Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Lamest ever lockdown project?


I suspect I'm not the only pup whose human has lately been passing their excess time at home in less than impressive ways.

So last weekend, did Gail decide to start mastering a musical instrument?

She did not.

Did she finally get around to painting the spare bedroom?

No way.

Perhaps she learnt a Shakespeare sonnet or two off by heart?

Er, I don't think so.

I'll tell you what she did. She hauled a tattered plastic bag out of the cupboard and emptied the contents on the floor.

And announced, as if I would be interested, that today's project was going to be to sort out the knitting needle collection she's assembled over the past half century. Apparently the collection even includes some relics inherited from her Granny. This is the thrilling tale of how it went:

Step 1: Pair up the needles.

Step 2: Wonder how on earth there came to be so many unmatched pairs. Spend next half hour in a futile search for the missing items.

Step 3: Deploy the recently rediscovered sewing machine and fashion a bespoke knitting needle organiser.

Step 4: Neatly wrap up newly sorted needle collection ready for next knitting project.

Fellow pups, I'm wondering if your human can beat this for 'lamest ever lockdown activity'? Please tell me yours has been busy with something a bit more worthwhile...

Er Gail, I'm ready for my walk now.

PS: The real tragedy is quite how pleased and proud Gail was after she'd completed this effort!

Monday, 27 April 2020

We like bridges!


In this time of social isolation, things that connect us are particularly important, aren't they? Which is why Gail and I decided on the theme of bridges for this week's 'walk from home' excursion. 

It was lovely and sunny when we set off on Friday morning to walk across all the bridges spanning the River Dee in Aberdeen. Look, you can see the first and oldest one, the not very originally named Bridge of Dee in the distance here. 

A well proportioned and attractive bridge, I think. It's been around since medieval times, although with lots of upgrades over the years.

Unfortunately the pavement is still too narrow to allow room for pedestrians to pass with ease, and this was so even before social distancing was invented. Luckily there were few people around on Friday.

From Bridge of Dee we head downstream along the river to the King George VI Bridge. This one was completed in 1941, and has a nice wide pavement giving plenty of space for dogs, people and cyclists as well as all the road traffic.

So we cross this bridge and continue along the north side of the river. Fortunately the trees are not yet fully in leaf, so we can peek between the branches look back at the bridge's granite arches sparkling in the sunshine (almost!)

Next comes the railway bridge, although this does't really count for the purposes of today's walk, as only trains are allowed to use it. Gail wondered if we should wait to get a photo of a train crossing the bridge, but then remembered that there are scarcely any running at the moment, so she decided to press on. 

Suddenly, as we came closer to the harbour, the sun disappeared behind a wall of haar (sea fog) and the temperature dropped about 10ºC. So the next photo is a bit dark, but maybe you can make out that there are two bridges right next to each other here. In the foreground is the Wellington Suspension Bridge (1831) and behind it the Queen Elizabeth II Bridge (1984).

Oooh, one last little bit of blue sky reappears as I cross the suspension bridge. This is my favourite bridge as not only is it pretty, but motor vehicles are not allowed these days and so I can stroll at leisure down the middle of the walkway, like I own it.

The Queen Elizabeth II Bridge is not pretty, as you can see below. Frankly, I don't know what our dear Queen did to deserve having such an ugly bit of infrastructure named after her. 

She might even be a bit jealous of her forbear Queen Victoria, for whom today's final bridge is named. The Victoria Bridge was completed in 1881, in the wake of a ferry boat disaster in which 32 people drowned. It might not be spectacular, but is at least pleasingly shapely and symmetrical.

And it really is of no concern to me that Gail says it's not a comfortable bridge to cycle across, because the roadway is still surfaced with the original cobbles.

Downstream of the Victoria Bridge is the harbour. I'm feeling a bit chilly sitting here with the cool damp air drifting off the North Sea, so it's time to head home and warm up.

I hope you enjoyed our little outing today. Below is a map of the route, which was 4.2 miles long.

Friday, 24 April 2020

Patiently Posing in the Park?


So to begin with I went along with Gail's suggestion that, for the LLB Gang's Nature Friday this week, I "pose nicely" in front of some of the pretty spring flowers in Duthie Park.



But soon my patience wore thin...

And when Gail started going on about how lovely it is to see the magnolia in bloom, a rare sight this far north in the UK...

... I switched my attention to an interesting message from one of my park pals.

By the time we came to the new(ish) rockery, my boredom threshold had been exceeded by some margin, so I left Gail to take the pictures on her own.

I was half way home by the time she was done. Can you see me?

And no I was not out of control, I was social distancing...

Happy Nature Friday folks! 

Thursday, 23 April 2020

R.I.P. my darling Doggy Godmother Tootsie



A dear mini-dachshund called Tootsie,
In both looks and in nature a beauty,
Has from cares taken flight,
Ears spread wide like a kite,
Rest in peace, doggy godmother Tootsie.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

A muzzle puzzle?



I admit, these past few days, I've experienced moments of deep puzzlement.

First of all, when Gail excavated from the darkest corner of her box room an unfamiliar object which turned out to be a sewing machine...

...and then a few hours later when she showed me the result of all her snipping and pinning and stitching efforts.

Hmmm. Gail appears to have sewn herself some sort of a muzzle.

Now I know that lots of humans have been finding this 'lockdown' business tough, but I must say that so far Gail has generally remained calm, been diligent in her social distancing, and has not tried to bite anyone or shown other signs of aggression when we go out together for our daily exercise.

Do you think she really needs this muzzle?

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Altered perspectives



Cosmologists have got it wrong.
Our universe is not expanding.
At least if viewed the usual way.

But how about instead we look
More carefully at what's nearby,
And realign our sense
Of the exceptional?

Take time to see the beauty in
Neglected, unregarded places.

The crumbling path beside the harbour mouth
Can offer, variously, with luck,
Dolphins, seals, and sunsets quite sublime.

And loss can even turn to gain.
With golfers forced to stay at home
The fairways are all yours to roam,
And taste the freedom of a new domain.



Thursday, 16 April 2020

Bertie enters the ISO-lympic Canine Heptathlon


Gosh, I am so excited to be participating in the Blogville ISO-lympics, so thoughtfully organised by my Down Under friends Bella, Roxy and Dui. What a brilliant idea!

And huge thanks too to Sweet William the Scot for designing such a wonderful, colourful poster.

The event I am entering is the CANINE HEPTATHLON. This comprises seven different activities, all played within the confines of my house and garden, with equipment found therein.

Lest anyone be unfamiliar with the Canine Heptathlon, let me explain that the sports involved are as follows: squash, badminton, cycling, skiing, rugby, field hockey and hunting. Obviously.

So let's start with the racquet sports. For sure I can be a world beater at squash, playing with my dear departed Human Grandad's 1960's vintage squash racket.

My badminton equipment is more modern, although sadly Gail failed to locate the shuttlecock.

I will admit to being a somewhat unwilling contestant in the cycling category. I think we all know that there in only one bicycle enthusiast in this household and it isn't yours truly...

Cross country skiing is more my cup of tea, although the artificial snow here is somewhat unconvincing.

I was quite keen too on the prospect of a game of field hockey...

... until Gail decided that I should play wearing her c.1975 Nottingham Girls' High School games skirt...

...which somewhat egregiously she also insisted on modelling...

Thankfully, when Gail was younger, girls did not play rugby, so I was spared having to wear any further embarrassing items of sportswear when lining up as fly half for the Scotland team.

Finally I am thrilled to show off my hunting prowess...



...and cannot understand why Gail says that my prize for this event will be the wooden spoon...

I expect that, like me, you can't wait to find out how all our blogging friends have fared in the ISO-lypics. You'll find the links if you click here.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Taking a short break from training

In common with many of my fellow blogging pups, I am now in intensive training for the forthcoming Blogville ISO-lympics, organised by our wonderful Down Under friends Bella, Roxy and Dui and scheduled for Thursday 16th April.

But of course even the most dedicated athlete needs to take a break every once in a while, and remember to stay positive and thankful.