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My Visit To Norway June 2011

Torill and Gunn - two wonderful people who were my companions and friends throughout my visit

relaxing with shelties.jpg (181415 bytes)I feel extremely grateful and privileged to have been invited by the committee of the NSSK to judge their Puppy and Veteran Show and would like to thank them most sincerely for giving me the opportunity to visit their beautiful country and see all of their lovely shelties, something I would never have been able to do had it not been for their kind invitation. As this was my first trip abroad, it was a very new and challenging experience for me and although I was really looking forward to the visit, I was also quite nervous and apprehensive. However, I need not have worried as, from the moment I arrived, I received nothing but kindness and wonderful hospitality from the Norwegian people who did everything in their power to ensure that I enjoyed my stay.

Due to experiencing a little difficulty in obtaining suitable flights, I did not arrive at Rygge airport until late Thursday evening, where I was met by Grete Olavessen and Gunn Randeberg before being driven the short distance to the home of Grete and Paul, who had kindly offered to take care of me for the duration of my stay. After a good nightís sleep, I awoke the following morning to the sound of that oh so familiar sheltie bark as the resident shelties playfully chased each other round the garden in the early morning sunshine. That was all the reassurance I needed and I instantly felt at home and knew that I was amongst friends. 

Entrance to town of Fredrikstad.JPG (212197 bytes)canons on city walls of Fredrikstad.jpg (108839 bytes)Arrangements had already been made for me to see some of the sights of Norway on Friday, so later that morning Gunn and her very good friend Torill took me into the beautiful old fortified town of Fredrikstad with its museum, quaint cobbled streets and lovely gift shops before treating me to a lovely lunch at one of the many quayside restaurants, followed by a leisurely walk along the riverside promenade.  At the end of the day I enjoyed a delicious barbeque in the warmth of the evening sunshine, surrounded by the company of other sheltie enthusiasts who, despite the language difficulties for me, made every effort to include me in the conversation with the help and excellent interpretation skills of Gunn and my hosts.

puppies at play after puppy and veteran show.jpg (137792 bytes)I awoke bright and early on Saturday morning to the sight of brilliant sunshine streaming through the bedroom window. We couldnít have asked for better weather and as I gazed through the window, I could see that preparations were already under way  for the Puppy and Veteran Show which was taking place later that morning. What a delight it was to watch the arrival of the beautiful baby puppies as they explored their new surroundings and danced around the lawn like little spring lambs.  Meantime, Torill was busy preparing and cooking some delicious waffles as well as organising refreshments for the guests, while Grete was fully engaged completing endless paperwork. Once everyone had arrived, the show opened with all the baby puppies entering the ring so that the public could choose their favourite. It was an absolute joy to watch the babies at their different stages of development  and certainly not easy to choose a favourite.

guests arriving for puppy and veteran show.jpg (136949 bytes)Then it was the turn of the 4 Ė 6 month males. The winner of this class was Krohnegardenís True To You - a lovely golden sable dog with a well placed dark eye, excellent body proportions and very good movement.  I would have liked a more definite stop and better ear carriage which would have improved his expression, but otherwise he was a promising puppy of ideal size for his age.  Second to him was the tricolour, Roikieís Little Jumper, who was also very well constructed with excellent movement, but I just felt he was a little bit too big overall which is why he had to take second place to the winner.  Next it was the turn of the 4 Ė 6 month bitches and although there were only two entries, they were two very promising puppies. Winner of this class was the charming blue merle Flinthaug Carmencita In Blue.  She was a lovely coloured blue, beautifully marked and so very well balanced with excellent construction. She had the most beautiful head and expression and it was an absolute joy to watch her move around the ring.  She completely stole my heart and I had no hesitation in awarding her best puppy in show. I later discovered that she was also chosen as the publicís favourite. Second to her was a promising tricolour, Shelteam Easy to Love, and she certainly was easy to love. She was a little bit older than the winner and more advanced in development, with a good reach of neck and nice level back. She was also very well constructed but was a little unsteady on the move and I just preferred the head and expression of the winner. In the 6 to 9 months dog class there were no entries and the winner of the 6 Ė 9 months bitch class was a very pretty sable/white - Leeland Zenith of Beauty Ė who stood alone in this class, and what a beauty she was. At just 7 months of age, she was coming nicely into coat and had the most pleasing head and expression. She had excellent front and rear angulations with a good reach of neck and correct tail carriage. A lovely puppy that shows great promise.  

veteran winners.jpg (190146 bytes)Then it was the turn of the Veterans where there were just 3 entries Ė 1 dog and 2 bitches.  The veteran dog winner was NUCH Degallo The Mavarik, a rich mahogany sable/white with a very clean one-piece head, good underjaw and nice expression.  He had a good depth of chest and was balanced on the move with a level topline, but I would have preferred better front and rear angulations and more length of tail which would have improved his overall shape and outline.  The winner of Veteran bitch class was a lovely coloured blue merle La-Min-Soís Sweet Lady who carried a wealth of coat.  She had such a sweet, feminine expression and very pleasing outline with a graceful sweep over the croup. Her movement was good and I was happy to award her Best Veteran In Show.  Second to her was a very appealing golden sable with the most beautiful head, eye and expression.  Unfortunately, she didnít have the construction and balance of the winner and, sadly, her movement let her down.

I would like to thank all of the exhibitors who trusted me enough to bring their puppies and veterans along for me to judge and for accepting my decisions with such good grace and sportsmanship. It was a real pleasure for me to have the opportunity to meet with them all once judging had been completed and to see all of their lovely shelties playing happily on the lawn whilst I enjoyed the company of such a friendly group of people who share a common interest.

Drammen show June 2011.jpg (167069 bytes)For me the fun didnít end there and the following day I attended the All Breeds Championship Show in Drammen with Grete, Gunn and Torill. Once again the weather was glorious and I had been looking forward to this day for weeks, having admired the quality of the Shelties in Sweden and Norway for quite some time. The only difficulty I had was trying to understand the judging system which is different from that in the UK, but with the help of my long-suffering hosts and their friends, breeders class drammen show.jpg (206566 bytes)whom I kept pestering with endless questions, I gradually began to understand the differences between the two systems. I was really impressed with the quality of the Shelties and could quite happily have brought one or two of them back home with me.  At the end of the Sheltie judging, I spent quite some time beside the Best in Show ring watching the various groups being judged which I thoroughly enjoyed. The atmosphere throughout the day was one of fun and enjoyment and one little Norwegian boy who was sat beside me at the best in show ring decided he would like to befriend me despite the fact that I couldn't understand a word he was saying.  I have to say he had endless patience with me as not once did he become frustrated with the fact that I was replying with what must have seemed like gobbledegook to him!  The one worry for me was that he had managed to get hold of his mum's very expensive looking camera and insisted on pressing various buttons.  Sadly his mum had disappeared to attend to her dogs and I had no way of explaining to him that he shouldn't do that as he may damage his mum's camera. I can't help wondering what his mum thought when she eventually saw all those "mysterious" photographs on her camera!  He was a little charmer though ;-)

One of the roads joining the islands.JPG (133502 bytes)Although I had originally planned to return home on the Monday, unfortunately, the earliest flight available was Tuesday, so, thanks to Torill and her willingness to ferry me around, I was able to spend another day in Norway admiring the waterwheel at Fredrikstad.jpg (219052 bytes)beautiful scenery as we went island hopping!  Unfortunately, I canít remember the names of the islands that we drove through but we eventually reached the town of Skjaerhalden. Sadly, no sooner had we arrived than it began to rain quite heavily so we decided to return to the car and view the scenery from more comfortable surroundings. However, I wasnít prepared to allow the heavy rain to prevent me from taking some photographs and I canít help wondering what the Norwegian people thought as they drove past what appeared to be a very crazy English lady standing in the middle of a bridge in the pouring rain taking pictures. Still, it was worth it and Iíve come home with some wonderful memories and photographs.

And so my visit was coming to an end and it was time for me to prepare for the return journey home the following afternoon. I spent the next morning at the home of Torill and her shelties, surrounded by beautiful woodland and lovely views stretching across open fields, with nothing more than the sound of birdsong to disturb us. Having enjoyed a delicious lunch, we then took a leisurely walk along the beach near Torillís home where we spent some very precious time together before it was time for me to return to the home of Grete and Paul in readiness for my flight home.  

View across the river at Fredrikstad.jpg (151544 bytes)Despite looking forward to returning home and meeting my shelties, friends and family again, I canít deny I was a little saddened that my visit had come to an end. I will never forget the kindness and hospitality shown to me by the people I met during my stay, particularly Grete and Paul who invited me into their home and looked after me so well during my time with them.  A special mention must also go to Gunn and Torill, for their unending friendship and for giving up so much of their time to ensure that I enjoyed my stay in Norway. Thank you to each and every one of you. Your kindness and hospitality will never be forgotten and I hope that I may have the opportunity to meet you all again in the not too distant future.