A deep depression had set in. Not with the weather as that was depressing enough but in the House on the Hill. The Dearest One was depressed, the Spins were depressed and even the parrot was fed up, but then he’s three parts mad anyway and I swear that bird has seen too much television and got delusions of grandeur. But the parrot was only fed up because he had ran out of fresh peas that he gets as a treat – the ones in the pod…….he loves them.

Watching him is a work of art

He picks up a pod with his foot, cracks open one end with his beak and proceeds from that open end to take out a pea and munch away on it. When he’s finished that one he returns to the pod held by his foot and carefully takes out the next one down. He never flinches, loses balance or concentration in maintaining a perfect balance of beak, foot and eating.

I’m like that with my wallet!!!

Or rather, I was like that with my wallet, and so now I’m depressed as well. The only one of us who was not depressed was the Viz?? Now the Viz, in my opinion has the equivalent of just simply being utterly strange in an eccentric kind of way. As you may have noted in previous notes he goes out to strut his stuff in the garden and around the woods and for reasons only known to him he starts digging. He can be out for hours and we never really worry about him. He never goes far away. When we call him in he of course ignores us, it’s not that he is deaf or has selective hearing but simply he is so focused on his digging he just blots the rest of the world out. So what’s he digging for?? God knows………..moles, badgers, rabbits, foxes, bones?? We don’t know. Never have……..and as I write this, he’s out there now……digging.

I was going to bury my wallet, but you know who will only dig it up and bring it back to me. With a big smirk on his face no doubt – The Viz

So what is the reason for all this depression I hear you ask??

• The Landy had a problem
• The fridge broke down and died
• The boy from France arrived from the South of England!!
• I had a vet bill

It affected the Spins of course because with the Landy out of play for a few days they knew their runnies were out, with the fridge broken the Spins had to eat all the liver cake that was in there and they knew it was the last until The Dearest One got a new fridge and then made more liver cake. Still, it was good while it lasted.

The ‘boy’ from France is of course Claude Barbet who as some of you know is the new addition to the Awelymor crowd.
And with Claude now on the daily register – this meant a vet bill

Of course the Dearest One worked hard at being upbeat?

“Well” she declared one morning over a cup of tea and toast “It’s not so bad is it”?

“We get the Landy back fully restored back to life, we can buy a new fridge freezer and I will utilize the space better and it’s more economical to have a fridge freezer and the vet bill won’t be too bad”.

“And Freya won’t start her training for some time yet”??

“What training”?? I asked innocently

“Gun dog training, she is perfect for it and you can take her out with you when she is fully qualified”

“Don’t you think we should discuss this as it will cost…….ME”

“We have just discussed it”

And that was that!!!

A few days later we got the Landy back. The Spins cheered up. The Dearest One cheered up, the sun came out and all was well again……Hoorah

A few days after that we discovered the Landy wasn’t quite what it was?? The Spins went back to being depressed. So did I and so did the Dearest One

Our Land Rover at 33 months old took a serious turn for the worse. Very serious in fact.

In the last 10 years this is the first time we had actually contemplated making this our last Land Rover. We bought the Landy from new and I make no secret of the fact that our biggest disappointment was the complete lack of support from Land Rover themselves. Although still under warranty they did little to nothing, and over a couple of months I got the Landy fixed and bought back from the dead.

Where we live requires a four wheel drive and this is very essential in the winter. We now contemplated life without a Land Rover. DEPRESSED we were………….

We sold it

The Land Rover has gone. And personally I have no regrets at all. None. Not over the Landy, we both regret having to give that up. But the none existence of support we never got from Land Rover themselves – and trust me, I tried.

But with me travelling so much I cannot allow the Dearest One to be without reliable transport, it is something that is absolutely crucial to ensure she has reliable transport.

And so over a period of weeks we reviewed all sorts of replacements. Neither of us knows anything about cars having never had one in many many years. But the hunt was on. Finally, the Dearest One having gone through this review of new suitable cars road tested a new Subaru Outback and loved it.

My favourite bits were the car check. Boot space rear seats up. Boot space rear seats down.

How many Spins could she get in? Would a dog cage fit? Could she get all the dog food in it?
Would the hay bales fit for the horse? And the list went on………

AFTER all that, the test drive became somewhat academic!! It worked, it was comfortable and had lots of toys that she has no idea how to use.

My wallet was extracted from my pocket and like the parrot I carefully opened it and pealed open the part containing a five pound note. The Dearest One doesn’t let me have more than that and so it was slightly embarrassing when I gave the nice man at Subaru the five pound note and asked for the change.

Depressingly, he explained to me that I might need a few more of them to pay for the car. The Dearest One smiled at me………then by her command I was packed off to the bank.

And if it can take 5 Spins in comfort then clearly that’s the one for us!!! “Priorities” She said to me…..just before I passed out when I got the invoice for it.

And that’s it really in a pea pod…….We are now the proud owners of a nice shiny new Subaru Outback.

Oh and by the way?? With the rear seats down you really can get 5 Spins in it. With the added bonus that with the sun roof open (Oh yes, a new toy, the sun roof) they can stick their heads out of it!! I can’t wait to get a picture of that……..

Then came the fridge freezer………..

And Claude I discovered, did not come free with a bottle of Moet & Chandon!!

And then the vets bill……….

Then the fuel bill for the day’s gun dog training for Freya…………

Everyone was so happy

I wasn’t!!!!!!!

The Dearest One had arranged to attend a sort of beginner’s gun dog training for the day somewhere far, far away in deepest England. As this was also involving her ‘Buddies’ then it was of course a night out in order advantage could be taken of the full days training ahead.

• The Subaru got its first full long range run out
• Freya has now started her gun dog training
• The Dearest One has a new interest
• The Banker has a new expense – oh joy of joys

Claude is next on the agenda for the same training but that’s closer to home because he’s a water dog. His training starts from the end of June and will be developed as he matures, although living with the Spins and us I doubt he will ever mature

You know what I’ve never fully understood ‘that’ heading? Water dog

Anyway here we go with:


I will set the scene!!!

The ISCGB (Italian Spinone Club of Great Britain) just for those struggling to work out the hieroglyphics!! Had organised a day of gun dog training out in the wilds of England somewhere?

So The Dearest One and her friends decided to enter their respective Spins for this day out for the intellectually challenged.

Freya was our choice for this because she is dependable and reliable (there is a gun to my head you should know – and I had to write that) and has shown an instinct for what it says on the tin – Gun Dog.

After a luxurious drive to Sharon’s emporium of dreams where the Dearest One spent the evening, the following morning saw them up and out early to get to the best parking space!! The friendly and eccentric and quite laid back but highly alert and exquisitely dressed car park attendant Mick Brind, duly huffed and puffed at things like “Stick that heap over there somewhere” and so the Subaru was neatly parked up and the heap went over there!!

Then followed the courteous hello’s to all the known friends there from the Spin world – including………drum roll………….Doctor Who??

The Doctor’s Tardis had landed near to the event and he was obviously there to train his Spin as well. The sign said so (Spinone Test) and by implication it followed suit that this was where the training was to be held – the Tardis is bigger than you think

Of course it goes without saying that when you have friends like the Dearest Ones then one thing is for certain…..not everything is taken seriously and much hilarity and some good laughs followed them all over and throughout the day.

Sharon, Sally, Annette and Bruce all added to the comedy club of Great Britain gun dog day. And there would be no escaping ‘those’ moments because Linda Maine and camera was there as well to capture those precious joyful events!!

Tracy came along to make up the capacity crowd which at one point numbered about 3…….

Then horror of horrors!!!

Wot no Spins……….

It was of course advertised as a gun dog day and so loads of gun dogs were there. The Spins were separated out away from the rest of the pack. Well, you would wouldn’t you?

Spins don’t do other dogs because you’re either a Spin or you’re just a dog……Except Claude of course…..!!! (That gun at head moment again)

Oh and by the way? Look at the dress code (SHARON) – note: Not a pink pair of wellies in site. Good grief, don’t you ever come to our house and bring that pink footwear with you. You will be shot and retrieved by your own Spin if you do!!

There was a special beginner’s class for the newcomers!! It was obvious where Freya now dragged the Dearest One. Freya works on instinct and the Dearest One only works with 8 million volts running through her and therefore it now became clear that the training was NOT for the dogs but for the dummies they had with them!!

It all started so well? No one knew what they were doing of course and this was clear when the training session was all about obedience on the lead. Freya now swopped places and put the Dearest One on the lead to train her in being obedient out in the field. I’ve never been able to do that in the past and will take tips from Freya when I see her again.

Of course it’s early days and there were some good moments and many more that weren’t. Patience and perseverance Freya……keep at it girl and the Dearest One will get it eventually, make sure she gets a sip of tea as a treat when she does well!! Works for me……..

Mick gave the instruction that all bitches must be on a lead….yea I know you’re ahead of me here so I don’t need to write the obvious as she was already on her lead!! (I think I just heard the safety catch released)

Of course with all that space around them the bitches, er……sorry the dogs, in this case Freya and Angel, were not keen on being held back so there was a slight resistance to bimbling about on a lead. BUT, one whistle for sit is the usual, the norm as it were. And with both dogs frustrated at not knowing what one whistle meant they were duly encouraged into position by a friendly hand – pushing down to ensure the sitting position was established. But it wasn’t……

Next test please

The first field test was quartering – left to right and right to left for retrieve or flush. However!!
and so the Dearest One charged off across the field to her right…….and stopped…..to poo

No, hang on a minute?

I’ve got my notes mixed up!! Let’s start this again

It wasn’t the Dearest One as she was allegedly training Freya…….ah……now this makes sense.

Quartering, sending the dog left and right to retrieve, flush and so on…….but Freya went out right and suddenly stopped……to poo…….

She then carried on out and when The Dearest One called her back – she came back!! After the Doctor had revived the Dearest One from her feinting fit when Freya turned and came back all seemed to be going well (Oh God) .

Then off to the left she was sent – that’s Freya of course. And this time did not come back as she cleared off to see what the others were doing. After The Dearest One lost her voice (Which I thought impossible) it was the whistle that finally got Freya moving again – but on her way back she stopped and poo’d again!! But did come back!!!! And so it was for this session, off to the right and poo……..then two steps later….pee.

Doctor Who said it was adrenalin………..I personally thought it was itsh, but what would I know!!

The Dummy Retrieve!!!

All in all Freya was making the most of it and generally got the idea, she did do a small retrieve. Oh rah rah went the crowd – I can imagine it was like a jigsaw puzzle in her head and over time all the pieces will come together….I hope!

You could say the same for the Dearest One as well, but this is where the ‘pack’ came in? With all that support from her friends and having to go through the same thing then I’m sure that working together things will be easier the next time out. No really, I’m having a serious moment!!

All break for lunch…..of course on a real shoot all the game also stop for lunch!! Good grief
Sharon (She of the PINK Wellies) had taken a picnic – how sweet!!

Picture the scene, English countryside, daisies and buttercups swaying in the breeze. Gentle bird song, fluffy white clouds and on the woollen blanket sat around a bottle of red wine and cucumber sandwiches were The Witches of Eastwick…….I’ve just ruined the moment haven’t I?
and of course the Spins. Well mannered and offering small slices of cake to each of their owners before devouring anything that was left.

Picnic over and its back to the training……..

Enter field left…….Shona.

Shona was judging the Kennel Club’s Good Citizen Scheme and I have to sadly report that all the owners failed miserably, whilst the dogs got their Bronze awards

Sit and stay being the biggest hurdle to overcome - Freya that is!

Ohh….how simply splendid

And they all passed?? HOW??

And next to the starting pistol?

This is the bit where the starting pistol is fired off and the dummy thrown away from the dog, who then is sent to pick it up and bring it back – if it can be bothered to that is – Freya!!

No awards for this one, and just as well

This test covers two things:

1. Is the dog gun shy. Not really a good idea having a gun shy gun dog. But they exist you know and

2. The dog should watch the dummy being thrown, watch where it lands and then sent straight out to retrieve it or not in Freya’s case. Between her where the dummy landed was a telegraph pole that was far more interesting to sniff round than some stupid dummy.

So that was it then. Loads of goodbyes and all that type of stuff and off they jolly well went.

And Doctor Who? We won’t know will we………

Apart from the odd country clothing the Spin owners wore (isn’t it funny how at Crufts I noted all the Spin owners in the ring hadn’t quite dressed for the occasion when all the other gun dog owners had – even if most of them didn’t know a gun from a packet of corn flakes) and now out on a country gun dog day it was the same again.

I have duly instructed the Dearest One to set the standard here……so watch out for best dressed country gun dog owner at a training day near you soon!!!

And that will be very soon as she is off to another one with Freya – and Claude (and he’s French and he knows how to dress)!!

Big Thank you Sharon for the B & B

Shona for the patience and perseverance in getting that lot to a bronze award

Mick the effervescent and bubbly car park attendant

A pair of pink boots

A load of dummies

Thanks to Doctor Who and the Tardis

I know The Dearest One had a great day out with loads of laughs……..

And from me, hope you all did and this set of notes brings back a few of those laughs

And YES…….I will of course be reporting on the next gun dog training day which I am led to believe involves a lake!!

Take care out there and watch out for the dummies…….

And so the Kennel Club are using Gromit as their logo?? Interesting isn’t it?

Well behaved, very intelligent, loyal and reliable and gets his owner out of all sorts of scrapes!!

Must be modeled on a Spin!!


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