When we bought Mia that was that. We had our Spin and the Dearest one was happy (You may remember the Dearest one from “A week in the life of….)

Or so I thought………….!!!!!!

Now for my part it was over, as long as I fussed the Spin fed it and let it out for P and P then as far as I was concerned that’s all there was to it!! We went to a Dog show……..the Dearest one was hooked. “We have to get a SHOW DOG”. Oh no…….here we go again. The Banker felt overdraft facilities were now required……..

Now I like the Spinone, I like its temperament, I like its attitude and I like its size. I am not a fan of ‘little’ dogs. Now here I have to add that I am a big fan of gun dogs, and some are small – I know that, and in my ‘history’ I’ve been privileged to work with many gun dogs. So the Spin was a welcome addition to my own preferences. Nice Banker………

But it was when I took them for a walk into the village or the town that I got people stopping me and asking things like “oh how lovely, what is it”? I would answer dryly “A dog”!! Said person would look at me and then say “yes I know that, but what breed is it”? “An Italian Spinone” I would reply. “Oh I’ve never heard of them” “what do you do with it”? “Er……..well I walk it, run it and feed it. Once fed I then follow it round the field and scoop up its used food” – they would look at me with a strange expression and then ask “yes, that’s very good but what sort of dog is it”? Now on this point I was stuck…..because you can sense what’s coming. If I say gun dog or HPR then you just know that today is not your lucky day and you’re speaking to a ban the hunt, ban guns, ban the ban and ban everything they don’t understand…….Que Cera. So I said it’s a show dog. It’s a working dog, but we show her. Safe ground here……….(ish) but I’ve yet to come across a ‘Ban the shows’ – (Except the BBC - and of course it’s probably an RSPCA agenda item)

So we bought Spin number two and The Dearest one would show her (Sigh)

It’s at this point I made the decision to go to a couple of shows, make a few observations and then decide what part I would play. I went to a couple of shows – and decided, the shows were not going to be my ideal way to spend a day out with the dogs. However, The Dearest one was hooked and we agreed that I would support our growing family of Spins and she would show and I would sponsor the efforts. Hence, The Banker was born!!

And that is how it has been ever since……..after Spin 2 - JJ, came Spin 3 – Kallie, and then another and another and another – you get the picture.

This little piece is not about success or failure. Win or lose is academic, I have had a very successful sporting past and I’m very competitive, but more than that I loved participating. Being in it individually or with the team was for me the greater achievement. Winning was a bonus, losing meant working on what did work or didn’t. Fixing it and off again for another go.

So here we go…….The Banker does a Dog Show

Preparation – imagine the scene – Karen in Green surgical uniform, face mask, rubber gloves and bags over the shoes. Me, blue surgical uniform, face mask, rubber gloves and bags over the shoes. (and NO, I was not in a nurses uniform)

She wouldn’t let me wear it!!

In this Clinical environment there is a calming quiet……..lights blazing down onto the patient (well not exactly? More like impatient)

Karen: “Right - now hold her still” Me: “Yes Doctor, sorry, Yes Dear” Thinks? ‘What……….no anesthetic’?

Karen: “Scissors”

Me: “Yes Dear”

Karen: “Scrapey brushy thing”

Me: Passing over what looks like a medieval torture instrument “Yes Dear”

Karen: “Clippers”

Me: “Yes Dear”

Karen: “Plug them in and switch on you idiot”

Me: “Oh – do they need electricity then Dear, I haven’t budgeted for electricity”

Karen: “Well how else do you think they work”? “Good grief I can’t work with such incompetence” “I’m surrounded by fools” – (I swear there was a Mad Scientist laugh at this point)

I am holding onto a non anesthetized 40kg Dog who is having about as much fun as a one legged man at an arse kicking party.

Karen meanwhile is clipping and scissoring the Dog into submission – then suddenly…………

“Get me a cup of tea” “WHAT”? I say, now utterly confused as to what to do with the 40kgs of dog I wrestled with over the past few minutes.

“Let her go for a minute, we’ll take a break” “But Dearest One” I say……”we’ll have to throw out these surgical gowns and scrub down again and start from scratch ” “Can’t the tea wait”?

Karen is Red Faced……..Karen is now looking at me with clippers in hand in a most threatening manner. The kettle boiled and tea now acting on Karen to calm her down. Peace be upon you…………

I went outside with the dog………it’s safer

Karen: “I will need you to hold her again and I will brush her out. Then hand strip this bit, then clip this, cut that and tidy this up and do around her mouth and then the tail, then the feet then………”

Me interrupting: “But Dearest one, I’m flying out in three days”!!!

Karen: “Oh stop moaning it will only take a couple of hours”

Me again sometime later: “Dearest One, its 1.30 in the morning and we’ve been on this since 9 O’clock this morning”“Can I go to bed now I’m tired”?

Karen: “No stamina, you want me to show this Dog or what”??

Me: “Er…….well I thought you were showing the dog”?

Karen: “And you don’t think all the others are just taking theirs as they are”? “Oh no – they are all doing what I’m doing”

Me: “But I’m hot in this uniform and tired” “and you’ve used all the tea bags”

The next morning THE DOG was finally ready. Now to me, the bloody thing looked exactly like it did the day before. But what the hell do I know?

The Dearest one was pleased though…..occasional comment about this could look better or that could, should be shorter or that looks good!!!

Well I didn’t look good, I didn’t feel good nor was I in show mood and I was tired. Holding that 40kg lump, making 283 cups of tea, passing surgical instruments all day and night, and that uniform was hot. I was worn out AND it was 6 O’clock in the morning. We woke the Cockerel up!!! I went and Cockle doodle dood into the henhouse!!

Oh no – I had hopelessly underestimated the next bit?

Loading the Land Rover!!!! Oh what a nightmare that was. Normally it’s simple, get the dogs in the car, throw in a water bowl (empty) and 28 throwable toys, 5 gallon water container (full) and a tube of ‘Deep Heat’ for my throwing arm…….then away we go. Not this time……line the floor with a soft and comfortable sleeping bag. Then the towels, Karen’s 18 Gallon tea urn, the box of surgical instruments (brush, scissors, scrapey brushy thing, an odd shaped thing, an instrument that terrified me, and a thing for something I didn’t understand)

And while I’m on the subject…….I did NOT budget for the cost of those instruments!!! (First the Electricity, now this) WOW………OUCH……..”HOW MUCH” – “And just exactly what does it do for 90 quid”? “You could get a pair from B & Q for a fiver…….”

Karen: “But these are special”!!!! Me “SPECIAL – They’re not even gold plated with 21 carat diamond studs”

Karen: “that’s typical of YOU, you just don’t understand do you”? Me: “Well actually Dear…….I don’t”

With the Landy loaded it was just me to put in my coat and camera…..(that’s all I was allowed to take) plus the fact there was no room for anything else!!! I was dreading this………

Sat Nav on…….co-ordinates keyed in. And and, and, just you remember? It’s ‘her’ Landy…….I wasn’t allowed to drive!!!!!

For the next 3 hours I listened to that bloody Sat Nav babbling away – At the next junction turn left………no not this left you idiot, the next one.

You have gone off course, at the next junction…….blah blah blah

And Karen’s taste in music………oh my God……..it would make a Saint swear. Well me anyway………

We arrive. Sat Nav – “You have arrived at your destination” I paid all that money for some ridiculous comment stating the obvious.

Karen: “OH look there’s someone with her Dog, Oooh that’s so and so with Whoopy Doo. Lovely dog that one”?? Me: “Er……..it looks the same as ours”? (Fatal Error – Stupid Banker)

Karen: “THAT DOG has won this that and the other and is the Mother of Iligitime non carborundum………” “WHAT”????…..

My job is to unload the car and act as a general labourer……..and take some photo’s.

Karen meets friends……….The Banker hasn’t any!! (Poor Banker)

Karen drinks Tea from her urn……..The Banker hasn’t a mug – I had to buy my tea. “It’s my urn and you can’t have any”

I buy a burger, I’m malnourished. I buy Karen a bacon sandwich………..then I buy her another one as the dog had the first one

I take few a pictures but I’ve no idea why. Karen prepares dog. I’m given permission to go on walkabout; I view the stalls all around the rings. This is a source of amusement for my fertile imagination. The things you can buy for a dog is in my view breathtaking. I go to a stall selling surgical instruments!! Good grief they really are expensive aren’t they? I log the costs for budgetary purposes later. I know what’s coming?

“And we need this for that, then we need this because Delirious has got one and I want one, ooh and we need this because Petal said it was useful, oh my God and we definitely need two of these for doing whatever there for”?..............and so it went on…….Anyway, I worked out a decent mortgage deal with the trader………..

I looked around for another stall to visit……..then I spotted it…………”Dog Coats”……..I was mortified

Clearly this was a sick joke or someone had some real nerve. Dog Coats, you mean to tell me that somewhere they had skinned a dog and then had the bloody cheek to try and sell them. (Those poor dogs must have been left so cold)

I looked around for an RSPCA inspector……but that was a waste of time? They were all in their multi million pound luxury Head Office or they were challenging a member of the public who was walking their dogs too far in front of them, children were close by and ‘THAT” owner and her dogs on lead, were clearly a threat to National Security. ‘Those dog owners represent a clear and present danger to……..to er……..urm…something” “Bring me the head of ban the ban and ban everything”…….

Sorry…minor digression……..

I could see the point to some extent of selling dog coats, a Labrador walking past might think it would look good in a Red Setter coat (mmm Red’s the new black) or a Mexican Chewawa looks up (that’s all they can do) and thinks, ‘mmmm I like that Poodle coat’. A milder more timid dog might want the Bull Terrier coat……….you know what I mean.

Imagine my disappointment then, when walking up to this stall to discover that you can buy man made coats of all sizes and descriptions for your dog. OK……..they didn’t just sell coats did they…..they sold boots as well, hats and other curious articles purely for the dog in your life.

Want a nice tuxedo 2 piece for Lord Ponsenbury’s prize winning British Bulldog? No problem.

Maybe a nice pink negligee for the Page 3 dog………or that gorgeous Penthouse Pet……..with the matching camisole outfit…..(Poodle)

What about a studded leather jacket for the tough hard and strong biker dog……..(Jack Russell) the dog not the biker………

The T-shirt wearing Pit bull with its owner walking down the road in matching T-shirt…….and it’s -5 degrees and both are hard cases!!! With him more scared of his own dog!!! (Note: This dog also has to have the matching Doc Marten Boots)

Then there’s the ‘normal dog coats’ – you know the one’s, all the colours of course and all sizes. I also saw the ‘We print your name on Dog Coats” – I was particularly disgusted at that…….I thought that was cruel to the dog. I suppose it’s like a human tattoo I guess. I travel quite a bit so I’m away from home, but I didn’t think I had been away that long. I wondered at that point what ever happened to the microchip, I thought that was very effective. Certainly popular enough and freely available.

I thought I might suggest the name printing thing to Karen later……..!!!

I was walking away from the ‘Dog coats’ stall to amuse myself again on another stall when out of the corner of my eye I spotted it………this was class. This was my sense of humour……this was as ridiculous as it gets. AND this is true……….

There at the side of me walking past was a ‘Country Gent’ with his trusty gun dog. Him in Barbour, flat tweed cap, nice brogues, long woollen socks to knees where the breeches took over. Smart tweed jacket under the Barbour. I like class………However, walking by his side was his trusty gun dog. An English Springer…………….wearing a Dog Barbour coat (with hood) and small green hunter type wellies.

My jaw dropped, throat dried out, I was frozen to the spot………I was absolutely speechless (probably just as well)

If that dog had had a gun case strapped over his back with a belt of mini shotgun cartridges I would have been so impressed. He didn’t, and so I was not impressed at all. I decided there and then that I would sell my guns, give my Barbour away and join the anti hunt lobby. It’s no wonder is it they banned hunting if that’s what the nation saw of us marching through London………..

“Oh quick, ban hunting and guns and ban the ban on banning things” “those queer folk in the country look at them……….they’re all odd”.

You know, I wanted to resurrect Monty Python at that moment………there had to be a Python sketch in that.

Dog beds and rugs, toys galore (I avoided that one, as even getting near that stall made my arm ache) food bowls, collars and leads…….Oh God I’m bored now……….(and nothing was going to surpass the Country Springer with its Eccentric owner)

AND…….Then OUR Dog was to show in the ring……….Oh I can’t wait. Somewhere the excitement mounted? I went over to the ring and stood in the corner taking photo’s…………then Disaster!!!

OUR show dog spotted me and whilst being so elegantly shown and running diagonally across the ring, instead of turning right (At the sight of your owner, take the next right) (Doggy Sat Nav) the bloody dog carried straight on towards me……..The Dog was fine. I went white with fear. Karen (The Dearest One was NOT amused)!!! Not in the slightest………See The Banker run………run Banker, run……

A while later when I was walking home from the show……….

It wasn’t quite the day Karen had wanted. WE had not spent the previous 16 odd hours preparing the dog, filling the Landy and driving for 3+ hours for ME to ruin EVERYTHING. (Unquote)

How the hell was I to know that the dog would keep on towards me? Did I smell of fresh meat or another bacon sandwich? Of course not, was I the Alpha male attracting the bitch…….no not that either, perhaps she was just pleased to see me!! Er……no.

It might have been she did not want her photo taken………

In the end it was of course my fault. “you can stand anywhere round the ring and take a few photo’s” and so I did……..but did I hear, “BUT Don’t stand in the corners”…………..”NO” I didn’t hear such words uttered. But who cares……..my fault it was.

And my Stupid question of the day………”Where were you placed Dear”??

A few days later I had to have the events program guide surgically removed as I could not dislodge it through natural means……..(Sore Banker)



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