Monday, 20 February 2012

A weekend in Warsaw. Polish culture and agility!

Weekend in Poland.


I am writing this from Warsaw airport departures lounge after a very hectic weekend in Poland. I Have not had internet access so not had a chance to update anything on here.

Friday I flew into a very grey and snowy Warsaw airport. I was met by Magda who took me (via some heavy traffic) to a local Polish pub for some dinner. I ate dumplings but they were full of meat and were very tasty.

After the meal we drove to the training venue where I was also staying. It was about 40 minutes outside of Warsaw city. The venue was a horse arena and had a café etc as well as the rooms.

On Friday we did two sessions of training up til 11pm. After the training session we had some “mulled wine” which was “not so strong” (apparently!) and we had a few of these glasses with some light food.

Next morning I was up at 7am to build courses and help with the start of the competition. I was judging in the morning 3 class 2 courses and some beginner courses. We had lunch around 1pm and then I got ready for my training seminars, 4 x 1.5 hour sessions, which ended around 9pm. The groups consisted of a beginner (puppy group) a beginner competing group, and a class 2/3 group. Including the judging I had done about 12 hours and was spent.

So by Saturday evening I was somewhat tired, but did I rest, no! I was invited to go to Alexandra’s (one of my students on the seminar) house party (it was a birthday party). So I went along to meet everyone. The people were not agility but friends / students from university.

Well I was made to feel very welcome by everyone, it was really nice and I met some good people. However, part of fitting in is to drink what I consider a large amount of Vodka (this is apparently normal in Poland!) and I was trying to keep up with everyone and do Great Britain proud with my endurance. Epic fail! I was very red and bloodshot eyes.. (as normal!)

In fairness I have not drank (neat) that amount since I don’t know when. We partied until 3.30am and then I decided (in my drunken way) that I better head back for some sleep. I was up again at 7.30am for more judging.

So come 7.30am and my alarm for day 2. Not a pleasant sight. I felt just about sober and able to carry out my judging. Lucky the cold air in the hall got inside my lungs and began to sober me up.

In Poland new judges have to be shown and learn from experienced judges. Well guess what. Sunday I had a shadow judge watching me in all my professional glory. It wasn’t long before the shadow judge helped me by pointing out I had in fact marked 4 refusals for a dog and had not yet eliminated!

So I judged class 1 and then class 3, 6 classes in total. It was now lunch time. I was feeling ready to eat something so we had some chicken and soup. After the prize giving I went for a much needed 30 minute sleep!

We then had the afternoon sessions of training.

During the seminars I tried to cover (each day) a separate theme. On Sunday we looked at contacts and managing stop v running contacts, theory and reinforcement.  On Saturday we had looked at weave training and proofing, for example.

There were many topics that we talked about during the 3 days of seminars. Each student got ideas and information to work on, and I was happy that my training seemed well received.

On the Sunday evening I said goodbye to Magda and some of the others. (Magda organised my trip) and switched accommodation, and went back to Alexandra’s house (The party venue Saturday night) where I stayed over before heading back to the airport Monday.

I would like to say thank you to Magda for organising the weekend, thanks to my students for working hard, thanks to my shadow judge for keeping me focused Sunday morning, and to Alexandra for showing me the Polish party way and Vodka-shot culture!

This week I am in England, in fact I am here for 11 days now the most of 2012 which is nice. I have lessons during the week. This weekend coming Is OJAC (the Open Junior Agility Championships) and I along with Marc Saunders and Anthony Clarke are involved with judging & organising the event. It should be another busy weekend.

Although first I need to recover from this one!