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.
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!!!!
that’s how it appears to me……….
where I am during this frenetic period you may ask?
of two places actually:
Away on business somewhere (my personal favourite) or
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)
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”
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!!!!
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
went into a little more detail on the above episode in
‘The Banker Does A Dog Show’ – anyway,
enough of the marketing………
day she who must be obeyed said to me “Oi you, I
would benefit so much more if I was to have a grooming
really dear” “And how will said grooming table
assist you in the beautification of the aforementioned
Show stopper of a Spinone”?
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.
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………..
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
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.
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
next morning I sauntered (limped) down to the house and
decided I would concede defeat and perhaps try another
idea. The door was locked!!!
and all forlorn!! I gave up the idea altogether and the
subject was never again mentioned.
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??
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
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
I burst into song
hills are alive with the sound of music…….”
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!!
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
scampered back to Cruella De Ville who was waiting for
me at the back door of the house.
Dear” “I panted” (But a human type of
pant rather the dog type panting)
“Oi….you with the rash”
“What the *&^%$#@ hell are you doing”?
what’s that awful racket you’re making, you’re
scaring the sheep”
your ridiculous Derrière here………..NOW”
listen and listen carefully” she said (as if I had
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
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
yes and then there was shampoo, conditioners, towels,
uniforms and and and……….
then – shall we say was the coup de grace??
will of course mean a minor change to the house”!!!!!
then she showed me THE PLAN itself – oh good grief.
This Boutique took up the entire conservatory area……the
then there was the ‘Budget’ for it plus a
then there was a sort of who does what to get it all ready
and within a timescale
the who does what consisted of me – and 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.
Oh I just did EVERYTHING else!!!!!
and one more little detail before I dismiss you”
no – that moment of dread hit me
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
“Yes minion” she said, finishing off her speech
“This is to be MY OWN BUSINESS”
so KAREN’S DOG GROOMING was born………I
could have cried!!!!!!!
then she just flew off………back into the
house!!! (Not INTO the house of course, that would have
hurt – but back inside the house)
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
next day which was equally as nice as the previous day
was now proclaimed as “A shopping day”
so armed with her shopping list we set off on another
adventure. Shopping with the wonderfulness is always an
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)
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!!!!!
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
from the occasional “more tea boy, and bring me
a biscuit” the night was peaceful.
now to the serious business, and yes – I’m
going to have a serious moment……honest I am.
next day was NOT peaceful.
gathered my tools around me and set too with all haste………
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.
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.
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
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……………
had bought new radio phones to ensure the phone could
be used from a base station in the new grooming parlour.
lot of aesthetics were added that really completed the
overall aspect of the business itself.
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.
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.
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.
took the dogs out one afternoon for a long walk in the
woods and I had a business meeting to attend on one of
anything go wrong??
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.
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.
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!!!!!
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.
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.
– 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.
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.
we set the opening date to be from 1st October 2011 although
the marketing plan actually runs through to May 2012.
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.
have you used it yet??
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
I can tell you that it all works and everyone is happy
– except the Spins and two English Springer’s.
can report the following incidents during the making of
the Canine Beautification Emporium:
Karen spent 5 days looking like a rainbow!!!!!!! She did
the painting and some of that actually got onto the area
I cut my finger – not serious but in a damned annoying
place, I had to cut another one to take my mind off the
Tea breaks were a shared responsibility. Karen made 90%
of them and I made up the rest
Tea and biscuits were a joke. The dogs had them
The local chip shop owner in Aberaeron became very wealthy
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
Its rear end looked so sore for days afterwards –
a glowing redness!!!!
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??
Freya we’ve no idea about being a brown roan –
just couldn’t tell any difference
The Springers and Viz knew better – they kept well
out of the way
One of the Spins tried to chew the handle part of my drill……it
wasn’t plugged in at the time, but was thereafter!!!!!
And the best bit?? – watching it all come together,
we did it
And the worst bit?? – one of the dogs pood in the
bath/shower – (after it was finished) gave us a
good laugh though
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.
locals know us………the tourists just stared
and talked quietly amongst themselves
there you have it. Done and dusted and ready to rock and
be back soon – take care out there
No animals were hurt during the making of this emporium