Having completed a campsite review on my recently established website www.motorhomemeanderings.co.uk I was debating which one to do next. As I had extensive notes on “Bush Hill Campsite” I thought that would be a good choice. I was mulling over my impressions of the campsite and why I choose to stay there when In a flash of inspiration I realized that my reasons for going to Bush Hill Campsite would make an interesting blog entry.
My youngest daughter is interested in film. As a consequence we all became keen viewers of the TV show “Over the Rainbow”. This was where Andrew Lloyd Weber was looking for a singer to play Dorothy in his new show. The format is, as you probably all know, each week the contestants would sing and one would be eliminated. In the middle of one of the programmes it was announced they were also looking for a Toto, (the dog that accompanies Dorothy on her journey through Oz.) My daughter thought that our 2 dogs Ruby and Amber would be good candidates for this, so she looked up the information.
The auditions were being held at the Kennel Club HQ in Warwickshire. We decided to go. Whatever the outcome it would be a unique experience. As Bush Hill Campsite was only a few miles from the Kennel Club HQ we decided to use it as a base.
The morning of the auditions we set off to the Kennel Club HQ. Fortunately the car park was huge which was just as well as the queue zigzagged along the front of the building. Because we were not as early as I had planned (I’m afraid a perennial problem I have), I joined the end of the long queue together with my daughter and Ruby and Amber. All the humans and dogs were friendly. Despite the enormous number of dogs in such close proximity in the queue, they were, without exception calm and well-behaved. There was no snarling, barking or fighting. Occasionally there was a muted growl when one dog invaded the neighbouring space of another.
Slowly, slowly slowly the queue inched forward. When we got to the entrance, after giving our details, we were given a number to stick on our clothes.
We then found ourselves in a huge warehouse type room with row upon row of chairs snaking across the whole area. We settled ourselves and then had a good nose around.
Facing us were other potential “Toto’s” and their owners. Even though the dogs were just a couple of feet apart they sat quietly by their owners. In addition there was much “coming and going” as dogs were taken out to the “dog park” for exercise and relief‼ Throughout all this the dogs remained composed and biddable. Model animals.
There were dogs of all kinds, shapes and sizes: some big enough to ride on others so small they were carried in handbags. Irrespective of the type or size, everywhere the owners were interacting with their dogs. Often it was just a steady gentle pet but in some instances the exchange was more active and intense.
Roaming amongst all these humans and animals were several TV crews looking for interesting stories to film. When they did find something different or unusual they took the subject to a quieter area of the room to interview. One such crew were taken with Ruby’s mathematical prowess. Following a demonstration the TV were so impressed they asked her to repeat it so they could film her. Then came the unpleasant part, my commentary. Nevertheless during one of the reports on the search for Toto it was broadcast on the BBC. It is about 1minute 10 seconds on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsJUs8ph1CE . I hope you enjoy the whole video and realize just what a wonderful time we had.
We had to wait a considerable time for our group to be summons to the audition. We filed into an adjacent warehouse where there was a large show ring. We were asked to walk around this. In the middle were the 3 judges looking at everyone for all of 5 seconds it seemed. Some of the participants were approached and asked supplementary questions (Ruby was one of these). Then after a VERY short time they selected just ONE dog to go forward to the next stage – not Ruby or Amber.
How they could decide which of the 25+ dogs to select in such a short time astounded me. But then when I considered how many dogs they must have looked at over the 2 days they had an impossible task.
I am glad that neither of my 2 dogs made it through as this would have entailed more travelling and probably more waiting around. Nevertheless I am glad that we went to the auditions. It was a fantastic experience. For me, I found it incredible that so many dogs in such a confined space both in the queue and in the building behaved so well for so long.
NB Bush Hill Farm Campsite is no longer operational. The owners sold the farm and the new owners decided to close the campsite.