Heatwave Hounds

The NHS have published the following advise for coping during a heatwave

“Have cold food and drinks, avoid alcohol, caffeine and hot drinks, and have a cool shower or put cool water on your skin or clothes. Keep your living space cool. Close windows during the day and open them at night when the temperature outside has gone down. Electric fans can help if the temperature is below 35 degrees.”

Of course, I ignored this and spent the hottest day of the recent heatwave walking three miles to a dog show held in a field up a hill. Aside from the heat, another surprising factor in this choice is that I don’t really like dogs. Their behaviour is unpredictable, I could really do without all the barking and jumping at people.

When I arrived, I was informed the tickets were £10 and cash only so I had to go back into town to find a cash point. It strikes me this is the kind of place that still pay for goods by postal order. I was told to give my £10 to Julie who put it straight into her pocket and told me receipts were not available. I am still unclear if Julie had any connection to the show.

The dog show itself was held in a large ring surrounded by a series of stalls selling, amongst other things

  • Axes (‘for the adventurous at heart’)
  • Telescopes
  • Cookies at £3 each
  • A lot of tweed

There were a group collecting signatures to overturn the fox hunting ban with leaflets encouraging people write to Tony Blair, who presumably won’t be that interested since he left his role as Prime Minister fifteen years ago (there have been five other prime ministers in that time). Perhaps its time that group update their materials.

There was trouble in the central arena as Barney (a beagle) was disqualified from the beagle show for ‘excessive barking’. I watched as a stern looking woman in wellington boots (even though it hadn’t rained in weeks) deposited Barney into the back of a range rover and drove off before the beagle show had finished.

I found a shady spot next to a van selling ‘Hawaiian style cocktails’. Oddly, this particular crowd were not interested in cocktails at 11am. My attention strayed to another man who was going from van to van asking for Ribena. Apparently it was for ‘Harley’ his foxhound who had deserved a special treat. I have never heard of dogs drinking Ribena before and neither had the stall holders who failed to deliver the special treat for Harley.

A large part of the event was a sheepdog trial. Having sheep chased around by dogs in 31-degree heat didn’t seem to be a problem for anyone present. The announcer informed us “I’ve been carefully watching the judge, she seems to be smiling, a bit”. Hardly a ringing endorsement.

All this excitement meant I was distracted and missed the awarding of the best walked hound. I did, however, hear the announcement thanking their sponsor (an insurance broker) for their ‘generous’ prize which was £2.50. I actually bought a program to double check this amount and yes, the insurance broker really did donate £2.50 as a prize.

I imagined that would be my favourite announcement of the day but it was beaten a short time later by “does anyone have any lettuce that Shirley’s Baps can borrow?”. Shortly followed by “Shirley’s Baps are still looking for lettuce, they sent young Josh to Tesco more than an hour ago, but he has gone AWOL”. Tesco was no more than a ten-minute walk away. Maybe he had gone back for Harley’s Ribena or stopped off for a Hawaiian style cocktail. I feel ‘young Josh’ probably deserved a drink for all he has to put up with.

Come to think of it, I feel most people there could have done with a drink…

4 thoughts on “Heatwave Hounds

  1. Ten years ago I would have found this hilarious. Now I it registers as a spooky scene in an episode of Doctor Who where they think they’re returning to the UK…but something has gone horribly wrong…


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