Thursday, 30 June 2016

In the footsteps of Royalty...

The annual Tibet Support Group walk has become a regular fixture in the June calendar for Gail and me. Gosh, they do always chose a lovely route.

Can you guess where we went this year?

OK, here's a clue..

And another one.  The property belongs to a certain very famous ninety year old.

The land was purchased in 1852, by the great great grandmother of the current owner. Throughout the estate, you can find cairns commemorating the nine children of this redoubtable lady...

And there is also a memorial to her beloved husband...

It's easy to see why this family have become so fond of the place over the centuries...

And luckily, they are happy for loyal subjects to wander around too.

But I was a bit disappointed not to meet any corgis.

Got it yet? 

Sunday, 26 June 2016

PAWLYMPICS: 'Munro Bagging' Explained

Is everyone else as excited as me about the forthcoming Blogville Pawlympics? Oh I am so grateful to Arty, Lexi and Christmas for organising this wonderful sporting festival. 

Those of you who have already seen the Pawlympics Schedule might have noticed that I am down to host an event on August 16th, and some, I know, are wondering what 'Munro Bagging' involves and how you can enter. 

All is explained below:  

Munro Bagging (aka Scottish Mountain Climbing)

This event is one for the adventurous pups (or those who aspire to be).

Background information: In Scotland, a hill over 3000 ft high is called a 'Munro'. There are 283 Munros. If you climb one you are said to have 'bagged a Munro'. 

To take part in the event, each contestant needs to do just two things:

(1) Choose a Munro the dog (or cat, or other pet) would like to climb, from the official list:*

(2) Send an email to bouncing(dot)bertie(at)outlook(dot)com stating your name, your blog's name, and your chosen Munro (only one Munro per pet allowed), along with a photo of the dog/cat/other. 

You can create your own picture of yourself at the summit of your chosen Munro, or you can trust to Gail's somewhat rudimentary PiZap photo editing skills and she will attempt to place you on your selected mountain in an appropriately heroic stance. You may wish to consider appropriate attire for mountain adventures in Scotland and dress accordingly in the photo you submit. 

All the pictures, with fitting captions, will be posted on my blog on the day of the event. In this contest every entrant will be a winner, but a gold medallist will be chosen according to an obscure and wholly undemocratic a totally fair set of rules which I shall make up on the day devised according to principles wholly in line with the ethos of the Blogville Pawlympic movement (which I can assure you involves a lot less corruption and doping than the human's equivalent event….)


*Hints on choosing a Munro: you are free to use whatever strategy you prefer.  You may select one at random from the list or research the issue yourself in depth. Perhaps you will go for a mountain that you might be named after (I am thinking of a particular Scottie in Australia), although dogs called Ben will be spoilt for choice. It is important to note that the precise height of your chosen Munro will not impact your success in the contest. Any explanations of your selection criteria will be noted and read with interest and may be used the caption accompanying the photo. 

Friday, 24 June 2016

Contemplating the EU referendum result

It's a grey, dismal day, even by Aberdeen standards.
We in this house are feeling shellshocked.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

A Bertie-less walk...

As I mentioned in my last post, I haven't been feeling too great lately. (On Monday Gail thought I was getting better, but I haven't been wanting to eat, or do much at all these last couple of days and I'm told another vet visit may be in the offing).

So anyway, I would like to consult my readers on an important matter -  the appropriate behaviour to be expected of one's human carer when she (or indeed he) is faced with a poorly pup. I raise the question because, in my opinion, Gail's response to my indisposition has so far been less than satisfactory. Borderline unacceptable, in fact.

For example: We  journeyed over to Torridon late on Friday and I was still feeling a little queasy on Saturday morning so, after a brief sniff around the garden, I retreated to a comfy berth on the sofa.

I was imagining that Gail might stay beside me for the rest of the day, to mop my fevered brow and so forth. In retrospect, I guess I was mistaking her for a patient, caring person who might have considered nursing as a profession. That person is not Gail.

"Well Bertie, it's a beautiful sunny day, such as we rarely enjoy in these parts. It would be a shame for both of us to stay in, wouldn't it? Since you look quite settled, I think I'll leave you there on your own for a while and go for a walk along the coast. See you in a couple of hours or so. I'll tell you what, I'll take my camera so you'll have some pictures to put on your blog."

And off she went.

Let me tell you, I was all for refusing even to look at her photos, much less include them in this post. But then I was reminded that it is the EU 'in or out' vote in the UK this week, and that some readers - at least the British ones - might be anxious about the result, and would appreciate the opportunity to spend a few moments contemplating scenes from the UK of great beauty and tranquility, after all the ugliness of the referendum campaign.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Feeling a bit out of sorts

I'm sorry to report, dear friends, that I wasn't feeling my usual bouncy self last week.

Gail says that I was reminding her of Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh, with the mournful eyes and the morose and self pitying demeanour. And truly, when asked how I was feeling, the response, "not very how", seemed quite apt (although rest assured that, unlike Eeyore, I most definitely - and thankfully - had not lost my tail). 

So bowls of food went uneaten, and parks went unvisited and on Friday I was finally taken to the V.E.T.  

Who said I was running a high temperature (I shall spare you the details of how she found that out…) and probably had 'gastroenteritis'. She said it might be viral or it might be bacterial but she'd give me some antibiotics as a precaution. At which point I thought about entering into a scientific debate about the pros and cons of antibiotic use in these circumstances, and considered quoting Lord O'Neill's recent report on the issue and asking for a test. But to be honest I didn't quite have the energy for it, and neither, apparently, did Gail.

So anyway, after a weekend of light meals of chicken, plain rice and tablets, I am now feeling distinctly better, if not quite yet back to peak bouncing capacity. 

Thursday, 16 June 2016

My little patch of heaven?


You can take your Costa Bravas, the Greek Islands are all yours,
The Italian Riviera's not for me,
I'd rather be in Deeside where the ground beneath my paws,
Is soft and green, and clear the river flows,
And the air conditioning's natural and free.

The Balearics are too crowded, and Australia far away,
And California's sun has too much glare.  
But a little patch of heaven's a short bounce from where I stay,
Where the only sound is birdsong on a gentle summer's day
And a sweet pine resin fragrance fills the air. 

If you're searching scorching sunshine and a Mediterranean tan,
Then I'll point you to cheap flights on EasyJet.
But for dogs, a trip to Scotland is by far the better plan,
We have laws that grant you access to our wild and empty land. 
Come here! Roam free! All weary cares forget!   

Sunday, 12 June 2016

Not the real Stade de France?

So when Gail told me she was a bit worried 'cos her brother Max is going to a football game at the Stade de France in a couple of week's time, I was, frankly, puzzled.

But Gail, I said, we pass by the Stade de France every Friday on our extended 'day off' morning walk. Surely there is nothing to be concerned about, except possibly your brother's sanity in wanting to come to Aberdeen to watch a bunch of overweight amateurs play five-a-side football on an artificial pitch?

Imagine how put out I was to learn that the ground pictured above is not the real Stade de France.

It seems that Max will be going to Paris in early July to see a Euro 2016 quarter final, and there are fears about terrorism at the tournament.

I think it would be nice if Max (and his wife Kathy, and their poodles Percy and Coco) came to visit Aberdeen instead and joined Gail and me on our Friday walk.

PS: Thank you to those who took part in the poll to decide whether or not my furs should remain in place. In the end the Outs shaded it by a single vote (a foretaste of the 23 June result, one fears?) No-one will be at all surprised to learn that Gail was attacking me with the stripping implement even before the final vote was cast…
Bertie post strip/trim

PPS: Hi to all our friends who attended the Blogville Awesome Retreat. Oh how we wish we could have been there too.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Winter coat? You vote!

When Gail returned from her holidays she accused me of looking "too shaggy for summer" and intimated that she'd have some free time this coming weekend for a "thorough fur stripping session".

Now I will concede that in some parts of the world, the concept of "too shaggy for summer" may actually be meaningful.

Let us see if I live in one of those areas.

Hmmm. Here is today's five day weather forecast for Aberdeen:

For those of you who like things in old money, this is the Fahrenheit version:

So now you have the relevant data, I am going to ask you to vote on the matter, as it seems to be the fashionable thing to do in this country right now.

Should my furs Remain or be taken Out?

You will find the poll at the top of the right hand sidebar.

Gail has promised to abide by your decision for at least as long as it takes an Scottish National Party supporter to say "second referendum".

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Hide the evidence...

You know, I am beginning to appreciate that new technology, although it enables me to write a blog and share my thoughts and opinions with the world, does have its drawbacks too.

So I was all ready to greet Gail with the sad face, the droopy tail and the tales of hardship when she returned from her holiday in all those unpronounceable places. The sort of looks which, one hopes, will make her think I had suffered greatly in her absence and thus guarantee extra treats and cuddles until the guilt wears off.

Imagine my horror then when Gail bounced in last night waving her smartphone and saying "Hey Bertie, looks like you had a fine old time with Yvonne and Neil while I was away on my bicycle tour. Wasn't it nice of Yvonne to text me pictures of you enjoying a family get-together last Saturday night?"

And then Gail not only had the temerity to show me some pictures of her holiday, but also to claim there was no room in her panniers to bring home a doggy bag.
Post ride refreshment near Bileca, Bosnia-Herzegovina
Meal at Hotel Diamant, Bileca
Mountain track impassable on bicycles, Montenegro
Ice creams at Danilovgrad, Montenegro
Hotel Kosta's, Podgorica, Montenegro (aka Fawlty Towers)
Power cut in Shkodër, Albania
Coastal landscape, Montenegro
Waiting for dinner at Hotel Splendido, Kotor, Montenegro
Traditional Bosnian meat feast! (In Dubrovnik)

And I'm now wondering, did they ever actually get onto their bicycles?

Friends, I shall be catching up with you all when Gail has finished washing all her smelly clothes etc...