This is the first of many parts of:My UK Adventure
10/22/12 – 10/29/12
I landed at Heathrow International Airport after an 8 hr flight. The flight wasn’t too bad as I had 2 seats to myself, got fed dinner and breakfast, sat back and watched my flight cross the Atlantic Ocean to my destination. I have never been across the pond so this was a whole new experience for me, an experience as I was flying alone and meeting up with friends that I never met before besides talking to them on Face Book. Once at Heathrow I had to go through customs. Their main concern was –what was I doing in the UK – how long was I going to be here – how long I knew the people I was visiting – what was my profession. I thought the profession question was a little odd but I got asked it again when I returned to the states. I guess if you give them the wrong profession answer you don’t get in and have to spend your time in a little room getting questioned. The Sunday I left Jacky called me and told me that there was a one in a million chance that she wouldn’t be picking me up at the airport that she had son duties to take care of. I get my bag’s walk through the airport and see a driver holding a sign saying “Stamcer” I walked up to the guy and said if that is supposed to be “Stancer” then that is me. He laughed and off I was on my taxi ride to meet my new friend Jacky.
I’ve talked to Jacky a million times on messenger, couple times on the phone and when I showed up at her village she was there waiting with open arms. What a great welcome and a lovely village!
My adventure begins. Once I got cleaned up we went for a short drive to a place where she goes to train her dogs. Jacky trains Labradors and Chesapeakes, she also runs field trials with them. This is how we hooked up; Jacky got a Chesapeake puppy from me so I was there to visit my new friends and Marie the chessy out of my male Norman. She wanted to show me the view of her house from the hillside, there wasn’t much of a view as it was foggy and drizzly. She said it was really a lovely view and that was her favorite part about living where she lives. I said “I bet it is really lovely and I can see it”, she said “I will show you a picture on the internet later”. The dogs had fun running amuck, she showed me some training techniques which were quite interesting since I also do field work with my dogs back in the states. It is quite different but also the same in some aspects.
After we were done in the field it was “Tea Time”. The English love their tea! We went to the Spread Eagle http://www.hshotels.co.uk/spread-eagle-hotel-and-spa for a champagne and tea lunch which included cakes and finger sandwiches. I was lucky enough to grab the cucumber sandwich which was very good, I thought Jacky was kidding during one of our conversations that we would have tea and cucumber sandwiches, which we did. The English décor and atmosphere was very lovely. I don’t know if English as a smell but there was a different smell that was in the English places which was a very nice smell but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. Must have been the English food cooking.
Next on the agenda was seeing the famous Cowdray Castle which had a fire long ago but most of the structure was still standing. Even know it was burnt it was still an amazing site to see. We had a nice walk around the grounds. Here is the history of the castle: http://www.violetdesigns.co.uk/cowdray_castle_ruins.htm
Now was time to have some relaxing time at the house with Jacky’s dogs. Right now she isn’t training any dogs since hunting season is started so she only had her own dogs at the house. Mara her Chesapeake who I was told either likes you or hates you loved me I think? She would talk to me and want to get up on me and be as close to me as she could be. She has a strong personality that reminded me of my first Chesapeake Brooke. I just loved her personality. Cooper is her dead grass Chesapeake and he reminded me of my boy Norman. Robby the Black Labrador was a little aloof and took some time to warm up to me. By the end of the trip I had his number and he came out of his shell and would give me kisses and let me pet him. I also got to play with her new puppy Esta who is a Black Labrador, she was 18 months old if I remember correctly and she showed me that she is a little go getter. She has the keenest to make a great field trial dog. Maybe in a few years when she gets older I will be able to take another trip to see her compete.
This was an action packed first day in the UK. I managed to make it to 11pm UK time which meant I was up for 34 hrs minus the small amount I slept on the plane over. They are 6 hours ahead of us (central time) in time, I wasn’t tired at all. I think I was relying on adrenalin to keep me going as this was a really big adventure and I didn’t want to miss out on anything.