Sunday, 22 October 2017

A word about Wojtek

I expect you would all prefer that I steered clear of the dreaded topic of Br*x*t.

Well I do try to keep my mind on higher things, but you know how it is, every now and then, something reminds you of what a pickle my country has got itself into.

So on Thursday, en route to Nottingham by train, Gail and I stopped off for a walk around Edinburgh for an hour or so, and we ran into these fine fellows in Princes Gardens.

Meet Wojtek, the brown bear from Poland, adopted by a company of brave Polish soldiers in World War Two. He helped carry ammunition in the Battle against the Nazis at Monte Cassino and had many other adventures before spending the final years of his long and remarkable life in Edinbugh Zoo.

Many Polish soldiers who contributed so much to defending our country settled in Britain after the War (including the fathers of Gail's school friends Bronia and Halina). More recently, of course, large numbers enterprising Poles have come to the UK for work, enjoying the fruits of decades of peace in the European Union.

Gail and I think we know what Wojtek and his Polish soldiers would have thought of the knaves and fools in charge of this country's future relationship with the rest of Europe.

We visited Human Granny yesterday, and found her in good spirits, if ever more bent and also worried about what sort of a country her grandchildren (who most certainly did not vote for Brexit) will inherit.

Thursday, 19 October 2017

Is it wrong to find this funny...?

How to rake your Malamute
And to think I complain about my grooming routine...

(For video version click here).

Monday, 16 October 2017

Getting spiffed up for Granny!

Perhaps some of my readers are unaware that I am on a regular basis subjected to a quite onerous grooming regime?

You might be thinking, "Oh that Bertie, he sports the natural look; none of your fancy-schmancy poodle parlour business for him".

Well, it is indeed true that the concept of a 'spa day' is alien to both human and canine occupants of this household, and that my fur-do is not the result of the professional attention.

But make no mistake, just as it can take a long time for a certain type of human (usually female) to create the impression she is wearing no make-up, and some human males go to very great pains to cultivate a not-shaved-for-four-days look, it also follows that my 'rough and ready' appearance is underpinned by considerable and ongoing efforts.

Early in my puppyhood, Gail took the decision that she was perfectly capable of teaching herself - with the help of a demo from my breeder and the occasional YouTube video - how to groom a wire-haired fox terrier.

And that has been the pattern of things for the last seven years.

So the furs on my back, neck and haunches are hand-stripped by Gail - a matter which I tolerate if given a tasty enough long-lasting chew to distract me from the mild discomfort involved. Scissors are used for my underside, face and ears, and my legs are pretty much left alone...

Thing is, because Gail generally adopts a 'little and often' approach to the hand stripping business, it tends to go unnoticed - and, we feel, unappreciated - by the world at large.

Well I would like to point out that on Friday morning I was stripped and clipped for as long as my patience and Gail's mildly arthritic thumbs would allow.

The timing might have something to do with the fact that I'm going to visit Human Granny for a few days later this week, and she always complains if she can't see my eyes.

Anyway, I like to think I was looking pretty spiffy for my Saturday afternoon walk in the woods, and I'm optimistic about catching the attention of (treat-bearing) admirers on the train to Nottingham on Thursday.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

A matter of aesthetics

Perhaps you can help?

It is a not uncommon occurrence, that Gail and I spend time agonising over which is the best photo to select for my blog.

For example, last Sunday, I had the opportunity to explore the ruins of Strome Castle, near the West Highland village of Lochcarron. Although the weather was far from perfect, it was a scenic spot, and I (most obligingly I would say, given my harsh treatment the night before) posed patiently for some pictures taken from inside the ruins.

We narrowed it down to two possibles for this post.

In the first, I am looking head on at the camera, and you get a peek of the hills on the southern shore of the loch, but unfortunately Gail has cut off the top of the arch in which I am standing, which I feel detracts from the overall effect of the shot.

In the second, the archway is better framed and you can see more of my side (and actually the right is my 'good side') but I am not looking at the camera. Also, because the photo was taken from a very slightly different angle, there is more water and less hill in the background.

So I am wondering, which do you prefer?

(It would, of course, be a legitimate point of view, to believe the only metric we should be using here is the proportion of the picture taken up with my handsome self...)