Rottie On Tour by Soza Jones
We have been to our very first Rottiefest and I want to tell you a little story about the adventure we had before, during and after.
ROTTIE ON TOUR 2012 - RottieFest - Chapter 1
We have a nice car and there's lots of room in the back for me though I love resting my head on the back seat and panting down the ear and dribbling on the shoulder of whoever is lucky enough to be there.
We have a caravan too and Daddy hangs it on the back of the car but it is soooo close to me whenever I turn round and I can't see out of the back window. Mummy sat in the back this time and we set off about lunch time on Friday. The windows were open and Mommy was wrapped up like an onion complaining of the draft. This was the longest trip I've ever done in the car but all I have to do is pant a bit heavier, whimper or bark a couple of times and they stop the car, get me out so I can go to the toilet, give me a drink and a bite to eat. Sort of covering all the bases in one go.
We must have stopped about 4 or 5 times on the way, we didn't get lost and the lady in the satnav was a big help. When we arrived, we thought we were in the wrong place, no signs, no Rotties in sight and we drove past. In the end, we came back and turned in the gate. Noises everywhere, dogs barking, noises I didn't know that turned out to be pigs and goats that I'd never seen or heard before. Mud was everywhere and we had a steep hill to go up. Would we make it?????????
ROTTIE ON TOUR 2012 - RottieFest - Chapter 2
We drove on, there was mud, mud and more mud. Deep tracks in front of us, we didn't stand a chance but dear old Dad gave it a go until we got stuck. Wheels spinning, going nowhere but rescue was at hand and a nice man reversed a slightly antiquated tractor in our direction and hooked a whopping big chain on the front of the car. Take up the tension, pull gently so the front of the car doesn't fall off, and away we go. Slowly making headway up the hill and then, the tractor ground to a halt, big wheels are spinning too throwing clumps of mud in our direction but still no progress. Now what?
A bright yellow JCB thing is brought to the front of our little convoy, another chain, another 10million horsepower and, I think, a woman driver!!!!! Have faith and cross your fingers. We will survive! It worked, we made it onto relatively flat ground and the JCB was unhitched. The tractor towed us across the field until we reached a really good spot, close to the amenities where we stopped, knowing we weren't going anywhere else unless we walked.
Unhitch the caravan, get me out of the back, drink, nibbles and I'm sorted while the rest of them sort out cups of tea and the like, connect up the gas, sort out the water and visit the toilets. Now we can sit back and watch the others arriving, survey those that had arrived before us and say a brief hello to those who passed by.
Then I met Snowy.................. He was beautiful......................we did the whole dominant alpha male thing, then he bit my ear!
ROTTIE ON TOUR 2012 - RottieFest - Chapter 3
The bite drew blood, just a little, but he knew I was an unhappy Rottie by my reaction. Just to emphasize the point, when his owner came round later, I growled at him!! lol!!
We met lots of lovely people and lots of lovely dogs, too, it was brilliant. One man and his family and their Rottie came over and said "Hello, female?" Daddy said, "no, male" and they left. I think it was only then that his wife said "he's only got three legs" and there's me with all my bits on show. Hellooooo! Pay attention please!
I met Roxy (very pretty she was) on the Sunday, she was so funny and cute with it. The little boy in the tent next door kept walking round with a lovely little Terrier on one of those crazy extending leads that were designed to trip people up. Every time he got a bit near, he'd shorten the lead and walk off in the other direction. There were St Bernards, Great Danes and Irish Wolfhounds too, they all made me feel quite small but they were so gentle. Everyone got muddy, just going to the toilet was like a trek into the Everglades. We had a great Hog Roast, I got a little share, and a lovely breakfast on Sunday. The food was delicious but we decided to do a little foraging for ourselves and set off to look for a village shop. Once we'd paddled and splashed our way to the gate and found terra firma, we debated and discussed a plan of action and, away we went.
There'd be a shop in the next village, wouldn't there?????
ROTTIE ON TOUR 2012 - RottieFest - Chapter 4
The sun was shining on the righteous, and on us, and we put Plan A into action. At the gate turn right down to the junction and survey the signpost. Several options, but 1st choice is the nearest village. East Norton - 1 mile...... sorted. Turn left and off we go. Country lanes, stables and a few maniacal drivers who seem to think it's acceptable to drive like a loony down narrow roads. Hey ho, we can always dive into the hedgerows!!!!
On we go, down to the dreaded A47, or is it the back straight at Silverstone? With trepidation we come to the corner and there, across the road, is the sign for East Norton. You guessed it - 1 mile!!!!! Can't be but keep going, we must be close. Over the road in a unusual lull in the traffic, left again, at least there's a footpath. Up the hill, another signpost, turn right for East Norton, yay!! Wait a minute, it says 1/2 mile. Somebody is taking the Michael or the signpost man was having a bad day with his tape measure.
Not to worry, into the village and what a beautiful place. Lovely church, gorgeous houses, police station and former post office. Hang on, there's a local. "Excuse me, can you tell me where the shop is please?" "We haven't got one, we're like the Foreign Legion in the desert here, there's nothing" "That house is for sale though, only £750,000" Nice man but something tells me he missed the point. "There's one in Tugby!"
Is there, I ask myself???????????????????
There's only one way to find out!!
ROTTIE ON TOUR 2012 - RottieFest - Chapter 5
Turn round and head back to the dreaded A47, Mulsanne has nothing on this place, they're all crazy.
Taking our lives in our hands we cross over and begin the steady climb uphill. Crawler lane to our right, field of peas to our left, what a contrast. Several stops later, we finally reach the summit and what we thought was the turning for Tugby. Wrong, it's just a bloody layby! A very nice layby by layby standards and it's immense, lots of shade under the trees and a bit of respite from the traffic.
We sent Lloyd on ahead to scout for civilisation and he phoned us to tell us he was back at the campsite and the kettle was on. He was lying! We caught him up and found a small group of people standing near a car with all the front smashed in and fluid on the floor, "I wouldn't go past it, I think it's petrol" the lady said so we sent Lloyd on ahead again to sniff it out. Nah, it's not petrol, we're safe, keep going, quickly!! just in case we've all lost our sense of smell!
There it is, the sign announcing our arrival in Tugby, fantastic. Another beautiful little village, the pub was closed though for refurbishment (damn) but there are two local young ladies coming our way. Lloyd, do us a favour, say the old man, ask them where the shop is. He does, the perfect gentleman so polite, "We haven't got one" she says. Whaaaaaaaat!!!!!!! Where has civilisation gone, what do these people eat and drink? Give it up guys, I've forgotten what we came out for anyway. The campsite can't be far, let's head back.
Was it very far???????????????
ROTTIE ON TOUR 2012 - RottieFest - Chapter 6
We meandered our way through the village and out the other side, absolutely beautiful, until we came to the junction. We have to turn left, they all agreed, so left we went.
Country lanes, tractors in fields, birds singing and.... 2 horses coming our way.
Not a problem really except that Lloyd isn't too fond of the Equine variety ever since one stood on him (I think). I reckon it serves him right for having his foot in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just think, without them, we would never have had the Pony Express or Horseguards Parade and then where would they play beach volleyball. (Maybe a beach.)
Sorry, I digress, Lloyd did his utmost to climb over the hedge and hide behind the dandelions but it was just never going to work. So, bravely, he stood his ground, I sat down (knackered) and everyone else stopped to let them pass.
As we watched them walk on someone suddenly shouted, there's the campsite, I forget who. It didn't matter but with the strongest binoculars we had you could make out a speck or two on the distant hillside that vaguely resembled the Sioux at the Battle of the Little Big Horn except there were fewer of them and definitely more caravans!!
With a new found spring in our step we marched on, home was in sight, we felt better already until......... Lloyd said "Bloody hell, the horses are coming back".
Would we reach camp before they caught us up, would Lloyd be safe, would I be safe????
ROTTIE ON TOUR 2012 - RottieFest - Chapter 7
Yeh, we were safe, of course we were. The girls on the horses where very capable and they just walked quietly by while I took 5 minutes to get my breath back. Then we waited another 5 minutes while Lloyd got his breath under control. I'm sure he'd been holding it from the moment they appeared.
We trekked on, and on, and on, and on until, at last, we reached the entrance we had left so many days before. (It felt like that). Through the mud (no surprises, it was still there) up into the field and there were dogs everywhere, people everywhere. There was some kind of competition going on, best male, best female, best rescue, waggiest tail and muddiest dog. I was in awe, so many things happening at once, I didn't know where to look. Rotties with tails, Rotties without, big dogs, little dogs, rosettes of all colours and enough hay bales to start a Western Ho-down. I was too tired to take it all in and just wanted a drink and to lie down and rest.
We went back to the caravan, fresh water and a bit of shade and watched all the proud owners with their beautiful dogs (including the muddy ones) walking past. If we get there next year, I'm definitely entering the best tripod class and the best 5 legs group. Even with the old man, I must stand half a chance but I am not going into the fancy dress competition, there is no way I'm dressing up as a milking stool or a bunsen burner stand for anyone. Still, there's a BBQ to look forward to. Sausages, chicken, I hope they bought a ticket for me.
They did, didn't they????
ROTTIE ON TOUR 2012 - RottieFest - Chapter 8
The afternoon was lovely, sunshine, and we just took it easy. The old fella wandered over to the show ring a couple of times, camera in hand, like David bloody Bailey.
St. Bernards, Great Danes and lots of Rotties, it was such fun to watch but, for me, safely from a distance. I think I'm just too inquisitive sometimes and want to play but the boys, especially, don't always feel the same way. Too much testosterone, I think. lol!!
Don't forget too, all my bits and pieces are on show and I have to keep them out of harms way.
As things drew to a close and the judges and stall holders started to pack up, it was clear that "old faithful" what going to be required. Nobody was leaving this field without a bit of help. One couple had left first thing this morning having struggled to put there tent up the night before and then sleeping in the car. What was that about, anybody would think it was muddy.
We waited for the familiar aroma of cooking food to come from the BBQ area and, although there was a bit of movement going on, the smells eluded us. There was one lady working like a Trojan in a Butty Wagon, single handedly slicing and dicing 15 tonnes of mushrooms and 973 bread rolls plus goodness knows what else. It's a wonder she still had all her fingers at the end.
We waited and waited, Mom said, "you get mine, I'll wait here" so Lloyd and the Old Man waltzed over and then came back 10 minutes later, empty handed. It's not ready yet. I wish they'd hurry up, I'm bloody starving...................
ROTTIE ON TOUR 2012 - RottieFest - Chapter 9
It wasn't long before the thick black smoke
started to drift lazily across the camp, invading the nostrils, bringing tears to the eyes, until we all realised that someone had lit the BBQ.
Table set with disposable cutlery, paper plates and napkins, the only thing missing was the wicker basket.
Salads, fresh bread rolls, condiments, everything was there, it was perfect.
Chicken, sausages being dished out from 1 side and the mad axewoman on the other carving the biggest bacon joint I've ever seen.
The old man and trusty Lloyd waited patiently in the queue, sliding on the muddy slope, threatening to limbo under the BBQ stand plates in 1 hand and tickets in the other. No ticket, no food, Simples!!
Luckily they got near the front of the line and, while struggling to keep on their feet, they picked up a healthy selection to go with the meat feast and slowly, very slowly made their way back to base camp.
Where's my plate, I'm thinking? Never mind, I'll get something off theirs if I haven't got 1 of my own, I've never been a big fan of potato salad. lol!! Fair play, the grub was delicious, shame there were no seconds.
Perhaps we can sneak over when everyone else has gone and steal the trotters, Del Boy and Rodney.................
ROTTIE ON TOUR - RottieFest - Chapter 10
Del Boy and Rodders were gone, the mud was going (very slowly) but after all our exertions from earlier today, we decided on a relatively early night. A quick walk round the field for me so I could have a wee and then it was back to my bed. Let's watch a film sez the guys but Mom is already climbing into bed (taking up all the space, I might add), "I can watch from here". Not without binoculars you can't, we're all thinking, but then my Mom hasn't watched more that 10 minutes of any film since they put sound on them! Bless her! Mind you, the old man isn't much better, he was away with the fairies in about 30 minutes. Only Lloyd claimed to have seen all of it, but I'm not so sure. He just didn't get caught!
Up bright and early, toilet is calling for everyone, including me. Breakfast for me is ready in a flash but everyone else has a short wait while the "full English" is rustled up. (I wonder if the pigs get nervous when they smell bacon cooking!!).
Brekkie was amazing and I got some of the fatty bits off the bacon and a bit of sausage and it was all prepared in a little butty wagon!!. What a chef! 5 star!!
"There's a bit dropped off the front of the car" says Lloyd. "What?" came the reply from the old man. It turned out to be the splash guard from under the engine that was hanging off. No real problem, we can fix it when we get home. If that's all that goes wrong, we'll be well sorted.
Nothing else could go wrong, could it???? Could it?
ROTTIE ON TOUR 2012 - RottieFest - Chapter 11
Everything packed and "Old Faithful" back in action, towing cars 1 by 1 to the top of the ski jump that was the exit. The motorhome went, the 4x4's went and I went, for a last walk before the drive home.
Across the big muddy for the final time to the farthest reaches of what had been home for a great weekend. Numbers were dwindling fast but we met a very pretty lady with a lovely Rottie called Roxy. She was soooooo funny, I would have loved to spend time playing but we had to get back to the car. Typical or what!!
Hitch up the caravan, wind up the legs (the caravans not mine), check the lights work, quick spot of housekeeping round our patch to make sure we left everything tidy. Said goodbye to the chickens behind us, settled in and waited for the big guy with the tractor.
We didn't have long to wait, he reversed down towards the front of the car, hung the chains on, climbed back up, revved the engine, the wheels turned, we're moving. Thank goodness for that, but, where's Lloyd? He's very nice but a trifle nervous (not jelly and cream kinda trifle) and wasn't too keen on being dragged round the field again so we were going to meet him by the gate.
Uneventful, safe as houses, we're on the road and heading back towards Tugby and the dreaded A47. Next stop Leicester, piece of cake, as long as you don't miss your turning when you get there. The old man is really good but, he's getting on a bit now.
We have faith, and a caravan if we get seriously lost but, with his amazing sense of direction and completely ignoring the lady in the satnav, we find the ring road and a sign that says A5. Not the way we came but it'll do. We're off, again.
ROTTIE ON TOUR 2012 - RottieFest - Chapter 12
Turn left at the gate, drive about a mile or so and then we stopped, again. Recheck everything in order, let me out for a final pee and then, "Head 'em up and move 'em out". We really are off this time.
Leicester came and went with a brief stop by a lovely park and several detours 'cause he got us lost but, eventually, we found a signpost for the A5 and, what's about 160 miles up the A5, home. Job's a goodun, can't go wrong and for the next hour or so, nothing did.
The A5 is a good road if a bit manic in places and we're tootling along at about 45 mph, dual carriageway, fast approaching the junction with the M42.
"BANG", (wtf was that) but the old man had everything under control, a quick glance in the mirror told him his worst fears had just come to pass. A tyre blown out on the caravan, slowing down, keeping control and gradually edging our way toward the grass verge as the wheeltrim of the van did a passable impression of Odd Job's bowler and tried to decapitate anything that got in its path. He pulled slowly onto the grass verge right outside a beautiful house and stopped the car with a deep sigh. "Oh Poo", or words to that effect, it's 2pm on a Sunday, we have no spare wheel and the tyre is cream crackered.
OK, there's a man strimming the grass just up the road, let's ask him if he knows where we might get a new tyre. "ATS is just up the road" he says, "up the sliproad, over the roundabout etc etc, you can't miss it" Never trust anyone who gives you directions and says "you can't miss it", they're lying.
Jack up the van while trying to avoid getting his ass kicked by a juggernaut, wind down the legs, wheel off and we set off, minus Lloyd, to find the tyre depot. Easier than we thought, only went round the roundabout, 3 or 4 times and there it was, a thing of beauty, SHUT!! Keep driving, find a local who looks like he's stealing the wheels off a car and ask him. "Kwikfit, is your best bet, they'll be open and they're only about 3 or 4 miles away". Sorted, directions given, no problem.
They'll have the size we want, won't they????
ROTTIE ON TOUR 2012 - RottieFest - Chapter 13
We sat in the back of the car, it was so hot. I'd had enough, so I climbed over the old man and got out of the car. I still had my lead on so I was safe but I dragged him with me over to the wall of the bank so I could lie down on the cool footpath, in the shade. That was it, I wasn't moving until Mother came back.
Nobody said anything about the ATM machine over my head but I didn't care and if anyone wanted money, they would have to stretch over me. A couple did, I think if we had had a hat on the floor, we might have got a few bob, but we didn't.
Mom came strolling down the street trying to hide the carrier bag but we'd seen it already. Postcode for the house where we'd left Lloyd was duly requested by text and received, entered in the satnav and, away we went. Didn't take long and we were back, pulled off the road and found Lloyd talking to a lovely lady who, it turned out, lived in the house we were next to. I lay down on the grass and stayed with the ladies while the boys set about putting the new wheel back on the caravan. Dicing with death at every turn of the wheelbrace, wind up the legs, hook up the car, we're ready to rumble.
"Would you like some coffee?" said the lady so we accepted her generous offer and off she went to put the kettle on. We drank our coffee and chatted over the garden wall until we were done. "Do you want to use the toilet, we have one round the back". The old man's bladder ain't what it used to be so he jumped at the chance. "Come round through the garden" , and what a beautiful garden, pond, fountain, koi carp, the works. "Do you like trains?" she said introducing her husband in his slightly grubby boiler suit.
"Oh yes!" was the unanimous reply.!!!
ROTTIE ON TOUR 2012 - RottieFest - Chapter 14
Trains? The old man hadn't played with trains since he was about my age but, they had been so kind and generous toward the weary travelers, we just couldn't say no.
"Come and have a look at this" said the elderly Gent and we all trooped into his workshop. Milling machines, lathes, power saw, you name it, he had it. It was amazing, but nothing prepared us for what was sitting on his workbench. A perfect working scale model of a steam locomotive, without its tender, that must have been almost 2 metres long. "Took me 3 years to build this" he said "but I'm retired now." "My first one took me 4 years but I was still working then"
From a lay dogs point of view, it was absolutely wonderful. "My other one is down at the Garden Centre, they use it to give rides to the children" "The boiler cost me £3,000, I had to sell my BMW to pay for that" He brought out photographs to show us all and you couldn't see the difference between the real thing and his models. They were obviously a labour of love to him and absolutely wonderful. We were all speechless, even I was woofless but what a coincidence had brought us into this wonderful couple's garden. We thanked them and made our way back to the car, "all aboard that's going aboard", eased into the traffic and we were off again, about 4 hours after we had stopped.
The old man said it was the best breakdown, he'd ever had. Here's hoping we get home in 1 piece after all this. ?????????
ROTTIE ON TOUR 2012 - RottieFest - Chapter 15
We drove, leaving our new found friends with a wave and a bucketful of lovely memories. It had been quite a day, the only positives were that the sun had been shining and we hadn't left he caravan on the grass verge (or Lloyd for that matter).
We decided to take our time (no more emergencies, please) and plodded our way along the A5 to more familiar territory. We stopped (mostly for my benefit) several times on the way, drinks, toilet, the odd nibble and just some good old fashioned fresh air for everyone. The car and caravan still weighed several kilos more than they should with the delightful Leicestershire mud all over them (it's still there, lazy old fart still hasn't washed the car). I have my standards, I wonder if I pee on it a few times, he'll get the bucket out.
We had a brilliant weekend as you can tell from the previous 14 chapters, we met some lovely people and I met some lovely Rotties. We made new friends and explored a part of the country we had never been to before.
We will be back but, till then, thank you RottieFest for a great weekend, one we will never forget. Next time we'll bring more supplies and more beer. See you soon XX