Friday 29 November 2019

I do try to keep my paws dry...

If only I were allowed in the Winter Gardens in Duthie Park...

...then I would not have to worry about getting my paws muddy and wet.

Although I can see one would need to be careful where to cock one's leg in the Arid House...

Happy Nature Friday!

PS After a frankly depressing week of near continuous rainfall (and yes, believe it or not, that is unusual here in NE Scotland, even in November) we are promised colder but brighter weather over the next few days. So Gail and I hope to bring you pictures of winter walkies under blue skies with sun sparkling on snow capped mountains for our next Nature Friday. Cross paws...

Wednesday 27 November 2019

Post-walkies towel and growl

The unavoidable wet weather ritual.

And we've had far too much wet weather this month.

Monday 25 November 2019

In praise of puppies with weak bladders.....

And no it's not just that they make us mature and 'reliable' types look good. Although that's true too.

Let me explain.

Last week Gail had to go to work on what's her normal day off, to attend a meeting about something called 'Glendronach' (but not the whisky apparently). It happened that one key participant in the meeting was puppy-sitting that day, his wife and children being away in Glasgow. So four month old Labrador Jack had been left in the back of this gentleman's pristine Land Rover Discovery while the meeting was taking place.

The meeting dragged on, as these affairs are prone to do. Gail says she could see Jack's owner looking increasingly twitchy, almost certainly anticipating his wife's reaction in the event of an 'accident' in the Discovery. Eventually, the discussion paused for a nanosecond, and Jack's owner butted in, his voice sounding on the surface calm and decisive, but with undertones of panic: "Thank you everyone, that was a very useful session and I think we can now bring the meeting to a close. We'll convene again next week."

Which meant that Gail was home earlier than would otherwise have been the case, even before it was dark, and so I was treated to an extra walk around the park.


Friday 22 November 2019

Fungi and ferns on Nature Friday

Once again, I'm delighted to be taking part in the Nature Friday blog hop, as ever hosted by my dear friends Arty, Jakey and Rosy

Today we are going to focus on mushrooms.

Just before my discovery of Dark Matter (see Monday's post), I had enjoyed a romp around the pinewoods at the base of Scolty Hill.

We've endured an uncommonly wet autumn here in NE Scotland, which means that the fungi at least have been having a ball. (Gail has banned me from using fungi/fun guy puns in this post...)

Allow me to introduce you to some of the many different species still popping up amid the ferns and mosses, under the dark forest canopy.

Let's see, what do we have here?

I do believe these are Angel's Wings. Gosh, there must be a lot of grounded cherubs around at the moment...

Oh and look, here's some Yellow Stagshorn, providing a welcome burst of colour in gloomy November.

And these next ones are, we believe, Velvet Shanks, an edible species, although Gail says we would need to check the identification very carefully before trying them for supper, as there is a similar-looking, but very poisonous type of mushroom.

Less attractive in shape and colour, we have Common Funnel mushrooms, which are, er guess what, common, and also funnel shaped (kind of).

And finally, a top a mossy boulder, we spotted these dainty wee things sprouting among the pine needles.

Lest you imagine that Gail and I have become overnight experts in different types of fungus, we must 'fess up right away and admit that our nice friend Carol, budding mushroom-ologist (or whatever the right word is) helped out with the identification. And if anyone thinks they know the names of the little and skinny stemmed ones above, please leave a comment.

Meanwhile, I have some important sniffing work to do...

Wednesday 20 November 2019

Is it all over yet?

Question applicable to:
  • Brexit
  • Paw baths
  • The general election (UK) 
  • Dark mornings 
  • Trump
  • Fur stripping sessions  
  • Indyref#2
  • Cold rainy days
  • Prince Andrew

Monday 18 November 2019

Dark Matter and liver-based treats

Bertie Boffin here!

Of course, all my readers will be familiar with one of the great conundrums of modern physics, namely that 85% of the mass of the universe is made up of something the scientists call Dark Matter, but despite lots of very sophisticated and sensitive experiments, no-one has yet managed to detect a single particle of this elusive substance.

Well, on Sunday morning, while Gail was showering, I read a very interesting article on the topic in her New Scientist magazine.

It seems all sorts of weird and wonderful explanations for mystery of the missing Dark Matter have been proposed. Maybe the Dark Matter particles interact with the stuff we can see, but more weakly than hitherto thought? (An example of a 'strong interaction' would be when I meet the woman in the park with liver-based treats in her pocket.) Maybe there is a whole 'hidden sector" of material never yet detected? (Like there is a hidden sector of our house where Gail keeps my personal supply of liver-based treats.) Maybe gravity as experienced here on Earth behaves differently in other parts of the galaxy? (In the way that I behave differently in places where liver-based treats are plentiful.) Maybe the physicists' model of what happened in the first fraction of a second in the history of the universe is somehow faulty? (Surely not!)

Well I am delighted to reveal that later that same day while walking near the summit of Scolty Hill, quite by chance I came across an abundance of Dark Matter...

...I even collected some of it in my furs as evidence...

So where is my Nobel Prize for Physics?

Or at least my liver-based treat?

Friday 15 November 2019

Time and tide...

Someone promised me a romp on Aberdeen City Beach earlier this week.

If only Someone had checked the tide timetable...

Happy Nature Friday friends!  I'll leave you with some words from a great American. 

“Just like moons and suns,
With certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.”

Maya Angelou

Do hop along to visit all the other blogs taking part in Arty, Jakey and Rosy's weekly celebration of all things natural. 

Tuesday 12 November 2019

Foxtrot Alpha?

Does size matter? Or age?

It is well known that us dogs, as a species, come in all shapes and sizes.

As I walked into the park on Sunday morning, I spotted a pretty Rottweiler with a pink collar. A newcomer. Unlike her companion, a notably relaxed German shepherd whom we see quite often, this pup was kept on a lead. I bounced over to say hello. She smelled nice. Better than nice in fact.

Their accompanying human (a genial-faced chap Gail would like to know better but their small talk has never before got further than "nice day" and "handsome dog") explained that the Rottie belongs to his son, and she is eight months old and having her first 'season'.

Just as I was evaluating in my mind the practicalities of attempting to mount this large and attractively feisty lass, Gail clamped on my lead and forcibly dragged me out of lunging range, saying, "I'd better make sure my intact male dog stays well clear of her then!"

Then Gail rudely added that this particular bitch was too big and too young for me anyway.

But surely such tedious rules are not applicable to the older alpha male (human or canine)...
John and Sally Bercow - courtesy of Daily Mail 

Once out of sniffing range, my distracted mind turned to wondering what a Rottweiler x Wire-Haired Fox Terrier puppy might look like anyway. Would the cross-breed have special name? A Wiry-Weiler perhaps? No, even better, a Foxtrot!

Sadly, as it seems I won't be getting the opportunity to conduct this particular experiment myself any time soon, I resorted to searching for 'Rottweiler/Fox Terrier mix' on the internet, and found these two pups.

Aren't they just adorable?

Sunday 10 November 2019

It's a tough life...

... being always on duty to ensure one's human rouses herself from the sofa and stops reading the newspapers and obsessing about the woes of the world.

But some dog's gotta step up to the plate.

Let's go out! After all, we have a beautiful country to explore.
Loch Torridon
The Coulin estate
In Duthie Park
Loch Torridon again
Glen Tanar
Upper Deeside
Glen Muick

All feeing better now?

Thursday 7 November 2019

Mastermind contestant?

One minute you're basking in a rare November sun puddle, and the next you find you're taking part in a classic BBC TV quiz show

Cue the intimidating theme music...

Do you have a specialist subject? 

Tuesday 5 November 2019

"And he knows it..."

Do you know, people quite often stop in the street when they see me out for a walk, and they say to Gail: "Oh, your dog is GORGEOUS", or words to that effect.

I must admit I always thought I was the only dog in the world who elicited such favourable comments, but Gail tells me that no, in fact she's encountered more or less the same reaction to every dog she's ever walked. And moreover she suspects that the dog so ugly that he has no admirers has not yet been born.

Well that's as maybe, but what I want to discuss today is how one's human should respond to these compliments.

Gail insists that simply saying "thank you" doesn't quite cut it, as it seems to imply that it's her rather than me who is being praised (and frankly that is highly improbable...)

To my mind, an appropriate reply might be along the lines of:

"Well yes, he is gorgeous, and not only that, he is smart, well-behaved, and has such a likeable temperament. Truly, he is perfection in canine form".

But I regret to have to inform you that Gail usually replies thus:

"Oh yes, gorgeous, AND HE KNOWS IT...."

The more astute among my readers will recognise this as something short of wholehearted praise.

Tell me, fellow pups, what does your human say in similar circumstances?

Friday 1 November 2019

Too impatient for Nature Friday?

One can sit there in the avenue of beech trees, savouring the autumn sunlight as it illuminates the pale bark and fading golden leaves...

But only for so long....

Happy Nature Friday friends!