Friday, 27 May 2022

Nobby the apprentice field assistant

Well friends, it's been a busy and interesting ten days!

Gail didn't tell me before we set off for Torridon a week last Tuesday that she would be spending most of her time conducting surveys of local plant life, having volunteered to take part in the National Plant Monitoring Scheme, and that I, Nobby, would be assisting her with the field work.

Well I am pleased to report that I took to the role like a duck to water (and believe me, there is plenty of water in this part of the world).

Look, here's me, guarding the SW corner flag of a 5 m square of 'wet heath' on the Kinloch Estate, wherre  Gail was surveying the plantlife with fellow volunteer Graham. 

I should point out here that Gail was planning to leave me in the car but Graham said no, no, he'll be fine, let him come with us. What a nice man, don't you think?

While the humans got stuck into identifying different types of heather, sedges, moor grasses, bog myrtle and bog asphodel etc. I gave them absolutely no cause for concern by scrambling up and over nearby rocky ledges, and I even helped by making sure the marker poles did not fly away in the wind.

You have probably already figured out that botanical field work in NW Scotland does not wait for warm and sunny weather.

The next day, we ventured into the birch woods on the steep northern flank of Ben Shieldaig, where primroses were still in bloom and the rocks were covered in a baffling variety of mosses. We are in 'temperate rainforest' habitat here. 

When Aberdeen neighbour Kirsty came over to stay in the middle of the week, we took a bit of time off the plant stuff and went for a nice walk along the coast (see 25 May post). 

But on the following morning I was disappointed to be left in the car while Gail, Kirsty and Graham checked out the plants in a native pinewood area (located too close to the North Coast 500 road for my safety). 

Finally, and just 'cos it's pretty, I'll leave you with a picture of me amid the bluebells near our cottage. 

Happy Nature Friday friends! Do go and visit the other posts in the LLB Gang's always enjoyable blog hop.

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

Free range puppy in Torridon

Celebrating reaching the age of four months by demonstrating my bold and independent terrier spirit on a walk to Rubha na h-Áirde Glaise.

Later the same day.

Look, I'm still only a puppy... 

Monday, 23 May 2022

Classic or Quirky?

Nobby at 4 months old

Bertie at four months old

Although Gail tells me her father would sometimes remind her "comparisons are odious" I note this does not seem to deter her from making frequent observations about how I might or might not resemble my distinguished predecessor Bouncing Bertie.

It seems that whereas Bertie had what might be considered 'classic' wire-haired fox terrier markings, with a black saddle across his back, my dark patches are somewhat non-standard - one might say quirky, characterful, unique even. 

Apparently my eyes are ears and bigger than Bertie's and my face furs are more white. 

We both made a strong impression at puppy class, although not necessarily, Gail says, in a good way...

Strangers would often compliment Bertie on his fine, alert terrier stance, and I do believe that in this regard I can be considered my distinguished predecessor's equal.

But as for any contention Gail might make, that I am "an even naughtier and more wilful" puppy, well might I just point out it's well known how the human brain is capable of blanking out past traumas, and memories can become distorted over time...

PS Gail and I are in currently in Torridon and will report back more fully later in the week. Meanwhile, here's a sneak preview of me enjoying a walk in the bluebells near Shieldaig with new friends Max and Nell. 

Friday, 20 May 2022

Oh I do like to be beside the seaside...

The weather was cold and foggy when we left Aberdeen on Tuesday morning, and cloudy, damp and midgy when we arrived later afternoon at the Torridon cottage. 

But I'm delighted to report that it was all blue skies and sea at Hopeman on the Moray coast, where we broke the journey to meet Gail's old friend A-M for a stroll beside the pristine beach, and contemplated the pleasures of owning a brightly painted beach hut. 

A-M used to lodge with Gail in the days when Hamish the Westie was also in residence. She remembers Hamish as being stubborn. A Westie? Stubborn? Imagine that! 

We all had a lovely walk, and I was allowed off lead for a stretch by the beach, but reined back in as we approached the cliffs. 

Gail's friend hasn't been having an easy time of late, and has not been venturing out much. But for sure, a walk beside the sparking sands, accompanied by a jolly little dog, would help lift anyone's spirits, don't you think?

By the end of the walk A-M was asking Gail when my breeder would next have puppies available. 

Happy Nature Friday friends! Remember that time spent outdoors enjoying the peace and beauty of the natural landscape, with or even possibly without your dog, is not only good exercise but great for overall wellbeing. 

PS Readers interested in the geology of this area will surely want to visit Bouncing Bertie's blog post from August 2012, where, in his own inimitable fashion, he describes his experience of accompanying Gail and her erstwhile colleagues on a field trip along the Moray coast...

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Zeus and his Top Knot

It was a lovely sunny morning in the park as I was gearing up for a pow wow with the Big Dogs. 

(Gail tells me I am not a Big Dog and never will be, but she cannot see inside my mind.)

My first encounter was with this fine fellow.  I didn't catch his name but I can tell you he is gentle and has enviably long legs.  I think he is quite a bit older than me and I am gradually learning that some senior dogs, although friendly, have limited appetite for playing with young pups. Especially if those puppies are hyperactive WFTs! 

So onto the next Big Dog. He is called Zeus. We see him in the park quite often and Gail always admires his handsomeness.

Zeus is a Russian Black Terrier. It might be that he is embarrassed about being Russian just now, and is sporting an ever so slightly effeminate top knot not just to keep his furs out of his eyes but also to counteract any suspicion of aggressive Putinesque tendencies...

In fact, Zeus is a Good Sport and not aggressive at all. (And not Russian in anything but breed name.)