Excerpt from an email from Nancy:

I have around 100 Dutch which is a lot for me. Dutch is all that I raise now. I have the biggest Dutch herd in the US at present. I have many sows in breeding to produce some young showables for the ARBA National Convention in Wichita Kansas at the end of October. I presently have around 20 showable Dutch with new showable pups being born through mid-Sept. I will take the best 15 to the show. Most of my showable Dutch are blacks, but I also have showable red, chocolate, GA, cream, Cin. Ag., and Choc. Ag. In 2009, I sent my one SA Dutch and some blacks to my friend Carol Sandler, in San Diego California because she is working to develop silver solid agoutis Dutch. She has gotten rid of the agouti belly band on some and has some silver solid agouti Dutch that are close to showable. I think she is also keeping golden solid agoutis. I guess she will be the only one in the world with them when she gets her line completely developed. Carol is a judge and ACBA Hall of Fame member who has been in the fancy for more than 40 years, so she is up to the challenge.

I will write an article about showing my Dutch at the national convention after I get home and send it to you in case you would like to post it to the DCC news. There are several other Dutch breeders around the country who have agreed to bring their Dutch to the convention show so we should have maybe 25 or more Dutch shown. My goal is to have the Dutch be the largest single variety represented at the show. The way we classify smooth coat Dutch, they are a variety within the American breed and all colors are shown together. The classes are broken down by age/wt and gender before they go for Best of Variety against all Dutch then Best of Breed against all other smooth coated cavies. If the Dutch are well-represented at the show, it will attract a lot of attention when they are judged and encourage others to join us. Many US breeders like the Dutch but they are of the impression that it is hard to produce showables. It isn't if you use English Dutch bloodlines! I pity the poor judge who will be given the task of judging the Dutch at the convention. Most of our judges are unfamiliar with how to go about judging Dutch. It is going to take a long time to get through them. I will take pictures and give the show a proper write up with the winners listed after the show.

I was very sorry to hear that Maggie lost her battle with cancer. She was very nice to us in the US, helping us to pay or memberships without a lot of trouble and fees. Last winter she was feeling much better and we talked about quilting. I sent her quilt fabric to make one for her granddaughter. She was feeling hopeful of a recovery and talked about what to put into breeding for the Real London. I named the showable cream Dutch boar that was born this summer, Dover, in memory of Maggie.



The Real London Show 2012.

After last year's sensational entry of 840 cavies, I did wonder whether such a good entry could be repeated or if the 2012 response from fanciers would reflect the continuing economic downturn. Early reports were of an entry of around 600, excellent for most shows but after the first success it would be seen as something of a disappointment.

For this year's show, the organisers had booked a better hall, at greater expense of course, that remedied the shortcomings of last year's event namely, lack of catering facilities, limited parking facilities, an out of the way situation and insufficient space to cater for all the fancies under one roof.

The Bracknell Leisure Centre provided an answer to all these shortcomings; a good cafeteria (and at reasonable prices), plenty of parking, a location that was more central and more accessible by public transport plus the hall was bigger and better. Also, as I found out on the day, it had a high ceiling and large doorways that could be opened to combat the heat if we had a hot, steamy day. After experiencing a very warm day at show recently (Yes, even in this summer), such problems were much in my mind beforehand but I needn't have worried as the conditions never became an issue. In addition, the lighting at the hall was as good as you would get in any leisure centre.

So everything was better than last year but would the response from fanciers be as good this year? Well, not quite but it was still very good as 792 cavies must be the best of any show this year and by a good number. The gerbils that suffered most last year because of the remoteness of the venue, had a much better show this year and mustered and entry of around 50 exhibits with a Nutmeg taking Best Gerbil. Secretary, Jackie Roswell was very pleased with the response. Likewise, the Hamster Section received a good entry but I must confess that I never got round to finding out any details. However, Nikki Matthews was more attentive and tells me that they were well pleased with the event

The mice were down this year and to a considerable extent with an entry of 105 mice. However, as Brian Emmett explained, several of his hardcore of exhibitors were away on holiday or business or absent because of good reason so he was reasonably happy with things. The National Rat Society staged a very good display although I am well aware that not everyone appreciates the quality of a good rat. If you do like them though, there was much to see and learn.

One disappointment for me was the absence of the Chinchilla display as it looked very good last year. Since the show, Pete Holdaway has explained that it was concern over temperature that resulted in their absence. Apparently, around 20C (68F) is the accepted tolerance threshold for chinchillas and, as the day previous had recorded a temperature of 23.5C, it was decided best to stay away this time. Last year's set up was a credit to the two ladies involved and it is, very much, an added attraction so, hopefully, they will return next year.

Something that will favour a return of the chinchillas next year is the fact that the 2013 show will be staged on Saturday, 14th September 2013; a week later as it seems the date has to revolve around other bookings. We will then be creeping toward autumn and any worries over possible excess heat should be less of a concern

Although the cavy entry was 48 short of last year's fantastic total of 840, it must still be considered a truly admirable response from the Cavy Fancy and it really was a show not to miss. When it comes to the distribution of numbers amongst the breeds, it did seem that perhaps there could have been more Tortoise & Whites on show. Without a stock show, I do know that some 'Patchies' were kept at home with the good pigs of Ken & Joan Phillips being expected to do all the winning.

As a Dutchman, I was a little disappointed with the DCC Southern Area entry of 41 Dutch as 60 made the line up for the DCC Margaret Elward Memorial Show last year. It could be nothing more than a case of showable Dutch not coming to order and such is the gamble of a marked variety. Also, not everyone likes block entry and that was mentioned but single entry pigs may well be a thing of the past. The cause certainly wasn't the judge (Kevin Lidbetter) as he made a good fist things and I had no grumble with my 4th place in the Red Dutch Adult Boar class as the first three exhibits were better than mine with Sarah Stribley's winner, Treleaver Rambo becoming a champion on the day.

Amy Heale was precluded from the RLS classes since she was judging Best in Show but she enjoyed plenty of success under Kevin taking Best Dutch with her Chocolate Dutch.

The National Agouti Cavy Club show fared much better with an entry of 59 pigs for Pete Holdaway to sort out; add to that the further seven that were only in the Real London classes and a grand total of 66 Agoutis were there to represent the breed.

I don't know much about the other club shows except that the National Fox & Tan Cavy Club had a good entry of 50 plus with judge, Tony Cooke making a very smart Black Fox (Eclipse Stud) the best exhibit.

In fact, Eclipse Stud enjoyed a really good show as they were also successful on the RLS side of things taking part in the Best in Show line up under Amy. This year, there was a good mixture of breeds with the nine pigs being placed in the following order: -

1st & Best in Show Pete Holdaway (Silver Agouti 5/8mths). 2nd Lonestar Stud (Teddy Adult). 3rd Red Robin Stud (Self Black u/5 mths). 4th Eclipse Stud (Black Fox u/5 mths). 5th Caroline Creese (Alpaca u/5mths). 6th Rex Matthews & Jayne Davey (Self D.E. Cream 5/8 mths). 7th Amanda Knight (White Crested 5/8 mths). 8th Daisy Broad (Silver Agouti Adult). 9th Alison Horscroft (Self D.E. White Adult).

Daisy Broad is a new name to me and I can only assume that she is part of the Broad family from Ivybridge, Devon. In this regard, it is good that you don't have to be a big name in the fancy to succeed at The Real London. Someone that I met for the first time on the show day was Peter Alford of Reading who had entered very much with hope rather than expectation yet was successful with both of his breeds; Self D.E. Goldens and Black Himalayans. Well done Peter.

Everyone seemed happy with the new venue and the organisation that, from my perspective of things, worked just fine. The only slightly negative comment was the cost of supporting such a show. Unfortunately, if fanciers want a first rate championship show that will act as a flagship and shop window for the fancy, it has to be paid for and such facilities do not come cheap. We do now need one in the South and this one has the benefit of being a one day event.

In addition to the sizable costs of the hall and penning (not to mention advertising, show stationery, rosettes, etc.), the rubbish that accumulated from the pulling down of the show needed to be taken away by the contractors but at a minimum cost of £40.00. Thanks to the kind co-operation of the majority, the volume was much less than last year but the waste involved still well exceeded this minimum payout with the cost involved ending up at a considerable £120.00.

Finally, one should not forget our thanks to the 'Fabulous Four' of Ian, Tony, Nikki and Pete plus a very efficient secretary in Val Lewis Smith. Plenty of others contributed throughout the show and I was surprised to see that several of the helpers that stayed behind to clear up were non-exhibitors. A good job resulted and it was pleasing to be complimented by the Leisure Centre staff that we had left the hall in much better order than the cat people.