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Sunday, 30 November 2008

Another weekend over.

Its been a busy week and a good but tiring weekend. Shooting was great but freezing yesterday! Rog Fern & Luke came and its the 1st time Rog has seen Olli work this season. He was a star all day, worked well and improving his scent work all the time so I was really pleased and Rog was suitably impressed and full of praise for my training, which was so nice to hear. On the last drive we were on top of a large hill, with the wind whistling around our ears, all going blue! when the gun in front of us shot a pigeon. It was the 1st time I had had the opportunity to see if Olli would pick up a pigeon, as a lot of dogs will only pick pheasants. He watched it drop, ran over, hesitated for just a second looking surprised at the smaller bird, but then gently picked it up and brought it straight back. Fantastic!!!!! I was so thrilled and he has proved that he really is an amazing gun dog. Pigeon breast for me for tea tonight!

When we got home from the shoot it was all hands to the pumps. Our neighbour was out at a wedding so we had her 7 dogs to feed and walk, horses to check, and then blitz our house and I had food to cook for 11. Beef in red wine, Chicken madras and Moroccan lamb with 22 jacket potatoes was ready on the table for our friends at 8 and it all went down very well! We played charades, sung karaoke and drunk a few too many beers but had a great night, eventually going to bed at 2am. Great end to a great day and needless to say Rog & I have been very lazy today. The 1st time for months we have not had a competition to go to or equipment to deliver. Made the most of a day off. Fern bless her has been working today at the pub/restaurant where she is a waitress. She'll sleep well tonight!
Oh well nearly Christmas!!!!!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Monday. :-(

Had a busy and frustrating weekend. Shooting Saturday and what a disaster! Too many guns had their dogs with them, and not particularly well behaved or on leads, so every bird that came down was mobbed by 2 or more dogs. It's not how it should be on a proper shoot and by the end of the second drive I was ready to go home.

The reason I go is to work my dogs, picking up pheasants in a controlled and efficient way, and Olli has proved to be superb. When other dogs are stealing birds that should be Olli's and he is well behaved enough to leave them when I tell him, its very soul destroying. Olli ended the day with 5 and Becki had 1.

To take the positives out of the day, Becki found her bird after the drive had finished and other dogs had looked but failed, and 1 of Olli's retrieves was probably his best yet as he saw the bird get hit, watched it sail over and come down somewhere in the woods about 30 yards from where we were stood, and went and found it alone. Used his skill and his nose properly, and came back 2 minutes later with the bird to my feet. That's progress!

Sunday we delivered another finished dog walk all the way down to Truro, in the most horrendous gale force winds, and hail storms. Bodmin Moor is a very bleak place on days like that!! However, we arrived eventually to a very nice couple with 4 gorgeous dogs and they were pleased with their purchase. So much so they ordered a set of weaves!! Rewarding day and makes it all worthwhile.

Training tonight with Lily so off to get thermals on! Roll on summer!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

1 more day at work!

Its Wednesday and that means only one more day at work for me. Fern & I have nearly finished the dog walk today, which has to be delivered Sunday, so I will top coat that on Friday. Cooking Mexican for tea as we have friends coming round to watch the England Germany match tonight. I don't expect we'll have a full team out but its tradition to meet up at one or others houses for the game, so looking forward to that.

Nothing much to report on the dogs, apart from I have been teaching Lily some new behaviours, and Olli is weaving upright poles today!!!! Lily has learnt to take a bow, in only 2 days, and she loves learning new things. It will also help with her contacts in agility as she uses the nose touch method. Olli is just so funny to train weaves. He has actually been a lot quicker to catch on than Lily, which surprised me. He has a totally different idea to training. He gets something right and it just clicks. He seems to log it in his brain as if to say, "right I get the idea, so I'll just do it now!"

Stan the terrier, who hardly ever gets a mention on here, has been shopping with Fern in her new car tonight. He loves going out for rides, but not too impressed with the near emergency stop at some roadworks, which rudely interrupted his gazing out the back window, and promptly and unceremoniously deposited him on the floor behind the drivers seat!!! Bless him!!!

Oh well back to cooking now. Will report after Saturdays shooting.

Monday, 17 November 2008

UKA Cornwall

What a weekend we've had!! Dragged myself out of bed at 5am Sunday morning to get off to the last agility competition of the year for me. Got there at 8am and met up with our friends, walked courses, got a cuppa and started to wake up. Lily was so high as a kite in her 1st round, Agility, that she blew it completely!! Forgetting what a see saw was, running straight past the weaves and into a tunnel, I just laughed and put it down to experience. Olli had a go but he has not been training since September, and really not quite ready for competition, but it was a small friendly show and i thought he'd enjoy it.

After lunch we had the jumping round, and I could not believe how well Lily ran the course. Fast & accurate with only maybe a small mistake which wasted half a second, but she went clear and was placed 3rd!!!!!

Olli was keen to go when his turn arrived, and we all joked as to what a laugh it would be getting him round the course, as it was quite tricky and he's still such a beginner. You cannot imagine how I was feeling when half way round the course we were still clear. The final few jumps and a set of weaves, and I thought my legs were going to give way. He did it!!!! He actually went clear, and was 5th overall!!!!!!! Only his second time in a ring, not trained for 2 months and he is a gun dog. For all you people who mocked me and told me a gun dog would never do agility too, in the words of some one famous...............up yours!!!!!!!!

19 pheasants he picked up on Saturday, and a gorgeous clear round rosette he picked up on Sunday. Ha Ha Ha Ha!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

What a day!!!!!

WoW!!!!! I don't normally write my blog (or "Diary" as its become) on a Saturday, but I am so amazed and thrilled with Olli I had to write it now.

Today was a different days shooting, as we had a guest team of 9 guns shooting. A nice group of people turned up this morning, farmers businessmen and a lady gun too, none of which have shot on our ground before, so they were looking forward to a day of unknown quantity. I was slightly nervous about how well Olli would do in front of this group, because I wanted to impress them or at least not be embarrassed! We set off to the 1st drive and Olli was fit to burst with excitement! He was trying to walk to heel, but kept running ahead then running back as if to say "come on mum!!!" The drive was awful. Hardly a bird came out the cover, and we were all thinking it was going to be an embarrassing day as our guests were of high expectation! Thankfully the rest of the day was superb. Pheasants flying high and fast in all directions and Olli worked his butt off! Climbing large piles of rubble at one site to retrieve a bird from the top, going through fences to chase injured birds and bring them back, across fields, in dense hedges and using his nose a lot more now to find birds that we hadn't seen come down, on high bramble covered banks.

19 birds over the day, all brought back beautifully. 19!!!!!!

Needless to say I am very, very proud, and Olli is very, very asleep under my chair. Bless him.

Tomorrow we are off to Cornwall at 6am for the last dog competition of the season, and Olli has his other hat on, agility spaniel. That is if he ever wakes up!! Lily of course is raring to go and will hopefully go clear again, if i handle it right! Fingers crossed.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Finished for weekend!

Another week over for me, as 4 days is enough working for someone else!! Doesn't mean I can relax of course. I have our 2 businesses to run, so I have painting to do tomorrow on the next dog walk, and paperwork to do for the electrical business. No rest for the wicked. In between all this I have to find time to train the 2 main dogs, Lily & Olli, get all my stuff ready for shooting Saturday and competition on Sunday.

Saturday should be interesting as it is a bought day. Basically, our syndicate sold the day to another group so we have to provide lunch and a good day for them. Olli will be a star as usual, but Becky will have to stay in the car unless there is a lost bird to find, as she would be embarrassing in front of a posh crowd!! It will be good to show off Olli's skills though to a new lot of people.

Sunday is the last competition for me this year and after last weeks place I am really excited. I know I shouldn't be, because Lily could mess it up and so could I so I may be brought down to earth with a bump, but it wont be the 1st time!!! Or the last knowing me! Olli is actually weaving now too!! Suddenly clicked in the last 2 days so who knows with him this week!!! He really is a multi talented boy!!

Sunday, 9 November 2008

What an amazing weekend!!!

I am tired out, had no sleep, because we went out friday night to see our best friends off on their honeymoon to the Maldives, up early saturday morning to go shooting, had a brilliant day again with Olli picking up 9 pheasants and Becki having to go and find a lost bird, through a bog and a steep bank of nettles, cos nobody elses dog could find it. Late saturday night as I had to watch Match of The Day, and see my team Arsenal beat Man Utd!!!
Up at 6am today, sunday, to drive to Okehampton for Dartmoor agility competition. Lily & Olli loaded in the car along with Fern & Luke, bags of rolls & crisps, warm clothing & of course Rog. Husband, friend, critic & camera man!!!
1st was agility, and Lily was keen, but I messed up her seasaw and she had a pole down before refusing the tunnel in the corner again!!! What is this hang up with corner tunnels indoors?? I was a bit disappointed, but also concerned that this was becoming an issue. Anyway, next class was large jumping, and as I walked the course my heart sank. Jump, weaves, jump, tunnel. I was about to go home there and then. The 4th obstacle was a corner tunnel, so what was the point? I decided to go in, 3rd dog on the course and just work my hardest, use all my months of training to handle it the best I could. ....................as she came out that tunnel, i raced across to the next section of the course, held my breath and just went with the moment. Fluent, fast and as she cleared the last jump I cried!!! 1st clear round in her 4th ever show, and after the other 160 dogs had run, we were placed 4th! You would not believe how proud I feel tonight. Incredible, ecstatic, fullfilled, ...... raise a glass to Lily & Olli!!!!!!!xxxxxx

Friday, 7 November 2008

Weekend events

Not had much chance to write anything this week, or do much really!! Busy week at work, been a close friends shoulder too so thank god its friday!!!

Last night Lily was excellent at training. So much so that we were top of the class, complimented by Lauren our trainer and a few others too! Her food has made a difference for sure, as she is now excited and keen as mustard. She was flying and I was actually handling her properly!! Lets hope i remember it all on sunday at the competition at Dartmoor.

Tomorrow is shooting again and Olli is already realising what day it is. He was followin me around getting my clothes ready and kept looking at me with enquiring eyes. He knows my coat and my boots now so he's ready to go!! What he doesn't know is that I have entered him in the show sunday too, his 1st one so that should be interesting!! It is all experience though and he will be good for next year i'm sure.

So not much to report, but after this weekend I would watch this space!!!

Saturday, 1 November 2008

That loved feeling.

Its bitterly cold, very windy and you put thermals on, 3 or 4 layers of tops, scarf, hat, load the car with food and the spaniels and go to the shoot meet. Everyone says their good mornings through their scarves, hands in pockets and shifting feet, dew drops on noses (no whiskers on kittens!), and then you're off to the 1st drive. Dogs are now out and whilst us humans have been moaning about the cold, and the wind, suddenly it seems irrelevant when you watch the bright eyes, wagging tails, constantly flicking ears of your dogs. From that moment you know why you do it. The intense concentration, enthusiasm, determination and beauty of a dog ready to work, just for you is a feeling like no other. Through deep mud, puddles, brambles, fences & hedges, Olli worked all day, sitting patiently when there was nothing to do, but eyes flitting between the skies and me, waiting for any command, and regardless of the wind blowing his ears across his face he was ready to do anything I asked. Never the need for a lead or a cross voice, just total comittment and pure love for me. Wherever I walked he followed, wherever I sent him he went and when there was nothing to do he still looked at me with those dark brown eyes as if to say "Its ok mum, you just say the word and I'll do whatever it takes, but I'm just happy being here in the middle of a field with you"

Fern came with me again, even though her boyfriend was at our house and it was freezing, she came with me, drove me around between drives and was just there, which means so much.

And after a fairly poor day I got home to a huge smile from Roger and although he'd been at work since 7am and was doing paperwork when I got in, he listened to my blabbing on about what had happened, how great Olli was, and all the events of the day and was so happy just because I was happy. As I'm writing this, Olli has managed to squash himself onto the back of my chair just to sit with me, eyes drooping, nearly asleep but cant leave me for a minute, and Lily is under the chair, pleased I'm home and her mum is back.

There is nobody in the world at this precise moment who feels as loved as me.