What a FANTASTIC experienced and WONDERFUL time we had at WAO. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute out there with Team England. Sizzle and I are so proud to be a Team England member. Team England made us feel very welcome and all our team-mates were ever so supportive to each other through the good times as well as the down times. They are a nice bunch of people with some International experienced and some beginners.
We started off our journey very early on Monday, 14th, dropping Sonic to Nicolina who kindly look after him for us while we travel to Belgium. The journey was uneventful to start with, everything goes as planned ... until we hit Brussels. We got stuck in car accident after car accident ... we finally arrived in the Hotel in Roosteren in Netherlands 6:45pm, their local time. We have been travel 11 hours to get there! Phew! I was exhausted. Sizzle was a good little traveller that made the entire long journey so much easier.
Sizzle has a little stretch at Folkstone Terminal before the start of a long journey
Some of our team members arrived shortly after us. Some of them arriving on Tuesday. I've learned from my experienced to International Sheltie Championship show last year in Belgium, so I'd like to give myself and Sizzle plenty of time to settle down before the competition starts. We have Tuesday free, so we walked around Roosteren to stretch our legs and to get familiar with the surroundings. We also gone into the nearby big town to stock up some food for the week.
we visited the local SPAR convenient shop a lot during our stay at the Hotel. This is Sizzle looking up for some bread rolls :) photo taken on my iPhone
We are so lucky to have a Nature Reserve closer to the Hotel, so that the dogs get to stretch their legs off lead. There was a little green area in front of the Hotel where dogs had their quick toilet trips. Sizzle was a lucky boy that got walk a lot at the Nature Reserve with me and Colin.
Sizzle at Nature Reserve walk, photo taken on my iPhone
I thought I would struggle to drive on the "wrong" side of the road but from Roosteren to Neeroeteren (the venue in Belgium); the roads were so quiet and hardly any traffic, although there were road work here and there but my Sat Nav got us there with no problem at all.
this picture was taken with my phone on Tuesday when we went into Maaseik for food shopping. There were a lot of colourful paper statue around. The dragon on the background was HUGE! It was a dull rainy day, so I didn't bring my good camera. Sizzle was a good boy to let me take a photo of him in the rain :)
you can see more of these colourful animals on the photos
Our first visit to the venue De Warre was on Wednesday when we had our first Team training. We had a two-hour training for the Team but Sizzle and I took it very easy, only do a little bit here and there to warm him up and get used to the venue and surface. We had a 30 minutes official training on Thursday. This is our first time participating Internationally, I was very lucky and glad that I have so many friendly friends that help us and guide us through.
Sizzle's first visit to the venue
Team England's Kennel area
a very tired Sizzle resting at the Team England Kennel Area after Wednesday training
We also had our Team meal at the Hotel on Wednesday evening. It was a buffet but we had the hotel stuff serving us :)
this is only part of the meal, those little beef bomb :) I am not sure why there is a pineapple and some other vegetables there. We never get to eat those veg/fruit, I think it is for display only :) I have to say the meal was really yummy. I guess we were all very hungry after 2 hours training. We burnt a lot of energy! I particularly like the seafood, king prawn and fish! There were absolutely scrumptious! I kept asking for more!!
On Thursday, everything look very official. The Team is checking in, we were all given the official paperworks such as Car Pass, competitor wrist band for security purpose, welcome kit ... etc. After the Official Training session, we went back to the Hotel to have our Team England photos taken before the Opening Ceremony.
this is our Team with dogs
very professional looking :)
300 height Division:
L to R: Lee & Bonnie, Marilyn & Tia, Dave & Caeyn, me & Sizzle, Tamsin & Albie
400 height Division:
L to R: Nancy & Zeki, Gwen & Mud, Bernadette & Zaz, Gary & Ellie
525 height Division:
L to R: Martin & Flash, Jo & Bitz, Leslie & Fizz, Karen & Puzzle
650 height Division:
L to R: Katie & Cooper, Ian & Bobbie, Nikki & Yam, Leah & Herbie, Shaun & Phix
and here is the Shelties Power from Team England :)
Team England needs these three very important persons to make us a GREAT Team!
L to R: Team Manager Jo Rhodes, Team Therapist Tace Allan-Hunt, and Team Coach Anthony Clarke.
and here we are, me and sizzling star!
WE ARE READY!
Part 2 - competition
coming up soon ...