Friday 31 January 2020

Bertie spots a spalted beech

Well I just had to take a closer look when I saw this recently felled trunk of a beech tree in Hazlehead Park the other day.

Apparently the dark lines are caused by fungus, and the effect is known as 'spalting'.

Pretty, isn't it? Let's see close up.
Happy Nature Friday friends! On this particular date I am especially thankful to Arty, Jakey and Rosy for their wonderful blog hop celebrating the beauties of our natural world. For otherwise my post today might have been totally filled with photos of Gail and me looking sad and miserable as we mourn the UK's misguided departure from the European Union...

Tuesday 28 January 2020

AM I NORMAL? (an elderly male grooming issue)

Friends, and terriers especially, I have a rather personal question to ask today about grooming in one's 'senior' years.

I think you already know that I am a 'home-styled' dog. One might have hoped, given how my owner Gail started hand-stripping and clipping me when I was a pup, that after nearly a decade she would have developed the skills to give me a more professionally groomed look.

No such luck there, but that's not what I want to talk about today.

You see, the fact is, as I get older, I have become more attached to my furs. Or rather, they have become more attached to me, thus the hand-stripping process is now uncomfortable. The furs also grow in greater profusion.

Now my predecessor Hamish the Westie always had a paid-for hair cut, and so Gail is really not experienced in these matters. However, she said this to me the other day, when I was attempting to bite the stripping knife, or even better Gail's hand: "But Bertie, I thought that in older males, the hair normally thinned and fell out more easily".

Not for the first time, Gail was confusing me with her own species.

So my question really is, am I normal? Are there other pups out there whose furs have become thicker, more abundant, and more 'attached' with age?

Sunday 26 January 2020

An important and difficult pawlitical question

Is it acceptable to think that Dilyn, the dog belonging to Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his girlfriend Carrie Symonds, is super cute?

It's something I've been pondering while imprisoned in the kitchen these past two weeks.

P.S. Gail has promised me that the workmen will only be here one more day...

Thursday 23 January 2020

More fun on Morven?

Fellow pups, have you ever been out for a walk and spotted a group who look like they might be more fun that your own human(s)?

It happened to me on Monday.

Making the most of the uncommonly fine winter weather, Gail took me for a hike up Morven, which as you know is our favourite Aberdeenshire hill.

We thought we had the place to ourselves, but as we were approaching the summit plateau, a bunch of young hill runners, accompanied by a sprightly Labrador, sped past, and I decided to join them.

Now Gail claims to be tolerably fit for her age, so I presumed she'd be able to keep up with my youthful new friends. OK, so yes I did hear her frantically calling "wait Bertie, WAIT!" but, well, I guess I'm not the first middle aged male to forget himself in the excitement of chasing after younger companionship...

Did I mention that a gale force westerly was blowing in our faces? ('Fine weather' is always a relative term in Scotland.) So anyway I pretended not to hear Gail and continued up the hill with my new pals.

I could of course have kept up with the runners all the way, but in the end I took pity on poor old Gail, puffing and panting with exertion as the gap between us widened, and I waited for her to catch up.

By the time we reached the summit, my new friends were disappearing over the far side of the hill while I, as usual, obliged with my best windswept poses. (You'll notice that for some reason my walking string is attached at this point...)

Monday 20 January 2020

Not happy. Sulking in fact.

Can you believe I've been shut in kitchen virtually the whole week!

Gail tells me it's a 'Good Thing' that some long running issues with damp on the gable end wall of our 110 year old granite home in Aberdeen are being sorted out, and all will be back to normal in another week or so.

I am struggling to figure out in what way it is a 'Good Thing' to have a house full of strange men stomping around noisily and removing the lath and plaster interior finishing to a wall which extends all the way up two flights of stairs, resulting in a fine layer plaster dust covering the whole house and making my skin itch at night.

Oh. Gail is contradicting my assertion that I've been locked in all week, saying that the photos below tell another story.

Well that's as maybe, but it doesn't alter the fact that returning home each time to a building site is no fun at all...
So I'm still sulking.

Friday 17 January 2020

Reassuring sunrise

There have been days, these last couple of months, when the skies have been so dull and gloomy that one's wondered whether the sun in fact forgot to rise at all.

But I'm pleased to report we've also had mornings here in Aberdeen when a fiery technicolour backdrop has lit up my early romp around Duthie Park - a welcome reminder of how even in the heart of this grey and austere northern city, midwinter can be a time of transforming beauty.

Happy Nature Friday friends! And thanks once again to our ever wonderful blog hop hosts Arty, Jakey and Rosy. 

Tuesday 14 January 2020

Watch out for the giant pandas...

Oh gosh Gail, I see you have a new pair of socks. And might I say, what an excellent design. I'm guessing they were a gift?

Your guess is spot on Bertie. A Christmas present from my friends John and Fran├žoise in fact. Wasn't that thoughtful of them? The are super comfortable too, being made from a blend of cotton and bamboo.

Bamboo! But Gail, that is what giant pandas eat, is it not? Oh no, I'm so worried! What if you ran into a panda and it attacked you for your socks? Just think, Tian Tian and Yang Guang in Edinburgh Zoo might at any time escape and head north, and they would obviously be very hungry after rampaging up the (bamboo free) A90 for over a hundred miles...

Bertie, you are being ridiculous! The only panda we are likely to see in Aberdeen is 'Panda', my childhood toy, who is sitting on the mantelpiece. 

Hmmmm. I hope this is true Gail. And by the way, I'm thinking you weren't the most creative child when it came to naming your toys, were you? You had two teddy bears, Mr and Mrs Teddy, I believe. And a lamb named Lambkin, and a golliwog (which, may I remind you, is very politically incorrect these days) known as Golly?

Right, as always, Bertie!

Friday 10 January 2020

Better late than never...

Gail asked why I was in such a rush to get back to the car, after our walk up a delightful wooded valley near Ballater this morning.

Well of course - and I'm surprised she didn't figure this out for herself - we absolutely had to share with our Nature Friday friends the loveliness of the birch trees in the winter sunshine.

As we ascended the path, the woodland thinned out and and birch gave way to pine and then heather, but the landscape remained, I think, worth sharing.

When we reached the head of the valley, I was still acting so bright and bouncy that Gail suggested we continue onwards and make a circuit back round on a higher level track. But I noticed that the skies were clouding over, and I also reminded Gail that her proposed route was a lot longer and she should not be pushing herself and catching another cold.

So it was back down through the birch trees again...

...and a final sprint to the car. 

Happy Nature Friday folks! And thanks once again to Arty, Jakey and Rosy for hosting this great blog hop.

Thursday 9 January 2020

All dressed up and no place to go...

First, I would like to reassure those of you worried about Gail's cold (which I mentioned in my previous post). Not only is she now much more bouncy and less snuffly, but the whole episode had a silver lining in that while recuperating she turned her attention to a long stalled knitting project.

So all we now need is some proper winter weather so I can proudly display my warm, rugged and very manly Aran sweater in an appropriately terrier-tough environment.

But for the moment we'll have to make do with the front room.