Things of Human Interest

hiya

Hiya! It is I, Bruce. Today I am here to tell you about an important difference between Dogs and Humans.

This is where I live.

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It is a good place and there are many things I like about it. My human companions also like this place. But although dogs and humans both can both like a place, it is not often for the same reason. This is one of the many curious but important differences between us.

For example, one of my favourite walks goes past these trees.

oakandstones

I like these trees because they mark the entrance into Good Field, a location where maximum fun is to be had. But Kate likes these trees because they are dead and alive at the same time.

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Past these trees is Good Field – one of my all-time favourite spots. Whatever the weather, the grass of Good Field is always wet and the ground of Good Field is always squishy and soggy. In Good Field can often be found deer and hare who are fun to chase, and if the cows pass by, they kindly leave an interesting mess behind. In Winter the mud of Good Field grows deep and dank and in the Summer Good Field’s plants grow thick and high. Good Field is a place for bounding, for leaping, for getting wet and dirty, and for gingering oneself up with all kinds of funky smells. In all seasons of the year, then, it is an excellent place to be.

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Now, Kate does not like Good Field for its mud or for its interesting aroma. Nor does she seem particularly happy when she trips into the cow mess, or wades clumsily through the waist high grasses. In fact, the qualities I most admire about Good Field are things Kate merely tolerates, or on occasion actually seems irritated by. I have heard her mutter words such as “ballache” as she stumbles, is bitten by a horsefly, or, as today, gets muddy trousers after falling on her arse. So why on earth does Kate take me to Good Field if she herself does not enjoy the many delights it has to offer? The answer is, of course, that it contains Things of Human Interest.

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Good Field’s Things of Human Interest are these Old Stones.

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Now, I am hardly ever diverted by Things of Human Interest, and I have to say that these Old Stones strike me as rather commonplace. Certainly they carry no significance for a dog like me.

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And yet I am tolerant enough of human foibles to dutifully sit and pose.

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Dear dog comrades, the moral of this tale is to joyfully accompany your companions when they wish to visit Things of Human Interest. That way you are likely to spend time in really excellent places, like Good Field.

a little snow

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Everything is relative: I am sure that those of you in North America, who have been shovelling the white stuff for months, will not be in the least excited to hear that it actually snowed, but here, where winter has been horribly dank and soggy thus far, it is an exceedingly welcome change. It is the cold, crisp, crunchy days that get me through the Winter: there have been far too few of them and I confess that the sight of this in the morning made me foolishly happy.

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Bruce is also in a good mood.

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I love to walk in the snow, and we spent a good couple of hours out there this morning in the silence, with no other folk in sight. Birds seemed everywhere, immediately spotted against the landscape’s white blanket. As well as the usual neighbourhood woodpecker and buzzards I saw an osprey by the loch and a hen harrier hovering above the snow-covered fields. The birds are pairing up: this cold snap has come late, and there are already signs of Spring.

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I wonder how the bulbs I planted will fare.

Well, its back to my desk. I have my first post-stroke driving lesson tomorrow – wish me luck!

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The life and death of Big Ball

hiya

Hiya! It is I, Bruce. This morning an extremely curious thing occurred, so I am here to tell you all about it.

The curious thing began with the appearance of the postie, who had a parcel for Tom. Inside the parcel was a box with this jolly person on the front of it.

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Intriguing! Apparently the box contained Big Ball, and Tom required Big Ball to perform tricks and throw shapes such as this

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These are quite impressive shapes, but, as I said to Tom, there are much better things to do with Big Ball, such as chase it, jump at it and chew it. (Prescient words, as we will see).

Oddly, the first thing to come out of box was not Big Ball at all but this Squashy Thing:

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Tom began squeezing at Squashy Thing. Then Squashy Thing started huffing and puffing and making strange whistling sounds. I became excited, and began to bark, and then was told to leave the room. Such is life.

But when I was permitted to return, guess what I discovered?

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BIG BALL!

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Big Ball was large, and rather vexing, and impossible to catch. Clearly the best thing to do was to corner the chuffer.

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Havoc ensued. It was mooted that I was playing with Big Ball too vigorously, and I was told to SIT.

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So Tom and I decided to go outside to play with Big Ball . . .

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. . .then I jumped happily at Big Ball and . . .

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Big Ball’s disappearance was sudden, loud, and mystifying. All that remained were a few woeful scraps, which it was clearly my duty to destroy.

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The appearance, and disappearance of things is one of life’s greatest mysteries. Who can say why the cold white stuff turns to water whenever I chew it? Why toys enter the evil beast called Washing Machine, and are never the same afterwards, or why Big Ball suddenly disappears? While I was musing on these important matters, Tom popped out for a while. When he returned, events took a rather sinister turn.

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Who is this imposter? And what have they done with Big Ball?

today . . .

home

There has been some snow.

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Bruce was rumbled, sleeping in Tom’s chair . . .again

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And only 5 penguins remain on my advent calendar.

Which reminds me: today is the last day for orders if you’d like a book or kit from my online shop. My postie will hoik the last sack of parcels away tomorrow and I’ll be taking a wee break from packing for a couple of weeks. We are all looking forward to a holiday here – hope you are too!

g(love)

hiya

Hiya! It is I, Bruce. A while ago, we lived in a tall stone building in a city where there were lots of cars. Now we live here:

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Where there are lots of these:

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And a few of these:

cows

One of the many good things about it round here is that there are many Paths and I get to walk on these Paths with Kate and Tom. Sometimes I get to go swimming, and sometimes I leap about in the long grass, smelling interesting animal smells. But wherever we go, there is generally some water and mud for me to get myself nicely lathered up in. Hurrah!

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This particular Path is known as West Highland Way and is frequented not only by dogs and cows and deer but by many human walkers. Human walkers can be forgetful, and occasionally they discard their belongings along Path. That is OK though, because I sniff out and find these belongings, and then I make them MINE. Without a doubt, the best of these found belongings is GLOVE.

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Now, I first found GLOVE about three weeks ago by Path. Since then I have played with it many times and it is now sodden and chewed and has a delicious bovine odour. GLOVE seems quite robust though: Kate tells me that it is fashioned from acrylic, and is therefore a sort of plastic which refuses to decay. But though GLOVE is indestructible, and now has a very strong smell about it, sometimes I play with it so hard that I actually manage to lose it in the grass. Tom or Kate will insist that GLOVE is finally lost forever, but then, O joy of joys, a few days later I will always find it again, usually in a completely different location. I suspect the cows to have a hand (or hoof) in its unaccountable movements.

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Now, there are many fun things to do with GLOVE but probably the most fun to be had is when the humans throw it for you. Kate describes GLOVE as “a vile object” and is sometimes unwilling to join in the game. But, dear friends, let me tell you a good trick I have discovered: If you present Kate with GLOVE often enough, and stare at her for long enough with your most persuasive expression, she will eventually join in.

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Once Kate has capitulated, and throws GLOVE for you, you can retrieve and prance with GLOVE until you are exhausted.

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F U N!

But, eventually, it is time to leave and – sadly – to leave GLOVE beind, as for some unknown reason, Kate will not allow me to bring GLOVE home.

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This is Gate which leads home off West Highland Way.

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Right by Gate there is Old Wall.

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Kate instructs me to LEAVEIT behind Old Wall. This makes me sad.

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But if I don’t LEAVEIT behind Old Wall we don’t go home.

Well, goodbye, fun GLOVE buddy.

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Probably the only good thing about leaving GLOVE behind Old Wall is that, unlike losing it in the grass, it is always there next time, and I am always surprised and happy to discover it once again!

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See you soon, love Bruce xx

A Walk with Felix

hiya

Hiya! It is I, Bruce. I am here to tell you about a Fun Walk I had yesterday at Braid Hill with Kate and my buddy, Felix. This walk (which is one of my favourites) begins by Golf Course. Golf Courses are very mysterious human spaces: men walk purposefully about them with large bags and sticks, and occasionally a ball flies by which I am not allowed to chase. Also, Golf Courses are composed of large flat, inviting lawns which clearly say “gambol upon me.” Oddly, though, whenever we encounter one, I am not allowed to gambol but am sternly told to walk to heel. Yesterday, though, I was so happy to be engaged upon the business of Walking with Felix that I got away, and gambolled happily about the Golf Course. Then I did something in the middle of the big green lawn which made Kate shout “Oh No! Bruce!” in that way she often does. So I thought I’d cheer her up by rolling in something a horse had left nearby . . . sadly this did not seem to do the trick.

Felix remained in good spirits, however, and, fully fired up with eau de cheval, we ascended Hill. At the top of Hill it was clearly time for a game, and, after rummaging in the bushes I presented Felix with Old Ball.

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Come down from there, Felix, it is time to throw Old Ball.

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Look at me prance with Old Ball, Felix.

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Time to throw Old Ball again, Felix.

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What do you mean, its the end of the game?

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Please throw Old Ball again, Felix.

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Sadly, there was no more Old Ball fun for me as Kate decided it was time to take some pictures of her new sweater.

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Such is life.

See you soon, love Bruce xxx

New Lanark, the egg, and the naming of things

hiya

Hiya! It is I, Bruce. Today I am here to tell you about the place called New Lanark.

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Tom and Kate have been to this place many times, and are fond of it for many reasons. Kate particularly likes New Lanark because
1) it is the birthplace of Utopian Socialism and
2) it makes yarn.

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As well as being an important World Heritage Site, New Lanark is a place where you can enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Falls of Clyde.

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This was definitely the bit that interested me.

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Up along the river banks and woods, there is much fun walking to be had. I smelt many interesting smells and went for a swim . . .

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. . .I looked after the humans, hurrying them along the paths, and posing obligingly for photographs.

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. . . I also heard some sounds that were new to me. For example, these icicles on the opposite bank made an interesting crrrrrrack and crrrrrash sound as they broke and fell into the river.

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Then we came to a place called The Hide.

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There was much excitement around The Hide because The Egg had just appeared in the nest of a Peregrine. The humans at The Hide had equipment through which Tom and Kate could look and see the Peregrine sitting on The Egg. Kate seemed quite interested in The Egg, but was perhaps even more animated by the colour of the Peregrine’s eyelids, which were apparently a very very very bright yellow. I was not allowed to look through the equipment, but I was very good on my lead and did not snaffle any of the Hide humans’ tasty meat-filled sandwiches while they were being distracted by the excitement of The Egg.

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Now, I know and understand many human words — egg and chicken, for example, are two words that make a lot of sense to me. But two words that do not make sense are the words called Monkey Walking, which is what the humans shout at me with glee when I do this on a path with gaps in it:

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The naming of things is perhaps the deepest of all human mysteries. For example, why is this crunchy, tasteless, pointless thing called Lichen when there is nothing to like about it at all?

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Why is this piece of Scottish hydroelectrical equipment called YORKSHIRE?

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Who named this bench BROWN LONG EARED BAT?

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And which daft human decided that this fence should be called DONKEY?

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Answers on a postcard, please . . .

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See you soon, Love Bruce

Kate adds: A shout-out to Laura, the New Lanark ranger, who reads this blog and who we met on our walk today. Thanks so much to Laura and all her colleagues for their hard work maintaining this wonderful landscape for everyone to walk in and enjoy! xx

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