Monday 30 August 2021

Sunday fun with Kirsty and Ella

Gail and I joined neighbour Kirsty and her recently adopted toy poodle Ella for a Sunday walk along the River Esk near Edzell.

Kirsty spotted a bird (it turned out to be a dipper)...

...and I spotted an opportunity...

...then Ella spotted that she might somehow be missing out.

Friday 27 August 2021

A compromise post

Sometimes I think I understand my readership better than my human does. 

She said I should put a bunch of her photos of mushrooms in various states of decay on today's post, but I just know you'd rather see pictures of me happily trotting through the forest last week while Gail had her camera mostly pointed towards the ground.

Since compromise is at the heart of any good relationship, we agreed to feature both me and the fungi.

But I was right (about which pictures you'd prefer) wasn't I?

PS from Gail: It's been a relatively good week with Bertie.

Happy Nature Friday! And thanks to our lovely LLB Gang friends for once again hosting the blog hop.

Wednesday 25 August 2021

Still enjoying my walkies

There's nothing like a dose of sea air for recharging the batteries, forgetting one's own woes and letting the mind breathe.

And here's a sort of relevant poem from Scotland's fine new Makar (National Poet).



Well, friend, we’re here again—
            sauntering the last half-mile to the land’s frayed end
to find what’s laid on for us, strewn across the turf—
gull feathers, bleached shells,
                                        a whole bull seal, bone-dry,
knackered from the rut
(we knock on his leathern head, but no one’s home).

Change, change—that’s what the terns scream
                                        down at their seaward rocks;
fleet clouds and salt kiss—
everything else is provisional,
                                        us and all our works.
I guess that’s why we like it here:
                         listen—a brief lull,
                                        a rock pipit’s seed-small notes.

“Fianuis” is from The Bonniest Company (2015) © Kathleen Jamie

Monday 23 August 2021

Park chat and Bertie update

As I was being photo-bombed by some park pals on a cloudy Sunday morning, their owners were chatting to Gail. 

They complimented Gail on how fit I looked and what a handsome dog etc. (They don't know about my 'peeing issues'.)

You'd think Gail would be pleased by such comments but I noticed a look of distress flicker across her face before she put on her customary smile and said thank you.

PS from Gail: After a long discussion on Friday with Mar, Bertie's caring and thoughtful vet, she concluded "it might be time to let him go".  It's an agonising choice I have to make, as Bertie still can appear quite well, but so clearly isn't. We continue to take things a day at a time. 

Friday 20 August 2021

A Friday mystery...

While Gail is having to wait a while longer to speak to the vet about my latest peeing issues etc., today I want to tell you about strange occurrence here in Aberdeen.

After four nights away in our Torridon cottage, Gail and I returned to base late Wednesday evening.

As it was dark when we arrived home, we did not notice until morning that, in our absence, a golf club had mysteriously appeared in the middle of our back lawn.

The garden is enclosed on all sides by a 4 - 5 ft high wall, and none of our neighbours are the type to toss random objects into other people's properties, so Gail was at a loss to explain the presence of the golf club. She was a little concerned that an intruder (whom I would of course have scared away had I been in residence) might have been snooping around, and so, after some hesitation, she phoned the police.

Initially the policewoman on the other end of the line appeared to be treating the incident seriously, but her suggested explanation indicated otherwise. 

"Perhaps a seagull flew over and dropped it there."

Wednesday 18 August 2021

Two sides of the story

Gail here.

You see in the pictures a dear beloved dog snoozing comfortably on the sofa.

You see him happily roaming along a soft boggy path on the Applecross peninsula, managing a five mile walk with ease, so long as no steep climbs are involved.

The pictures do not lie. But neither do they tell the whole story.

What you don't see is the dog straining for up to a minute to empty his bladder, contorting his slender frame into increasingly awkward positions, a thin pink trickle coming out, pain in his deep-set eyes. You don't see his frequent 'accidents' indoors, and the fact that he now shares my bed at night only by virtue of wearing a 'dog nappy' to prevent leakages. You don't see, on every  place where he rests, a discreetly positioned super-absorbant puppy training pad underneath his familiar blanket.  You don't see the washing machine in near continuous use. You don't see the door to my front room in Aberdeen permanently closed to try to preserve at least one part of the house free of the acrid whiff of the dog pee which a shelf full of disinfecting and odour eliminating products cannot completely disguise.

You don't see a deaf dog standing in my hallway, tail at half mast, a look of bewilderment on his fuzzy little face as he tries to make sense of his near-silent world.

Tomorrow, when I've summoned the strength, another phone call to the vet. Bertie is already on thrice daily medication. I am not convinced that the answer lies in yet more tablets.

Sunday 15 August 2021

Boogie Woogie Bertie

Phew. I am so relieved. Gail and I arrived at the Torridon cottage yesterday afternoon, only to find the broadband internet down, and thus we are having to rely on a feeble mobile signal so thankfully haven't much time to dwell on how I forgot my restaurant manners at the Boogie Woogie Café in Keith on the way over here, so tempting was the deliciously cheesy cheese scone that Gail ordered with her coffee. We might just manage to upload a picture of me preparing myself for my leap up to the table to grab said scone...

Time for Gail to go outside and brave peak midge in order to find enough signal to publish this post...

Friday 13 August 2021

No fox?

I am very cross with Gail.

Yesterday I overheard her telling our friend and neighbour Kirsty that she'd seen a fox strolling down the road, bold as brass in broad daylight, when she took me for a late afternoon walk around the block earlier in the week. 


I hope that when you are getting on in life, and have lost your hearing and a good part of your sight* your human will not take advantage of the fact to keep you in ignorance of certain very exciting encounters when you go for a stroll together.

Anyway, I insisted Gail take me out again, same route, same time, and introduce me to the new local resident and maybe get his photo, but I'm afraid all I have to show you from that walk is some of the flowers in our neighbourhood front gardens.

Which frankly is not nearly so interesting as a fox, but will have to do for this week.

Japanese anemone
Sweet pea

Happy Nature Friday friends! And thanks once again to Rosy and the rest of the LLB Gang. Enjoy their blog hop.

*Gail says: I'm afraid Bertie has reached the "He is deaf and three parts blind" verse of Rudyard Kipling's poem 'His Apologies".

Wednesday 11 August 2021

Behind her back....

On Monday we went for a trot around the 'Gramps'.

While Gail was lining up a shot of Aberdeen's offshore wind farm...

Yours truly took the opportunity to sneak off for a wallow in a nicely muddy pond.

Apparently Gail found this episode less funny than I did.

Monday 9 August 2021

Empty shelves and a neolithic cairn

I call it a catastrophe. Gail says the fact that the dog treat shelves in the supermarket were half empty this weekend is a 'First World Problem', and there are plenty of good substitutes for Gravy Bones.

We both blame the combination of Covid and Brexit for the shortages.

I am now living in hope that home-baked liver cookies are coming my way soon. 

Meanwhile, I'm pleased to report that Gail and I went on a very nice walk through the Finzean (pronounced 'Fingun') Estate on Saturday with our friends M and J. 

After admiring the view of the hills to the south, we trudged through long wet grass to what Gail tells me is a neolithic burial cairn but to my mind is a pile uneven stones, too uncomfortable on the paws for this WFT to want to climb. 

Friday 6 August 2021

Bertie presents a Nature Friday Sonnet


Bouncing Bertie's Sonnet no.1

A summer afternoon so blithely spent,
An amble down the coastal path to Cove,
The dog and human perfectly content,
The route a vibrant floral treasure trove.
Harebells and willowherb and meadowsweet,
And vetch, angelica and tormentil,
And thistles various, and to complete
The scene, a spotted burnet moth, quite still.
To one side, sea, for once both blue and calm,
Inland, the railway line, a train glides by,
And nearby, from the local rare breeds farm,
Some longhorn cattle languorously lie.
And up above, fine wisps of cloud, so light
And fragile – an ephemeral delight.  

PS from Gail: Lovers of English poetry might have noted that Bertie's Nature Friday sonnet owes a debt to one of my all time favourites, Adlestrop by Edward Thomas, a poem so evocative of the countryside in England in high summer. It was also inspired, of course, by a walk Bertie and I took on Wednesday this week, down the coast just south of Aberdeen, from Doonies Rare Breeds Farm to Cove Harbour.