Friday 28 June 2019

Somewhere, under the rainbow...

It's been a sun and showers sort of a late June in Aberdeen. Not for the first time, a heatwave reported over most of Europe has evaded this particular corner of Scotland. 

Gail has been boringly busy this week, but at least I managed to persuade her that a few photos of the rainbow we saw from the city beach a few days ago would fit the bill for Nature Friday.

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Imposing a news blackout

Gail will surely be grateful? 

Sunday 23 June 2019

Bertie displays his competitive streak...

(The scene: a Saturday morning walk on Morven, our favourite Aberdeenshire hill)

So come on Gail, don't waste time looking at that boring old flower, we have a hill to climb!

Bertie, it is a cloudberry flower, and not boring at all. My book says the cloudberry plant is 'shy flowerer' in Britain. Anyway, what's the hurry?

Well Gail, we don't want that group of four men and one Labrador, who left their car just after we did, to overtake us, do we now? 

Bertie, frankly I couldn't care less. This is not a competition. Don't be so 'male' about it all. Just savour the moment, being out in our wonderful landscape on a fine midsummer day. To quote Nan Shepherd "... the mountain gives itself most completely when I have no destination, when I reach nowhere in particular, but have gone out merely to be with the mountain as one visits a friend with no intention but to be with him". And anyway, I think the Lab party took a different, less direct route up.

Er, yes Gail, of course, of course. Look, there's the summit, let's race!

Oh god, I'm having a flashback to childhood outings with my brother....

And now we're at the top, and the other group is nowhere in sight. Hooray! We won!

(Gail sighs).

(15-20 minutes later)

OK Bertie, that's enough of a break, time to move on, it's getting chilly.

No, no, no, look here are the others, finally! Maybe you can find out the name and age of the Lab? I bet he's younger than me.

(Gail talks to the humans while the dogs size each other up).

Well Bertie, you are right, 'Angus' is only two years old. Although I surmise that the accompanying humans are considerably older. But guess what? Angus's owner is most impressed at how quickly we ascended the steeper of the two routes up the hill. Happy now?

Totally happy, Gail, totally.

Friday 21 June 2019

No grey today!

Earlier in the week you saw pictures of my walk in Balmedie Country Park.

What I did not show you then was the bank of wildflowers blooming beside the brand new road junction - the Balmedie turn-off from the recently upgraded A90.

Gail insisted on finding a place to stop and tried to get me to "pose nicely" amid the poppies.

In all honesty I wasn't too keen. What you can't see on these photos is the proximity of a busy road with lots of heavy lorries thundering past. Also, the bank is rather steep, thus not a comfortable posing perch.

But I'll admit I too was impressed by the colourful display covering this recently disturbed ground. I do suspect that someone might have given 'nature' a helping hand here with a generous sprinkling of wildflower seeds.

Anyway, what a welcome sight it was, in our part of the world where the colour palette tends to grey even at mid-summer....

Happy Nature Friday folks! And once again a huge thank you to our wonderful friends, the LLB Gang, for hosting the blog hop.

Monday 17 June 2019

New fluffy friends Boris and Heidi

It's been a while since Gail took me to Balmedie Country Park, so I was delighted when she suggested we go there for a Saturday afternoon walk.

We weren't far from the car park when I spotted this very fluffy lady.

I was just about to get up close and personal when we were interrupted by her male companion and I remembered that discretion is the better part of valour.

Gail had a nice chat with their owner and learned that Heidi and Boris are show dogs (they've even been to Crufts), that Heidi comes from Switzerland, and that yes, preparing an Old English Sheepdog for showing is a time consuming business (who knew?)

We parted ways when we reached the sand dunes, but a few minutes later my new friends appeared again in the distance.

Boris came barrelling over, but was called back before we had a chance to make further acquaintance.

Heading towards the beach, I traversed the remains of a fence, apparently built to secure the perimeter of the Trump International Golf Course.

Gosh, and I thought this Trump chap was supposed to be something of an expert in wall building. Looks like he needs more practice. Or maybe not...

Meanwhile, Gail and I are wondering if my new pal, Old English Sheepdog Boris, will soon be seeking a name change...

Friday 14 June 2019

A new walk for Nature Friday!

My owner Gail never tires of telling me how lucky I am, to share my life with someone who loves exploring new places on foot, with a dog for company.

To keep the peace at home, I don't point out how lucky some of my friends are, to live with humans who, on returning from holidays, actually bring back gifts for their pets rather than blethering on with excuses about small bicycle panniers...

I digress. I must say I did enjoy our latest wee adventure. On Monday evening after supper, Gail put on her coat and bundled me into the car saying "come on Bertie, the sun is still shining, let's make the most of the long light northern evenings, I want to check out a footpath along the coast from Old Portlethen."

So we drove about six miles south of Aberdeen, and on leaving the parking area, saw this sign.

Well of course, now that I am a sensible nine year old WFT, I know perfectly well to watch my paws when venturing near cliffs and steep slopes, and so I admired the late season cuckoo flowers from a safe distance.

We then passed by a cluster of prettily painted wooden rowing boats beached in a sheltered cove, and the smarter of my readers will have deduced from the shadows that we are looking out east to the North Sea, with the sun low in the sky behind us.

I think it would be fun to come here early morning and see the sunrise, but lazy old Gail seems unconvinced.

The coast path is well defined at the start,

But on reaching the edge of a field of rape it becomes narrow and uneven, so I found myself waiting patiently as Gail stumbled along on her somewhat wobbly ankles.

At one point, I nearly disappeared amid the long grass and cow parsley.

By a marshy spot I stopped to admire these yellow irises

And then we turned inland and I raced Gail back to the car. Can you guess who won?

Well I hope you too enjoyed our new Nature Friday walk. It's quite a short one - not much more than a mile. Maybe we'll return later in the year. This is what it looks like on Google Earth. 

Once again, many thanks to our lovely friends Arty, Jakey and Rosy for hosting the Nature Friday blog hop. Do now go and visit all the other wonderful posts.

Tuesday 11 June 2019

If only dogs could vote...

So Gail, I gather that we in the UK will shortly have a new Prime Minister?

Yes Bertie, that is correct, Theresa May has been forced to stand down as leader of the Conservative party, and the process of electing her successor, who will be our new Prime Minister, begins this week. 

You know what, Gail? I have a theory about why Mrs May failed as PM.

(Gail groans silently.) Er, do tell me Bertie.

Well, it seems to me that it would all have gone so much better if she had a dog.  After all, Winston Churchill (who needs no introduction) was well known to adore his poodle Rufus. Clement Attlee, whose government founded the NHS and the welfare state, was also a dog lover. Awesome achievers, both PMs.  So I'm thinking, which of the many contenders for the Tory leadership is particularly fond of pups? Surely that would be a promising sign?
Churchill and Rufus

Clement Attlee and Ting
Well Bertie, it's an interesting theory....

So anyway, I've researched the issue thoroughly, it seems to me the best choice would be either Michael Gove (owner of Bichon Frise Snowy, whose name may or may not be a coded reference to Gove's recently admitted history of cocaine use) or Rory Stewart, who adopted a dog, Babur, when he walked across Afghanistan, as described most movingly in his book, 'The Places in Between'. A book that you read and, I believe, enjoyed. Incidentally, both of these contenders are Scottish, and Michael Gove was even brought up in Aberdeen, surely a point in his favour?
Michael Gove and Snowy

Rory Stewart and Babur

Slight problem Bertie, only Members of Parliament and, ultimately, members of the Conservative party, get to vote for their leader, so neither you nor I qualify.

Oh, that's a shame Gail. Who do you think will win?

Bertie, the bad news is that it's almost certainly going to be Boris...
Boris Johnson and twin..

Friday 7 June 2019

Romping in the Aberdeenshire hills

Are we too late for the LLB Gang's Nature Friday?

You won't believe this but today we actually had sunshine almost all day!

And it was even (sort of) warm...

In Scotland one learns to seize the moment, and so Gail took me for a long walk in the hills. We did the Pressendye circuit - nine miles, and wonderful views the whole way round.

It rather goes against my principles, but Gail is insisting that for once I let the pictures do the talking...


Happy Nature Friday friends!