Sometimes I look at Bondy, and think, ‘I am probably the luckiest girl in the world’. Now don’t tell Al I said that, because such cute phrases are meant for your other half, I suppose, really (although many would argue that one!). But really, it sounds so naff, but Bondy is a bit of a revelation to me. To say hes the best present anyone could ever of had is an understatement!
To be fair, whatever lovely things people say about Bondy to me, noone actually loves Bondy more than… well….Bondy. 😉 Noone has a higher opinion of him than himself. He would, undoubtably, hold his own paw in the ‘Tunnel of Love’. BUT somewhere, amongst all that self worship and adoreable confidence, what i say and ask of him, REALLY counts to him, and he has given me so much confidence and hope for the future, as a gundog handler, rather than *just* a puppy trainer, or *just* a breeder, or *just* someone who tries, rather stupidly to work showbred dogs to a decent level. One of my dreams was to, one day, have someone look at a running order and say ‘ohhhhh….. Di Stevens and such and such are running… THEY are the ones to beat….’ Something i’ve said a million times about others, but I don’t think even my best mates have really ever said that when they saw my name on a running order, above anything about Puppy test level. 😉 The fact Wylanbriar dogs and bitches have snuck in and biten their arses on occasion is, pretty much, by the by. People CAN be generous about that when its so occasional 😉 But maybe, just maybe, in time, Bondy and I might be the ‘well they aren’t going badly at the moment….’ name 😉 No pressure or anything! We live in hope!
So the kid and I went, last Tuesday, to a snowy Arun and Downland Novice Trial at the Forest of Bere Estate in Hants. The journey was hell. Two and a half hours to do an hours journey, but you know what its like, two inches of snow and the world grinds to a halt and people seem to THROW their cars at one another deliberately to snarl up traffic! The only saving grace as I sat on the M27, was that I knew one of the judges was sat about five miles behind me…. and whilst noone would blink rather than start a trial without me there, they might miss one of the judges…. so I tried not to START the day crying anyway 😉
The first suprise was the annoucement that this was a walked up trial. Hang on!?? Woods…. Flat fields……Hampshire…. this has to be Driven, surely?! But no, they took us round a corner and cunningly there was acres of cover crop and long strips of sweetcorn! The FIENDS! 😉
Rather than waffle on hugely…. and I did a report of the trial retrieve by retrieve here on the Labrador Forum the day after: http://www.labradorforums.co.uk/ftopict-82398.html – I will just say that Bondy gave me a stunning day for one so young and inexperienced. He filled me with confidence and took everything in his stride. Making the dying minutes of the trial, before being eyewiped by the judges on a hen bird long down in the freezing snow…. (Note the words ‘long down in the freezing snow’…. thats code for ‘we couldn’t find it so it must of had no scent coming off it and I desperately need an excuse!’ OK? But thats just between you and me…taps nose knowingly….)
The memory of a runner he picked, will stay with me for quite some time. (Partly because it was his first ever TRUE running bird). I mean that. There are some ‘lay in bed and remember something good’ moments, when, like me, you rarely get a full nights sleep, and that is one to add to the ‘3am thoughts gallery’.
The fact when we got back and the awards were given, Bondy and I were awarded Guns Choice, is so exciting, and so pathetically tear inducing, and of such great pride to me, that I can’t quite say. Looking at the trophy engraving, and knowing some of the folks on there, it looks like it generally goes to the winner, so to come to us, is pretty amazing. I think, coming from a shooting background first, the fact the GUNS liked what we did, is probably almost as thrilling as the judges. After all, trialing gets a lot of stick about being a working test on game, and completely artificial, and so the Guns come to these events not thinking about the niceities of trials, but of their shooting, the birds and getting them picked. Thanks guys! We hope to go onwards and hopefully upwards from here and not let anyone down. And have some fun along the way!
The offroad Ford Focus slipped and slithered its way back to Sussex with us both happy and knackered, only for a couple of foot of snow to drop that night…. so had that been 24 hours earlier we would NEVER have got there, so maybe there IS a god.
We have four more nominations in for January, nothing till then now, so cross everything for maybe a run or two…. and then a bit of luck again! I don’t worry too much about Bondy decending into teenage anarchy, to be honest, despite only being 18 months old. He is FAR too busy staring at himself in a mirror………… 😉