You know you’ve made it as a gundog trainer when you get an invitation like this!
The World Wellington Boot throwing (or welly wanging to the aficionados) Championships take place in the Somerset village of Wellington (why’s that then?) in September 2014. And we’ve been invited to put on a gundog demo during the day. Why, I hear you say? Well, it’s an obvious marriage made in heaven, don’t you think ……?
Sadly, I’ve had to say thanks, but no thanks, as we haven’t yet decided if we’ll be doing any shows at all next year, let alone ones that are about 80 miles away. We don’t charge for our performances (perhaps we should) meaning that we meet the costs of travelling from our own pockets. Last year, after 22 shows, these added up.
More fundamentally, I’m not sure my heart is in it any more. It’s a lot of hard work, which I enjoy, but I must admit to becoming stressed by it! Plus, the dogs were less than impressed with arena work and had become totally flat by the end of the season. If I had a kennel of 10 dogs (like most professional gundog demonstrators), I could ring the changes. But with only 2, it’s all a bit samey. Add to this the at times extraordinary lack of appreciation shown by some, and you can soon see why I feel a little jaded.
Shame, as a day of welly wanging sounded excellent sport! Might even have had a go myself, although I understand it’s a highly competitive sporting discipline, carefully regulated to ensure nobody is using an underweight or aerodynamically altered welly etc. Probably just as well we won’t be there!