Monday, 27 June 2011

Season of the Midge

Last time, I mentioned that I'd heard the mad dogs proclaiming that 'they're coming'. This time I discovered who 'they' are: Scottish midges and they're out in force in Aberfoyle. It's like an invasion. I had no idea that they were so fond of camping so I did a little research.
Here comes the science bit: "Culicoides Impunctatus" is a vegetarian species, except after mating, when the female then craves blood. In order to give her offspring the best chance of survival she must get a blood meal within 5 days. Humans and other animals form an excellent takeaway service. 
So midges are the ultimate party animals: dance, shag, feast, repeat. Live fast, die young. 
From the safety of the inside of the cabin I watched the midges spontaneously divide as tiny lovers separated. Their imagined delight was tempered slightly with my thoughts of the impending bloodbath as a thousand female vampire midges sought out a post coital meal. And I was due a walk soon.
Fortunately my coat got lagged with a protective shield of Avon's Skin So Soft so the damage was minimal. My master however forgot to squirt his head and erupted in a thousand tiny bites. I'm sure he's very proud to have donated so much blood in order to safeguard the lives of so many tiny insects. He's not even a blood donor.
He's been having a hard time lately, feeling his age. Firstly, he went to the doctor thinking he had a urinary tract infection. He had pains in lower back roughly where his kidneys are but it turned out the urine sample was clear. His sore back was just an age thing. And this from a locum doctor who was younger than him too. Double ouch!
Then he noticed a couple of hairs protruding from the tip of his nose. Not content with growing inside his nose and his ears, his hair was now poking out of his nose skin. I suppose it has to go somewhere now it's stopped growing on his scalp. He's concerned that he'll end up with a nosetache. I told him if he's lucky they'll grow into whiskers like mine. He could use them to detect the presence of midges before they bite him.

Sunday, 12 June 2011


Back at the cabin again for a quiet weekend. My previously deaf mistress has had her ears syringed and is now super-sensitive to sound. I got scolded for shaking myself after a sleep, my collar I.D. tag rattling too loudly. Even my master's music was scrutinized for offending guitars and drums before he was allowed to press play. All she wanted was the John Cage track, 4'33", on repeat.

The only problem with her request for silence was the central heating boiler wasn't listening. It grumbled intermittently throughout the weekend, triggered whenever they ran a hot water tap. When they bought the cabin I'm sure they didn't request a grumpy boiler. It probably thinks it's on holiday and is complaining about having to work. The man from Ariston will have to give it a good talking to.

The weather out here in the country is a bit weird. Yesterday it looked like plumes of cloud were rising from the earth between two distant hills. I've never seen anything like it. It wasn't a fire. I've seen plenty of them where the Paisley neds set fire to the Braes. That smoke is grey or black. This was a bizarre white. I wanted to be driven over to investigate (I'm not stupid, I know it's miles away), but they wouldn't take me and, when I remonstrated, I got sent to bed for being too loud.

I'd better be careful and not let it get to me. I don't want to end up in a dog lunatic asylum. I know there's one nearby because I can hear their howling from the dog walk area. The nonsense they're spouting is mainly unintelligible. It's like they're slobbering in tongues. The only phrases I could make out are "Beware the Mount of Doom" and "They're coming". Still at least I now know where the term 'barking mad' comes from: just outside Aberfoyle. 

Maybe life in the country isn't going to be all that quiet after all. I wonder what's coming next.

I saw my first deer tonight. Two young does loping up the hill in the forest behind the cabins. They were only yards away but I was on lead so couldn't give chase. It was very exciting nonetheless. I was even standing on two legs to get a better view above the ferns. I can't wait to go back for a sniff. Maybe I'll be able to pick up their trail and it'll be venison for dinner.

Monday, 6 June 2011

Camping - Part 2

A few weeks ago gales and gusts blasted across Scotland, ripping branches from trees, snapping thick trunks and pushing over entire trees. The pavements and street gutters were littered with leaves still lush and green. It was so peculiar for May. It was like God had developed a persistent cough and didn't know he could pop into his local chemist for a cure. As an OAP he would have qualified for the Minor Ailment Service so wouldn't have had to pay, although narrowing his address to one post code may have been problematic, as might his date of birth. So maybe he did know this, being omniscient, and I'm going to hell for blasphemy. 

When the end of the world is coming, it makes you consider what to do with your remaining time. My owners decided to treat me to a holiday cabin near Aberfoyle. I have to share it with them but it's still fab. There's a forest to play in and a proper dog walking area and lots of places nearby to explore. The views are amazing. The designers have given a lot of thought to my needs when they installed the full length windows, which catch the sunlight perfectly. I can even see out of the side windows without jumping on the couch. I'm really looking forward to sunbathing on the decking too.

But the holiday dream was nearly over before it began. If the tree behind the cabin had come down towards us instead of away, our cabin would have been crushed dead. Instead my forest walk has become an agility course. Excellent! Every cloud has a silver lining. If only we could invent a way of extracting the silver, Scotland would be a much richer nation. (I'm saying it rains a lot)

I may not be blogging as often now I've discovered this peaceful paradise. Can you blame me?

P.S I've worked out why I've had this recent obsession with the Apocalypse. My owners have started watching Supernatural season five. It can't be the end of the world because there is a season six.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Camping - Part 1

When Harold Camping, an American televangelist, predicted the Apocalypse to be on May 21st 2011, with the world being devastated by a series of earthquakes, he was openly mocked across the globe. The day came and went without the Rapture as he'd described it. However this was one man's reading of a book which has always been open to misintrepretation. So, what if he just got the details wrong (again)?

Camping suggests a day in biblical terms is a thousand years in today's world. So perhaps the "Day of Judgment" won't occur in one Jack Bauer-style 24hrs of calamity but in a slower series of catastrophes which will inevitably lead to the extinction of man. 

There are signs: 

Deadly tornadoes strike across the American West

A massive earthquake strikes Christchurch, 35 die

The Tohoku Tsunami wipes out part of coastal Japan. Fifteen thousand die. Nuclear catastrophe threatens.
Rio de Janeiro floods 2011

Columbian mud slides 2011
The planet isn't happy. Whatever your religion it's difficult not to see something is wrong. Human overpopulation is causing the planet to overheat, leading to climate change and food and water shortages. Less water means less food is produced and, with more mouths to feed, the price inevitably goes up. Inflation rises too and economies stretch to bursting. Eventually they pop and mankind will go to ugly war with itself over the last remaining resources. Then nature will wipe out those who remain. And the Earth will be born anew.


So endeth the gospel of figbane.