It was soon back to normal after Crufts and there were to be no shows for a few weeks. Well, of course, we were supposed to have the Midland Border Collie event but the great British weather intervened so it was Easter off An Easter at home unheard of !!
We did have an interesting television recording at Elstree Studios which took a lot of preparation and a couple of days down there. It was great fun as it was for a Sky television programme called ‘A League of Their Own’ and I can’t say what it was about as Mary is sworn to secrecy until it is broadcast in August, but it was a really interesting day and they said that it was THE most popular programme on Sky, There were a few well-known names on it including David Walliams, Jamie Redknapp, Jack Whitehall James Corden and Freddie Flintoff Anyway, more about that later in the year but look out for it in August.
Mary also held a five-day camp for Angela White at Haxey. This was Obedience and Heelwork to Music and there was a really nice bunch of people on it. Angela has a smashing place, a wonderful training centre with a non-slip floor and all the facilities to go with it; on-site camping with electric hook-up and great dog walking. I think that saying it’s a quiet, out of the way spot is an understatement as it is a long way down a drive from habitation but well worth it.
The only other booking Mary had in May was an Open Day for Fiona Vaughan. Fiona is very well known in Agility but she is also on the management team of a very busy veterinary practice in Bromsgrove called Clenthill Vets. They had moved premises into a purpose-built building with brand new state of the art equipment including all new kennelling, operating theatres, diagnostic equipment - it was truly wonderful. They decided to have their Open Day on a Sunday and although Mary could have done something in the large reception area, it was a decent day so she gave two demonstrations with the dogs on the car park surrounded by a huge crowd with lots of tricks and some Obedience as well. It was a really interesting day and hosted by a lovely team.
The first weekend in May was the Rugby DTC Championship Obedience Show where Mary is Show Secretary and I’m Chief Steward. We were all keeping our fingers crossed after last year’s show was cancelled due to the weather but this year we had a bit of breeze, a lot of sunshine and no rain - it was just great weather for working dogs and great weather for running a show. We have a very good team of members at Rugby DTC and, as usual, we had enough volunteers to run the show including scoreboards. Our Dog Ticket judge was Fred Burns and this was to be his last ever dog Championship Dog judging appointment. In recognition of the fact that he has judged for Rugby Club for the last twenty-one years, we decided to present him with a little keepsake - which was perhaps not so little - a beautifully engraved decanter. And just to top the show off a treat, Mary won the Dog Ticket with Levi.
The following weekend we would really have liked to be at Wirral but we did agree a couple of years ago that we would run the Kennel Club Demonstration Ring at the London Pet Show, Earls Court. So that’s what we did with Mary demonstrating Competitive Obedience, trick training, rally obedience and performing her Heelwork to Music routine, albeit without Richard Curtis who couldn’t make it to the Pet Show this year due to a prior booking. This was a hugely successful show again and you could really use the phrase ‘standing room only’. I was certainly kept on my toes as well as I was organising most of the events in the arena that day, plus commentating. The downside to the Pet Show is that it is held in London at Earls Court. This brings with it inherent problems such as having three dogs with you in Central London, finding somewhere to park a van and to make it worse this year we couldn’t get booked in at the Ibis Hotel which is the economy one opposite Earls Court. Therefore we stayed at Olympia Hilton which is a lot more expensive with nowhere to park a van, but the Kennel Club managed to make arrangements for me to park it in the private parking area in Olympia Way. So we just have to book the Ibis earlier next time!
On weekend of 18th/19th May, it was the annual trip to Loughborough Obedience Show. We did consider doing what some of the other hardy souls do, which is shooting up to Scotland for the Championship Show on the Saturday then back to Loughborough for the Sunday but it is very difficult to justify the cost and the additional stress of rushing up and down the motorway - and we like Loughborough anyway. The benefit of being retired, of course, is that we can get there as soon as camping opens on the Friday and the rain hadn’t been too bad so we were hoping to be in our usual area BUT when we arrived at the venue we were pulled up by Tony who said they’d had torrential rain and a thunderstorm the evening before so everywhere was very boggy. Now there is no doubt that having a rear-wheel drive with twin wheels motorhome as opposed to the other 95% which are front-wheel drive I would have got parked no problem, but also in the back of my mind was the thought that it was fairly soft ground and we would be covered in mud for the weekend. Anyway, we parked right next to the clubhouse overlooking the rings, on a car parking area and reversed onto the grass and it was just superb - a great spot, the grass seemed well drained and , of course, with Mary’s little problem with arthritis then she hadn’t got far to go to the rings. So a good intervention by Tony !!
Mary had a tremendous show, with Levi winning the Dog ticket and Open ‘C’, Foxy winning Open ‘C’ and quite amazingly Lexi won her first ‘A’! I say amazingly not to be unkind but after winning numerous Novice events she didn’t really seem to have the confidence to work in ‘A’ with no commands and Mary spent part of last year building up her confidence without worrying about competing seriously with her - which looks like it may have paid off!
Oh, and as someone said on Facebook, I’d better not forget the short-legged one, being our Ozzie the Sheltie. He was in the places to win ‘C’ and all he had to do was a decent scent which he did, but the person - who shall remain nameless- forgot what she was doing and gave him an extra command when he finished - and that cost her first place! But she still managed to get another qualifier with second place
The last weekend in May, we drove north to Tyne & Wear for the Waldridge Fell three-day show held in the beautiful surroundings of Penshaw Park overlooked by the famous monument. Mary’s sister Pauline couldn’t finish work until 5:30 pm so we were a little late leaving on the Wednesday night and arrived at 9:30 pm just as the camping girls were about to pack up. Pam Hannah parked us, perhaps not in the place we wanted to be, but they were a little concerned as the park had suffered some heavy rain and they had been towing vehicles on it, so we were parked right next to the road. We’d had beautiful weather in 2012 and going a few days early were hoping to make the most of it this year but unfortunately the weather was awful with heavy rain and gale force winds - and I was lucky not to lose my awning; although they had promised this was the most secure awning you can buy, I was still afraid that it was going to blow in under the 60 mph gusts experienced at 5:00 am in the morning. But with a little support from myself, it lasted the course.
To say that Mary had a good weekend would be an understatement really. She won her second Class ‘A’ with Lexie. Lexi also got a third place in ‘A’ on one of the other day’s. Ozzie won another Open ‘C’ with Foxy taking second place in the same class; Foxy also won another Open ‘C’ and she had a second and a fourth place. However, the star of the show as usual was Levi, taking first and second in Open ‘C’s and winning the Championship Dog class. Waldridge Fell then do something a little special, as they do every year, and have a run off for the winners of both Tickets. The Bitch Ticket winner this year was Pat Watson and, even though it was perhaps a little chilly, there was a large crowd watching round the ring - and which Mary won! In fact, it was an exact replay of 2012 when Mary and Pat won both Tickets and Mary won that run-off too.
So on the whole it was another great show with good weather for the 3 show days although perhaps we could have done with a little less wind. Oh - and a little drier on the pre show days so that we wouldn’t have to wash all the covers on the seats of the motor home as soon as we came back!
29th May 2013
Lexi just won her 4th Class A, all over the last 2 weeks