Monday 29 November 2021

Still in fashion

I'm pleased to report that Gail and I survived Storm Arwen on Friday night, with no damage to person or property in our little corner of Aberdeen. Gail felt a bit sorry for the folk who were stuck on a train inbetween here and Inverness for 17 hours, but in my experience Scotrail staff keep generous supplies of shortbread on board, so no-one would have had to go hungry. 

By Sunday the storm force winds had been replaced by snow and ice.

So Gail pulled my red 'Nordic snowflake' jumper out of my winter clothing bag and suggested I put it on for our planned outing to Forvie Nature Reserve.

For some reason she seemed delighted that I would be able to wear this home-knitted sweater for a second year, and rather scoffed when I expressed concern at being seen in last season's outfit. She assured me today's trend is for clothes which last, and that 'fast fashion' is no longer de rigueur. 


To say the weather at Forvie was changeable would be an understatement.

But I will say one constant was that everyone we met* on the hour long walk did comment on my fine knitwear. 

So I guess for once Gail was right. 

*Gail says: "everyone we met" - that would be just three other hardy walkers.

Friday 26 November 2021

Ahead of the storm

Back in Aberdeen, and Gail insists on a longer walk first thing this morning.

"Before Storm Arwen arrives".

Things don't look too bad in Duthie Park.

But by the time we reach the other side of the river the storm clouds are amassing and the wind gaining strength.

Time to hasten home! 

Did you know that our storms are named in alphabetical order?

Hmmm. So after Arwen, the next one will begin with B.

Storm Bertie has rather a fine ring to it, don't you think? 

Happy Nature Friday friends!  And thanks once again to our blog hop hosts the LLB Gang

Wednesday 24 November 2021

Too bedraggled?

It all started off so promisingly...

Gail was keen to investigate a new footpath she'd only just found out about. It goes through Kinloch Woodlands, a 3600 acre area of hill ground to the south of Shieldaig (half an hours drive from the Torridon cottage). The land is managed by a local charitable trust and a project aiming to regenerate native forest is underway.

Here's a map. The plan was to follow the path to Loch Dughaill,  indicated by the red dashed line. 

Please note - the map is 'upside down' with south at the top

A round trip of not much more than two miles. Easy peasy, right?

Except that before long the nice dry and well made track gave way to an indistinct path across rough and boggy ground...

Did I mention it's been raining a lot round here lately?

No photos were taken of the second half of the route, as we stumbled through the mire, teetered on slimy rocks to cross a rain-swollen torrent and at one point Gail had to carry me after my courage failed when faced with a stretch of hummocky marsh where you had to jump between tussocks of grass to avoid slipping awkwardly into the fetid mud. (The photo below, taken from the internet, is a good illustration of these conditions.) 

Shortly after we reached solid ground again Gail put me down but soon we turned back, with  the final descent to the Loch looking far from straightforward and Gail by now unwilling to tackle any further obstacles. To be honest, I wasn't sorry.

But can you believe that when a spectacular rainbow appeared in the sky near the end of the hike, Gail rejected my offer of my customary  'foreground interest' services on the basis that I looked "too bedraggled" and thus would spoil her photo...

Too bedraggled. What do you think?

Monday 22 November 2021

Challenging decisions in Torridon

So we're over at the Torridon cottage for a few days.

While the weather can't decide whether to rain or snow...

... I am struggling to choose between comfy bed and cosy fireside.

Are you facing any difficult dilemmas this week?

Friday 19 November 2021

Never mind the pink skies..


It is important when visiting the park at sunrise

Not to get distracted from the main task at hand (or paw)...

Happy Nature Friday friends!

Oh and we have a special bonus today - a late season fungal cascade spotted on an old beech stump in the woods by Banchory last week. Who can tell where the mushrooms end and the fallen leaves begin?

And just one more thing.

Can you believe we saw this solitary rhododendron flower in bloom (near where we saw the fungus)? In November!

Thanks once again to our dear friends, the LLB Gang, for hosting the blog hop. Gail and I were so very sorry to hear the recent sad news about Arty. He was an adorable worldwide superstar, a character without peer, and his immense contribution to Blogville will not be forgotten. We are sending Rosy, Jakey, Sunny and their Mama and Daddy more love and hugs as they come to terms with their loss.

Wednesday 17 November 2021

One's role in calming one's human...

For a while I couldn't work out the purpose of this installation, which appeared about six months ago at a road junction near our house. I also wondered why Gail wanted me to pose beside it earlier this week. 

It seems that Aberdeen City Council have put in these bicycle racks and maintenance stations equipped with tools for simple bike repairs at various locations around the town.

You might think Gail, who as we know is an enthusiastic cyclist (too enthusiastic, some might say), would approve, but apparently not.

I now realise that the 'photo opportunity' is simply an excuse for my owner to have a rant about how clueless the Council are about cyclists' needs, how if they'd ever talked to anyone who rode a bicycle they would realise it is pointless sticking a parking facility beside a busy junction but not near any shops or anywhere else where a cyclist might conceivably want to lock up their machine, and moreover why did the Council waste money on tools which are rusty already and which surely any cyclist prepared to do their own maintenance would already possess...

Gail says she can quite understand why I didn't know what to make of the installation as she hasn't once seen a bicycle anywhere near it since she first spotted it back in March or April. 

You will be relieved to know that once home I jumped on Gail's lap and allowed myself to be stroked, as this is a proven means of reducing blood pressure in humans....

Monday 15 November 2021

Teaching terrier ways

Gail took me for a walk around Dunecht Estate at the weekend, and my wee poodle neighbour Ella joined us while her owner Kirsty stayed home nursing a sore toe. 

When Ella first came to live on our street she was all shy and nervous, and I've noticed she tends to stay close to Kirsty or Gail when we're out and about, even when she isn't on a lead. Which in my view is disappointing behaviour. 

Although I am not that much older than Ella (she's nine and I'm eleven) I feel she looks up to me* - both literally and metaphorically - and I think of myself as her mentor.

And so on Saturday afternoon I tried to encourage her to be less timid and more adventurous, leading by example of course. 

Initially she seemed hesitant.

But soon she gained confidence.

Poodles are of course quick learners,

And by the end of the walk, I'm proud to say Ella was displaying a positively terrier like mindset, happily striking out to investigate some new scent, without heed to whether or not Gail approved...
Way to go Ella! 

*Gail feels this is wishful thinking on Bertie's part.

Friday 12 November 2021

Going, going, gone...

During our morning walk in Duthie Park, over the past month Gail and I have been monitoring the leaves on our favourite sycamore tree.

OK, strictly speaking, she has been doing the monitoring and I have mostly been busy sniffing around in the bushes, only briefly emerging to appear in the photos. 

If I feel like it. 

'Cos I'm a terrier and that's how I roll. 

10 October 2021

30 October 2021

10 November 2021

Happy Nature Friday! Thanks once again to our lovely friends Rosy, Arty, Sunny and Jakey, for hosting the blog hop. Do go and visit the other posts - you won't regret it! 

Wednesday 10 November 2021

Disquiet at the Falls of Feugh

Do you ever worry... 

... that your human might drop her phone or camera?

Monday 8 November 2021


So it all began nearly a year and a half ago when I was observed sometimes to squat, rather than perform my customary balletic leg cocking routine.  Gail wondered why I was peeing like a girl dog. 

Then there was the occasional puddle appearing on the carpet, and Gail started thinking I was reverting to my puppyhood.

A trip to the vet in July 2020, and then another two months later. Blood and urine tests and an ultrasound scan, and afterwards, between the tears, Gail declares I have a ticking time bomb inside my bladder.  

A new routine of tablets wrapped in yummy cheese commences, and over winter I'm almost as good as new, although what formerly came out gushing like a Highland burn in spate has dwindled to a slow and time consuming trickle.

I'm still full of bounce, enjoying my food, my walks, my cuddles.  

Gail is now thinking the time bomb clock might be running slow. But then peeing becomes yet more difficult, accidents are happening again in the house and more tablets are added to the daily regime. 

My bladder action is now likened to a tap with a worn washer. One can still turn it on and off, but between times it drips a little.

Gail searches the internet for "male dog incontinence products" and the belly band is purchased for night time wear. I think of it as my Championship Belt

Peeing and now also pooping increasingly demand acts worthy of a contortionist.

But in all other respects, I'm still going strong.

Gail says I have reached the Cristiano Ronaldo phase of my career*. An analogy which I think suits me rather well.

*Gail says: the reference to Mr Ronaldo in no way is meant to imply that the ageing but still super-fit (and, er, ever so slightly vain) footballer recently re-hired by Manchester United has incontinence problems, rather to draw attention to the fact that dear Bertie retains an amazing level of physical stamina given his advancing years!

Friday 5 November 2021

The Climate-Friendly Beach Walk

So when Gail announced on Wednesday that we were going on a "climate-friendly" beach walk that afternoon, I naturally assumed she meant we'd be heading to a coastal location with a friendly climate.

You know, like somewhere in the Mediterranean, Southern California, Australia or maybe even the Seychelles?

(I did, I admit, wonder how she was going to conjure up the necessary Covid tests and pet passport in time, but I decided to put trust in my owner's resourcefulness. Or maybe she just meant Cornwall.)

But anyway it turns out I had totally misunderstood. What Gail had in mind was an outing to our Aberdeen City beach, a sandy stretch of North Sea coast where the weather can be called by many names - e.g. "bracing", "haar bound", "windswept", "pure Baltic". But never ever "friendly". 

No, the "climate-friendly" aspect to this walk was that, in keeping with the move towards reducing fossil fuel use and thus CO2 emissions, we would leave the car at home and cover the mile and a half to the beach on foot. 

Of course, the distance would hardly trouble a roughty-toughty terrier like me, even in our decidedly unsettled November weather. However, it is true that the shortest route goes through the business end of the harbour and would never qualify as one of Scotland's most scenic hikes (which is why we usually take the car).

When we finally arrived at the beach, it was high tide so I didn't even get to run on the sand. But at least we had the broad promenade almost to ourselves, and were even treated to a rainbow over the sea. 

Happy Nature Friday friends! Did you do anything this week to reduce your carbon footprint?