Sunday 31 May 2020

What a difference a friend makes...

.... Especially one bearing an apple core.

Yes finally we are allowed to meet up for walk and picnics with our friends again. Hooray! Here I am on Friday just past, enjoying warm sunshine in Durris Forest with our lovely neighbours Neil and Yvonne.

Since Gail was far too busy nattering with her dear pals, she neglected to take any more photos of this most agreeable six mile walk around the edges of an irregular patchwork of ancient woodland and conifer plantations. Well anyway, the phone camera would have failed to capture the calm green tranquility of the views across the Lower Deeside hills, the slight buzz of excitement felt at the sight of remnant patches of snow on the distant Cairngorm plateau, the heady coconut smell of gorse mingled with the sweet pine scents nearby, the fresh colours of wildflower abundant meadows, and the lively birdsong soundtrack still relatively undisturbed by road and air traffic...

Life feels better!

Thursday 28 May 2020

Preparing for re-entry

As of today, we in Scotland are allowed, for the first time in over two months, to meet up with people from one other household for outdoor, socially distanced exercise.

In preparation for the forthcoming hectic social whirl, Gail has been busy this week giving me a summer strip and clip. I must say that the lamb bone I received (see previous post) greatly facilitated the smooth running of this operation.

I think you'll agree I'm looking pretty spiffy.

But Gail is now a bit peeved because, despite her considerable efforts, one of our more gossipy neighbours (not the one who gave me the lamb bone) made this unsolicited comment.

"Oh I always like the way you leave Bertie's coat natural and don't have him all groomed to the nth degree".

Fortunately for good relations in our street, it was only when we moved on that Gail started muttering under her breath about "if only she knew how much time I spend keeping you looking so 'natural'!"

By the way, Mrs Neighbour, this is what a 'natural' fox terrier coat looks like...
(photo off internet)

PS I regret to report that Gail's haircut situation is becoming increasingly desperate ...

Monday 25 May 2020

A lockdown bone-us

First a text message... 

Then a bag left hung on the front door knob...

Then an afternoon of bliss...

Thank you so much to our lovely neighbours Freda and Martin!

Friday 22 May 2020

"Allo, allo, allo! Wot's goin' on 'ere then?"

The allure of a delightfully acrid aroma stopped me in my tracks as we were crossing Potarch Bridge at the start of our Wednesday afternoon walk*. But Gail, who could see over the bridge parapet, tugged at my lead, saying, "hurry along Bertie, we need to look like we're exercising".

And she explained the scene on the river bank below. Two youngsters, enjoying a picnic in the sun, had just been 'spoken to' by a couple of local police and, given that the youngsters were packing up their things, it seems they had been 'advised' to move on. 

So we crossed hastily into Sluie Woods, and only when well clear of the road did Gail stop muttering under her breath about there perhaps being more effective ways to prevent coronavirus from spreading, and start to relax a bit and enjoy the warm sweet smell of pine resin and the splashes of wildflowers on the trackside verges. 

At the end of the walk, and noting that the police car had gone and no-one else was around, Gail allowed me a wee paddle in the river just upstream of the bridge. 

I do believe she was wishing she could go for a swim herself...

*Gail confesses to stretching the definition of 'local area' a bit for this otherwise fully 'lockdown compliant' hike.

Happy Nature Friday friends! And once again, massive thanks to Arty, Jakey and Rosy for hosting the Blog Hop.

Wednesday 20 May 2020

Pipped at the post

I've been so missing our trips over to the Torridon cottage, which I understand is off-limits just now, due to it not being our 'primary residence'.

So I asked Gail when she thinks these coronavirus restrictions might be lifted. She sighed and said:

"I don't know Bertie, I guess we just need to be patient and remember we're lucky to have such a beautiful, peaceful retreat, however long we have to wait to go there again."

I wondered perhaps if I might write a poem to express the yearning to escape from the city to a haven of water-side tranquillity, but Gail pointed out that I'd been pipped at the post by Irish poet William Butler Yeats. Here's the last verse of his 'The Lake of Innisfree' (1888).

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear lake water lapping with low sounds on the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, and on the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

I guess Mr Yeats put it even better than I could have.
(photo taken last year) 

Monday 18 May 2020

Multi-tasking lap dog

Are you ever used as a book rest?

Gail has been engrossed in some weighty volumes these lockdown times.

I'm beginning to think it's time she got a Kindle. Before I need to be renamed 'Flattened Bertie' ...

Friday 15 May 2020

Pretty wildflowers and Bertie's rear end....

Which pictures do you prefer?
Cuckoo flower
Bertie's rear end
Wild garlic
Bertie's rear end
Pink purslane
Bertie's rear end
Garlic mustard
Bertie's rear end
Red campion
Bertie's rear end

Did you enjoy our riverside walk? The path is accessed from behind the supermarket (Sainsbury's at Garthdee) car park, so you get a 'two for the price of one' outing!
Bertie's front end! 

Happy Nature Friday friends! Do go and visit the other posts in the LLB Gang's wonderful blog hop.

Wednesday 13 May 2020

Roberto, il parrucchiere che rimbalza

Well you know things are getting bad when even Gail, not notably the best groomed human on the planet, is looking slightly anxious on learning that hairdressers in the UK will not be opening until 4th July at the earliest*.

Fret not Gail, Bertie to the rescue! I have opened my very own hairdressing salon...

I understand that your regular hairdresser Federico is Italian. So to help you feel at home I have, for professional purposes, adopted a new name, 'Roberto, il Parrucchiere che Rimbalza' (which, if Google Translate is to be believed, means 'Bertie the Bouncing Hairdresser').

My salon is well equipped with stripping knives, thinning scissors, pinking shears, combs and all the necessary accoutrements for a smart fur hair cut. All thoroughly sanitised with my very own undiluted saliva.

Now if you would just like to lie down on the rug so I can reach, and I'll give you a nice chew to keep you occupied while I get to work. 

And no, I'm sure my lack of opposable thumbs won't be a handicap.

Maybe you want your highlights re-touched too? Absolutely not a problem. 

Er Gail, surely you're not heading out on your bicycle again are you....? You know your hair looks a mess! 

*Gail says: the way things are going, it could be even later in Scotland when hairdressers are allowed to reopen, which conjures up the interesting prospect of Scots making special trips across the border for an illicit English haircut!

Monday 11 May 2020

Friday 8 May 2020

Cherry blossom special

When I suggested we devote this week's Nature Friday post to the beautiful cherry blossom which is softening the granite grey of our Aberdeen streets right now, Gail had the bright idea that I should wear something pink to coordinate with the trees.

I'll be honest with you, I had a nightmare flashback as I remembered the pink frock I once was forced agreed to wear in remembrance of Whitley, my Westie friend from Texas. But Gail assured me she had in mind something much more, er, macho, namely a bow tie hand knitted from some scraps of wool she'd recently found when cleaning out yet another long neglected cupboard.

I think we can all agree that this creation was not Gail's finest hour on the knitting front* - too big and floppy for a bow tie and too short for a scarf.

But thankfully the cherry blossom came up to scratch, which is all that matters for a Nature Friday post, as I'm sure our blog hop hosts Arty, Jakey and Rosy will agree.

*Apologies for the mixed wartime metaphor. We're been hearing too much about the 75th anniversary of VE Day this week!

Thursday 7 May 2020

More tramps in the Gramps

It was a lovely bright day, with the air fresh and clean, the trees bursting into leaf and all the birds a-twitter. So instead of completing the usual morning circumnavigation of Duthie Park, Gail announced, half-way round, and with the carefree spirit of the newly retired, that perhaps we might continue on south across the river and go up to Kincorth Nature Reserve, locally known as the 'Gramps'.

You'll remember we've been up to the 'Gramps' before. However this time Gail decided, undeterred by her scratchy experience in Durris Forest last week, that we should investigate some of the less well marked paths and this took us into an area of gorse covered heathland in the southwestern corner of the nature reserve. 

Fortunately the path was wide enough that the protective properties of my wiry coat were not called into action despite the profusion of prickly gorse bushes, and after a while we found a farm track leading into a housing estate. 

Gail seemed underwhelmed by the prospect of a walk through the maze of rather dreary local authority housing, but I had spotted something interesting and encouraged her to continue onwards.

Look, we have Clerk Maxwell Crescent,

Boyd Orr Avenue,

and Dugald Baird Square.

Of course you will already have worked out that these streets are all named after eminent scientists and medical professionals with a connection to Aberdeen. What better place for a Boffin to explore!

We eventually found our way round to the periphery of the 'Gramps',

and finally back into Duthie Park, completing our morning circuit about two hours later than planned.

Look, here's the route. (We are thrilled to learn that at least one local friend has been appreciating these little maps and might even be using them as the basis for lockdown explorations of their own!)