Thank you friends for all the lovely birthday greetings. Let me tell you about my weekend.
It was kidney with kibble for my dinner on Friday, then fried liver the day after! I bet you can't think of a tastier way for a chap to celebrate reaching the grand old age of twelve.
Oh and we've had snow here these past few days. Just a sprinkling in the city, but in the forests inland the snow was in places a bit too deep for 'not as bouncy as they used to be' WFT limbs (but not so deep as to daunt this exceptionally game little terrier).
Er yes, since you ask, it is in fact my twelfth birthday today. Gail seems even more thrilled about this than I am, and rest assured, we'll be telling you all about my birthday celebrations in my next post.
Meanwhile, I have some Nature Friday pictures to show you from last week's trip to Forvie Nature reserve.
I expect you are wondering what the fluffy off-white stuff is between the clumps of heather in the picture above?
Let's have a closer look.
And even closer.
A google search suggested that this bleached green springy moss-like growth is in fact a lichen of the genus Cladonia. Further consultation with Gail's friend Carol confirmed this diagnosis and narrowed it down to the species Cladonia portentosa, common name reindeer lichen.
There are no reindeer to chomp away at the lichen in Forvie, but on the wildlife front I can offer you swans in the Sand Loch, noisily cackling geese overhead, wigeon on nearby tidal mudflats and evidence of an active mole population in a field just outside of the nature reserve boundary.
And finally, just in case you ever doubted the fact that Scotland's coastal areas can be a tad breezy...
Happy Nature Friday friends! Now I'm off to look for my birthday treats...
Gail and I received a plea for help from a friend down in England a couple of weeks ago.
This friend has a 16 year old dog, Charlie, whom sadly I've never met. It turns out that Charlie, like me, is suffering from 'bladder issues' and, having seen a picture of my very smart 'male dog belly band', the friend wanted further details.
Well we are happy to report that Charlie is now the proud owner of a Black Watch tartan belly band (all Gail's pals have excellent taste of course). This new accessory gave his humans confidence to take him away for a mini-break in a Peak District hotel, where a fine time was had by all.
And Charlie and I had a nice little chat afterwards, via WhatsApp.
They say us older chaps tend to be reluctant to discuss our health issues and our emotions. You know, it felt good to share my 'little secret' with Charlie.
I did have one moment of panic, when Gail made me stop and pose for some photos and I feared we might lose sight of M and J. Past experience has taught me that it is important in particular to keep track of the pink jacket, one pocket of which often contains generously sized dog treats...
Oh. Gail is questioning my commitment to staying with our little group, noting how at one point in the walk I set off at pace down a different track in pursuit of a lone jogger.
Obviously, I only did this in my capacity as Gail's personal trainer, making sure her teenage sprinting skills had not been totally forgotten*.
I'm afraid we didn't manage to add to the 'M and J sitting on a log' series on this particular walk, as the Nature Reserve is by the sea and comprises dunes and coastal heathland, with only a few low shrubs scattered thereabouts.
But I can offer some pictures of the coastline, dramatic even in the dull February weather.
P.S. For those of you who can access BBC iPlayer, the Forvie Nature Reserve, long a favourite place of ours, features in this episode of Michael Portillo's 'Great Coastal Railway Journeys'.
*Gail notes: Bertie still has a mind of his own, but as he is now completely deaf, shouting is pointless and the only way I can retrieve him is to give chase!
This important issue has been a subject of much debate in the Gail and Bertie household all week, prompted by the fact that a fox appears to have taken up residence in our inner city neighbourhood in Aberdeen.
We have seen the fox a couple of times on our walks, and Gail even managed to catch it on camera on Tuesday evening.
I don't know if you are already aware, but us fox terriers were bred as working dogs, our role in fox hunting being to flush foxes from their earths, so that they could then be chased by humans on horses together with a pack of fox hounds, and torn to pieces by said hounds.
So it is to my great disappointment that whenever we see our local fox, Gail grabs my lead extra tight to prevent me from following the fox to its earth and then obeying my natural instincts.
Gail's reasoning is that hunting foxes with hounds in the 'traditional' way is now illegal in the UK, and even if it were not, the horse riders and hounds would have a hard time chasing their prey through our city streets. So she says I have to accept that, as with the Luddites and coal miners in the UK before me, my traditional occupation is now redundant.
Although I still find this hard to swallow, I am somewhat persuaded by the argument that my position as spoiled domestic pet, with lap, bed and treat privileges, frequent walks, and one-on-one attention to all my needs, is a more or less acceptable substitute...
I am pleased to report that Gail appears to have learnt the error of her ways, and two days after the 'winter clothing left in cupboard' debacle we returned to more or less the same spot, this time with our friends M and J, and once again experienced adverse weather conditions, but here you see I was appropriately clad in my warmest outdoor jacket - cosily fleece-lined with a waterproof shell.
At this point we must congratulate M, the only one brave enough to operate her camera, despite the fierce and bitterly cold wind driving snow across our faces. (I think the humans were a little envious of my protective facial fuzz during this part of the walk.)
Later on, the flurries of snow subsided, the sun emerged, and we found a sheltered spot down in the valley, so I am delighted to present you with the latest in a long line of 'M and J sitting on a log enjoying elevenses with Bertie' photos.
I am confident that this 'Elevenses on a Log' series of pictures (see also post from 12 July 2021) will be thought of in the same category as Monet's water lilies in years to come...