It’s not often you get to meet up with blog regulars who live more than 3000 miles away in the US, but last week that’s exactly what happened.
Susan and Rob – owners of Beagles Lady and Ringo – were on holiday in Scotland and we arranged to give them a little tour of the Stonehaven area. The rendezvous point was Montrose railway station, and as we waited for the train to arrive we discovered that the station designers had provided Beagle Entertainment Pods (BEPs) on each platform. These loosely resembled normal bins but were completely transparent and had ill-fitting lids, allowing the curious Beagle not only to smell the contents but to see it too. Having bonked his head on the clear perspex several times, Biggles was just about to boing the lid off the nearest BEP when the train arrived.
With four people and 2 Beagles in the Beaglemobile there had to be some seating concessions; fortunately Beanie & Biggles were happy to swap their fabric travel crates for humie laps. It was while travelling in this configuration that Biggles discovered just how skilled US Susan is at Beagle ear massage. In the Star Trek universe this is known as “Oo-mox“, and it’s the thing Ferengi most crave besides money; in the Beagle universe, it sits somewhere behind food, socks, destruction of padded envelopes and rolling in poo, but it’s still a very important part of Beagle life, and Susan was very very good at it. So good in fact that eventually Beanie – who’s not normally a fan of human contact – grabbed US Susan’s lap for herself, relegating The Bigglet to UK Susan’s lap instead.
The first stop on our itinerary was Dunnotar Castle; we figured it would be best to enjoy this in the morning when the weather was forecast to be at its best. It’s a long held tradition with our two pups that number twos must be done an inconvenient distance from the nearest poo bank dropbox, but the excitement of meeting Susan and Rob threw off the timing of the first deposit, causing it to be dropped barely 20 yards from the car park. The second deposit was much better timed, coming when we were about half way to the castle, so I bagged it and left it by a gate for pickup on our return. This was of course a risky move; dog poos are very highly valued on public footpaths (after all people always stop to pick them up) and there was a danger that someone would nick it, but happily the bag was still sitting there an hour later. Visitors to Dunnotar castle must be an honest bunch!
For the first time we got to see the interior of the castle, parts of which had been restored with varying degrees of accuracy. Back in the day real castles had to be self-contained communities with their own independent supply of water and food, in order to sustain their occupants through a seige. Sadly – despite a thorough search – we found Dunnotar to be completely devoid of tins of Chappie, bags of Burns kibble, and freeze-dried cow ears.
Admittedly it did have a rosehip bush, but that wouldn’t sustain a hungry warrior Beagle for more than a few minutes, let alone get them through a seige.
We dealt with Dunnotar’s lack of food just as true Medieval residents would have done: we left the castle, piled back into the van and drove to nearby Stonehaven for fish and chips. Up to this point, our two pups had behaved themselves extraordinarily well, but as I sat munching through my fish supper Beanie’s halo slipped a little and there was an outbreak of indignant woofing. Over the years I’ve become quite good at understanding the Beagle language, but I can assure you that no translation is required when Beanie wants a chip. The chip and a few bites of fish were delivered when the woofing eventually stopped, and Biggles demonstrated to Rob and Susan that even after eight years of practice, he still can’t catch food in his mouth.
The next stop was RSPB bird sanctuary Fowlsheugh. At this time of year most of the birds have moved on, but as a Beagle owner that’s a big plus; you get to view the dramatic coastline without getting pulled to your death by a little furry person who’s intent on catching a winged Happy Meal no matter the cost.
We stopped off in Gourdon for a final coffee, then headed back to Montrose just in time for Rob & Susan’s train back to Edinburgh. It was really great to meet them and swap Beagle stories, and thanks to them our campervan is now properly labelled as a Beagle limo, and our pups have been learning how to deal with squeaky pink hippos and purple dinosaurs.
It always takes Biggles a little while to get used to a new toy..
He likes to explore it thoroughly and find out where all the squeakers are before pouncing on it and parading it round the house.
There’s no such caution with Beanie.
She just rips it out of your hands and gets straight to it!
Both toys use “Chew Guard” technology. So far, I have to say it seems to be working well!
Thanks Susan and Rob for the lovely pressies.. don’t suppose you have any tips on how to improve our Oo-mox skills?