|Well, I’m late again with the update. I never seem to have enough time but I have stood down from being Chairman of the Agility Council so perhaps I might have more time on my hands to keep Mary’s website updated in a more efficient manner!
The big news as far as Mary is concerned is what a stunning year she’s had in obedience. Ozzie and Lexi are struggling a little in C and A respectively but Mary never gets too bothered as she knows that it is a big step up from the previous classes so she never puts any pressure on them. But Foxy and Levi have just been flying as you will see from the results at the end of this report, highlights of course being winning the dog and bitch championships at the same show and just this last weekend, Levi winning the nationwide Charity C Obedience Final.
In June, Mary took her week’s training course in Daventry as usual and what a great week that was. The weather was quite good and we had a few new people on it. I usually do the two evening meals which I enjoy doing but I’ve had a bit of a health problem this year so we used an outside caterer who is based at the farm and she did two special meals. It is a good fun week with a great atmosphere, obedience training in the mornings and agility in the afternoons. We provide two meals in the training hall at the farm and we go up the pub for another evening meal and the highlight of course is all the participants have to come prepared with their doggy dancing routine for the final night. I won’t mention the vast amounts of alcohol consumed but let’s say everyone had a good time!
The week after Mary’s course I went into hospital to have two rawlplugs inserted in two of the vertebrae in my neck. Marvellous operation, they went straight through from the front of my throat and I was operated on the Thursday afternoon and I came home on Saturday morning. Unbelievable, considering the amount of pain I was in, it just went immediately. Two funny, or perhaps unfunny things happened. When I came up from theatre and was put into bed Mary and her sister Pauline were there. I had oxygen, a drain in my neck, canular in my hand and I was perhaps a little bit groggy. Mary said to me “wave” and she took a photo with her ipad. I did not realise until afterwards that that was on Facebook the same night. The other amusing thing was on the following evening when Mary took up the offer of having dinner with me in my room, (she had to pay!) so her and Pauline did just that and they decided that they were both tired so as I was sat in the chair next to the bed as the ‘patient’ Pauline and Mary were lying on my bed just in time for a nurse to walk in and give them the most incredulous look! They moved a bit quick!
Anyway, back to Mary. Well, she did have a bit of difficulty as I wasn’t allowed to drive for 6 weeks and I did have to take it easy. So Mary and Pauline drove down to Winchester and Eastleigh shows and stayed in a B&B. I think it was a little bit damp at times and perhaps not the best idea to travel all that way and have to drive and suffer the weather. The following weekend in mid July it was going to be Rugby’s agility weekend and unfortunately this had to be cancelled, if we hadn’t the council would have shut us down, due to waterlogged grounds which of course everyone was suffering from.
The weather struck again the following weekend. Mary had had the choice of entering North West Kent or Redcar both Championship obedience shows. We hadn’t been to Redcar before but we’d heard very good reports of it. Camping was in the grounds of a rugger club, a couple of hundred yards from the beach and you could camp there for an extended time. Just our luck! Redcar was cancelled due to the weather and NW Kent went ahead. Yes, Mary picked the wrong show so it meant another weekend at home.
The following Tuesday, “Dogs for the disabled” had an open day at the KC Building at Stoneleigh for all their helpers. They had a little main ring and a lot of little training sessions/demonstrations taking place in various areas. A really good turn out of people and it was a lovely afternoon. Mary did a couple of sessions in the main ring and she had a really good audience for both and the dogs played to the crowd as usual. They are hoping to have this event on a weekend next year and we’re hoping we can make it.
The following week it was the same at the Young Kennel Club camp at Melton Mowbray. Mary just had a demonstration to do with the dogs and there are some amazing kids there, young and old! In fact a lot of people doing the training were ex YKC members who had come up through the ranks. Another very enjoyable afternoon.
We were now into August. We did the weekend at Hatchford Brook Ch Show in the camper and we had the shop out. Results are on the list down below. Nice show, nice people who run it as well.
Following this we had the KC International Agility Festival and more drama! Having had a site visit and assurances three days before 700 caravans were due to arrive we found that Kelmarsh, for want of a better word, trashed by the previous event made worse by more rain and we were looking at having to cancel the event. The girls in the office at Kelmarsh made a few calls and found that Rockingham Castle was available so four days before the event was due to start we moved everything lock, stock and barrel up to Rockingham which was 15 miles away. This included buggies and toilets that had already been delivered and of course helpers caravans that had already been set up. The event was a tremendous success, what a great venue Rockingham is and the layout, considering nothing had been planned, was excellent. Let’s hope we can have it next year. It was quite amusing that due to the fact they had no warning that we wanted areas to camp 700 caravans they were still mowing the grass as the caravans arrived. Mary spent the show catching up with old friends as she is no longer competing in agility in between helping me in the catering area I’m in charge of as well as being competition manager.
We decided to go down to the Eastbourne area again the following week and I purchased a car trailer to tow behind the motor home so we could take a car with us. I not only sold the yellow sprinter van but I also sold the little Ford Fiesta shopping car we had and replaced these with a Kangoo estate which gave a little bit of room to have dogs in but it was automatic so it couldn’t be towed so a trailer was our only choice. We had a great 5 days down in Herstmonceux just outside Pevensey Bay/Eastbourne. We stayed there last year, it’s an orchard behind a garden centre with 4 hard standing and was grass standing all with mains hook up and there is a country tea room as well. But the best part is, of course, Pete and Sue who own it are dog people. They used to be regulars in agility but now Sue competes in obedience so it is a very dog friendly CL site. So no problems having the garden up and you can use the orchard to exercise your dog in a small way and there is dog walking nearby.
We left there on the Friday towing the car again which we were thankful for when we were away and made our way up to Ditton Ch Show. Another great show for Mary! And the weather was just unbelievable, I think it was the hottest weekend of the year. We had forewarned them that we had a big trailer as we’d been told the parking was tight but they were very good, they found me a place to park the trailer out of the way and as our camper is a bit of a big box they let us park in their show officials/judges area which was great as it was right under a tree.
We are nearing the end of August now and the following weekend which was bank holiday weekend Mary decided to give me some driving to do and this is where a camper comes into its own. We spent the day at Cambridge Ch Show and experienced some of the worst hail I’ve ever seen in all my life, in fact, I had to check the camper out afterwards to see if it had been dented as it was that bad. Anyway, Mary had a good day again (results) and as usual we were almost the last to leave the venue, I don’t know why it is but whatever ring is being judged last will be the ring that Mary will be working in! We left Cambridge at after 6pm and drove straight up the A1 to Wakefield Ch Show. This was in the grounds of a sports centre and we drove in in the dark, I got my torch out and found us a nice spot not too far from the rings, parked the motorhome and within one minute the kettle was on and we were settled and there folks is the benefit of a motorhome. I could just get up in the morning and put the awning out.
The first weekend in September I was running the Kennel Club Olympia agility semi finals at the City of Birmingham show which is held at Stoneleigh. I keep saying as usual but, as usual, late on the Sunday afternoon we left Stoneleigh to drive to Anglesey in the camper. We had a great run up but once more arrived in the dark and just parked up so I could get the awning out in the morning. We were there for Rex and Maggie’s training week and this is the 8th year that Mary has done it. Within 10 minutes of arriving on the Sunday night we were sat in their house with a steaming plate of chicken casserole in front of us, Mary with a cup of tea and me with a large glass of rose wine. We changed the format this year, it used to be HTM in the mornings with agility in the afternoons but for the first time it was HTM and competition obedience which proved to be extremely popular. It’s a very similar format to Mary’s week in Daventry, camping on site although there weren’t as many camping as we’ve had a couple of bad years with the weather. It was a full house again and they all really enjoyed it, apart from the training there was a big barbeque/buffet night, well I’ve never seen so much food! Then we had a pizza night which was also our doggy dancing night and then we had an evening out in a rather posh hotel restaurant, great meal and lovely setting we go there every year. The big bonus this year was the weather, we had some good weather and it was great. Anglesey is a lovely place and a lot of the participants including us go down to this beautiful beach right next to a forest to run their dogs.
Back home on the Friday night from Wales and then Saturday morning down to Thames Ch Show in the camper and then the following day Mary went to Coventry Ch Show on her own giving me a chance to sort out everything at home.
I will report on the happenings at the Birmingham Ch shows and the rescheduled Rugby DTC Championship classes next time.