Munro post, 22/06/1017 part one, getting there…

Friends, collies and dogs with nice hats,

Golly gosh, my last Munro post seems another age away. It was all busyness and excitement at home last Wednesday, with B putting the last bits in our van while David was making B’s salad and sandwiches and chopping up my cheese. I tried to do my bit but it wasn’t appreciated and, to be honest, my tummy was in bits.

We set off at 6.30am on Thursday with the intention of bagging a Munro that day. I had forgotten how unnerved I get, going away with just B, and my anxiety began to get the better of me. Was my cushion in the back, would there be enough food, did B remember my toothbrush, WHERE WERE MY BALLS. The decision to get to Edinburgh via Moffat didn’t help much either. We drove up and over the Devil’s Beef Tub, which sounded really scary, so I tried to keep my eyes tightly closed. This was v. v. v hard on a horribly pot holed road that made my van bounce up and down. Discomfort added to uncertainly made for a very unhappy Ben. If only I’d known what was coming up I could have saved up my bad humour for later. We negotiated the city by-pass OK and put the weight of traffic down to the time of day, with commuters getting to work. Then, leading up to the roundabout for the A90, everything ground to a halt. What on earth made B think it would be a good idea the travel past the show ground, on the first day of the Royal Highland Show – which the odd 200,000 people like to visit – I’ve no idea. Suffice to say, over the next hour and a half we covered the magnificence distance of 9 miles. All in all, – with the worry about how my van would cope, the roaring of huge, terrifying planes from the airport just above me, my ongoing discomfort and uncertainty – my head space was a mess. Finally, we crawled around the Forth bridge roundabout but B was in the wrong lane and had to cut across the traffic, which didn’t go down very well at all and there was lots of honking and hooting. I put my paws over my ears and prayed hard that no one would bump into us.

After all this the journey got a bit easier with just the odd wiggle needed in road works. I found wiggling to be a better way of passing the time than twiddling my paws. Then, after another couple of hours I thought we must be getting close to a Munro because it started raining. By this time it was all doom and gloom in my van and me & B had dark black hats on.

B said we had to do something called putting it all in perspective. Just thinking about the horrendously sad things that had happened in Manchester and London should help us think how lucky we were. Then we got to thinking about the results of the General Election and that made me go hee, hee, hee.

B told me about someone, who I think she said was called a Mr de Bonio, who could help us out a bit. I think I could get to like this Bonio chap. Anyway, apparently we had to pretend we had different coloured hats on to help us see our current situation from lots of different angles. With our green hats we had to be creative. I liked this bit because we thought we could fly up the Munros, or parachute down to them, or go up them on chair lifts. Then we swapped over for yellow hats to see everything through a happy prism. That outlook told us we had lots to be thankful for. My van had done brilliantly, despite its recent troubles. We had somewhere nice and snug to sleep (very snug actually). The forecast had even told us it would brighten up later. Finally, we had to put our red hat on and trust our gut reaction.

My gut only ever tells me one thing and I was hoping B’s would tell her the same, right now. Actually, it took a lot, lot longer to drive down a very narrow road going nowhere, before we stopped and I got something for my gut. After that we just put our rain hats on and set off, walking into the mist. I had a very funny feeling but B told me it was fine. It was just deja vue, whatever that is.

 

Love Ben xx

 

Satisfied Customers?

Friends,  collies, dogs under study,

Why didn’t anyone warn me this research business? You end up with even more questions than you started out with. Isn’t that a very clever way of keeping researchers in work? It is just one more thing I have learnt since starting out on my adventure. This Munro walking is really taxing my brain.  Pie charts have taken my fancy for illustrating the results; I can’t thing why, and I have also thrown in a doughnut too, just for good measure.

I’ve also learnt that you can’t please all of the people, or dogs, or Tink, all of the time but… well, you know the rest. I’m very easily pleased all of the time, with my favourite farmhouse cheddar, so I think those who can’t be pleased must be on diets. Like me and Millie are supposed to be.

Take question 1. “About length. I used to write short blogs but I get inspired on the Munros. However, I know you are busy people so what do you think is best for encouraging readers?”

On a scale of 1 – 100, where stick with it was at 0 and give us a break at 100, I came out with an average of 23, which is v. v. v. encouraging. However, there was a big variation from 0 to 68. How on earth am I going to keep everyone happy?

Then came Question 2. Just take a look at this.

So, Question 2 also leaves me in a quandary.

By the time we get to Question 3 “Are there enough photos of little old me?” things are a bit clearer and I’m growing in the head department. 43% of you can’t get enough of me, so I can add even more portraits. But then, 43% of you say it’s OK as it is. Absolutely no one said they wanted photos of someone else, so there’s no chance of B getting one of those big egos things, and no one’s IT systems are keeling over,  under the weight of all my photos.

Going ono question four, “Now, about the content. We live in strange times and I have been known to go off message and get a tad philosophical while musing on matters of the age. Is this:”…

It is clear that you are all OK with departures from the main script, as I cast a little canine pondering over the life and times of your truly.

The answers to Question 5, blew me away, for a canine very new to this particular art form. “Latterly, after finding a new talent, I have been waxing lyrical in verse. Is this:”

How cool is that? I promise I won’t go off on one two often, but feel I have your permission to add a little lyrical content when the muse takes me. I’m also going to take up a suggestion of quoting other poets here and there who, to be honest, might be a tad better at it than me.

Question 6, for the pedantic’s, asked about all my errors. “How irritating are gramatical errors & typos? Do I need a new proof reader?” Even though I had spelt grammatical wrong, and it wasn’t even meant to be ironical, you were very kind, with a wacking 45% saying you hadn’t noticed any, and 55% reckoning that they could forgive my lapses because I am, after all, just a dog. Did I really just say that? Anyway, I’m still sending B to grammar school. I’m a Border Collie and we aim for perfection.

Questions 7 & 8 were the icing on the cake of my Customer Satisfaction Survey. You were so nice to me that I promise I won’t ever, ever, get interested in your ankles (even yours Tink).

For Question 7 there was lots of repetition, “Please write three words that describe my blog.”

Here are all the different things you said:

happy, tiring, inspiring, fun, entertaining, interesting, easy style, takes the reader there, good fun, amusing, awe inspiring, heartwarming, novel, informative, moorish.

What accolades for or a Border Collie, not yet three  🙂

Then, for the very last request, “Please add any other comments that you think would add quality to my blog.” everyone answered. B tells me this is unheard of. Usually people can’t think of anything else to say at the end of a survey but you all had good ideas and encouragement. Here are some of my favourites:

 

“I like Ben’s stories especially when they are amusing typically when something doesn’t go to plan. I also think it is essential Ben continues to include his perspective on how Bernadette feels about things or is managing as Ben and Bernadette are in this together !!”

“Take an occasional poem/poet with you on the way and include a quotation. Go neiri an bothar libh.”
 
“I think your blogs are great. Sometimes I forget to read all of it if it is long and therefore don’t comment.”
 
“I just love your blog and all the photos. We can’t wait to meet you in the fur later this year.”
“I like all the tails xx”
“Woof, woof, woof, woof, woof”
 
“Keep up the good work your blogs never fail to make me smile, thank you x”
 
 And finally, you might have noticed my new avatar on your e mails. I will keep this up to date so we can see the blue outstrip the red, as we climb more Munros, over the years. Currently, I’m working on something that will show the fundraising progress too.
As for resolving the dilemma posed by your answers in question 1 & 2, about length and frequency, I’m going to have to give that some thought. But, guess what I’m going to do first.
You got it.
And so to bed.
Love Ben xx

Going off message with your permission – re my survey results!

Friends, collies, Bo & Sunny

I’m so pleased you don’t mind when I stray a little from the hills, to let you in on the musings of a young dog about the very confusing world he has been catapulted into.

Well… I’ve been sitting on this one but a recent bit of intelligence has tipped me over the edge. In all honesty, I’m barking mad about it. Did you know there has been a long and noble history of something similar to me at the seat of the most powerful government for 150 years. Fair enough, there has also been a feline kicking around Downing Street for a bit, ingratiating itself with a number of incumbents, but I guess that is a reasonable representation of the state of play: dogs in Washington, cats in London; sorry Tink 😦

obama-dogs-1

Bo_and_Obama_2012

https://www.whitehousehistory.org/white-house-pets/top-dogs-at-the-white-house

Well apparently – with the new man – all that is a thing of the past. I think that says it all. After all our stately duties and ambassadorial appearances, to say nothing of our calming properties soothing the great minds of high office. No longer is there a guiding bark to steer the President’s tweeting hand. I can only predict that nothing good will come of this.

Can you imagine what I would do if I could get close to those ankles? Guess what, B wouldn’t even try to restrain me, despite her pacifist tendencies.

What would you do if you were a dog? Please only reply with things that won’t close my blog down forever.

Burying my head in the sand Ben’s Towers.

ben-sleeping

Love Ben x