English (United Kingdom)Danish(DK)
Kennel Nicktime Cairn Terrier - Crufts trip
The trip to Crufts

Sometimes it’s amazing to think, in retrospect, what a small smart remark can lead to.

For my part, my trip to Crufts (Birmingham, England) started out with such a wisecrack. By Graham Peers, who is a Cairn Terrier judge and breeder with the kennel name Tweedisle, I had been invited to come to Birmingham and watch Crufts, to which I humorously commented that I would only be going to Crufts, if I had a dog to show, and that it wasn't possible to take my own dog. Graham replied that it truly was the plan that I was supposed to show his 7 registered dogs, if I came over!

So now I had got myself into trouble! I thought it was all just for fun, but somebody in England considered it serious. I went to UK and had the day before Crufts at my disposal to get to know the dogs I was supposed to show. Now, there were only 6 dogs to show at Crufts, because the dogs had played hairdresser with the 7th entered dog, and I had to agree with Graham, when he said the hairstyle might not be able to do at Crufts.

Before I left, a number of people said: "Now keep your hands buried deep in your pockets" - meaning that I should not start grooming the dogs. Surely, I had no such thoughts, as the grooming style in UK is much different from the style in Denmark. Well, it didn't work out as planned, since Graham and I quickly agreed that there was just a tiiiiiiny bit to be corrected on a topline, and within a few hours one hair took the other. Fortunately, both Graham and his wife Hilary were enthusiastic about the result, and then I could, indeed, be too.

The day of Crufts dawned, and we had to leave before a certain gentleman got his shoes on (a Danish saying, which might not be understood in English ?). After a 90-minute drive we arrived in Birmingham, unloaded the first 4 dogs and while walking towards the hall, Graham says: “We need all two!” and I answered: “Which 2, what are we lacking, have we forgotten something?” Now I just had to accustom myself to speak a foreign language, but I felt I was doing ok, but understand all that Graham was saying - I couldn't. We were continuing towards the halls, when Graham points up saying: “We need ‘all 2". It turned out that I was staying with a man who spoke a special kind of English, and "forgot" to put the H in front of some words. So, it turned out he was speaking of “HALL 2” 

(During the rest of my stay I got better at putting “forgotten” “Hs”in front of other letters here and there if I didn't understand what was said to me, but more funny episodes were to come up).

Crufts was indescribably large in the number of halls, rings, people, dogs and stalls and had a display system, of which I do not understand how even the "natives" can understand it. The classes were called, you got into the ring and your dog is being judged, but you get no critique. All dogs are in the ring, and then the judge will select the winner, no. 2, 3 and 4. You walk out of the ring without having the faintest idea of what the judge thought about the dog.

However, critiques are given on the 3 first-placed dogs, but I understood that that critique is not given to the exhibitor, but can be read on the Internet. My own efforts at Crufts can be described briefly: I came into the ring more or less on time, while once during another class I stayed in a little bit too long. I thought that the judge had pointed me out in the selection of the winning dogs, but since we were 5 in the ring, I thought that probably one hadn't got the system right, but when the judge pointed at me again and shook his head, I understood I was the one who had misunderstood a "call". The best result was a 5th place, but on the other hand, the place was almost as good as a 2nd place, since none beside the class winner goes further through to the finals ;-)

The winner was a wheaten bitch, Penticharm Celtic Princess, owned by Lis Hooton, while BIM was Carradine Toblerone, owned by Dawn Formosa. It's worth noting that last year's winner, Rasken's Rusty Red Ruby, was no. 2 in open class.

I had hoped and was firmly convinced that I was to see some dogs at Crufts, which would simply take away my breath, but I must admit that that wasn’t quite the case. There were many lovely dogs, but none of the dogs that I liked were to the liking of the judge. On the other hand I was extremly impressed by the way the dogs are handled. All dogs are shown on a loose lead, and despite the loose lead they all walk with their head and tail held high, and all the dogs just SHOWED like a dream. I must say this really impressed me.

When the judge has a dog on the table, it is also common for other handlers to walk around carrying their dog, talking to the right and left, or even to sit in the audience and talk .... I considered that a somewhat " too laid back attitude" to show, but as Graham said: "Do not get it wrong, they always have one eye on the judge and the other one on the dog!".

Another experience which shows that Englishmen are more relaxed than most people here at home, is the following: While I am about to get a bitch ready for the ring, a lady near the table is explaining to a couple how a cairn terrier should be groomed. Then the lady comes over, puts her hand on the back of the bitch and pulls her hand all the way from the tail to the neck leaving the coat standing right up, while saying to me:” I'll just show them how to groom a Cairn!“ Those of you who know me might almost be able hear my tone of voice when I almost hit her hand while answering: “NO WAY !!!... Can't you see I'm getting this dog ready for the ring ?? “

On our way out of the hall we stopped to follow the competition in the group via a giant television screen, and suddenly I got the impression of seing a familiar face, and, indeed, a man gets up, comes over to me, shakes my hand and even gives me a kiss on the cheek and says "Hello love, what are you doing at Crufts?" “Well”, I replied, “I was imported from Denmark to handle some dogs ;-)”,  and then we had a good chat about Crufts and about his experience, when he judged cairn terriers in Denmark during February. The friendly gentleman was Tom Hehir from Ireland, and he remembered me! I wonder, if the "sound" I had made in the ring when he gave Ringo his first CC was what he remembered? Probably. Imagine meeting someone you know in the huge crowd and more than 22,000 dogs - it was really a wonderful experience.

On Sunday we were invited to visit Judith Parker-Tucker and her completely indescribable dog world. It was overwhelming. One is greeted by huge, thick walls around the entire building, and the entrance is a large iron grille with a padlock! Arriving 20 min. later than agreed didn't go without a comment (with a smile). Now we were offered a cup of English tea - tea with milk, it is. They do not even ask if you want milk in the tea or not, but it actually tastes a lot better than I had imagined. Well, each with a mug, the tour began. The tour cannot be described, but must be experienced.

Only in 2 places I saw 2 dogs in one pen. One place was occupied by 2 beautiful dark brindle puppies of about 3 months of age, and the second place by 2 seniors keeping each other company. ALL other dog had their own pen of between 25-30 m2 built with fences, a row of tiles along the fence and the rest laid out with grass. In the middle of this area, each dog had it's own house of approx. 12 m2. “How many dogs were there?”, you might think. The answer is: I gave up counting the dogs when I had counted around 25-30. So I have no idea of the exact number. I was so impressed by the amazing way she had her dogs and I also think it is worth noting that ALL dogs were so well taken care of and well groomed that each and every one could go directly into the show ring. “Well, there are probably many hands to help taking care of it all”, you think? “No”, is the answer as everything was done by JPT and her sister, Daphne.

We had hoped that the visit would last a few hours including lunch at the restaurant at the local inn by the river, but there was so much to see and hear, that we had spent 6 hours before starting the drive back again. This visit made an impression on me at least as great as the show the day before :-)

Close to the home of Hilary and Graham Peers lies an old castle, built in 1153, which besides the palace also has stalls for horses and dogs, or rather hounds used for hunting foxes. On the way home from JP, Graham narrates:: "At the castle, you know, they feet the ‘owls (“owls” is what I'm hearing) 6 days a week and one day they do not get anything to eat." Well, I thought, it sounds ridiculous, who climbs up the tower to the owls, or maybe it's tame owls, they have in the cages? So, I ask why they feed them? Graham doesn't understand this; on the contrary, he looks at me with a stupid expression, so I try to rephrase the question why they even feed them. I can only say that his expression didn't become less foolish and he looked puzzled, so I asked, "Do they feed them living or dead mice?" Graham looked at me dismayedly and said: "The ‘owls??" This is were I remembered his lacking of using the letter H and asked: "Are you talking about the hounds?" and while he breaks down laughing, he answers: "Yes of course, what are you talking about?" Yes, I had to confess that I thought he was talking about owls.

My two Clapton house shadows:


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