It was an amazing holiday and gave me FAR too much time to lay around and think, plan and dream, but its cemented many things – including the fact, most importantly, that Al must NEVER think of singing as a viable career – his Robbie Williams was touching. Its was moving. The crowds put their hands in the air and swayed…. but it WAS 1am and we HAD all had copious amounts of Mythos beer and Santorini wine and I feel it slightly gave us a false reading on the ‘talent factor…’ 😉 I can talk!!! My ‘Unbreak my Heart’ had cats galloping for the comparative safety of the main roads to take their chances with the masses of hired quad bikes rather than listen!
It was a corker. A funny time of year, admittedly, knowing *everyone else* was marching up and down the fields of Knowle Game Farm, picking partridge, and getting ‘good’, whilst I was picking sunbeds and getting brown, AND whilst the dogs sat on their cute arses! But anyway, enough of the sun, fun, sand, mountains, volcanos, boat trips, sunsets, wine, relaxation and MASSIVE delays at Gatwick… and onto doggy matters! Of which there are plenty!
We returned with a new enthusiasm for our sport after a slightly indifferent working test season. Our sport of shooting and our sport of trialing. Its a lovely kind of title to have. A ‘trialer’. In its own way it covers a multitude of abilities, sucesses (or lack of them!), dedication, blood, sweat, gravy and egg! It can be used as a compliament or an insult depending on how your dog goes…. but it does mean several things for certain I have decided:
– You will always be poor.
– You will never have enough cheque books to send nomination fees with. Your bank will start after a year or two to think you are onto some kind of ‘fraud’ scam as you request new ones weekly August to December 😉
– You will sleep well only on nights AFTER a reasonably or very successful trial
– You will spend your evenings listening for the phone to ring to see if you have a run
– You will fall out with your boss multiple times all winter as you take the p*ss on how many last minute days off you beg for!
– You will develop a dual personality where you are thrilled AND gutted to see your name on the running order in the sacred ’12 or 14′ who have a definate run!
…. Ok well i’m only talking about ME here of course. I see so many calm, collected, unflapable types trialing that I know at some point I may have to take up Valium as a regular thing to make it through winters !!!
So a few days after returning home, Allan and Fish ran on a FT training day with a private group. To say this was a turning point for Al is an understatement. The day at Knowle, run by Neil Franklin and asked by Graham Home was unsupassed in making Al smile. I have NEVER made him as happy as that day. I never WILL. Its impossible. He came home floating as Fish went very well and Al realised he *could* do it. REALLY, maybe, possibly, actually DO IT! And I reckon he could. Fish is a strong, powerful, line taking dog who revels in going out. He doesn’t QUITE so revel in being handled *out there*, but its coming. ‘Coming’ to the level we want it anyway, the ‘bang on the money almost everytime making it look fluid and easy’ level. Not the ‘Ok Dad if I believe you something is there, but otherwise, I may just make my own mind up on this one, and if you get angry by that, I will pack it in and look shit scared as you run towards me, then go PERFECTLY immediately afterwards…’ Bloody dogs 😉
So that was Thursday last week. Friday saw me up with the larks and going to help at one of the SEGS Novice trials at the lovely Orsett. The trial went well. The drives were heavy and it was easy to see why all the retrieves look easy when you haven’t got a dog there. 😉 When you HAVE they were 120 yards. When you HAVEN’T they were 60 yards 😉 Enjoyed the day and saw some good friends do well and came home very happy and itching to get going myself with Le Bond.
Now the thing is I’d decided Le Bond would not trial this winter. And he may not… but I’m going to give him a chance to at least show me maybe he *could*. So i’ve been lucky to be offered two training days in the next week, and so am going to take him to both. Meantime, because the little chap hasn’t ever picked fresh shot game, he is coming out with Granny Nickols (grin!) on a shoot in the next day or two which I will be on my VERY best behaviour at ,and I am HUGELY grateful to be given the chance to go there. It will show me enough to decide for sure on the training days. Otherwise I’ll take the Fishy one.
So back to Friday and coming home to charge back out again to a HUGELY fun evening at the UGS Kent ‘Bangers and Tossers dinner’. A GREAT idea (especially if you are a Banger or a Tosser – and there were a good few of us there it has to be said!!) and very generous. A Chinese buffet, great company and a big thank you all round! We weren’t even the last to leave but I felt I was hugely generous offering to drive THERE…. can’t think why Al looked sorrowfully at his two pints all evening like a kicked puppy 😉
However he had to be on the ball as the next morning, Saturday, bright and early we were off to Kent to Goudhurst for him to run Fish, and me to Chief Steward, the SEGS FT training day. What a day! What a ground! I’ve never seen Wallabees and Pheasants sharing a pen myself before, but this place had exactly that going on. Really??? Yes REALLY. Mini Kangas and Cock birds… a seriously strange mix! However they didn’t flush the Wallabees…. they may of taken more picking than the cock birds… 😉 Fish went well…. Al himself would say not as well as Thursday but better than he expected having never sat him in drives before. The good lad was quiet and steady for all four drives and picked everything asked including two runners, which again, he had not had experience of before so was great!
We came home chatting and fired up, so roll on the next few trials Fish has a nomination in for. I can’t say that he will set the world on fire immediately for sure, but this year is about taking it steady, and cranking it up NEXT year. Both for Fish and Bondy I suppose. Its been a funny old year in every possible way.
Tom is coming on nicely. Nicely in a Tomshoes kind of a way. He makes me smile, I can’t wait to have him on the real thing, and whilst he is like a roller skate… (only has backwards and forwards), he has a heart of gold and bursts with instinct so as we are ploughing on almost daily, he is coming on in hops and skips. Leaps and bounds might be stretching it…and would *I* lie to you, dear reader!!!?? 😉 😉
Progress on planning my puppy and beginner gundog training CLASSES, is in the final stages, so hope to have some news on that very soon indeed! Its very exciting, and one of my main priorities right now (alongside EVERYTHING else!!!) And the sire of our next litter is also decided on (cross fingers!) and I now hope to stop tearing myself apart trying to decide what route we walk 😉 Its certainly been a crossroads couple of years breeding wise, but i’m finally happy! 😉 Fate and field trial training days have finally made my mind up! 😉
So a full report on Bondys first day picking up, his first FT training days and a few more running orders back for Fish will be reported on next week!
Meantime….. take care…. and why DID Cheryl pick that blonde Madonna wannabe drama queen for her final three? Its a travesty!!!! The fragile Amy Winehouse clone was scarey enough, but I can sort of see why, however …. ‘got it all planned out’ blondie??? NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! 😉