Lord of the rings?? Oh no……..Now what’s he on about

Well, firstly this is not the sudden find of a new undiscovered Tolkien novel that I found in the
loft, nor is it the sequel to the Peter Jackson movies of the same name.

Until I saw Avatar, Lord of the rings rocked………

But, Avatar? WOW….simply staggering, amazing (I quite liked that film)!!!

And so was The Dearest One’s face when I turned up at the Birmingham NEC - unannounced!!!

Now before your imaginations disappear into the distance I have to say that when the Dearest Ones face was staggering and amazing, I do not mean it was blue and she had on a lead a huge Pterodactyl out of the Avatar movie. But shocked she was??

Why would she be so shocked to see me??

1. I do NOT do the shows
2. I did NOT tell her I was coming!!

“Surprise surprise – and yes all the way from the Middle East we have brought you (drum roll) – The Banker” “And welcome to the show……”

“Thank you dear and it’s so lovely to be here, blah blah blah”

I thought it would be a nice surprise!! And it was………..How romantic!!!!

But with two of our finest qualified!! (Well, alright then – Savanna and Freya) how could I not be there. I’ve done a champ show, a local show and now Crufts…….that qualifies me to comment!!

Because of where I was, the journey was a little daunting and I ended up at Birmingham Airport and in a Hotel for the night at the NEC. The cunning plan was to surprise The Dearest One as she entered into the hall. My fiendish plan worked……..

And here we are with our trusty dogs to show at this year’s event, Savanna and Freya.

I don’t do any of the shows as you all know for a number of reasons and for me Crufts is no different. Yes I know it’s the biggest and best and it’s got lots of stands, stalls for all sorts of tastes. I was informed there were approx 800 stands there.
I did a quick assessment and noted approx 700 of these were food related, and then concluded that all 700 stall owners had Spins!!

Oh but come on………….some of those food stalls were really quite over the top? There were all sorts of food stuffs and a lot of them had samples. I tried a couple and they were bloody awful so God knows what the dogs must have thought.

For those that were there did you notice the size and variety of stalls? Example: One rather large Global entity took up a space about the size of New York whereas Mrs. Jones Herbal Organic Pet Dog Protein Emporium was a desk and 2 chairs near the exit. “And don’t forget sonny, I bake the dog biscuits on Sundays”!!!!

On one of the BIG Global entity stalls that I took Freya to (they had samples) I got all the bull organic waste about how it would improve everything in Freya from breeding to coat and tail, her teeth, and represented great value for money. I asked what ‘great value for money’ means?

“How much is it a bag then” I duly enquired……….then nearly passed out……….

“No” I said “you misunderstand me” “I don’t want shares in the company, just a bag”

I grabbed a couple of small chips of this alleged super food and chewed away on it. Later, when I was on the plane flying back out, the lady in the seat next to me asked what moisturizer I was using on my skin as it looked so glossy.

I shouldn’t have been so cynical about that bag of dog food now……..I could be on to a fortune in ladies skin care products.

I drew the line when she tried to stroke me and called me her special boy.

I moved seats

Then there’s the collars and leads brigade, the dog clothing (refer to The Banker Does A Dog show) these still make me smile today.

The shampoo’s and cleansers (that was a laugh) I liked the scented one’s!!

I asked one guy on a stand if they did an eau de cologne for the male dogs. He was not very polite!!

There’s loads of stuff going on to entertain the crowds inclusive of the annual dancing sheep dog.

Oh I bet that’s a bundle of fun during the day trying to round up the sheep, imagine a stray one to bring in “Do you know the cha cha”? “We could do that back to the flock”……..”How about a slow waltz” or “You’ve got two left feet you know”!! Or what about “Do you know how to foxtrot”? “You bloody will in a minute if you don’t get back in there with the others”…….
Equally is the all important stuff of the informed and the being informed. So information on everything dog is there for us all to see and get involved with, I would be a disaster trying to sell or promote some of that stuff….

“Oh yes of course it does all that, and it works best on dogs of the size and shape you have”
“Yes this food will make it sing and dance and the biggest benefit is that the poo is easily biodegradable in the garden and gives your roses a unique smell”!!

“We were trialing this product for at least 3 weeks before we released it onto an unsuspecting public and preferably a public with a dog. It’s a global retrieve device where we implant a chip in the owner’s neck and the dog has a similar one in its collar, when the owner calls the dog it releases a food hormone in the dog collar and the dog immediately responds”?
“It finds the nearest food source and stays there”

“Yea but what about the owner”?

“We haven’t tested that yet but in our experiments we know they spend hours shouting and looking for their dogs”

“Some owners even got the dog back”

“There are panties for the lady dog”!!!

“WHAT”?

“They come in all shapes and sizes and are particularly effective when they are in season”

“We of course sell the panty liner to go with the panties”

“You’re joking”?

“No it’s not a joke at all”

“I’m on the TV right”? “It’s one of those shows isn’t it”?

“No sir – this is a serious product for serious and responsible owners”

“Well I’m irresponsible”

“But sir, have you got many bitches in the house”

“Well yes, one and 5 dogs” “No sorry, 5 and one wife”

“Well with 5 bitches sir you surely must consider our family pack of 6 panties and we’ll give you a free pack of liners”

“I’ve got a better idea”? “But that’s not broadcastable”…………!!!!!!!

Beep Beep beep Beeeeeeeeep!!!!!!

And you could seriously fatten your pet pooch with all the animal feed stands……don’t know about you, but if we had not been so vigilant it would have taken us about 3 hours to walk 50 metres.

In and around the show rings it’s packed full of little, medium and large owners and all with their proud dogs!!! Or should that be the other way round……..

I love the semi-detached pre-fabricated hutchy boxy things the dog(s) sit in before and after going into the ring…..we, or rather the Dearest One had two of them. So there!!!

We got Freya in one – once!! And it lasted all of 5 minutes…..the nice lady next to us had sandwiches

Savanna went in one and settled down – for another 5 minutes.

So I sat in it instead, not comfortable by any means but it was private enough and I could contemplate life. For 5 minutes!!!

Everyone else in that row had a Spin in a box….I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere. Except us!! Try as we might they were not interested. Hawkeye (Freya) sensed food all over the place and she was not to be denied. On the other hand Savanna was so laid back even I went all Hippie……..”Yea dude, peace and love”

Then there’s the preening pruning and combing………..

I think? That I have a right to comment on this but my disappointment with the dog shows is the way some of the breeds are prepared and shown. Now not everyone is going to agree with me here, so I will make it clear that this is my view.

For example: The English and Welsh Springer’s, The Cocker Spaniels are fantastic gun dogs. I have worked with dozens of them over the years. But at the shows I do not recognize them as the true working dog they are. I don’t understand and curiously no one – yes no one has been able to explain to me why they have to be shown the way they are. Why can’t they be shown the way they are naturally?

Another thing I noticed – is it me or is the Welsh Springer getting smaller??

Going around the rings I noticed some breeds looked slimmer or smaller than I remember them. I asked ‘a person’ about it and was told that indeed the breed standard and the judges preferred the smaller lighter ‘look’ – why?

I just don’t get it……..

I am not stupid to recognize a judge’s personal preference. I have the same. I like big dogs, but not big dogs being bred smaller to satisfy the ring trend of a big dog being bred smaller. Can someone please explain this to me?

I asked one or two people I met about it and sadly it seemed to be almost fashionable!! If the ring trend meant a smaller dog etc then so be it………the breeders then trended downsizing

So here we are at Crufts 2012…….Gun Dog Day

First impression? I was here at Crufts years ago with The Dearest One and that’s how we ended up with a Spin!!! (Big sigh, smaller wallet)

Second impression? Bloody hell – haven’t these people heard of austerity?? Why oh why is everything at the NEC so ridiculously expensive? The words, off and rip, sprang to mind, but not in that order.

Totally and utterly unacceptable in this current climate……..come the revolution brothers and sisters we shall return to the NEC!!!!

Note for NEC Management: Remember the film, ‘V’ for Vendetta………think on

I starved and dehydrated rather than pay overinflated prices for a sandwich (sandwich was what was advertised but not what was presented) whilst a burger needed a bank loan, and oh my God, did you see some of those of burgers – Freya refused one!!! And a cup of tea – a cup of hot water and a tea bag……and how much? Pathetic

I did what the dogs were doing, taking the free samples on the dog food stands – I regretted it later mind you, I kept going outside in the garden to poo……

Third impression? Gosh – lots of people and lots more dogs of the gun variety……so there are people with money?………come the revolution brothers and sisters…….or have I just done that bit.

But we don’t do much else do we?? I mean the money thing, our only outlet are the shows and all the fun and joy they bring us!!! So what the hell…….spend and be damned –I chose to be damned.

Spend - The Dearest One does it with ease……..!!!!!!

So the Banker goes on walkabout…….with a Spin!!!

I liked the human watching thing. Gun dog day is easily the most popular and The Dearest One informed me that this year it had its own day, and so it should as well!!!

Anyway, human watching. Freya and I went on walkabout and I had it in my head to do the rounds as best I could (There were sandwiches everywhere and Freya is lethal at close range to one) I went hoarse telling people not to give her a piece – 9 times out of 10 she just took a piece anyway. “Oh bless her”!!!! “Sorry about that, can I get you another one”………

In some of the rings I noted that the people showing were dressed quite smartly and with men in semi shooting gear and the ladies in nice trouser suits it gave the ring an air of quality, a sort of standard to be upheld.

Now this was not the case with all the breeds.

But me being me!! I thought to myself it would be great for the owners showing in the rings to dress appropriately to the breed they were showing.

Of course in the Spin ring they did!!!!!!

The English Springer Ring – Dress like you’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards

The Viszla Ring – dress like you’ve just been released from a straight jacket and the drugs have worn off

The Small Hounds Ring – dress like all your clothes are two sizes too small for you and take very short steps – Charlie Chaplain type of walk

The Pointers Ring – dress like you’re a city gent and stride out with an Avengers type of look, occasionally stopping and pointing at things

The Water Dogs Ring – stride purposefully like your coming out of the water fully dressed, sort of curly and bedraggled

The Bassett Hound Ring – work it out for yourself!!! (walk round like all your bits are dragging on the ground)!!

The Retrievers Ring – dress like its Sunday and you’re off to the in-laws for tea. If you win, take the Rosette from your owner and take it back to the judge!!

I found some show stands that had absolutely nothing to do with dogs?

Pet Insurance was one……Fully comp sir, third party fire and theft? – another rip off and the small print is venomous

The Royal Automobile Club (RAC)?? Dog broken down sir?? Can’t get the dog started in the morning or you want recovery? Just call our helpful customer service unit in the Asia region!!

All highly trained and are sure not to understand a word you’re saying……..

We aim to frustrate

I ignored most of these as I saw little point……Except One.

Advert Time

Help for Heroes & Hounds for Heroes

This is the one stand I found and spent a fair amount of money in. These people do some extraordinary work for all our servicemen and women returning from conflict areas that we are involved with. Whether you agree with us being there is academic, we are there and we should support our own out in the field of conflict.

Personally, I have a very close infinity to the armed forces and had no issues supporting this wonderful group of people.

If you saw the final Crufts showing on the TV on that Sunday finals night then you will have also seen the Springer and his handler just returned from Afghanistan where that dog had found 2 IEDs and saved countless lives. They won that event to an enormous cheer from the crowds.

The money they won, the handler splendidly donated to Hounds for Heroes.

The latter is similar to Guide Dogs for the Blind, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf and Dogs for the Disabled

To close I would ask you to think about contributing to this wonderful charity. It is genuine and is not drowning in admin costs that dilute the contributions. I checked!!

A Sincere Thank you


And so back to my walkabout………..

Knowledge was the thing here. I walked around when time allowed to gather knowledge, anything and everything was taken in. As noted in the above?

Panties and panty liners for lady dogs

Food that all did the same thing – stopped skin infections, glossy coat, healthy gums and teeth and god knows what else…..the terrifying thing was the price differences. How can they vary so much? Although seeing that ludicrous stand of that one global entity it was easier to reconcile their cost per bag!!

The people were great fun and asked me all sorts of sensible questions?!?!?!?!

Some of them even knew the breed that was dragging me to the next food stall…….amazing

But I did get to meet some of The Dearest One’s Friends!!! And by implication they got to meet me!!

I met Helen………..Now Helen is the brains behind our website. And Helen runs Mavaya.co.uk and yes it’s a bit of a gentle promo but she does do a terrific job for us and for me Helen it was a joy and a pleasure to meet you. The person behind the scenes for us………Thanks for the efforts Helen and a great job.

I then met Sharon……

Sharon told me she had not had any complaints!! And after seeing her photo’s on the ISCGB Website I can now see why she had never received any complaints.

I’m not sure what showed breast – er sorry best………those or the dogs!!!

I’m sure I saw a stand there Sharon that could muzzle those two……….I will send you the contact details.

I hope to see all 3 of you next year!!!

I met other nice people who were splendid and a delight to see again.

I also saw but dare not disturb an unsung hero of the Spin world?? Linda Mayne and her camera’s

I don’t often give praise and it is hard earned from me, but to Linda, Jan and Lesley I take my hat off to you – WE really appreciate the fantastic job you do at all the shows.

It is taken for granted………..except we don’t!!

Thank you ladies………your contribution is truly appreciated

I met some people from overseas, Scandinavia, the US of A and Europe (Germany and Italy)
They were great fun and I want to thank the American ladies I was talking to when Savanna was in the ring and won. Until they told me, I had no idea……..I was at the time trying desperately hard to stop Freya from invading another sandwich box whilst holding a sensible conversation.

And so to next year!!!!!!

OH YES………I will be back.

But it will be different next year I can assure you??

I’m not sure if The Dearest One will show next year or not, but I will be??

I am going to enter two events with the Spins next year?

First Event – Fly Ball.

I watched that with interest and decided there and then that we should enter a team of Spins to take on the rest of the world.

It won’t be easy training them of course….

Firstly, I noted they have the dogs in a sort of sit come missile launcher position for the start. Try that with a Spin and it’s likely to go down on all fours and fall asleep giving the competition a bit of a head start.

Secondly, if we used Mia she would charge off down the track, over the jumps and grab the ball having triggered the release device (if she hasn’t ploughed straight through it) then she would come straight back and proceed to refuse point blank to release the ball and in turn triggering the next of Spins to go. Freya……..

Freya would charge off down the track, over the jumps and hit the release device to grab the ball.
She would by then have noticed a small sandwich box being opened by an innocent lady in row 3. Chicken if I’m not mistaken. She would charge off in the direction of the innocent lady in row 3 and clear the first 2 rows landing plump in said ladies lap. The ball would then be exchanged for a sandwich.

We could let Kallie go next who would get half way down the track and decide it’s not for her after all and she would lie down and go to sleep against the second jump.

By the time we got the ‘team’ back together they would be switching off the lights to go home.

Me thinks some training may be needed!!!!!!

Second Event – The Dancing Spin

Now I’ve seen this a couple of times and of course it’s to be admired to get a dog to prance around like that. And this is my second event if – and I stress if – we don’t qualify for the fly ball finals. Although when we get through to those finals we will of course have to ensure that we don’t use one of our fly ball team to dance later on. They will need to rest.

Now for the dance routine I’m going to go for a sort of Torville and Dean thing but without the ice. That’s just going to complicate it………..

My chosen dog would of course be JJ…..?? My favourite of all our Spins, and me and JJ get on well together!! Alpha male and all that

The first issue is of course who is going to wear the tutu?? And who is going to be in the tight fitting suit. Now don’t laugh – this is serious stuff

I thought we could start with a simple through the legs routine to get warmed up, but I dropped this idea in practice last week after I discovered that his head ploughed head first – as it were - straight into my nether regions and I couldn’t continue for a while.

So I went for the lift the leg routine and he went underneath but in his enthusiasm he hit my other leg which WAS on the ground……….I also needed a moment to recover from this little mishap.
So I naturally turned to him going round both my legs in a circle whilst I walked slowly forward, this too was a bit of a disaster? After 10 meters he was so dizzy he fell over and took a little time to recover.

Still, it’s early days and I’m sure we’ll get there eventually and be ready for next year’s Crufts dancing dog thing.

As a pp to the above – JJ ripped up the tutu he was wearing. So now I’m going to have to shave my legs!!!!!!

Well that’s it for this year’s Crufts…….I enjoyed it and a big Thanks to all those who said Hello and made my trip more than worthwhile.

Great day out and good fun was had by all?? Or was it??

See ya soon…….

Take care and be safe. Unlike me……..



 

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