Early start to a Sunday morning saw us traing at Crosscliff in Dalby Forest. I took Basil, Mookie, Benny and Snowy out for a 3 mile loop. Had a few issues getting snowy and mookie to go round and not under the first forest gate. Then Benny decided he would go the opposite side of a post to the others, which brought him to a halt fairly quickly. Just running one team meant we did the whole trip in 3 hours.
First night rally is looming, guess we should charge the batteries.
only a few days left until we’re packing that van with 2 monkey rigs, 1 danler sled, 1 diggler scooter, 1 santa cruz heckler, 1 dyson vacuum cleaner and my fly fishing tackle. not forgeting the 5 boys and Helen, of course. today I slipped out to buy a fast sinking line from the tackle shop – ready to fish the trout ponds in Aviemore. it was at that point, clutching my bag of goodies, i realised the annual holiday is just around the corner. my business, SimpleUsability is moving to Leeds whilst away on holiday. i return from holiday to spend a weekend fitting out an office, ready to receive some very special clients. whilst the leasing aggreement states no dogs, I’m tempted to reinact our own iditarod with some of these orange dogs from Alessi.
our Danler Hornet racing sled arrived today from Austria. just need some more snow to give it a whirl. and for those who’ve ever wondered, you can fit a racing sled in the smart car.
only 2 weeks until we’re off to Aviemore for that world famous race and we’ve already been out on the sled twice this season. Christmas 2005 was fabulous. fab turkey from the farmers cart, fab company from down south, but unfortunately Santa forgot to leave the psp under the tree so Fairy Dixons may have one saved for me next time we’re passing through duty free on a Swiss mission. many new things happening at Aviemore this year, new venues and activities to build on the vintage that was last year. i must remember to pack the new rod and flies for a spot of trout fishing on the Rothiemurchus Estate. after all the money we’ve raised for the race, will be nice to spend some time pulling trout of an edible kind.
training is finally well under way at the York HQ. new lights have been bought to cope with the extra visibility needed with my increased team and the weather is finally starting to head into reasonable temperatures for running. the lights are a heath robinson system made from maplin parts – plastic case, 7.2 amp hour battery, xlr connectors, fuse holder, power switch, battery conditioner and a 55w drivers lamp from halfords. think it cost around 80 quid and built in a few hours. the main feature of the system is using xlr plugs/sockets so that the battery terminals are protected and the charger just plugs straight in.
the move from a 2 dog to a 3 dog team is impressive. far less scooting and the ability to promote and demote team members from lead to wheel is useful. it’s early days yet and the dogs need many more miles. first rally is in a few weeks and we’re not expecting much, unless everybody else is as unfit as us.
Helen’s been taking Baloo and Mookie swimming at a local dog swimming pool, Merrylegs – or Canine Hydrotherapy Centre – if you want the posh name from a swimming pool with dog hair. we’re swimming Baloo to help keep him mobile with his arthritis and Mookie because he’s a pup that needs some muscles for his first rally season. It’s an amazing facility and well worth the money. the staff work hard with the dogs and the two boys seem to have benefitted loads. infact, Baloo is possibly the happiest dog in York and wants everybody to know, at the most incovenient times of the day. super fit, super happy and in fine voice when ever the urge for a howl comes around. our aim is keep Baloo running for as long as he wants to. he’s had one pre-season cartrophen injection and a daily Synoquin capsule. we’re aiming to stay ahead of the arthritis this year – not wanting any stiffness brought about by over training or arthitic flair ups.
this season may see us trading in the caravan for a van. something big like a lwb sprinter or an iveco daily. the reasoning behind it is that we’ve got two boys not far off their bus passes. we want to give the old boys plenty of room at rallies cos we all know how unreasonable and grumpy the old folk get.
We finished the rally season by winning the D class at Bowlands. we’ve had a really good year with the racing and did our bit to keep the drinks industry profits high. we had our best Aviemore yet – trying lots of new places to dine out in with a great bunch of people – oh and I smashed the 20 minute barrier and even got faster on the second day due to chasing my new trail buddy, Justin. our new puppy, Mookie, is very happy with his new pals at chez Redwood. he’s definitely a character and putting a lot of effort into doing the usual ‘chew everything’ that puppies do. we’ve got a few shows on the horizon, but I’m keen to enjoy a bit more of he garden this year and that fab warm weather we keep having.
Elvis came third in the SHCGB Dual Championship this year, announced at the club AGM on Saturday. This is one hell of an achievement. You only have to stand on the back of rig, watching him work, to comprehend what a good Siberian Husky is all about. I do think that judges should be made to take a team of huskies out to experience what it’s all about. It just makes sense when you see a dog like Elvis working without effort and then compare it to another that’s trying but just isn’t built for it.
Anyway, it’s that time of year where we pick our shows and dream of winter. We’re aiming to do less showing this year. I want to spend more time at home and enjoy a little more of Summer in the garden.
Last month, the rally season came to close with a fabulous rally in Scotland. John Carter invited the husky club up onto his land giving us an amazing set of courses with lots of turns, bumps and hills. The rally attracted a great bunch of people, who hit the town on Saturday night for a quiet meal with a few drinks. The club goes from strength to strength, and our collection of husky friends continues to grow. There’s some really nice people out there in the husky world and life’s too short not to enjoy them.
what a busy Winter we’re having! busy with work, busy with rallies and busy fitting a new kitchen. Grizedale rally was superb. we had a cracking night in the pub, great food and crazy game of darts – with Leslie Robinson singing ‘gay bar’ between crys of ‘are you going to wee your doggies?’ in keeping with tradition, it rained….. but the dogs loved it and pulled me up the hill on both days. still not fit enough for a good performance on the second day (both musher and dogs), but still a pleasure to run.
we then went to our local rally in Dalby. new course, with an interesting road crossing that looked like a finish line to my boys on both days…. we had a house full with visitors. Friday night we discovered our local pub does serve good food, and Saturday took us for a great night in York – Meltons2 is a fab place to eat.
Fineshades was superb as always. we missed last year’s rally due to kennel cough – so this year we enjoyed it with a vengence. warmed by mulled wine on both days after two very pleasureable runs. Sunday was colder and the dogs ran faster. Fineshades send the 2 dog classes out first – which is always nice cos the dogs are fresh and excited – maybe that’s why they had a large D class entry?
we do need to get out more and train a little harder. Baloo is beginning to be a little bit of problem for the neighbours with his new found love of life. he’s howling and banging on the kitchen door a little bit too much. We’re going to have a go at building some dogs boxes for them to snooze in over Christmas, so they’ve got somewhere quiet and warm to snuggle up in.