From there, the intention was to go direct to
and this highlighted the reason we sold the caravan last year and changed it to a motorhome. Certainly when you’re doing a quick visit to anywhere, you have your own centrally heated home to base yourself in and, in Mary’s case of course, to get changed for the evening. It would have been disappointing to have left Bisley early as we were invited as guests to the Gala Dinner, especially as the finale was a trumpet medley by some young soldiers in full dress uniform, in the dark with parts of their outfit and drum sticks in luminous green - what a fantastic sight it was! Yes, we had a really good evening.
Leaving Bisley well after 10:00 pm of course, then there was then the drive to Queensferry, near Chester arriving at some terrible hour in the morning having previously been told that there was no overnight parking next to the venue. So we found a side street on an industrial area not far away and got a few hours sleep before going into the Cheshire Obedience Show venue on the Sunday morning, This is going to sound like the Motorhome Fan Club but when we got into the showground at Cheshire, within one minute the kettle was boiling, the heating was on and you have a warm base with a minimum of fuss to use for the day. We even cooked a meal and ate it before we left that aftyernoon !! Ours has a large garage which Steve Tubb - who has a company called Doggy Cages - fitted cages and because it’s a decent height garage, he also put in a false floor leaving us a full width underneath it for ramps, chairs and awning poles etc. The downside of course is that they’re not too economical but, of course, you can’t have your cake and eat it.
and Tunbridge Wells Championship Shows which we do every year. And a bit of success as well! With a couple wins and some places.
On the first Saturday in November it was Rugby DTCs 50th Anniversary Dinner at
. Fifty years - it’s quite amazing. We’re relative newcomers of course, Mary having joined the club in 1978 the year we married and I remember it well. I remember going into the club with Mary & Sasha the lurcher, ready for her to start the new Beginner Obedience Class and she was mesmerised. And what’s more, she stayed until the very end to watch the competition class and that was it; it was like going fishing and she was hooked! It did help that she had a dog of her own and had been walking other people’s dogs for years and she was also just animal mad having had rabbits, a horse and even owned a pet lamb which she used to walk round on a lead. The head trainer at the club at the time was Ted Pallot who, in fact, gave Mary her grounding in more modern techniques at the time, certainly the ‘pull and grab’ method was still rampant but Ted was one of the early supporters of ‘hands off the dog’ training and that is where Mary had her grounding. So it was good to see Ted and his wife Jane at our 50th anniversary, looking a little older but then aren’t we all!
It was a really great night. I had helped organise it and one of our members husband was an illusionist/magician so he did table tricks with the audience around the tables while dinner was being served. When we were on dessert course, there were a few extra waiters present as I had booked The Singing Waiters but had also kept this a deadly secret, so everyone was absolutely astounded and what great fun and great singers they were - they really made the night. But we weren’t quite finished. I had done the welcome speech but at this point in the evening our young President, Daphne Townsend, who was 83 years old the day before the dinner, gave the official speech to the audience and then cut the cake with the Deputy Mayor. But I did say that we weren’t finished yet as immediately after this a table was set up, our magician appeared wearing his white coat liberally stained with blood and asked for a volunteer who would come and lie on the table to be cut in half. Well, I say a volunteer but in fact we had already arranged that Mary would do this but she didn’t know it yet and in preparation the week before I’d had a new will prepared and signed! But she survived the ordeal, goodness knows how. We then finished with Pete the Disco who has been doing our club discos for the last 25 years. Anyway it was a great night; did it cost the club a lot of money - yes; did we subsidise members’ tickets by an enormous amount - yes; but was it worth it as Louis Walsh says on X-Factor - a MILLION times yes !!
The following weekend we were in
for our annual visit to the Kennel Club’s Discover Dogs. This is another great show and it was just packed out with people on both days; in fact, I’ve been told that for the first time ever they had over 30,000 people paying to go in over the two days. I was in charge of the main ring and commentating, although not too much of the latter as I’d had a bad cold the week before so over the weekend sort of lost my voice, so I really appreciated having my co-conspirator with me, Kate Smith. It was a little more relaxing than usual as I had made the decision not to have a trade stand, a decision in retrospect that was the right decision! Mary did her Crufts routine a few times in the main ring as well as a training spot.
Well, it looks like we’ve had a busy time as the weekend after that we were at Angela White’s venue just outside Gainsborough or to give it its official title
, the venue was just superb although, a long way from the main road and down a single track, but it was worth it when we got there. Mick and Angela have around 40 acres split into two parcels; in one section there is the house and classrooms where a lot of work is done, then you have a separate area of land with a purpose-built training hall, outside competition rings, exercise area and camping area with electric hook-up. Yes folks, it’s what you dream about - or we certainly do! Everyone made us very welcome and Mary did a Cabaret Evening on the Friday in the hall which was fully carpeted and a lovely audience, then on the Saturday and Sunday she held an Obedience and Heelwork to Music training day. Mary was thrilled to hear from Angela that she’d had 100% positive feedback over the weekend and certainly that’s the impression we got too; not only had people enjoyed it but also learned a lot. It’s a case of ‘watch this space’ as Mary does two hugely successful training weeks each year, one in the Midlands and one in Anglesey - and now it looks like she will be doing another one in North Lincolnshire in 2013 .
There’s not much around between now and Christmas although Mary has a Cabaret spot to perform at Bury Farm Equestrian Centre on a big Gala Night. Forget any thoughts you have about a normal equestrian centre as this has been completely refurbished and is a little ‘state of the art’. Last year when we were down there, there were at least a couple of hundred people having a black tie dinner whilst watching the show.