Let’s talk parking, shall we? Jen and I went to the NEC on Saturday for the Ladies Kennel Association dog show – in this day and age you would have thought some gentleman would have complained about that title. It’s been an OK weekend for Cubbly’s (James was with Jen today as I was with C picking up Bex and Steven from Birmingham airport, having driven back from the NEC – Birmingham, yesterday … there’s a pattern there somewhere), but the sales weren’t that great and the business just about managed to wipe its face. But, comments were good and at one point today Jen tells me that we were close to an ‘8 leads and collars order’, which would have been a nice boost; alas it wasn’t to be.
Where was I? Oh, yes, parking. Jen stayed in Birmingham last night and booked into the Travelodge by the NEC/airport. James joined her and, like a pair of criminals handing over a package (made more realistic by sheeting rain), James handed Cassie over to me in the hotel car park. Anyhow, by then we’d been told that there was no free parking with the hotel, but they had to book into an NCP one (they’re all NCP close to the airport) which would be £33. Yes … £33. Which didn’t make any sense as C and I had long-stayed in an NCP car park at the airport in November which was just £37 for 7 days. And, as I were over 15 minutes ahead of James who was arriving in his car, I had to pay £6 for the first hour outside the hotel … which would eventually go up to £33 if I stayed for 24 hours. At that point we saw any profit we were making evaporating in car park charges.
Anyhow, they booked themselves into a local NCP multi-story a short distance from the Travelodge for a discount, on-line rate of £10. Only to find this morning they had a £100 ticket for not booking the Sunday (they’re fighting that). That’s no profit for Cubbly’s.
Not finished yet. C and I parked in the airport short stay this afternoon for Bex and Jen and because we were 5 minutes over 2 hours the cost of the ticket was £15.50. That’s a lot of pounds. And the car parks were heaving. And it’s all automated – so no staff bills. NCP must be making a fortune from punters like us. So and sos.
Just two minutes on dog shows, as I am now an expert. 10,000 dogs are paraded at the NEC. I chose my words carefully. Because ‘paraded’ is what happens; mostly by reasonably stern looking women. (The sporadically-placed men are all immaculately dressed; some in suits.) And that’s the thing. It’s not about the dogs. I’m not convinced they get any pleasure out of the process. Nearly all arrive in a sheet-covered, metal crate/cage, on four wheels. Then they go into a tiny pen where they are subjected to more grooming than is strictly necessary. And then they ‘get on parade’ – following very strict orders in a very strict sequence. And then it’s back in the crate, out into the car park and off to the next show.
It’s not natural. And I tell you why I know this. Dogs are very particular about where they poo. They’re obsessive. Cassie only poos in one place on her walk. Every time. Not so for a good number of dogs at the NEC. There was a lot of nervous poo about. Here and there. In the middle of walkways, with people standing in it. And wee … that was everywhere. Nervous wee. And nervous poo. You see Cassie doesn’t like other dogs (she wasn’t with us BTW), and I’m pretty confident that most dogs don’t like other dogs, unless one of them is in season. Or there’s plenty of room for rough and tumble, and ball chasing. But that’s not allowed at a dog show (nor are mongrels; if you think Brexiteers are xenophobic, check out the breed owners at a dog show … no mixed race here!). And so the poor, nervous things poo and wee indiscriminately.
So it’s about the owners: stern looking women and immaculately dressed men. It’s about them. The strutting about is for them. The rosettes are for them – and, yes, they do wear them on their checked gillets. The camera is on them: look at me!
Whilst their poor old, over-shampooed dogs poo and wee everywhere.
Two days off now. Doris’s alarm has been playing up, so I need to look at that. And, of course, spend some quality time with Bex.
Then back to the sewing machine on Wednesday. There are plenty of orders to put together and Jen and I need to talk strategy. It’s going to be a fun 2019 in the sweatshop!