News Update
23rd July 2009
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Well as usual I am late doing updates, I really give up I always seem to be so busy but anyway here it is. I normally have Mary booked in for some overseas travel after Crufts but after so many busy years travelling abroad she decided that she didn’t want to do any overseas travel this year as she wanted to spend time at home with the dogs especially the noisy Chihuahua! It would have been nice if she had said that she would like to spend some time with me but that wasn’t to be! :)

After Crufts Mary did an evening for Anthony Clarke down in Letchlade. It was a great evening, a full house as usual in a lovely village hall with a nice little ante room where we could put the shop out. As usual Mary was on really good form and the dogs performed a treat. We’ve had some DVD’s made of all of Mary’s routines since 1997 and after Crufts I had Mary’s new Crufts routine added on with the Irish dancing troupe taking part so I got my new toy out – a projector – and played some of the DVD on the big white walls at the village hall and it did go down really well as it was like being at the cinema. I have to say that the Crufts 2009 routine was one of the best she has done and as usual she came up with something different. That is the difficulty with the Best in Show spot as it is an exhibition routine as opposed to a Freestyle competition routine and she has to devise something a little bit different each year. Anyway great night in good company what more can anyone ask?

At the end of March Mary had been asked by Hamlyn books to do a promotional spot on the QVC shopping channel. So off to London we went to this huge building just by the Thames in central London more akin to an Egyptian edifice than it is a TV studio. I don’t know how many sales it amounted to but it was a promotion on her books ‘Dancing with Dogs’ and ‘Dog Tricks’. Mary had to go in the studio which was decorated like a lounge at home with Levi and Ozzie and talk about dog training, the books and demonstrate with the dogs. I think as far as the producer was concerned he would have rather had more demonstrations with the dogs than anything else but I don’t think the presenter agreed with him as there was a lot of talking! And you have to cram it all in to 3 or 4 minutes. Anyway, it was an interesting experience.

Over Easter Mary did 2 evenings at the British Dressage Championships at Hartpury College in Gloucestershire. It’s a stunning venue and must be one of the finest indoor riding centres in the country. Mary just had to do a routine each evening for an audience of a few thousand and Kelvin and his team at the show were great to work with and the hospitality was first class. It was great watching the dressage horses competing and comparing it to Heelwork to Music.

On the 19th April Mary was up in Manchester at the Mypetstop Pet Resort. And very unusual for Mary, she was judging. Today it was to be the Scruffts heats with the winners going through to the final at Discover Dogs in November. The following week she was over at Tomlinsons in Leicester taking a HTM training day and on the 27th it was back in our own barn for Mary where she was training for the day the winners of an auction that was held on the Wiccaweys website. Two friends who wanted to bid for the day with Mary were bidding against each other and eventually, quite amusingly, one dropped out of the bidding because she didn’t want to outbid her friend and the remaining one put a huge bid in to outbid herself in the final minute of the auction! Anyway, a compromise was reached and Mary trained the both of them for the day and the real winners of course were Wiccaweys who had a few hundred pounds donated to their funds.

On the 12th – 14th May we were on our annual trip to Devon for a Cabaret night and two obedience training days. As usual a great trip hosted by Bobbi and the rest of the Tiverton DTS committee, where myself and Mary are honorary members. As previously we stayed at the Best Western at Tiverton and that was also the venue for the Cabaret night which was once again a full house. And the bonus was we had a great night out at the Chinese restaurant we’ve been to previously and we all at too much!

The following week we were off to the Mypetstop in Leeds for the click and treat training day that Mary was taking for them. We must be lucky with venues because once more this is a perfect place to take a training day. A huge area, loads of room for spectators, a non slip floor and all I needed to do was set up the PA and away we went. And nice people to work with, so many thanks to Bernie.

The first week in June Mary was taking a HTM training day and a Cabaret night for Margaret Pennington up in the Lune Valley in Lancaster. The venue for the evening was the same venue that we were staying the night at – The Scarthwaite Country House Hotel in Caton. A bit of an amazing place really, it is in the middle of nowhere up a longish narrow drive that also is the access to a holiday home site. The main hotel is probably at least 100 years old with a newish function room built on to the rear. The hotel is, what I term, old fashioned – definitely not your budget type hotel and probably in need of a bit of a refit and modernisation but it was a lovely place, very quaint and very friendly and helpful management and staff so to be recommended. It was great for dogs, a big lawned area with tables for you to go and sit outside with your dogs and you could access the function room directly from the garden. The area itself was superb, we had a great view from the hotel down over the river Lune and the area was called the Crook of Lune and that was because the way the river bed ran it was the shape of a crook. We had a good turnout for the Cabaret night and as usual it was a fabulous night with Mary on top form as a comedienne as well as all the serious stuff! We stayed there for the next day for Mary’s HTM training day and there were limited numbers as Margaret had kept it pretty much to her own dog club members so they got plenty to do, a good couple of days in excellent company.

The last week in June Mary had her Daventry training week again. We talked about auctions earlier in this update, perhaps we should auction handler places off in this as it was a sell out with a long waiting list and would you believe that I’ve already got a long waiting list for next year now! And I can understand why. The course is held at Kath Dark’s farm in near Daventry and it is just a superb venue. A lovely paddock for parking the caravans, tens of acres to run your dog, an agility training paddock for the afternoon sessions, another well fenced paddock for obedience in the mornings and a building that could be used if the weather was wet but mostly used for social purposes during the week and oh to keep the tea and coffee on 24 hours a day! The participants this year said it was one of the best courses that they had ever been on. There was a great atmosphere and all the participants seemed to gel together as a team. I normally barbeque on the Sunday and Thursday evenings but this year I did something a little different with Beef Bourguignon on the first night and Chicken in country French sauce on the last night. No mean feat catering for up to 30 people on each night. And of course there was homemade cakes each afternoon – is there no end to my talents? (All right I didn’t bake them, Pauline Barr did!) Twenty five of us went up to the local pub which you can see from the venue one night and had an excellent night. Another night we played some DVD’s of Mary routines especially her Crufts 2009 routine with the Irish dancers. And the final night was the highlight of the week, a great meal then we went to the obedience paddock and had a heelwork to music performance night which culminated in 4 of the younger girls on the course taking the part of the Irish dancers and Mary performing her 2009 Riverdance routine with Levi. The girls were absolutely spot on, they only had a quick rehearsal for it and they got it spot on with just a little bit of prodding from Jan Morse, Mary’s assistant for the week and just about everything else come to mention it!

Of course in between all that has happened in the last few weeks Mary has been competing at shows. Mary runs a little red merle collie called China in agility for Julie Skipp. Mary has been really pleased as she has qualified China for the KC Olympia Novice semi-final at the City of Birmingham show in September and also has won out of grade 4 and 5 so she is now competing with China in agility grade 6, just one step away from the top. Our little Ozzie, our Sheltie, who has been a little bit of a late developer has now won out of grade 3 in small agility and has been fairly active in obedience winning two novice obedience last year but judges can’t seem to get their head round the fact that Shelties don’t quite work the same and work as close as collies. In obedience Foxy is now qualified to work in Championship C, Levi has now got 3 qualifiers from Open C and just needs a win to work Championship C and Taz who has had a lot of bad luck has won a reserve ticket so is still looking for the win to get him to Crufts and also the same win to make him an obedience champion.

Not too much happening for the next few weeks as it is mostly dog shows but Mary is looking forward to her guest training spot at the YKC camp at the end of July. We had a great day there last year.

A couple of dates for your diary:

On the 26th August Mary is doing a Cabaret night with Richard Curtis – details are on the events list and on the 24th October Mary is performing in Rugby at the Benn Hall, that is a Saturday night folks – this is a fundraiser for Wiccaweys Border Collies and has been rescheduled due to a difficulty with dates at the hall. We’re hoping to have the Irish dancers with us that night so Mary can perform a full 2009 Riverdance routine. Again, details are on the events page. Another date if you are in the north of the country is Sunday 1st November, something a bit different its Mary and Richard Curtis on a Cabaret afternoon at Mypetstop Leeds. If you are “up North” it is an afternoon not to be missed as they are great working together. And finally don’t forget if you are “down South” it is Discover Dogs at Earls Court on the 14th & 15th November. It is a great show and it is moving into Earls Court 1 this year so it will be a bit bigger and Mary has got a training spot in the ring each day and twice a day she is performing her full Crufts Riverdance routine with Celtic Feet the Irish dancing troupe so don’t miss it, you will have a great day!

Mary is off on a few days holiday at the beginning of August off to see her sister in Canada and with the number of dogs we’ve got now we can’t get away together on holiday so I’m off sightseeing in November to Asia with my mate Roger.

I’ve still got a few copies of Mary’s two hour 97 – 2009 HTM Crufts routines DVD available at £19.95. It includes this year’s Riverdance routine and if anyone wants a copy please email me.