I went swimming, I went to the gym, I went on several long walks – and I’ve still been put to shame by a cocker spaniel.
I thought my own daft dog was an exercise freak until I heard about Glen, a cocker from Stonehaven, who has bagged all 282 Munros.
He and owner George Creighton scaled Ben More on Mull to complete a challenge they started five years ago.
Maybe Glen could be my personal trainer as we must have so much in common.
I too am motivated by biscuits and I get told off for sitting on the sofa if I bring too much sand in from the beach.
Plus, Glen will be at a loose end now he’s bagged all those peaks and I’m guessing he’d accept tennis balls as payment.
In a spooky coincidence (I suppose we are coming up for Halloween) just as I was writing this Glen and George walked past my window and I simply had to run down the street and introduce myself.
Glen looked pretty pleased with himself but in true celebrity fashion, he doesn’t like to pause too long when he meets his fans and he’s going to get back to me about the tennis balls.
Just as entertaining as Glen, but much less obedient are Chaz and Dave, pet goats belonging to Oban farmer Katherine Mackenzie.
The one-year-old rascals broke into her home where they ate a bunch of flowers, chewed a table, turned over furniture and lamps and then settled down to sleep in the living room.
Apparently the pony had aided and abetted them in escaping from their field and Katherine said it’s not the first time the animals have worked together to get into the house.
“Rosie the pet lamb, who is now eight, likes a seat on the couch as well. Maybe the goats were jealous,” said Katherine.
Climate change U-turn
Of course we can never properly understand what dogs and goats are thinking and it’s the same with Rishi Sunak.
I often wonder what goes on inside his head and having seen inside a super-yacht that docked in Aberdeen, I think now I might have a vague idea.
Aboard the opulent Scenic Eclipse II, which this week continued her voyage around the Scottish islands, guests are cocooned in luxury, detached from reality and without a care in the world.
They can sail leisurely towards some destination or another, it doesn’t really matter which, unhurried and unperturbed, and on the occasion they do take an excursion and re-join society, they are safely back on the ship by evening.
Every now and then the prime minister leaves his ocean-view stateroom to show us his list of five priorities and then sails away again, his gleaming white handmade Italian shirt, sleeves artfully rolled up, becoming a dot on the horizon.
On Wednesday, he strolled out on deck to make a U-turn on climate change commitments, delaying deadlines for petrol and diesel cars and gas boilers.
It’s not like the original deadline is next week, it’s seven years away. If Johnson was the Great Pretender, Sunak is the Great Procrastinator.
A trip to Versailles
Does he really think we should witness heatwaves, floods, wildfires, rising sea levels, species extinction and the collapse of ecosystems and global food supply until 2030 and then say: “Oh you know what, let’s give it another five years and then do something”?
The urgency of the climate crisis is not lost on King Charles, who tagged along with Sir Mick Jagger to a state banquet at the Palace of Versailles.
In his address to the French Parliament, the monarch called for a united front against the “most existential challenge of all, that of global warming, climate change and the catastrophic destruction of nature”.
We wouldn’t expect anything less from Charles, the OG of environmental activism, and he doesn’t confine his remarks to the world stage.
This week the owner of Carbisdale Castle in Sutherland revealed how a letter from the King had encouraged her with her restoration project.
Samantha Kane said the note had raised her spirits when the daunting task of restoring the landmark was taking its toll.
‘Giving up is not an option’
“That was such a boost for me when I was facing what I thought were insurmountable difficulties,” she said, adding: “Giving up is not an option.”
The Lady of Carbisdale’s drive is in stark contrast to the government’s lack of “ambition, commitment and consistency” as car giant Ford described it in response to the climate U-turn.
Maybe it should have been Rishi Sunak who spent some time in the Hall of Mirrors at Versailles this week.