Friday 30 October 2020

The whippets wimp out...

Every cloud has a silver lining, it seems. 

I was sorry, really I was, to learn a couple of weeks ago that Muriel, one of Gail's cycling pals, had cracked several ribs after taking a nasty tumble on a corner at the base of a steep descent, and would be off her bicycle for a while.

But I was not at all sorry when I was invited a few days ago to join the cyclists for a supposedly gentle hill walk, the group having for once forsaken their two wheeled transport and opted for an activity in which the injured Muriel could participate.

I'll confess, however, to being a tad put out when Gail told me that two young whippets would also form part of the hiking group, and said that she hoped I would be able to keep up!!

It reminded me of how much Human Grandad always hated the idea of anyone thinking of him as "decrepit". Us senior males have our pride you know.

So, please observe, here I am, leading the charge up the Hill of Fare. Close behind me is Muriel, and you can't even see those whippets, they are so far back.

Oh, at last, here are said whippets, looking thoroughly miserable and out of their element and each having a good old grumble. "Oooh, I don't like to get any of that horrid wet mud on my pretty little paws.... Oooh I hope the heather won't scratch my delicate skin...."

I think we can guess who summited the hill first...

.... and which of the pups opted to go straight back down the easiest way possible, and which one stayed the course and completed the much longer circuit (about eight miles) with absolutely no difficulty what so ever. 

Happy Nature Friday friends. If you want to go out and enjoy nature, I think it's clear that your best companion is a terrier. Or of course a Lhasa Apso or a Shih Tzu...

PS from Gail: since Bertie's bladder cancer diagnosis at the end of last month, I treasure every day I spend with him when he is so happy and full of life.

Wednesday 28 October 2020

Monday 26 October 2020

Wanted: a new camera operator

Essential Skills 

  • An ability to stand up straight when sudden gusts of wind hit*
  • And to keep a firm grip on what ever device is being used for filming at that particular moment
Desirable attributes 
  • Deep pockets (literally and metaphorically) for treats to reward subject for patiently posing even in the most trying circumstances
  • The emotional intelligence to realise when one's subject has had quite enough of filming
In case you are wondering why I have posted this advert, please watch video below.

*In my opinion the ideal candidate should weigh more than 9 stone (126 lb, 57 kg), although I am told I'm not allowed to put this in the actual job advert as it might be considered discriminatory...

Friday 23 October 2020

Bad decisions and delusions...

Today, Nature Friday, I want to return to the perennial topic of how humans (mine in particular) so often make bad decisions. 

I would of course hope this week to be bringing you photos of the glorious Deeside seasonal colours, the wooded landscape resplendent in the soft glow of the October sunshine, blah, blah, blah...

But all I have on offer is a city street, and fallen leaves swept into the gutter by yet another autumnal downpour.

Oh bad luck Gail and Bertie, I hear you thinking, it's obviously been raining all week in your part of the world.

However, this is not actually the case. Take for example Wednesday. The day dawned mild and bright. So the first thought of any caring owner would surely be to take their beloved pup for a nice long walk in the countryside. Not a difficult decision. Except...

Gail blithely announces that her Thursday cycling ladies, having carefully studied the weather forecast, have altered their routine and are heading out a day early to make the most of the sunshine.

How could they enjoy themselves while knowing me to be alone and pining? 

Gail eventually came home, all rosy-cheeked and cheerful from her pandemic-compliant bicycle ride (apparently these days her friends have formed themselves, as per current requirements, into an 'organised group' with proper affiliations, a 'Covid officer' and appropriately documented Covid-specific risk assessment). 

She told me how three of the cyclists had earlier in the week taken advantage of another rare window of fine weather and ridden from Montrose down the North Sea coast to Carnoustie then back via Forfar, and how they said it had "felt like they were by the Mediterranean".


Hmmm. As much as the experts insist exercise and congenial company are good for our humans' mental health, I have to question if that is the case when said company includes folk deluded enough to see a resemblance between Montrose  (a drab little town situated on one of less enticing stretches of the Scottish coastline) and the Med...

I'm hoping Gail will henceforth decide that going for walks with her very sensible and mentally stable WFT is the better option on a sunny day.

Happy Nature Friday friends! And thanks once again to my delightful friends Jakey, Arty, Rosy and Sunny, for hosting the blog hop.

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Monday 19 October 2020

A weekend search for sunshine

I checked in the park.

I hunted in the woods.

I climbed a hill to look.

I visited the beach.

I went down to the river, and caught a fleeting glimpse.

Then I kept watch at the window, but it was back to greyness.

Only in my dreams the skies were clear and the sun shone long and bright.

Friday 16 October 2020

Outshone by a tree?

I am not at all happy that Gail has chosen to make a sycamore tree in Duthie Park, and not me, the centrepiece of this week's Nature Friday post.

Especially as I want you know to know that I am feeling quite perky at the moment. The medication I've been prescribed to ease my bladder cancer symptoms seems to suit me well. I'm enjoying my food and my walks and, of course, looking as adorable as ever.

Don't forget to go and visit the other posts the LLB Gang's Nature Friday blog hop. 

Wednesday 14 October 2020

Application for Covid Sniffer Dog post

Out of every crisis comes an opportunity. 

Did you see this in the papers?

So dogs have been trained to sniff out people with Covid-19. A job that would surely suit me. Here's my application. 

Basic Details

Name: Bouncing Bertie (Kennel Club name: Granddach Beinn Alligin)
Breed: Fox terrier (wire-haired)
Age: 10 years 8 months

Relevant experience 
  • Sniffing trees, lamp posts, and everything else that comes my way 
  • Er, more sniffing 

Personal statement

Look, if that spaniel above can do the job, then so can I. We have a spaniel living next door and frankly she's not that smart. Regarding the sniffing business, visitors to my house over the years will attest that I am particularly attentive to male human feet, with or without socks. Also I am an experienced international traveller, so would feel right at home in, say, an airport or ferry terminal, checking people as they enter the UK (something our government has, to date, signally failed to do). Being a terrier, I am quite a persistent wee chappie, and eager to learn. Please note, that thing about old dogs and news tricks is a bunch of lies! But I would like to point out I am well past the stage of life when I would annoy strangers by nipping at their ankles. Of course, I would expect to be appropriately, no generously, rewarded for my efforts - slivers of finest Aberdeen Angus fillet steaks at each break time, at a minimum. My owner is retired so has plenty of time to assist in my training. The fact that I once was a finalist in the Ambassadog for Scotland competition is surely a point in my favour too. Oh and did I mention I'm pretty good at sniffing? 

I look forward to receiving a job offer shortly...

Sunday 11 October 2020

Bertie reflects on the first snow of winter

A Transient Delight

The path I tread right now is rough, unclear,
Dark clouds loom over all that I hold dear.
Although my body has not failed me yet,
And on I bounce, no obvious cause to fret,
Inside me grows a mass, malignant, cruel,
And laughs at me for being such a fool.

A fool to think that things would never change,
That ever onwards I would gaily range
Across this damp, expansive, Northern land,
At once inspiring, peaceful, wild, and grand. 
Should I feel grateful to have known the feel,
Of happiness, of life lived free and real?

I look ahead and see a mountain capped
With freshly fallen snow. I sit down, rapt, 
And contemplate the thin veneer of white.
Such unexpected, transient delight. 
Just hours later, melted clean away,
Like us, its time on earth too short a stay.  

Friday 9 October 2020

A surfeit of fresh air?

So here's me, earlier in the day, all bright and raring to go for another Torridon walk with Richard and Tess. 

It's the time of year when the grass on the hills turns a golden rusty colour. It glows in the sunshine...

Although sunshine was in relatively short supply today...

Gail says that, especially in these times of limited social mixing, we are lucky to have hardy friends who are aren't put off walking by the occasional hail storm. To be honest, in my opinion, one can sometimes have one's fill of Nature, Fresh Air, and The Great Outdoors.

Happy Nature Friday friends. Do go and visit all the other posts in Rosy and the Gang's always enjoyable (whatever the weather) blog hop. 

Wednesday 7 October 2020

A refresher course in Bertie walking

I know, it feels like it was an earlier geological era, but do you remember when, back in March, I was over in Torridon training some new walking companions, Richard and Tess

Well a lot has happened since then, but I am delighted to report that I was finally able to meet up with my lovely Torridon neighbours again yesterday and, even better, they had not forgotten the lessons I taught. (Tess even remembered the 'humans should always carry dog-friendly shortbread in their pocket' bit of the course..)

Tess and Richard had heard about my recent diagnosis, and were a bit concerned I might only manage a short outing, but Gail told them she thought I'd be fine, so long as they allowed plenty of time for my pee stops. And let me tell you, it was not me who was holding up the party when we ventured the three miles up the rocky path from Annat to Loch an Eoin.

As you can see, the environment was, shall we say, Scotland-soggy, and I hope you will excuse my bedraggled appearance in the picture below. 

PS Any rumours that Gail carried me across the stepping stones after I refused to dip my paws in the fast flowing stream or balance on the uneven boulders are absolutely Fake News. 

Monday 5 October 2020

Knitting assistant Bertie gets bored

It is absolutely not my fault that Gail took for ever to finish the woolly jumper she started knitting back in the Spring...

In case you were wondering, I did not get in the way, I provided support.

Finally, courtesy of a very rainy weekend, the apparently never ending task was complete.

And thank goodness there was still time for a damp Sunday afternoon romp around Millstone Hill

Friday 2 October 2020

Appreciating each autumn day

I'm afraid my human has been wearing a long face these past few days. I've had to remind her that autumn is our favourite season. Who doesn't love the glorious colours and the crunchy leaves? 

In Duthie Park this week we've had (partly) sunny mornings...

And dull ones...

And rainy ones...

And all are in their own way beautiful at this time of year.

I think I've persuaded Gail to think like a dog and enjoy the moment. She says that all the kind words from our readers on Wednesday's post helped loads too. I even detected her smiling a little just then...

Happy Nature Friday friends. Thank you once again to the LLB Gang for hosting this, our favourite blog hop.