Scotland has many qualities. The sense of wilderness, the rugged beauty of the mountains, the endlessness of stunning landscapes and some pretty wild riding. Of course, this must be tempered with single digit summer temperatures, moistness from the ground up and the sky down, and a trillion midges hell bent on sucking you dry.
On balance though, a fantastic country to ride bicycles in, as a few chosen photos full of heroism and downright British grit will soon ascertain. However, that’s for later because the photo at the top of this post is clearly lacking anything within chucking distance of mountain bikes, except perhaps for noting that we’ve acquired a singletrack dog.
Large paws, low centre of gravity, short paw-base and excellent additional rear facing steering appendage*. It’s an odd story – today I was still meant to be in Scotland but five days hard riding, dubious ongoing weather and a wrenching missing of the family saw me spend seven hours heading south west last night.
Which led to an apathetic carpet treading furniture buying mission turning into a full on “I tell you what, let’s get a dog” event through a set of coincidences about as likely as finding your sister was also in fact your mother, your aunt and a small bag of aniseed balls.
The rambling antique furniture barn was only gained via a suspension wrecking drive and guarded by a friendly, slobbering Labrador. We quickly discovered that our financial radar was seriously awry because the cheapest thing on offer seemed to cost about the same as a new car. I don’t know what Queen Anne did for the furniture trade, but they’ve repaid her by placing discreet price tags that brought on an involuntary “F*ck ME!”.
I didn’t even dare look at the larger items because I shall never ever be able to part with that much money for something that doesn’t come with about 4 acres of land. Anyway, distraction was adequately provided by a friendly puppy attempting to chew about 15k’s worth of table. He seemed very happy to see us and we discovered he was the last of a litter of 12 and had been returned by a distraught family with a dog allergy.
So with 11 puppies already sold and this one surplus to requirements, it seemed somehow fated that we’d end up spending two hours fetching its’ nose out of – well – everything and trying to find reasons no to add four more legs to the family.
We failed. So meet Murphy. Or Ziggy. Or possibly Max. Although looking at the size of those paws, I’m thinking Beelzebub may be more appropriate
* Those in the know call this a ‘tail‘. To be it looks like a rudder.