walk too...

Thursday 19 April 2018

Who needs scales?

I just want you to know that when I went for my annual booster shot and general check up earlier this week, nice vet Lyndsey felt my body all over and said to Gail: "No need for me to put this fine chap on the scales. I can tell his weight is just perfect".

My paws were given a clean bill of health too.

Treats please!

Monday 16 April 2018

Torridon Boot Camp

I am delighted to report that this weekend I succeeded in dragging Gail away from her never ending IKEA project and across to our cottage in Torridon. Even better, we were joined for the duration by our friend Yvonne.

And lest you imagine it was all about basking in the unaccustomed warmth and sunshine, I must set you straight right away. I had a challenging and intensive mission to execute.

You see, in under a month's time, I shall be staying with Yvonne for ten days while Gail is on yet another cycling trip. You will therefore understand it was of the utmost importance that I ensure our friend is properly trained in the finer points of Bertie care.

I must say Yvonne passed the first test with flying colours, responding very promptly when I sounded the early morning call in front of the cottage. (Gail says I may also have woken up every other household within a five mile radius, although she is exaggerating as usual).

I knew already that Yvonne is pretty capable when it comes to taking me for walks. So I think I will forgive her for dropping my obviously well deserved treat on path rather than delivering it directly to my mouth..

Her photography skills are coming along nicely too (which will of course be important if I am to keep up to date with my blog in Gail's absence).

I think we still need to work a little on certain issues. For example, ignoring me in favour of messaging her offspring and her husband Neil is really not acceptable is it?

And I hope I am mistaken in thinking that Yvonne here is trying to exert some discipline...

Also, I am not yet quite convinced she properly understands that even a lively chap like me needs his 'quiet time' every now and then.

However, all in all, Yvonne's training went rather well, we have formed an affectionate bond and I am now very much looking forward to staying with her and Neil in May.

I even think it could be quite a laugh...

Friday 13 April 2018


Gosh Gail, this looks complicated...

Call me when you're done...

(Why is Gail saying "typical male"?)

Wednesday 11 April 2018

Posing time

One is prepared to pose patiently and demurely only for so long...

... before one feels impelled to make it known, loud and clear, that a treat is overdue...

Saturday 7 April 2018

What, no doggy bag!

Well Bertie my dear bouncy little pal, did you miss me when I was down in Nottingham this week?

Oh Gail, of course I did! Let me come and have a cuddle on your lap. I only pretend to prefer staying with Neil and Yvonne you know. But I want to hear about Thursday. Did you see lots of your friends and relatives? Please tell me that my poodle cousins Coco and "Fat Boy" Percy were not invited to Human Granny's funeral service.

Rest assured Bertie it was a humans only affair, at the church and in the pub afterwards. 

I believe it is usual to offer refreshments on these occasions? Sausage rolls and maybe even pork pies (after all Nottingham is not a million miles from Melton Mowbray). I don't suppose you brought a doggy bag back with you, by any chance?

Oh dear Bertie, I would have done, had the funeral guests - whose number exceeded our predictions by some margin - not scoffed the lot, down to the very last ham and pickle sandwich. I must say I admire your optimistic spirit, and am sorry to disappoint you. 

Well never mind Gail. I am so glad that lots of people showed up to pay their respects to my wonderful Human Granny, and I'm guessing all that hymn singing and praying and listening to tributes gives one a good appetite. But I notice you are looking tired.

Bertie you are a sensitive and observant wee chap. How about we go for our evening stroll around the block, and then turn in early tonight?

Suits me! Shall I tell you a secret? I sleep so much better when I can rest my little head against your leg. It's nice to have you back home in Aberdeen.

It's nice to be back Bertie, it really is.  

Thursday 5 April 2018

Bertie berates Aberdeen's reluctant daffodils

Really daffodils, you are putting on a poor show this year!

Don't you know that it's April already, and barely any of you have yet bothered to show your face?

The fact that it has recently been snowing here is absolutely no excuse! Surely you are aware that your counterparts in Germany are known as 'Osterglocken'? That means 'Easter Bells'. And Easter has come and gone. Our Deutsche Freunde would most certainly not appreciate your lack of punctuality!

At Human Granny's funeral service today in Nottingham, her grandaughter Annabel is going to be reading one of HGY's favourite poems, 'Daffodils' by William Wordsworth.

Down south in Nottingham, and also on the shores of Ullswater (where WW wandered lonely as a cloud), the daffodils will without doubt now be in full bloom.

What's that Gail?  Enough of my lecturing?

Well perhaps my readers would instead value a reminder of the full text of the aptly named Mr Wordsworth's beautiful poem:


I wander'd lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host of golden daffodils,
Beside the lake, beneath the trees
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: -
A poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company!
I gazed - and gazed - but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought.
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills
And dances with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth, 1807.

Sunday 1 April 2018

Spring in my step at least

I'm pleased to report that I went for a lovely walk in Glen Tanar yesterday, with Gail and her nice friend Alison.

As I'm being kind to Gail at the moment I shall not complain about the ridiculously premature Spring fur-cut she gave me earlier in the week. (You'll have spotted in the photo above that we have newly fallen snow on the not very high hills, and that Alison is sensibly wrapped up in woolly hat and over-trousers).

We only walked about four miles, even though I would happily have covered double that distance, I was feeling so bouncy.