Thursday, 22 July 2021

Bertie demonstrates the WFT beard swirl

Gail tells me that we are about to set off for England for a few days, to see friends and relatives for the first time in over 16 months. Apparently there is a heat wave Down South and I am supposed to be grateful she just spent an arm and a leg getting the A/C in her car finally fixed, especially for me.

I think I'm worth it, don't you?

Blog service may be interrupted over the next week,

Monday, 19 July 2021

A rarely-reported side effect of the Astra Zeneca jab?

On Saturday morning Gail shut the new glass door in the cottage firmly in my face, ignoring my plaintive look while announcing "I'm just off to see a new neighbour Bertie, I'll be back soon".

Half an hour later she returned and showed me some pictures.

So it seems that my Irish terrier friend Dooley has acquired a new baby brother, also an Irish terrier, eight weeks old and yet to be named.

At this point I think I'm supposed to look delighted and say: "Isn't he a cute puppy. Lucky Dooley". 

Dooley is the same age as me, eleven years old, and he is apparently uncertain about the new arrival.

Gosh I totally understand. I like being the only dog in the house and have always hoped Gail is aware of this.

Well the good news is that apparently Gail does realise that I might not welcome a pesky little sibling. 

But you could have knocked me down with a feather when she revealed something she'd hitherto been keeping secret! Back in March, the day after her first Covid shot, Gail got wind of a new litter of Lakeland terriers and drove 30 miles, deep into the Aberdeenshire hills, to see these wee pups. She even took a couple of photos.

She says the pups were totally adorable, that the owners were responsible breeders etc. etc. and she was very, very tempted. But after sleeping on the matter, and with great reluctance, she decided not to risk my disapproval with an addition to the household.

And now, when people ask Gail if she experienced any side effects after her Covid vaccination, she replies thus:

"Yes, I very nearly bought a puppy!"

Friday, 16 July 2021

Nature and Art

I expect you are looking at the photo above and thinking "there's Bertie idling away the afternoon on the sofa again, how many naps does a dog need?"

How wrong you would be.

In fact I was deep in philosophical contemplation of the relationship between art and nature, thoughts prompted by a new picture on the wall behind me in the Torridon cottage. 

Let's have a closer look at it.

And even closer.

Leaving aside the obvious shortcoming that it does not feature a handsome fox terrier posing in the foreground, I think it's rather a fine work of art, don't you? 

It is a 'feltscape' which Gail commissioned from Torridon-based artist Sheila Bates last year. Sheila worked from one of Gail's photos of Loch Torridon.

You might wonder why we would need a picture of the natural beauty which surrounds the cottage when we could just step outside and look around us. But Gail says she loves the colours and texture of the feltwork and she reminds me that in winter when it is dark and cold, having this evocative interpretation of the landscape to look at inside our cosy warm cottage (the renovation included an extra layer of insulation) will be no bad thing.

You can learn more about Sheila's felted pure wool creations on her website, 'Florrie Felts'

I wonder if she ever does dogs?

Happy Nature Friday friends. Thanks once again to Rosy and the rest of the LLB Gang for hosting the blog hop.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021


I'm a pedigree,
And proud.

Part white, part black,
I nothing lack! 
I'm proud.

Canis familiaris
Is what I is!
Quite proud.

A Scot, a Brit,
Both labels fit! 
So proud. 

Monday, 12 July 2021

The perfectly placed log

When Gail and I join our friends M & J for a morning walk, we always stop for elevenses - a flask of coffee and a biscuit for the humans, and a chewy treat for me. 

Because we generally aim for 'paths less trodden' there are rarely any picnic tables along the way, and so the humans are now well practiced at spotting a conveniently placed and suitably sized log.

Here is a small selection. Tell me, which log is your favourite one and why?

Cowie Water

Maryculter Community Woodland - top of hill

Maryculter Community Woodland - by Crynoch Burn

River Dee near Crathes 

Paradise Wood

Friday, 9 July 2021

The cottage garden and beyond

So we start this week's Nature Friday with morning in the garden of our Torridon cottage, and some roses for Rosy.

(The roses are ever so slightly past their best, unlike our friend Rosy, who is of course in full bloom).

Later in the day I lead Gail on a wee adventure into the hills.

Yes of course I'm still up for new adventures! So long as they don't involve climbing too steep slopes these days.

Finally we're home again to the cottage to enjoy the evening scene from just outside our front gate. 

Happy Nature Friday friends! 

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

That sinking feeling...

I am not quite sure what I think about the fact that our Torridon cottage now has a utility room and in it there's a sink, apparently chosen with my paw washing needs in mind...

Gail says it is the perfect fit.

Monday, 5 July 2021

All in its rightful place

Oh I'm so thrilled! It's simply the best news ever!

Just when I had given up hope of ever seeing my favourite sofa again, it has magically reappeared in the Torridon cottage. 

(Gail tells me it was there all along, upside down in another room while the renovation work was taking place.)

I'll be honest, travelling tires me these days, and aside from the occasional gentle stroll by the loch, I've barely shifted from the sofa since we arrived here on Friday. 

I mean, who knows, it might disappear again if not carefully guarded.

Gail tells me that my friends will want to see how the cottage is looking now that the renovation work is all but complete. She thinks you might not be so interested in more photos of me relaxing on an old piece of furniture. 

Well, here's a wee peek at the new kitchen at least.

And from the front garden you can see the big new windows and the not yet quite complete porch. 

I must apologise for neglecting my blog friends this weekend. When one's assistant is so preoccupied with duster, mop and vacuum cleaner etc. (most unusual...) what's a pup to do? 

Finally on Sunday afternoon, Gail recovered from her cleaning and tidying mania. She drove me across to the village of Shieldaig on the other side of Loch Torridon. While I puzzled over the local graffiti, Gail consumed a medicinal ice cream, and then we both enjoyed another short but scenic loch-side saunter.

Now back to my sofa...

Thursday, 1 July 2021

"He eez doing amazing"

Gosh our humans sometimes get all worked up about not very much, don't they?

So OK, I'll concede I might have been acting a bit strangely earlier this week, although I would dispute Gail's claims that I was "totally out of it" and "staggering around like a drunken zombie".

Anyway, despite the fact that by yesterday I was feeling a whole lot livelier and no longer nauseous, Gail took me to visit my nice Spanish vet Mar. (Well she's nice when she's not sticking things up my bum.)

After examining me carefully - weight, temperature, heart, abdomen, eyes, the rear end business etc. - and reviewing my urine analysis results and her notes on how my condition has evolved since the bladder tumour (TCC) diagnosis last September, Mar pronounced the following verdict:

"He eez doing AMAZING!"

So to all my dear friends who expressed concern after reading Gail's post yesterday, I just want to say Thank You and Panic Over.

Wednesday, 30 June 2021

Bertie takes a turn for the worse

Gail here:

It was a pleasant day on Sunday when Bertie and I met our friends M and J for a walk around the woods near Potarch Bridge. 

Over the past year I have noticed how Bertie's and M and J's walking speeds have converged, with my dear little pup slowing down and my senior friends showing increasing benefits of regular exercise plus determination.  

Bertie was particularly slow on Sunday, and appeared at times not quite 'all there' although he perked up nicely for a photo in the café where the humans enjoyed post-walk refreshments.

Come Monday, Bertie seems very much out of sorts. Unsteady on his feet, unwilling to climb the stairs, we manage a short walk by the harbour mouth and I let him take time to sniff around to his little heart's content.

He waits patiently while I watch a spectacular dolphin display (sadly too far offshore for me to catch on the phone).

Home in the evening, I carry Bertie upstairs to join me viewing the Tour de France highlights on TV. Bertie is as wobbly on his four paws as the cyclists were on their two wheels. 

Later he vomits profusely on my bed and has an 'accident' dampening the hall carpet. 

Tuesday, with Bertie no better, I call the vet. We have an appointment for this (i.e Wednesday) afternoon.

Any feelings of happiness at the imminent completion of building work on my Torridon cottage are tempered by sorrow, as I recognise that Bertie may not be around for long to keep me company there.

Life's ups and downs.

Monday, 28 June 2021

How long did your house take to build?

It seems scarcely possible after so many walks within Aberdeen city limits over the past year, but earlier this month a neighbourhood stroll took us down a street we'd not explored before. 

We stopped to look more closely at the plaque on this house.

Gail says that perhaps Mr W. J. Anderson could have taught the builder working on the Torridon cottage a thing or two about timely project completion.

In our Torridon builder's defence, we recognise that the Jubilee house construction did not involve creating a new opening in an existing supporting wall made of super-sized boulders...

The good news is that the building work is now essentially complete and later in the week Gail and I are heading over to Torridon with dustpan and brush (and nearly-new vacuum cleaner kindly donated by our friend YAM-aunty). 

It's going to be a busy time at the cottage, so I am getting in training.

Friday, 25 June 2021

Nature Friday revenge...

I bet you would be annoyed, as I was, if your owner spent the sunny part of the day cycling with her Thursday morning 'girls' and only took you out to look for some Nature Friday inspiration later on, when it had started raining.

To compound my irritation, when I spotted a fine display of cuckoo flower (aka Lady's Smock) Gail seemed hesitant to follow me along the overgrown path to where she could photograph the delicate lilac blooms close up.

Her excuse was that she had noticed an abundance of stinging nettles beside the path and she was still wearing her cycling shorts.

Of course us WFTs have furs designed specially for romping through undergrowth unscathed, and remembering how I'd earlier that day been abandoned in favour of the bicycle, I put my paw down and insisted Gail follow me with her camera (phone), nettles or no nettles.

Did you know that the cuckoo flower is so called because its first blooms reliably coincide with the arrival of the bird itself each spring?

Cuckoo flowers are common round these parts, but that doesn't, I think, mean they're not a pleasing sight.

Gail's red and blotchy nettle stung calves are a less attractive proposition, and so I'll spare you any photos of those...  

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

Wednesday, 23 June 2021

One worried owner

So Gail asked me something quite unexpected when we were out walking by the river yesterday.

"Bertie, tell me truthfully, you do like me don't you?"

This question came as a surprise as heretofore I had never thought of my owner as the sort of needy person who constantly seeks reassurance in this manner.

So I stopped and gave her a friendly smile before asserting my customary independence.

It was only after we arrived home and I noticed this headline in Gail's 'New Scientist' magazine that I worked out the source of her concern.

So it seems some researchers in South America have found that dog owners tend to over-estimate the strength of the bond they have with their pets.

I must say, I think I would have enjoyed taking part in this particular scientific study, as it apparently involved fitting free-roaming pet dogs with GPS collars and tracking their journeys on Navarino Island in Southern Chile for three weeks. At the end of the roaming period each dog's relationship with its owner was assessed using an 'attachment test' adapted from parent-child bonding research in humans. The dogs who roamed furthest tended to rate low on the attachment test, despite their owners having previously considered the bond with the dog to be strong.

Now I think we can all see some potential flaws in the methodology of this study, and perhaps doubt its applicability to fox terriers living in urban Scotland. And the lack of any mention of the use of treats to reinforce the bonding process is, I think, a serious omission.

Nonetheless, I would be quite happy to do my bit for science and volunteer to join the next phase of the research on Navarino Island - the more so as I read that one of the dogs in the original study travelled 28 kilometers from base and several of them brought home carcasses of native birds and muskrats. 

It all sounds tremendously good fun, don't you think?