Free competition, open to all

Friends, collies, gamesters,

Well, it’s going to take a bit of time for me to write up all my adventures in the Munros last weekend and, as you know, it’s never plain sailing (or walking) with B.

In the meantime, I thought I’d whet your appetite, by using a couple of my photos to launch a new competition.

I haven’t run a competition for a long time. I got so down in the mouth last year. B had to go down south a lot and our old girl, my mentor – Maisie – went down the tubes, before having to get the vet out that one last time; and then … to put a tin lid on it, David had that v. v. v big fall, coming home from hospital with lots of horrible equipment that scared me silly. It wasn’t great.

In fact, I didn’t even announce the winner of my competition last May, when I gave you a clue to help you work out the old girl’s great age in hours. I feel bad about that. But, better late than never. Tink, my little friend from Devon, will be getting something nice and juicy to reward her. She has astonishing abilities in arithmetic for a feline. I will give her prize to her people, when they come to visit my people, in August. I only had two entries so I think I’ll steer clear of anything mathematical in the future.

This time, then, here is your picture starter for 10. My competition is open to anyone and I will post the prize anywhere in the world, free of charge. The winner will be the first person to get my correct answer. The result will be posted on 7th August.

Me and B came upon these curious burrows as we were struggling over big tracts of pathless, boggy and peaty terrain, while doing some Munros last Saturday. My question is, what sort of creature lives here? Just add your answers to the comments below this post

I needed a big sleep after all that hard work, so B tucked me up in my cushion in the back of Tanka, our Renault Kangoo.

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And so to bed

 

I can’t wait to see what you come up with 🙂

Love Ben untitled 1

 

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Ben’s Munro poem

Thank you so much for coming to visit a dog-poet.

My poems for Colleen’s weekly poetry challenge are a take on life from a canine perspective. We poets – and to date I seem to be the only dog-poet –  write one of the structured poems permitted and have to integrate, as synonyms, the two words given as a prompt.

On the first week of every month we get to choose our own words. Mine are food and climb .I am doing a Haiku

You can find out about the form, and have a go yourself, by clicking below:

Colleen’s weekly poetry challenge

I’m doing lots of walking in Scottish mountains for our charity challenge. You can read all about it here:

Mucky Boots and Flawless Paws

 

Looking north and a bit east

Back on the Munros

Steep ascent on mountain hike

Reward of Sausage

By Ben the dog-poet © 2019

 

 

2019 Munros, here we come :)

Friends, collies, deserted dogs,

Oh my goodness me, what a turn up for the books. As if landing ourselves with a much more reliable and younger Munromobile wasn’t enough, we seem to have gone way up market with, in fact, a Des Res, for our big charity challenge. Read all about it!

It’s all very salubrious compared to my old van (about which – by the way – I won’t hear a bad word). Though I have to admit to being a bit worried about this Des person, I just don’t know where we are going to fit him in.

We seem to have gone high rise with mark 2 and my bunk bed sits on top of a small truck containing all our precious maps, routes and assorted Munrobilia. B’s head is close to mine, with all my food and treats and balls stored under her. I do hope she doesn’t squash them.

Oh joy of joys, what times we are going to have. We spent all Easter weekend kitting it out and personalising it and now we are just raring to go.

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I have a very sad addendum to add here. It seems, that after last years aborted efforts, we have a lot of catching up to do and B has to go Munroing whenever she can. Sometimes, that might not include me 🙂 In fact, she did the first weekend on her own, taking the opportunity of working in Glasgow on a Friday, nearly 100 miles north of home, to head further north and do a bit of Munro bagging. She did the same, for the same reason, at the beginning of May and left me behind for a whole week. Mind you I might have been a bit of a liability. B was using her bike to cut down walking through the v. v. v long Glens to the start of the ascents. What, with my strong chase instinct, I might not have been able to have resist a chase and a nip when other cyclists past us. I’m told that lots of them did pass her too (hee, hee).

I’m going to post links to the place where B writes about all her solo Munroing on my blog and here are a few photos to wet your whistle. She’s very slow writing them all up though.

I can’t wait to go bagging again myself, and write up all about my adventures. Watch this space …

Better get some sleep first

SF 9
And so to bed

Love Ben 0

 

 

 

 

 

Have I got news for you!

Friends, collies, micro campers,

Last Monday my afternoon slumber was badly disturbed, or so I thought at the time. In Ben’s life, mornings are all about playing ball in the forest for a couple of hours and, after all that exertion, afternoons give way to lots and lots of zzzzzzzzzzs; life’s not all bad.

Being a creature of habit, I’m not at my best when such a well-oiled routine is interrupted and, therefore, I was in a foul mood when woken and directed to the garden (nature’s own public convenience), before getting into my seat in the car.

Arriving at B’s work to collect her early perked me up no end, but my body clock was seriously confused; what was going on? We started back towards home, but then went sailing (well, OK driving) right past the end of our road. Curiouser and curiouser, I thought, but such a lot of thinking was beginning to make my headspace hurt and the anxiety butterflies had started their workout in my tummy. There really is only one response to such uncertainty, so I thumped down on my seat – to let my feelings be known – and then proceeded to catch up on some shut-eye.

When the motion of rubber on tarmac became uneven I was jolted into consciousness and serious worry commenced. There was nothing recognisable here that could anchor me to time or place. The familiar dance of the butterflies I had experienced earlier became a frantic workout, involving cartwheels, back flips and double somersaults.

We had fetched up by some ruinous mill-type building, with portacabins and lots of cars, seemingly abandoned, decorating the landscape. Not only was the unfamiliar a cause for concern but B and David immediately deserted me and I didn’t know if they would ever come back. As you can imagine, I followed their footsteps with my eyes out on stalks and my neck stretched to the back window, which is a very long way, even in our little Fabia. Well, what a funny thing. B and David were giving one of those abandoned cars the once over and, before you could say “Ben, meet your new Munromobile”, B had driven off in it with a strange man, and David was sitting beside me.

It turns out that my van is being traded in for a newer model. Oh my goodness me, you should see it. Well, actually you can, here’s some photos. Will you take a look at that!

 

The mileage is only just over half way round the clock (whatever that means), and everything works as it should, which is a real novelty. Now the van won’t blow a fuse if she forgets the back door lock is dysfunctional, and neither will she get the key stuck in the passenger lock, because that one doesn’t work either. The audio system does the job properly too, which means melodious tunes. No longer do musicians sound as if they are undergoing some very nasty examination while trying to sing at the same time. And, if that isn’t enough, just look at the paintwork. I know appearances are only skin deep but I can do shallow if it means a spiffing car. I can tell you, I will be sitting up very proudly as we make for Munro country, waving my paw as if, for all the world, I was related to royalty.

And….., as if that wasn’t enough, very soon it is going to look like this – hells bells!

Van

When B came back from her test drive she asked for my opinion, and obviously that was a no- brainer. What adventures we are going to have as veritable owners of our Renault Kangoo, which is seven years younger than my van. I wish B could lose seven years just like that. Then we might be able to get up our Munros one heck of a lot quicker.

I’m going to call my new car/van Tanka. It’s after the poetry competition I enter most Tuesdays. While a Tanka is a form of poetry originating from Japan, my new Munromobile looks a little bit like a tank and drives like pure poetry in motion.

We got Tanka from Fraser Murray Cars Sales in Penicuik, near Edinburgh, and his is a v. v. v commendable outfit, getting lots of those five star things. I even got a donation in my fundraising pot. I’m going to add Fraser Murray Car Sales to my team, when I get back from my weekend away. Me and B are telling everyone to get their cars there.

I couldn’t sleep on the way back home. My tummy was in such a state. I don’t even know how to describe it. I had got so v. v. v excited, but now there was another drama going on and the butterflies were in free-fall. What was going to happen to myvan. B and me had started our big Munro challenge in it and, in fact, it had been our accommodation for the first 50 Munros. I know it had let us down a few times, and had more quirky qualities than you could shake a stick at, but it had character and I had grown to love it. We had even identified our own special song in it; albeit with Ronan Keating singing in a pitch something akin to soprano. I also got worried about Micky, who had come back for shelter again this year, as winter approached; how would he keep warm now? Apparently, the new model was top security, not even a little field mouse could gain entry. Then there were all my mini paw prints, each one denoting a Munro I had climbed. Where could I put them now, with nine windows taking up all the space? Oh dearie me, now I wasn’t so sure at all.

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I know B’s tummy was in a similar state to mine, and I believe hers started going wobbly when she produced that thing they call a credit card. Me and B had a big conflab when got home. B reassured me that we would find somewhere to put my paw prints and, while she is going to get a bit of kit that becomes a bed, for the sake of her old bones, I can still have my cushion beside her. Also, and oh this took my breath away, as Micky hasn’t been back for quite a while now, it is highly likely that he is a goner.

B was still going on but by this time my head space was like mince, and I was flat out dreaming of a Renault Kangoo parked far below towering Munro peaks.

 

BS1 476
And so to bed

Love Ben untitled 1xx

Dog poet marks the New Year

Friends, collies, poets all…

My best, waggiest, tail for a happy, peaceful and healthy New Year.

Where does time go? Another year older, another year wis???? Here is my first poem of  2019, a simple Haiku, a bit like myself!

For the first poem of each month we poets choose our own words of inspiration. Mine are resolution and effort. I’m keeping with the tradition of using the words synonymously. Details of our poetry challenge are here: colleenchesebro.com

My poem is about my ambition to climb all the Munros in Scotland (the mountains over 3,000 feet), before I am 10 and my person is 70!! You can read all about my venture here…  Ben’s blog

mist and sun fighting it out in Glen CoeMuch energy spent

Pledges old and new
Forging ahead, onward call
Mountains still to climb

By Ben, the dog poet

My happiness in the flip of a coin

Hello,

how lovely of you to visit me, thank you. This is the latest offering of the dog-poet in response to Colleen’s weekly poetry challenge The two prompt words this week, to be integrated synonymously, are happy and morose.

The words Happy and Morose make me think about how my whole world rests on choices that are made for me, over which I have no control. After having a full tummy and feeling safe, what I love most is being out walking with my people. When I am most down-at-heart (and I can do sullen and stroppy very convincingly) is when my people go out and leave me. I have to report that it’s never for long, it just feels like forever.

Two sides of a coin –
Heads up, on the hills, joyful;
Tails down, home alone, glum.

By Ben, the dog poet © 2018

Love Ben

Third 2018 Munro Day (7th July), Ben Mhanach (No. 52)

Friends, collies, cattle grid pups,

The phone calls that had been exchanged, between the spot 400 metres from my parking place (just off the road at Bridge of Orchy, where we had a faint signal), and our caravan in Ullswater, were sorrowful and full of pathos. The old girl was giving out, her back legs no longer working at all, or reviving just a little. Caring duties had become wearing duties and our absence had added an additional strain to the small domestic unit. After last nights call me and B had a long chin wag, reaching a decision to go home a day early, after our walk the next day.

Thus it was, thinking of the old girl, that we set off to Beinn Mhanach with our hearts in our boots making for v. v. v heavy feet, causing the inspirational celebratory of yesterday to metamorphose into Mrs Plod. It was a long, long walk in of nearly two hours duration, through the beautiful Auch Gleann, with not many metres of ascent along the way. Thankfully, on a day forecast to be v. v. v hot, an early start had given us a head start and shade thrown down by the hills kept us cool.

As we came to the hydro works, and our route took off north up the steep-sided, pathless flank of ‘The Mountain of the Monks’, the sun in splendour announced itself in blazing shades of gold, at just the wrong time. Thus, the usual huffing and puffing serenade was today punctuated with much panting and pausing, which even I was joining in. The quick steep hop up for speedy Gonzales, who had written one of our guide books, was given quite a different description in which the words: shattered, sprawling and, bitten off more than I can chew, decorated the page. However, and with good grace, Mr Sun put his hat back on and this little gesture gave us a bit of respite. We fought our way up hill by way of meandering Zig Zaggs that eventually got us to an easier gradient, just below the top.

The uphill flog

On our way up the focus had largely been taken up with the lack of progress made by B’s plodding feet. Then, at the summit, all was transformed. A 360o vista displayed the Southern Highlands in a panorama that spoke straight to the soul. This contrast refreshed mind and spirit so that, thoughts of ditching the whole project were miraculously vanished from the radar, no more than 45 minutes after being planted there. Drama and Queen are a two words that passed through my mind at this time, for some reason.

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Soaking up the views, and the inevitably bit with the camera, delayed our departure but, finally, the long drive home penetrated our thoughts and we turned to face the slog down the big hill and long walk back to my van.

If zig, zagging was a means of easing the gradient on the way up, all it served to achieve on the way down was dizziness and total confusion. One minute we were heading west in the direction of the fence we had crossed on our way up and the next we were going a long way east in exactly the opposite direction from where my van was parked. I became more than a bit disturbed by this loss of direction, thinking that perhaps my person’s brain had been pickled by the sun and the effort, or perhaps the bottles that make her very happy, which populate my van. Then, thankfully, just in the nick of time, some fellow hikers sitting by the fence called over, in a hail fellow well met sort of greeting. Happily, B waved and trooped over, back on a westward trajectory. More of that incomprehensible Munro dialect that I had witnessed yesterday took place over the next ten minutes or so but, I was so pleased with these humans I remembered my manners and even got praise and treats from them, for my good behaviour, much to the disgust of the canine in their pack.

The long walk back again

This diversion seemed to have cleared B’s brain because, after this, we set off straight down hill and were soon back on the track, starting the long walk back to my van. With the object of today’s adventure achieved and the 52nd Munro firmly in the bag, we began to visualise the lovely surprise that David would get when he saw me; I would brighten up his day.

Not too far from the end of our walk, while crossing a cattle grid, we encountered the strangest thing. A chubby little lamb had fallen through the grid and couldn’t work out an escape route, a thing that was beyond our combined grey matter too, even though I’m a big-brained Border Collie. We set our hopes on finding someone at home – a farmer type – in the cottages that were now in sight. Before then though we were able to flag down a passing vehicle and a shepherd was at the wheel. Twenty minutes later the truck passed again and a big thumbs up signalled success. We were so happy that we had rescued little Larry from his frightening ordeal.

I had meant, during the journey home, to keep a wary eye on B ensuring she didn’t go in for any of that dozing thing she often does when in the car with David. However, with the best will in the world, I did a bit of that dozing thing myself. Well, to be absolutely truthful, it was more of an out for the count, REM sleep, sort of dozing. I only came too when I was woken because it was everyone’s bedtime and I was in my garden at home. I’m sure I must have had some open eye time, to get a bit of dinner down me but, imagine this, I don’t remember; I was robbed.

Now there are no more Munros for Ben, until the old girl is the pot of gold where rainbow bridge ends 😦

The long sleep. My garden's never been this brown before.
And so to bed.

Love Ben xx untitled 1