Monday, 29 July 2013

A new place to explore / Not all about me?

So Human Grandad is staying in a new home. I am told it is a 'care home' Well I am pleased to report that as far as I can tell, the care is really splendid.

For dogs anyway.

You should have seen the admiring glances I drew as I paraded down the corridor with Gail and HGY when I first went to visit. It was a hot day and we sniffed out HGD basking in the courtyard. No soon as I'd licked his hand in greeting than a nice lady rushed out with a pink plastic bowl of water, specially for me. I am often a bit cautious about drinking from strange bowls, and I am not (says Gail) an especially thirsty dog anyway, so I decided not to partake of the proffered beverage, being more interested in watching a ginger cat I'd seen stalking in the nearby shrubs. Within a minute, a different lady rushed out with a bigger container full of water, saying she quite understood I wouldn't want to drink from the cat's bowl.  This one did look more inviting so I decided to humour her and take a few sips.

Later we took HGD back into the sitting room, where the other residents didn't look very animated. At least not until I walked in, when at least three hands reached out to give me a pat, and several craggy faces broke into smiles. Now I'm not always keen on random people touching  me on the head, but with Gail's encouragement, I allowed them all to stroke my ears, and didn't bounce too much. It seemed the right thing to do.

We said goodbye to HGD and Gail took me for a long walk. Oh yes I had a fine old time exploring ancient tracks through woods and across fields in the East Nottinghamshire countryside.

So all in all, a most satisfactory day, from my perspective.

But, well, you know how us pups can sense certain things? As I sat on the sofa besides Gail later in the evening, I could tell she wasn't quite so happy with the new state of affairs. "Bertie", she said eventually, "you just have to remember it's not all about you".

I decided to snuggle up closer.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Sing A Paw and HGD

Well done the Scotsmen and Scottie lasses. Craig, Angus, Bonnie and Kenzie all spotted the clue hiding in the background of yesterday's photo. Yes, apparently Gail was in Singapore. This is a close up picture (from the internet) of the awesome 'ship on three skyscrapers' building.

Well I'm delighted to report that Gail came home a day earlier than planned. Clearly she was missing me SO MUCH. I was so pleased to see her I am even prepared to overlook the disappointing lack of gifts, again.

Oh. Apparently missing me is only part of the story. The other part relating to a phone call she received about HGD.

So we are both off to Nottingham again later today. I have been warned that Human Grandad will not be sitting in his usual chair as he has been moved to a new home, and that I must not bounce over Human Granny too much as she is very very tired.

Oh dear. Come on Gail, hurry up packing, we need to get down there fast.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

Where is she?

So Gail sent me this photo, apparently taken from her hotel room window, along with the message:

"You wouldn't like it here Bertie. Far too hot and humid. Back home soon. Cheers, Gail."

I wish I knew where she was. Can anyone help?

Sunday, 21 July 2013

A sensible set of rules

At the entrance to Duthie Park, where us pups like to rendezvous with our pals, we have a shiny new sign showing a map of the park. 

Below the map, you'll find a list of do's and don'ts.

In general the rules are sensible, I think, and fair to both dogs and humans.

Although I am concerned that the meaning of the first one is a tad ambiguous.

And why was Gail was frowning as I left a message for my mates?

I didn't see anything there about banning pee-mail, did you?

PS This blog will be quiet for a week as Gail has to go away 'on business' (so she claims). A four person care team is in place to look after me in her absence, but sady no substitute blog assistant has been found.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Phwoarr! Foxy Keira fae Ballater

Gosh I hope Addi isn't reading this, but I just have to tell you about this cute wee foxy lass I ran into when out and about last weekend.

This is Keira from Ballater. We met near the visitor centre at Burn o'Vat. I'm telling you lads she was quite the stunner! If only I had words to describe how excited I felt sniffing her rear end. In fact I tried mightily to get even closer, climbing on her back to 'hug' her, know what I mean boys?

Meanwhile her owner was saying something to Gail about a 'season' as she pulled Keira out of my reach. I guess she was referring to the unusually warm and sunny weather we've been enjoying in NE Scotland just recently...

So after this delightful encounter, Gail took me over to the nearby loch and suggested I calm myself down a bit by contemplating the beautiful water lilies.

It sort of worked.

PS from Gail: Incredibly, given that he is now aged 3 1/2, this is the first time I have ever seen Bertie attempt to 'mount' another dog. Interesting he chose a WFT, when we meet so few of them.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Advice for panicky people

We get a lot of boring financial stuff on the radio and TV these days don't we?

I expect, like me, you've heard about some new problem, could be a country defaulting on debt payment, or a volcano erupting, or a billionaire banker sneezing in his coffee, causing 'panic in the markets' and plummeting share prices.

Some readers of my 5th July post have suggested that my Houdini-style Great Train Escape stunt in Newcastle railway station might have caused Gail to panic, and even have nightmares. And then there was the Green Dog episode five days later.....

I am happy to report that my owner is not in general a panicky person (although she does have her moments, and now she's insisting I'm to wear Hamish's old harness next time we travel by rail).

So anyway, I have two recommendations for panic-prone humans.

1. Don't get a job in the stock markets.
2. Don't own a wire-haired fox terrier.

Toodle pip!
Bertie (working to make the world a better place).

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Five years of blogging

Hi, this is Gail here, taking over Bertie's blog for the day.

As anyone who knows me well will tell you, I am the world's worst at remembering and celebrating birthdays, anniversaries etc.

But it's an incredible five years to this day that I published my first blog post in the voice of Hamish, my late, dear Westie and even I thought that this date was worth noting.

It all started off as an antidote to writing up my PhD thesis, which required a tediously dry scientific style. My initial goal was to post on the blog a minimum of once a week.

For six months Hamish and I happily blogged away to almost zero readership.Then I put the blog URL on the then 'Dogs with Blogs' website, and started to gain a wider following after Hamish received a favourable shout out from Jo and Stella in Minnesota, to whom I shall always be grateful. Shortly afterwards I submitted my thesis.

Hamish's blog ran for the last eighteen months of his life. There was a 'Between Dogs Blog' for a predictably short period until Bertie bounced onto the scene. Hamish was my first dog, Bertie my first puppy.

If you are a regular reader of this blog you'll already know what fun it is being part of the amazing, warm and caring dog blogging community. Perhaps I've been lucky, and perhaps I shouldn't tempt fate, but I can honestly say that in five years I have never ever received a negative or unpleasant comment. There have been over 7800 comments on Bertie's blog to date (spam excluded) and  I would like to thank our wonderful readers for every single one of them.

I wonder if you can guess the title of the post which has attracted the most page views for Bertie?

The winner by far is 'The Higgs' Boson Diet Plan', with, as of today, nearly 1500 views. Clearly, putting the both the words 'Higgs' boson' and 'diet' in a blog title guarantees notice, although I suspect that few of these page viewers were dog bloggers, who, as we know, favour stories about the misdemeanours of other folks' darling pups.

Which are my favourite ever blog posts?

It has to be the two posts about the 'scones and lace tablecloth' episode. Initially related on Hamish's blog, and later re-enacted by Bertie, if you missed these first time around, you can read them here:

Hamish tells the story
Bertie stages a re-enactment

My aims for my blog posts have been pretty constant throughout - each one should be well written and be fun to write, should entertain, and should offer readers something that goes beyond just "here are some more cute pictures of my dog".

As for the future?

I plan to carry on for as long as I'm enjoying writing and Bertie continues to provide me with plenty of subject material.

Based on his adventures in the past fortnight, I think we'll be going for some time yet!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The First Class Traveller Look

Oh I do love meeting up with my wiry pal Horatio when we stop in Edinburgh to change trains.

We had over two hours to spare yesterday, so plenty of time for a good run around Arthur's Seat before heading home to Aberdeen.

There was Horatio, his brother Harris, their 'mum' Amanda, and of course  myself and Gail.

It was a warm afternoon, so what better way to end the walk than with a dip in a wee lake near the foot of the hill.

After all, it is important to freshen up before one gets on the train, isn't it?

Especially when one's human has gone to the expense of buying a first class ticket. 

PS from Gail: It's amazing what you can do with a two litre bottle of water and some wet wipes...

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Friday, 5 July 2013

An incident at Newcastle station (It's not what you think)

Haven't you always wanted to visit the fine city of Newcastle upon Tyne?

Human cousin number one goes to the University there and number two maybe hopes to. The city boasts fine architecture, old and new, and has a reputation as for great night life and a local accent almost as incomprehensible as Aberdeen's Doric. As my friends over the Pond would say, what's not to like?

Now regular readers of this blog will know that on the way to Nottingham* we always change trains at Edinburgh, where I get a chance to stretch my legs in Princes Gardens and Calton Hill and sometimes meet up with my wiry pal Horatio.

It would be perfectly possible to stop and change trains at Newcastle instead. Wouldn't that be fun? I don't care that there are no green spaces conveniently near the railway station. I want to explore the fine Victorian city streets then cross the famous tilting bridge and visit the spectacular Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art.

Well on Wednesday, as the train was halted in Newcastle station and lots of passengers were disembarking, it just so happened that my collar and lead sort of 'fell off'. Yes really, a gentle backward motion on my part, and suddenly, freedom!

Now Gail is always going on about the importance of seizing the moment.

So I ran past all the suitcases, out of the train door, and, joyful at the prospect of seeing this fine northeastern city, sprinted for the station exit. You could see Gail was excited too, dashing down the platform after me, yelling my name and waving her arms. Gosh, she too was so clearly thrilled at the thought of a night out in Newcastle that she seemed to have jumped off the train leaving all her bags behind. Who knew my owner had such a carefree spirit? The train staff were about to shut the doors and Gail was shouting at them quite a lot as she ran, dodging our fellow passengers.

Well I did pause a moment to let her catch up and, can you believe it, she scooped me up in her arms and jumped right back on the train, about five carriages down from where we were originally seated.

Seconds later, the train pulled out of the station.

Held tight against Gail's chest as she walked down the train corridor, I could hear her heart pounding faster and louder than usual.

And that was my visit to Newcastle upon Tyne.
In my favourite chair in Nottingham. Butter wouldn't melt....

PS from Gail: The good news is that the expensive 'stopper upper' worked and we at least had an emissions free train ride. Thank you, by the way, for your suggestions for cheaper options.

*For the benefit of any train geeks out there, our full route is the East Coast line from Aberdeen via Edinburgh Waverley to Newark North Gate, then a 20 minute walk across to Newark Castle Station and onto the local East Midlands line to Burton Joyce. We walk one mile from home to the station in Aberdeen and half a mile at the other end to reach the (grand)parental home. 

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

The vet looked with distaste at the bag of runny poo...

...and politely suggested to Gail that no, he really didn't need to examine it just now.

Oh yes, I have been told to warn you not to read this over breakfast. But I think you'll have worked that out for yourselves by now.

You know, I've been feeling just hunky dory, but for some reason my, er, 'rear end emissions' have taken on a life of their own this last week.

Cue a visit down the road to the vet's on Monday.

Aren't they supposed to like sticking their hands up cow's backsides and all?

Not this one.

He gave Gail a tube of 'stopper upper' to put on my food, and said that's £50 thank you, he'll be fine.

For some reason Gail seems nervous about the train ride down to Nottingham later today.

I, of course, am looking forward to seeing Human Granny and Grandad.