So Harris has been with us for three months now. He's house trained. He's going for walks with the dog walkers. He's still eating for Britain. However he's also bigger than Horatio who's now a teenager and dealing with all manner of angst. This reads as trouble.
Pondering some life issues...
Yes, there's lots of play fighting, wrestling and gnashing of teeth but in general the two wee guys love each other. Quiet moments like this make me feel all warm and fuzzy. However, as I said, Horatio is working through a few issues. Who am I? What is my position? Who is this upstart who now pushes me about? And why can he run faster than me when he puts his mind to it?
This all came to a head two weeks ago when I was (again) away with work. I call home to check everyone is behaving and am regaled a terrible tale of flying fur, gushing blood and a panicked trip to the vets (not another trip?!). Horatio, in all his wisdom has transferred his frustrations to inanimate objects, primarily balls, of which he is now quite possessive. Whilst out with his beloved dog walkers, Fran & Ellen, one of the gang nonchalantly thought he would join Horatio in playing ball. Big mistake. Thus ensued a dog fight. Yes a proper dog fight with both dogs going for each others' throats... And Horatio came of worse. The other dog must have knicked a blood vessel on his throat. Thankfully I have no photos. And even more thankfully the gushing did stop. By the time I got home there was nothing to see but a small shaved chin and a v small wound.
If this is hand stripping, I don't want to see clipped.
Horatio wanted it cool. He got cold. Think I better start knitting him a jumper. Something like this always happens when I go away. Usually it involves the vet though, so I should thank my lucky stars it's not more serious. Or sorry, I forgot. Harris had to be taken to the vets - he's got a stye. To go with his ear mites. He's only been with us for 14 days and already has two health complaints. So if I'm not at home overseeing my boys where am I? Stuttgart! I've got a couple of work events on Monday and Tuesday so thought I'd take the opportunity to hang out with my twin. My visits to Stuttgart are more about seeing Fiona and her husband Mark but inevitably we fit in a packed schedule of running, cycling, eating sushi, cake and spaghetti ice cream, and shopping at Cos and Manufactum.
This time though we took in the new Bibliothek in downtown Stuttgart too. Located on the fringes of the highly contentious Stuttgart 21 project, this building is awesome. I'm not terribly au fait with my architecture - beyond Farrell, Foster and Hadid, I'm out of my depth, but I can appreciate a stunning building when I see it. White square box? Yes, I guess so. Inside though the space is like the interior of an Apple product. White. Efficient. Calm. And oh so cool. I loved the mechanical conveyor belt machine, which efficiently whisks books from one floor to the next. In years to come, people will marvel at the quaintness of a mechanical 'google' machine.
Why a library needs a large tranquil atrium with a small fountain in the middle, I don't know. But then, one could ask what is the future purpose of libraries as we further embrace the digital age. It put me in mind of the Panthenon. I guess they are cleverly giving the building additional purpose beyond books. The building itself is fabulous to explore. Members can borrow lap tops. There's a cafe on the top floor with views over Stuttgart. We even discovered the artwork library. For no fee, members can borrow works of art to display at home for six weeks at a time. Life in Europe's economic power house is good.
It's now ten days since Harris joined our household. Ten days of chaos (for most of us). Sleep-deprivation (mine). Forgetfulness (also mine). Dog wrestling (Harris and Horatio). Piddling (Harris). But also some great fun (all). It does the soul good to see two dogs get to know each other. Testing out the boundaries, playing, exploring each others beds and dog wrestling. Harris isn't officially allowed out for another seven days until his booster kicks in. We've been a bit naughty though and taken both Horatio and Harris to near empty clean beaches for a run.
Our current favourite beach is Seacliff by North Berwick. Although it's £2 to get in, it's well worth it for the stunning views of the Bass rock, Tantallon castle and Scotland's smallest harbour.
Horatio is a die-hard football fan. I'm sure he was a defender in a previous life. He spent today showing Harris how it should be done.
Speed - tuck those ears in to minimise drag
Agility - no ball is ever too far or out of reach
It was probably a bit advanced for the wee guy. Harris is still finding his feet and learning how to coordinate legs, tail, ears and mouth. Gangly legs are difficult to control and excess skin tends to wobble a bit. The camera can be rather unforgiving. He gave it his best shot though and I see great potential for my new running buddy. Just keep growing those wee legs!
I even took to the waters to join in the fun, although I wasn't exactly swimming lengths of the beach. I really should take my swimming a little more seriously. I am so jealous of friends to take off into the sea for 20 -30 minutes at a time, whilst I flail around in the shallows.
And thus endeth another weekend. Work is unfortunately rather manic at the moment. This past week had me travelling up to Inverness for two days of meetings. I had secretly been relishing the thought of a night of unbroken sleep. Wrong. I stupidly left my iPad on the train and spent a fretful night worrying and chastising myself for my stupidity. There is a happy ending though. Some honest soul handed it in to the guard and after some foot stamping and persistence on my part, I called several stations on the route back to Edinburgh and found it!! Thank you to my guardian angel.
Introducing Harris the Hungarian Vizsla. Or to use his full name, Harris Unger Ferguson. AKA Horatio's new buddy. Partner in crime. Side kick. Play pal.
My sister Alison with Harris
Yep, we've taken the plunge and finally acquired a second pup. Many think we are mad. One breeder refused us a pup for having an unsuitable lifestyle for a sensitive dog, preferring to send the pups off to a harsh life of work. And how is Horatio adapting to this seismic change in home life I hear you ask. Well, see for yourself. After the initial formal introduction....
Harris quickly assumed the role of taking Horatio for walkies!
Needless to say, the last 24 hours have been entertaining, manic but also somewhat focused. The regimented routine of taking someone out to the garden for piddles, makes time drag. Horatio needs his walks more than ever lest he feels neglected and second best. He's recovering from another toe nail operation - this time to have it completely removed along with half his toe! August has been a rather demanding month. Roll on the next three weeks til Harris can go out for walkies!! I'll keep you posted.
The Isle of Harris, from the old Norse meaning 'high land,' is often described as the 'high heart of the Hebrides'. With incredible diversity in its landscape. The East coast is a dramatic, rocky landscape, where it it hard to imagine how people managed to scrape a living from the land and the sea, whereas the West coast is breathtakingly beautiful more conventionally, with miles of golden sandy beaches and fertile machair soil with stunning mountainous backdrops. (source: http://www.visithebrides.com/islands/harris/)
The island is of course very renowned for the manufacture of some wonderful fabric. It also has a cracking half marathon every July, which I've had the pleasure of doing twice. The 13.1 miles take an undulating route past some of the most beautiful deserted beaches, over the shoulder of a Goliath-like mountain and finishes in Tarbert with lots of time to visit the local pub for lunch before the ferry back to Skye. Good times.
Horatio keeps asking what summer is. He has vague memories of last year as a young pup lounging in the sun shine. On his day bed in the garden. Warmth on his woolly coat. But he was very young, so it's all a bit misty for him. The last six weeks have seen us all wonder if the end is nye. Scott has even contacted someone regarding an ark. I mean a boat. We were therefore all rather taken aback when the sun made a long overdue appearance this week. Eyes a-blinking, we hot footed it to Gullane, three days in a row for walks and swims. There's nothing as rewarding as falling into bed at night, exhausted after a day of sandy fun. Swim-stuff swinging on the washing line in anticipation of more adventures tomorrow.
I've long suspected you shouldn't live your life by the weather forecast. This weekend was no exception. I avidly follow the Met Office App to help determine whether I can cycle to work or not (for 'lady-like cycling' this is essentially). By Friday afternoon the weekend appeared to be a write-off. My sun burnt nose, forehead and shoulders this Monday morning tell a different story. I forced myself out for a 'long' 13-mile run to Gullane on Saturday and committed the school-girl error of not being prepared for every weather eventuality in Scotland. To help cope with my itchy sun burn, I also got myself a bee sting. Ouch.
Admittedly it tipped it down Saturday night but Sunday then dawned .... dryish so we hopped in the car and headed to St Abbs for a cliff walk. Scott's new camera (and subsequent new lense) are keeping him very amused and providing plenty of material for me.
Scotland really is a stunning country.
And Horatio really is very handsome. If only he'd learn to pose properly.
Getting better Horatio, but might be better if you wiped your face first.
Time has flown since my last post. Too much time. Which begs the question, can I still call this a blog. Perhaps a blong is better given how long it takes me to post.
I can't possibly list all that I've been up to since Horatio's birthday. Suffice to say work has been high on the priority list. The Spring and Autumn tend to be really mad with regards workload and travel. There's one major trip left this side of the summer and unfortunately, it's a biggy. IMEX in Frankfurt which kicks off a week on Tuesday.
To more pleasant thoughts though. Scott, Horatio and I have just returned from a marvellous holiday in Royal Deeside. We travelled en famille to a holiday cottage on the Balmoral Estate. For those not in the know, Queenie spends her summer holidays every year in Balmoral Castle. We were staying in what Queen Victoria called 'The Hut'. Funny hut that sleeps 13, has a working bell system to call for servants (latter not provided) and boasts two 'gutting' rooms plus larder to hang the kill... Oh, and this was the view out the front door.
Horatio was in his element, playing lord of the manor, roaming his estate, keeping the deer in check and playing chasies through the house with the other dogs.
Scott was in his element too, playing backwoods man, cooking meat outdoors, hunting for deer antlers (he found three) and taking loads of nature photos on his new camera.
I tried my best to chill and not aggrievate my hip injury by running too much. It was difficult given how beautiful the surroundings were.
One highlight of the trip was meeting up with Gail and Bouncing Bertie. Horatio and Bertie get on like a house on fire and must have covered twice the distance we did by chasing each other. Their encounter deserves a whole post in itself. Watch this space.
Back to work tomorrow morning. Best get planning the next holiday. Gairloch in October anyone?
Horatio is celebrating his first birthday today. To mark the occasion I've created a wee album of his first year (I was inspired by Asta's album yesterday on smilebox). Here's to the next twelve months my lad!
Monday was a very important day. One which Horatio and I had been looking forward to all weekend and which warranted an afternoon off work for me. Bouncing Bertie and Gail were coming to Edinburgh en route to Aberdeen! For those of you not in the know, Bertie is a master blogger with a massive following of pooches from across the globe. He posts on all manner of serious topics, as well as the less serious. I must admit it was with awe and great reverence that I approached Waverley Station to meet them off the train. Horatio played it cool, appearing more interested in the commuters, the rubbish, the sounds and smells of the station.
Our initial meeting was a little fraught. The hustle and bustle of rush hour is bad at the best of times but with two WFT who were meeting for the first time, it was even more frenetic. There were a few frenzied moments but we made it to the car unscathed and headed straight for some space and calm - Arthur's Seat.
Once off the lead, both dogs led each other on a merry dance of chasies, play fighting and barking. Gail and I managed snippets of conversation as we observed. I was so hoping the pair would get on and that intervention wouldn't be required. It's incredible how alike they were. Not just in appearance but also in temperament.
True to form I only managed one photo of the pair and even that was pretty duff. Compare with Gail's pics which appeared on the blog within 12 hours. I've got a lot to learn. On all fronts!
Horatio's a rather independent young dog. On our trip to the Lakes earlier this month, the wee man took to sitting posing by himself on the summit of the hills we climbed. Here he is taking in the views of Windermere.
Perhaps he took to heart my last posting bemoaning my inability to take a decent picture of him. The next photo actually shows the reality of the situation. He didn't want to be seen anywhere near me, preferring the lonesome dog look.
This aside, we had a grand time in the Lakes. The weather was kind enough, we managed lots of walks and runs, and Horatio had lots of friends in the house to entertain him (thanks Rosie, Tilly & Sophie!) Best recommendation? Pavey Ark in Langdale is an easy morning jaunt with a jaw-dropping view to reward at the top. My nephew Sam enjoyed the amble in his tweed cap and walking stick. No walk is complete in the Lakes without a pint in the local pub afterwards. I was delighted to frequent so many and that Horatio was allowed in too. Hurray for equal rights!!
I am continually impressed by the standard of photography displayed by dog bloggers (see Bouncing Bertie and George the Lad & Tess). My attempts to capture the cuteness of Horatio are always foiled by the wee man himself, who can't sit still long enough. Hence the preponderance of sleeping Horatio photos on this blog. I was most chuffed with myself this weekend just past when I managed to capture this beauty of HHH. It puts me in mind of old official school photos. The only thing missing is the school tie (oh, and a neutral background, not the chaos of our kitchen).
We are off to the Lakes this weekend for half term holidays. HHH will get to meet up with his cousins Tilly and Sophie. I can't wait for the wintry walks up hills and round lakes, visits to cafes and country pubs, not to mention long evenings round the kitchen table, wine glass in hand, chatting with family. I would promise lots of photos on my return but not sure Horatio will oblige. Any tips on taking the perfect pooch picture?
2012 didn't have the most auspicious start - New Year's Day was mared by a mean head cold which sent me back to bed at 2pm. And no, I hadn't been celebrating excessively the night before. The following day wasn't much better. Scott, Horatio and I hit the road home to Scotland, a journey which lasted a ridiculous 12 hours or so.
I was determined to approach the new year and dullest month ever with new resolve and positive outlook. Things needed rationalising in the house. Work required a more positive and can-do attitude. Running... ran out of my life in December and had to make a reappearance soon..
Then the reality of January hit. Boy, what a dreary and tough month is January. Even the sun can't be bothered to get out of bed. No matter what mind games I play on myself, it's still a slog to crawl out from under the duvet in the morning.
Right, enough whinging. It's 30 January. We have survived. Let's focus on the positives:
we have a new Nespresso machine - this greatly facilitates early mornings. I can especially recommend the fortissio lungo
the weather has been rather kind of late (ignoring the hurricanes) and I've been able to cycle into work most days
our wood burning stove is going strong and Horatio loves it (yes, he's using a log as a pillow)
my running is coming back (did a 14 miler on Saturday and then raced the Borders Cross Country on Sunday down in Berwick)
(thanks Peter for the photo)
The day after tomorrow is February and the sun will rise at 08.09