Saturday 31 October 2009

Banff Strike Wing

You know how it is when you get older. You don't always want too much excitement. My human Grandpa (Gail's Dad) is nearly 88 years and these days he likes to stay at home.

Well I'm pleased to say that, despite being no spring chicken myself (14th birthday VERY SOON - 9th November, in case you're wondering) I still enjoy exploring new places. 

Today, I persuaded Gail to drive me 40 miles north, to the old site of Boyndie aerodrome near Portsoy, so we could check out the memorial commemorating those brave airmen from the Banff Strike Wing who died in World War Two. 

You see, Gail's Dad was one of the lucky survivors. He was an RAF pilot from 248 Squadron, flying mosquitos and stationed up here in 1944-5. And I guess he had quite enough excitement during that period to last a lifetime. 

This is what the place looks like now. Quiet fields, woods and a wind farm, glowing in the soft autumn sunshine. 

It was all rather different in 1945. 

The mosquito squadrons based at Boyndie were flying sorties across the North Sea, firing rockets on German shipping around the coast of Norway in the closing stages of the war.

Just imagine flying all those hundreds of miles and facing enemy fire in a tiny little plane made out of plywood. 
You know what - I am so glad it's all peaceful now. I'll tell you about the nice walk we had along the nearby cliffs in my next post. 

Thursday 29 October 2009

Pups save the Planet!

I would like to thank all my friends for your, er, 'interesting' and 'creative' responses to my post about us dogs supposedly being worse for the environment than SUVs. I think it is fair to say there was a strong consensus in favour of the notion that our planet benefits greatly, in many and diverse ways, from the existence of our wonderful species. 

Whereas we could mostly quite happily do without SUVs.....

Personally I thought ALL your suggestions for how dogs can save the planet were excellent, but the technical support (who claims to have some sort of a PhD  in something to do with greenhouse gas emissions) seems to doubt that wiping the insides of car windows with our noses (Jazzi) and not showering (Stella) will do much to halt global warming. She also feels that a statement like 'I WANT MY SHARE OF THE MEAT'  (Bonnie) sends out a mixed message.

Well, there is much to chew on here, and the debate is clearly not about to vanish anytime soon (unlike Greenland's icecap....)

One final request, before we leave this topic. Please spare a thought for our friends in Switzerland.

Sunday 25 October 2009

Time to eat the dog?

Well can you believe it?

There's an article in this week's New Scientist (my favourite magazine, as you know) which asks the question "How Green is Your Pet?". It says, basically, that having a dog is worse for the environment than owning an SUV!

Some supposedly very clever scientist has worked out, apparently, that the average dog has an annual carbon footprint almost twice that of a Toyota Land Cruiser. Mostly because of all the meat we eat. 

Well, fellow dogs, leaving aside the dubiousness of the concept of an 'average' dog, this seems to me mighty bad news. Especially for those of us who live in households where the humans are environmentally conscious and into sustainable living. I mean, heaven forbid that we are all going to be forced onto a vegan diet! 

Time for a reasoned response - let's not panic just yet. 

It it clear to me that these so-called researchers have failed to recognize that a dog can also reduce a household's carbon emissions. Consider the following points:
  • As (at least in Europe) it is hard to get on an aeroplane with a dog, we force our owners to reduce the amount they fly, and we all know that flying produces loads of CO2.
  • When I am in the car, Gail has to drive more slowly (i.e. in a more fuel efficient fashion) as I stand up and start to look sick if she corners too fast on our twisty Scottish roads.
  • When your human has cold hands, they can warm them up by stroking their pet - so much more satisfactory all round than turning up the heating.
  • Likewise, many of us perform bed-warming duties too, do we not?.
I am sure that my blogging buddies can think of many more ways in which we dogs are environmentally friendly, and I invite you to leave your suggestions in my comments box. These will I hope form the basis of a strongly worded letter to the New Scientist's editor!

(And in case you're wondering, a cat is equivalent to a VW Golf and a goldfish equates to two cellphones.....)

Thursday 22 October 2009

Wet Wet Wet

OK maybe Scotland isn't so great after all.....(see previous post)

When will it EVER stop raining ?

Wednesday 21 October 2009

One more thing about Scotland that's brilliant!

Well I'm going to be a little serious today guys. 

Something I've come to realise, reading my friends' blogs from all over the world, is just how lucky I am to live in Scotland.

Lots of reasons for that of course (haggis, deep fried pizza, deep fried Mars Bars, to name but a few). I guess the 'Scottish Outdoor Access Code' doesn't sound quite so interesting by comparison...

But in fact this Code thingy is one of the best things about this country. Let me explain why. 

Regular readers will have noticed how many lovely places I explore on my walks. Mountain paths, forest tracks, routes along the cliffs and down to beautiful sandy beaches, riverside trails,  you name it, we go there. 

In fact, here in Scotland, we can go ANYWHERE WE LIKE. Well almost. Yes really!  The Government says so. That's our Access Code. This is a truly wonderful piece of legislation introduced by the Scottish Government in 2003. It says that you have the right of access (for recreational purposes) over: "most land and inland water in Scotland, including mountains, moorland, woods and forests, grassland, margins of fields in which crops are growing, paths and tracks, rivers and lochs, the coast and most parks and open spaces, at any time of day or night...."

Isn't that just brilliant? 

Now there is some boring (but quite reasonable) stuff too, about always acting responsibly, dogs being under close control, not disturbing farm animals etc. 

And of course the code isn't perfect.

Had I been drafting the legislation, for example, I would certainly made sure that dogs have rights of access over any cupboards containing goodies and treats. That would only be fair don't you think? 

Or am I yet again asking too much?

Monday 19 October 2009

A comfy sofa and a good book

I just love those peaceful evenings when I can curl up all comfy on the sofa and Gail settles down besides me with a good book. 

Thursday 15 October 2009

I grow old ... I grow old ...

I think I may be getting too old for this sort of thing. 

My young Westie girlfriends, Florrie and Lucy, have come to stay for a few days. 

I know they're cute (especially little Lucy), but, well, between you and me, I do find their company ever so slightly exhausting. 

Did you know I'm nearly fourteen?  I don't think I do too badly for my age. I really can still walk quite a long way. At my own pace. In my own time. Minding my tender paws. And not straining my dicky heart. 
Why all this rushing around anyway? If you walk slowly round the park, you can see more, sniff more, and take time to appreciate the changing seasons. And Florrie, there's really no need to race up to all the other dogs and bark at them, now is there? 

At least at home everybody eventually calms down.
And Florrie (inexplicably) seems to like the new kitchen cushion.....
PS Gail wants me to include this fragment of a poem which she likes. Heaven forbid that she thinks it relevant to me.  She says it's by T.S.Eliot, although I thought he only wrote about cats....

I grow old … I grow old …        
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.
Shall I part my hair behind? Do I dare to eat a peach?
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach.

Sunday 11 October 2009

What kind of a rubbish present is that??

You know how boring it is when your owner just sits there in the kitchen with her friends and chatters on and on and on.

I mean, if all they're up to is having a good old gossip, then they really could and should be doing something more useful. Like taking you out for a walk. Or at very least they should move to the front room where I have a comfy sofa and don't have to lie on the cold hard floor.

Not being one to hide my feelings (but also of course being polite and considerate), I tend to let them talk for about fifteen minutes - plenty of time to down a cup of tea or a glass of wine, don't you think - before I vocalise my discontent with the situation.   

Well do you know what? Yesterday Gail came home from a shopping trip, and made a big song and dance about putting this on the kitchen floor. 
She kept lifting me up and plonking me down the new cushion. But it didn't smell very interesting, except when she put some beef jerky on it (thanks Marse for that by the way - a lovely present from the USA via Poland). 
I do believe Gail is under the impression - very much mistaken - that I might now happily sit in the kitchen for ever and ever on this 'present' while she and her friends are having a wee blether! 

 I think not.
You don't think I'm being ungrateful do you? 

Thursday 8 October 2009

An evening trip to Aberdeen harbour

It is only right and proper, I feel, when your human returns after abandoning you to various carers for a whole two weeks, that she feels guilty and rushes home early from work every evening and takes you out for better walks than normal. 

So it was that yesterday evening we went down to a part of Aberdeen called Torry, at the entrance to the harbour.

Actually, I don't understand why we don't go to the harbour more often. After all, it takes less than ten minutes in the car, and there's so many interesting things to see. 

For example - the 'Torry Coo'.

Yes, I was confused at first too. It's not a cow at all, but the old foghorn which used to warn ships entering the harbour in poor visibility to keep away from the rocks. 

The lighthouse nearby looks romantic  in the fading evening light. Ah, if only Stella were here....

Behind the lighthouse, we have the 'Torry Battery'. Nothing to do with Duracell, rather an old fortification built in 1860 to defend Aberdeen against French invasions. 

It was almost dark by the time we returned to the car. Gail said she was disappointed that we hadn't seen any dolphins. And there was me, thinking all those people in the car park, sat with their binoculars, were wanting a closer look at my own good self! 

I often wonder what's to be found on the other side of the harbour. I don't understand why we we never go there. Apparently there are 'red lights' and 'ladies of the night'. It does sound exciting........
PS I have been banned from talking about the incident that happened when Gail was away, except to say that Gail is very upset because I bit one of her friends, who was only trying to help me after I had been stung by a wasp. 

Monday 5 October 2009

Polish sausage dog

At last - the technical support has returned!

It seems Gail timed her holiday in Poland very badly indeed. 

Had she been in Krakow earlier in September, she could have witnessed what must surely be the highlight of the cultural year in all of Poland, the annual dachshund fancy dress parade (Marsz Jamników).

What a splendid idea. And how appropriate, that Poles like to celebrate the sausage dog..... 

We don't see many of these very short legged little fellows here in Aberdeen, but I do feel that next year, Scotland should be represented at this special festival. A dachshund would suit a kilt, don't you think?

And as for Polish sausages, see what Gail brought back. The smoked cheese smells delicious too. I do hope she's going to share....

PS I'll be coming round to say hello to all my friends as soon as I can. But, truth to tell, I am in total disgrace at the moment after an incident when Gail was away, so my computer time is being rationed, as punishment.