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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, 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 ;-)
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 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.
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.
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.