Today is the Royal Melbourne. I'm up at 04:20, having woken at 03:30 and not really slept again. It's a pity not to get as much sleep as possible before this exhausting day, but on the other hand, it does make getting up so early far less painful.
While I'm having that first, all-important coffee, I read a blog article by my friend Wendell. I am struck, powerfully, by something he says. He is describing a royal cockup when trying to replace a car part, and then he says, "I could not stop long enough to assess my situation." To me, this just sums up and epitomises my previous failures and eventual success at creating the dustjacket, which I wrote about in yesterday's blog. As a thought, this is well worth considering, and as a principle of life, well worth adopting. You can read the article HERE.
While I am gettting dressed, I encounter my first snag. Those wonderful blue shoes are new and very, very stiff. They are the old-fashioned kind of shoes, that require to be broken in over a long period. If I wear them all day I will be crippled, so I put them in my bag and wear my old sneakers instead. I'll change into the blue shoes to go in the ring. Then I notice that my skirt is creased. It must be time to cull my wardrobe again, if things are getting creased up . I get out the ironing board and quickly press it. Should have checked that last night.
Last minute additions to the packing are a dog bed and a lunch for Emily. She's not a morning person, so there will be Buckley's of getting her to eat any breakfast. I add my fully charged mobile and a paperback novel, something light. I choose Death Du Jour by Kathy Reichs. I've only just started it, so it should last me the day. One never gets as much time to read at these things as one expects. And then, in a moment of inspiration, I add lipstick and a comb. For once, I will not be reduced to the expedient of fixing my hair with the dog brush before I go in the ring. Like taking a drink from your dog's water bucket, it's humiliating if anyone sees you doing it.
We find our way to the showground via the scenic route. Setting up is not a problem. It might be Emily's first time but I have done this twice before. Our breed is not on till after lunch, but I enjoy spending the morning catching up with friends from the deerhound club.
Emily doesn't do all that stunningly in the ring; hardly surprising when we are competing against the three best handlers in the Deerhound Club. She takes Third Place in the Open Bitch. I'm happy enough - we're going home with a ribbon, that's all I care about. She already has her championship so she doesn't have to prove anything. I watch, marvelling, as my friend Aisha totally scoops the pool with her dog and two bitches, winning Open Dog, Australian Bred Bitch and Open Bitch, both challenges, Best of Breed and Runner Up. I am pleased, because seeing your friend win is almost as good as winning yourself. Also, Aisha has been enormously kind to us, giving me and Emily hours and hours of training. We wouldn't have got Emily's championship before she was two, with big wins as we did, without Aisha's help. So it is great to see her sweep all before her in triumph.
Over all, though, Emily doesn't seem to enjoy the show as much as I had expected. She just wants to sleep and have cuddles on the bench. I get her up to meet the public and she's polite but not enthusiastic as she normally is; her mood is very subdued. Several people in the Deerhound Club think it's because she has just finished her season.
As soon as we get home, Emily inhales her dinner and crashes on the bed. She sleeps almost without moving until late next morning.