(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!
(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.