Friday, 27 January 2023

Quiz time!

Quizmaster Nobby

Greeting friends! Today we have something a little different - a Nature Friday quiz just for you. 

All you have to do is look at the eight tree photos below, all taken by Gail in the past month, and decide which you think is the odd one out. Please leave your answers (preferably with workings - feel free to be creative) in the comments box. 

N.B. There is only one 'official' answer, but there might be more than one correct answer!

PS Thank you once again to our LLB Gang friends for hosting this blog. Our thoughts are with them right now as they prepare to say a final fond goodbye to their faithful pack member, dear old Jakey.

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Birthday Boys

My owner Gail is notoriously poor at celebrating birthdays so I am delighted to report she has actually remembered that today I reach the age of one year old.

Since I share my birthday with one very distinguished Scot, Robert Burns, our national bard, I am promised this evening my own specially tailored Burns Supper, with the traditional plate of haggis, neeps and tatties, accompanied by Gail reciting (badly) my favourite Burns poem, 'The Twa Dogs' of course. My generous offer to bark an 'Address to the Lassies' had been politely declined.

I hope that today's other distinguished birthday boy, Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, will find time to take a break from his heroic endeavours and have a quiet celebration with his family. I, Nobby, am proud to share my birthday with such a fine individual, and Gail and I send best wishes to him and all his fellow countrymen and women, and also our hopes for future peace and prosperity in an independent Ukraine. 

Monday, 23 January 2023

By special request: More on Cuba

So it seems that some of my readers want to hear more about Cuba.

Well, after looking through the many photos on Gail's phone, I am pleased to report that they are not all about cycling.

Of course there are some pictures of the bikes etc.

The cyclists had to share the mostly quiet (but rather bumpy) roads with a variety of horse drawn vehicles.

But Gail's friends also took a fun car ride in Havana. Maybe some of our American readers remember vehicles like these ones?

It seems there was beach time too. I have to say I don't think Gail has quite got the hang of the 'beach babe' look, but she says she enjoyed her swims in both the Caribbean and the Atlantic Ocean. 

She also enjoyed a guided nature hike followed by a boat trip on Lago Hanabanilla.

The weather was not always sunny.

Apparently, in Cuba,  you can't avoid hearing rather a lot (perhaps too much?) about Fidel Castro and Che Guevera, and seeing their images everywhere. 

At the 'Bay of Pigs' museum the tour group was made to watch a video detailing the glorious defeat of the "Yankee Imperialists' in 1962.

Gail says the meal times were more memorable for the company than the food, and claims you wouldn't last long cycling in Cuba if you were a fussy eater.

Some of the hotels where they stayed look nice.

The diverse group, all friends and relatives of Jim and Lori*, ranged in age from 18 to 84. Most come from the Seattle/Tacoma area, but other tour participants were variously based in California, Illinois, Florida, and Calgary in Canada. And of course there was one from the UK! The tour was arranged by Jim through the Havana-based company Bicycle Breeze.

The group made three pre-arranged stops to donate miscellaneous old bicycle parts brought from home to aspiring young Cuban cyclists, whose clubs have great difficulty sourcing equipment.

OK, I think that's quite enough about Cuba. Now let me show you a picture of my weekend walk by the River Dee, to remind you whose blog this is...  

*My predecessor Bouncing Bertie had the privilege of meeting Jim and Lori when they came to visit Gail in Scotland  a few years ago. 

Friday, 20 January 2023

A Communist dog's life - a better choice?

Apparently my older brother Rupert cries in the car home when his humans pick him up from a stay with his relatives at Craigmancie Foxies. 

I, Nobby, am of course made of sterner stuff, and although I have to admit I did love having the run of the farmyard with five other wire-haired fox terriers, particularly enjoying the relaxed regime of no grooming or baths, I was also pleased to see Gail after her 18 days away.

So Gail wants me to tell you all about her Cuba cycling tour. I had to remind her that my readership is interested primarily in dogs not bicycles, and I did notice on her phone a few pictures of the pups she encountered on her travels around the island.

I have concluded that in communist Cuba, whether you are a human or a stray canine, it pays to have the support of the Party.

See here this rather handsome state-sanctioned resident of La Habana Vieja (Old Havana). He gets to wander the streets at will, receives food and medical care courtesy of the government, and his tag bears an instruction not to maltreat him. 

Contrast him with those pups who have to take their chances in the private sector. They might get relatively lucky and live a life of freedom and benign neglect, in town or country.

Or they might end up like this poor fellow. Or worse. (Gail says a the condition of some of the dogs was too distressing to photograph.)

Not a difficult choice is it? 

But in truth, I am happy to be in Scotland, where most of us dogs live comfortable lives in a beautiful country with an agreeably cool climate. 

I might even consent to a bath this evening. 

Sunday, 1 January 2023

Cuba? Cuba!


Happy New Year to my lovely readers and commenters. Gail and I hope your 2023 is filled with all the things that bring you great joy.

I like to think I am instrumental in bringing joy to Gail's life (notwithstanding the chewed up glasses, parking permit, bank card etc.) 

But I have noticed that I am 'necessary but not sufficient' and that another of Gail's loves is to go out riding her bicycle with friends near and far. 

So it is that on Tuesday this week, Gail is heading to Cuba (yes, CUBA!) for a cycling tour with a bunch of her American pals, and I am going to be spending the best part of three weeks boarding with my relatives at  Craigmancie Foxies.

To be honest, I'm rather looking forward to rampaging around the Craigmancie farmyard with my extended WFT family. I think Gail is looking forward to her first venture overseas since October 2019, and to seeing her close friend Marse after a four year break, although I have detected that she seems uncharacteristically anxious about her forthcoming trip, and keeps changing her mind about what to put in her suitcase. 

Normal service will resume on this blog around 21st January. (I do hope Gail won't forget it's my first birthday on the 25th...)