NC500 - Day 7
Updated: Jun 1, 2018
Ballater to Balmoral to Dornoch (119 miles)
I was happy for Mummy when we woke up in the Queen's big back garden; it meant that there would be copious amounts of places she could eat, and if I was lucky, I'd get a few sneaky tidbits too. We started the morning with a wonderful walk down by the River Dee, and Mummy let me off lead so I could splash in the Royal waters. As I splashed, I wondered how many horses from the Knights' Table had drunk from its edge and cooled their hot weary hooves in its coldness. It was magical water, I could tell, and full of history that seeped to the shores.
Refreshed from all our laughter, we wandered into the quiet majestic village in hope of some substance. We knocked on many doors, hungry and in need of coffee, but no one seemed to like my little face and kept saying I couldn't come in. I felt so sad because I knew Mummy really needed food, proper food, not just an apple here and there, or a bag of crisps. And, it was all my fault. I wasn't used to being told I couldn't go where Mummy went but I tried to tell her that I would wait outside in the rain if she needed me to. I was all ready to sit on the street, looking in as I got drenched while Mummy sat in the warm. I would have sat all alert, waiting for her return, with raindrops dripping off my nose and eyelashes, but Mummy tickled my chin and said we would find somewhere on the drive to our next stop, or she'd have a tin of soup later. I was relieved that Mummy said this but still sad she couldn't even get a frothy coffee because I was by her side. I was determined to try one last doorway before we left so I pulled her into the Brown Sugar cafe where no one else seemed to be. Stopping to look up at Mummy, I glanced at her then at the door; she had to try, just so I knew I'd done my best. Trusting in me, we entered into a lovely little tea room and before Mummy asked, the lady behind the counter came round and gave me a tummy rub. As she did, as I lay on my back and enjoyed the tickle, I smiled up at Mummy, so pleased that she has trusted my instinct. This is why I always walk ahead ... I know how to sniff things out.
Mummy didn't just get coffee, she got a Highland fry-up and I got scrambled eggs (with Mummy's sausage). This set us up for the day and we headed off to the Queen's house, hoping I could have a royal walk and maybe a tummy tickle from the Queen herself. The Queen only lived up the road from where we had been staying so it didn't take long to find her house. It wasn't my fault this time, but we weren't allowed in. Apparently the Queen was home and having a few months off from letting people wander around her garden. I understand this completely; it can be quite tiresome when strangers come to the house and I have to bark at them all the time. I know the Queen doesn't bark like me as she's a proper lady and I'm just a crossbreed between an Essex and a South East London girl, but even so, I imagine she would like to stroll in her gardens without little dogs like me demanding tummy rubs. Standing at the gates of the Queen's house was a policeman. I don't understand how there was only one and imagined there must be plenty more inside; he was really nice to me and Mummy and they talked for hours while I sat on the cold wet ground, waiting for some excitement. Humans stand around talking ever such a lot and it's rather boring for us furry lot as we can't join in.
Mummy was very impressed that as part of his uniform, not only did he have a gun and a taser but he also had a midge net; it was hanging on his right shoulder. Mummy was finally vindicated for having made Amazon go out of stock on all things midge and tick related because Mr. Policeman explained to her just how bad the situation was. One policeman was sent to hospital from a midge attack and our Mr. Policeman had over twenty ticks swarm his hands once; he was hardcore though and watched them to see what they did. Mummy pulled faces as these stories and started to scratch a lot. I get told off for scratching in public and I bet if I'd done that in front of the Queen's house, I would have been apologised for. Just as I was trying to get her attention, hundreds of Harley Ds vroomed up to see the Queen too. They didn't look as dressed for the occasion as me, and our Mr. Policeman suddenly had lots of people around him asking questions so we said goodbye and walked up to the little gift shop. When we entered I was immediately presented with two doggy biscuits and I knew I was welcome. I was so happy for Mummy to be able to spend some money (mainly on me), that I sat very patiently having a further daily allowance of tummy rubs from the owner who I think was secretly related to the Queen. He was certainly dressed for the occasion and looked rather dashing in his tweeds. His wife, who must have been a Scottish princess in her deep blue tartan and sapphire Thistle, helped Mummy choose a tartan coat to keep me warm, and then she she suddenly spotted my clan ... I HAVE A TARTAN CLAN. Oh yes. This made me feel very special! Okay, so they have slightly misspelt my name but that's irrelevant because Mummy was excited too. MacRae means 'son of Grace' or 'son of good fortune.' I noted they don't say 'daughter' but I'll forgive them for this because girls didn't have equal rights in those days. Mummy tried to buy me my clan tartan scarf but our favourite shop so far didn't have one in stock. I don't mind as I have my little book and will read it properly one night when Mummy is typing up my blog for me.
After our adventures with Mr. Policeman and the secret Royals, we started our long journey to Dornoch, where Mummy said their was a beautiful beach I was allowed to run free on. It seemed to take for hours and when we arrived, we were tired and feeling ready for bed but then I spotted a little pair of curly ginger legs behind the caravan near us and Mummy said I was allowed to investigate and say hello. We met Tosh (a handsome boyish apricot Cockapoo), and Quinn (a dark chocolate, quiet little soul of a Cockapoo). Both were rescue Poos and owned by two lovely ladies that Mummy got chatting too. They gave directions to the beach and Mummy let me run wild through the beach rushes (despite her fear of ticks). We landed on the most beautiful little beach where the sea before us went on forever. It was windy and rainy but Mummy was a good sport and let me run around as much as my little legs needed after such a long drive.
When we got back to Bertie, nearly ready for bed, Tosh and Quinn's Mummies invited us over for proper home-cooked spaghetti bolognese, so Mummy put me in my new tartan coat and tidied herself up from her ferrel look. We knocked on the van door with a bottle of pink fizz and I made myself quite at home straight away, jumping on the sofas with the boys and making sure they knew who was boss. I wasn't sure which boy deserved my attention the most. Tosh was boyishly handsome but Quinn was soulful and gentle. He reminded me of my Furley, a gentleman, so I took a bit of a shine to him and chatted him up by putting my paws on his head and nibbling his cheeks.
Mummy was really happy, not just because she drank a bottle of fizz all to herself (thank you to Auntie Tracy) but because she was served spaghetti bolognese and a starter too. She said it was like being in a five star hotel, and she ate every bit. I think she enjoyed conversation with people that understood her too. I try my hardest and although I can't speak her language, I do understand her most of the time and try to reply with my eyes. I enjoyed having people from my own tribe too, who understood my bottom sniffs and cheek nibbles. I think I may have embarrassed Mummy a little though as I did a bottom scoot on the carpet. I couldn't resist ... Bertie doesn't have carpet and Mummy had just trimmed my bottom because I'd got it dirty. It's hard to keep our bottoms clean as we have to be very supple to get to them. It was the latest night Mummy and I have had on tour and although I wasn't allowed to share the pink fizz with her, I was certainly very merry when I snuggled down next to her in bed. Life felt good. Our tummies were full, we'd both had company for the evening, and in the distance I could smell the sea, which meant Mummy would get me there soon. To show my love, I washed Mummy's watch strap for two minutes and thirty-seven seconds before we both passed out.