Sunday, 20 January 2019

A fishy business..

When Gail comes home from work she has a habit of telling me the news from the office (whether or not I asked). Last week, her Perthshire-based colleague Beth was apparently all excited to be attending a big event celebrating the start of the Scottish salmon fishing season. Beth's husband is a ghillie on the River Tay.

Well yesterday Gail and I went for an amble along our local salmon river, the Dee, but failed to spot any anglers standing in the icy waters. After the walk we passed by a shop in Banchory and, noticing a 'dogs welcome' sign on the door, went in to have a look round.

In one quiet corner of the shop, I spotted some interesting activity and called Gail over to have a look...

Within seconds I was surrounded by admirers.

"Ooh a fox terrier!"
'Such splendid dogs, we had them when I was a boy."
"What a fine specimen, this one, so alert."
"A real terrier, bursting with character."

All true of course.

Rather rudely, I thought, Gail interrupted my new fan club to ask about the equipment on the table.

We learned that we'd chanced upon a fly tying workshop and these men were engaged in the delicate art stitching together assorted feathers and fluff in the hope of fashioning a lure that will prove irresistible to our notoriously wary salmon.

Oh, and apparently the fish on the Dee can swim safely for another couple of weeks, as the men (it almost always is men) with the rods and flies are not let loose until 1st February in this part of Scotland.

I shall report back from the river next month.

Friday, 18 January 2019

Bertie worries about the primroses

Nature's Tricks

I thought I'd wear my tartan scarf,
To brighten up the winter gloom.
How unexpected then, to see,
For colour, I had company,
A clutch of precious yellow blooms.

Insistently proclaiming spring,
Our primroses are all confused.
For surely we shall soon have snow.
What then for such a pretty show?
Nature can be so hard and cruel.

We're thrilled to be taking part in Rosy and the LLB Gang's Nature Friday blog hop. Why not jump aboard! 

Monday, 14 January 2019

A good day for waterfalls

The rain was lashing against the window of our cottage in the Northwest Highlands on Saturday morning and to be honest I would have been quite content to stay indoors in front of the fire all day.

For a while Gail did occupy herself with diary reading and writing, then at noon, this:

"Come on Bertie, there's only a few hours of daylight left. We really ought to get some fresh air and exercise. I know, let's go and check out the waterfalls around Loch Torridon, they will be looking quite impressive just now."

Having established that there was an adequate supply of 'posing treats' in Gail's jacket pocket, I reluctantly agreed to brave the ongoing downpour.

After a couple of hours, bedraggled and aware that Gail's pocket was now empty, I made it quite clear I'd had enough.

I hope you enjoyed looking at the pictures at least...

Thursday, 10 January 2019

Bertie deconstructs Brexit, sort of...

Hmmm. It's hard for those of us who live in the UK to avoid the dread topic of 'Brexit' altogether, much though many of us would like to.

First let me belatedly congratulate my fox terrier brethren, pictured below, who took centre stage at a special canine anti-Brexit rally in the autumn last year. Well done my friends - I'm proud of you!

You will have noticed that one of the posters in the photo refers to Brexit as a 'dog's dinner'. Many a commentator over here has made use of the same phrase, or the morning time equivalent, 'dog's breakfast'.

While I understand that this is meant to imply that the whole Brexit business has become one colossal mess (which is undoubtedly true), please forgive me for being a tad pedantic here and regretting the implied slur on the eating habits of my species.

I for one believe that my customary dinner, which consists of kibble with maybe an add-in of 'Butcher's Tripe' for taste, should in no way be used as a metaphor for disorder and confusion.

In fact, I would suggest we might rather look at a certain human's eating habits in this context.

I guess the problem is that describing Brexit as: "A single woman's dinner after a busy day at work, resulting from her googling the random (and probably past their use-by date) contents of her fridge plus the word 'recipe', and conjuring up some bizarre concoction of dubious nutritional value", does not neatly fit into the space allowed for the typical newspaper headline....

If only we could all just agree to 'Remain'...

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Sniffer dog: job application...

To: The Transportation Security Administration (sniffer dog division), U.S.A.

7th January, 2019.

Dear Head of Recruitment at the TSA,

Re: Application to be a Sniffer Dog

Last week, my attention was caught by a newspaper article claiming that in the USA sniffer dogs with 'floppy ears' are being recruited for airport security because, unlike the traditional pointy eared German Shepherds and so forth, 'they don't scare the passengers'.

First, let me congratulate you on your commitment to diversity in your hiring practices.

However, I would like to point out that your otherwise estimable organisation appears to have neglected one important category of dog ear. As a (very adorable) wire fox terrier, my (impossibly cute) little ears are neither pointy nor floppy, rather they are flappy. The characteristic is seen to best advantage, and invariably draws admiring glances, in the course of my early morning trot around the park with my owner Gail.

Now Gail has often - especially after being confronted with a hefty bill from the vet - suggested that I might consider finding work and contributing to our household expenditure. Although to date I have been content with my lot as a 'kept' dog, I must say I am attracted by a job opportunity which would combine two of my greatest strengths, namely the ability to sniff with focus and intensity while also looking unbelievably endearing and unthreatening.

Lest you doubt the latter, I should also add that, on seeing my loveably fuzzy face, strangers often exclaim "ooh, he looks just like a teddy bear". And while I will admit that anyone who set me directly beside a teddy bear would surely notice significant differences, I think that in the world of sniffer dog customer relations, it is first impressions that count.

To the best of my knowledge, the only time my presence causes distress to young children is when they learn I am not available to be taken home and adopted by them.

I recognise that, in the way of human resources professionals everywhere, you will want evidence of relevant experience and expertise. Let me assure you that just over a week ago, when Gail returned from her Christmas vacation in Mexico, I inspected her luggage most thoroughly, and am relieved to report that the only drugs I detected were two Naproxen tablets, available over the counter in Mexico City  but only on prescription in this country.

I hope the fact that I currently hold a European Union passport will not count against me in this application. I think it is relevant that my owner once worked for two years in Oklahoma. (I trust that her failure to pay an Oklahoma State income tax demand for $2.63 which arrived some months after she returned to England will not disbar me being considered for a sniffer dog position.)

Assuming that my application is successful, might I state a preference for working somewhere in the Seattle area, where I believe the climate would be congenial to one accustomed to British weather, and where Gail says she would happily accompany me.

I look forward to hearing from you as soon as your current government shutdown allows...

Toodle pip!
Bertie WFT.

Friday, 4 January 2019

Nature Friday: Beeches or Beaches?

Which do you prefer?

See below for more Nature Friday posts, hosted by the ever wonderful LLB gang.  

Thursday, 3 January 2019

Bertie the literary critic

So Gail found this old book on a stall on Avenue Reforma in Mexico City, and the friendly bookseller gave it her for free. It was one of very few that was in English and not by Dan Brown.

(Gail, we needn't tell them that you saw the title 'Wolf Tone' and thought it was about the 18th century 'father of Irish Republicanism', need we?)

Well I have had a quick read and find it quite stunning that the author Lawrence Goldman has apparently been forgotten. What a loss to the world! Such a perceptive novelist. I mean show me another serious writer who recognises the special qualities of the WFT....? 

Please someone tell me where I can find more books by this fine gentleman. 

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Scotland, Mexico, and Best Wishes for 2019

To celebrate Gail's return from her Mexico holiday, I took her yesterday for a walk through farmland near the Deeside Gliding Club.

It was a excellent opportunity to remind her why she should be pleased to be home in Scotland. 

In case they're not obvious, let me list some of the reasons:
  • Walks are more fun with your favourite WFT for company.
  • The air in the North of Scotland is clean and free of pollution. 
  • The ground is soft beneath the paws/feet.
  • There is no danger of dehydration.
  • Pale and freckly skinned humans can venture outdoors without slathering themselves in Factor 50 sunblock.
  • We have 'right to roam' laws throughout our beautiful and uncrowded land.
  • There will be a nearby cafĂ© selling tea made in a proper teapot, and you don't have to ask for milk.
  • Your WFT will bounce up on your lap for a nice cuddle when you put your feet up at the end of the walk.
Oh yes, and finally, you can go for dip in the river Dee without fear of encountering any of these guys...

Wishing all my lovely readers a Happy, Peaceful (and crocodile-free) New Year!