MIDLAND BRANCH FUN DAY &
BHC CHAMPIONSHIP SHOW
Those South East branch members who travelled to Bickenhill in the West Midlands for a repeat of last year’s Basset weekend in under the sun were sadly disappointed.
From Friday afternoon, when we arrived at the venue and erected our tents, until the Sunday afternoon, the weather was relentlessly wet and cold.
But did we let the violent downpours, the bitterly cold nights under canvas, and the permanently damp clothing get us down? Was that spirit that beat the Armada and went on to paint half the globe pink squashed? Were Agincourt, Trafalgar and Waterloo forgotten?
Well actually, yes! It was bloody horrible and uncomfortable and we all moaned a lot.
Drawing by Sheila Williams ©2009.
We sat in our tents looking through
a curtain of rain across the green
site at members from other branches luxuriating in the warm, dry glow of
their caravans. Some were even enjoying themselves - we spotted a few
We band of southern brothers huddled around in the largest tent with our damp, barbecued sausages extracting what comfort we could from the odd bottle of Fursty Ferret and Chateau Domestos - wet hounds at our feet. It was like living the Norse sagas.
Saturday’s ‘Fun’ Day events took place in a large marquee.
Everyone tried to get enthusiastic about the ‘Prettiest Bitch’ and the ‘Best Apple Bottom’.
But somehow people’s hearts weren’t in it. A good lunch was available in the church hall - folk’s hair and clothes steaming under the overhead heaters; and rosettes hanging forlornly from the hound’s collars.
The prospect of a second Scott of the Antarctic night adding further to the gloom.
Which of us would crack first?
After breakfast on the miserable, wet, Sunday morning, Roy Drew stood up - as straight as he could in the confines of our tent - and announced he said he could take no more; that he was going out - and that he might be some time.
He said he was going home as soon as the judging had finished. It was a futile gesture, but none of us tried to dissuade him. After all, he would be warm and cosy in just a few hours time. For the rest of us it would be another grim night on Grimpen Mire.
However, one welcome ray of metaphorical sunshine happened during the Championship Show.
James Gwynne showed Jean Miller’s boy, Cassius in limit; and won. Then in the final, going against all the other class winners under judge, Mr Ken McLean, he won the Dog C.C. It was really exciting and a masterclass in handling - but also a bitter/sweet moment. Dusty would have been so proud of Cass.
Then, this success not being enough for James, he managed to win in limit with his own bitch, Mable. We all held our breaths as he re-entered the ring for Bitch C.C.
The judge, Mr Patrick Walden, considered carefully his line-up and, in a moment of real drama, awarded Mable the Bitch C.C. Truly incredible!
James’ two Durins C.C. winners went against each other for Best in Show, with Heather Storton handling Cassius.
After going over the hound they hadn’t seen, the two judges conferred and awarded Mable with the top prize.
Well done, James! This was a great day for you and Caroline, and also Jean. The branch can be proud in having such a superb handler and successful breeder as members.
Read more in the special feature on James and Caroline Gwynne on page 36