Monday, 26 September 2011

Air Traffic Control


Once  Tarquin had accepted that he had to walk on a lead he decided that he would still be the one in charge and he went everywhere at top speed  !  His first show would be interesting !!

The Scottish Kennel Club General Championship Show is held at  Ingliston on the outskirts of Edinburgh and the showground is located next to the  Airport . The trip down was interesting as hubbys car suddenly developed a major fault and so the journey was made in my sons  Mini  ...... the one that had used a sheep as an emergency braking system !  ( described in my blog " Feeling Sheepish" )  Our party consisted of  our black  Afghan Hound , Cleo , Tarquin , my 6yr old  daughter , hubby and myself  .  Now , two hours in a  Mini is bad enough , but  Tarquin insisted on making the journey perched on my knee in the front of the car , so I was buried under , what felt like , half a ton of hairy Afghan Hound .  We arrived safely and unloaded the dogs and show gear and made our way to the benching tent .  Well , hubby , daughter and  Cleo made their way ......... I was pulled along by  Tarky as he galloped at full pelt , tongue lolling out of his mouth , eager to play with every dog he passed  !

Dogs are  'benched ' at  Championship shows .  This gives them all their own private cubicle , their own little space for the day  .  Nowadays the dogs are usually secured inside large cages and are perfectly safe and comfortable and can be left for short periods of time . But in those days , the 80s , there was a metal ring at the back of each bench on which to secure your dog , using a chain which was then clipped to your dogs collar , effectively keeping them in their own individual areas . Usually dogs soon accepted this arrangement and just lay down and went to sleep until it was time for their class .

After  Tarquin had demolished his benching area and those of the dogs around him at least twice , I decided to walk him round the show ground to  'tire him out ' while hubby stayed behind to rebuild the benches .  Well I walked him and walked him and he was still like a wild thing . poking his nose into peoples show bags , leaping on smaller dogs , licking young childrens icecreams and generally trying to pull my arms out of their sockets  . I was absolutely exhausted by his behaviour and close to tears so hubby said he would take him into the show ring . I brushed Tarquin and got him all ready and he looked beautiful , his thick gold coat glowing in the sunshine and all our friends said how lovely he was .

Into the ring went the Puppy Dog class , most of them jumping and playing and enjoying themselves ! I was pleased as perhaps Tarquin wouldn't look so naughty if there were others misbehaving . There were about 18 Afghan Dog puppies of all colours positioned around the ring and the handlers got them all settled and even Tarquin stood fairly still while the  Judge went along the line , examing each one . I held my breath when it was Tarkys turn , I knew he had excellent conformation , if only the Judge could actually get to feel it ! Hubby was holding Tarquin with an iron-like grip and I watched as the Judge felt all over my lovely boy . Then hubby was asked to move Tarquin round the ring , oh goodness !  Off went Tarquin and off went hubby , hanging on gamely as Tarquin raced round like a greyhound  . He was asked to move again  and I was so excited ...... the Judge liked him !!  This time Tarquin was almost under control and moving well with head held high . It was all going well until an airplane took off from the adjacent Airport . Up went the Airplane and up went Tarquin , like some sort of rocket . He shot skyward , trying to catch the 'plane and the ringside erupted with laughter .  Hubby did not look amused and I tried to hide behind a nearby Trade stand  !!   Well to our amazement , Tarquin was awarded Second place , possibly for entertainment value  !  Ha Ha !  I was in shock and  hubbys face was a picture .  Places are awarded from 1st to 5th and the lucky five have to line up to receive their rosettes .  There was my lovely golden boy , he had done so well despite his behaviour , I was beaming .  The Judge bent down slightly to stroke Tarquin as the steward handed hubs the blue rosette . Just for a few seconds hubby was distracted and in the blink of an eye Tarquin leapt up at the Judge and grabbed his tie , almost strangling the poor chap in the process !!  I almost sank to the floor in embarrassment  and once more the spectators burst into laughter and actually applauded  Tarquin as he left the ring . Oh , goodness , he was becoming famous already  !

We had quite some time before Cleo would be shown as her class was after lunch , so we decided to have a cuppa and a sandwich ; we had been up since 5am  !  For obvious reasons we didnt dare go back to the benching area , so we found a lovely spot on the edge of the showground  , beyond the Trade stands and refreshment concessions .  Cleo , ever the lady , just lay quietly on her blanket , but Tarquin capered about in the freshly cut grass and soon he resembled a hairy compost heap . We were weary of having to hold a lead which had a whirling dervish at the other end , so hubby went off to purchase one of those long spiral spikes that you push into the ground  , we would then be able to fasten the lead to it and have some respite .  These spikes were advertised as being strong enough to hold a Great Dane , an Irish Wolfhound and probably a Sherman Tank , but 6mth old Tarquin had it pulled out of the ground in seconds  !  In despair I looped his lead around a nearby Birch tree .  It was only a sapling but looked very sturdy and at least its roots were secure in the ground  . For about 15 mins we had perfect peace . We sat in the warm sunshine , drinking our coffee and basking in our success . Tarquins rosette was pinned , ostentatiously , on my jacket , I was glowing with pride . We gazed over in the direction of the showring , watching the Afghan classes and trying to decide when we would have to start brushing Cleo.  Just then my daughter gave a little scream and I turned to see Tarquin making his way across the grass with an uprooted birch sapling bouncing at the end of his lead !!!!

                                       Oh , Tarquin !!!!............................................


  1. Hahaha! You should have written a book about Tarquin years ago! He's much much worse than Marley, as in 'Marley and Me' the book that was turned into a Hollywood blockbuster!!! "Tarquin & Me" ;) x x x x

  2. I can't read enough about Tarquin!! I keeping laughing out loud specially at the bust up benches!! My hubby has now come over and read about him because i've been laughing that much. We're both in agreement Tarquin was an amazing, fabulous boy :) xx

  3. Oh my goodness, I am going to have to go sort my make up now, brilliant!!!! More more, and I am a cat girl!!