There’s a moose loose aboot this hoose!



Schools shut for a week. No tattie picking these days so we are off to Dingwall to stay with our pals the MacDonald’s.

It is a glorious sunny day. Who needs Majorca? The leaves are turning, the air is clear so we gather their three spaniels Parker, Spider and Basil along with our two scraggy mutts and head out for a good stomp. Parker is 14 and a half and almost blind so had to be watched in case he went off road never to be seen again the other rampage and we blow away the cobwebs.

We eat what is caught, shot or grown which means tonight we have grouse. The kids eat the same as the adults eat and it is delicious. Soon the kids slope off leaving us catching up and sampling some rather delicious wine. Hic.

Another sunny day we made a picnic and ate it outside. In October! Don’t tell anyone or Scotland will be full of tourists!

I spoke to Mum on the phone who was staying with her pal Aileen in Aberdeen. They came in last night only to have a mouse run across the kitchen floor. Being brave Mum leapt onto a chair and screamed as Aileen dug out her new pink Ikea brush and tried to bash it about the face and neck. It got behind the fridge and rather than do an all night vigil Mum and her had to leave it there in the hope it wouldn’t savage them in the night. It didn’t they live to tell the tale. So does the mouse we presume. Watch out it must be in the mice almanac it is happening all over Scotland.


Unbelievably whilst retelling the story and laughing loud in the MacDonald’s kitchen a moose meanders forth and makes it’s way towards the bin. Eeek a moose shouts Joanna as Flora half dog half womble casually turns round and gets it in her virtually toothless jaws. .I am not sure who was most surprised her or the mouse. She dropped it, picked it up and then dropped it again with a look of deep confusion in her eyes as the mouse with cricked neck went shuffling off behind a unit. 5 dogs in the place and Flora the gummy sausage was the only one who moved. She is now only responding to the name Mouser and has a haughty air of arrogance about her. It’s taken her 10 years to do something vaguely useful. Mind you it took me a darn sight longer.


As a thanks you to the lovely Macdonalds we take them out for lunch. We hear there is a place in Inverness Rockpool Hotel to which Albert Roux has given his name. Off we go. We sit and are offered the lunch menu. There are 8 of us. 4 adults and 4 children ranging from 8 to 14. We eat an exotic meal of rabbit terrine and fish and it is not until I am paying the bill that I see a children’s menu sitting right beside the till. We weren’t offered it so I asked why? There wasn’t a good reason just a shuffle of feet. Not amused about that to be honest. Digesting lunch took hours so we went walkabout and fanned Flora the Mouser as Joanna lobbed a huge leg of lamb into the oven. Pals Trish and Hamish arrived and as soon as the mouse stories started Trish took to a chair. Another farmers wife who cannae stand the wee beasties am considering renting Flora out on an hourly basis.


Shaun shows us round the farm. There are lots of lovely coos. I am going to stop eating beef as I love cows. I think I was one in my past life. – no jokes about this life too thank you. They are magnificent brown eyed, long eye lashed things. We see a lorry load getting led into a large new paddock. They are only one year old and have just been separated from their Mums for the first time. That night as we eat another wonderful meal accompanied by Shaun’s magnificent Yorkshire pud I can hear the cows as they cry loud and balefully. After a couple of glasses of wine I am enquiring as to whether or not there is a guitar in the house as I feel a wee serenade might cheer them up. Luckily there is no guitar so I have to suffice by wishing them goodnight from a distance.


Cheek! I find a guitar this morning in the lounge. Dave says it was the cow protection league that begged him not to hand it over. The thought of a few dozen suicidal cows was too much for him. Shaun takes us to see the father of all coos in the shape of this bull Now I am at one with the bovine world I ask how old he is. He is an impressive 12 years of age. How long does he have left as a productive bull I ask. Well this is about it really. Oh. He must be like an old friend having served you well (well not you so much as the coos ) I sigh. So will you let him live out his days meandering round fields eating grass and gently snoozing in the sun until he passes away. Without missing a beat Shaun simply says ‘Nope. Burgers’ and walks on.


Writer & broadcaster.

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