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Thread: Jarnac National Show ( very long!!!!)

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    Default Jarnac National Show ( very long!!!!)

    Today I went to the Jarnac show. Mindful that it is the first day that the general speed limit on two lane roads without a central divider has reduced from 90km/h to 80, I was taking care to keep my speed legal. I also looked out for any radar traps (none!) and that meant I looked a bit more than usual at the countryside. It is, after all the rain, and now this sudden heatwave, flourishing! Fields of barley, looking almost ready to be cut, hay mostly baled but some rows of cut grass still waiting to be turned once more, forests of maize and sunflowers (not yet in bloom) and, of course vineyards by the hundred! Jarnac is almost more of a Cognac town than Cognac itself, having the headquarters of Courvoisier installed there. I had quite a route march from where my car was parked to the main part of the showground, and was trying to follow the flat ground between ruts made by car wheels but clearly hadn’t done it well enough, as my crate toppled over. There was no possibility of getting it upright still loaded, so I took the dogs out and undid the bungie straps holding the chair, show bag etc. to the top of the crate. Two cars came along, both wanting to get past: no chance, one side was thick bushes and the other full of parked cars. Suddenly a woman appeared form apparently nowhere and asked if I’d like a hand. Together we got the crate back in place, the dogs inside and everything firmly attached on top – so I thought. I had a brand new stainless steel bowl and holder which, when I got to the ringside, was no longer there: the holder was, but not the bowl. I was by this time pretty hot and exhausted so thought to look for it later, which was a mistake because it was no longer there. I expect someone thought they had a nice “find”. I thanked my helper who commented that the male drivers of the cars waiting had just sat there: No chivalry these days!

    I headed for where the Cavalier ring was, indicated on a plan of the rings and heard a call of “Jane!” and saw Julie, who usually goes to this show. She was next to Lynda and Nicolas, and a couple more people with Cavaliers who I didn’t know. I went to check out Naïcha’s ring and passed Fréderic Gobin just going into the ring. I said “Hello” but he seemed not to hear me. Fréderic, not to be confused with my neighbour Fred, is someone I have only ever seen at this show and Ifirst met him three years ago when he was at the ringside of the Cavalier judge asking which class was in the ring to try to work out how much time he had before he’d be required to go in. I thought he’d made a mistake and was at the wrong ring: our judge was just doing a few breeds in the 9th group (companion dogs) and Fréderic was wearing a sleeveless leather jerkin with no shirt, had a shaved head and tattoos all down his arms. I was sure he’d have something like an American Staffie, and when he called his dog, whose name is Iron Man, I was quite surprised to see a small, good quality Pekinese. We all got talking and have seen each other every year since.

    It seemed that Naïcha’s class would be judged before the Cavaliers, so I went to her ring and talked with various sighthound people, getting a friendly lick on the cheek from a stunning Irish Wolfhound who didn’t need to jump up to do so! Naïcha went into the ring nicely, ran round at my side and stood well for the judge. “Bonjour Mam’selle chauve” he said “Hello Miss Baldy“ and then turned to his secretary and said “sometimes with the short coat Salukis you could think they were Sloughis, but not this one: she has a true Saluki head.” He then asked her age and realised I was foreign. “Why are there so many English here today,” he asked and I said I didn’t know that there were. The secretary said “It’s because French men are so handsome!” and I said perhaps it may have more to do with low house prices, good wine and (too) good food. He wasn’t bad, the secretary: a bit like Tom Ellis (Gary in Miranda) :-) When Naïcha did the straight up and down he said “There’s something not right with her hind movement” and felt around the hock joint and asked if she’d had an injury. It didn’t occur to me until later that she may have hurt her leg when the crate toppled over, but she showed no sign of pain and she wasn’t limping. He said “I’m so sorry, because of the movement I can only give her a Très bon (very good) rather than an excellent, but she is a very nice bitch. Her movement looked fine from the side, so he said in her mostly glowing critique which ended with the words “excellent character”. :-)

    I got back to the Cavaliers and saw that Sylvie had arrived; she’s another of the “regulars”; Lynda and Nico said, almost in unison “The Cavaliers have been judged!” Nico then grinned and said “you have two CACs and a reserve!” Having seen that I was still in the Saluki ring he’d decided to show Maxim when his class was called and, as had already been agreed, Hula in hers, and asked another friend there to handle Madrigal as she and Hula were both in open. He said the winner of Intermediate didn’t stand a chance against Madrigal when challenging for the reserve, which was quite pleasing as Madrigal isn’t the best showgirl in the world. Nico said she was fine so I thanked his friend who said it had been a pleasure. By this time I was getting hungry, as was Lynda, so I went off to see what was on offer. Sandwiches, which are not what one would expect: they’re halves of French sticks with various fillings; chips or a full meal which didn’t look very wonderful and wasn’t cheap. I ordered chips, asking if I could have them unsalted, and a ventreche (belly pork marinaded and grilled) sandwich without the bread. As I was waiting, someone tapped me on the shoulder and it was Fréderic. He apologised for having seemed to ignore me earlier “I did say “bonjour” but wasn’t looking at you so you probably didn’t realise” He had similar results to mine: he’d bought a new young bitch who took the reserve, the nearly eight year old bitch Fairy Flower had won the CAC and beaten Iron Man for BOB.

    Later Lynda, Nico, Sylvie and I were sitting round a table sipping cider and rosé wine (Nico brought it) and discussing which shows we were likely to be entering in the next few months. Someone walked past with an ice cream and Sylvie said “I really fancy an ice! “ I said I did, too, despite having eaten earlier, so we went and bought a couple. I’d only got about halfway through mine when the tannoy announced that the “lots d’affixe”; three or four dogs bred by the same breeder; was called into the collecting ring. Nico said “you haven’t time to finish that ice, take it with you. The thought of trying to hold three dogs and eat an ice cream at the same time seemed too difficult, so I put it upside down in my plastic cup. Despite Maxim deciding to have a poo halfway round the main ring, they were third, beaten by three Great Danes and four Leonbergers. The ice cream wasn’t totally melted when I returned: Sylvie said she’d seldom seen people drink ice creams.

    We collected our cups, which are huge and I decided to get my car and bring it nearer the main showground to make it easier to load. I was driving along the track when I saw Fréderic struggling towards me with a plastic dog crate in each hand and a bag on his back. I stopped and he said “Can I ask you to do me a huge favour? Could you possibly drive me to the station¸ it’s not far!” I said of course I could, and put the dogs in the boot. He climbed into the passenger seat and struggled to get his seat belt fastened with his huge bag on his lap. The station wasn’t far, but would have been a very unpleasant walk encumbered as he was in the heat. He said he’d already apologised to his breed judge that he wouldn’t be staying for the group as he wanted to get the dogs home to the cool. I then understood why I don’t see him at other shows: very few are anywhere near a station and it must be very difficult to go to shows without a car. He lives at Niort, which is a fair distance from Jarnac but a direct railway line! He had the big bag in case the dogs won any cups….. Having done my good deed for the day, and begun to get the car cooled, I returned to the showground and found a parking space just a ring’s length from where my dogs were. The others had gone by then. Loading was easy. The dogs were all keen to get in their crate in the car, much to the amusement of some children standing nearby, especially when I clipped the small plastic water bowl in the crate and filled it from above so Maxim got water poured on his head.

    I was pretty tired when I got home: a long and very hot day, but decent air conditioning in the car and a good old cuppa work wonders.

    Last edited by Janelise; 07-01-2018 at 07:41 PM.

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