You know sometimes, when things are hectic, and there are so many good things happening it nearly becomes overwhelming to think about writing it up! Thats us, that is
What major things have happened since I wrote last?
* Shineys puppies have grown and gone to their new homes and blossomed!
* Bondy won the URC Bucks Open Test on 22nd May – Keel! Woo woo! Waves ‘Big up the Meercat’ banners and flags!!!
* We were asked to be part of the team representing UGS West Sussex & Surrey in the UGS Inter Club Finals on 3rd July. We went, we won and we came second overall in the individual rankings! (There was then a MESSY BBQ at Ruebens afterwards, but we may have to draw a veil over that…… grin!)
* I joined the SEGS (South of England Gundog Society) committee.
* I was overjoyed to be asked to go and pick up on a Grouse day in Yorkshire just after the Glorious 12th. I like to think of it as the ‘Glorious 16th!’ And whilst am completely panicing about what to wear and if the dogs will behave… am over the moon!
* I judged the gundog show classes at the SEGS Countryside Alliance Funday, which was brilliant – and Fish and I won one of the Open scurries, which was FANTASTIC! At last! He has peaked! A 1st in a (jolly tricky actually with FIVE retrieves), scurry!
* The smell of winter was in the air and the impending trial season becoming a reality again, with a fantastic ‘walked up on sugar beet’ training day in Essex organised by Graham Home.
* We have run some lovely beginner and novice training days and sessions and some of our trainees have taken great big steps forward of which i am really proud of!
Something that i’ve wanted to write for weeks now, was just one example of the fun and friendly side of our sport, this crazy game called Gundog Work. You get a few dry old boys in this hobby, as well as a few dry YOUNG ones (grin) and the one liners and banter are something i’ve always wanted to store up for a rainy day and write a book on!
Two gentlemen of our sport standing together waiting their go in the last test of a long Open test day. The weather was awful and we could all use a smile… (the names have been changed to protect the innocent…)
Harry: ” Well now Bill, the last test, what do you think it’ll be then? ”
Bill: (Sly sideways glance at the ladies and a twinkle in his eye) “Well Harry my boy, some kind of Retrieve would be my bet!”…. to sniggers and snorts….
Harry: (Quick as a fish and totally deadpan…) ” Bugger it! The one thing I’ve not practiced for!! ”
…………you possibly had to be there but it WAS hilarious!
Subtitle: Overcompetitive Di wreaks Allan’s dog.
So I find myself at the SEGS CA Fun Day, judging the show classes on the 25th June. A great idea and SEGS are to be commended for trying to bring a little bit of both sides to what was, fundementally and traditionally, purely a working events day. The entry was huge and fun was had by all! I put a few assorted Wylanbriars in the car, and took along Mallie (as she loves a day out!), Otter (As she needed the socialising and it would be good for her) and……. Fish. Why Fish? So why not the Bondy Meercat who usually lives and breathes at my side? Ummm…… wellllll…….. there was like SCURRIES there….. and wellll….. he might get wreaked!! So I basically did what all good gundog ‘other halves’ would do….and took Allan’s dog instead!
His face was a PICTURE when I got home with a red rosette, card and lovely vouchers and prizes and all sorts! Secretly pleased, he asked what scurry Fish had won.
” The five card trick scurry ” says I….carefully hoping he asked no more. I was not in luck.
” So what EXACTLY does that involve then, love? ” With his smile fading just a little.
I took a deep breath. ” WELL! You have five blind retrieves around this LOVELY lake, and they are assigned points according to difficulty and you were being timed, and so the dog had to pick each one as quick as possible, and you could decide what order you got them, and…..” Draws breath and says very VERY quickly… “and they didn’t mind if the dog went OVER the water, or round it, to get them…”
Icy stillness about Allan. ” Ok, Love, explain ‘or Round it’ to me……” His smile fading rapidly…
” Ummmm….. well of course you COULD be all greasy swot and put them OVER the lake to the various dummies, and of course that WOULD, technically, be *ideal* ” (I see him nod enthusiastically…) ” but seen as you didn’t actually HAVE to, I just basically jazzed him up and made him gallop round the lake, pick the dummy, and…errr… well…. back round again….” Tails off, seeing the thunder rising…
” 5 times? You made him gallop down the side of the lake not OVER it, there and back, FIVE TIMES!!!!??? ”
“Well, there was this one time he looked like he thought he SHOULD go over, but to be honest that would of been right SLOW, so I handled him round it on land instead, as fast as possible….” My life, and relationship, stopped in its tracks right there.
” You HANDLED the dog away from going over the lake. You actually stopped him and handled him ROUND the lake…. ‘really fast’…..?? ” I was a bunny in a lamp at harvest time……
” We won though…. ” Cough.
” SO let me get this right (he said, in a scarily calm voice…) you left the precious Meercat at home incase you broke him, and you clapped and screamed my dog home, not OVER the lakes, as I have been trying to teach him is the unbending rule since he was 6 months old, but ROUND them, out AND back FIVE TIMES! ……” (He clutched at straws…) ” How was his delivery?? ”
” Ummmm……..?? ” I muttered…. and started losing the courage to make eye contact…. “Ummm, delivery didn’t really matter as long as you grabbed it from them as fast as possible and lobbed it swiftly in a bucket….”
” Five grabs and lobs? Five! Grab, lob, and throw him randomly back out again handling ROUND the lake, and back again, to snatch it off him and chuck it in a bucket to stop the clock…?? ” The EYES, oh god, the EYES!
Weakly. “Yes… and he ONLY spat the last one at me…. Well ‘spat’ is possibly not quite the right word, maybe more HURLED it at me from 10 foot away and spun like a ballet dancer to gallop out again like a pet dog chasing a tennis ball…” (I realised the foolishness in my honesty almost immediately….)
Eyes of FIRE! I quaked! “What was this EXACTLY Di? ‘Its a f***ing Knockout with Allan’s dog??’ or maybe ‘Lets see how many things I can pants up in one day for the sake of stopping the clock one second before Rogers Wade’s time…??’
Bravely. “Actually, Roger was dead impressed and shook my hand…. he said he’d never heard such screeching and clapping and yelling as me trying to get him home on that last retrieve….Says he thought it was the last furlong in the National…!!” (I made a weak and misguided attempt at humour…)
“…It was for Charity….”
Well now sometimes stories just don’t have a happy ending in them do they? I mean, Allan is SO sensitive about Fish, REALLY! For gods sake, we WON!
(Fish: The dog who runs round water 1.3 seconds faster than ANY DOG IN THE SOUTH OF ENGLAND! Woooo!!!!)