Sunday, 31 January 2010

A beautiful, chilly walk on Castle Law.

It was one of those, as they say in all the best books, " crisp, winter's day". The wind was chilling but the steep climb made me warm. I have a few stops to "admire the views"!! I am still working on the assumption that, with the heavy frost and the vegetation withered or completely flattened by the recent heavy prolonged snowfall, the risk of ticks is not too great at the moment. I suppose I could be wrong, but the dogs love a run up here and at this time of year there is little chance of meeting anyone. I enjoyed the walk/climb as well and the views are spectacular.

Mo, Charlie and Swallow at the start of the climb up Castle Law.

Charlie looks down over the steep escarpment.

Swallow and Mo running back towards me.

Swallow views the landscape below.

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One of the many "meanders " in the river Earn as the valley floor is so flat and thus prone to flooding.

A westward view from our path.

A northward view showing some fresh snow on the distant hills.

One of my favourite views looking eastwards to the estuary of the river Tay, which, on a day like this, is a beautiful blue.

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Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Manchester Championship Show.

The coach was full as we travelled overnight to my first Champ. show of the year. I had taken Charlie, Swallow and Carole's Emma as Carole was in hospital. I had hoped (with everything crossed) that young Charlie would be on his best behaviour on the journey. How stupid am I?
The minute he was left, as went to pack in some more of my belongings, he started barking. Covering his cage did no good but eventually he quietened down, so long as he could see me. We are not talking about some frightened, quivering puppy here. Charlie is as bold as brass. He had his quiet spells and he had his noisier spells.
The buzz and noise inside the show hall made no difference to his exuberance! He was happy but not the best trained show dog in his class.

We had the most disobliging driver for our coach. He missed out our usual breakfast stop and so arrived at the showground at 5.30am, jumped out of his seat and opened up all the luggage compartments with all our trolleys, bags, chairs etc. Did he expect us to stand around in a dark, cold, damp carpark till the halls opened at 7am? We didn't.

He had also parked the bus so that where we exited the bus down steep steps to a side door with dogs and cages we landed in a big puddle of muddy water, which grew as the day went on with the heavy rain, and even although asked politely if he could move the vehicle to a drier place, he merely shrugged his shoulders and wandered off.
On our return to the carpark, one of my friends suggested we use a plastic bakers tray she had found, turn it upside down in the middle of the by now small lake at the bus door, which we did and somehow managed to balance ourselves and push and pull older exhibitors till we were all back on board. I could go on about other mean little things he did like shutting off all the lights and expecting us to leave the bus in the dark at the services for a meal later on, but that is enough for now.........not our favourite driver!

Oh, by the way, the show was fine and my dogs and I had a pretty good day!

Swallow-1st out of 7 in Limit Bitch.

Charlie, 4th out of 12 in Minor Puppy Dog class.

..and Carole's Emma, litter sister to my Swallow, a commendable 4th out of 11 in Open Bitch.
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Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Competent Help Required!

This is why I have great difficulty photographing my own dogs. The minute I appear with a camera the horde descends on me and in an effort to keep the lens free of smears from little tongues I usually have to stand upright so the dogs always end up having short legs and big heads as I click looking down on them. It's quite difficult to take a solo shot as someone always homes in on the subject! Here I tried sitting on a chair but ended up with Mo on my lap.

Little Roley was taken, alone, into the living room in an attempt to get this elusive shot but he ended up down on my level on the carpet.

He was still for a moment, but I think I moved!

Back in the kitchen, he now appears to have twin heads as Charlie wanted a piece of the action.
Better luck next time!
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Monday, 18 January 2010

A She-Devil?

Look out, anyone who dares attack me! I have huge, dangerous teeth and I know how to use them!

This is me, Maisie, in calmer mode.
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Monday, 11 January 2010

It has arrived!

Late last night the thaw set in here. I noticed it when I heard "plop" into one of the containers left on the window sill, just in case. We had had no more water dripping in to the living room as long as it was frosty but now our bedroom window seal had surrendered as well so it was to work with what few newspapers we had left and some large polythene carrier bags to catch and mop up the water. Now, most of it seems to have seeped out of wherever it had been, up under the tiles, and the bedroom window at least, has dried up. So far, no wet stains on walls or carpet, but rather a lot of soggy newspaper in the recycling bin.
Chic spent the forenoon shinning up and down a ladder, like a yoyo, with kettles of boiling water to thaw the mound of ice in the rhones and at last he freed them enough to pick out the ice, chunk by chunk. That should allow the melting ice now to drain back down from higher up under the tiles as well as from the surface .
I chipped away, outside the back door, at the packed down snow, which had turned to ice and shovelled it into a pile but shortly afterwards I found that Charlie and the pups had been carrying chunks into the kitchen---another mess to clear up.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Winter still reigns here!

Someone wrote somewhere on "facebook" today that the snow was melting in some places in Scotland, ........ well, not much sign of it here.
The usual dog walking paths are well trodden down with about 3 inches of hard packed snow, but at the side, the snow, even after sinking a bit, is still a good 12 inches deep. Some kind soul has chipped out the long flights of steps which lead up out of the den as it had become quite slippy and dangerous (especially for an old lady/woman!) even with walking boots.
The burn is almost completely iced over and the falls are very picturesque but .......Hurry up, Spring!

Looking upstream from the wooden bridge over the burn, the little waterfall looks like a cauliflower!

Swallow, Tass and Charlie race down the path towards me.

..and now they make their way through the patch of withered Willow Herb.

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Charlie wanders off the path.

"I think I'll turn back!"

"Now I'm "bellied"!"

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Thursday, 7 January 2010

My Skywatch photo from my friends garden.

To see many beautiful photos of skies visit the Skywatch site.
My photo was taken through a window in my friends house, near Dundee, in Scotland. This Continental visitor to our country, a fieldfare, was feeding on cotoneaster berries on a bright frosty day in the midst of our current Arctic spell of weather.
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A few wild birds at the birdtable.

I waited for several hours, pressed against Carole's kitchen window, to get this photo of a fieldfare, a winter visitor from the Continent, with a berry in his beak!

A garden favourite, the bluetit, feeds at the fat balls.
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A starling feeding.

..and another hanging from one of the feeders. They are quite bossy and remind me of little soldiers.

A bleary photo of a sparrow (mainly because he does not sit still long enough for me to get the camera focused.)

These fantails, not wild birds but belonging to my friend's neighbour, often take over the table.
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A male blackbird.

A female blackbird.

A robin checking out the situation from the hedge.

..and a robin with his feathers puffed out to keep warm.
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Wednesday, 6 January 2010

The Law revisited.

This is the first time I have ventured back up The Law since the dogs became infested with ticks last spring. I didn't think there was much chance of that happening today as the temperature continues to plummet. The top left photo shows our destination. The three dogs are, Tass, Tina and old Spencer.

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I found this flower on a whin (=gorse) bush well up on the Law. It seems to have been caught out by the snow.

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The bottom left photo of part of the village was taken as I climbed out of the Den and the other 3 were taken from near the top of the Law, looking in various directions.
Addendum: The Law is a prominent summit of a hill. This Law can be seen top left in the very first collage in this post...Tass is in the foreground.
The Den is a steep sided gully....this one has a burn running down through it and lots of trees.

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