Oops, I've not updated the blog for a couple of weeks. December seems to slip by really quickly and now it's only five days to Christmas!
Al and Andy had a second weekend working on the studio and have made huge progress. The floor joists are all in and they have put up timbers to support the end wall. They worked really hard to get this far and were very lucky with the weather. No more will happen now until after New Year but we are further on than I imagined.
Al always wants to achieve to a certain point and will not stop working until he has reached that goal. Hence last Sunday they were still working under flood lights. Here are some pictures of men at work in the dark!
So, you can imagine with work running on to this time of night we got through a lot of biscuits, tea, cake etc.
On the Saturday of last weekend I went along to Leah's pre-Christmas simulated show. It was pretty cold but we had a great time with warm mince pies and wonderful mulled wine. Mind you I only had a tiny sip as I was driving. I was worn out by the end of it as we had four runs with each dog. I must admit I chickened out of the last two runs and Bernadette ran Zeki and Karen ran Niamh. Mind you I didn't gain much as the timing didn't work for Bern's run with Zeki so she had to re-run and I opted to do the re-run.
It was lovely to see my girls running and they both worked really well. Zeki was a little unsure as she's never run with anyone else but she got on with the job; Niamh was brilliant and ran flat out for Karen and put in a very similar time to my run with her. I elected to train my agility rounds with both dogs and ran for competition in the jumping classes. Both my girls were brilliant and ran clear both times (in fact Zeki ran the course clear three times!) and we won the large and medium juumping. Here is a link to Zeki's jumping round kindly taken by Gran'Ma. The course was absolutely huge and one of those which I had real difficulty getting into my brain. I eventually got it but it was an effort! It was a long way round and the surface isn't the easiest to run on as it's very deep in places. Still, my theory is that if I can run a half decent round on that surface I should be able to do better on a good surface! Zaz and Yazz ran at the competition and they were both fantastic. In fact they ran before Zeki and I was really nervous running my more experienced dog as I didn't think I would do half as well. As it happened my dog was brilliant and I learned not to doubt her!
On Sunday I took myself off to Golden Cross for the Just Minis show. I'm glad I went as it gave us a bit more indoor ring experience and I was back home by mid-day which was good as it was pretty cold and wet. I was pleased with Zeki even though we failed to get a clear round. I made a mistake in each round which cost us the clears. In both cases I failed to get a front cross in as she was further ahead of me than I expected (this is good, I think!) and so my rear crosses were subsequently too late and in the wrong place and pulled her off the next obstacle. Live and learn. Her weaves were fantastic, totally independent and fast, good A-Frame and better dog walk. Still need to practise the dog walk more. Had planned to do so this weekend but it's impossible for reasons which will be become clear in the next paragraph!
From around Monday we kept getting weather warnings about snow. We tend to take it with a pinch of salt as ever since the hurricane in 1987 the weather forecasters have been a bit over the top with their warnings. They completely failed to forecast that big storm and so now they have to warn you just in case. Anyway, the snow arrived on Wednesday exactly as forecast. When we went to bed we had a bit of a covering but it stopped just before we went to bed. You can see from the night time pictures that it was just a covering.
We went to bed expecting it to be melted in the morning but we awoke to much more snow. Obviously there had been quite a lot during the night and it was freezing so wasn't really melting. In fact it's still hanging around now (Sunday) as the air is so cold. We had another covering last night which topped up where it had begun to melt.
I felt really sorry for our friends preparing to travel up to Olympia as some of them were snowed in. Luckily they managed to get out and all got there safely. Well done to Elspeth & Jack for winning the pairs along with Tasha on the Saturday afternoon and to Al and Jack getting into the final. I felt even sorrier for Karen and Todd as I know how much they'd been looking forward to their first time at Olympia together. Such a shame that Todd went lame the night before, I hope he'll be back to normal soon and look out 2010 as this partnership will be back with a vengeance!
On Friday I took the dogs for their usual walk. Half way round I was regretting it as the snow was really deep across the fields especially where it had drifted in the strong wind. The shelties were up to their chests in snow and my legs ached from having to lift so high with each step. At one point Kizzy refused to walk and when I checked her out she had snow balls hanging off her fur the size of tennis balls. I couldn't believe it. I got off as much as I could but they were solid balls of ice and I was worried about tearing out her fur or worse still actually tearing her skin. When we got home Andy had to help me de-frost the poor little things. It tooks us ages and the floor was covered in snow balls varying from golf ball size to tennis balls!
Yesterday I managed to finish making and wrapping Christmas presents. I chose to make a few presents this year and hadn't realised how long it would take me. Much nicer though than traipsing round the shops!
I think we have one more project to complete in the office before we shut up shop for Christmas. Andy had his first exam on Thursday, this was all to do with health & safety in the workplace. He was very happy that he passed and also relieved as the exam was quite a lot harder than the mock exam.
That's it for now. Hopefully I will get some nice snow pictures of the dogs on their walk later!