…and making memories
Our initial contact when we were looking for our first Collie had been with Aud-Helen and Gunnar Kjeldsen (Topp-Form) and although our 'Kim' eventually came from a different breeder, we stayed in touch with them. I think this was mainly as a result of my grandfather being encouraged to show his Collie, as he had already bought a puppy from them.
I scoured every general dog book I came across in search of information about Collies but it was hard to find and one day I made my way on the tube across the city to the main library in Oslo. There, I came across a book on all breeds and to my joy in this book were 3 whole pages all about the Collie! I was like a child in a candy shop! There were a few Collie photos but one caught my eye especially and remained with me ever since...it just made such a big impression on me at the time. It was a photo of Ch Glenmist Golden Legacy and Ch Lovely Lady of Glenmist - it was a great privilege many years later to meet their breeder Frank Mitchell which I would certainly never, even in my wildest imagination, have dreamt about happening at the time!
CH GLENMIST GOLDEN LEGACY and
CH LOVELY LADY OF GLENMIST
Weekly obedience training at Hundesletta, Ekeberg
Hallgeir and Zaxha who was trained in obedience but also trained as a gundog and every autumn would go hunting in the mountains and fetching back the grouse
The Illustrated Standard by Lorraine Still as depicted in 'Collie Concept' by Mrs George H Roos and were the first drawings I came across and they helped me immensely. The Collie world have since been fortunate to have the complete breed standard explained and illustrated in detail through Mia Ejerstad's outstanding work 'The Collie Standard', first published in 1993.
A new world of Collies and friends
The Norwegian Collie Club were very proactive in gathering new people in the breed (Aud-Helen and Gunnar Kjeldsen were very involved with the club) and I suddenly found myself sitting in a tent taking entries (for unofficial shows these were taken on the day) or any other 'hands on' tasks that were needed to help out! The club regularly arranged members meetings in the evenings were lots of topics were raised, mainly aimed at new members but some were also more focused on the experienced exhibitor and breeder. All the adults I came into contact with were wonderful to me, very welcoming, kind and supportive - they gave me a lot of confidence.
Bitten by the bug
By the end of a couple of obedience courses, a few club magazines and club meetings plus visits to Aud-Helen and Gunnar Kjeldsen (who, along with Marit Thuen (La Vida), were very supportive of my enthusiasm), I was well and truly hooked and, as a family, we were well and truly involved! In April 1979 we went to see a week old litter born at Topp-Form from the same dam as my grandfather's dog and came home having reserved the only shaded sable in the litter and 'Shana' came into our lives 7 weeks later, on the 22nd of June (and my mother's birthday) - a day I will never forget as I was so excited - I think I still remember every step of the 40 minute car journey!
I have a very strong memory of coming back from the woods one day, having walked our two Collies and I just 'knew' that this was my path...I was going to show and breed Collies...! It's a vivid memory and it has stayed with me since, both during good and difficult times.
We had no intention of showing when we got Kim but having been encouraged to join the Norwegian Collie Club and various activities, we met lots of other Collie owners and experienced breeders who were all very friendly and Collie activities became an enjoyable pastime. We particularly struck a chord with Hallgeir Bergh (who was one of the obedience instructors) and fellow newcomers Henriette and Vidar Granum who went on to have the very well known and immensely successful Breezdon kennel. Sadly, Vidar passed away in 1999 and he is still greatly missed. So many wonderful times spent together and we would often join forces when travelling on long journeys to dog shows, regularly 6-9 hours away by car. Henriette (now Hansen) is still a very dear friend. Many happy memories of shared whelpings and following each other's puppies, exchanging thoughts and ideas, and watching Falcon Crest (or Dynasty!), consuming large amounts of Henriette's delicious home made pizza!
Study, study, study
I continued to devour every piece of information about Collies I came across and, seeing my interest, Aud-Helen gave me several back numbers of the club magazine which were consumed in every detail. Amongst other things, I came across 'The Standard' and found this fascinating. In trying to understand it I spent many hours bending the ears of Aud-Helen and Gunnar and later on Ulla Bergh-Persson (Bermarks) and Birgitta Holm (Dragonen). I was probably quite a pest!
I was overjoyed, on occasions, to be invited to spend weekends with Aud-Helen and Gunnar, sometimes to attend a whelping or to accompany them to a show. One such occasion was when I went with Gunnar to Finland were he was hoping to win a final CACIB with their male Nor Ch Geoffdon Jonathan and it was a great day when he won his international title. At the show I remember being impressed by the exhibits from the Sunsweet kennel. By this time we had also been introduced to Marit Thuen who owned Nor Ch Flame of Daisow, a top winning Collie bred purely from Geoffdon stock. Marit became a much loved friend and later entrusted us with 'Dime', a sable puppy she was keeping for herself and she followed Dime's progress very attentively, We were incredibly lucky from the start being entrusted with both Shana and Dime. Both Aud-Helen and Gunnar and Marit had a huge influence on me. Marit very generously gave me her copy of Ada Bishop's book, 'All About The Collie' which I read from cover to cover several times. It is one of my most cherished books along with the original book by Margaret Osborne 'The Popular Collie', which was a much appreciated gift from Barbara Blake many years later and equally much treasured.
Int & Nor Ch Geoffdon Jonathan was a male we really admired, he was truly impressive (even to our novice eyes we could see that there was something special about him) and he had a bomb proof temperament. He was not a particularly big dog but had great substance and was so balanced in every way. He was not a good showman but at his home he came into his own, looking magnificent. Even as completely inexperienced beginners, we could see that this dog had power when he moved, it was a gear shift, a sight to behold. He really excelled in movement with his powerful drive and great reach in front, he made a great impression and consistently did well in the group ring. I also remember his beautiful rounded muzzle, it looked like velvet and his very beautiful, kind and obliquely set eyes. As we were to experience years later, when his daughters where combined with Nor Ch Corydon Augustus Caesar, it proved to be a winning combination.
It was during a visit to Topp-Form in 1980 that we met Geoff and Pat Mildon, this was very exciting and I was thrilled when they invited me to come over to England the following summer and spend 3 weeks of my summer holiday with them! I couldn't believe my luck, although I was also quite hesitant as I was not sure about spending such a long time away from home, but in July 1981 Gunnar took me over on a Fred Olsen ferry from Oslo to Felixstowe and then the train to Shrewsbury and 'Ensdon Lea'. The Mildons had a beautiful country home and Pat, being a very keen gardener, the lawns and grounds were immaculate. Geoff and Pat were both so kind, very generous and hospitable and happy to talk to me about the Collies - only I didn't talk a lot in return as I was too scared of practising my school English and spent most of my time on 'mute' mode!
As well as enjoying their beautiful Collies, I spent many happy hours reading (there was a treasure trove of Collie books!) and copying out information and pedigrees. I was certainly a very 'different' teenager! Geoff and Pat had beautiful paintings of some of their Collies and I remember, in particular, the paintings of Ch Geoffdon Westlynns Wayside Boy and Ch Duntiblae Dodgem of Geoffdon impressing me. I was very excited to be able to visit a dog show whilst I was there, this was National Working Breeds (as it was then)...I was in Collie heaven! There were some very nice dogs and one I liked a lot was a 10 months old Corydon Handsome Hotspur. The BOB winner that day (and res BIS) was Corydon Augustus Caesar - little did I know that we were to be the lucky joint owners of this very handsome male a few years later.
National Working Breeds Ch Show 18th July 1981 - from left to right Sonza Star Wars, Volterra King of the Stars, Corydon Augustus Caesar, Pelido Sparticus and Rickwood Honky Tonk. The judge was Mrs S Elliston
This bitch, Int & Nor Ch Aberhill Thor Queen was one of my first inspirations and the great great grandmother of our first bitch, Nor Ch Topp-Form's Petit Fleur
Ch Jefsfire Gold Token who was another dog I greatly admired from photos
I loved this bitch's expression, she was owned by the Windiacre kennels who bred some beautiful Collies in Norway
Ch Bririch Blue Yvette who's photo I kept being drawn to
First pitter patter of tiny paws
We had incredible luck from the start, both with our first two bitches and their resulting litters.
Whilst I was staying with Geoff and Pat, our Shana had come into season and I remember the phone call when my parents rang to say she had been mated as, at her previous season, she had been completely unwilling and we ended up doing AI which resulted in no puppies. It was a big joy that she had a successful mating this time. The choice of dog was easy - it was quite an 'automatic' choice as we admired Int & Nor Ch Geoffdon Jonathan so much and, as he was the half brother to Shana's father, we were told this was a good line breeding. Shana had 6 healthy puppies and from this litter came our first champion in Freelancer Design ('Tessa'). We were fortunate that distant family of ours contacted us for a puppy and it was a good solution for us that they have Tessa. I was lucky to be able to campaign Tessa to her title and she was a joy to show. Her campaign was quite a long process as she won 11 res CCs before finally winning her 3 CCs in a row! We tried to mate her on several occasions, once to Lynaire All In Black and twice to our own Corydon Augustus Caesar but she kept missing. In the end, she went for a short holiday with Ulla and she finally succeeded and Tessa had a litter sired by Duntiblae Ipi Tombi. Sadly, the only bitch puppy died. We started showing a young son of hers, Freelancer Fleeting Affair (who lived not far from Oslo) and he won his class at his first ch show but my move to England in 1988 meant his show career was short lived.
At the same time as Shana was mated to Jonathan, Dime was mated to Duntiblae Ipi Tombi who I had found through searching Swedish magazines. Dime (whilst beautifully bred) had a head which was in disproportion to her body and I was very keen to find a dog with the correct head for her. I wrote to many breeders, mostly in Sweden, asking for pedigrees and photos and looking at males' offspring and their common attributes. Through this exercise, Ipi Tombi became an obvious choice as he appeared to be a prepotent sire in that all his puppies had a very similar 'look' with regard to head, expression and ear carriage and it was exactly this head, expression and ear carriage that our Dime needed. At the time, there was another male, closer to home in Norway, with the same sire as Ipi Tombi and other breeders were asking my parents why we didn't use him instead, to save the long journey to Sweden...the logic and reasoning for me being the two dams' sides were completely different and I felt Ipi Tombi was a sire who was putting a certain 'stamp' on his progeny. We went to see Ipi Tombi prior to using him and a long term friendship with Ulla Bergh-Persson (of Bermark fame) started. Ulla was a wonderful host and always so welcoming and many memorable weekends were spent in her company over many years. We would visit each other for shows or we would travel to Sweden with our puppies for their eye tests as there were no authorised eye specialists for CEA and PRA in Norway. It was our great fortune to become friendly with her.
The colourful CEA debate
A few of us got involved with the Norwegian Collie Club Breeding Council’s thinking when they implemented rules for compulsory testing of breeding stock for CEA prior to mating in order for the mating to be approved by the club. Our objections were due to the fact that there were no authorised vets in Norway at the time (and breeders were using their local vets to get a ‘clear’ certificate whereas we chose to travel to Sweden to test) - it seemed wrong to me but taking part in this debate as a 17 year old didn’t go down too well! However, as I had very strong feelings about this, I was encouraged to challenge the club by my parents and friends but it started a huge debate (in the club magazine) and I made myself well and truly unpopular! The letter on the right is the last response I wrote, with some help from my mum and good friend Geirr Svendal, who was very well read and very clever…I was thankful that it stopped the stir that I had caused! In time, however, some vets in Norway became authorised to examine for CEA and, eventually, it became obligatory to check hips and eyes before breeding.
Good friends and mentors
Ulla had some very beautiful Collies together with some interesting imports and breeding. We enjoyed some amazing times with her discussing Collies, often until the early hours of the morning! Ulla was very entertaining and I loved listening to her stories drawn from her immense experience. She was also very honest about her own dogs. I used to go home and look at our dogs with fresh eyes and comparing them to the standard, often ending up with more questions in my head! I felt incredibly thrilled and honoured on two occasions to be asked if I wanted to handle for Ulla, once was the task of grooming and showing Nor Ch Bermarks Hannicke and the other time handling one of her lovely Shelties and this particular Sheltie was incredibly easy and fun to show and won the CC on the day so I was thrilled!
We sometimes used to watch other breeds once the Collie judging was finished and Shelties were often on after Collies and I used to follow these with some interest too. Over time, we got acquainted with Helgie Lie (Leeland) who was highly regarded within the Collie fraternity and his wife Aud Jorun was the editor of the Sheltie handbooks (and eventually the editor of the Norwegian Kennel Club magazine) which I also collected and I really loved these books. They featured every CC winner over the last 5 years with photos and pedigrees and I found them very fascinating. Aud Jorun and Helge Lie (who became the Chairman of the Norwegian Kennel Club) had some very beautiful Shelties.
The Swedish Collie Club magazine was of great interest to me as it gave a really good insight into Collies in Sweden. Due to quarantine restrictions we were limited to travel within Norway, Sweden and Finland but the Swedish breeders had some very beautiful Collies and it appeared they were well ahead of the Norwegian breeders with regard to quality and type. In addition to Ulla, we also met Birgitta Holm (Dragonen) who became a very good friend and also Mia and Anja Ejerstad and Tomas Rohlin (Steadlyn). Birgitta had established a type which was instantly recognisable due to her line breeding, especially with regard to head and expression, and her Collies were based mostly on British dogs. I admired her Collies greatly. Birgitta had a wealth of knowledge and experience and, again, was so willing to share it and help 'educate' us. I had also followed Mia, Tomas and Anja's breeding through the magazine and I remember very well the day Mia and Tomas turned up at a show in Norway with Nor Ch Blue of Blues and the sable bitch Nor Ch Waft of Wool - I was mesmerised and completely starstruck! Mia's presentation was something out of this world, it was simply spellbinding as was her handling skills...the showmanship and ring presence of 'Winston' (Blue of Blues) was, also, breathtaking - he had a very commanding outline. From then on, I virtually stalked Mia! I spent hours watching her groom and she willingly shared her expertise and showed me what she was doing, as did Tomas. Mia's trimming of feet and hocks was legendary... Mia and Tomas became very good friends and we enjoyed many weekends together until Tomas travelled to America, I went to England and Mia moved to Italy.
In the early 1980s I came across an advert for a book 'Collie Concept' by Mrs George H Roos from America. We had been made aware that the American Collies were 'different' but I was intrigued and we ordered it. I loved reading this book, there was a lot of good learning points and I particularly loved the drawings by Lorraine Still, illustrating the standard. These drawings together with Mia Ejerstad's book The Collie Standard are, in my opinion, the definitive illustrations for our breed and I have referred to them countless times.
Another Collie who made a great impression on us was the blue merle bitch Int & Nor Ch Dragonen's Carissima In Blue, owned by Jan and Kristina Granath...I mainly remember her colour being exeptional, truly a very clear, silvery blue... Birgitta Holm (her breeder) taught me a lot about the colouring of blues and what to look for in a newborn puppy with regard to colour and markings, as did Mia and Tomas. Ulla Eriksson (Crony) also had some very beautiful Collies. She had imported many dogs from Britain (mostly with Rokeby breeding) and some of her bitches were outstanding - I was very taken with Int Ch Cronys Anniversary Maid, Cronys Victoria Rose and Cronys Royal Highness, in particular.
Over the years, I corresponded with several breeders from other countries and they would kindly send me photos (which I carefully collected in albums), pedigrees and general news from the Collie scene - it seems a long way away from where we are now with the internet and information available at our fingertips!
During our family summer holiday travelling through the continent in 1983, we visited two Danish breeders, the really lovely couple Ada and Per Norts (Perada) and Connie and Ove Pedersen (Aynsley), who became lifelong friends. We also visited Waltraut and Klaus Reinhard (vom Hause Reinhard) and met the well known Cookie vom Hause Reinhard and some of their other lovely Collies. Waltraut gave me a few copies of Collie Revue and the literature for the rest of the holiday was secured!
One of my favourite pastimes was tracing pedigrees. I would see dogs I liked in magazines or at shows and try to find their pedigrees, this was also how I ended up writing a lot of letters asking for help when I got 'stuck'. Over some time, I built up a 'library' of what must be hundreds of pedigrees which I had typed out on a typewriter, I found them fascinating and loved trying to understand the thinking behind them, looking at photos (or the dogs in the flesh) to see which attributes and flaws the dogs may have and how they were being inherited through different dogs/bitches/lines. I noticed the different types of line breeding (and sometimes in-breeding and outcrosses used), also the 'positioning' of some dogs in a pedigree and how that may contribute to a successful breeding. I still have my pedigree folders although they are now completely redundant as most of the pedigrees can be found on the internet!
As a result of seeing the handbooks from the Norwegian Shetland Sheepdog club (which I think were based on the beautiful books from Britain) I became fascinated with the tail male and tail female charts. I began to chart all the CC winners in Norway from the start, going back to the first records I could find and I loved this research to see how lines had developed, which ones had become prominent and which ones had faded away. It was always my wish and ambition, that we could produce something similar for Collies which would be an amazing record and archive for the breed.
I first came across the Yorkshire Collie Club Handbook 1978 and 1979 through the Norwegian Collie Club. These handbooks and the International Collie Handbook coming out in 1980 made an enormous difference to us as we could now get a much better insight into Collies from Britain and also other countries around the world. The arrival of the handbook became the highlight of the year for me! It really opened up the whole Collie world at a whole new level. It was in one of these early books that I came across an advert from the Lakefield kennel in Brazil and I was amazed they even had Collies in Brazil, let alone a dog like the photo I saw which was a very young Brazilian Champion Lakefield Leader - I could not take my eyes off him!
Sindalyn Star Aquarius whos eye and expression I admired
Brazilian Ch Lakefield Leader at 6 months
Duntiblae Ipi Tombi
Int & Nor Ch Blue of Blues - grandson of the famous Ch & Aust Ch Danvis Ladyvale Blue Mist
A photo which I admired from the International Collie Handbook taken by Eva-Maria Kramer showing Blue Eyriny vom Hause Reinhard, Nancy vom Hause Reinhard and Isabell vom Hause Reinhard
Ch Pied Piper of Aberhill at Rixown -
I thought he was very handsome
Some of my fanatical record keeping and handywork - the product of teenage obsessions!
Our first CC on the 8th of June 1981, won by Dime
Ch Brilyn Dawn Delight who I admired from photos
Although I never saw him, I was hugely impressed by the elegance and substance of this dog, his proud and regal look, for me the epitome of 'impassive dignity' and 'all Collie'...Ch & Aust Ch Corydon Handsome Hero
Ch Angelfield Petite Etoile - I thought she was beautiful
I saw this picture of Int & Nat Ch Lansingh's Goela Djawa in the International Handbook 1984 and I just loved her
I never saw this dog, Ch Dunsinane Detective, but I liked the look of his clean head, expression and ear carriage...his owner and breeder, Mrs Chatfield I will always remember as a kind lady and for the great service she did to our breed as well as being such an influential breeder of Collies
The International Handbook became invaluable in learning about Collies in Britain - these photos are of some Collies who inspired me
Our visit to the Rokeby kennel was a highlight and I remember Betty Eglin as such a formidable lady. My father was so impressed with her wrought iron gates which had a Collie on each side and 'Rokeby' clearly visible. I also remember an 11 year old and very fit Knight Porter of Rokeby climbing all over the sofas trying to get a good look out of the windows as, Mrs Eglin explained, he was looking for girls due to our visit! We saw his son Rokeby The Renegade and grandson Ch Rokeby The Radical who we were all impressed by and great grandson Rokeby Reprint made a big impression, a very elegant young dog with a beautiful expression. Mrs Eglin's bitches were beautiful, so very elegant and with that distinctive 'kind, yet alert' expression. There was one, in particular, that I liked named Rokeby Rose Libra and Mrs Eglin said she was the last daughter of the legendary Ch Ramsey of Rokeby. These Collies had a certain dignity and gracefulness which I will always remember. It was an incredible
Kennel hopping in the home of Collies
Since my stay with Geoff and Pat, summer holidays in Britain were high on my wish list and in particular visiting famous kennels... Luckily, my parents already had an affinity with Britain due to my grandparents who had both served in Scotland during the second world war and my mum being born there, so they were happy to fulfil my wishes. In 1982 we set off with Randi Narvesen and her family and it was a complete marathon of kennel visits!
Our first stop was to Corydon and we were made so very welcome, even being served delicious sandwiches and cakes! We met 11 year old Corydon Kind Hector and his stunning daughter Ch Corydon Hippolyta, who made a great impression on us all. She had the most beautiful Collie expression. I also vividly remember a young Corydon Glory Hallelujah (who later gained her title) who was equally impressive, as well as Corydon Handsome Hotspur (who later gained his title) and one of my favourites, Corydon Polly Tucka. An absolute special 'treat' was that we were shown cinefilm of Ch Corydon Quinault and his two sons, Ch Little Caesar at Corydon and Ch Corydon Handsome Hero. This was completely invaluable as they were in so many pedigrees and they had all been exported to Australia where they had gained their Australian titles.
Our trip went on to Abbestone and Norma and Anne Lister who lived not far from Corydon. I was keen to see Abbestone Ruby Red Dress and her top winning young children Abbestone Ruby Tuesday, Abbestone Red Adair and Abbestone Ruby's Magic (all three became champions) - we had never seen such huge coats before! Norma and Anne were equally hospitable and we enjoyed talking to them both.
We then visited the famous Brettonpark and Aberhill kennels and it was wonderful to see such famous dogs as Ch Brettonpark Whatzizname, Ch Brettonpark Country Fair, Brettonpark Country Tweed and last but not least, Ch Arranbrook Mr Chips of Aberhill. I could hardly contain my excitement to see this dog as I had admired his head and expression from photos. I remember Mrs Toothill as a lovely lady, a great character and very friendly. It meant so much to see these famous dogs in the flesh.
Next on our list was the Lynaire kennels with Barry and Roz Makepeace, who took very good care of us and even escorted us to our campsite at the end of the day. It was fascinating listening to Barry who was so knowledgable and we all liked their bitches who included the lovely Lynaire Chiquitita, later to gain her title.
Our next stop was Sandiacre and the same incredible hospitality was shown to us. It was truly an unforgettable experience to see the famous Sandiacre Collies. We saw a 14 year old Ch Sandiacre Secondhand Rose (who I had admired in photos), Ch Sandiacre Silence Is Golden, Ch Sandiacre Sweet Valentine and last but not least the very beautiful Ch Sandiacre Sweet Lorraine. We also met Sandiacre Sealed With A Kiss and Sandiacre Stripper, the latter who also became a champion, I am just very grateful that I have been so fortunate as to see these Collies, it taught me so much.
The impressive gates to the famous Rokeby kennels
experience to visit this lady and hours went by as we listened to her talk about Collies, completely forgetting about time and space! She was reminiscent of an encyclopedia...such immense knowledge.
We also went to Windsor Ch Show which was an experience and the weather was beautiful, with Windsor Castle in the background, it was quite idyllic!
As Mrs Iris Combe had judged the Norwegian Collie Club's main championship show that same year, we also stopped by to visit her on our way east. As well as being a very interesting lady to talk to with a wealth of knowledge, she took us to see a Border Collie 'in action' at a herding show, which was quite an experience. I remember my parents being very impressed by this!
I liked the expressions of these two:
Sindalyn Sofie Ann and her daughter
Sindalyn Sing Don't Talk
In the summer of 1983, I was fortunate to be invited to join Birgitta Holm and Berit Ohlsson (Greilins kennel) as they were travelling to Britain visiting friends and seeing kennels and I jumped at the opportunity! We had a wonderful time and I learnt so much during this visit as Birgitta was very knowledgeable and a good teacher. As they lived in two completely different locations in Sweden and I lived in Oslo, we 'met up' at Ulla's, who, as always, was so welcoming and what an amazing time I had into the small hours, listening to these 3 ladies talking Collies! For the main part of our stay our 'home' in Britain was with the Clarke family who were good friends of Birgitta's and incredibly hospitable. This turned out to be very educating as I was listening to many conversations about Collies and meeting Derek Smith for the first time which was also an honour. The value for me in these visits was enormous as, not only seeing the dogs, but listening to the conversations between all these experts was truly enlightening! Ena, Roland, Alan and Doreen had some very nice Collies, I recall liking Ch Eirrac Thundercloud at Lynway and Mossylea Shades of Glory at Lynway the best. We also met a 7 months old Lynway Sandknocker who impressed me with his beautiful 'melting' expression and the tricolour bitch Mybern's Mystery at Lynway who later gained her title.
The Clarke family took us to visit Alison Spring and the Sindalyn kennel who were close by and I just loved one of her bitches, Sing Don't Talk at Sindalyn who had such a beautiful head and she was so sound.
We were also taken to visit Mike and Bernice Harris and the Mybern Collies who were also 'local' and I remember looking forward to meeting Ch Mybern's Mandane, in particular as I had admired his head from photos. We also met Jankeith Gideon at Mybern, Mybern's Meridion (both later won their titles) and a very nice bitch, Ch Mybern's Meg's Girl. All their Collies had great temperaments and literally bombarded us!
Again, kennel visits had been planned to Abbestone, Corydon and Lassina where I met the beautiful Lassina Love Me Tender (who later gained her title) and found Joan Cammidge (later House) a really lovely lady. Again, I had the pleasure of a visit to Sandiacre as Berit had based her very successful kennel in Sweden on Sandiacre stock.
We also spent a few days with Birgit and Trevor Haward which I remember vividly - Birgit being Swedish and bred roughs as well as smooths before coming to Britain (her Glennfield affix being behind many Swedish Collies, most notably Glennfields Golden Flash who together with Dragonen's Pretty Belinda formed the foundation of the famous Steadlyn and Steadwyn Collies) - the conversation very soon turned to Swedish! Birgit and Trevor had, as well as their beautiful smooths, a beautiful old 'lady' wandering around their lovely grounds named Ch Dundrennan Melody and we were told she was one of the last remaining offspring of Ch Jefsfire Lucky By Name. We then had a lovely evening visit to Geoff and Pat Mildon and for me, it was very special seeing them again and listening
I loved the graceful elegance of this bitch -
Ch Saheltras Sally Sunshine of Clickam
to Geoff's stories.
A visit had also been arranged to Vera Hickson and the famous Bririch Collies where we got to meet a 14 year old Ch Bririch Night Enchantment who was the litter sister to Ch Bririch Gold Edition. We also saw Ch Bririch Black Keino, Ch Bririch Blue Unit, Ch Fernmoss Editiorial of Bririch, Ch Corydon Polymeros of Bririch, the very elegant and shapely Bririch Black Quotation and last but not least, the very stunning Ch Bririch Blue Yvette.
Another visit that year which I will never forget was to Phyllis and Derek Rigby of the famous Lythwood Shelties and they, again, were so welcoming and we saw so many beautiful shelties.
I passed my driving test in October 1983 and in 1984 my parents (who had probably been 'cured' of kennel visits the first time) let me lose on my own! However, I did travel with our good friend Ingrid Svendal (Lancetta Collies) and I think I frightened the life out of her with my driving and hap hazard accommodation planning...! After having spent the afternoon at Corydon, we headed north and had decided to find a B&B along the way which was a good plan although we had left Barbara and John's quite late and by the time we got to the area we needed to be in for the following day it was very late. We then seemed unable to find a B&B and in my desperation I found a phone box and called home to my mum, at midnight, and told her that we couldn't find anywhere to stay... I am not sure what I expected her to do about it but I don't suppose she slept much that night! Just after I put the phone down we did find a B&B but my mum didn't find out until the next day... We did see lots of Collies though...some highlights being a visit to Roland and Viv Anderton and seeing Ch Karava Kornishman was very exciting. We also saw a very attractive baby puppy who was later to become Ch Keegan of Karava, We were also lucky to visit Brian and Sue Hawkins which was high on my wish list and I was very much looking forward to seeing Ch Brilyn Supertramp as I had admired his super sweet expression from the handbooks... Again, we were made so welcome. We were surprised when we knocked on the door, to be greeted by Supertramp himself! The next Collie to greet us with a lot of enthusiasm was the very beautiful Arranbrook Song of Gold at Brilyn (later to gain her title) and we had the pleasure of meeting Ch Brilyn Dawn Delight, who I had admired from the International handbook.
Another highlight was an afternoon with Rene Cozens who was so lovely towards us and seeing her Bhyllsacre Collies. In particular, we were looking forward to seeing Ch Bhyllsacre Querida Mia and she happened to be nursing a litter of puppies. Mrs Cozens very kindly helped us find our next B&B which we were very grateful for considering our previous history!
We also went to Windsor Ch Show which was a great experience and I fell in love with a puppy bitch called Rickwood Musetta...her colour was just beautiful, I was pleased when she later gained her title. On this trip we also brought two Collies back to Sweden with us for their new owners, one a young adult and one a puppy, both from the Brettonpark kennel.
One of the letters I received from Britain when we got back said : "I hope you have recovered from your holiday in England..." This just sums it up! These kennel visits were so invaluable...speaking to and listening to all these famous breeders was immensely helpful in growing my understanding and appreciation of Collies. I will always feel grateful to all these kind breeders for their generosity in welcoming us into their homes and kennels to see their Collies.
I loved the way certain kennels unmistakably had a certain 'look', a type that was distinctive and instantly recognisable as only of that particular kennel or breeding. There were many kennels who had this, their own 'stamp' or 'trademark'... I admired many kennels in Britain, sometimes for different reasons as they all had slightly different qualities as their strengths...In my fantasies, I dreamt of creating my own 'line' of Collies with this 'instantly recognisable' look - distinctive for their type. I would 'play' with pedigrees creating phantom litters, wondering how they might turn out - I was a good daydreamer, and an expert at hiding at the back of the class in lessons - I am still not sure how I passed my exams!
A new horizon?
Back in Norway, I continued to enjoy shows and meeting up with our good friends. We would often see Henriette and Vidar and also Bodil and Bob Wilson (who had lived in Scotland for many years) who became such good friends and so many great times were enjoyed together. We would discuss Collies, look at each others dogs and comparing them to the standard...we were open to each other's views and no one was ever offended, there was just mutual respect between us and we remained good friends, even if we didn't always agree! If were were not sure, we would ask each other's advice or opinion about matings and celebrate in each other's resulting successes, even though our litters were not always of a similar breeding. We would always go to look at each other's litters and exchange views, I learned a lot from this and found it invaluable. I remember many evenings spent driving to Henriette and Vidar or to 'Fuglesangen' and talking Collies with Bodil until the early hours! On one such occasion, I had absent mindedly left our house in Oslo and set off into the countryside without looking at the petrol gauge, finding out around half way there that it was virtually on 'empty'... I had a panic as I knew there were no fuel stations from then on (and just as far to turn around) so gingerly drove on...I have no idea how the car managed but I got within about 200 metres from Bodil and Bob's house when the poor car finally gave up!
My father designed a letter head for me
The Norwegian Collie Club's Main Ch Show 1984 judged by Mr Albert Wight - open bitch class, left to right Ch Crubow's Easy Love, Ch Crubow's Gentle Touch, Abbestone Born Free of Odinstud, a young Breezdon As You Like It Babe and Freelancer Design
A visit to Per-Eriksgarden and Ulla in 1985 with Henriette and Vidar and their litter of puppies
My parents, Jan-Erik and Elsa with Bodil Wilson and one of Gus' first litters in Norway
My mum and Dagny Nygard manning the Norwegian Collie Club's stand at the Norwegian Kennel Club Show, Sjolyst 1987
In the summer of 1985 my parents joined me in going to England again as this time the only kennel visit was Corydon where I was going to stay...I was so extremely excited and felt so priviledged I could hardly wait...the last journey from our campsite in Cambridge to Fenton I still virtually remember in detail!
I was so incredibly lucky that my wonderful parents were so supportive and got very much involved themselves with what was, after all, my hobby. I think they were just happy I was not into drink and drugs! They also got involved with club commitments, my dad with the obedience (for a little while) and my mum with the collie magazine and many years as a committee member. When I was old enough to officially join, I too, joined the committee, first as magazine editor and later, on the breeding council. We thoroughly enjoyed organising shows and holding conventions where we would invite speakers from other countries and many friends were made.
I feel truly grateful to the people who helped me along the way during my first few years in Collies - without them none of our success would have happened and I am equally thankful for the friendships that were made. Most of all I am grateful to my wonderful parents and our Collies.
If there is one big 'learning' from my start in Norway...it is leaving most of our own breeding behind, this is one thing that I regret as it later backed me into a corner and I lost what I started with along the way – the carefree spirit of youth...we live and learn!
Bodil was brave enough to bring the champagne, 'just in case' - celebrating Gus and Maggie getting their titles on the same day! It was the 30th April 1988 and the judge was Collie specialist Annika Ulltveit-Moe (Whisborne). In the picture is my mum, Anne-Berit and Bodil
Int & Nor Ch Geoffdon Jonathan at 10 1/2 years and Nor Ch Corydon Augustus Caesar at 8 1/2 years in a veteran class
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forewards" -