Thursday, September 29, 2011

She's Back....Well, Almost

Yes, she is back...the world traveller and her handler. It was almost not to be that case though. First of all, I spent a little time "sightseeing" on the country roads. Yup, I would wonder if I could find myself out of a paper bag sometimes. We dropped of the car, and after noting that it wasn't my fault that it rained in Britain, and that the car being a little dirty was not that big of a deal, Gin and I got to the airport. I went to check Gin in and then found out I had forgotten to phone the airline for a spot for her. This is the point where I got a little emotional....yes, I cried...I admit it...bawled like a baby. After the service lady told me, " It'll be all right love", things did get rosier. Things worked out, and Gin could get on the plane. They told me to let her have a walk first, and then come back about 1 hour prior to the flight back home. This I did, and after 20 minutes, Gin was through security and I made myself to the gate - I believe it was Z 1000. I looked at where it was to be, and it said "20 minute walk". Crap, seeing I was about 30 minutes from the plane taking off, I hoofed it to the end of the airport. I was one of the last ones on, but I got on. Good bye UK, it was a blast!! Hope to come again soon.
Nine hours later, and not really sleeping, the eagle landed. The plan was to get Calvin and drive to Saskatchewan for the clinic that was planned. Seven hours drive, it would be okay. By the time we set out to go, it was 7 pm (which was 2 am in my jet lag world). But the trip was not to be. I was supposed to bring the truck and trailer, but it was dead to the world. Even boosting it and trying to pull start it did not work. It was decided to cancel the clinic, and leave Calvin in Alberta, and the next day would be spent trying to fix the truck. To top it all off, there was no water in our house. When it rains it pours I guess. In the end, someone (no one is saying who though) left a light on in the truck, and only a little diesel left in the truck. Finally, I could get to Saskatchewan....the next morning. I packed up the dogs, the ducks, my cats, the large dog kennels and made it to Saskatchewan. The following day we set up the kennels (outdoor runs) and looked at the new pups (June the border collie had 6 pups), as well, I castrated a horse, and moved some sheep. After I had moved the sheep with the trailer, I had parked it by the large liner, and misjudged the turn and took out a light on the trailer. Oh well, no worse than when Chris the next day backed the truck into a power pole. Yes, 21 sections of open land, and he backs into a pole. Perhaps glasses are in order.
The next morning, Chris took me to the airport in Regina and I made my trip down to South Dakota for Jaimie Spring's trial. I have counted my trips this year, and by the time I get home, I will have been up in the air this year 11 times...maybe I should get a frequent flyer card or something. After Jaimie's trial, the crew will go to Laura Hick's for her trial on the reserve. Indian summer has hit, and it will be in the 90's this weekend. I do believe cold beer is in order. When I get back to Saskatchewan, Chris will take me, Gin, Creed, Floss and Syd to Chris Jobe's, and we will trek it to Holly Brunner in BC for her trial for the Thanksgiving weekend for her trial. No rest for the wicked....but I didn't think I was that wicked!!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Hold My Lager Tour Comes To A Close

So the trip to England was a success for some, not so for others. My success was that I was able to do the roundabouts eventually without other motorists flipping me the royal bird or honking at me. Gin did well in my mind, she did as she was told and she all whistles, even to the ones not blown by me. I still have no doubt that she could have done that double lift, so no worries, Gin won't be that old in three years (okay, she will be turning 11), and there should be another dog ready to run as well, so....World's look out! The Lager Tour will occur once again!!

So after the trial was over, and everyone took their prizes home (congrats to everyone who were in the finals and to the big weiners), I took Penny Caster, who was my designated groupie for the tour to the train, and then went to Yorkshire again to see a dog. Once again, no dog sale could be done, and then made may way that afternoon to Wales....yes, this little car I rented has not cooled down at all. I did travel all night long to get to Calvin Jones, since he was going to be placed on the plane the next day to get to Canada for a clinic. I rolled into Amanford about 7 am, and didn't meet up with Calvin until 10 am. The day was spent getting Calvin ready for his trip, tending to his dogs and horses, driving over the mountain several times, and ended the day eating with his family at an Indian restaurant. Then we went back to his place, and he packed up and then we set out to Gatwick to get him to the plane for his 9 am flight. Once again, an all nighter was done, and we got to the airport in time. I then turned around and drove to Devon to see the family I had stayed with 22 years ago for an agricultural exchange program. I got to the area by 1 o'clock, and then it took another couple of hours to find the farm again...things change I suppose, but what did help me is to find that pub I knew very well years ago and then the memories all came flooding back, and I found Hayne Farm and the Kittows. It was a very short trip, and should have banked a few more days with my English family, but quality time was spent. Calves were fed, cows were milked, a walk with the dogs were done, a trip to Wellington was done (to get a fit to fly certificate for Gin, and by God, they better ask for it), a horse was checked for a lump, the cows were brought from the field (with Gin's help), visiting with all the family and friends were done, and beer was drank....and this was done in a mere 36 hours. Off I and Gin will be to the airport by 7am for our 1 pm flight, hopefully I will find the right road to get onto the highway...if Canada doesn't see me and Gin by 3 pm tomorrow, we may be still in Devon trying to find our way out of the country lanes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

A Video Is Worth How Many Words?

So they say a picture is worth a thousand words, here is a few videos of Yorkshire to fill 10.000 words. Sit back, enjoy, and keep your hat on!

The Lager Flows

So this morning, Bobby and his granddaughter loaded a few lambs to go to market. A double decker bus for these girls.

With some persuasion, they got on.
Then the bottom crew got on.

I went to the auction mart in Skipton and was going to wait for the sale to start.

As I waited, I read the bulletin board.

Then this one caught my eye - a pup related to Jim Cropper's Sid!

Change of plans, I phoned the numbers. The first call got through to the wife, who thought I was a crank call, and she told me off and hung up on me. "Quit gibbering!" she told me. I called her back and convinced her I was no gibbering idiot. I talked to her husband, and told me there was an auction at Hawes, and that he wasn't available until the afternoon. I asked the tour guide (me), and the days events changed.

I took off to Hawes, which was about 1 1/2 hours away.

To get to Hawes, a drive over the Yorkshire Dales was in order.

There was a lot of wind and rain during the trip.

Higher up in elevation, the dales became evident.

The full force of the wind could be felt. I was expecting to see sheep blown across the road.

I did find these smart girls, hunkered down to protect themselves from the gales in the dales.

They weren't bothered by me at all.

This barn was miles away from any existing farms.

You could tell that it was still in use likely for lambing.

Finally, Hawes was found and I went directly to the auction mart. As I got out of the car, a wind blew my red CANADA hat off my head, and it blew under a truck and stock trailer...I waved the guy through, and, yes, it got run over. Perhaps I will call it my lucky hat, since it is now stained with sheep turds.

This was a two day sale for gimmer mules - those are this year cross bred ewe lambs for breeding this fall.

Everyone from miles around came for this sale. Some to buy, and some to kick tires. Prices averaged 115 pounds per ewe, one group went over 200 quid apiece. Apparently, the more speckles on their face, the better they are. I learned a lot from the locals.

After a bit, I phoned a man about a dog and went and saw it. Unfortunately, the pup had two blue eyes, and there was no deal to be made. He told me he was the breeder of Max who J. Cropper was running. I wish I had a picture of this man...he had a stunning 1 tooth in his head, but that did not take away from his gracious nature. I spent about an hour with him, talking dogs and sheep.

I went back to Hawes, and went to the Wensleydale Cheese Museum. The monks had made cheese in the medieval times.

The stone basin with the holes allowed the whey to drain away, and the water trough beside it was carved out of stone.

These stones were over 300 years old......

....and they were used to squeeze the cheese to get all the moisture out.

These were familiar to me, having grown up on a farm which milked cows.

Cream separators was something I remembered as well. I think I am too young to be in a museum!

After buying a load of cheese, perhaps I will find a friend with wine to devour it, I headed of to Thirsk, the place where James Herriot worked in the 1940's as a vet, and wrote All Creatures Great And Small. On my way there, a tree had blown across the road. I jumped out and helped the other motorists to break the branches away. The fellow on the right was obviously born in Great Britain.

On the way, Bolton Castle was passed.

I got to Thirsk, and made my way down town to James Herriot's Surgery.

Like all vets, this one too was not in. Missed by one half hour.

I guess he was out in more ways than one. Perhaps a trip back to Thirsk will be in order.

There was this lovely church in Thirsk...I, being a heathen, as I am told, did not attend.

My day ended with a lovely supper. Who would think a breast of chicken wrapped up in bacon would taste so good? Sounds like a Homer Simpson meal!

And for your viewing pleasure....some of the ride. Please fasten your seat belts!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Hold My Lager And Watch This

So the tour begins! May want to read the previous blog to remember the excitement of teh first leg of travel. This was John, the 90 year old traveller. He had mentioned that he should have a cane, but he was too stubborn. If we can all live our lives to the fullest like he has, we will all be better people. Perhaps I should think about my liver so this can occur.

Our first stop was this place. All papers in the right order...not! Stupid vet (me), forgot the Rabies Vaccination Certificate. I persuaded with my bubbly personality that I would guarantee the papers to be faxed. I am still looking over my shoulder waiting for a bobby to arrest me.
Six hours later, Gin was out of the clink, and we were set for our first leg of our UK tour.

I took some quick driving lessons to maneuver about the turnabouts. The National Lampoon Vacation movie comes to mind.

We stopped out of Nottingham the first night, and after a brief rest, we got to Yorkshire. We moved off of the M1 to take some pictures of the landscape of Yorkshire.

Happy cows in the fields of Yorkshire. Need that milk for our teas!
Where the rural life meets the urban life-the two are quite entwined.

When we finally got to our destination - Bondcroft Farm in Embsay, North Yorkshire, I found out that if I had come the day prior, as I had planned, I could have gone to a farm trial. After I kicked myself in my backside, plans were made to go out for a bite. Mushy peas and all. Bobby and Christine Clarkson were actually the first people to introduce myself to dog trialing, after having bought Fly's father Mitch 16 years ago. Bobby is my inside information regarding the World Trial fields, in which he is helping with. If only I could understand him.

After a quick sleep, we got up and went just outside of the World Trial site to a farm trial. Five pounds was a small price to pay for the fun had. Meeting the local triallers was part of it as well, and some foreigners were there as well, including the Germans and the Finnish. And of course, the Canadians.

If you look in the middle there is half a wall present on the field. The dogs, if sent left, would sometimes get lost in the corner, and have to be redirected. If sent to the right, they may get lost behind the slight ledge that was present. I just hoped I would not make a fool of myself. Tom Longton was the judge of the day.

Here is a closer view of the field. Oh my, oh my, what is a Canadian to do?

Bobby was one of the first to run, after signing in. A mixture of Swaledale and Herdwick were the flavour of the day. Mint sauce was sought for the pen, which was difficult in the morning.

So after a few runs after Bobby, it was Gin and my turn at the post.

And we sent to the left, and she went by the wall, and with a whistle was on the correct side of the girls. Coming down the fetch was tricky, but Gin seemed to handle them not too bad. They actually walked up the fetch line.

We hit the fetch panels (or hurdles as they are called).
They turned around the post not too shabbily.

We hit the first panels (scraping the panels I might add) and had a decent crossdrive, but at the second drive panel, they had placed them in front of a water hazard. I missed them completely and brought them through again...chaching, chaching went the points.

Next was the drive to the pen.

The squirts squirted several times before they were finally penned...9 points off.

We got the single in the non-shedding ring, ten minutes of fun was had!

Marylou Campbell and Kathy Keats had come out to the trial as well. Marylou had a nervous pee prior to her run.

Perhaps I will think about this manouver, since Dyna had quite a nice run.

Unlike Gin, Dyna was working quite nicely during her heat cycle. Thank God Gin is done her cycle, it appears her brains have returned.

Katie Cropper and her dog Scrim was also there. Having never met her before, she is quite personable.

We didn't stay the whole day, the rain actually fell in sheets. I think about the clothes I have brought, and may have to find some more jumpers. No shorts for this trip that is for sure. At least I remembered my boots.

We got back to Bondcroft, and thought I should take some candid photos.

A view across the valley.

A look up to the farmsite.

The Gypsy pony.....

....and his mate.

Yes little dears, we will play with you in the next following days. Tomorrow to market, to market, to buy a fat pig (or sell a fat lamb)....home again, home again, jiggity jig (jam in this case).