Tuesday 31 July 2018

Just for scale

So when Gail stopped on one of our neighbourhood walks, and asked me to 'pose nicely please' on this wall, I naturally assumed she had been overcome by the urge to capture my handsome self on camera once again (i.e. for about the 87 millionth time - but who can blame her?)

How wrong I was. It turns out it was this weird kilt wearing garden 'ornament' she wanted to photograph, and yours truly was just being used for scale.

On the subject of my handsomeness, I thought you might like a peek at Gail's work email account from last week, which illustrates how my morale-boosting impact ranges far and wide.

(Maria is a dog-loving colleague of Gail's who lives in Aberdeen but comes from Venezuela. I hope to meet her, and her two pups, one day.)

Hi Gail:
Done it, all under control…thanks for being on top, we are ready to rock and roll!.
Thanks for the support……I will miss my G&G team tomorrow, and I hope to represent all us very well tomorrow, despite all the issues, this project has been a great team effort even in the darkest hours…..
Principal Reservoir Engineer

Thanks Maria
Bertie wishes you best of luck tomorrow.

I am melted with that message!....he is so cute 😊

Saturday 28 July 2018

Bertie fails to get excited.....

Regarding the Tour de France, some members of this household are more interested than others.

Friday 27 July 2018

FFF: The Not So Mighty Hunter

Today, we're taking part in YAM-Aunty's Final Friday Fiction (FFF). Our inspiration this month comes from words and phrases on page 87 of whodunnit 'Another One Goes Tonight' by Peter Lovesey.

Line 8: way up the hillside towards the street
Line 12: to our lads and questioned. But while Bellerby was waiting
Line 16: quote Bellerby exactly - and this could be crucial to what

Once again, you might recognise that today's so-called 'fiction' contains distinctly autobiographical elements!


The heather hides the tensely muscled terrier stance,
The giveaways, the high white tail,
And then the fuzzy little face,
With black nose pointing skywards, twitching.

Domestication, training, human bonds,
The comfy fireside bed, forgotten in a flash.
A dog scents prey, wolf-memories emerge
And blood-lust fuelled, he's halfway up the hillside.

While the human, too late, spots the herd of deer.
She calls his name. But what's a name,
To a once-wolf?

The deer head ever higher,
And scatter among the rocky crags.

The dog disappears from view.

The human, knowing she cannot follow,
While waiting wonders if this could be
The final outing with her beloved companion.
Who is in his mind a hunter.
But in reality lacks stealth, endurance, balance.
And the instinct to recall
The route back to the trail.

Who might fall from a high cliff,
Or stumble while drunk on dreams of a glorious kill,
And injured, be lost to the unforgiving wilderness.

It seems an age,
But then she spots him, bedraggled, sheepish,
Trotting towards her, tail now limp,
And in that moment, mixed with her relief,
She feels the weight of his disappointment.

The End 

Click here for links to the other FFF tales.

Monday 23 July 2018

Wheelie House at Cullykhan Beach

When Gail announced that this weekend we would be visiting Molly and Neil, her friends in Macduff, never ever in my wildest dreams did I imagine we would be going for a ride in a wheelie house!

Gosh, I was so excited when I found out, my tail nearly wagged itself loose. On Saturday afternoon, Molly, Neil, daughter Nancy and lurcher Maisie, plus Gail and myself, piled into the vehicle and drove all the way to Cullykhan Beach.

Despite the foreign sounding name, Cullykhan really is in Scotland!  It's a most delightful place, a sandy wee cove on the Moray Firth, hidden away just round the corner from the village of Pennan, about ten miles east of Macduff.

Down at the beach, a short steep walk from the car park, Maisie and I were quite happy sniffing the rocks and seaweed, Molly did a spot of bird-watching and, can you believe it, Neil, Gail and Nancy all went for a swim!

There are no cafés or other facilities at Cullykhan, and I have to say I was most relieved that the humans were able to make themselves a nice hot pot of tea in the wheelie house after their dip in the chilly waters. Eventually Gail's fingers recovered their natural colour`and Neil stopped shivering enough to hold his mug of tea more or less steadily. (Nancy, demonstrating that sometimes teenagers have more sense than so-called grown-ups, had worn a wetsuit and was just fine).

Although Neil and Gail spent the rest of the day loudly declaring what a wonderful time they'd had in the water, methinks that sometimes the lady (and gent) doth protest too much, and my position vis-à-vis the advisability of keeping all four paws on dry land remains unchanged.

I would so love to have spent the night in the Wheelie House at Cullykhan, but sadly it was not to be. We did go for a short walk around a nearby Iron Age hill fort (Fort Fiddes), where Maisie and I found the recycling potential of a trail of fox poop far more interesting than the archaeology, and then we reluctantly returned to Macduff.

Friday 20 July 2018

Flower Friday: Serendipitous Ragged Robin

We intended to go for a walk along the beach at Cruden Bay last Sunday.

But I fear my owner is losing her grip.

It makes sense, does it not, to check the tides when planning a beach walk?

Sigh... It was the highest of high spring tides when we arrived at the car park, and with no nice firm sand to walk on, we instead headed in the other direction, through grassy meadows and along the low cliffs towards Slain's Castle.

In fact Gail even got that wrong, and to begin with we set off on the track which led to a dead end. But every cloud has a silver lining, and the boggy area we cut across to find the right path was decorated with these bright and delicate little pink flowers.

In English they are called 'Ragged Robin' but I prefer their Gaelic name, Caorag Lèana, which translates as 'spark of the marsh'.

Finally I just want to shout out how delighted I am to be taking part in Rosy and the LLB gang's Flower Friday once again, and also to wish Rosy the Happiest of Happy First Birthday!

Monday 16 July 2018

Miscast as Bertie Wooster ?

So I was standing in the sink undergoing my routine post-walk paw wash when a voice from the radio caught my attention.

Gail was, as usual, listening to BBC Radio 4 (American readers, think NPR but with less music).

Someone called Sarah Dunant, ruminating on the potentially enfeebling impact of inherited wealth, noted how in the stories of P.G.Wodehouse, an infantilised Bertie Wooster is "blissfully unaware that his life is entirely controlled by his butler Jeeves".

Now you may or may not be aware that I, Bouncing Bertie, was actually named after Wodehouse's comic creation.

But it strikes me, when considering the relationship between Gail and myself, surely she is the Bertie and I am the Jeeves?

Saturday 14 July 2018

Remembering our visitors from the USA

Two months ago we were delighted to welcome to Scotland four lovely visitors from the USA.
They were thoughtful, intelligent, interesting, honest, gracious and kind.

Wednesday 11 July 2018

Ten years of blogging

You would have thought the fact that today I, Bouncing Bertie, am celebrating my one thousandth blog post would be the day’s biggest news, and I would get to discuss this achievement at length.

But no! Instead, Gail is elbowing me aside for what she insists is an even bigger occasion for celebration. And so, somewhat reluctantly, just this once, I am handing over to my owner.

Gail here!

Breathe easily, those of you worried I might be focussing  on the England team's performance in the FIFA World Cup. This is not about football…

Rather, what I want to talk about is that it is ten years ago to the day since I pressed the ‘publish’ button and my (or rather Hamish the Westie’s ) first ever blog post.

A whole decade of blogging! What started as light relief from the tedium of finalising a PhD thesis,  a much-needed release from the constraints of writing in the accepted 'scientific' style, gathered a momentum of its own once I gained some readers and discovered the Dogs with Blogs (DWB) community.

Hamish the Westie (pictured below) died on 18th February 2010. By coincidence, on the same day, Bertie was born and Bouncing Bertie’s Blog followed shortly.

Over the years, readers and bloggers have come and gone. DWB somehow morphed into Blogville. Some of you have stayed the course. Rich and enduring friendships with bloggers have been formed. There was something particularly special about the very first blogging connections, and I have felt a real sense of loss when animals I’ve only known over the internet have died, or their owners have moved on.

I hope you’ll allow me here a few reflections of a more personal nature on the past decade. In the first month of Hamish’s blog I described a short holiday with my parents in SW Scotland. What I did not mention on Hamish’s blog was that this trip was when I first realised that my father was becoming disorientated and confused. A man whose sense of direction had always been second to none could not get to grips with the layout of a small village in Dumfries and Galloway. Human Grandad's subsequent slow and distressing descent into the fog of Alzheimer’s disease ended in his death in 2014, and a few months later my mother became very seriously ill. She was not expected to recover but did, and 'Human Granny' even became quite a star on this blog before the infirmities of old age claimed her earlier this year.
HGD's 92nd birthday. The last photo I have of my parents together
I have endeavoured to keep the blog light hearted (mostly) during a phase of my life which has contained the full spectrum of emotions. Without intending it, the blogs developed a more serious sub-plot, becoming a record of my parents’ last years. This I now treasure in the form of a series of 'blog books'.

I am so grateful to my blogging friends for their support. I know that many of you have gone through similar difficulties and much worse. I hope that, like me, you have found and will continue to find in the world of (mostly dog) blogs a source of fun, friendship, comfort, surprise and delight.

Oh yes, and please do congratulate Bertie, my faithful companion, on his 1000th post!

Monday 9 July 2018

One of these statements is correct...

Overheard in the park the other day:

Young child, pointing at me: "Mum, look over there - that’s the cutest dog in whole world."

Mother: "That’s an Airedale, Jonny."

Oh if only I had a lamb bone for every time I’ve been called an Airedale…

Friday 6 July 2018

A good year for the roses...

Today, for Rosy and the LLB gang's Flower Friday, I want you to come with me to visit a very special place, the Piper Alpha Memorial Garden in Hazlehead Park, Aberdeen.

Why here, why now?

Well today, Friday 6th July 2018, it is exactly thirty years since the Piper Alpha oil platform exploded into flames and 167 workers perished in the North Sea oil industry's worst ever disaster.

A statue commemorating the men who died stands in the centre of a beautiful rose garden, and this year, after so much warm sunny weather recently, the blooms are simply stunning.

I don't suppose that all those who perished were, in life, angels - they were just the usual human mix. But not one of them deserved to lose their life so tragically early, in a disaster that was entirely preventable.

Gail and I hope you enjoy the roses, and as you do so, please spare a thought for relatives and friends left behind, many of whom live locally in the Aberdeen area.

Wednesday 4 July 2018

Home alone bored...

We were having such a lovely time over in what I shall now call the Costa del Torridon, I really don't understand why Gail had to drag us back to Aberdeen, where I find myself sitting bored at home waiting for her to return from work and entertain me.

Well today I have set myself the task of selecting my favourite eight photos from our recent four day jaunt across Scotland. There are loads of pictures to choose from, but as Gail has given me a free paw in the selection, you can rest assured they will all be featuring your truly front and centre.

Here I am, sitting nicely aligned with the Glenmuick Church in Ballater. We stopped there on the way to Torridon, and I scored big time 'cos the cheese scone Gail ordered in the nearby café turned out to be yesterday's so she gave me half of it, as I don't at all mind dry scones (especially cheesy ones).

On arriving at the cottage we took an evening stroll. This photo was taken at around 10 pm.

And here's me being, well, just being me, standing amongst some bog asphodels ( the little yellow flowers), although it has been so dry lately that the poor asphodels were missing their bog.

I have to say I was not so keen on sitting on this memorial bench, just up the road from our cottage, even if the temperature was over 25ºC. Please someone find a comfy cushion to cover the hard Torridonian sandstone.

You might wonder what's been happening on the hillside behind the bench. Has some dog been destuffing a monster toy? No of course not - look closer! The cotton grass is abundant this year - despite the lack of rain.

For variety, I have here included a photo of me asleep at Gail's feet, in the front garden of the cottage, taking a break from all the strenuous "sit nicely Bertie" business.

So  I was fully recovered, and on top posing form when Gail spotted this photo opportunity at Grudie, on the way home to Aberdeen.

Finally, knowing I was shortly to be cooped up inside for a few days, I gave my ear flaps a good blast of sea air on the beach at Nairn.

OK. I'm bored again now. What's next?

P.S. It turns out that what's next involved Gail and me and going round to Yvonne and Neil's house to watch the TV. There were a lot of men in red or yellow shirts running around kicking a ball and it all culminated in much jubilant shouting.

Monday 2 July 2018

Braving the northern waters

If you walk a hundred yards west along the track in front of our Torridon cottage you arrive here.

Gail likes to think this place as our own private cove, although strictly speaking the land is part of a neighbour's croft. In any event, the shoreline is accessible to all, man and dog, but almost no-one apart from the locals know about this delightfully secluded beach where sand is exposed only at low tide.

Gosh it's been hot in Torridon for our visit this week. Yes really! So much so that Gail has going down to our beach for a swim every afternoon and cannot understand my reluctance to join her. To humour her yesterday afternoon I bravely ventured into the crashing surf...

And stayed in the treacherous waters of Loch Torridon* for a whole ten seconds before retreating to the safety of the shore and adopting my best 'now I deserve a treat' pose.

*As many of you'll already know by now, Loch Torridon is a sea inlet in NW Scotland.