The Dearest One spends hours laboring over the preparation of one of our dogs for the show ring. The dog is on the floor and at times the Dearest One is on the ceiling or, is lying next to the Spin in agony because her back has given up supporting her.

She prepares a week or so in advance of the show, then a few days before the show, then a day before the show and finally – at the show!!!!

Well, that’s how it appears to me……….

And where I am during this frenetic period you may ask?

One of two places actually:

1. Away on business somewhere (my personal favourite) or

2. In the kitchen – I am chief (a temporary promotion during this time) tea maker and toast and sandwich provider (the dog’s have ate the biscuits so we don’t have them anymore)

But what makes me smile away to myself is the fact that every so often I will be asked, “What do you think now – doesn’t she look better”? “Oh yes, what a difference” “Good lord – really, quite an amazing transformation”

In reality the dog looks (to me) like it did before but with an unfinished look…….although thinking about that for a moment, they look like that anyway!!!!

Sometimes!!! I am called in to help…effectively to wrestle the thing to the floor whilst all 40kgs of it fights back and then I’m the one wrestled to the floor and 3 seconds later I’ve surrendered.
By now the Dearest One has had enough of my help and I’m confined to the kitchen – again

I went into a little more detail on the above episode in ‘The Banker Does A Dog Show’ – anyway, enough of the marketing………

One day she who must be obeyed said to me “Oi you, I would benefit so much more if I was to have a grooming table”

“Oh really dear” “And how will said grooming table assist you in the beautification of the aforementioned Show stopper of a Spinone”?

“Oh well that’s easy” she said, “Blah blah blah blah blah blah blah……” and on and on she waffled for days about this bloody table.

She finally stopped when about 3 days later I had cleared the dining room table, put a bath mat on it and proclaimed myself to be the saviour of the dog grooming world and saved a small fortune in the process. There was even a socket nearby that she could plug her clippers into and then the vacuum!!!! God, I was so smug………..

That night whilst trying to get comfortable on the straw in the stables I reflected on the outcome of blind folding the Dearest One and then unveiling my grooming table to her.

I reflected carefully and concluded that this might not have been my smartest move. I could have been more subtle I suppose, had a bucket of tea waiting there, a bottle of wine even (Italian of course) but even then I don’t think it would have worked.

And those dimples on bath mats?? Good Lord………made me look like I had a terminal rash that covered 65% of my body. I think now that’s why the straw felt so uncomfortable.

The next morning I sauntered (limped) down to the house and decided I would concede defeat and perhaps try another idea. The door was locked!!!

Defeated and all forlorn!! I gave up the idea altogether and the subject was never again mentioned.

Which of course is absolute rubbish?? Over the next few days she of the greatness and light of my life spent many long hours locked away in her boudoir. And where was I??

It was a bright and glorious morning, high up in the heavens fluffy clouds floated by in the breeze, the bird song was to be heard across the valley, the flowers looked so colourful and swayed gently, and butterflies were stretching their wings as they warmed to the gently growing summer sun………….all was so peaceful and beautiful.

I was so moved I ran up the field away from the house and leaped across the buttercups and daisies and with such emotion I stretched out my arms and looking towards the sky above...........
I burst into song

“The hills are alive with the sound of music…….”

It was a moving experience as you can imagine………I was then quite rudely interrupted early into my repertoire when I became aware of a distant YELLING!!

Yes, I was out with the dogs when she emerged, dressed in a long flowing all black gown, a rather pointed cone shaped hat, carrying in one hand lots of paper and in the other what looked like a twig broom of some kind. She came to the edge of the back door and summoned her audience, there was an eerie shriek in her laughter, it unnerved me a little!!!

I scampered back to Cruella De Ville who was waiting for me at the back door of the house.

“Yes Dear” “I panted” (But a human type of pant rather the dog type panting)

“Boy” “Oi….you with the rash”
“What the *&^%$#@ hell are you doing”?

“And what’s that awful racket you’re making, you’re scaring the sheep”

“Get your ridiculous Derrière here………..NOW”

“Now listen and listen carefully” she said (as if I had a choice)

“I have created everything I need for a complete dog grooming parlour, on paper anyway, and with a list of items that would be needed to create MY fully equipped Canine Beautification Boutique”!!!

She went on further…….chirping away about all sorts of things and showing me drawings and pictures and sketches of a Grooming table, shower area, drying area with dryers and blowers, clippers, scissors, combs and brushes, things that looked like surgical instruments, other things I didn’t understand and much, much more.

Oh yes and then there was shampoo, conditioners, towels, uniforms and and and……….

And then – shall we say was the coup de grace??

“This will of course mean a minor change to the house”!!!!!

AND then she showed me THE PLAN itself – oh good grief. This Boutique took up the entire conservatory area……the lot. Everything.

AND then there was the ‘Budget’ for it plus a contingency

AND then there was a sort of who does what to get it all ready and within a timescale

AND the who does what consisted of me – and Ralph??

Ralph – who’s Ralph – ah yes. Ralph. He lives down the road in the village and retired some years ago and is an absolute whizz at plumbing and lectrics. Ralph concluded his masterpiece of both.

ME??? Oh I just did EVERYTHING else!!!!!

“Oh and one more little detail before I dismiss you” she said

Oh no – that moment of dread hit me

“You are to pile loads of YOUR money into my bank account to pay for EVERYTHING I can’t think of and more if required in case I hadn’t thought of it in the first place”!!!

“What”???
“Yes minion” she said, finishing off her speech “This is to be MY OWN BUSINESS”

And so KAREN’S DOG GROOMING was born………I could have cried!!!!!!!

And then she just flew off………back into the house!!! (Not INTO the house of course, that would have hurt – but back inside the house)

I crumpled down onto the ground and just lay there with the dogs for a while. I went through all that rhetoric and on such a beautiful day as well. And she ruined my song…..

The next day which was equally as nice as the previous day was now proclaimed as “A shopping day”

And so armed with her shopping list we set off on another adventure. Shopping with the wonderfulness is always an adventure.

We went to builders merchants, carpet shops, DIY shops, electrical shops, a food supermarket, and a cake shop where in all her glory and magnificence she bought me a steak and kidney pie and a cake (of my choice I might add)

The Land Rover was of course full to overflowing with every conceivable item you can think of to construct not just a dog grooming parlour but to ‘adjust’ the design of the house as well!!!!!

That night whilst I was sat in the front room watching the adverts on the telly, drinking my tea and hiding the biscuits from the dogs the Dearest One was ‘surfing the net’ (Thought I would use a modern term there to show we’re quite modern)

Apart from the occasional “more tea boy, and bring me a biscuit” the night was peaceful.

And now to the serious business, and yes – I’m going to have a serious moment……honest I am.

The next day was NOT peaceful.

I gathered my tools around me and set too with all haste………

We cleared the working area, cleaned everything down so that we could start with the basics.
There were two areas to be converted, the grooming area and the shower bath area.

I chiseled away the flooring area for the new shower/bath, removed electrical points, and made good parts of the room that required a loving touch. I took down old shelves and converted a corner cupboard unit into a towel and shampoo storage unit.

The old flooring was removed from the grooming room and a gate erected to separate the two units. I laid down new flooring, new blinds put up at the windows, I renewed carpentry detail bits and pieces and wired in new lighting.
Meanwhile the Dearest One was repainting the beams and also the detail areas I had just rebuilt from the carpentry work. New varnish was applied and she also made use of an older table come bench that we used when she was grooming her horses.

When she finished it looked like new and saved a lot of time and hassle in addressing an issue that had previously bothered me? She needed an admin point. And this was it……………

We had bought new radio phones to ensure the phone could be used from a base station in the new grooming parlour.

A lot of aesthetics were added that really completed the overall aspect of the business itself.

Whilst all this was going on I had built a bath / shower area and prepared the ground for Ralph to come in and complete his plumbing and lectrics. The latter was important because Karen needed electrical points to be put in strategically located to ensure ease of use and the flexibility to move around. I know my limits and all the basics I can do with ease, but core Electrics from the main fuse board along with some complex plumbing and I hand over to the expert. Safest way to go as well. In the long term it is also more cost efficient and from Ralph’s instructions to me I had the areas prepared and ready for him anyway.

I think it worth mentioning that every morning I prepared a list of ‘to do’s’ – some maybe not completed from the previous day, some items to finish off and of course new items in line with the plan. This meant that neither of us went and diversified and we stuck to the plan.

Although we had a plan and working to a timescale this did not mean we didn’t take time off, in fact we did and these breaks were also built in to our overall plan.

We took the dogs out one afternoon for a long walk in the woods and I had a business meeting to attend on one of the days.

Did anything go wrong??

Yes.

We underestimated one tin of paint and one tin of varnish. We did not allow enough for a couple of the aesthetics that we later included into the finished rooms.

Some of the carpentry rebuilds took longer than I anticipated and the building of the bath / shower area also took longer due to it being tiled as well.

We did not allow for Savanna taking up residence in the half built bath either and she took that as her own sleeping area. It took me ages one morning to get her out so I could continue with my work!! I got her out – she just went back in!!!!!

Overall, we did allow a contingency for the costing of the project and we used this and a little more beyond as well. But overall it was damned close.

We finished a day later than anticipated with a But?? When it was finished the day late, it really was finished. No bits left and no adjustments either.

Karen – fitted everything else in around her agreed duties and I was left to concentrate on the core activities. As a team we were well organized and we benefitted from the planning that went into this project. Ralph was as usual a star…….he’s done work for us before and knows his stuff.

Once completed which I felt was most important element, we then set about marketing.
Again we developed a plan to work to and as you’re reading this that plan is work in progress and to date the Dearest One has been working very hard on it.

Officially, we set the opening date to be from 1st October 2011 although the marketing plan actually runs through to May 2012.

Karen has been on a training course for grooming to top up her skills from a while ago when she was working at a well renowned and very busy grooming parlour from her sabbatical days. This establishment had a fabulous reputation with superb facilities and a top class kennels adjacent to the parlour. The skills learned here have been an absolute bonus to the top up training she has just gone through to ensure all breeds are covered and of course she has all the right equipment in place.

So have you used it yet??

Yes.

And much to the disgust of Kallie and Freya I am pleased to say that the bath/shower has been used in full, as with the grooming room itself and its ‘tools for the job’.

JJ’s next!!!!

And I can tell you that it all works and everyone is happy – except the Spins and two English Springer’s.

Incident reporting??

I can report the following incidents during the making of the Canine Beautification Emporium:

1. Karen spent 5 days looking like a rainbow!!!!!!! She did the painting and some of that actually got onto the area being decorated.

2. I cut my finger – not serious but in a damned annoying place, I had to cut another one to take my mind off the first cut!!

3. Tea breaks were a shared responsibility. Karen made 90% of them and I made up the rest

4. Tea and biscuits were a joke. The dogs had them

5. The local chip shop owner in Aberaeron became very wealthy

6. Five out of the seven Spins had some extra colour added to their coats. My personal favourite was when one of them reversed into the wall that had just been painted red!!
Its rear end looked so sore for days afterwards – a glowing redness!!!!

7. Most of the Spins looked Dalmatian like for a while when Karen had dripped the black paint she was using for the beams onto them – Cruella De Ville ring a bell now??

8. Freya we’ve no idea about being a brown roan – just couldn’t tell any difference

9. The Springers and Viz knew better – they kept well out of the way

10. One of the Spins tried to chew the handle part of my drill……it wasn’t plugged in at the time, but was thereafter!!!!! (just kidding)

11. And the best bit?? – watching it all come together, we did it

12. And the worst bit?? – one of the dogs pood in the bath/shower – (after it was finished) gave us a good laugh though

And to celebrate the completion, we had a nice meal out at our local finery. We were still covered in paint, mortar, tile grout, had plasters on cuts and generally looked like DIY disasters.

The locals know us………the tourists just stared and talked quietly amongst themselves

So there you have it. Done and dusted and ready to rock and roll…………..

I’ll be back soon – take care out there

 

Note: No animals were hurt during the making of this emporium

 

 


 

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