Monday, 22 August 2016

A misunderstanding about a gift...

So Gail, you went swanning off to the Edinburgh Festival for a couple of nights with your 'book group', leaving me behind with someone who is confused about what breed I am, and forgetting to give her my bedding. No doubt you are thoroughly ashamed of yourself and have bought me a whole sackful of treats in compensation?

Er, well, not exactly Bertie, but I did bring you this. 

This? A postcard purchased from the National Gallery of Scotland shop, depicting a painting of a Glen of Imaal terrier called Callum? Gail, I must say, even judged against your own abysmal present giving record, you have reached a new low this time. What on earth am I supposed to do with a postcard?

Well Bertie, the painting has a story behind it and I thought you might be interested. You see in 1895 Callum's owner James Cowan Smith commissioned this portrait from well known animal artist John Emms. Upon his - that is James Cowan Smith's - death in 1919,  he bequeathed the large sum of £55,000 to the National Gallery of Scotland, on condition that the painting of Callum was put on permanent display. And you can still see it there today, in among all the Monets, Titians, Poussins, Rubens etc. 

Oh, I see, I get it Gail. You are telling me that this is not just about the postcard. You are going to have some famous artist paint me, and then when you die you too will leave a large sum of money to our National Gallery and I will be on permanent display and remembered for ever and ever. Well Gail I must say I am most touched. That is a lovely present indeed, even if it does involve a rather strong element of deferred gratification…

Um, Bertie, to be strictly truthful, that wasn't actually quite what I meant… Perhaps we should change the subject and I'll tell you about the shows we saw at the Festival. Oh and I know, you would like to see a picture of Edinburgh in the rain wouldn't you?

Frankly Gail, I am so totally not interested.
Look. Here the sun is shining and it is time for my walk.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Dog lover and Olympic champion: Laura Trott

So with my human spending her evenings in front of the telly, transfixed by the exploits of the British Olympic track cycling team, I decided to do some background research on my rivals for Gail's attention, multiple gold medallists, Laura Trott and her fiancé Jason Kenney. 

And you know what? I am beginning to think maybe cyclists are not so bad after all.

Look, here are Laura and Jason earlier this year,  taking time out of their strenuous training schedule to visit the Dogs Trust Manchester, a charity caring for homeless pups. 

Awww. You can see Laura's a genuine dog lover. Clutching this adorable fellow, she looks as happy as if she's just won yet another gold medal.

Here's Laura back home with one of her own two Sproodles.

You can feel the love can't you? (I hope Jason's not jealous).

 This is what our world-beating cyclist said to a reporter before she left for Rio. 

I wonder if she's heard about the Pawlympics?

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Pawlympics Munro Bagging Event

Oh gosh hasn't the Pawlympics been fun so far! The organisers have done a simply splendid job, together with all the plucky participants, and the Pawlympic spirit has been magnificent throughout.

I must confess I was ever so slightly concerned that readers might find the whole 'Munro Bagging' thing a bit intimidating - not to mention, for those outside of Scotland, confusing. How silly I was to underestimate adventurous and intrepid nature of my fellow Blogvillians.

Just a reminder that a 'Munro' is a Scottish mountain over 3000 ft high, and if one reaches the summit one is said to have 'Bagged a Munro'.

So we have 26 contestants from all over the world, climbing Munros all over Scotland (see map below).

OK, on to the individual Munro Baggers.

Leading the way with an assault on the most northerly Munro - and one of the most remote - are Blogville's esteemed Mayors.  Murphy and Stanley tell me they chose Ben Hope for its optimistic name. How sweet! And look, they have even planted the Blogville flag on the summit. Great job Doodz.

Next we have a cluster of brave participants who have climbed Munros called Sgurr something or other. Sgurr means a high and sharp pointed hill in Gaelic. Hope you guys have a good head for heights!

No surprises that our whippet friend Charlie from Down Under is seen running up Sgurr Breac!

Charlie's Munro choice was influenced by his Dad, who noted that the English name, Speckled Peak, is not dissimilar to his favourite beer, Speckled Hen…We think that Charlie himself might want to warm up in front of a fire with a pint of Speckled Hen after braving the Highland weather with only his short furs for protection.

Next we find mayoral candidate Arty on the beautiful Isle of Skye. Arty wanted a view of water and he is lucky to have ascended Sgurr a Mhadaidh Ruaidh on a clear day. Did you know, Arty, that if you look across to the mainland you can see the mountains of Torridon from where you sit? 

Wyatt and Tegan are also on Skye, a bit further south. Wyatt asked for special dispensation for him and Tegan to go as a pair, on account of his little sister being "too goofy to climb alone". This is what they said about their choice of Munro: "After reading about each area, we chose the Sgurr a Mhadaidh. From the summit there are superb views of the magical Loch Coruisk deep in the heart of the Cuillins and further out to see at the south tip of Skye! It sounds wonderful and we bet there is a pub close by!"

Great choice guys! 

Blogvillians will be delighted to see that our wonderful YAM-Aunty decided to take part in this event. Yam has opted for the grassy and scree free slopes of Mam Sodhail. Looks like she has been rewarded with a stunning view from above the mist in the valley below.

My first thought on seeing Jessie's photo was that she had chosen an unusual outfit for a Scottish mountaineering expedition. What's wrong with a kilt Jessie? But she pointed out that she is a cowgirl and she is climbing The Saddle, and then it all made sense!

Sarge might just be able to catch sight of Jessie from his chosen peak, Gairich, a few miles to the south. But I doubt that Jessie will see Sarge in his camouflage gear. But doesn't he look quite the macho mountaineer, and I am sure he is loving the stunning wilderness landscape.

Now we head across east to the Cairngorm plateau, the largest and highest upland area in the UK. Here we are at a similar latitude to Juneau, Alaska, and the vegetation is sub-arctic tundra. Several participants braved the notorious 'long walk in' to access these magnificent summits.

Can we guess exactly where Frankie and Ernie are?  Of course we can! Where else but Ben Macdui, Scotland's second highest mountain. No doubt Ernie has guessed that his darling Roxy might be somewhere nearby, accompanying her little brother Dui and their sister Bella. Thank goodness they have a cloud-free day and the wind speed is less than 100 mph!

And yes, here are the gang from the Antipodes. Dui finally gets to climb the mountain he was named for, along with his bonny sisters Bella and Ernie's beloved Roxy. We're hoping these Aussie-born Scotties aren't too horrified by the summertime temperatures in their ancestral homeland.

Oh look, Roxy has spotted Dui. But I think we better let them meet in private. 

Those of you who have been listening to Sweet Williams Pawlympic broadcasts on Radio Station Howl will know that he is up on Cairn Gorm with his bagpipes. If the wind is from the north, the contestants on Ben Macdui will most certainly be able to hear SW's tunes. 

Sweet William is another participant who gave some great reasons for his Munro choice. "I picked it for its meaning (Gaelic An Càrn Gorm,  meaning Blue or Green Hill) and that in our research it said wildflowers found on the mountain include cornel, cloudberry and bitterroot. I thought it must be lovely to see". 

Gail says that blue is the most likely skin colour of humans who have stood on a summit for too long in this part of Scotland...

And finally in the Cairngorm range, over on Cairn Toul we have our friend Louisdog Armstrong. Doesn't he look grand? It seems there is still a bit of snow on the ridge, even in August. Louisdog might be wishing his furs were a bit less trim!

Away now to the eastern Grampian mountains, where our Canadian pals Hailey and Phod have climbed Tolmount. Very sensibly they have chosen a Munro whose name they can pronounce with confidence (something that was clearly not a consideration for our good friend Arty…)

Back again to the Western Highlands, Walter and Millie have opted for maximum confusion by each climbing a different Munro called Stob Ban.

Walter here is posing confidently on Stob Ban (Grey Corries). Gail tells me that she and my predecessor Hamish the Westie once had a very scary time camping on this ridge in a blizzard. Fortunately no such problems for Walter today.

Millie is a few miles away on Stob Ban (Mamores) and is also clearly lapping up the wonderful scenery and sense of achievement gained from bagging a fine Munro.

Oh look. Not too far from Walter and Millie we find Dougie Dog, who sent us this dispatch from Aonach Eagach.

No. 188 ... AONACH EAGACH, at 3,173 feet, it said this is a classic in the Glencoe Hills ... I even wore my Douglas clan plaid cap, carried my walking stick ... and with only a few huffs 'n' puffs along the way (some chew bones and water in my back pack, left at a lower level and not pictured) ... I reached the summit!  I bogged the munro!

We must congratulate Dougie on his invention of a new and most appropriate phrase, "bogging a Munro". Anyone who has spent time in Scotland will know that bogs are an unavoidable element in any Highland hike. (For some reason humans seem to think this a bad thing…)

On now to erstwhile Blogville Mayoress Madi, the first of two feline participants. Her reasons for selecting Binnein Mor? "Since it was so tall, I decided to go big or go home". Madi, did you know 'mor' is Gaelic for 'big' whereas, confusingly, 'beg' means 'little'!

Madi's preparation for the expedition has been impressively thorough, setting up a base camp before her final assault on the summit. The sun hat is a nice, optimistic touch Madi. I hope it is firmly attached with strings..

Who is this we see now wearing lederhosen on Benn Oss? Yes indeed it is our good friend Easy from France.  It looks like Easy has come well equipped to avoid dehydration. And those lederhosen will be so much safer than a kilt, if you get my meaning, Easy old pal.

Next on to puss no.2,  Eddy, artistically posed on An Caisteal, staring into the distance, illuminated by the blazing sun in the sky beyond. Doesn't she make for a romantic picture?

And who is this most handsomely attired guy on Ben Lomond? Yes of course you recognise Casey. He tells me he is following in the footsteps of his momma, who once climbed this renowned Scottish peak when she was a mere pup.

Casey sure knows how to rock a Highland costume!

Oh yes, and last but NEVER EVER least we have the only English entrant, Princess Leah. If you are thinking that Leah's peak does not look very, er, Munro-like, well you have a point. I guess it is the way of Royalty to disregard the rules as applied to us commoners. So here is Leah on her very own peak in Chatters-Away House, England. She's looking every inch the hardy mountaineer, I'm sure you'll agree.

Well that brings us to the end of the list of Munro Baggers (and Boggers). I do hope you all had a great time exploring the length and breadth of my beautiful homeland. Gosh we were very, very lucky that weather stayed dry throughout...

Oh, Gail says I am now supposed to pick a gold medallist.

What a ridiculous idea. ALL the contestants get gold medals, of course. Here, do take one. Even you Princess Leah!

Thank you so much for taking part and making it all so brilliant!

PS Do remember hop on over to Oreo's blog for today's other awesome Pawlympic event, Bubble Jumping.

Saturday, 13 August 2016

Best birthday party ever!

Oh I just have to tell you all about Human Granny's birthday lunch.

You can imagine how honoured I felt to be invited along to join the party. We went to this tip top restaurant called Biondi Bistro, by Gunthorpe Lock. You can eat outside in a nicely sheltered courtyard area, so it's both dog and granny friendly. Perfect!

Look, here I am with, left to right, Human Granny, Gail, her brother Max and my smart and pretty human cousin Annabel.
That Biondi Bistro is the classiest of classy joints should be clear when you see who was at the table next to us.

Yes, not just one but TWO fellow wire fox terriers!

Handsome pups aren't they?

And all three of us were super well behaved, we really were!

PS Don't forget to stop by for the Pawlympics Munro Bagging event on Tuesday. Honestly, I am ready for a break from what Gail will insist on calling the 'real' Olympics. I mean, I ask you, just what is so interesting anyway about watching humans pedalling their bicycles round and round in circles for, seemingly, ever and ever...?