WHAT a sociable April; we managed a trip to the West to attend the Hill Cove Championship Dog Trials and a North Arm Two-nighter. So for the past month it has felt like I have either been recovering from a hangover or looking forward to next one.
Left: Yuppy waits outside his heated bedroom (the porch)
We had a fantastic time at Hill Cove meeting up with friends, one of whom (and a particularly accident-prone one) told me a story that I just have to share with you.
One day he was away on his quad bike, complete with his dog on the back, to do some work out in a camp. Arriving at a gate he jumped off to open it. Now the dog was one of those nosy ones that like to be in on everything, so he nipped to the front of the quad for a better look at his owner's movements; unfortunately as the dog spun around to get to the back of the quad he accidentally put his hind foot into the hand muffs and flicked the throttle wide open.
This all happened in an instant and my friend had only just picked up the gate chain when his dog-driven-quad barrelled through, leaving him stunned. The dog decided to abandon 'ship' so my mate was able to helplessly observe his driverless quad rolling down a slope with a very shocked looking dog looking back at him, and the gate in pieces on the ground by his feet.
Arthur's dog Yuppy who had qualified third at Goose Green dog trials, in turn earning herself a place in the Championship, was the butt of quite a few jokes when we went to Hill Cove, probably as a result of her impressive body weight which is at present 28kgs.
She didn't disgrace us though and managed to pen the sheep with two minutes still remaining on the clock. I must confess that her outrun, which at the start had her trying her hardest to stalk a group of young trees, did have me reaching for the hot rum. But with the help of a friend who turned the sheep out of the corner from where they had been hiding she eventually spotted the sheep and took off after them. OK not fast but at a good steady pace. The crowd was right behind her when two sheep broke away; Yuppy sped off to turn them back, stopped suddenly in front of them, but because of the light covering of snow her stop was more of a bum-slide past them. Very impressive to watch I thought and she got a huge round of applause when she penned the sheep.
The only down side to the weekend at Hill Cove for me was the trip there and back on the ferry, unfortunately named Concordia Bay, which of course reminded me that the Costa Concordia had been a much larger vessel and she still sank. On the trip to the West it was really rough although I thought I handled it very well. Whils clinging to the side rail and side of the ship I still managed to keep up a constant stream of conversation, fags and coffee. I wasn't impressed with Arthur who kept standing in front of me swaying from side to side and asking if I felt sick yet. It was a relief I can tell you, to get to the West and onto terra firma. Even Arthur's driving didn't seem too bad after that trip. Incidentally his driving still makes me car sick after 20 years of travelling with him, hopefully one day I will get used to it.
After recovering from the West it was off to North Arm for the sweep draw, another hangover to look forward to. As was usual everyone was allocated a bed, sofa or mattress on the floor or just generally fitted in wherever they could.
Arthur was lucky to have the sitting room sofa the first night. The second night, with more people arriving, he was given a mattress in another house. Arriving home at 4am he decided rather than walk to the other house he would sleep in the kitchen chair. An hour later he woke up feeling uncomfortable and decided to check if the sitting room sofa was vacant. Finding it just so, he quickly settled down and went to sleep. The real occupant of the sofa, a young lad, was rather distressed to return from a trip to the loo to find his bed now filled with an unconscious Arthur.
While at North Arm I had the chance to meet the newest member of our family, a collie/huntaway bitch puppy. She was adorable, her and her siblings had to have been the fattest puppies I had ever seen.
She had another four weeks before she came to us but I was pretty sure once settled with us she would soon adapt to the 'life of Riley' our dogs seem to lead. Yuppy is still in the porch because Arthur made me feel so guilty when I attempted to eject her back to the cage; he suggested she would catch a terrible chill at night because she was no longer used to sleeping without the heating on. I don't know who had the biggest puppy dog eyes her or him?
We're planning to build a doghouse this winter to replace our kennels and I've informed both Arthur and Yuppy that once it's built she is out. It's not like I'm being particularly hard; the new doghouse will be entirely insulated and include a double bed and a single mattress as well as a sofa on its veranda. I'm already calling it the dog's palace.