Saga of a woman old enough to know better who lets her life be governed by the ridiculous hobby of breeding and showing dogs, musing on life, the twenty first century, Cameron and his mini-me, and the occasional sheep.

Thursday, July 29, 2004


I`m still getting over two Championship shows in one week, one in Peterborough, one in Leeds.  At least it makes a change from memorising the M6.

Peterborough was warm and pleasant as usual - how do they arrange their weather?  Leeds had a gale, most of it blowing through the sideless tent they laughingly called "wet weather protection".  Small dogs dug their claws in as their long coats became horizontal.  There was great and universal admiration for a brave Irishman showing in a kilt.  We all huddled together on our folding chairs, dreading the moment when we would have to shed a layer of outher clothing to go in with our dogs.  

A friend from Oz couldn`t believe it - "They said there would be accomodation inside if it was wet!" she cried, looking up in horror at the creaking flapping old splitting canvas and the lifting side poles.   She should try Ireland, where they think tents are unmanly and soft, and everyone does it with huge umbrellas and wellies.

I remember years ago at Windsor when it was desperately searingly hot and everyone was in summer clothes enjoying it.  I was watching an old judge in the middle of his classes when suddenly the inevitable thunderstorm struck.   Everyone ran for cover - except this old judge.  He produced an enormous tatty fishing umbrella and announced - "judging will proceed."   Exhibitors stood there, summer dresses plastered to their bodies, perms ruined, water overflowing their shoes, hardly able to breathe for water.

As usual the dogs didn`t mind.

I once judged at an equestrian centre, outside in the field.  The rain hit halfway through and I said - "Inside".

But "inside" was a shocker.  The arena was covered in tanbark which was probably last changed in the last century and had been - how shall I put it? - well used by horses during that time.  The smell was amazing . and the texture suspiciously lumpy.    As I gazed at this and tried not to breathe, the terrier judge said "Aye, we tried to use in here last time, but the dogs widnae show - they were too keen to get at all the rats in the walls....." 

We went out.  We were soaked.  Haven`t been so wet since I used to crew on a GK for Clyde Week.   I can still remember the water cascading off the chihuahua puppies` noses, my notes turning to pulp, the dye running out of the steward`s anorak......

But we finished.  We are a resolute and reckless bunch, we of the dog fancy.

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