That night…the amazing 7-course dinner at Pentre Mawr

We all went back to change and reappeared an hour later in our glad rags at Pentre Mawr.

There, we were ushered into the high ceilinged barn set with beautifully laid dining tables, lit with fairy lights and candles. Here we were treated to a lavish 7-course dinner.

So many mouthwatering courses, including a spicy dhal and coconut soup, a fruit sorbet, a beef stew (so tender that people were still oohing and aahing over it the next day) or a fragrant stuffed red pepper for the veggies, followed by a trio of deserts drizzled with a rasberry coulis and dusted with chocolate, all created by Bre and her inspirational team at Pentre Mawr. Meanwhile Graham and his helpers helped to keep the champagne and wine flowing all night and the ‘naughty’ table featured below grew steadily wilder!

Now Ceri hadn’t said a thing, but word had quickly spread that it was actually her birthday that day and everyone quietly teamed up to make the evening even more special… Apparently the handlers had dreamed up with idea of a cake at the 2018 International Sheepdog Trials at Gill Hall Estate, County Down in Northern Ireland. Sometimes ideas come and go, but ingenious Sue Main wasn’t going to let that one get away…

So… just when we thought it was all coming to an end, the cake of all cakes arrived

As the last morsels of cheese and biscuits disappeared, Graham and his helpers suddenly appeared bearing trays of glasses brimming with champagne as a very generous gift from Katy Cropper, swiftly followed by the most amazing cake of all cakes, created by Sue Main.

An ‘A Way with Dogs’ cake decorated with icing models of each handler around the sides and set with Ceri and Phil on the top!

When the cake was presented to Ceri it brought tears to her eyes. She didn’t even realise that people knew it was her birthday!!

Sue Main had carefully moulded each and every handler from A Way with Dogs out of icing and set them around the sides of the cake, with Ceri and Phil sitting on the top, all based on an especially delicious vanilla and chocolate cake, baked by Sue’s husband Allan.

Ceri moved from tears to laughter in seconds and the speeches began. Mike Northwood told a few cracking jokes (definitely not to be repeated here @*@*!!!) and the evening was an outstanding success.

Letters and messages of thanks have flown in from all directions, but most of all Ceri would like to let everyone know how totally, unbelievably overwhelmed she was by everyone’s thoughtfulness, kindness and dedication to having the most fun ever!

 

 

This was an evening never to be forgotten

We’ll publish more details and pics covering the semi-final and the final of the making of A Way with Dogs when the filmed runs are released on CSJ YouTube channel. Make sure you subscribe for free now!

 

 

 

Afternoon of the Qualifying Rounds of A Way with Dogs – Series 2

The making of A Way with Dogs. Blog post 3.

We broke for lunch and after a good chat in the Gourmet Sausage Box queue, I stopped to ask Sue how things were going…

Next, we were back on for the drawing of the running order for Group 4.

Group 4

10. Thomas Longton with Jim
11. Aled Owen with Llangwm Cap.
12. Kevin Evans with Preseli Ci

Peter signalled he was ready and the afternoon runs began.

 

A masterful line up, the air was heavy with tension and the chat ceased as the runs started.. The afternoon was underway now and the sounds of the whistles and commands cut cleanly through the cold, quiet air.

As Group 4 stood round waiting for a filmed review chat about the runs, the banter was back and better than ever…

Then the last group were called for the draw.

Group 5

13. Michael Gallagher with Coin
14. Ricky Hutchinson with Jock
15. Sergio Perello with Murguia Jim

 

Sue Main and Andy Jackman compared notes and stepped out of the raised ‘Judging vehicle’. The day was done. Next task was to announce the semi-finalists… Who would get to run in the morning on the infamously tricky Double Gather course at Bwlch Isaf…?

 

We’re not going to give the game away, so you’ll have to wait to find out what happens next until we release our ‘A Way with Dogs’ Series 2 films on YouTube. But until then… watch this space and wait for our next blog post to find out what happened that evening.

 

 

 

 

Morning of the Qualifying Rounds of ‘A Way with Dogs’ – Series 2

The making of A Way with Dogs. Blog post 2.

On Saturday 22nd September, after the excitement of meeting up the day before,  the handlers, crew and presenters devoured delicious Welsh breakfasts inside welcoming bed & breakfast establishments around Bodfari, then made their way to the Old Trials Field in Bodfari.

The morning was fresh, the sky a pale misty grey and the groups had been drawn after supper the night before. Everyone was ready for the action to unfold.

Andy Jackman and Sue Main drew everyone together to brief the course to the handlers

Director Peter Melling climbed up into his gantry to set up the film cameras and stills photographer, Jan Evans set out her lenses on the grass.

Now all that was waiting was to find out the running order of Group 1. The grey sky was mottled with tangled patches of dark grey cloud, but the rain held off for now.

Bryony stepped up to draw the running order for Group 1

Derek Fisher drew first to run

Derek had flown all the way from Idaho, USA, then travelled via Paris and Ireland and was now lucky enough (!) to draw first to run in the first group! Toddy Lambe followed with Ben and Mosse Magnusson with Sally.

 

Group 1

1. Derek Fisher with Nell

2. Toddy Lambe with Ben

3. Mosse Magnusson with Sally

Toddy Lambe with Ben
Mosse Magnusson with Sally

The ‘Gourmet Sausage Box‘ van was set up now and doing a roaring trade in teas and coffees. All day long, piping hot sausages, burgers, veggie sausages were served, as well as some extremely yummy, crumbly cakes.

Next up were Group 2

Group 2

4. Bryn Davies with Lad
5. Angie Driscoll with Kinloch Mazi
6. Allistair Lyttle with Scott

More cake!

Meanwhile, another hand-baked cake had arrived at Bwlch Isaf farm – this time a fruit cake with the A Way with Dogs logo carefully piped in icing.

In the Old Trials Field, tension was high and the onlookers were enjoying some dry wit and competitive spirit.

Now it was time to draw the running order for Group 3

Group 3

7. Neil Gillon with Sweep
8. Katy Cropper with Zac
9. James McCloskey with Sweep

The morning’s action was over, so we asked Mike Northwood what he thought about the show so far…

And then down came the drizzle, but it didn’t last for long. The onlookers were undeterred.

As the handlers from Group 3 gathered round to talk about the runs, the sky cleared in time for everyone to enjoy a break for lunch.

The crew including (especially!) Mike and Bryony looked extremely happy at the way things were preceding. And we’ll let you know more about what happened in the afternoon and evening  in next week’s blog post. As well as the most special, cake-tastic surprise Ceri…

Look out for the next in the series of ‘The making of A Way with Dogs – Series 2.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look out for the next in the series of ‘The making of A Way with Dogs – Series 2.

Series 2 – Away with Dogs begins…

Day 1 – the arrival

As I drove up the long track, up the hill to the farm at Bwlch Isaf Denbighshire on Friday 21st September 2018, the sky cleared and I had my first glimpse across the Clwydian hills of the challenging A Way with Dogs semi-finals course.

After a night of rain, sleet and hail, the day was dry and bright. No banners could be put up as the wind had knocked down branches and the portaloo in the night!

 

 

 

 

 

I parked up in the adjoining field and entered the kitchen, home of Ceri  (founder of CSJ) and Phil Rundle and Ceri’s late father  H.Glyn Jones. I joined the throng of handlers, presenters, judges and crew who were gathering from far and wide for a welcome cup of tea, a slice of pizza and some plums from the garden (thank you Sue Main).

 

 

 

The first of the cakes arrived, kindly donated by Kerstin Schwartze. This one was chocolate and marzipan and didn’t last long

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, we made our way down to the Bodfari field to start shooting the intros with presenters Bryony Billson and Mike Northwood. As soon as we stood in the field, a rainbow appeared. We took it as a good sign and sure enough the sun came out. This was the course, where the qualifying runs would be held.

 

 

 

 

 

Derek Fisher had travelled all the way from Idaho, USA. He made his way to North Wales via Ireland  to survey the course for the next day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peter Melling and crew set up the camera and sound equipment. We borrowed Ceri’s dog, Glan y Gors Jen for the shoot and Bryony and Mike leapt into action.

 

 

 

 

 

Glan y Gors Jen seemed pretty happy with Bryony, her new career on screen and with the blue sky above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mike and Bryony soon got into the swing of presenting together once again and the banter began!

 

 

 

 

 

 

That evening, we were invited to attend a welcome buffet at stunning 5 star Pentre Mawr Country House

 

 

 

 

 

 

Set in over 200 acres of parkland, woods and meadows, we dined like lords inside a beautifully decorated marquee and were warmly welcomed by hosts Bre and Graham.

 

 

 

 

 

After a delicious home-cooked supper, the handlers picked a sheep and turned it upside down to reveal a number and find out which group they were in the next day. As Mike said “you get one chance – no replays!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each handler was presented with a matching baseball cap and a Keela gilet, embroidered with the eye-catching ‘A Way with Dogs’ branding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s fair to say everyone liked them a lot! Here’s Sergio Perello. Ricky Hutchinson & Meg Jenkins showing appreciation!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The trophies created by Logan Whistles were set out for all to admire. One for the winner to keep and one for the presentation by the two judges – Sue Main and Andy Jackman. Who will win..?

More

 

 

 

 

Day 2, Qualifying Rounds blog post is coming soon…

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