Sunday, 31 January 2010

A snowy weekend out West

We've had a lot of wordy posts lately. So today I've decided to give my sore paws a break from typing and show you some photos taken this weekend during a very snowy visit to our cottage on Loch Torridon

This is the cottage...

And me posing in the front garden.

These are the neighbours.  One of them is called 'Gail', which I think is quite funny..

Here is the local communication centre..

And this was our road earlier today..

Part of it is steep, so we had to wait for this vehicle to arrive before we could set off home..

Oh I wish the snow plough man had stopped in bed so we could have stayed longer to enjoy the scenery..

So much nicer than Aberdeen...

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Dog in a flap (literally)

Is there some sort of a group you can join, to protest against invasion of privacy and so forth? 

You know that it's been cold outside (less so now). And that my paws hurt. And that I have an aging bladder. 

Well, strictly between ourselves, and because of all the above, I've been pretending I can't get out through the dog flap and into the garden any longer. After all, it's so much easier to use the indoor facilities......

Can you believe Gail had the cheek to sneak into our conservatory (if that's what you call a room with lots of windows and a couple of dead plants...) and film this short video? 
And is now calling me a fraud........

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Mango Minster Entry

Hey folks! This year I've decided to participate in Mango Minster for the first time. For those of you not in the know, think of it as Cyber Crufts. This event, run by my pal the relentlessly huge Mango (a mastiff) is distinctly NOT modelled on the arguably better known American dog show Westminster.....

Gail and I looked through the somewhat irregular judging groups for the show, and found that the only category for my breed is called CDIT (Cracker Dog Insane Terriers).


Well let me tell you, the only reason I have agreed to participate in this farrago is as a PROTEST against the outrageous stereotyping of all terriers implied by the title and judging criteria*  for this group...

As regular readers of this blog know, I am dignified, mentally stable, intelligent and good natured (usually, except at the vet, and on some other occasions....) I do not have mad staring eyes and as a veteran gentledog I certainly do not go in for lunatic athletic feats. Neither do I have obsessive traits. When faced with a problem, I calmly consider it from an intellectual and analytical perspective.

So here is a picture of me, taken last Spring, poised with decorum on a rock overlooking Loch Torridon.  A West Highland Terrier in his natural home, the Northwest Highlands of Scotland.
 * Judge Norwood's criteria: click on the image below to enlarge if you really want to read this insult to the noble terrier breed.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Recalling a youthful misdemeanour...

A picture on my pal Eric's blog has prompted me to recall long suppressed memories of an incident in my youth.

I'm thinking that ten years is enough time for human Granny to overcome her sense of humour failure, and so she won't get too upset if I tell you all about it. (I do love human Granny, so I'd hate to upset her). Sadly, no photos of the incident exist, so I shall have to paint the picture in words. 

First some background. 

I was a mere four years old then, I'd only been with Gail for three months, and it was my first ever Christmas trip down to Nottingham. Unsettled by all the changes, I hadn't been eating well. 

Oh, and I think that to appreciate the story, you must know that human Granny has some very traditional ideas, especially when it comes to having people round for meals. 

On Boxing day, she announces that she's invited the new next-door neighbours for afternoon tea. (Yes really, American readers, proper afternoon tea!). Very respectable neighbours these, one Dr Banjee and family - wife, two young children  and mother-in-law. That's  DOCTOR Banjee, a real doctor that can cure sick people, not a pretend one like Gail....

Human Granny makes some scones. Very proud of them she is too, explaining to Gail that she'd followed Delia's recipe to the last word, and they were the best scones she's baked for, well, ages. 

It is decided that it will be a sit-down-at-the-table tea. Preparations start early afternoon. Raspberry jam and cream are spread on the scones, and they are placed on a fancy plate. A lace tablecloth is laid on the dining table.
Not just any old lace tablecloth, but the precious Nottingham lace tablecloth given to human Grandparents in 1956  as a wedding present from their friends whose family owned a lace factory.  Human Granny puts the plate of scones on the table and goes away to get smartened up.

Gail and human Grandad are relaxing in the sitting room. Gail is absorbed in a book. She does vaguely register the fact that she can hear me eating and thinks, 'oh good, finally he's feeling better'.  Then after a bit, she thinks, hmmm, that is a very loud eating sound, if Hamish were in the kitchen , where his food bowl is kept, I would not be able to hear him so clearly....

Suddenly, she leaps to her feet and bursts into the dining room! 

What does she see? Well there I am stood on the table, a scene of destruction all around. The few remaining scones are scattered about the room in small pieces, and my face is smeared with what jam and cream have not been trodden into the Nottingham lace tablecloth. 

My head is tilted to one side in my best 'oh but did I do something wrong' look. Gail's face is strangely contorted into an expression that I suspect was the result of trying simultaneously to convey anger and suppress laughter. 

Well I can assure you that human Granny was cross! 

I only wish I could have told her that they were indeed very delicious scones...

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Cute, or just a parasite?

Gail has been having words with me (and not just about the 'rest room issue').

I am accused of indulging in vanity and self pity in my last two posts, and have been instructed to "shape up" and turn my attention to more cerebral matters....

Well, let me think.  We did watch a most interesting programme on the BBC last week, which I'd like to discuss. It was all about the relationship between dogs and humans. Towards the end of the programme, a controversial - and arguably rather insulting - theory was put forward. 

Fellow dogs, do you think of yourselves as parasites?

That's what this bloke (a scientist of some sort, I believe, I didn't catch his name) was saying. He pointed out that dogs are found all over the world in their millions, whereas our ancestors the wolves have been much less successful in evolutionary terms and are now an endangered species. Then he suggested that the reason for dogs' success is that we have evolved as parasites, our cute looks and appealing nature acting to divert human attention away from nurturing their own young and rather devoting their time and energy to us. He drew an analogy with cuckoos laying eggs in other birds' nests.

So, parasites eh? Well personally I don't much like being classified in the same zoological category as a tapeworm or a tick! 

Perhaps it's no surprise that this so-called expert wanted to remain anonymous...

PS The programme was 'Horizon: The Secret Life of the Dog'. You may still be able to see it on BBC iPlayer if you click here.

Monday, 11 January 2010

Please make the snow go away!

I know I said I wanted snow a few weeks ago, but I've changed my mind.

When I was a young whippersnapper, I used to so love the cold weather. Frolicking about in the park, ploughing a path through a few inches of soft, powdery snow, the sensation of rolling around to gain that 'frosted' look to my coat, all those new and interesting yellow snow smells, it seemed so exciting.

But now.

Now that I am old, I struggle to remember those joyous youthful times. 

Last Thursday night, I woke up and it was so cold in the bedroom, I started shaking. Normally, I'm an independent sort of a chap, not into sharing a bed and all that, but just this once, I swallowed my pride and burrowed under the duvet with Gail. I think she was pleased to have me there... 

Not only does the winter chill make my aging bones ache, but my paws are all chapped and sore from having to walk on ice and salt. I really could do without venturing outside at all just now.

Which of course brings me to a 'wee' problem....

Have you noticed how humans regard the indoor toilet as a marker of a civilised life? They don't like going out to 'do their business' in the freezing cold, of that we can be quite sure. So why, please tell me, did Gail get so very upset when I decided to follow her lead....?  Doesn't she understand that it's uncomfortable to pee when you're shivering and your feet hurt. And if you choose the wrong spot, you might slip on the ice when positioning yourself correctly against a lamppost or tree. Surely it's sensible in the circumstances to find a nice inside wall or table leg, and a paw-friendly carpet? Especially as us older chaps don't have quite the, how to put this nicely, the 'holding capacity' that we once had? (A problem made worse by the cold, incidentally).

All in all, it seems that global warming can't come fast enough to Scotland. Is there any possibility I could relocate somewhere warmer for the next month or two? 

Suggestions please.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Look at my splendid new coat!

Well it was worth the wait. 

We've been down in England for SO long, but Santa Claus was stupidly instructed to deliver my Christmas present to Aberdeen. 

I'd totally given up hope of getting a new coat, and had resigned myself to wearing my old, ragged and slightly too small (and no longer very warm) one for yet another year. 

Anyway, we arrived home last night, after such a long drive, and on the kitchen table there was this parcel from Lands' End (which I thought was a place in Cornwall but Gail says is another name for Father Christmas). And lo and behold, inside was a brand new winter jacket. 

Isn't it just splendid? I couldn't wait to go out!

Let me point out some of the features.

You will notice the very smart collar, revealing the warm fleecy lining. The collar can be turned up or down, as required. Today, I decided against the Eric Cantona look.

A grey reflective strip makes it easier to see me in the dark, especially useful here in Aberdeen in winter when we have so very little daylight.
Velcro fastenings allow for a certain amount of post-Christmas waist expansion....
Gail thinks it also important to point out that the strap round the middle is (sensibly, she says) a little bit further forward than on the old coat, so that when I lift my leg, there is no danger of 'leakage' dripping onto the material....

It is of course waterproof too. I live in Scotland. Enough said.

And best of all, you will have noticed the personalized insignia, distinguished but discreet, n'est pas?

I want to give a huge thank you to Petey in New York, whose Mom tipped us off about this magnificent garment.

Now we can drive off to Balmoral and meet up with the Queen's corgis, head held high, surely? 

What, is it a problem, that it's minus 18 degrees Centigrade around Braemar, with a foot and a half of snow... ?

Oh well, I shall have to stay indoors then, and await my lucrative modelling contract with Lands' End

Friday, 1 January 2010

Wishing all my friends a peaceful New Year

Well I at least am having one.....
Us old blokes (that's human Grandad and me) don't like too much excitement on New Year's Eve.
PS I am having problems at the moment with the computer help. It seems she is busy with family matters and starting a new job on Monday. I can't believe that gets priority over assisting with my blog, I mean what could be more important than me keeping in touch with my pals, but there you go.... Normal service will resume some time later next week. I shall insist! Meanwhile, big apologies for neglecting my very special friends (you know who you are, I think).