LOWDOWN Winter 2008 page 7

NEWS HOUND
A Fun Weekend in the Midlands

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For our breed, after Crufts, the biggest day on the show calendar is the Basset Hound Club Championship Show.

This year it was held on Sunday, 8th June on the church field at Bickenhill, very close to the N.E.C. in Birmingham. The Midland Branch of the BHC hosted the event and held its Fun Day on the previous day.

(WM. In case of confusion the tent above is not the marquee but Tony and Frankie's palatial accommodation, in the event of the marquee failing it could have been used instead.)

This provided a marvellous opportunity for many of us to get out our tents and camping gear and descend en masse from all over the country upon this rural location for the weekend. Some from our branch travelled there on the Friday. As we pitched our tents, we were soon joined by others, arriving in some style, in state of the art caravans and mobile homes. The large site soon resembled a nomadic village. The heart of which was a large marquee - intended as venue for the activities should the weather turn nasty.

That first evening, a few of us in the South East enclave of the site enjoyed a barbeque with accompanying beverages in quite cold conditions. Even so, it was wonderful to relax after the long drive and the exertions of putting up our temporary accommodations and we were not too late retiring to our beds.

At exactly 4.00am a lone Basset howl from the far side of the site awoke us. This voice was immediately joined by another, then another, until this melodious chorus spread around the place. Torches were switched on and we saw that our own Nico and Pablo were just forming the sound with their mouths when our hands clasped around their muzzles. Then, as suddenly as it started the mass howl stopped and we quickly resumed our slumbers. There is nothing quite like a good night’s sleep under the stars!

On Saturday morning, many more new people arrived at the encampment in time for the Midland Branch Fun Day which began soon after noon. It was rumoured that some members had even booked into local hotels and B&Bs - which struck some of us staying under canvas as cheating.

The various games and competitions held that afternoon were fun. There was a display by the Good Citizen Dog Scheme team. This showed the various disciplines and controls the handlers have over their dogs. All this made the one hundred or so Basset Hounds and their owners watching feel a little inadequate. Still, there was always the waggiest tail contest to look forward to! Though, the omission of a sausage race brought on a few sulks and long faces. Call this a Fun Day?

The weather turned a little chilly, but by the evening the sun had re-emerged and the S.E. enclave, having grown in numbers, gathered for an al fresco meal outside the tents.

Along with the traditional burnt offering from the barbeque, several bottles of rather good wine were appraised by the group, I seem to remember that Roy Drew stuck to his favoured gin and tonic - I bet at home he wears a smoking jacket and has a centre-parting. As one can imagine, the conversation around the table was scintillating.

As the dusk encroached, “Good nights” were wished and we retreated to our little, fabric homes to the accompaniment of a dozen tent zips. I think that we all slept well, except dear Jill, who complained to us the next morning that Brian had parked their campervan on a slope - so making sleep difficult.

On the Sunday, the serious business of the club’s Championship Show began. The day was consistently hot and the camp site and large marquee had a very continental atmosphere. Around the ringside people were watching in the brilliant sunshine - all sunglasses and sun hats.

The dogs were judged by Ann Roberts from Wales, the bitches by Phil McGarry Arthurs from Northern Ireland. As you see from the show results pages S.E. branch members enjoyed some success with their hounds. It was interesting at the finale of the show that the two judges could not agree on B.I.S. The great George Johnston - who should have refereed - could not attend, so the onerous decision was made by the substitute referee, Jane Horsley. After a very thorough inspection of the two contenders, the title was awarded to the bitch, Phil Freef’s Switherland Billie Jean.  Best Puppy was Heather and Derek Storton’s Buzz Lightyear of Dereheath.

By late afternoon the showing was complete and the crowds began to leave. It had a feeling of the circus leaving town - but what a great weekend. Do think about putting this event into your diaries for next yeat - the 6th/7th June.

(Ed. Thanks to Miranda and Derek Harris for all the super photographs).

Cover of the Basset Hound Owners Club newsletter Lowdown

< class="w3-hide-medium w3-hide-large">

For our breed, after Crufts, the biggest day on the show calendar is the Basset Hound Club Championship Show.

This year it was held on Sunday, 8th June on the church field at Bickenhill, very close to the N.E.C. in Birmingham. The Midland Branch of the BHC hosted the event and held its Fun Day on the previous day.

(WM. In case of confusion the tent above is not the marquee but Tony and Frankie's palatial accommodation, in the event of the marquee failing it could have been used instead.)

This provided a marvellous opportunity for many of us to get out our tents and camping gear and descend en masse from all over the country upon this rural location for the weekend. Some from our branch travelled there on the Friday. As we pitched our tents, we were soon joined by others, arriving in some style, in state of the art caravans and mobile homes. The large site soon resembled a nomadic village. The heart of which was a large marquee - intended as venue for the activities should the weather turn nasty.

That first evening, a few of us in the South East enclave of the site enjoyed a barbeque with accompanying beverages in quite cold conditions. Even so, it was wonderful to relax after the long drive and the exertions of putting up our temporary accommodations and we were not too late retiring to our beds.

At exactly 4.00am a lone Basset howl from the far side of the site awoke us. This voice was immediately joined by another, then another, until this melodious chorus spread around the place. Torches were switched on and we saw that our own Nico and Pablo were just forming the sound with their mouths when our hands clasped around their muzzles. Then, as suddenly as it started the mass howl stopped and we quickly resumed our slumbers. There is nothing quite like a good night’s sleep under the stars!

On Saturday morning, many more new people arrived at the encampment in time for the Midland Branch Fun Day which began soon after noon. It was rumoured that some members had even booked into local hotels and B&Bs - which struck some of us staying under canvas as cheating.

The various games and competitions held that afternoon were fun. There was a display by the Good Citizen Dog Scheme team. This showed the various disciplines and controls the handlers have over their dogs. All this made the one hundred or so Basset Hounds and their owners watching feel a little inadequate. Still, there was always the waggiest tail contest to look forward to! Though, the omission of a sausage race brought on a few sulks and long faces. Call this a Fun Day?

The weather turned a little chilly, but by the evening the sun had re-emerged and the S.E. enclave, having grown in numbers, gathered for an al fresco meal outside the tents.

Along with the traditional burnt offering from the barbeque, several bottles of rather good wine were appraised by the group, I seem to remember that Roy Drew stuck to his favoured gin and tonic - I bet at home he wears a smoking jacket and has a centre-parting. As one can imagine, the conversation around the table was scintillating.

As the dusk encroached, “Good nights” were wished and we retreated to our little, fabric homes to the accompaniment of a dozen tent zips. I think that we all slept well, except dear Jill, who complained to us the next morning that Brian had parked their campervan on a slope - so making sleep difficult.

On the Sunday, the serious business of the club’s Championship Show began. The day was consistently hot and the camp site and large marquee had a very continental atmosphere. Around the ringside people were watching in the brilliant sunshine - all sunglasses and sun hats.

The dogs were judged by Ann Roberts from Wales, the bitches by Phil McGarry Arthurs from Northern Ireland. As you see from the show results pages S.E. branch members enjoyed some success with their hounds. It was interesting at the finale of the show that the two judges could not agree on B.I.S. The great George Johnston - who should have refereed - could not attend, so the onerous decision was made by the substitute referee, Jane Horsley. After a very thorough inspection of the two contenders, the title was awarded to the bitch, Phil Freef’s Switherland Billie Jean.  Best Puppy was Heather and Derek Storton’s Buzz Lightyear of Dereheath.

By late afternoon the showing was complete and the crowds began to leave. It had a feeling of the circus leaving town - but what a great weekend. Do think about putting this event into your diaries for next yeat - the 6th/7th June.

(Ed. Thanks to Miranda and Derek Harris for all the super photographs).

Cover of the Basset Hound Owners Club newsletter Lowdown

first published in LOWDOWN

editor Tony Roberts