I've learned my lesson, IF I ever going to compete in Europe again, even in the closet country to the UK, I WOULD definitely want to go at least a day earlier. This past weekend was too much, too exhausting! At the end of our last day, I was like a zombie!
I went to bed at 11pm on Thursday night, not to my plan. When you have a litter of puppies, there is always something to do and puppies do not understand the clock! We woke up around 2am, sort all the dogs out (mainly to comfort then before we leave) and the puppies heard the noise and they seek attention too! We left home at 3am to Folkstone. We caught the 5:40am train to Calais.
Gosh! I must be so out-dated! The terminal is all machine operated, there is no man at the terminal to check you in. The automatic sensor sense the car and show up my details and booking on the screen, so we just have to touch the screen to check ourselves in.
We got there plenty of time, Sizzle and Sipzie were too tired to go on the exercise area, they are spoilt, they don't do early morning! Europe is an hour ahead of us, so by the time we arrived at Calais, it was only 7:20am. It was still very dark outside. Imagine I have to drive on the other side of the road! The journey to Belgium involved a lot of screaming from me and yes, I was the one who drive too! I was glad that I decided not to tow a caravan on the wrong side of the road!
Since we have time to spend, we stopped at a service station called Mannekensvere. That gave me time to feed the dogs and let them run around for half an hour. It was a nice service station with plenty of green. I ordered a "full English breakfast" (in Belgium), I don't think I can have a Belgian waffle in the morning, no matter how much I like my sweet. Had a little nap before continue our journey into Belgium. We stopped off to see the vet to sort out the pet passport; then drove on to our hotel in Leuven.
beautiful sunrise in Mannekensvere service station
To be honest, I was very disappointed with the hotel. It's right in the city centre, there's hardly any piece of green around, all pavement. On top of that, there is no kettle in the room. I am not looking for luxurious but after a long tiring journey or a day, I fancy my cup of tea. You can't believe how desperate I was to have a cup of tea all weekend long! The hotel carpark is a nightmare too. We have to pay for the carpark, 12euros per night. We parked the car there when we got in on Friday afternoon to check in. The carpark is very tiny, the ramp is very narrow and there is not much space to turn the car around. I was struggling to leave the carpark. I am not a bad driver at all!
Sipzie and Sizzle posing in Leuven Square
Anyway, we set off to the show at 3:30pm. I've entered the dogs on Friday too. I thought it's a good idea to get them to get used to the equipment and venue before the competition starts on Saturday. Friday was a fun class, so there were other breeds apart from the shelties.
The venue is good. The surface is good for running and the audience seats are good. The exercise area is brilliant. You can take your dogs to walk miles and miles or just run around in the field. All very safe from traffic. I like their camping that they supplied electricity, they have a portable electric thingy, they put one out and it can be shared between 6-8 caravans; but I dislike their camping allocation. There is no space limit, you either have a very close neighbour or extremely close neighbours. They didn't mark out per camping spot like what we do in the UK. We, Britons are spoilt!
The Friday competition supposed to start at 6pm but their timer (radio control timer!)'s broken. We HAVE to wait for them to fix the problem. There were a lot of moaning going on, I joined the moaning group! They took forever to fix the problem. Someone has suggested we could use manual timer but the organiser insist they will fix the electric timer. Well, the competition actually begin an hour later!
Sipzie was entered as Grade 1 and Sizzle in Grade 3. Sipzie was very happy to see her breeder Miguel, she went absolutely bonkers and lost control of herself when she saw him. You can guess the rest. I don't know how I will get her attention to me when we run ...
Our first run on Friday was with Sipzie in the G1 Agility. Actually, I was very pleased with her. She gave me her full attention. I knew I have to keep her happy and keep going if she went wrong. All weekend long, her weave was awful. She just can't weave at all. I wasn't sure if I should put her back on the plank if she missed her DW, all were too much for her to cope. I decided I will let her do whatever she will do, so long her attention is on me.
Sipzie - Friday, G1 Agility
How they organised the schedule was a guess, they can change the schedule as they wish, so we have to keep look-out on the window (notice board). My second run was with Sizzle in the Open Agility. Apart from our naughty see-saw, he did great. I am really happy that he ran well after a long tiring journey, stuck in the car most of the time.
Sizzle - Friday, Open Agility
After Sizzle's run, it was about 8:30pm. I was extremely tired and I so wish to go back to the hotel for a good rest before the real competition the next day. Thank goodness, Jolanda and Joost was camping with Skye (Sing x Samber pup) who moved back to The Netherlands cooked us dinner. At least, we don't have to worry where to find food and we can bully them to make us cup of tea/coffee. Thank you Jolanda and Joost! I managed to run Sipzie in the G1 Jumping before I decided I should rest.
Sipzie's attention beginning to drift away. She knew exactly where Miguel is and she keeps looking out for him. I just don't know what to do? To take her to see him before her run or to take her away? I can't quite understand her and judge her behaviour. From this video clip, you can see she keeps turning her head to look out for him but I was very pleased with her that she run with me and never look back. I did allow her to run to find him after her run though. I thought that is a good reward for her if she really want to see him that much.
Sipzie - Friday, G1 Jumping
After this run, I really can't stay up any longer, I really need my bed, so we drove back to the hotel and missed Sizzle's Jumping run. I don't think he needs a practice run, he really is a very good boy.
first night disaster at the hotel ... to be continued