Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Short Season

We started the Spring 2017 season off with a trial at Absolute Agility. I had entered both Beckett and Keltic in three events.  Beckett had two Snooker runs and one Master Jumpers; Keltic had a Master Jumpers and then later in the day two Advanced Standards.  We got there early but the event was running late because the facility had been nearly flooded out by the spring thaw; lots of effort by the arena crew and with the sump pumps running they kept most of the arena dry. Courses still had to be modified to avoid the muddy parts of the arena. I only went on Sunday and people said things were already much better.

Beckett ran very well. He Q'd the first snooker run and if I had run the second snooker run they way I walked it he would have Q'd the second run too. I got myself in a position where I had to rear cross a tunnel and Beckett, with eyes in the back of his head, turned around in the tunnel and came back out the entrance for a refusal and a whistle from the judge.  He ran a very nice Master Jumpers too but I stopped too abruptly thinking he had committed to a tunnel but Beckett stopped too and spun getting a refusal on an otherwise clean run.

I had started out just fine but as the day wore on my Achilles tendon began to bother me. Next up was Keltic, in the second Master Jumpers.  He ran beautifully but I didn't pick him after tunnel #  12 and he got sucked into the decoy tunnel for an elimination.  My Achilles tendon by now was very painful, I did some volunteer jobs leash running and bar setting and it got progressively worse so I decided that was it. No use rupturing it I thought, as that would take ages to heal.  Poor Keltic, we arrived at 9:30 in the morning and his 34 second run was at about 4pm; all day in a crate for that.

Master Jumpers 2
 This was the course as the judge designed it but because of the muddy parts of the arena all the courses had to be flipped and tweaked. One of judges didn't have the opportunity to re-do the course maps so we had to make do with the original ones and trace them out on the backside.  The hand drawn maps gave you the flow but the tweaking in the ring meant you couldn't really decide on your handling until you walked it.

Mirror Master Jumpers 2

We had our next trial the very next Friday, only four days later. I spent the evenings icing my tendon and hoping I'd be able to run.  I had entered Beckett in 4 Steeplechase runs and Keltic in two Gamblers. Beckett needed two qualifying scores for his Silver Expert title which in Steeplechase is 50 qualifying scores. I ran the first run and my tendon did not feel great at all but we got a Q. I decided to wrap it. I had brought sports tape but forgot scissors so I used vet wrap. I hoped he would do it with only two runs but in the next run I handled one jump badly and Beckett back jumped it. The tendon felt much better wrapped. On to Steeplechase 3, this one looked nice and it ran well for us, the place where Beckett began to spin, I knew would happen. If I had been a little faster I could have gotten in a blind cross there and avoided that spinning.

I pulled out of Steeplechase 4 so that I could rest my ankle a bit and so that Keltic would get his runs. Keltic ran well; I even ran out of things I had planned to do in the first opening.  The first Gamble I knew he wouldn't stay out with me on the other side of the dogwalk, but he did do a nice dogwalk so maybe the winter training was not in vain. The second Gamble we had a chance, if he would just go to the tunnel but no, he wouldn't. I have to work on getting him calm in order to do the gamble, you see when I sit him down he goes right out the first obstacle without hesitation.

So that's it for the 2017 spring season, I had hoped to do more before the Regional Championships in June but I have to be able to run to play agility so it's better to let the tendon heal.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Herding Day

Spring is coming, maybe doesn't seem like it but it is.  One of the local photographers has joined up with a woman who teaches herding.  While you are having your herding instinct test done, Erika will take pictures.  The picture in this year's advertisement is my Keltic. I loved this shot so it is one of the digital images that I bought.

This picture always reminds me of the movie Babe where the pig is asking the sheep if they would kindly move along.

You know the code Baa ram ewe, Baa ram ewe....

Saturday, April 1, 2017

In Like a Lion....

March came in like a lion but it didn't go out like a lamb instead we got more snow, but at least we didn't get anywhere near the snow they were calling for. It's actually still snowing in the picture below but this is what we woke up to on 1 Apr 2017 and no it wasn't an April Fool joke.  Tomorrow  is supposed to be sunny and warming up a little bit.  Let's hope that's the last of the cold deary weather.

I went to Brussels for work in March. I left Ottawa at minus 16C and when we arrived in Brussels it was plus 15C: talk about a difference.  The trip was an adventure in airplane travel. My sister decided to come along and flew from Calgary to catch the same flights as I had booked out of Toronto. While she was waiting to board her flight in Calgary she checked the Toronto airport departures web site which said that our flight to Brussels was cancelled.  I thought it was just a mistake on the web site. I departed Ottawa a few hours later and was issued a boarding pass for the Toronto to Brussels flight. We get to Toronto, and yes, the flight has been cancelled. By the time I got into the terminal, Annette was already on the phone with Air Canada and had us rebooked through London Heathrow that night. We were told to go to Brussels airlines to get our baggage and to recheck it through on our new flights.  We go to the Brussels Airlines counter, talk about disorganized, no one was telling anyone anything.  After waiting in line for awhile we were told that an Air Canada agent was coming up for those of us who were waiting for luggage, we waited and waited and finally Brussels Airlines took us back down to the baggage area and to Air Canada. Air Canada said it was not their problem that they had already transferred the luggage to Brussels Airlines.  The Air Canada agent did try to call back up to the airline counter and then went up himself to see what was going on. He came back down and said our luggage would be on carousel 1 or 4 in about 20 minutes, we waited 40 minutes and still no luggage.  Now we had to go to get through security for the London flights, we got through and then had to wait to see if we actually made it on to the flight as our boarding passes were just marked GTE. Thankfully both Annette and I got seats.  We got into Brussels no problem but our luggage didn't. We reported it to Swissport, the company that handles lost luggage for Brussels Airlines, they assured us that 95% of luggage is found within 24 hours. We weren't so lucky, ours didn't show up at the airport until Wednesday morning and so was delivered to the hotel probably around lunch time. Three days of wearing almost the same clothes, thankfully we had both packed a few things in our carry-on bags.

We had wonderful weather the whole week; too bad I was in meetings every day but it made it nice for Annette who was able to walk to all the places she was going to; she had purchased a Brussels pass which gave her admissions to many museums.  We were able to pick that up on Sunday for her so that she didn't have to hunt around for the tourism office before heading off to any museums.

Courtyard outside our hotel window

Mannequin Pis was dressed up for the ending of the book fair when we first arrived and for St Patrick's Day on the Friday before we left.

Grand Place at night; the weather was so nice we were able to eat out on the patio.

We had some free time on Friday afternoon together for some shopping and just being tourists.  Happy to say the flights back were better, although it took so long for the bags to be transferred to the baggage hall in Toronto that Annette very nearly missed her Calgary flight. She made it but the bags arrived on a later flight. My next work trip is to Rome, Italy; Annette is planning to come along on that trip too.  And I plan to take some vacation after those meetings.

It was Keltic's fifth birthday while I was away so we had to celebrate it after I got home.  No homemade pupcakes just store bought cookies and treats but I don't think he minded.

So hopefully the worst of winter has passed and we will be able to enjoy a nice spring. Some sunny warm weather will certainly help get rid of the snow and dry things out.

Today is the anniversary of the creation of the Royal Canadian Air Force, the title "Royal" was officially granted on 1 April 1924,  so I flew the Air Force Flag outside this morning.  This flag came from the radar station, CFS Baldy Hughes that I helped to close down in the 80's. Technology had made those radar systems obsolete but small units like that were so much fun.