19. And Now For Something Completely Different

Two things before I forget. One is that, if you read this only as an email, you may be missing my header photos, all carefully chosen to reflect the subject of the day! The other is that John has a just giving page to raise money for Unicef whilst he’s sailing, here’s the link. Feel free to support him!


Assuming you can see the header, you’ll be asking what on earth this has to do with Clipper. All will become clear by the end of this post (I hope).

Last week John was on his Week 3 training (more on this and George’s week 3 as well planned for the next post). Whilst John was away I thought I needed to start travelling with a Companion. As Crufts was on and one of the puppies Adie had last year was taking part, what better way to spend some time? In order to qualify for Crufts you need to win certain classes at a Championship show. Many years ago I managed to qualify both of the Welshies I had at the time, but only by travelling from Guildford to Darlington for a show. Almost a day driving there and back and maybe ten minutes to be seen by the judge. Here our boy is in action at Crufts last Thursday:


He was third in his Puppy Dog Class which we thought pretty good. His dad Lloyd was also third in his Limit Dog class, half-brother (from another litter sired by dad) first in Junior Dog and half-sister first in Junior Bitch, and his uncle (Adie’s litter brother) fourth in the Open Dog class, so overall our little family did well. The puppy and junior are based on the age of the dogs (minor puppy six to nine months, puppy six to 12 months, junior six to 18 months) then after that it’s based on how many classes they’ve won. Open is the “top” class when you can’t progress any further so you can be up against dogs that have done a lot of winning and are Show Champions. The header shows most of the Welshies at Crufts campaigning against puppy farming. Unfortunately I cannot remember the name of the charity but the pink rosettes everyone was wearing relate to it. Someone may be able to tell me.

Once we’d seen the dog classes we had a wander around Crufts for what felt like hours. First we saw “Discover Dogs” where there seemed to be one of every breed ever invented and then some. We saw a little of the obedience but no flyball or agility this time. Then looked in amazement at the different stalls. It seems you can buy anything imaginable for your pet plus lots for yourself. We did not succumb. Too much choice I think. Then, um, we got lost looking for the way out!

We travelled up the day before and stayed at an airport hotel, Crufts being at the NEC Birmingham. Here was my first lesson: PLAN. Somehow I managed to get us lost on the way to the motorway (which I have driven to loads of times before) then at the airport we just went into the first car park I saw, which luckily was next to the hotel we were staying in. I hadn’t done my research on how to get to the NEC, luckily again it was minutes away via the airport monorail. Finally, to really complete my mortification, I found out that I kept my pal awake all night by snoring! I don’t have a picture of her (and even if I did, would I let her have the fame?) but here’s one of Grace who she owns. You met her as a younger puppy in post 5.

Good Grace

So, before I go anywhere again. Plan the route and what to do once I arrive. Do not force my Companion to share a room with me if we want to stay friends.

Next time: Back to landlubbers and boats, promise.

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