Now that Dougal has joined our family, we are having all sorts of new experiences.
Last weekend, we decided to have a dog-friendly hotel and pub practice in preparation for the planned Welsh summer holiday. So we went for altitude training in North East Perthshire.
The thing about coming from Perth is that I have never really done that part of Perthshire if you know what I mean. It was always there just up the road if I ever felt the need. I had, of course picked berries in Blairgowrie, caught chickens in Coupar Angus and delivered wine and spirits throughout the area for gainful employment in my school and student days but I had never, until now, holidayed there.
We found a hotel in Blairgowrie which prided itself online on its dog-friendliness. Dougal loved it. We were in a self-contained courtyard and I thought that I would try to get a few photographs of him.
You know how David Attenborough cheated on the Polar Bear shots by going to a Dutch zoo? Well, I began to think that I was going to have to tether Dougal to get anything. He just would not stand still long enough. Here’s one of my better early efforts.
Eventually, we hit on the idea of Mrs M holding him until I was in position and then releasing him so that he came charging over to see me.
At long last, he tired a bit and I got one of him at rest.
The hotel was as good as its word and we set off next morning to do a bit of exploring. Something else that I had never done was Glamis Castle, birthplace of the Queen Mother. When we got to the gates, they were open so we drove straight in. I was a bit surprised that there were no signs directing tourists and we rolled right up to the front door.
At which point, we realised that there was a family wedding in full swing and that the Castle was not yet open to the public this year. We beat a hasty retreat but stopped to take a photo.
Bright sunshine ahead of us to the west and dark stormclouds to our left and right.
Next stop was Kirriemuir, birthplace of JM Barrie. It was firmly not yet open this season, great-man wise but I got a photo of the square with the statue of Peter Pan and the local Italian cafe, in this case the property of the Visocchi family.
On and up to the Glenshee Ski Centre which is celebrating its 50th year.
This was a stamping ground when I was a kid. The school used to run a ski club and we would get up there once or twice a year when there was enough snow for the runs.
‘Tommy and Wife’ were, however, new to me.
Back down through Pitlochry where the allegedly dog-friendly pub was not dog-friendly on a Sunday. On to the backup in Dunkeld. It was seriously dog, cyclist, walker, biker and blues musician friendly and had great stovies and a fine pint of ‘Landlord’. It was here that I discovered my new status in the familial pecking order.
Mrs M went in to order the food and drink and apparently reduced the bar staff to laughter by telling them:-
‘I’m sitting outside with my spaniel puppy. Oh, and my husband’s there as well.’