Friday 30 July 2021

Evolutionary theory and the WFT beard...

I woke up all worried early yesterday morning, concerned I didn't yet have anything sorted out for this week's Nature Friday. 

Gail seemed uncharacteristically reluctant to rouse herself, so I asked to be let out into the back garden.

Can you believe that when I came back inside and jumped on her bed a few minutes later, sporting the perfect Nature Friday material about my person, my owner seemed unimpressed...

Until, that is, I reminded her how Charles Darwin had long ago recognised that animals and birds carrying seeds in their furs and feathers were an important means by which different plant species are dispersed around the globe, and these ideas on species distribution formed a key building block in Darwin's Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection. I can only surmise that the great man omitted to cite the particular case of wire-haired fox terrier beards introducing plant seeds into new environments (such as human bedding) due to his need to publish 'The Origin of Species' ahead of his rival evolutionary theorist, Alfred Russel Wallace.

Happy Nature Friday friends! And huge thanks once again to our dear friends Rosy, Arty, Jakey and Sunny, for hosting our favourite blog hop.

Wednesday 28 July 2021

A tale of five houses in England

So I've been away in England for a few days with Gail, visiting various friends and relatives.

First stop was Gail's friends in Cumbria, where we were warned that Dora, their Jack Russell terrier rescue dog, might need putting in her place.

I duly obliged by marking my territory in the kitchen of this rather grand country establishment immediately upon arrival, and all went relatively well thereafter.

Then it was further south to Derbyshire, to the lovely farmhouse where Gail's brother and sister-in-law live, along, of course, with Coco my standard poodle cousin (who is thankfully not as bossy as her late brother Percy). 

I'm pleased to report we had time for a brief diversion to inspect Gail's nephew's recently purchased and very pleasant new home. No animals here (as yet?) but an ever expanding collection of cars which Gail's brother somehow omitted from his photos of nephew and aunt. He also omitted my legs and the lower half of my body, not that I'm being critical of his camera skills or anything...

Onwards  to Nottingham, where I couldn't wait to enter our friend Janet's modest terraced house, as I just knew there would be the warmest of welcomes along with loving attention and plentiful belly rubs. 

I'd have happily stayed longer, but after three days of blissful existence with Janet, Gail said we had one more visit to make, to her friends from prehistoric times university days, who live in Pocklington, a pretty market town in Yorkshire.

Two cats, Jack and Jess, also reside here, one is apparently rather neurotic and it goes without saying that both are very annoying. Although Gail seemed to think it a good thing that I'd tired myself out trying to chase Jess (the non-neurotic one) round the garden, as I subsequently slept soundly all through the night and for the duration of the long drive back to Aberdeen. 

Gail and I are now safely home after six days Down South, both tired but happy to have re-established contact with friends and family, and (maybe) their pets.

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.