(A big hello to anyone new to my blog. I’m Ben a young Border Collie on a v.v.v adventurous challenge. You can read all about it by clicking here. My blogs tell the whole story, paw by paw. I do so hope you will like them and want to follow my adventures).
There has been a lot of interesting activity at home, over a number of days, getting our van ready for this years Munro adventures. The sleeping bag is ousted from hibernation, the rucksack is inhabited with all manner of gismos, and the hope of new life has been – desperately – applyed to old walking boots – a forlorn hope. My paws are – of course – ‘Flawless’😂.
I was getting all excited – as were the butterfilies in my tummy – but then, oh deary me, I’ve just learnt that I’m not going this time. Our B is heading to the far north and is going to be away lots and lots of days. Back at base, a house is not a home without a dog – far, far too quiet – and so I’m keeping David company with a tad of relaxing on the soft furnishings 😊 . It’s quite a scarifice actually and, honestly, I don’t feel good about it at all. Of course I’d much rather be up there in the sleet and snow, teetering on the edge of An Teallach 😉. Still, needs must, and I’ll just have to make the most of home comforts – hee, hee.
Still, I have been doing my bit – over all those long winter months of lockdown – helping B with the exercises, to keep us both agile.
There is, after all, a great dog in heaven, even though our faith has been sorely tested over the last four years of vacuous tenancy. But, HOORAY! two brave, intelligent and, I have to say, adorable canines, now rule all the matters of state – from thier gold lamé baskets – in the White House; Compassion is restored.
(For anyone new to my blog a very big welcome; I’m Ben, a young Border Collie. You can find out all about my big adventure here Ben’s Blog but, this particular post is my second record of such v. v. v extraordinary times)
This Coronavirus epoch that I seem to be living through is, for Ben, good and bad in parts. I must say I like having David and B hanging around all the time and, on balance, I’d say there’s a bit more activity in the treats department. Of course, all the extra calories, alongside a drastic reduction in the walkies outings, will have to be paid for with a one heck of an exercise regime later, in the freer peri coronavirus days to come; I’m up for that.
Even then, it seems like I’m going to be banged up close to home for sometime and I’m sooooo missing my pals in the forest; that’s the bad part. I haven’t had a run out in my car for so long and the Munro project has ground to a halt. I do get walks but they are so much shorter and, what’s more, there isn’t a ball to be seen, as far as the horizon.
Admittedly, Shieldhill never was a mecca of night life (more’s the pity) but this is just plain weird. All around us nature has sprung into life as normal, which means: our daffs were blown to smithereens, the tulips had their one, and only, day of standing tall, and David has the lawnmower on it’s back, trying to coax the rotary blade into action. Elsewhere, lambs joyfully bounded and my kinsfolk tried their best to bring them into some sort of order, while quad bikes stationed nearby, were ready to take these canines home for a spot of dinner, after their day of hard labour.
In fact, those four wheeled drovers represent the full extent of motorised traffic populating our lane. Someone has pressed the pause button and all is silence. Every now and again something in a vivid shade of lycra passes, propelled by the human personification of science – where a meeting of bio mechanics and physics – accounts for the brief and repeated moments of levitation that appear above my hedge, punctuated by pounding feet on tarmac. Then, as if this wasn’t enough excitement for one day, my ears resound to a cylindrical whoosh as the Bradley Wiggins gang, out in force, give our lanes the once over.
Now though, at last – horrah – there seems to be talk of some relaxation and all is confusion. I’m not good on change myself, as anyone regularly reading my blog knows, and the butterflies have grown to their full maturity in my tummy, making for a very unsettled Ben. Apparently, I now have to adjust again, from what had become my temporary new normal, to – navigating the pace of change carefully – a medium-term new normal, and all that might – or might not – involve. The wings of those flapping butterflies are creating havoc deep inside, in these winds of change. I’ve heard tell of a vaccination and I’m not big on needles either, so that isn’t helping matters one iota. However, I’m practicing my mindfulness and finding solace in the natural world around us.
Gold Finche nesting in our privet
A bird on the wire
A very proud boy
Nearly Ben’s bed time
While waiting for the latest news I try to keep abreast of word from the dog on the street, not that there are many of them about these days. Different opinions rebound amid all the speculation, and what the response of the human species might be. Serious concerns have been barked about any slackening of lockdown. One commentator suggests that, once they are let out there will be great difficulty getting them back in again. Clearly, we are fearful of a nation of wild hooligans running amok with their new freedoms. Quite on the contrary, a number of studies – by clever people – paint the reverse picture, suggesting that everyone is now too frightened to go out at all. Having scared them witless, with endless healines about the very worst of the virus, our people have been successfully imprisoned in their homes. Where will it all end?
Time will tell, but I hope you like the lockdown pictures I added in, and now for my very favourite photo of this time.
Friends, collies and all companion animals, stepping up to the mark.
(For those new to my blog I’m Ben, a young Border Collie on a big adventure, you can find out about it all here: Ben’s blog )
“Well I never, actually none of us ever… what uncharted seas we are tossing about in (that word, unprecedented, is getting me down a bit). Uncertainty isn’t one of my strong points and circumstances here are very strange. I haven’t had a clue what is going on. This is not good news for the butterflies in my tummy which, now it is spring, are just about to hatch.
The first thing to happen was that my person, B, stopped going out in the morning. Now she sits at our table all day long – with MY laptop – tapping away, or else putting that speaker thing to her ear, having totally meaningless conversations because they never include words like walk, or ball.
The next thing was that, at 5.00pm on a Saturday night, David, my male person, was still stroking me. Now this was a momentous change, all “changed utterly”. Lovely and scary at the same time. David always, ALWAYS, goes out for an hour or so on a Saturday, when we are at our caravan (as well as a Friday and a Sunday too) and, it has to be said, comes back really quite jolly. Oh my goodness me, what was going on.
Now, I’m normally a pretty level headed sort of canine and I do try to keep a sense of proportion but, when I heard about all this panic buying, and no one was making a move to top up my food store, it was the last straw; all those butterflies went in for a bit of premature birthing and started flapping about uncontrollably in my tummy. Apparently, we’ve got someone called Covid 19 coming for a visit. At first, I thought we were putting up our defences in case an unruly teenager was putting in an appearance but, apparently, I’d got the wrong end of the lead. It turns out that the unwelcome guest is a horrible little infectious disease, a real carbuncle on our lives. But, v. v. v big BUT, I’m not at risk at all. Oh, great relief for Ben.
However, I’m not off the hook that easily. It seems I still have a big part to play and I’ve got to be with my people through thick and thin to help them out. Suddenly, all that responsibility seems a bit scary. I don’t even know how to turn the oven on yet and I’m more than a bit concerned about something called stock rotation, it sounds very complicated and David is a real whizz at it. Still I’m going to step up to the mark and do my best… tomorrow.
Finally, I can spill all the beans about the biggest competition yet this year.
Wow, gosh and Shiver me Timbers. I thought it was only Border Collies that were clever. What brilliant responses I’ve had to my photo caption competition. Me and B have loved reading them all, what laughs. Thank you very much to everyone who entered.
Like I have said, it has been sooooo hard to choose but in the end I’ve had to divide my prize into a first and three runners up.
Lynda gets the first prize for spotting what was going on. She recognised that locked gaze as a game me and B play, when we are looking at each other; it’s called ‘First One To Blink Forfeits.
Lynda thought I was saying, “Whoever blinks first carries the rations. But I think the eyes say it all. Love you Mum.”
Of course she also caught that look of unconditional love that I’m so famous for.
However, it wasn’t totally correct because – although food would usually come into all of my communication, in one way or another – on this occasion I had just had a nice big dinner and therefore, settling down for some lovely zzzs was top of my agenda. Those of you who spotted me willing B to blink first, so I could have a lovely comfy bed are the runners up.
Denis said, “Remember it’s my turn in the bed tonight”
Liz was of a similar mind, “I wanna sleep in the big bed Bea! Xx”
And, Evelyn suggested I had v. v. v elevated aspirations ” Have we booked into a 5***** tonight, B?”
AND, so to the prizes
First prize is a delightful little book I’ve been reading and one of my very special, limited edition, Mucky Boots and Flawless Paws pens. There will only ever be 120 of these in the whole wide world. They may even become a collectors item .
Two dogs go on a quest to find out all about
why their person disappears for something called meditation every night, and then they try to follow a path towards enlightenment. I thought that was going to be a breeze and sailed through the unconditional love and living in the moment parts, but then I got stuck on the bit about patience.
The runners up prizes consist of one of my very special pens and a pack of Wainwright treats for their best pal (s). Or, if they don’t have a best canine pal (can such things really be?), the best pal of one of your best pals – ummm, well I know what I mean.
I’m going to drop everyone a reply to their guess on the original post (Ben’s New Year Competition) but, before then, I’ll need lots of zzzzs.
The bad news is – as ever – technology, the bane of a canine’s life. I was meant to have a new laptop for my blogging and, it turns out, B isn’t up to the job on her mobile phone with it’s small keypad -probably an age thing.
What I can tell you is that Lynda is the winner but it was sooooo hard to choose and there are three runners up.
The good news is that I get my new computer tomorrow and can spill all the beans then and tell you about the 4 prizes 😀
In the meantime, you can see everyone’s responses here, in one place.
Oh my goodness me how time flies. This is the very last day of my competition and I’ve go so many responses to choose from already but, if you want a chance to win one of Ben’s very special prizes there’s still time and remember, you can have as many goes as you like.
(If you have just come across this blog post, and are new to Mucky Boots and Flawless Paws, let me – Ben, a young Border Collie – say a huge welcome. You can find out all about me and my blog through this link https://benonthebeinnsblog.wordpress.com/ )
A v. v. v Happy New Year to one and all. I do hope you had a wonderful festive season and are now getting ready for the next one.
Anyway, without more ado, here is my New Year competition and it’s a picture one. What I want you to do is write a caption for this picture. What do you think I could be saying to B here. The photo was kitaken while we were away Munro bagging earlier this year and it features my new Munro mobile. You can reply in the comments box below. The funniest response will get one of Ben’s famous prizes.
and thank you for coming to read my post. I don’t often reblog my own posts – being a modest sort of dog – but here’s a pertinent one from 16th July 2018 when I was climbing my Munros (Ben’s challenge)
“… musing over the fate of my cousins on the continent, as Brexit negotiations nudged toward something not very conclusive at all…”,
So, what’s new? I do worry a lot about every doggie’s papers being in order so we can all live harmoniously together.
Morning broke over the mountains with a choral symphony of birds serenading the new day.
Or so we presumed!
Me, and the person breathing next to me, were deep into zzzs, making up for the long hours of twisting and turning during our first night away in my van this year. Though the hour of 5.30am had been witnessed, through a clink in an eyelid, it was quickly obliterated by just one flicker. Thoughts of an early start to beat the pulsating sun, took a back seat in favour of – in my case – more dog dreams.
Finally, an hour later, we prised ourselves from slumber and, at 7am, were confidently able to predict a return of no earlier than 3pm; my person always being at the upper limit of the estimated walking times for any route. Of course, I could have done a quick run around…