We were invited to stay at Denis Birchall's for a few days, and today Denis suggested we go out to "the big field". He loaded up some Scottish Blackface sheep into his small (sized for Irish roads) stock trailer and we headed off.
"The big field" was an understatement. It was a massive field, wide with an 800 yard outrun and young cows bouncing around. Denis shooed the cattle away and trailered the sheep down to the far end of the field, where white sheep looked like bits of rice and darker sheep were pretty much invisible.
Both Mary Lou and I were able to send our dogs the distance, 800 yards being a first for both dogs, and it didn't take long before they were listening well at that distance, if only I had binoculars for eyes so I could give them the correct commands! Driving the sheep back up that length of field was great experience for the dogs.
Another first for me was setting out both groups of sheep for a double lift by myself. Trying to get the second group out in time was a bit stressful, but getting to try a turn back (which we each took a turn at) in that field under Denis Birchall's watchful gaze was fantastic!
So far, we really had not had any major glitches in the trip. We decided to go do a bit of shopping and give the dogs a break. As we went to pull out of the driveway, I looked at the rear right tire, which I had thought was a touch low when we picked up the car. Sure enough, the tire was almost completely flat. Fortunately Denis had an air compressor nearby and filled the tire and then directed us to a local tire shop, which fixed the tire immediately for €15 so overall the "almost" flat was relatively painless.
And to top it off, we found a local coffee shop with great cappuccino and free wireless (I really like tea, but with jet lag, tea just isn't quite cutting it). We sat in the sun on the patio with a good caffeine hit, connected wirelessly to the world, dogs at hand, in a sheepdog lover's heaven, what more could one ask for?
We were so relaxed, we decided the shopping could wait for another day. I could get used to this...
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