Monday 29 April 2019

Dexterity and balance - the 'WOBBLIE'

Fellow pups! Do you ever feel that your human might benefit from improved dexterity, flexibility and balance?

Perhaps they are 'not as young as they used to be'. Or maybe they have been spending your treat money on expensive Pilates or yoga classes.

Now that the warmer weather is with us, let me recommend my special training programme, the 'WOBBLIE'  (Working Out with Bouncing Bertie while Licking Ice-cream Exercise).

Your human will love the unique combination of keep-fit and indulgence. This is how it works.

It is a beautiful day and time for your afternoon walk. You quickly deduce, from the direction of travel and the clement weather conditions, that your human is heading for the ice-cream shop, about a mile away. Normally you would perform your afternoon 'business' pretty soon once you are the obligatory hundred yards away from your home, but today you sense an opportunity to give your human an extra work-out. So  you thoughtfully hold it all in until you have reached the ice-cream place and she has been inside and purchased a cone generously filled with her favourite flavour (coffee or vanilla, since you asked).

You can picture the scene. The sun is shining, your human is walking along, your lead in one hand, ice-cream cone in the other, happily licking away.

Now is the time to 'evacuate'. What better test of dexterity and balance than to have her place your lead in the ice-cream hand, reach for the poop bag with the other, bend over and pick up the poop, holding the ice-cream as far away as possible?  In Level 2 of the exercise you might want to jerk the lead a little at this point. Level 3 requires her to be wearing a white top.

Of course she will somehow need to tie the filled poop bag, one-handed, too.

One must recognise that it might take some practice before your human can complete the exercise without either falling over, letting go your lead or losing a single morsel of the precious ice-cream.

But I am sure your human will be grateful for your contribution to her well being and will reward you with at least the pointy tip of the ice-cream cone.

Level 4 involves, of course, your human simultaneously taking a selfie while conducting the pick up operation. Gail has not yet reached this stage. (In fact when she heard about it she asked, in a rather exasperated tone, did I expect her to grow a third arm or what?)

So anyway, here is a nice photo of cherry blossom, taken later on the walk. Look at that blue sky!

P.S. Do let me know how your human gets on with the WOBBLIE.

Thursday 25 April 2019

Sharing is caring

On the way home to Aberdeen on Easter Monday, we took a small diversion to Portsoy to visit Gail's friend Dave and his "labradoodle" Jasper. Another guest, Henry the "some sort of spaniel", was also there to greet us (noisily) in the garden.

We had finally caught up with the heatwave that the rest of the country had been revelling in all weekend, and Portsoy is famous for, amongst other things*, its ice cream shop. In these circumstances, on a Bank Holiday, I understand that humans are permitted a mid afternoon indulgence.

I want you to note carefully what is happening in the photo below.

Yes, what you see is Dave generously offering each of us dogs a third of his ice cream wafer, before tucking into his tub containing one scoop of raspberry mallow and one scoop of Belgian chocolate ice cream.

What a fine example he sets.

I need hardly tell you that Gail scoffed her ice cream and her wafer, not thinking one minute to share until there were just a few thin smears of wild strawberry and caramel latte flavour remaining in her tub.

I hope by next time she will have learned some better manners from her friend.

*Portsoy is also famous for its annual Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, and for being the closest town to the RAF base from where Gail's father flew Mosquitos in the latter part of WW2.

Tuesday 23 April 2019

The heatwave proves elusive in NW Scotland...

So Gail and I were planning a spot of hillwalking in Torridon this Easter weekend, but I regret to report that the weather did not entirely cooperate.

While the rest of the UK was apparently basking in glorious sunshine and record breaking high temperatures, our far NW corner of the country was beset by low cloud and occasional drizzle. 

Of course that did not mean we stayed indoors, and lower level expeditions are also a good way to let off steam.

I even braved a paddle (front paws only, mind) in Loch Gaineamhach.
Gail reminded me once again that remote parts of the country with notoriously unreliable weather do have their plus sides.

After all which beach would you prefer?

Brighton beach (South Coast of England)
Or Ob a' Bràighe, Loch Torridon?

Oh and look, in that last photo, you can even see my shadow, just...

Was your Easter a good one?

Friday 19 April 2019

Gorse, verse and worse...

Gorse and More

A paucity of gorse is quite unknown
On Aberdeenshire hills in spring.
A plethora of heather later blooms,
(The botanists distinguish Erica and Ling).

And by the sea shore drifts of thrift
Are poised to make the cliffs blush pink again.
In woodland dells, bluebells will soon appear,
And uncontrolled, marsh marigolds seize damp terrain.


Er, sometimes poems don't turn out quite as one planned.
Happy Nature Friday folks!
Thanks again to our wonderful friends, Arty, Jakey and Rosy, for hosting the blog hop.

Wednesday 17 April 2019

In good company with Albert Einstein

Bertie Boffin would like to remind you that only the smartest of humans choose wire-haired fox terriers.
Albert Einstein with his WFT, named 'Chico'

Sunday 14 April 2019

Bertie has a little grumble

You would think, wouldn't you, that any dog who heroically defended the local territory from an alien attack would deserve better.....

Let me explain.

So there I was, enjoying my Saturday morning stroll around Duthie Park, when suddenly I spotted something amiss.

Now I might remind you that Gail has on occasions cast aspersions on my observational skills, particularly in relation to my peripheral vision. But make no mistake, when a group of otherworldly invaders, disguised as humans but with give away balloon-like protrusions extending from their rear ends, are staring me right in the face, I know what I'm seeing and I act!

How I would love to report that I punctured those weird protrusions with my bare terrier teeth, but the truth is that Gail intervened before I could reach them, and firmly clamped on my lead.

I remain, however, convinced it was only because of the threat I posed that the attack situation was defused and the 'aliens' went peacefully about their business, bouncing in ungainly fashion at ever decreasing speed around the park until they collapsed in exhaustion.

So yes, where were we? You would think such valiant behaviour would merit some special treat, would you not?

Especially as earlier in the week I had been suffering (thankfully briefly) from a sore paw.

So when Gail announced that she and her friend Yvonne were off to Café 52 that night for a "nice meal out", I felt sure I would be invited along too. After all, this is a renowned dog friendly Aberdeen restaurant. And - let me remind you again - I surely deserved some extra attention.

I can't believe I was left alone at home.

And quite why Gail imagined that she could make it up to me by showing me a photo of the menu is beyond comprehension...

If only she had thought instead to bring back a doggy bag with some of that black pudding...

Thursday 11 April 2019

Bertie's advice on Problem Solving

It is useful to consider any issue from a variety of angles.

Sunday 7 April 2019

Aberdeen South constituency news

Please come here Gail, I have a question! I see our MP has put his newsletter through the door. It says he's quite wonderful. What do you make of that?

Well Bertie, in general, Members of Parliament find it expedient to remind their constituents of their existence when they fear that an election might be pending.

So you'd vote for him next time then would you? After all, he says he's campaigning for a fair share of government cash for Aberdeen. That has to be good, doesn't it?


Why are you harrumphing Gail?

Well Bertie, have you noticed that in this newsletter, our MP is entirely silent on by far the most significant issue facing the nation right now? Not a single mention of the 'B' word.

How very puzzling Gail. Why on earth would he not want to be talking about Brexit?

Bertie, one does not, I think, have to be Sherlock Holmes to find the answer to this particular conundrum. Ross Thomson is the Scottish Conservative's biggest cheerleader for a 'hard' Brexit, but represents a constituency, Aberdeen South, which voted 68% in favour of remaining in the EU.

Hmm. Yes, even I, a dog, can see that might be a problem for him. But look Gail, he is supporting a ban on electric shock collars for us pups. Is that not just as important?

I am sorry to be so cynical my lad, but it strikes me as a desperate attempt to, er, 'collar' the dog owner vote. He'll be out kissing babies next. And for sure he's hoping that everyone's forgotten about those reports of him being ejected from a House of Commons bar late at night a couple of months ago, accused of being drunk and of 'inappropriate touching' of other men in the bar.

Wow. It seems to me that the more one knows about Mr Thompson the less inclined one would be to vote for him. Oh dear Gail, whatever happened to that nice Anne Begg from Labour who used to be MP round here? A thoroughly admirable person. Maybe she could be persuaded to stand again?

Oh Bertie, if only.

Look, I found this on Anne Begg's Twitter feed. Our readers might be bored of us going on about Brexit but I'm thinking they will enjoy listening to Anne's friend Alastair Campbell playing bagpipes.

Friday 5 April 2019

Don't be a wimp..

Welcome to Nature Friday, hosted by our dear friends Arty, Jakey and Rosy.

Look, just 'cos it's grey, windy and cold, that's no reason not to join me on a nature walk in NE Scotland today. We even have a two hour weather window this afternoon, when it's not actually raining...

Come on, don't be a wimp!

As we make our way together along the low cliff path just south of Aberdeen, we can lose ourselves in contemplation of the ever changing seascape, and marvel at the power of the waves to sculpt the +500 million year old metamorphic rocks into a jumble of weird and wonderful forms.

Perhaps you can just spot the clump of little white flowers on the cliff top behind me? The plant is called 'scurvy grass'. In days of old, sailors ate the leaves, now known to be rich in vitamin C, to protect against that horrid disease.

I myself am deaf to the call of the ocean, much preferring to stay with all four paws planted firmly on dry land.

Time now to visit the other Nature Friday blogs and see what delights our friends have in store for us today!

Wednesday 3 April 2019

A case for doing things the old way...

Do you like my new friend Charlie the Westie?

I met him on Union Street in Aberdeen the other day. Gail had left me tied up to a drainpipe outside the bank, while she popped in to deposit a couple of cheques.

Charlie is 16 years old, and deaf and blind, but he is clearly a trooper and was enjoying his outing, tucked up in the comfort and safety of his buggy.

Charlie's owner offered me a treat and made a big fuss of me while I waited patiently for Gail, who was taking longer than usual.

Apparently the bank's cheque swallowing machine was suffering from indigestion, and the bank assistant had been trying to persuade Gail to install an app on her smart phone, which would mean she could pay in cheques by photographing them at home, and thus save herself the one mile walk into town.

Well I must say I am totally opposed in principle to any 'walk-saving' measures. Just think, if Gail had used the banking app, I would not have met Charlie, I would not have been given a yummy treat, and finally I would not have met Teddy and his owner, who came by a few moments later.

It's a good job that Union Street (Aberdeen's main shopping street) is not so busy these days, as we were forming quite a crowd.