My UK Adventure – Day 8

My UK Adventure – Day 8

This morning is my last morning in the UK, for the last of my trip I got to spend the morning with Marie in the park. Steve took me to the park near their house so he could do a little training with Fender and Marie. He wanted me to see how Marie was doing before I went back to the states. The dogs get to come to this park quite often as there aren’t many spots to take your dogs to do any running let alone any training. They are fortunate that they have a couple of parks nearby their house where they can take the dogs and they work out  quite nicely since there are trails threw out the woods so you can toss marks and have the dogs retrieve in a straight line. There are open meadow areas where they can do marks or blind work.

I had great fun watching and taking pictures of the dogs working. This was another highlight of my trip; the time I spend with Marie was priceless. She is such a different dog than my own Gambler who is her brother. I raised both of them from 7 weeks to 7 months when Marie went over to the UK. When Marie and Gambler were growing up I called them the Terrorist as they would get into everything. I know now that it was mainly Gambler and Marie was just following along. She is the sweetest most quite dog ever. All she wants to do is please you and love on you. In the UK your dog needs to be very obedient and make no noise when competing, well Marie has that licked. Hopefully she will do well with her field work overseas. I can’t tell you how proud I am as a breeder to have a dog out of my breeding overseas. It’s something that one only dreams of and now I am living the dream as well as Marie.

Training time was done and time for me to grab my bags and head to the airport. Zoe was nice enough to take time off to drive me to the airport so I didn’t have to take the train by myself. We weren’t sure if my plane would be taking off or not since Hurricane Sandy was reaching the East Coast of the states and flights were being cancelled. The internet said my plane was on time so we shall see.

I said my goodbyes to Steve and Fender. I said my goodbyes and gave big hugs and kisses to Marie. I got in the car, Steve sat Marie he crouched down next to her and held up her right paw and waved her paw goodbye to me as Zoe was backing out of the driveway. At that moment a tear was shed. I was leaving my girl for the second time. It was bittersweet as I was leaving her with 2 people that loved her so much and I left knowing I would always have my memories of our time together.

We made it to the airport and my flight was on time. I hugged Zoe and thanked her for the great hospitality and great time. A friendship was made between 3 friends and I.

I boarded the plane and was ready for my 8 hr flight home. As the plane was taxing down the run way and I was staring out the window I thought to myself as I was watching London go behind me that I was one lucky girl to be able to have taken a trip of a life time and that it was. I have many people to thank for making this trip possible. Without great friends, family co-workers this wouldn’t have happened. This was indeed something I could cross off my bucket list but I’ve decided that I’m not crossing it off my bucket list until I make my return trip which I hope is very soon.

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My UK Adventure – Day 7

My UK Adventure – Day 7

Today’s adventure was going downtown London (if there is a downtown London) and do some shopping, walking, more shopping, more walking. We took the train again into London but got off at a different station, from that station we then got on the underground subway. This was my first time on a subway also and it was kinda neat. We would get on then we would get off and get on another subway so that we were on the right one to get us to our final destination. I realized that a parent should use all their spare time taking their kids on subway rides and teach them from little on how to read the subway maps so they know how to do it as an adult. This subway trip was incredible, there were so many people so many subway cars and I didn’t have one clue as to where or what I was doing. Zoe did tell me that I would need to check my nose as I would have black boogers. Glad she filled me in on that, wouldn’t want to be walking around London with black boogers.

Our first stop was the famous Harrods shopping center. This is a shopping center with 7 floors totally the equivalence of 4.5 acres. That’s a lot of shopping in one building. The top floor had a small gun room where they had maybe 20 guns. The first gun I looked at was 84,000 pounds, which would be $134,000. Too much for me! The clothes I looked at also on the top level were way more then I would want to spend on my clothes. This place is for the ritzy ritz. It was interesting to look at all the nice stuff but need less to say I didn’t buy anything except gifts in the gift store. One of the floors had a really nice food area where they had all there specialty foods. They had a room with all their desserts, a room with all their coffee, fruit section, meat section, pasta section. I found it odd that people would go there and get there specialty foods rather than go to a grocery store which seemed easier. I guess if you want the best then you brave the crowds and traffic and go there.

From Harrods we got on the subway again and went to Covent Garden Market. This was an old part of town that still exists today. It used to be a farmers market till all the farmers markets became extinct and shopping centers moved in. It was a nice old world atmosphere with many different restaurants to eat at. Jacky joined us for lunch at Covent Garden’s; she took the train also so she didn’t have to deal with traffic and people. It took her 3 hours to get there from her place in the country since part of the train stations were closed down she had to take a bus for part of it. I thought that it was very nice of her to take that kind of time out of her day to come have lunch with me and say good bye, which meant a lot to me. We had a very nice lunch and then Jacky was off to catch the train again back home. She said there were too many people in the city for her and she was right. Talk about people there were tons of people. I’m not sure how many of them were tourists like me but there were tons. We walked and seen all the sites of London shopping. I saw the building where the Movie premiers are played at, saw the big billboard where companies advertize their businesses and you can see the billboard during televised events. Crossed over Carnaby Street and had to take a picture of the road sign. We went past the China Town of London, got pastries from a little café on the corner.

While we were on our walking tour I walked past a Weimaraner with a tail and had to take a double take as then I remembered the dogs in Europe can’t have docked tails or cropped ears like they can in the states. Another thing I had to make sure I got a picture of since I am a Veterinary Technician and work in a clinic that see’s patients with docked tails and cropped ears.

I didn’t buy much while on my shopping trip except gifts for my friends. Steve and Zoe saw that I wasn’t buying any souvenirs for myself so they bought me a souvenir plastic duck that had a British flag on it so I had a memento of my time overseas.  I thought that was very lovely of them!

We took the train back home and enjoyed chili that Zoe made that was amazing! We watched TV and I turned them on to CSI Miami which they tell me now they are addicted to.

This was another amazing day and once again Steve and Zoe did a fabulous time showing me the sites of London. One of the best parts was coming home to hang out with Marie. She is such a love!

Here is a youtube picture video of my trip to London:


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My UK Adventure – Day 6

My UK Adventure – Day 6

Today I woke up at Steve and Zoe’s lower level flat with Marie and Fender there to greet me. I became friends with Steve and Zoe thru face book and Jacky. Marie is living with them now as she was getting lost in the pack at Jacky’s. She needed a smaller household in order for her training to take off. When I planned this trip to the UK it was to meet Jacky, Steve, and Zoe and to see Marie once again since she left my household earlier this year. Jacky lives in the county so I spent the first part of my trip there to enjoy the county life and then the last part of my trip was with Steve and Zoe in the city so I could enjoy city live in the UK. It was the best of both worlds for a trip, to meet up with newly made friends and be able to see both types of living. I couldn’t ask for a better trip.

The day started with breakfast at McDonalds, oh how I was missing McDonalds. I went from eating McDonalds once a day to 7 days of withdrawals. Their egg McMuffin was on an English muffin which was so much better than the hard biscuits in the states. After breakfast we had a busy day ahead of us. First I had Steve take me to the nearest Harley Davison store so I could get T-Shirts for my Harley friends back in the states that said London on them. Then it was off to London it was for all the touristy activities. Steve and Zoe wanted to make this a memorable trip for me and had our day all outlined so I could get the most out of the two days I was spending with them. The first experience was the train ride. I have never been on a train or to a train station. I had to learn that when I stuck the ticket into the meter and walked thru the revolving thing a maginy  that I needed to grab my ticket as it came out the top of the device so I could get back on the train to come home. They live only 15 minutes from London so the ride wasn’t that long. Most people take the train because there are just so many people living there so not many places to park cars; it also saves on pollution and saving the environment.

We arrived at the London station and our tour began. We started by going to the London Bridge Experience: The London Bridge Experience & London Tombs is one of London’s top award winning attractions offerings its visitor’s two attractions in one offering both history and horror.

Take a gruesome trip through the dark history of London’s most famous bridge that includes bloody Roman soldiers, giant rats but be sure to keep your head when you meet the executioner! Then plunge into a former plague pit; the London Tombs where your pulse will race and your throat will grow sore from screaming at the UK’s top scare attraction!

I love haunted houses so this was a great attraction for me to see. I started out being the leader because Steve was afraid of the dark but by the time we made it to the tombs then somehow Steve got in the lead then Zoe and I. We all had to hold on to the person’s shoulders in front of us. The goblins would jump out and scare us and I would start laughing because I knew what was happening or going to happen and the others were screaming. When we would hit another dark area Steve would go “please don’t touch me”, “please don’t touch me” then they would jump out and scare him! I was enjoying watching Steve and Zoe go through this. The scenes were all set up so scary and real like along with the chainsaw scene, a haunted house isn’t complete without its chainsaw scene. It was an amazing haunted tomb.

From there we walked the streets to the London Bridges.

The sites were breath taking. I saw the London Bridge, the Tower Bridge, a London Hospital, and City Hall which was a round unique building made of glass then I saw the tallest building in London called the Shard which was all glass also.

The biggest tourist attraction was The Tower of London. We had to stand in line forever for tickets then when touring the castle people were all over the place. The castle was really cool being old and all but they didn’t have the artifacts or room set ups like in the castle that I visited the other day. They had signs hanging on the wall with pictures that explained what room you were in. The main attraction was the Crown Jewels. Everyone made sure they visited that. What a crazy mad house that was. You went into the building where the Crown Jewels were and then you would go into a big room and then threw a normal size door into another big room. Everyone thought that they were not going to see the Crown Jewels so they were pushing and shoving to get threw that doorway faster than the other person. That did not make the experience fun at all. Finally made it to the Crown Jewels and low and behold they were still there, no one stole them after all. They were a magnificent site to see but not worth someone getting hurt over. Checking out the part of the castle with the armor, swords, guns, canons, and life size horses over the years and how they changed in appearance was really cool.

Next was lunch time so they took to me a hopping burger place. We went to Byron’s Hamburgers.

It’s known for its great hamburgers and they were delicious. The onion rings were better than any onion rings I’ve had in the states. I think it was their secret green seasoning that I seen in the batter on the rings. They also had micro brewed beers.

After lunch our walking tour continued this time we were walking around London seeing all the sites around the Queens house. We say Charles & Camilla’s house on our way to the Queens house. The British flags were up and down the road that leads to the Queen’s house, once we reached her house with the many other tourists it was a site to see. The gates to the property were a site to see in themselves. The Queen’s place was hugh and the water fountain in front of her place was amazing. It was a nice place for tourists to stop and get some really nice photo’s since you really couldn’t get up and personal with her house. There was one light on in an upper room of the house and I believe I seen the Queen way to me but I couldn’t be for sure. We walked on the opposite sidewalk for the rest of the journey. You could see the London Eye and Big Ben from a distance. There was a wooden fence along the sidewalk and I said “with all the queens money you would think she could afford a decent fence” Steve and Zoe laughed at me and said that was probably left over from the Olympics just like the barricades that were still out on the sides of the streets. We saw ministry of defense buildings, museums, The Common Wealth building and many other historic buildings. It was all the stuff I seen on TV during London broadcasts and I couldn’t believe I was finally there seeing it all with my own eyes. I did find out that if you need to go to the bathroom you need to pay to use the public toilets. Guess I shouldn’t have drank that beer as I had to ask Zoe for change so I could use the toilet.

We walked past Big Ben and that was another amazing site. If I didn’t get to see any other historic part of London I would have been fine with that as long as I seen Big Ben. When the sun was going down the face of the clock lit up and had a beautiful glow to it.

Another site I wanted to see was the London Eye. Zoe hadn’t been on the London Eye either so it was nice to share in the experience.

We went at night and saw it at prime nighttime and it was a beautiful site to see all the different lights of London and to be able to pick out the different buildings. It was raining when we went so the pictures didn’t turn out. I have the memories in my mind that will last a lifetime.

Back to the train station and home to play with the pooches for the rest of the night. What a fabulous day and great tour guides!

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My UK Adventure – Day 4 & 5

My UK Adventure – Day 4 & 5

 Today was another day I was waiting 5 months for. An English driven pheasant shoot, I was so excited to see how the English hunt their pheasant. I hunt pheasants in America so this was going to be a real treat.

 This is a English driven pheasant shoot thru the eyes of a traveling American, I may have this all wrong as I’m not good at remembering what I was told but I will give it a try.

 Jacky is a dog handler at these shoots and uses her dogs as well as sets up other handlers with their dogs to help pickup. This is a job for them as the hunt club pays them for their time. This is how it goes down (again this might be all wrong but it is my story and I’m sticking to it). There is a hunt club, the hunt club buys baby pheasants and English partridge each spring, this can be around 30,000 birds more or less. The pheasants are raised by game keepers that have 5 ft chicken wire fence around a wooded area that has no net on top. The pen will also have an electric fence around 2 ft of the bottom of the pen to keep predators out. There are various game keepers in hence various properties’ to hunt on. The game keepers take care of the birds by having cover crops on their agricultural land; they have bird feeding stations positioned around their property as well as the feeding stations in the pen. The birds are placed in the pen, they grow and when able to fly they can fly over the 5 ft chicken wire to outside the pen. They can go wherever they want but usually stick around in the cover crops around the pen. They learn to go to the feeding stations outside the pen for food and water and learn to fly back to the pen when need be.

 The English hunting season is October thru February. They can hunt each day but Sunday. The day is picked, the hunters are picked, the location is picked, the beaters are picked, the handler and their dogs are picked and the hunt is on. For those of you that don’t know who the beaters are, they are a group of 25-35 people that get hauled out to a field to walk thru the field with sticks and flags beating the cover crop chasing the birds to the shooters. The shooters are usually positioned near the bird pen so that the birds are flushed up and over the shooters and can go back to the pen for safety. The shooters are positioned in the field spread out in a line with maybe 20-30 yards between each one, they may be positioned in a valley so the birds fly over them at great height so it is a challenge for the shooters to shoot them, the maybe positioned in a little strip of grass between 2 woods or they may be staggered through out a open field, whatever is available that day on that property. They are donned in their English attire, have their expensive guns, some have little seats to sit on while they wait and their ammo. Ear protection is optional but after seeing what goes on and how many times they shoot I would wear hearing protection. So the drive begins, the beaters are doing the beating and in no time the birds start a flying, then the steel starts a flying. This is the most amazing thing to watch as literally hundreds of birds can fly over the shooters at one time. Birds are dropping out of the sky like you wouldn’t believe if the shooters shooting eyes are on. They may be a lapse in shooting as they wait for more birds to come over, or there may be no lapse as the birds are plentiful. When the beaters have walked thru the field and are done they blow a horn to alert the shooters that they are done and no more shooting. This would be a safety measure I would think. The shooters are also safe by not shooting the low flying birds and only sticking to shooting the high flyers, plus that gives the sport more of an advantage to shoot the harder birds.

 The handlers and their dogs are positioned around the shooters in different locations so that the entire field behind the shooters is covered. The dogs usually don’t go pick up the birds in the field while the shooters are shooting unless there is a bird near them that is a cripple and getting away. The shooters pick up the birds in the field as they are easy picking and the dogs are used to retrieve the birds that have landed in the woods or that have made it back to the bird pen and have died in the pen. A handler may have any number of dogs with them so that the dogs can cover more ground and keep up with retrieving as there are a couple different locations that the shooters go to in one day. The number of birds shot can vary to as to how good the shooters are that day and how many birds are in the fields being flushed to them. The day’s I went along 300 birds were shot each day. The day I left Jacky tells me that 600 birds were shot so it just depends. Jacky’s dog Mara was a hoot to watch, this lives for this game and if a bird lands in a tree she will stand by the tree and bark at the bird trying to scare it down. When the bird won’t come down she will either climb the tree to get at the bird or she will start grabbing low limbs and pull on them to shake the bird loose. Cooper was a joy to watch also as he is older and he reminded me of my boy Norman who would nonchalantly go about his business sniffing out the birds and oh all of a sudden here one is and bring it back to Jacky. Thursday when I went I was an observer and video taker. Jacky had Mara, Cooper and the pup I bred Marie picking up birds. I got to see Marie work in the UK. On Friday I got to stand by myself with Marie in the field and I got to run Marie that is one memory I will forever cherish. On Friday Jacky’s other dog Robby who is Marie’s age 1 ½ years old got to come along on his first hunt. He wasn’t so keen yet as to what was going on but after a couple of hunts he will have it down pat no problem.

Jacky and Marie

The Gang

 In between hunts breaks and lunch are taken. Each group will stick to their own groups, the beaters will do their thing, the shooters will do their thing and the handlers will do their thing. I believe the shooters will have a meal for them at the club house on the game keeper’s property and will have lunch there. The beaters and handlers eat out in the field. I was in the handlers group and each person brought something to eat and their tea or coffee as well has some homemade sloe gin. I realize that sloe gin was the drink of choice there. The food that was brought was sausages of some kind. I had a couple different sausage rolls which were delish even know they were cold, warm sausages that were in honey and mustard. There were also pastries called cheese sticks or something like that as well as cookies or chocolate or whatever one brought. The fondest memory is watching a handler go to their land rover (that is the handling vehicle of choice) come back with an English shot glass holder and some slow gin. While we were all standing around eating it was customary to have a shot of slow gin, or two or three. The two days I was there it was cold and raining so the slow gin warmed me up for a brief period of time. After our lunch was done we moved to another field and did it all over again.

 The handlers will carry yellow string with them and once they have their birds collected they will put two birds on a string, one on each end and sling the string over their shoulders and carry the birds out. I found out that this is so they can then hang the birds in the bird wagon when it comes around and so they can have an easier time counting the birds. All the birds have to be counted so they know what to charge the shooters. Some days the shooters can pay around 3000.00 pounds to shoot. It’s not a cheap sport by any means. After the birds are counted then a game dealer will come along and buy the birds and then resell them to the local restaurants or butchers. This whole hunting season and the way they do it is a source of income for many. I even got paid 40 pounds for handling Marie on Friday. Not bad for an American in a foreign land (do I need to claim that on my income tax?).

Mara and her 2 birds.



I wasn’t able to get may pictures as my camera battery was dead and the video camera didn’t take good pictures. I did get some great video of the hunts even know it was foggy and raining the day’s I went with but nonetheless it all turned out fine. Here is a link to the video:

 Thursday night Jacky took me to The Three Horseshoe for supper. It is an English pub walking distance from Jacky’s house. I had bangers and mash with onion gravy. Oh my… was it out of this world good. For dessert I had berry crumble with custard. The custard was warm and you poured it on top of your berry crumble another out of this world good experience. My memory of this place was that it was a true English pub with the English atmosphere; English pictures on the wall, English candle on the table and of course the slow English service. It was such a relaxing dinner, so peaceful and the company was great!

 Friday night Steve and Zoe met Jacky and I at her house, from there we went to a Thai restaurant and had another nice dinner with great company once again. After dinner we went back and packed up Marie and my suitcases and off I was to spend time in London.

My UK Adventure – Day 3

My UK Adventure – Day 3

 Today Jacky and I started the day out by going to an English restaurant and having a true English breakfast. She asked me if I wanted an English breakfast and I said “sure”, not know what I might be getting myself into. The big platter of food came and let me tell you it was a big platter of food. There were baked beans (probably not called baked beans over there), friend mushrooms, 2 pieces of bacon (bacon there is round and not in strips), 2 sausages, 2 eggs and toast. I was very surprised by the beans and mushrooms on my breakfast plate. I like both of them and wasn’t complaining but just thought it was an odd combination. The sausage has such a different taste then the American sausage, must be their secret spices. I really loved the taste of the sausages. The whole plate of food was delicious and of course I ate it all along with my cappuccino. Since we ate so much for breakfast the next thing on the agenda was to tour the local castle and walk off our breakfast. The whole time Jacky has been living their she hasn’t ever toured this castle which I thought was odd but then I thought back to the places in Wisconsin that I have never went to and I live right there but others who come to visit want to see these places.

 We went to the town called Arundel and toured the Arundel Castle. Here is a expert taken from their website. You can read more about it by following the link.  

 “The seat of The Dukes of Norfolk and set in 40 acres of sweeping grounds and gardens, Arundel Castle has been open to visitors seasonally for nearly 200 years. It is one of the great treasure houses of England, each having its own unique place in history and is home to priceless works of art. Come and see paintings and furniture, tapestries and stained glass, china and clocks, sculpture and carving, heraldry and armour in stunning room settings.”

 This was an amazing site to see. To see a real live castle that is still being occupied by family members. They opened this castle up to the public so they could generate some income to offset the cost of maintaining it. I couldn’t even imagine what it cost to maintain the castle or even heat the castle. It is hugh. We toured the keep which was a lot of walking, so many different areas of the keep and different stairways that were very small and many winding steps. There were different props set up to give you the feeling that you were there and knew what it was like back in the day. Not a period of time that I wanted to live through but to each its own. My favorite part of the keep was the dungeon where they kept the prisoners, they also used that deep dark hole as there fruit/vegetable cellar. Another favorite part was the hole in the wall that they said was their toilet, they put a wooden seat over a hole in the side of the wall and you used that as your toilet and the waste just went outside the castle where it rotted away. Got pretty stinky and attracted rodents and flies in the summer.

 The next part of the tour was the castle itself with all its artwork, amazing woodwork, and decorations. The set ups in these rooms were real and not props. The décor was unbelievable. The weapons and armor they used were on display, a lot of item from back in the day were on display. We couldn’t tour the whole castle as the family members wanted their private spots kept private but what we did get to see was so indescribable and so very lovely. The armoires were beautiful, vases and collectable were just perfect. Some of the real artifacts of the kings and queens are still on display in the castle. It’s something that everyone should see, that’s all I can say about it. You won’t be disappointed on this tour.  

 From the castle tour we went to The Black Rabbit for tea time or should I say beer thirty.  I had one of their home brewed beers, sat outside by the river overlooking the castle and watched the beautiful swan family swimming in the river below.

From there we were on our way to go pick up Marie. Marie is out of my Sand Spring Chesapeake lines bred from my stud Norman. I raised Marie until she was 7 months old; at that time she was able to enter the UK without any quarantine. The UK doesn’t have rabies and they don’t want any rabies so they have very strict import rules. I was just delighted when Jacky told me she wanted a puppy from my lines. An American puppy going to live in the UK, who wouldn’t be happy about that? Marie is co-owned by Jacky and I but lives with Steve and Zoe. We met up with Steve and Zoe and it was time to see if Marie remembered me. I got out of the car went over to Marie said hi to her, hugged her and she gave me a big kiss. I guess I would say she remembered me. We packed up Marie in the car and away we went back to Jacky’s. On our way back home we stopped for another English meal, fish and chips. Another fabulous meal. Everyone in the states told me I needed to have fish and chips that it was a must. I’m so glad I did as it was very tasty. I wish I knew what they did to it to make it so yummy but I know if I tried to make it at home it would be a flop. Guess I have to make another trip….oh darn!

 Back at the ranch Marie hung out with her old playmates Mara, Cooper and Robby. She just adored Robby and I think she was very happy to see her buddy again. After play time was done then she curled up in a ball right next to me on the couch and again I knew she remembered me. I was in my glory, was in a foreign land that is absolutely beautiful, was with a great friend and had my puppy (who now is not a puppy but 17 months old), life couldn’t be better.

 Off to bed for us.  We got a big day ahead of us tomorrow. We are going on an English driven pheasant shoot; we are the handlers for the shoot so we need our rest for all the retrieving that is going to take place. Nighty night!

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My UK Adventure – Day 2

My UK Adventure – Day 2

 Today we got up early and hit the road for a 2 hour drive to an English field trial that was taking place today. Jacky runs her dogs in field trials but not this day. The way the English field trials work is they take place during their hunting season. You send in an application to run a field trial, your name gets put in a draw with about 100 other names. Out of 100 names only 10-12 names get drawn, you then need to let them know if you are going to participate or not. If you can’t run that day they will then draw another name, this all may be done the day before the trial. The trials may be a distance away like 5 hours so one must have their gear loaded and ready for the trip if you get called. Your name doesn’t get drawn very often so you take it when you can get it. The field trials are correlated with the English shoots which are the gunners shooting the pheasants, the beater who are the guys that walk through the fields pushing the pheasants to the gunners with their sticks and flags beating the cover, the participants in the field trial, the extra dog handlers and their dogs to pick up the extra birds, the markers who mark where the birds go down and tell the judges,  the game keepers that take care of all the pheasants, the dealers who buy the pheasants and resell them to the local butchers or restaurants. This isn’t a cheap sport but an interesting one for an American.

 We arrived at the field where the field trial was taking place. There were guys and gals participating in today’s event, they were all made up in their English attire which was either brown or green tweed clothes. I stuck out like a sore thumb with my brown old duck camo rain suit. They understood when Jacky introduced me as her friend from America. They were all very warm and welcoming. The participants mingled with the shooters and the handlers, the beaters were already out and about corralling the birds. The one thing that sticks out in my memory was seeing the shooters standing outside drinking their tea or coffee in a true tea cup and saucer. I was in a whole other culture which I never experienced before and it was so surreal. I really enjoyed hanging back and listing to the English talk and admired their accents. I smiled and giggled inside when a English man was telling a story to a English gal and she would throw her head around and go yea, yea, yea, yea,yea while he was talking. It was like she was telling him to get on with his story or was being polite and saying yea, yea, yea instead of piss off!  

 Off we went to follow along and watch the trial. The first part of the test was their version of a walk up. What that entailed was the participants, shooters, judges, markers all stood in a line spread out from each other and they would walk through a sugar beet field flushing up the birds as they walked. Let me tell you it isn’t easy to walk on sugar beets, they are slippery devils when wet.  When a bird got up the shooters would shoot the bird, the markers would mark the bird down and the participant dogs all needed to sit quietly as this was all going on until the judge released one of the dogs to go pick up the mark. Sometimes there might not be any birds in the field, so you dog might not get to retrieve anything. After the shooters shoot the birds and the markers tell the judges where a bird is then the judge will tell one participant with their dog the general area of the fall and the dog needs to stay in that area and retrieve the bird. If it can’t find that bird then it is eliminated, and the next dog in line gets to try and find the bird. If the dogs can’t find the bird and the judge goes over there and finds the bird then both dogs get eliminated and it is called a judges eye wipe.

 After the walk up was done everyone piled into a covered wagon and was taken to the next field. This was a wide open harvested field. The shooters had their spots where they stood in the field the participants and judges stood in the line fence and waited until all the shooting was done. This was an amazing site. The beaters were walking through the adjacent fields and were pushing the birds to the shooters. The birds were flying over by the hundreds. The birds had to be high enough to shoot as they wouldn’t shoot and any low fliers for the safety off all the people at the trial. The dogs had to continue to sit next to their handler and not move or make any noise. The dogs are all off leash. Once the judge has seen that your dog completed that part of the test then they excuse you and you can leave the line. Once all the shooting is done then the markers tell the judges where the birds went down and the field trial begins again. There were four judges and they each had two participants and dogs assigned to them at one time. At one point two judges would tell the participants what to do and two judges would be down in the field where the birds were and would judge the dogs when they would be down by the birds. The retrieves may be in the open field, they may be in the next field which was in full cover, and they may be in the woods you never knew where the judge was going to have you send your dog. When it was time to run one dog would run and the other dog would be off leash sitting next to his handler watching. The judge would say there is a bird down by that big oak tree at the end of the field I want your dog to pick that one up. The participant would then send their dog and handle their dog to the mark in the straightest line possible, once in the area the dog needed to hunt a very tight area so it wouldn’t run amuck and just pick up any bird down since there may be many birds in the area. If the dog picks up a different bird it isn’t necessary out it is just graded down. If the judge tells you to get your dog in the woods and your dog doesn’t go into the woods then it gets eliminated. They keep running the dogs until they have a good idea as to which one is going to win the competition. They may have a trial where no dogs win.

 There was one more field we went to and the shooters shot the birds and the dogs continued to compete. The judges had seen all the dogs work and had a good idea who the winner was so they called the test done. After it was done everyone hung around and had tea or coffee, cakes or cookies and mingled with each other. At this time the judges asked me if the American field trials were anything like this and I said “not at all” I went on to explain how ours were run. They asked if theirs or ours were harder and I had to say that the American field trials are much harder.  After that was done it was time to load up in the wagon and go back to the club house for the results. It has been a raining season and was raining today so the fields were soft. The wagon we had ended up getting stuck and it wasn’t going anywhere’s. As it was turning around and getting stuck a gal got out of what would be our driver’s side door and I said to Jacky “it isn’t no wonder that truck and wagon got stuck a lady was driving” she looked at me and then I go “oh….she wasn’t driving, you guys don’t drive on that side of the vehicle”. Jacky just laughed at me as I couldn’t get used to the way they drove over there.

 Back at the club house there was more tea, coffee and snacks. The secretary had nice words to say to everyone and had nice gifts for the judges which I think were bottles of booze. The winner was announced; a nice yellow lab male won the field trial today. Jacky was glad we stuck around to find out who the winner was as she had her eye on that male and is thinking he would be a good match to her dog, well he just proved himself today.

 This was an amazing day. I’m so glad Jacky had this day planned as it was very interesting to see how they so field trials across the pond being that I run my dogs in American trials this was a wonderful experience. My favorite part was watching the judges and markers point their walking sticks in the direction of the falls and have a discussion as to where the bird was. Everyone had walking sticks but me. I felt alittle out of place. I really enjoyed myself despite the rain and cold weather. Off to Starbucks to warm up on the ride home.

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My UK Adventure – Day 1

This is the first of many parts of:My UK Adventure

 10/22/12 – 10/29/12

 Day One

 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  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:

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.