Saturday 30 March 2019

Star of my own show?

Greetings from the Cairngorms National Park!

Gail and I are enjoying our annual long weekend with our friends in the slightly shabby (in a good-for-dogs sort of a way) Edwardian grandeur of Inshriach House, near Aviemore.

As you know, I am accustomed to taking centre stage on these occasions.

However, this time it seems I have some rivals in the posing department.

Notably Hemp the border collie (house mate for the weekend).

Then there's  Tufty the nut-hungry red squirrel, outside the kitchen window.

And not to forget Angus the Scottie, met on the path around Loch an Eilein.

So rivals, yes. But in think we can all agree who's the all time posing champion...

Thursday 28 March 2019

New doggy in the park

We're not sure when he appeared as we only noticed him when walking round Duthie Park in the opposite direction to the usual route.

He s a bonny wee chappie, don't you think?

Which of course makes two of us.

Monday 25 March 2019

We are all designer dogs

For once, Gail brought home from the library a promising looking book last week.

'The Invention of the Modern Dog' is all about how the concept of distinct dog breeds was developed in the UK, from around 1850 to 1900.

Of course I was mostly interested in my own breed and so turned straight away to the index and looked up all the entries for Fox Terriers.

I am pleased to report that we were recognised as a distinct category of terrier in the very earliest of dog shows, along with Skye Terriers, Bedlington Terriers and Dandie Dinmonts (but not Scotties and Westies).

Reading further, we learned that the Irish Wolfhound was once virtually extinct and had to be 're-invented' by incorporating a mix of Deerhound, Mastiff, Borzoi and Great Dane. And that the St Bernard as we know it today bears scant resemblance to the original types bred by monks in Switzerland around 1700. In fact almost all the dog breeds now thought of as 'traditional' are a result, to a greater or lesser extent, of judicious cross-breeding. There is nothing new about a cockerpoo!

I was fascinated that Francis Galton (better known as the father of 'eugenics' and cousin of Charles Darwin) proposed a programme of breeding dogs for intellect rather than appearance, while suggesting that the reason no-one had so far pursued this idea was that "...intelligence makes them [dogs] of little value as slaves..." and that intelligent dogs "... are too critical of their master's conduct..."

Gail, who actually did read the whole book, says that it was "interesting in parts", but by the end she felt she'd learned rather more than she needed to know about the infighting between the human factions involved in developing breed standards and organising shows in the Victorian era.

Well if she'd only listened to her own very intelligent Fox Terrier and followed his focussed approach to selecting the best bits! 

Friday 22 March 2019

Urban wildlife

So the other night, on my pre-bedtime 'comfort walk' around our Aberdeen neighbourhood, Gail and I spotted a fox, strolling down the street in front of us, bold as you like.

It was the second time we'd seen him in as many weeks.

As you know, we live in inner city area, albeit one with parks and green spaces nearby.

Can you believe that Gail criticised my reaction to this sighting, implying that what she described as my "ear splitting high pitched barking and frenzied straining at the leash" was somehow not acceptable behaviour.

Pray, what part of FOX terrier does she not understand?

photo from internet
Once again we are delighted to take part in the LLB Gang's Nature Friday blog hop.

Wednesday 20 March 2019

Not quite 87 hours in Torridon

The March weather has gone a bit bonkers in Scotland - lions and lambs flying in and out and in and out again like nobody's business. So I trust you appreciate the amount of rain, hail, sleet and wind endured to capture on camera the occasional moments of brightness in the Torridon area last weekend.

And I do hope you liked the picture of the Highland Coos searching for the pot of gold. I rarely approve of including photos of non-dog species on this blog, but having first successfully negotiated extra treats, I decided to allow Gail just the one.

Yes, I know what you're thinking. Thank goodness this country has at least one canny negotiator...

Sunday 17 March 2019

WFT photography 101

It is important not to position your terrier in front of a splodge of similarly coloured lichen. No matter how fine and alert his stance.

That's a bit better.

To be honest, it hasn't so far been a great weekend for photography in Torridon, being mostly overcast and damp. This remnant rainbow picture does at least give you a realistic idea of the prevailing conditions. 

Oh yes, and this is the point on our Saturday walk when I decided I'd had enough of tramping around on a slippery mountain path in the sleet.

Thankfully my owner was of the same mind, and so we retreated to the warmth of the cottage where I allowed Gail to practice her Pilates balance work while simultaneously rubbing my belly with her loose foot and listening to the rugby on the radio (and of course taking a photo), thus displaying her hitherto well-concealed multi-tasking capabilities...

PS England 38: Scotland 38. This WFT says WTF !!!

Friday 15 March 2019

...And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And bounces with the daffodils.

William Wordsworth (nearly).

Oh the joys of spring! 

It is spring isn't it? Gail took her car to the garage yesterday to have the winter tyres removed and the regular ones put back on. The old mechanic looked surprised at the request and, clearly deeming it premature, asked "Ye're nae fae Scotland? D'ye ken fit month it is? "

Do wish us luck for the drive across the Highlands to our Torridon cottage this weekend...

Hoping you too are celebrating Nature Friday with Arty, Rosy and Jakey.

PS Our thoughts this morning are with all the families affected by the terrible terrorist attacks in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Tuesday 12 March 2019

An excellent Brexit decision...

Does your human ever tease you in a manner that is SO TOTALLY NOT FUNNY?

Mine does.

For example, on Sunday morning after breakfast, Gail said this to me:

"You know what Bertie? There are some very important Brexit decisions being debated in Parliament this week. It is a matter of great national importance, so I suggest that, instead of our usual Sunday outing, it would be a good idea if we stayed indoors and spent all day reading all the papers and watching our 'commentariat' pontificating on TV about the likely outcomes of Tuesday's vote at Westminster. What do you think Bertie?"

Gail watched my fuzzy little face fall as fast as the pound sterling will in the event of "No Deal", then laughed and said:

"Only kidding Bertie. I think a brisk walk in Glen Tanar is just the pick-me-up we need at this time of political turmoil."

So we put aside the newspaper and headed to Glen Tanar, and this turned out to be an excellent decision.

Although I admit I was a tiny bit miffed to find out that some Capercaillie has apparently taken up residence in my favourite part of the forest and put up a 'do not enter' sign.

So anyway, we diverted to a path across farmland, where Gail insisted on stopping to admire four handsome horses and a procession of very orderly sheep.

All in all, so much better than thinking about Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg...

Sunday 10 March 2019

I blame Crufts

Apparently this is the 'picture to go by'. 

Please someone, tell my owner IT'S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN!

Thursday 7 March 2019

Spotty Dog admires Spotty Neckerchief

Taking a break from woofing today...

Tuesday 5 March 2019

Auld Reekie - not smelly but windy

Gosh I was so excited when I learned that Gail and I would be spending the weekend with our dear blogging friend YAM-Aunty and her father in the fine city of Edinburgh.

Did you know that the Scottish capital is sometimes referred to as 'Auld Reekie'? And that this translates into standard English as 'Old Smelly'...

Well what could be more appealing to us canines than a few days in a famously odiferous metropolis? 

And so I must confess to being a tad disappointed when I sniffed the air outside the home of YAM's father, and failed to detect anything other than the normal city aroma. 

However, early on Saturday morning it was impossible not to notice that the air molecules were rushing past one's nose at an unusually high velocity, ruffling one's beard and leg 'furnishings', and lifting one's ear flaps to a streamlined position.

It was perhaps optimistic to imagine that on top of nearby Blackford Hill, weather conditions would be calmer.

In a sheltered spot away from the summit I had the rare pleasure of an encounter with a pretty wee foxy lass called Saffy.

I even allowed her to give me a quick kiss. Mmmm. Nice.

The next day, YAM-Aunty kindly drove Gail and me out to the quaint little town of North Berwick. (I must say her car is a lot cleaner than Gail's*.)

After a trot around the harbour we paused to admire a memorial commemorating the role of the RAF's Coastal Command in defending our country in World War Two. (You might already know that Gail's late father was a pilot in 248 Squadron, part of Coastal Command's 'Banff Strike Wing', in 1944-5.) 

The wind was still blowing mightily. Nevertheless, Gail and YAM-Aunty were apparently both in perfect agreement that if the sun is shining, and one is beside the seaside, and a van selling excellent quality local ice cream is parked on the promenade, then one is obliged to partake of the goods on offer.

And you know what? The nice man in the 'Luca's Ice Cream' van even gave me a wee taster. Yum! 

Back at base, I had a fine time getting to know YAM-Aunty's father better, and was rewarded by some most satisfactory head scritches before we sadly had to depart and return to Aberdeen.

You know, I had such a lovely weekend that I have decided to forgive Gail and YAM-Aunty for their terrible decision on Sunday afternoon to visit Aberlady Nature Reserve, one of the very few places in Scotland where dogs are NOT ALLOWED!!! Despite the fact that I was left shut up in the car for at least 87 HOURS. (Gail says more like 87 minutes).

Oh and finally, I suspect that YAM-Aunty will be posting her usual superior quality photos of our adventures on her blog at some point in the near future, and so suggest you watch that space.

*Er, Gail claims this is only because YAM-Aunty herself does not currently own a dog....