Results 1 to 4 of 4

Thread: nothing to do with Cavaliers : a journey to a dog show - very long!

  1. #1

    Default nothing to do with Cavaliers : a journey to a dog show - very long!

    The FALAPA (club Français de Amateurs des lévriers d’Asie, Persans et Afghans) (French club for lovers of Asian sighthounds, Persian (Salukis) and Afghan,) held its national d’élevage in a village in north central France that I’d never heard of. I looked on via Michelin for a rough guide to how long it would take to get there, thinking I knew the first half of the route. The answer came up with 5 ½ hours, but the first part of the route rather different from mine. I though it worth a try as I was travelling up the day before, so noted all the bigger villages on the route and entered them into my satnav as “via” points. The first bit was OK but then it seemed to be smaller and smaller roads passing through a lot of small villages. When I did get to a major road the traffic was busy and I was slightly dismayed to come across an accident: a car had left the road and was on its side in a field, but I didn’t stop as a lot of other cars had. I found my hotel fairly easily, but I’d looked it up on Google earth and printed off the map. Even so, the journey had taken almost 7 hours! The proprietor of the hotel carried my bag to my room asked if I’d be eating there. I thought there were not likely to be any other restaurants in this fairly rural area so said yes. He told me there was already dogs on the terrace and wondered if they’d be OK. The nearest to my table was a fidgety Afghan, who wanted to come over to Naïcha, so I got her crate and put her in that. There was also a couple with a cream smooth dog, and I asked if they’d be kind enough to hold her lead while I fetched the crate and they agreed: saying Naïcha could have been the twin of their boy: he was older by a few months, but I was a bit surprised to see she was bigger than he was!

    The menu was interesting and I had a starter of all sorts of things done with tomato and some soft cheese: a glass of gazpacho, lots of little nibbly things and the best was a little cheese and tomato purée topped with crispy deep fried sage leaves: delicious! The main course was duck breast in cherry sauce: the vegetables that came with is were in a hollowed out round courgette, which I ate, then there was a cheese plate with a three local cheeses including a goat cheese with figs, also delicious, and the pudding was a peach purée on a hazelnut biscuit. I’m ashamed to say that when my food arrived Naïcha began to whine: I had given her a bowl of her food but she clearly thought what I had was nicer (correct!) I gave her a bit of the duck breast, and then the rind from one of the cheeses, showing her the empty plate and saying “There is none left!” During the meal I got chatting to three people at the next table: an Anglophone Russian family doing a month long tour of France. I asked if they were escaping the football, and the man laughed and said they actually live in Italy and the trip was for their daughter who peaks perfect Italian, Russian and pretty good English (evident!) to help her with her French. They had a brilliant itinerary mapped out. They also said they thought Naïcha looked very elegant and were amused by me showing her the empty late! Does she understand? I said I wasn’t sure!

    The following morning I got to the showground before the show officially opened. I asked a woman setting up tables by the bar area where the loos were, and she said “oh! I don’t think the lights are on yet!” I said I was sorry for being too early and she replied that she wasn’t reproaching me and refused when I offered to help with the tables – it would take too long, said Micky, to explain how they were to be laid out. Fair enough! I collected my catalogue and exhibitor’s gifts! There was a paper carrier bag for each exhibitor with their name written on it, containing a dog lead from Royal Canin, some Plaque–off biscuits for dogs and a booklet about Plaque off and three little sponge fingers in individual plastic wrappers. The rings were laid out, not with ropes but tape laid on the ground, held in place by flat topped pegs shaped like flowers. There were also large tents provided for shade, but as most had “steps” to get in I just put up my sun umbrella and parked my cage at the end of a row of tents. A tannoy announcement said that the judges were about to arrive: there was the sound of motor bikes and three motorbike trikes came slowly into the area in front of the huge building which I think is the main exhibition centre. One bike had the club president as passenger, the second the Australian Brett Hamilton, the judge for Afghans, and his fiancé, and the third contained Sibylle de Leyn Beniot, the Belgian judge of Salukis. They were escorted by a very glamourous young woman and handsome young man from the trikes to the red carpet in front of the bar and introduced to the exhibitors. Judging began with veterans and (I love the expression!) venerables, dogs and bitches over the age of ten. The club wanted to call the class Super Veteran, but the SCC would not allow it. It was due to get very hot so it was thought wiser for the older dogs to be judged before the temperature rose. They were followed by the baby, puppy, junior, Intermediate, working (which means dogs that perform in racing competition) open and champion classes. I found it a bit difficult to work out what was happening. The classes were judged and then the judges gave some of the exhibitor little white cards, then they all left the ring.
    A woman came up to me “you don’t remember me, do you?” she asked, “I’m Muriel’s friend Evelyn and I was there when you bought Naïcha! She then introduced me to her husband, Joël. There was a tannoy announcement that a vet was available to take samples for DNA identification and that later there would be the possibility of dogs taking their TANS, tests of natural aptitude. Evelyn said “I think they have to be confirmed to do the TAN, but check!” I went to the secretary’s desk and asked for the papers for the DNA, and if there was a lower age limit for the Tan “10 months”. Naïcha was very good while the vet rubbed the brush inside her mouth, he said “There are some dogs I have been completely unable to do this to!” I had the paperwork, the samples and pre addressed envelope to send the tests off. Micky was there with a couple of her dogs “When you send it off, don’t forget to put a cheque in the envelope! “ she said “I’ve done that!” I put it all in my showbag and then the tannoy announced that the man in charge of the TANs was almost ready, “you can’t miss him! He’s wearing an orange baseball cap and shorts!” the shorts were not orange, but I saw and followed him and asked what a dog had to do” Chase a hare” he said, “not a real one! A lure.” Naicha’s pedigree was needed for all the details, and “this IS France:” said his wife, as she filled in the form with everything required. She was to be third to take the test, and she watched the first dog with interest. He just trotted after the lure, and I think he failed. The second was the dog from the hotel the night before, and he really chased it well. Naïcha’s ears were up and she was watching intently. When it was her turn, the man asked if I knew what to do and as I didn’t said I had to wait until the lure was about 10 metres away before I let her go and I had to take her lead off. I said I’d have difficulty catching her without a lead and he said it HAD to be off but she’d be too interested in the lure to go far. She was very interested in it, it was a strip of raw and still bloody rabbit skin and fur, attracting flies, wrapped round with the same tapa that marked the rings so was quite large and highly visible. When he set the lure off I really had to hold her, then he signalled “let her go” so I did and she was off like an arrow. She did a beautiful turn when the lure changed direction. Catching her was difficult, but eventually she got tired of not being able to play with the lure and trotted back to the table where the inscriptions had been made. A sensible young girl got hold of her round her chest and slipped a lead I’d left on the table on her. The man gave me her Tan paper and said “She’s good! Have you thought of racing her?” I know there is a club not far from me and so said yes, I’d thought about it. “Do it! “ he said. As I went back to my cage I saw Evelyn and showed her the TAN paper. She said “I hope you tell Muriel!” so I said of course I would. End of part One


  2. #2


    Part Two: At one point I was aware of a woman near me trying to set up a dog and a man was giving her advice. When she’d finished I went up to him and asked if he gave lessons in handling, as I could do with some. He kindly said “of course” and then asked me to move Naïcha first. He gave me a couple of tips, including: start by walking, then when she gets into her side, you catch up with her! He also advised me to put my hand under her chin and slide my finger up into the hollow beneath her lower jaw when presenting her. ”They stand still when you do that” Another man standing nearby said “She’s very nice when you get her right” When we went into the ring this other man, Jean-Pierre was just before me, handling a bitch for Micky. After I’d done my turn with Naïcha and gone, as directed by the judge, to the shade of a tree at the corner of the ring he said “You did better then than when you were practicing before: well done.” After the last had been seen we lined up in the ring and were asked to do one more circuit of the ring. The judge then came up and gave a card to Jean Pierre, one to me and one to the person behind me. It had “selectionné” on it. As we left the ring, Jean-Pierre said “Well done!” so I asked what it meant. “Well”, he said, “We’ll go into the ring d’honneur later on. When I actually looked in the catalogue it was there in the small print of the show rules. The judge would decide on the places of all the dogs after a class, and would give each dog grade excellent and a card to say selectionné then after all the individual judging was finished the selected dogs in each class would return to the ring and be told their places by ring number, name of dog and names of breeder and owner, and go the podia (for 1st and 2nd), while 3rd and 4th had a panel and a pot of flowers to stand by. When the selected dogs from our class went in we did a circuit of the ring and then were announced into our places. Naïcha was third and the one Jean-Pierre handled was second, the winner was also bred by Micky but someone else had handled her. As each dog took its place there was a pack of photographers, and as one can imagine, it took forever! The Afghans were first, then the Salukis. After that the best juniors, veterans and champions were chosen, then the CACs were attributed, followed by best dog and bitch of each breed and then the best paire, couple, lot d’affixe (at least three dogs bred by the same breeder but not necessarily owned by them) and the lot reproducteur/reproductrice (a dog or bitch with at least three of its progeny)

    A man I’d spoken with briefly asked if I could help: he wanted to talk to the Australian judge but didn’t speak English so asked if I could interpret. After their short conversation I got chatting with Brett, who currently lives in Sweden and is engaged to a Swedish girl. I said I had Swedish friends, due to my Cavaliers, and he said he’d handled Cavaliers for a girlfriend when he was back in Australia. He didn’t say her name or affix, but they lived in Melbourne and he had handled at a prestigious show in Sydney.

    Someone else came up to me and said she thought I’d been very brave to make such a long journey alone, not knowing anyone, and she was pleased that my dogs had done well. I thought that was very kind.

    When I read Naicha’s critique it said “typical movement but needs to stabilise” which probably refers to the fact that we didn’t start at a trot. It was a nice critique, saying she is of very beautiful type, has an excellent head, mouth and pigmentation, good topline and excellent metacarpals! I’ve never seen them mentioned in a critique before. While thinking about that, does anyone know what to call the bones from the hock down to the foot in a dog’s hind leg? In a horse it would be the cannon bone. I think they are the tarsal bones, but there must be a common name! I’ve heard them called “hocks”, as in “long hocks” but as the hock is a joint that is incorrect

    I loaded the car and set the SatNav for the first part of the route, thinking that I’d use the route I know once I got to Montlucon. All of a sudden there was a crunch and the car jerked forward, but the brakes were firmly still on so it wasn't pushed into the fence in front of me. I got out and there was Joël getting out of his car looking very embarrassed. My near side rear lights were broken and the bumper a bit bent out of shape. We filled in an accident report form for our insurers, agreeing on the details, and noting the time of the accident: 19:05! We both signed it and he said, rather glumly, that he has reversing radar but hadn’t looked at it and had swung round out of his parking space so fast It didn’t have time to beep that there was something there! What made it worse for him was that he’d seen me earlier loading the car, so knew it was there….

    The rest of the journey was uneventful: I had anticipated, it being 14 July, that some of the villages would have firework celebrations and so I’d be held up, but although at some there were lots of parked cars and people milling about nothing really made driving difficult. I conclude that my route of 354 kms is better than Via Michelin’s which ended up at 378 kms although on the website it was given as 336 !!

    Naïcha was really glad to be home, but seemed to be looking for something – of course! The Cavaliers! I collected them this morning and their reunion was quite amusing: she bounced round them and they all looked a bit alarmed but when she settled Madrigal licked her nose.

    I think it is safe to say that my life is not dull.

    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Janelise; 07-15-2018 at 06:10 PM.

  3. #3


    Thank you for your wonderful, descriptive posts. I really enjoy reading them and will look forward to your next ones.
    Stephanie.....and two little ladies.

  4. #4


    Thank you Stephanie,

    There’s a PS on the car: I had the form that the other driver and I had filled in at the time and phoned my insurers on Monday to ask what I should do next. A pleasant young man said he could take the details over the phone if I could then scan the report and e-mail it to him. He also said I should take the car to a specific garage for a “photo assessment” of the damage, and said he’d send me an e-mail with the address of the garage but I should not contact them until Tuesday. I went onto google earth and zoomed in on the car park of the showground, took a screen shot and drew on it the positions of the cars and sent that with the report. Later in the day I had an e-mail from him saying that he’d received my mail it was excellent. I phoned the garage late Tuesday morning and a man said “Yes: we’ve got your name for a visit: bring it any time! But we don’t re-open after lunch until 13:30” That’s quite early for France, it’s usually after 14:00! I went in mid-afternoon and a man already had a file with my basic details. He scanned the carte grise (registration document) and took photos not just of the damage but of the tyres, the vehicle’s VIN number and a one showing the general state of the car, which is mostly good apart from a little rub on the right passenger door which appeared after the car had been in a supermarket carpark! He then suggested that as the insurance company has stated that it will pay the whole cost (which they will claim back from the other driver’s insurance company!) we make an appointment for me to take it in for the repair, and to book me a courtesy car. “I’m so sorry, “ he said, “We’re really busy and the first date I have for both repair and a car available for you is 13 August! But as 15th is a bank holiday we’ll have to keep your car for four days, not the three I’d estimated” Not a huge problem: the repair is now booked.

    Oddly I had an e-mail from my insurers this morning – a bulk mailing – advising that people should check their swimming pool security (obligatory to have a child proof fence or a specific type of alarm round a pool) be checked and reminding that it is illegal to smoke cannabis when driving! I don’t have a pool and don’t smoke anything! It also suggested various video surveillance systems one could set up as house security: our movement detecting lights at the old house were often triggered by foxes, the odd deer and a few cats, so I’m not really sure I need one!

    Last edited by Janelise; 07-18-2018 at 12:21 PM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts