I think the main adjective everyone was using to describe last weekend was COLD! Oxfordshire recorded the coldest temperatures in the UK – and it certainly felt like it! Despite the weather, however, (and losing an hour’s sleep on Saturday night) the crowds turned out in force both days and Thame Country Show was a great weekend.
For us at the Gillies Leap Fun Dog Show, we were positioned right next to one of the entrances, which was great because people booked in early. If we’re further away we sometimes don’t get started until about eleven. Between booking in and actually starting the show, Andy and I were both interviewed by Radio Oxfordshire, which was great fun. I’ve never been on the radio before, and I quite enjoyed it – even getting a plug in for my website building business!
Anyway, back to the dog show, which had classes booked full by now. Andy got the show underway, sporting a rather fetching woolly hat with a corgi on the front (totally ruining the hard guy image). I judged two classes this time: my usual puppy class (which was won by a delightful staffy pup, Enzo) and, for the first time, the Best Six Legs class. Andy has always said he will not ever award the rosette to a man in that class – but two of the men had gone to so much effort for that one – even rolling their trouser legs up in the biting wind – that they had to get first and second, so I was handed the rosettes to award and Andy kept his reputation intact!
Overall winner of the day was the stunning Afghan Hound, Saffron. Photos of all the dogs from the weekend here.
Once the dog show was over I went wandering with my camera, watched a bit of Scurry racing, and a scurry team racing a truck (?!) and was caught in morbid fascination watching a man from the stunt team climbing to the top of a high tower, setting himself on fire and jumping off onto a huge crash mat. Why would anyone want to do that? Just… why? But I guess it was good entertainment because I stayed long enough to watch him lie down in a coffin while his wife blew it up! That’s a domestic gone a bit too far…
Once the crowds went home to their nice warm beds and evenings in front of the fire, we started preparing for a night under canvas. One of the things the radio presenter was most interested was ‘What happens after hours?’ Well the answer is, a lot of the stall holders and exhibitors just stay on site – we travel from all over the country to get to the shows and it’s just too far to go home. I like the hour after the show finishes- it’s when I wander round and chat to friends I’ve been too busy to see all day. Some of the falconers are still flying their birds, the display dogs are waiting go go out and stretch their legs, like this gorgeous springer, from John Cavana’s team, and the ever vigilant security team are starting their evening patrols (they patrol all night – that’s serious dedication!) There’s a real wind-down feel to the camp.
Later in the evening a lot of people head round to the bar tent, which, having been open all day for the visitors, opens again all evening for the rest of us. There’s a lot of good natured banter, often a group of guys in the corner, playing their ukeleles, sometimes darts, and for some inexplicable reason a man in a full jockey outfit, without a horse. Dave has the best selection of cider in the UK (and I’m told ales too) and in honour of the Big Freeze, they also had a pan of mulled wine on the go. I have to say though, that even the mulled wine, my husband’s thermal sailing suit and hat and two spaniels lying on top of me didn’t protect against the sub-zero temperatures sleeping in a tent!
Monday’s Show was just as busy as Sunday’s, and we also had the help of our amazing guest judge for some of our classes. If we ever discover that one of our competitors has a birthday that day (under 16s!) they will be awarded a judge’s badge and given a class to judge – and `I must say that this young lady (left) did a wonderful job judging the ‘Prettiest Bitch’ class for us.
One disaster of the day was that the cold just killed both my camera batteries! I was without a camera for at least an hour while they recharged in the warmth of the caravan, so apologies to anyone who came for portraits while I wasn’t there!
Winner on Monday was the rather handsome doberman, Gizmo. We hope to see both Saffron and Gizmo at the last show of the season at Bowood House, competing in our overall Champion Show.
Both also won a free portrait which can be seen here with all the other dog portraits I took this weekend.
I have to say, that the hot bath I had when I got home on Monday night was absolutely wonderful!
If you would like your dog photographs on a canvas or mug, please contact me as they come from a different supplier.