Wednesday 30 October 2019


Gosh I am simply beside myself with joy!

I have just learned that, before we went on holiday to Germany, Gail submitted an email to her boss. Although Gail has not revealed to me the precise text, I believe that the gist of it was as follows:

"Dear Boss,
This is to give notice of my plan to retire from my job at the end of the year. My retirement plans include spending more time with my dog, taking him for lots of long walks to interesting places, going to visit his favourite friends, home-baking him tasty, liver-based treats, sitting patiently as he sleeps cuddled on my lap, playing tuggy-toy with appropriate growling noises, gently rubbing his adorable ears and allowing him to lick my hand or foot for as long as his little doggy heart desires...
No doubt the company will somehow manage fine without me. As they say, the graveyard is full of indispensable men (and women)...
Best regards, Gail."

Perhaps my friends have some further ideas for how Gail might use her new found freedom?

PS from Gail: The first sentence in Bertie's imagined version of my email above was at least accurate! 

Sunday 27 October 2019

A perfect day

Gosh I want to say a huge THANK YOU to Gail's friend Carol.

After all, without her intervention, it is quite possible that I would have ended up spending all of Saturday inside, watching Gail watching replays of a certain Rugby World Cup Semi-Final* on her laptop, and missing the opportunity of a fine walk around the Braes of Gight in the late October sunshine.

But fortunately Carol had earlier in the week suggested an outing to this lovely corner of Aberdeenshire, and held Gail to the plan. So late morning, after the rugby game had finished, we drove out to Methlick and then spent a magical few hours exploring the ancient woodland along the banks of the River Ythan. The humans even claim to have spotted an otter casually gliding down the middle of the river while we were all enjoying our picnic lunch (I'll admit I was too busy chewing my pig's ear to notice it).

I'm not saying that Gail resisted turning on the rugby highlights again when we got home...

*England 19 New Zealand 7

Thursday 24 October 2019


photo by our friend Michael in Germany

Though the path may be rough
We walk together.
When the going gets tough
We walk together.

Side by side through life's worst
We walk together.
In friendship and trust
We walk together.

Monday 21 October 2019

Superglued to the sofa...

So Gail and I arrived home in Aberdeen on Saturday evening, after ending our big trip abroad with a pleasant couple of days staying with friends in Yorkshire.

Over the past two weeks I have travelled on or in the following:
  • 24 trains* in 3 countries 
  • 2 ferries (Stena Line, from Harwich to Hoek van Holland and back) 
  • 2 cars (in Bavaria and Yorkshire)
  • 2 urban metros (Hoek van Holland to Schiedam and back) 
  • 1 cable car (Breitenberg Bahn) 
  • 1 bus (no. 46 York to Pocklington)
At all times I was a good boy and was never sick.

I think I now deserve some sofa time...

*The trains were: (1) Aberdeen to Newcastle, (2) Newcastle to Newark North Gate, (3) Newark Castle to Nottingham, (4) Nottingham to London St Pancras, (5) London Liverpool Street to Harwich, (6) Schiedam to Rotterdam, (7) Rotterdam to Utrecht, (8) Utrecht to Köln, (9) Köln to Mainz, (10) Mainz to Darmstadt, (11) Darmstadt to Augsburg, (12) Augsburg to Buchloe, (13) and (14), Buchloe to Biessenhofen and back, (15) Landsberg am Lech to Kaufering, (16) Kaufering to Buchloe, (17) Buchloe to Augsburg, (18) Augsburg to Düsseldorf, (19) Düsseldorf to Utrecht, (20) Utrecht to Rotterdam, (21) Rotterdam to Schiedam, (22) Harwich to London Liverpool Street, (23) London Kings Cross to York, (24) York to Aberdeen.

Friday 18 October 2019

A sad day?

So on Tuesday morning Gail and I said fond farewells to Michael and Renate and began the long journey home.

I would like to report that I bounced athletically onto the train at Buchloe, but I'm sorry to say that German trains are worse than the London Underground when it comes to Gaps you have to Mind (not to mention the three steep steps) and so I had to be carried on board, incidentally acting as a useful counterweight to Gail's backpack.

By late afternoon we arrived in the fine old  city of Utrecht in the Netherlands, where we stayed overnight.

After exploring Utrecht on Wednesday we continued on to Hook of Holland to catch the overnight ferry back to England.

Gail was looking terribly sad as we passed through the ferry terminal, saying it was almost certainly the last time she would set foot on mainland Europe as a citizen of the European Union...

But I hate to end a post on a low note, so I'll leave you with some more holiday photos of beautiful Bavaria.

Tuesday 15 October 2019


"Does Bertie suffer from vertigo?" Renate asked over breakfast on Sunday, and Gail replied that she didn't know, as she'd never taken me in a cable car before.

I am pleased to note that, showing great faith in my resilient and unflappable nature, Gail added,

"I think he'll be OK. Not much fazes him these days".

And so it was I got to ride in the Breitenberg Seilbahn in the Bavarian Alps on Sunday afternoon.
I'll admit that I was a bit apprehensive at first, but I was so determined not to let Gail down.

I told myself that we were in Germany, the land of Vorsprung durch Technik and all that, and after a minute or two I relaxed and, along with the humans, took great pleasure in looking out of the window and beholding the magnificent autumn Alpine landscape unfolding beneath us.

I am now more than  happy to recommend cable car travel to any of my canine friends, should you ever be offered the opportunity!

Later in the day we ventured across the nearby international border and I can now add Austria to the roster of countries I've visited.

When we arrived back home in Buchloe, Michael went downstairs to buy ice-cream sundaes for the humans. (Yes, our friends really do have an ice cream parlour on the ground floor of their apartment block. Imagine that!)

Renate and Michael have been such wonderful hosts that I am prepared to forgive them for not sharing on this occasion.

Sunday 13 October 2019

I knew it all along.....

Friends, before I tell you more about my holiday in Germany, there's something I want to get off my chest.

Now please don't think I'm being ungrateful when I remind you that I am not always allowed to accompany Gail on her ventures abroad.

Far too often in fact, I am abandoned in favour of her bicycle, and when I suggest it might be possible to adapt her bike so I could come along too, I get a curt response along the lines of:

"Oh don't be ridiculous Bertie, that is not a practical suggestion at all."

Well I would like to introduce you to Elvis, whom I met yesterday morning in the historic town of Landsberg am Lech.

Yes, your eyes are not deceiving you. Elvis is a fox terrier, and could even be my twin.

And very comfortable he is looking too in his eminently practical two wheeled pedal transport.

So now that we are all agreed that there are no longer credible reasons for leaving me behind on ANY future vacations, I'm happy to tell you all about what a fine time I'm having with Michael and Renate in Bavaria.

The sun has been shining, and there are lots of lovely places - old towns, lakes, parks, forests - to explore hereabouts. 

The local restaurants are dog friendly, and back at their apartment Renate and Michael are generous with both treats and sofa space.

In fact, I feel so comfortable here (and with all the horrid Brexit goings on back home), I am seriously considering applying for pawlitical asylum.

Thursday 10 October 2019

False and true friends (plus Mainz Cathedral)

"Er ist so brav."

That's what the lady said in the coffee shop in Augsburg.

How nice of her to recognise my bravery, I thought, although in all honesty I didn't think I was being so very courageous, just sitting there beside Gail in a quiet corner as she drank her tea while we waited for the train to Buchloe.

But then Gail reminded me that 'brav' in German is a 'false friend' and translates in English to 'good' or 'well-behaved'.

Which of course I always am!

I'm delighted to report that we finally arrived in Buchloe late yesterday afternoon, and will now spend the next week enjoying the company of true friends.

I'm also delighted to report that the sun came out before we left Mainz and Gail and I had a lovely walk around the Altstadt. We admired the Romanesque architecture of the 1000 year old cathedral, built from beautiful red Triassic sandstone. (Buntsandstein to you geologists out there!)

PS I am not sure if a Dalmatian would be delighted to learn that in Mainz his breed is being used to help sell ladies underwear...

Wednesday 9 October 2019

Spirits not dampened...

I'm telling you I was totally spark out when we arrived in Mainz in Germany yesterday  evening after two days of non stop train and ferry. I would have been happy to rest in the hotel room (especially since it was raining the proverbial) but the man at reception had gone to the trouble of finding a nice "hundefreundlich" local restaurant for Gail and she insisted it would be rude if I didn't join her.

So the day before we had had a soggy walk across London from St Pancras station to Liverpool Street.

Then  the overnight ferry across the wet (obvs) North Sea,

Followed by a damp interlude between trains in Utrecht,

And a scenic but rain splattered view of the Rhine Gorge from the train window.

Let's hope the sun puts in an appearance when we reach our final destination at Michael and Renate's home in Bavaria later today...