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  And so, here we are at the end of an era.  From meeting Tom, the Marilyns, the founding of the Ivydene Flock, from Dads' first show at Fife on the 19th May 2012 to his last show today in Peebles 2015, it's been a highly enjoyable experience.  For me anyway, I wasn't the one putting in the hard work, I just dropped in with my camera and blogged.  I've been at the shows as often I could, in my role as #1 fan and official Ivydene Flock photographer, a valuable service I think, we have the photographic evidence and the Ivydene story is here.   
  It's been heartwarmingly lovely for me to spend so much time with my Dad, without the sheep we wouldn't have had so much shared time over the last few years and I thank Tom Findlay for this.  Without Tom my Dad would never have become a shepherd, without Tom I'd never have had one sheep, let alone four sheep, named after me.  
  Without Dad I'd never have spent full days with Tom.  It's all been a wonderful warm enriching experience for me.  Dad has loved his shepherd years.  He started his working life on farms when he left school at age 13, way back in the day when children were allowed to leave school so ridiculously young.  Dad has a natural affinity with animals and combined with his knowledge, experience, hard work, kindness and realism he'd have been a fantastic farmer.  I'm happy for him that in these shepherd years he was able to use his talents to care for these animals and be acknowledged for the great man he is.  It's been so much fun Dad, thank you.  
  Highlights along the way, for me, and for Dad too I'm sure...  
  Dad and daughter time. 
  Meeting Suzanne Meikle and Margaret and Alex Arbuckle (Brae Flock), three wonderful people, and meeting loads of the other Shetland Sheep people, all lovely people.  With special mention to Tom Findlay, where it all began. 
  Having Shetland Sheep named after me, some of them became champions.  The Husband and The Boy also have sheep named after them, there's an Ivydene John and an Ivydene Marcus, they got one each...I've got 4.  
  I held baby lambs, frequently. 
  I won two rosettes, I was Best Young Handler and Novice Handler with Ivydene Iolanthe at Yetholm in 2012.  
  Winning the UK Shetland Sheep Small Flock (19 ewes or less) John Holmes Memorial Trophy for 2013.  
  I put on a white coat and entered a show ring at The Royal Highland Show.  I even won a place, 5th Ram Lamb with Ivydene Jack.  
  Shetland Sheep liked me so much they kissed me and ate digestive biscuits from my hand, ok, maybe it was the digestive biscuits that swung it.  
  The Dad's 2013 trophies 
  The Dad wins a 2nd at 2013 Highland Show 
  The Dad's first rosette  
  MY rosettes  
  15th August 2015 - Peebles    
  With a depleted flock, many of the sheep are away to their new homes already, The Dad's last show brings big wool wins.  
  Results :   
  Champion Fleece (all breeds)  
  Rig Gareth  
  Shetland Sheep Fleece...Rig Gareth   
  Champion Fleece On The Hoof...Ivydene Darcey   
  Fleece On The Hoof Male...Ivydene Alex   
  Fleece On The Hoof Female...Ivydene Darcey   
  Fleece On The Hoof Lamb...Ivydene John   
  Shearling Ram White...Ivydene Alex   
  Ewe White...Ivydene Silke   

   8th August 2015 - Kinross  
  The Dad did Kinross without the need of me, which is just as well because I have to earn a living and was unavailable due to work commitments ie my name was on the rota to work this weekend.  
  Results :  
  1st...white group of 3...Ivydene Alex, Ivydene Silke and Ivydene Darcey  
  2nd...Shearling Ram...Ivydene Alex   
  2nd...Tip...Rig Gareth  
  3rd...Ewe...Ivydene Silke   
  3rd...Ewe Lamb...Ivydene Silke's girl   
  14h - 16th July 2015 - Great Yorkshire Show  
  The Dad doesn't attend the Great Yorkshire Show but with the selling off of his flock a couple of his sheep were there with their new owners.  And the results are : 
  Results : 
  Best Shetland Fleece...Ivydene Anna (new owner Rena Douglas)  
  3rd...Ewe....Ivydene Marilyn (new owner Susan Russel)  
  5th...Tip Lamb...Ivydene Marilyn's boy (new owner Susan Russel)  
  4th July 2015 - Dunblane  
  I couldn't be there so no photies, here's the...  
  Results : 
  Reserve Champion...Ivydene Silke  
  1st...Group of Three...Ivydene Alex, Ivydene Silke and Ivydene Darcey 
  1st...Ewe Lamb...Ivydene Hazel  
  2nd...Shearling Tip...Ivydene ALex  
  2nd...Ewe...Ivydene Silke  
  2nd...Gimmer...Ivydene Darcey  
  19th June 2015 - Royal Highland Show  
  The Dad's last Highland Show as sadly he's giving up the sheep at the end of this show season.  He's got too much on his plate just now and feels the need to be dedicating more time and efforts on the home front.  The sheep are all going to good homes, for breeding and showing.  The biggest wrench will be the Marilyns of course, the sheep named after me.  Rench Marilyn and Rench Marilyn II named for me by old friend Tom Findlay and Ivydene Marilyn and Ivydene Marilyn II named for me by The Dad, there will be no more Marilyns.  It's a strange feeling of sadness. 
  To the Highland Show, I rocked up on the Friday, for Friday is sheep day.  The judging starts at 2pm and by the end we have one 5th place ticket.  The judge is from Wales and wears a silly hat...he didn't like my sheep I didn't like his hat.  I'm in a Highland Show ring for the last time, taking both the babies in, winning nothing.  The Dad has only entered four classes and to be fair, there are very big classes and the one ticket we receive is for 5th out of 15, but other classes are even bigger. 
  Results : 
  5th...Ewe...Ivydene Silke  
  The DadIvydene FlockIvydene FlockIvydene FlockIvydene JohnIvydene Silke's ewe lambSilke and JohnIvydene Silke
Ivydene SilkeThe Dad wins 5thIvydene SilkeIvydene SilkeIvydene Silkein the ring
Ivydene MargoIvydene SilkeIvydene MargoIvydene SilkeIvydene SilkeIvydene MargoIvydene ewe lambthe numbers
  6th June 2015 - West Fife Show   
The Dad wins again, third show of the year, third Champion and with 3 different sheep!  We arrived in the god-sent blustery winds and rain, I say "god-sent" because this is the day of OangeFest in Freedom Square.  When I awoke to this stormy day I started to question my Atheism, there must be a god and god has decreed this will be a diluted Orange.  As it would turn out there's more people at the West Fife Show than turn up to celebrate their sectarian culture in Glasgow.
  And so, we arrive at the West Fife Show just in time, heading towards the sheep I spot what appears to be The Dad in rainproof greens, down on a knee next to a sheep with a Champion rosette on.  I'm starting to run, calling back to The Husband..."hurry, I think The Dad's won!"  And indeed, The Dad had won.  There's only one little Ivydene lamb in attendance, nameless little boy, promptly christened Ivydene John by The Husband, and I quote, "well everyone else has one".  We rocked up, took photos, named a sheep, then left eating hog roast on the way back to the Jeep.   
  Shetland Champion...Ivydene Anna  
  Champion White...Ivydene Anna  
  1st...Gimmer...Ivydene Anna  
  1st...Ewe...Ivydene Ella  
  2nd...Tip Lamb...Ivydene Ella's boy, Ivydene John  
  3rd...Gimmer...Ivydene Margo  
  Ivydene AnnaIvydene AnnaChampion Ivydene AnnaThe Dad and Ivydene AnnaIvydene JohnIvydene John photo bombed by the neighbours  
  30th May 2015 - Lesmahagow Show  
  The Dad rocked up to Lesmahagow and took the top spot.  Congratuwelldone The Dad.  
  Breed Champion...Ivydene Silke  
  Champion White...Ivydene Silke  
  1st...Ewe...Ivydene Silke  
  1st...Gimmer...Ivydene Margo  
  1st...Tip lamb...Ivydene Ella's boy  
  2nd...Ewe...Ivydene Ella  
  2nd...Gimmer...Ivydene Anna  
  2nd...Ewe Lamb...Ivydene Silke's girl  
  Champion Ivydene SilkeChampion Ivydene Silke  
  23rd May 2015 - Fife Show  
  First outing of 2015 and The Dad couldn't be at the Fife Show due to a family issue involving The Mum and a broken bone.  The Dad's being a loving caring husband, as per usual.  And hence, The Dad's friend Suzanne took a few of The Dad's sheep along with her own Brae Flock sheep.  Results for the Ivydene sheep are as follows.  
  Reserve Champion...Ivydene Ella  
  Champion White...Ivydene Ella  
  2nd...Gimmer...Ivydene Margo  
  3rd...Tip lamb...Ivydene Ella's boy.  
  4th October 2014 - Yetholm Borders Shepherds Show  
  Last show of the year for The Dad and his Ivydene Flock.  
  Reserve Champion...Ivydene Ella  
  1st...Ewe...Ivydene Marilyn  
  1st...Gimmer...Ivydene Ella  
  2nd...Ewwe Lamb...Rench Marilyn II girl  
  3rd...Ram Lamb...Greenacre Jack  
  6th September 2014 - Strathaven Agricultural Exposition  
  The Dad does good without me again!  I'm loosing my sense of self-importance show by show here. 
  Three pieces of silverware this year.  Just like last year The Dad rocked the wool no-longer on the hoof, taking the Champion Fleece of all sheep breeds.  This is Gareth's 2014 fleece, last year he won with Gareths' 2013 fleece, Gareth...the fleece gift that keeps on giving.  The Dad brought the other piece of silverware home again too, a cup donated by our old Shetland Sheep friends, The Rench Perpetual Trophy presented by T & R Findlay for The Shetland Sheep Best Opposite Colour to Champion ie the Reserve Champion.  He also drew for top points with his friends Suzanne and Alex and Margaret, The Ivydene and Brae Flocks shared the silverware, they'll have it for 6 months each.  
  Overall Champion Fleece...Gareth  
  1st...Wool On The Hoof...Ivydene Ella  
  Reserve Champion...Ivydene Jack  
  1st...Group of Four...Ivydene Jack, Ivydene Marilyn, ivydene Ella and Rench Marilyn IIs' girl  
  1st...Shealing Ram...Ivydene Jack  
  1st...Tup Lamb...Rench Marilyn IIs' boy  
  1st...Ewe Lamb...Rench Marilyn IIs' girl  
  2nd...Ewe...Ivydene Marilyn  
  2nd...Gimmer...Ivydene Ella  
  2nd...Pairs...Ivydene Jack and Ivydene Ella  
  16th August 2014 - Peebles Show  
  The Dad was at Peebles without me...he done great without me.  
  Champion Fleece On The Hoof...Ivydene Jack  
  1st...Ewe...Ivydene Marilyn  
  1st...Tup Lamb...Rench Marilyns' boy  
  1st...Best Fleece On The Hoof male...Ivydene Jack  
  2nd...Tup one shear or over...Ivydene Jack  
  2nd...Gimmer...Ivydene Ella  
  2nd...Group Of Three...Ivydene Jack, Ivydene Marilyn and Ivydene Ella 
  2nd...Best Fleece On The Hoof lamb...Rench Marilyn IIs' boy 
  9th August 2014 - Kinross Show  
  The Dad was at Kinross without me.  Generally...he does better when I'm there. 
  Reserve White Champion...Ivydene Silke  
  2nd...Gimmer...Ivydene Silke  
  3rd...Shearling Ram...Ivydene Jack  
  4th...Ewe Lamb...Rench Marilyn II's girl  
  26th July 2014 - Carnwath Annual Show  
  I headed off to the Carnwath Show at 0715 with a lift from friends Suzanne, Alex and the Ivydene sheeps.  First thing The Dad did was hand back the Pentland Perpetual Quaich for White Shetland Sheep that he won last year.  We rocked!  Rosette total : 20, and the last thing The Dad did...send me to pick up the Pentland Perpetual Quaich for White Shetland Sheep.  
  Champion Wool On the Hoof..Ivydene Silke  
  Champion...Rench Marilyn II  
  Reserve Champion...Ivydene Jack  
  1st...Tup, One Shear & Upwards...Ivydene Jack  
  1st...Ewe...Rench Marilyn II  
  1st...Gimmer...Ivydene Ella  
  1st...Tup Lamb...Rench Mailyn II's boy  
  1st...Best Pair, Male & Female...Ivydene Jack and Ivydene Ella 
  1st...Wool...best Male...Ivydene Ben  
  1st...Wool...Best Female...Ivydene Silke  
  2nd...Ewe...Ivydene Marilyn  
  2nd...Gimmer...Ivydene Silke  
  2nd...Tup Lamb...Ivydene Marilyn's boy  
  2nd...Ewe Lamb...Ivydene Marilyn's girl  
  2nd...Wool...Best Lamb...Ivydene Marilyn's boy  
  3rd...Tup, One Shear & Upwards...Ivydene Ben  
  3rd...Ewe Lamb...Ewe Lamb...Rench Marilyn II's girl  
  3rd...Best Pair, Male & Female...Rench Marilyn II's boy and Ivydene Marilyn's girl 
  3rd...Wool best Male...Ivydene Jack  
  3rd...Wool...Best Female...Ivydene Ella  

  19th July 2014 - Biggar  
  The Husband and I didn't make it to Biggar but The Dad was there and came home with... 
  Results : 
  1st...Gimmer...Ivydene Ella  
  2nd...Shearling Ram...Ivydene Ben  
  3rd...Ewe...Ivydene Marilyn  
  3rd...Ewe Lamb...Ivydene Marilyns' girl  
  3rd...Ram Lamb...Ivydene Marilyns' boy  
  5th July 2014 - Doune and Dunblane Agricultural Show  
  The Husband and I made it up to the Doune and Dunblane Show just in time for judging of the final few Shetland Sheep classes.  The Shetland Sheep judging started at 0930.  I had to wake up, which I did with a fright thinking I was late for work, then realising my internal body clock alarm was set for Show Time, The Husband had his morning meetings with Norway, then we had to drive up there, find it, park and walk over to the show ground, then find the sheep bit.  I wish that all Shetland Sheep judging could start at midday every time, every show.  Would be far more exciting for the general public too, because most of them don't arrive till at least midday.  Who's bright idea was it to do this stuff at 0930?  Stupid idea. 
  The sheeps have had a shearing.  Can't do it before the Highland, and they're releived to be done with all that wool in the middle of Summer, they just don't look so impresive without their coats.  
  Results : 
  Best Lamb...Rench Marilyn II's Ewe Lamb (trophy to follow)  
  1st...Ewe lamb...Rench Marilyn II's girl  
  3rd...Tup Lamb...Rench Marilyn II's boy  
  3rd...Gimmer...Ivydene Ella  
  4th...Shearling Ram...Ivydene Jack  
  4th...Ewe...Rench Marilyn II  
  20th June 2014 - The Royal Highland Show  
  The Dad and I had a fabulous day at The Royal Highland Show.  I was out of bed at Unhealthy O'clock, showered and ready for The Dad picking me up at Ridiculously Early O'clock, then we were at the sheep pens in Ingleston by 0630.  Allow me to state that again...0630.  
  Royal Highland Show 2014 Ivydene results : Ivydene Jack...3rd in Shearling Ram (one yr old male) Ivydene lamb son of Rench Marilyn...5th in Ram Lamb class Ivydene Silke picked in top 4 for entry to Wool-On-The-Hoof class (best wool of the 24 in her Gimmer class) The Dad's second time showing at The Highland and my first time in the Highland ring. This is a great result and we've had a great day.  
  And it's official, my favourite sheep is Jack.  He won 2nd in the Ram Lamb class at The Highland Show last year and came 3rd in the Shearling Ram class this year.  He's one year old and already came home with two Highland tickets.  He's got this really attractive black line on his left white horn AND he's the lovliest and friendliest boy sheep I've ever known.  He's so beautiful and yet so calm, he has a personality, he is Lamb 205.  We've had female sheep that mean a lot to us, all the Rench and Ivydene Marilyns, but Jack is our boy, I adore Jack. 
  Bad news is, The Dad has sold Jack!  On a promice to get him back later, but I'm going to be terribly upset if I meet him before he comes home. 

  7th June 2014 - Central and West Fife Show  
  The Husband and I dropped in on The Dad at the Central and West Fife Show today.  We missed the start of the judging therefore there's not an extensive photo record of the event, but I still got a few good ones.  The judge was Tony Bennett, the nice man from Ramsbottom...or Tupsarse as he told me it's really called.  I'd previously been introduced and spoke to Mr Bennett at The Strathaven Agricultural Exposition 2013, and he remembered me today.  True gent.  
  Results : 
  Reserve Champion (white)...Ivydene Ella  
  1st...Shearling Ram...Ivydene Jack  
  1st...Gimmer...Ivydene Ella  
  2nd...Group of Three (white)...Ivydene Jack, Ivydene Marilyn and Ivydene Ella 
  3rd...Ewe (white)...Ivydene Marilyn  

  31st May 2014 - Lesmahagow  
  The Dad attended the Lesmahagow Show today without me, unfortunately I had to be at work, here's the results, no photos.  
  Results : 
  Champion (white)...Ivydene Jack  
  Reserve Champion...Ivydene Jack  
  1st...Ram (white)...Ivydene Jack  
  1st...Group Of Three...Ivydene Jack, Rench Marilyn II and Ivydene Ella 
  2nd...Ram Lamb (white)...Rench Marilyns' boy  
  2nd...Ewe (white)...Rench Marilyn  
  2nd...Gimmer (white)...Ivydene Ella (Iolanthes' 2013 lamb) 
  2nd...Ewe Lamb (white)...Rench Marilyns' girl  
  24 May  2014 - The Fife Show  
  At The Fife Show with The Dad today and  4 x 2nds, 2 x 1sts and Reserve Champion (white).  One particular star was Ivydene Silke who scored every time, 1st in Gimmer (white), with her kin Ivydene Jack and Ivydene Marilyn in Group Of Three and she took the Reserve Champion (white). 
  Results :  
  Reserve Champion (white)... Ivydene Silke 
  1st...Gimmer (white)... Ivydene Silke  
  1st Group Of Three... Ivydene Jack, Ivydene Marilyn and Ivydene Silke 
  2nd...Tup one shear or over (white)... Ivydene Jack   
  2nd...Tup Lamb (white)... Ivydene Marilyns' boy   
  2nd...Ewe (white)... Ivydene Marilyn   
  2nd... Ewe Lamb (white)... Ivydene Marilyns' girl  
  After the judging there was a small ceremony to officially award the John Holmes Memorial Trophies for 2013.  Here's The Dad with his Small Flock trophy, Joan Brunton with her Large Flock trophy and todays' Shetland Sheep judge, Alastair Wilson. 
  from left...William Bryce, Alastair Wilson, Joan Brunton  
  The Dad with Ivydene ewe lambpreparing for the judgingThe DadThe Dad with SilkeIvydene Marilyns' girlIvydene Marilyns' boyIvydene Marilyns' twinsJohn Holmes trophies
SilkeThe Dad and Ivydene Marilyns' boypreparing for the judgingthe Ivydene sheepthe twinsthe twinsget off your poor motherIvydene Marilyns' twins
Ivydene Marilyns' boythe twinsthe twinsIvydene Marilyns' twinsthe twinsthe twinsthe twinsIvydene Marilyns' twins
Ivydene Marilyns' girlIvydene Marilyns' boyIvydene Marilyns' twinsSilkeIvydene MarilynSilkeSilkeSilke
  Silverware 2013 and the 2014 new arrivals  
  Ta da...and the winner of the UK Shetland Sheep Small Flock (19 ewes or less) John Holmes Memorial Trophy for 2013 is...The Dad.   
  This is a national trophy, for the entire UK, awarded to the flock that wins the most points in the year's shows.  The Dad has just 4 ewes, and 2013 was only his 2nd year of showing his Ivydene Flock, therefore he did fabulously well and we're all so very proud of his achievements.  Before taking this photograph of all The Dad's 2013 trophies he, The Mum, The Husband and me sat in their kitchen shining up his trophies with good old fashioned newspaper, removing tarnish like magic.  This picture is The Dad's silverware haul for 2013.  Congratuwellbloodydone The Dad.  I feel certain that Tom would have been as proud of you as we are, happy for you, and perhaps have raised an eyebrow before nodding sagely that you done this good so fast.  
  The Dad's 2013 trophies  
  In other Shetlland Sheep News...all four of the Ivydene ewes have delivered their 2014 babies.  They each have a boy/girl twin set, from left to right...Rench Marilyn, Rench Davina, Rench Marilyn II and Ivydene Marilyn.  Thanks to friend Suzanne Meikle for these pics.  
  Rench MarilynRench DavinaRench Marilyn IIIvydene Marilyn  
  6th October 2013 - Yetholm Borders Shepherds' Show  
  It was unfortunate timing, but The Husband and I were away on holiday, so The Dad went to Yetholm without me...may I be so bold as to suggest...I was missed? 
  Results : 
  2nd...Gimmer...Ivydene Marilyn  
  2nd...Ewe Lamb...Marilyn's ewe lamb, now officially named Ivydene Silke 
  3rd...Ram Lamb...Marilyn II's ram lamb #205  
  7th September 2013 - Strathaven Agricultural Exposition  
  My Three-Day Birthday Fiesta includes a trip to The Strathaven Agricultural Exposition.  Oooooh...an exposition no less!  It did, I have to say, look very much the same as all the other agricultural shows I've attended in the last few years.  The Husband and I go to see The Dad and the Ivydene Flock.  There's also a bacon roll situation The Husband is keen to indulge in.  I've seen some of the regular agricultural show attendees and their show habits and routines.  My old friend Tom always went for his ice cream cone, Margaret does Brandy O'Clock, everyone else does free rolls/pies and strawberry tarts at the exhibitors Auctioneers, the Husband has his bacon roll.  
  The Dad does very well, just missing out for the Champion to his friend Suzanne and her Moorit Gimmer Brae Herme.  But he did get a couple of important tickets...winning Wool On The Hoof judged by Stephen Ballinger of The British Wool Marketing Board.  He also totally rocked the wool no-longer on the hoof, winning the 1st for a Shetland Fleece, then taking the Overall Champion Fleece of all sheep breeds.  This is Gareth's 2013 fleece, and Gareth's the new Ivydene Daddy, so we can expect a lot of top quality wool in the near future.  The Dad came home with another piece of silverware, a cup donated by our old Shetland Sheep friends, who are the reason it all began.  The Rench Perpetual Trophy presented by T & R Findlay for The Shetland Sheep Best Opposite Colour to Champion.  
  Results : 
  Champion Fleece...Gareth's 2013 coat  
  Shetland Fleece...Gareth's 2013 coat  
  Reserve Champion...Iolanthe  
  Best Opposite Colour...Iolanthe  
  1st...Wool On The Hoof...Iolanthe  
  1st...Shearling Ram...Ivydene Marcus  
  1st...Group Of Four...Ivydene Marcus, Iolanthe, Ivydene Marilyn and Marilyn's ewe lamb 
  2nd...Bred By Exhibitor... Ivydene Marcus  
  2nd...Gimmer...Ivydene Marilyn  
  2nd...Pairs...Ivydene Marcus and Iolanthe  
  3rd...Tip Lamb...Marilyn II's boy #205 (waiting for The Mum to give him a real name) 
  3rd...Ewe Lamb...Marilyn's girl  
  The Dad with Ivydene MarcusThe Dad & Suzanne with the Tup LambsThe Dad & IolantheIolanthe wins 1st EweThe Dad with Ivydene Marcus & Iolanthe in the Pairs judgingShetland Sheep Best Opposite ColourThe Husband & The DadThe Dad & Ivydene Marcus
judging the Shearling Ramsjudging the Ewes1st Shearling Ram Ivydene MarcusThe Dad & Ivydene Marcus 1st Shearling RamThe Dad in the Shearling Ram class judging with winner Ivydene Marcusjudging the Tup Lambs Ivydene #205judging the Ewes Iolanthejudging the Tup Lambs
judging the Ewe LambsEwe judging3rd with the Ivydene Ewe Lambjudging the EwesIvydene Marcus wins 2nd in Bred By Exhibitor classThe Husband & The Dad with the 1st placed Ivydene Group of FourThe prize-winning Group of 4 with The Dad & The Husbandjudging the Pairs
The Dad wins 2nd in Pairs classWool On The Hoof judgingWool On The Hoof judgingChampion judgingwhat? apparently I'm standing on the wrong sideChampion judgingSuzanne & her Champion Shetland, me and Iolanthe the Reserve Champion
Champion FleeceThe Dad's Champion FleeceChampion FleeceChampion FleeceChampion FleeceChampion Fleece report card
  17th August 2013 - Drymen Show  
  The Dad attended Drymen Show today without me because I had to go to work.  So no photographic evidence, but the records will show, he done rather well and so did Ivydene Marilyn.  There's another bit of silverware too. 
  Results : 
  Champion...Ivydene Marilyn  
  1st...Wool On The Hoof...Ivydene Marilyn  
  1st...Shearling Ram...Ivydene Marcus  
  1st...Ram Lamb...Marilyn II's boy Ivydene #205  
  1st...Gimmer...Ivydene Marilyn  
  2nd...Ewe Lamb...Iolanthe's boy  
  2nd...Ewe Lamb...Iolanthe's girl  
  3rd...Group of Three...Marcus, Iolanthe and Ivydene Marilyn 
  10th August 2013 - Kinross Show  
  The Husband and I made it to the Kinross Show today to see The Dad and his Ivydene Flock of prize-winning top-class Shetland Sheep.  The RSPB Vane Farm location by Loch Leven is such a picturesque place, a very feel good place, green and luscious and beautiful views out to Loch Leven.  On an island in the middle of the Loch is a castle ruin, the castle where Mary Queen of Scots was imprisoned from 16th June 1567 to 2nd May 1568, ahhhhh, the history.  I love Scotland.  Anyways, back to the very Scottish sheep.  
  A busy show with large class sizes and the judge from The Royal Highland Show of 2012 (in which we won nothing) meant a stiff competition for The Dad.  But Iolanthe is a special girl and she proved herself truly prize-winning yet again.  Iolanthe won her Ewe class, cruised through Best Female then was in the ring for the head to head against the Best Male.  The judge made the wrong decision (obvious to the rest of us) and Iolanthe became the Kinross 2013 Shetland Sheep Reserve Champion.  
  Along with one of her other Kinross titles, Best Opposite Sex Shetland Sheep, comes the MacMin Quaich, The Dad's #5 piece of silverware for 2013. 
  Results : 
  Reserve Champion...Iolanthe  
  Best Opposite Sex (which this year is Female, and seems to me the same as Reserve Champion but what do I know)...Iolanthe  
  4th...Male Lamb...Iolanthe's boy  
  The Dad and IolantheThe Husband eats, The Dad wins 1st Ewe with IolantheIolanthe and rosettesIolanthe and her lambsIolanthe and The Dad in Best female judgingThe dad & Iolanthe with the judgeIolantheThe Dad and me in the ring for the Group Of Three judging
The Husband, The dad & Iolanthejudging the Gimmersjudging the Ewe classjudging the ewesjudging Best Male & Best Female for Champion & Reservethe Group Of Three winners
  2013 Ivydene Silverware  
  The Dad has won silverware this year, his second year as a shepherd with his own Ivydene Flock.  Bloody good going for a new shepherd with a current 15-strong flock.  The Dad's holding the following silverwares from the following shows...  
  Doune & Dunblane Show...The Ross Trophy for Champion Shetland Sheep  
  Lesmahagow Show...The Galtress Blyth Quaich for Champion Shetland Sheep Wool  .   
  Biggar Show...The J. E. & J. Meikle Trophy for White Shetland Sheep  
  Biggar Show... Best Shetland Sheep Trophy  
  Carnwath Show...The Pentland Perpetual Quaich for White Shetland Sheep 
  Well done The Dad and the Ivydene sheeps, you've had a phenomenal year.  
  Doune & Dunblane Ross Trophy at BraeheadBest Shetland Sheep Trophy Champion Gareth at Carnwath Show 2013Ivydene Flock silverware 2013Galtress Blyth Quaich at BraeheadBiggar Show G E & J Meikle Trophy for White Shetland Sheep 2013Biggar Show G E & J Meikle Trophy & Best Shetland Sheep Trophy 2013Biggar Show 2013 Biggar Show TrophiesCarnwath Pentland Perpetual Quaich  
  27th July 2013 Carnwath Agricultural Show  
  The Husband and I made it to this show and I'm so glad we did.  The Dad went home with a piece of silverware (The Pentland Perpetual Quaich), 8 (that's EIGHT) firsts, 6 (that's SIX) seconds, a third (but we don't talk about that), Reserve Champion AND TWO Champions (Shetland Sheep and Wool On The Hoof).  Holy feckin feck The Dad!  Just hope he hasn't peaked in this, only his 2nd shepherd year.  
  In the ring for the judge to decide the overall Champion...The Dad has all 5 class winners so we all take a sheep in...The Dad, Suzanne, Alex, The Husband (novice handler) and me.  I wish I could've got photos of that but I was in the ring showing the (Royal Highland Show 2013 2nd placed) lamb ram. Congratuwelldone, you are amazing The Dad, and so are the sheeps, they were all so placid and well-behaved, showing themselves like sheep models of perfection.  Though Marcus did have a go at a stranger ram with a crack of horns on horns when the judge requested the rams be allowed to wander the ring for a period untethered.  That's what rams sometimes do to the competition.  The  lambs have all got their Daddy Gareth's calm good nature.  Big special mentions go to Champion Gareth for being a Champion, and Suzanne & Alex for the good company and help. 
  Results : 
  Champion Shetland Sheep...Gareth  
Reserve Champion Shetland Sheep...Ivydene Marilyn
  Overall Champion White Wool On The Hoof...Ivydene Marilyn 
  1st...Ewe...Marilyn II 
  1st...Gimmer...Ivydene Marilyn  
  1st...Tup Lamb...Marilyn II's boy 205  
  1st...Ewe Lamb...Iolanthe's girl  
  1st...Best Pair, Male & Female...Gareth & Marilyn II  
  1st...Female Wool...Ivydene Marilyn  
  1st...Lamb Wool...Marilyn II boy 204  
  2nd...Ram...Ivydene Marcus  
  2nd...Tup Lamb...Iolanthe's boy  
  2nd...Best Pair, Male & Female...Ivydene Marcus & Ivydene Marilyn 
  2nd...Male Wool...Gareth  
  2nd...Female Wool...Iolanthe  
  2nd...Lamb Wool...Iolanthe's boy  
  3rd...Male Wool...Ivydene Marcus  
  The Dad and The president of The Carnwath Agricultural Society at Prize PresentationCarnwath 2013 Champion Shetland Sheep 2013 GarethThe Husband and the rosettesThe Husband with 1st Ewe Lamb & 1st Tup LambReserve Champion Shetland Sheep Ivydene Marilyn with AlexGareth wins 2nd in male Wool on the HoofThe Dad with Champion GarethSuzanne, The Dad & Alex
the Carnwath Rosettesthe Ivydene sheeps in the pensjudging the Ivydene ramsthe ram contestantsIvydene rams in the ringjudging the EwesGimmer judgingThe Dad & Alex with the Ivydene Rams
Ivydene Tup Lambs in the ringBest Pair Gareth & Marilyn IIIvydene Marilyn & Marcus in the Best Pairs judging, they were 2ndTup Lamb judgingThe Dad pciks up Champion & Reserve ChampionGarethChampion GarethGareth
the Ivydene Flock sheepjudging male Wool on the Hoofjudging female Wool on the HoofFemale Wool On The Hoof judgingLamb Wool On The Hoof judging The Dad's Ivydene Flock picks up Lamb Wool On The Hoof 1st & 2ndGarethIvydene Sheep relaxing in the pens
  20th July 2013 Biggar Farmer's Club Annual Show  
 The Dad won this...hands down.  Came home with two more pieces of silverware, pictures of which will appear here soon as I set eyes on them with my Canon EOSM in my hand.  The Dad's silverware collection has doubled over the weekend, that's 4, he's got 4 silverwares now I'm so proud.  Was a good day for Iolanthe and her twins.
 Results :
  Champion Shetland Sheep...Iolanthe
  Champion White Shetland Sheep...Iolanthe
 1st...White Ewe...Iolanthe
  3rd...White Gimmer...Ivydene Marilyn  
  3rd...White Ram Lamb...Iolanthe's boy  
  4th...White Shearling Ram...Ivydene Marcus  
  5th...White Ewe Lamb...Iolanthe's girl  
  The Dad collects red rosette with IolantheThe Dad collects silverware Champion Shetland Sheep IolantheThe Dad with Suzanne and judge Margaret McEwan-King  
  Thanks to Robin McEwan-King for the photographs   
  6th July 2013 Doune and Dunblane Show  
  The Dad at his first show since The Highland Show and he comes home with the Championship.  Three firsts, a second, 2 fourths and the Champion with Ivydene Marilyn.  Congratuwelldone The Dad.  
  Results : 
  Champion...Ivydene Marilyn  
  1st...Gimmer...Ivydene Marilyn  
  1st...Ewe....Rench Iolanthe  
  1st...Group of Three...Dandy, Iolanthe and Ivydene Marilyn 
  2nd...Ewe Lamb...daughter of Rench Iolanthe  
  4th...Ram Lamb...son of Rench Iolanthe  
  4th...Ram...Rench Dandy  
  The Dad & Champion Ivydene Marilyn with judge Alistair Wilson  
  19th to 22nd June 2013 The Royal Highland Show  
  The Dad played a small part in ring 10B at the 2013 Royal Highland Show entering four of his Shetland Sheep in their relevant classes.  He didn't expect to win anything, he said if he got anything he'd be very happy.   
  He went home very happy when Lamb 205, a twin son of Rench Marilyn II, got a second place in the Ram Lamb class.  A very well behaved little boy, consistently the best behaved Shetland Ram Lamb in the ring.  He's also got the best horns, and a better tail than the 1st placed lamb, he was robbed, should've got a first.  I've put up #205's pictures separately so we can all appreciate just how bloody marvelous he done out there, very well done Ivydene 205 and The Dad.  Also got a screen-grab of The Dad's Royal Highland Show 2nd place win from the Royal Highland Show website.  For a man who "accidently" left the house forgetting to take his wallet, he done no bad at all, treated to breakfast then a fish dinner, then he pocketed £40 in winnings.  Can't complain mind you, he paid for my £25 entry ticket. 
  The Dad and Ivydene Ram LambIvydene 205 & The DadThe Dad takes 2nd placewell behaved in the ringwee heroRam Lamb class judgingTop 3who should be #1?
The Dad & Ivydene 205Top 3The Dad and Ivydene 205 being judgedTop 3The Dad & Ivydene 205Ram lamb judgingthe final line-upHazel wins 3rd
Ivydene 205prize-winner Ivydene 205Ivydene 205Marilyn II & Ivydene 205Ivydene 205The Dad and his winning ticketresult!
  one of The Dad's pensIvydene sheep eating breakfastThe Dad & Rench DandyRench Marilyn IIMarilyn IIIvydene MarcusRench DandyRench Dandy
Dandy & MarcusDandyRench DandyRench DandyDandy enjoying a snackMarilyn II & her boysRench DandyRench Marilyn II
Marilyn IIMarilyn IIproud mother Marilyn IIIvydene 204The DadThe Dad & Marilyn IIMarilyn IIShetland Sheep pens
Shetland Sheep pens at the Highland ShowShetland Sheep judging ringShetland Sheep judging penThe Dad & Dandy in the ringThe Dad in the ring with Rench DandyDandy being judgedShearling Ram class
Dandy in the judging ringEwe classthe ewe classjudge considering Marilyn II for wool on the hoofChampion Hebridian Sheep
  1st June 2013 Central and West Fife Show  
  The Fife Show brings an expected dip in The Dad's run of success.  There are reasons, I've investigative journo-ed, but wishing to avoid a Shetland Sheep war I will not reveal the insider information, no, that'll have to wait for my explosive exposé book.   
  Results : 
  2nd...White Shearling Ram...Ivydene Marcus  
  2nd...White Ram Lamb...Marilyn II's lamb  
  3rd...White Ram Lamb...Marilyn II's other lamb  
  3rd...White Gimmer...Ivydene Marilyn  
3rd...White Ewe...Marilyn II
  25th May 2013 Lesmahagow Show  
  The Dad's second show of 2013 and he's at Lesmahagow with fantastic results.  Ivydene Marilyn doing especially well, just keeps getting better and better, well done The Dad. 
  Results : 
  Reserve White Champion...Ivydene Marilyn  
  Wool On The Hoof...Ivydene Marilyn  
  1st...White Gimmer...Ivydene Marilyn  
  1st...White Ram Lamb...Marilyn II's twin son (doesn't have a name yet)  
  1st...White Group Of Three...Marilyn II, Ivydene Marilyn and Ivydene Marcus 
  2nd...White Ewe...Marilyn II  
  2nd...White Shearling Ram...Ivydene Marcus  
  3rd...White Ewe...Davina  
  3rd...White Ram Lamb...Marilyn II's other twin son (also doesn't have a name yet) 
  18th May 2013 Fife Show  
  The Dad attended the first show of the year at Kinloss near Cupar on a rain-drenched Fife Saturday.  Results are as follows :  
  Reserve White Champion...Davina  
  1st...White Ewe...Davina  
  2nd...White Tip Lamb...Davina's boy  
  3rd...White Ram...Dandy  
3rd...White Gimmer...Ivydene Marilyn
  3rd...White Group Of Three...Dandy, Davina and Ivydene Marilyn 
  Last year, in The Dad's first year of showing his own flock he got three 2nds and three 3rds at the Fife Show, so much progress in so little time, congratuwelldone The Dad, Tom would be as proud of you as we are.  
  15th April 2013 - all the 2013 Ivydene lambs  
  I spent the day with The Dad and the Ivydene and Brae flocks on the 15th April.  All the 2013 Ivydene lambs are now in the world, we have five boys and two girls.  There's still three of The Dad's friend's Brae Flock pregnant, disappointingly they were wandering around, munching on grass, looking like they weren't going to drop any minute.  I was hoping for a live birth...maybe next year, probably next year...The Dad's thinking he'll 'sponge' next time.  From what I understand of it, this is artificial insemination resulting, approximately 146 days later, in your lambing all happening within a short period of time. 
  First up we visited one of the fields to feed the sheep who are either guys, or the Mum sheep with babies that are a good week or two old.  Then it was over to the main field with the sheds, the caravan and the fully functioning outside loo...handy...though I haven't used it yet. The Dad's Rench Marilyn with her one boy/one girl twins, then Rench Iolanthe with her one boy/one girl twins. 
  This year The Dad had four pregnant sheep, Marilyn, Marilyn II, Iolanthe and Davina.  The final results are in...  
  Marilyn, male & female twins, born 03/04/13   
  Iolanthe, male & female twins, born 06/04/13   
  Davina, one boy, born 12/04/13  
  Marilyn II, twin boys, born 13/04/13   
  I took 1144 photographs today, I've discovered the joy of the multi-shot mode.  Only problem with all these lambs, by the time The Dad brought the lambs in from the field I confess, I lost track of who was who, belonging to who.  There is one easy to recognise lamb, Rench Davina's little boy has a black eye.  His right eye has black marking like heavy on the guy-liner, a Clockwork Orange sheep.  I'll get The Dad to look over the photos and rename them with the correct info.  
  I intend to win a photo competition with my sheep pictures but can't find a suitable competition, I'm thinking I could enter the photo competition at the agricultural shows, maybe win a rosette and 5 shillings.  
the multi-cultural Shetlandsdinnertime
dinnertimesome of the Brae & Ivydene sheepa random selectionsome Ivydene & Brae lambsBrae & Ivydene lambsBrae & Ivydene lambslambs heading towards the shelters

Rench Davina's Clockwork Orange baby
3 Ivydene lambs3 Ivydene lambs
The Dad asleep on the joba big sheda big sheep shed
  7th April 2013 - the 2013 Ivydene lambs  
  We've got new Ivydene babies, two sets of twins.  First up was Rench Marilyn. 
  Rench Marilyn gave birth to twins some time overnight or very early morning 2nd to 3rd April.  There was a bit of a mix up to start with.  First news was that Marilyn had triplets.  The Dad wasn't so pleased at the idea of triplets, from a sheep point of view one or two is good, three is a bit much.  I'm not entirely sure what the thinking is, but I'm assuming it's to do with the hard work involved for the mother.  All The Dad said is that Marilyn would be OK but she'd need a bit extra feeding. 
  What happened was...when Alex arrived at the sheep shed to check on the lambing situation on Wednesday (3rd April) morning there were three lambs and only one after-birth.  It was obvious to him that Marilyn had given birth and none of the other Mums-to-be were looking post-birth.  Alex took Marilyn and the "triplets" out of the main mother-to-be area and penned them in their little private space.  But lamb # 3 looked like a cuckoo-in-the-nest right from the get-go.  Alex let The Dad know bout the "triplets" and his concern that it might be twins instead.  
  That evening when The Dad, The Husband and I arrived to meet Marilyn's new babies there was one sheep making a right loud protest.  The Dad was immediately enquiring what sheep was making all that noise?  He quickly put 2 and 2 together.  The noisy sheep was making the sound of a mama sheep looking for her lamb.    
  When we looked in on Marilyn she was sitting tight with the two little 'uns with a larger lamb standing behind them at the back.  To my uneducated eye the larger lamb looked a day or two older than the wee yins.  However this is possible with triplets, the weight carried by the mum can be unevenly distributed between the babies.  The larger lamb had a different tail too, proportionately longer than it's "siblings" tails and longer than would be expected from Marilyn's breeding.  The Dad picked the big lamb up, Marilyn didn't blink an eye, he took the lamb over to the bleating noisy sheep.  She was much more excited about the lamb than Marilyn was.  The noisy sheep, who is a Shetland cross so bigger than Marilyn, seemed relieved, hushed up and calmed down.  Within half a minute her baby was back to mama and feeding happily.  Drama over.  Imagine the trauma, all them hours being kept apart by a couple pen fences, only able to hear each other.  
  And what of the afterbirth?  Sheep sometimes eat their afterbirth, it contains nutrients that are good for them, only problem there is, they can choke on it and die.  Seems the noisy sheep must've given birth to her single big lamb and eaten the afterbirth.  I'm guessing this all happened before Marilyn gave birth.   
  Rench Iolanthe gave birth to twins on Saturday the 6th April, a boy and a girl.  Little ones, probably premature, they're smaller and frailer, with less wool to keep them warm.  They got the heat lamp treatment and will no doubt catch up quick.   
  The Dad and his best Shetland Sheep friends have a lovely set up for the lambing.  The Sheep Shed space can be altered easily to provide differing sizes of pens.  During lambing it's all single pens, one big nursery pen and an area for the pregnant Mums-to-be.  It's easy to open gates and shut off areas as required.  They've spoiled themselves with a toilet for the humans and they have a caravan on site with all the facilities and home comforts, with water, electricity and a sewage system. 
  Rench Marilyn female twin 2013Rench Iolanthe's female lambRench Iolanthe's male lambRench Iolanthe's baby girlRench Marilyn's baby girl at 4 days oldIolanthe's boy on Day 1Rench Marilyn's 2013 twinsRench Marilyn and her new twins
a new Rench Marilyn twinRench Iolanthe's twins on day 1Rench Iolanthe's baby girl in the food basinRench Iolanthe's baby girl in her Mum's dinnerRench Iolanthe's girl in the basinso cute in the basinRench Iolanthe's babiesRench Marilyn's twins on day 4
the nursery just keeps getting busierMarilyn & twins outside at Day 4Iolanthe's twinsIolanthe's twins
  6th October 2012 - Yetholm Border Shepherds' Show  

Up at an unreasonably early hour again, such is the agricultural show clock.  Today we're heading to Yetholm, a two hour journey south into The Scottish Borders.  But first we headed over to meet up with our sheepy friends and get the sheep in the trailer.


We had a great day at the Yetholm Border Shepherds' Show, not only did I get to go Brandy O'Clock with Margaret as is our tradition, but The Dad won two firsts, two seconds and Champion.


Results :


Champion...Rench Iolanthe

1st...Ewe...Rench Marilyn

1st...Gimmer...Rench Iolanthe

2nd...Ram Lamb...Gareth

2nd...Ewe Lamb...Ivydene Marilyn



A big deal for me, I did my first stint in the show ring as a sheep handler.  I spent a while sitting with Ivydene Marcus, petting him and sheep-whispering.  I told him how gorgeous he is, I stroked his ego a lot, he was so enamoured he fell asleep on my knee for a while.  One of the coloured Brae sheep insisted I could pet two sheep simultaneously, I've got two hands after all.  Ivydene Marcus was content, but whenever I stopped stroking the Brae ewe lamb she'd dunt me with a hoof till I started again.


My very first time in the show ring was with Ivydene Marcus and I was disappointed, he behaved well, but we got nothing.


Next time however...by some fluke it was me that was holding Rench Iolanthe when she earned her second Championship at Yetholm.  She won this for The Dad last year too.


The Dad had two firsts going in to the Champion class.  He'd given me Rench Marilyn (Ewe winner) to show, but Marilyn was playing up so he swapped and gave me the smaller Iolanthe (Gimmer winner).  Next thing I know the judge is handing me the Champion rosette.  I'm reliably informed that my face was a picture, I wasn't expecting that.


Then the judge gave me a rosette for best Novice Handler and another for best Young Handler.


I won Best Novice Handler and Best YOUNG Handler.  No matter that the Shetland Sheep are The Dad's, and it's him puts all the hard work in...this is all about me, and one of them says I'm YOUNG.  Thank you The Dad.


Who, you may be wondering, is Gareth?  The Dad was collecting his new sheep at Yetholm.  Gareth, a more chunky ram lamb, won us a second ticket too, seems he's a wise buy.  The Dad's looking to introduce a new strain to the mainly Rench breeding blood line of his Ivydene flock.

  it's all about me, Novice and Young Handler, but mostly YOUNGChampion Rench Iolanthe with me, the judge and reserve championhere comes the judgeIvydene Marcus and meThe Dad and me with Marcus and GarethThe dad with rench IolantheThe Dad & Rench IolantheThe Dad and Rench Iolanthe
The Dad and Rench Iolanthe in the ring intersheep finalAlexJock the sheepdog waiting for Suzannesheep whisperersleeyp sheepy MarcusIvydene Marcus and me being judgedIvydene MarcusIvydene Marilyn
Ivydene MarilynChampion Iolanthe and the reserveMarcus and GarethThe Dad and Alex with their gimmersThe Dad and I with Champion IolantheChampion Iolanthe and meIolanthe and meChampion Iolanthe with big sheep
lamb ram classThe Dad, me, Marcus and GarethShetland Sheep peopleChampion Iolanthe stands out from the other champion sheepearly doorsThe Dad and Alex with their gimmersThe Dad and Rench IolantheThe Dad with his Iolanthe red ticket
The Dad and AlexGareth wins 2nd ram lambIolantheAlexewe lamb classIolantheGarethIolanthe being judged
ewe lamb judgingIvydene MarcusMarcus and GarethThe Dad & me with Marcus & Garethram lamb judgingIolanthesheep champions in the ringsheep people
The Dad with Iolanthe being judgedIolantheMargaret and The DadMargaret blocking the sheep escapewoo is everywherewoo at YetholmSteelquake
  11th August 2012 - Kinross Show  

The Dad took his flock to the Kinross Show on Saturday, without me due to a wedding I was attending.  He done rather well with his flock of only 7.  Here's the results, a reserve champion, two firsts, a second and two thirds :


White Reserve Champion Ivydene Marilyn

1st Ewe Lamb  Ivydene Marilyn

1st Gimmer Rench Iolanthe

2nd Ram Lamb Ivydene Marcus

3rd Ewe Rench Marilyn

3rd Group Of Three Rench Dandy, Rench Marilyn and Rench Iolanthe


  22nd June 2012 - The Royal Highland Show  
  I was up at an unreasonably early hour and picked up by The Dad at 6am.  That early in the morning The Royal Highland Show is only just wakening up to Day 2 of the four day event.  This day, Friday, is Shetland Sheep Day, but with the judging not till 2pm I've got a lot of hours to fill before the big action.

We're the first Shetland people there and The Dad sets about with the feeding.  After a while I take a walk around, there's horses and ponies doing their stuff in the horsey rings and other animal action.  I have to walk through The Highland Hall, along the central aisle between rows of them huge cattle, shudder, steady stare front, brisk pace and keep walking, show no fear.  I nearly got swept off my feet by a man with a big brush sweeping up the straw and shite.

Mid morning it's breakfast time, I have eggs and bacon with the Shetland Sheep people.  The girl on the counter asks, "no carbs?", astute of her, then adds, "it's all eggs, eggs and more eggs".

Later we go for strawberry tarts and sandwiches, there's nothing in the Lanark auctioneers Lawrie & Symington hospitality tent that fits my diet.

As the judging gets closer I happen to ask Margaret when's Brandy O'clock at The Highland?  I think I just reminded her, she announces it's now.  We head up to the bar tent.  Security thwarts us, not allowed to take our drinks back down to the judging ring.  Margaret thwarts security, hiding the drinks in her handbag and off we trot.  I'm with the naughtiest girl in school.

It's judging time.  No surprises, the judge is a coloureds man, that's basically all we need to know.  No prizes for The Dad, not this year.  Coloureds all the way.

The Husband arrived just after the judging started.  He'd arrived earlier on the BMW road bike, only to be told he had to park it in this really wet place.  Thing is, it was really a swimming pool disguised as a field, which was in turn, disguised as a parking lot.  The Husband was having none of it.  He took the bike home and came back by taxi.

End of judging sees The Husband and I heading home to Starry Towers.  We walk up to the A8, traffic there is near-on at a stand still.  We walk to Ratho Station, then over the M9 pedestrian bridge, down to the more traffic-agreeable A89.  All along in the show vehicle parking area to our right we're aware of cars being towed out of the pool by tractors...nightmare.  At the Newbridge Mercedes showroom we order the taxi.  We know the A8 was particularly bad because all the way along our walk we're watching a blue horsebox.  We watch it edge slightly ahead, then fall back, again and again, all the way along, till finally, we make it to Newbridge and it hasn't yet reached the roundabout.  That's how slow traffic was moving, slower than The Husband out for a casual (and that's the only type he does) stroll. 
  Rench MarilynThe Dad and Ivydene MarilynRench IolantheShetland Sheep pensRench Marilyn and Rench IolantheRench Marilyn joining the Hebridean Sheep folks partyIvydene Marcus and Ivydene MarilynRench Marilyn and Ivydene Marilyn
Bryce, Mr WilliamRench Iolanthe and Best Fringe at The Royal Highland Show 2012Suzanne in the ringRench Iolanthe and The DadThe Dad and Rench MarilynjudgingRAIN!judging in progress
tup lamb classThe Dad with Rench Iolanthejudging indoorsThe Dad and Rench MarilynHazel and SuzanneThe Dad during indoor judgingThe Dad and Ivydene Marcusthe Shetland ram class
The Dad and Rench Marilynhere comes the rainThe Dad and Rench Marilyn in the rainThe Dad and Ivydene Marilyn being judgedThe Dad and Ivydene Marcus in the ringThe Dad and Ivydene MarilynThe Dad and Rench Marilynindoor judging
2nd June 2012 - Central & West Fife
  At a reasonably early hour The Husband and I were off to the Central & West Fife Show outside Kelty, arriving in time for the 9.30 judging start.  The Dad done really well, he's peaked, a bit early some would say, we're just hoping the peak line thingy is more "panoramic mountain range", with many many highs and just a few slight dips, and less of the one single high with only down the way to go.
  He got two firsts with Rench Dandy and Rench Iolanthe who both were then in the judging for the Champion white Shetland.  I thought he was in with a chance for Champion, having two entrants, but I didn't expect what happened next.  Rench Iolanthe was awarded the red first rosette, then Rench Dandy got the blue Reserve Champion rosette.  The coloured Shetland judging is up next which The Arbuckles and Suzanne win with Champion Brae Honey.  It's gimmer verses gimmer in the final for overall champion.  Oooohh it was tense.  And the winner is...Rench Iolanthe!  I'm so excited for him.  For this he received The Rench Cup,  with his name engraved, donated by our much missed old pal Mr Tom Findlay.  I can't attend one of these events without my mind filling with memories of Tom. 
  The Ivydene official photographer (ie me) was in attendance at this show, hence, loads and loads of photies to see. 
  Official results below :  
Rench Dandy - Shearling Ram
Rench Iolanthe - Gimmer
Rench Marilyn - Ewe
Ivydene Marcus - Tup Lamb
  Reserve Champion
Rench Dandy
Rench Iolanthe
  Overall Champion (white & coloured) Rench Cup winner
Rench Iolanthe
  I was by The Dad's side throughout the judging and prize winning.  Overjoyed with The Dad's results, I also got introduced to the judge, Mrs L McCaig, lovely lady with much useful Shetland Sheep advice she's willing to share.  Later The Dad introduced me to Patsy Hunter, the Scottish Farmer journo.  Patsy admired my handbag adornment Luxirare Silver Fox Tail (attached today to my Warehouse crossbody studded & tassled mini duffle bag), I just knew an agricultural show was positively the best place to be seen with a fox tail, blogged bout here. 
  Once the judging, interview and photies were done it's Brandy O'Clock with Margaret.  Agricultural Shows seem to involve a lot of people's various rituals, for Tom it was an ice-cream cone, for some it's a strawberry tart, for Margaret it's Brandy O'clock.  I go with her and have Vodka O'clock instead...carb free.  Margaret and I indulge, with The Dad splashing out for our tipple on his winnings, someone's got to toast the success properly.  As we watched the sheepdog/duck display, Margaret raised her plastic tumbler..."here's to your Dad", and to you Margaret, and to you, one of my favourite parts of attending agricultural shows is Brandy O'clock with Margaret.  
  This is The Dad's best ever single show set of results, he's had one previous Champion (Yetholm 2011), I was at that show too.  It's becoming obvious I am, so I've proclaimed myself to be, The Dad's Lucky Charm.  Fortunately I will be at The Highland Show this year, bodes well. 
  The Dad and Rench Iolanthe Champion ShetlandRench IolantheRench Iolanthe being judgedRench Dandy hard to handleThe Dad with Rench IolantheRench Marilyn and the Ivydene twinsRench Marilyn and her twinsThe Dad with Ivydene Marilyn
The Dad with Ivydene MarcusRench Marilyn wins 2nd placeShetlands and rosettesRench Marilyn with Ivydene MarilynRench DandyRench Marilyn and the Ivydene twinsIvydene MarcusIvydene Marcus
Ivydene MarcusIvydene MarcusRench Marilyn with the Ivydene twins and Brae InchkeithThe Dad with Rench Dandy in the ringRench MarilynIvydene Marilyn in the ringRench Iolanthegroup of three
sheep with attitudeRench Iolanthe and DandyRench Iolanthe takes Champion and Rench Dandy ReserveRench DandyRench IolantheRench Iolanthe the prettiest ewe at the showThe Dad with some rosettesthe champions being judged
Rench Iolanthe and Brae Honey go head to headChampion white Rench Iolanthe and Champion coloured Brae Honeysorting out the Champions for photies...and the winner is...Rench IolantheRench Iolanthe and Brae Honey, The Dad, Suzanne and the judge Mrs L McCaigThe Dad and Iolanthe with judge Mrs L McCaigRench IolantheRench Iolanthe
The Dad and judge L McCaigRench Iolanthea headless man with Rench IolantheThe Dad and Rench Iolanthe posing for the papsThe Dad and Champion Rench IolantheChampion Rench IolantheRench Iolanthe and The DadChampion Shetland Sheep Rench Iolanthe
Rench Iolanthedon't askThe Dad and Iolanthethe other sheep breeds are ugly muckle big creaturesShetland Rench Iolanthe and other creatures masquerading as sheepRench Iolanthe gets flung in with them other sheep breedsthe final line up of all sheep breed championsThe Dad, friends and dogs
The Dad shows Rench Iolanthe the Rench Cupthe Rench Cup with The Dad's name on
  more show 
  a cool calm collected ArbuckleSuzanne and Brae MajorSuzanne and Brae Honey coloured ChampionMargaret training the juniorCallum and Brae InchkeithCallum with Brae InchkeithCallum in the show ringCallum & prize winning Brae Inca ewe lamb
Brae sheep thnks about leaving earlyRena Douglas wins Overall Points categoryRena Douglas and her granddaughter with Overall Points rosetteRena Douglasa goat womanMargaret instructs Callum on the ways of the show ringCallum and Suzanne
Callum with Brae Inchkeithcoloured ShetlandsCallum and Hazelshearling ram Brae MajorShetland sheep pensShetland sheepsilverwarethe engraver at work on the silverware
they're sheep, but not as we know themClydesdale horsesclose up on the Clydesdale decorationthe overall champion sheep can't walksheepdog and geese entertainmenta man with sheepdogs and geese entertains the childrensheepdogs geese and childrenthe winners parade
tractorstug o warbig brute sheepjudging the coloured Shetland champion

  26 May 2012 - Lesmahagow  
  I don't make it to the The Lesmahagow Annual Show, even without me, The Dad gets four 2nds and two 3rds.  Detailed results are as follows :


Ivydene Marcus - Tup Lamb
Ivydene Marilyn - Ewe Lamb
Rench Dandy - Shearling Ram
Rench Marilyn, Rench Dandy & Rench Iolanthe - Group Of Three


Rench Marilyn - Ewe
Rench Iolanthe - Gimmer
  19 May 2012 - Fife 
  The Dad's first Agricultural Show of 2012, and his first with his own flock, Ivydene.  I wasn't in attendance hence precious little story and absolutely no photies.  I'm the official Ivydene photographer, without me, no piccies, sorry bout that, but I had to be working.  The Dad done great with three 2nds and three 3rds, detailed results are as follows :


Ivydene Marcus - Tup Lamb
Ivydene Marilyn - Ewe Lamb
Rench Iolanthe - Gimmer


Rench Dandy - Shearling Ram
Rench Marilyn - Ewe
Rench Marilyn, Rench Dandy & Rench Iolanthe - Group Of Three
March 2012 - The Ivydene twins
  The Dad has named his flock Ivydene.  This is the first year of his own lambing.  The Ivydene flock is in it's infancy, so only two ewes up for getting pregnant, the Rench Marilyns.  So far we have Rench Marilyn delivering gorgeous twins, a boy and a girl.  Rench Marilyn II is under the watchful eye of The Dad, but it's looking like she might not have got her uterus act together this year.  Still time though, so we're watching that space. 
  Rench Marilyn's beautiful long legged children have been named, Ivydene Marilyn and Ivydene Marcus.  These photies are at 3 days old.  So proud, my third sheep namesake, The Boy's one and only sheep namesake, The Dad's first lambs.  I'm wondering where he'll go from here, future Ivydene lambs.  There'll be a Derek, a Silke, a John, a Rae, a William?  The joy of bestowing names.  There might be more Marilyns, Ivydene Marilyn II, the opportunities are endless.  
  The birth of the first Ivydene lambs was traumatic.  Twins are always unpredictable and require a bit of extra attention.  What I know now is lambs are normally born head first with both their cute little front feet tucked up under their baby chin, giving for a smoother, easier birth, though I imagine even a straight forward delivery is far from 'easy' for the ewe.  
  The Dad was on site with two of his best sheepy mates, Alex and Suzanne.  Ivydene Marilyn presented first, with only one leg correctly positioned.   
  Despite this they got her out alive and well.  Ivydene Marcus was still to come, but he didn't.  He's well named, his namesake, The Boy...he doesn't get out of bed before 12 midday for less than having to go to work.  The Dad and his mates were obviously increasingly concerned, making attempts at getting the second twin out.  From what I know now, that means Suzanne had her arm right up in there...as apparently shepherd type people do in such circumstances, I never knew, it sounds so brutal.  Alex and Suzanne have more years experience with having their own Shetland Sheep flock but had never had this difficult birth experience.  Happily The Dad had been told by an old sheep pal years ago, raise the back legs, it straightens the birth canal, giving an increased change of reaching in for, and pulling out, the baby at risk.  Sounds a bit rough for the sheep mum, but it's equally essential.  Shepherds have to get lambs out, alive or dead, so the mum sheep has to endure it all either way, and if the sheep people are wise enough and a bit lucky, the lambs survive.  Taa-daa...both twins and mum Rench Marilyn are alive, healthy and good looking.  If our old Octogenarian pal Tom was still here, he'd be thrilled to bits, as I am, I'm so proud of The Dad.   
  When I visited Rench Marilyn and the twins a second set of twin lambs were with their mother in another pen.  This was Rench Marilyn's own mother, Rench Myrtle II (DOB 14/04/92).  
  scuse me sheeps, I'm still herethe Ivydene twins pretending to eat hayRench Marilyn and her Ivydene twinsMarilyn and her babiesIvydene Marcus at front and Ivydene MarilynRench Marilyn with her twins Ivydene Marcus on the left & Ivydene MarilynIvydene Marcus posing while Ivydene Marilyn hides behind her mumRench Marilyn with the Ivydene twins
Rench Marilyn & her twinsleaning on her bro
  some other sheep at The Arbuckles  
  Rench Myrtle II and her twinsa Brae Coloured Shetland ewe and lambslamb playing with ballwhat?Brae lambs behaving badly...very badlyBrae lambs  
  The Dad carried on taking care of Tom's sheep after Tom died.  This first summer after Tom's passing The Dad was still helping Tom's daughter and took the ram Rench Tom to the Fife Show, where he won Champion Shetland, in Tom's memory. 
  This is also The Dad's first year with his own Shetland Sheep.  After Tom died the Rench flock were all up for sale.  The Dad went to Lanark market and won the two Marilyns at auction, sentimental reasons he said.  He also bought Rench Davina (DOB 04/05/11), Rench Iolanthe (15/05/11) and the young ram Rench Dandy (DOB 10/04/11) at Carlisle.  The Dad is now a shepherd with his own flock of Shetlands, in Tom's footsteps.  The Dad helped Tom's daughter prepare for the Rench dispersing sales.  He was at Lanark, not only with a mind to purchase the Marilyns, but also assisting Tom's daughter in showing them.  Lanark is the only mainland Shetland Sheep sale with a show beforehand.  
  At Lanark Market on the 17th August Rench Marilyn II won Best Wool On The Hoof and third in Best Gimmer before being sold to The Dad for the highest price in the Shetland sale, 270 of The Dad's Scottish pounds.  Rench Marilyn, he got for a further 250 of them Scottish pounds of his, and I believe the second highest price of the sale.  The Mum took the news well, she loves him very much.  
  This is such an important year in The Dad's Shetland Sheep story.  As if to mark the milestone he made it into the November 2011 issue of The Shetland Breed, the Shetland Sheep magazine, no less than three times.  Rench Dandy's on the cover, The Dad and Rench Marilyn II at Lanark and one of my photies makes it onto page 16 too.  My photie is The Dad and Rench Marilyn II at the Yetholm show on October 1st, where she came home with the Champion ribbons.  The Husband and I made it to the Yetholm show, this is also where The Husband found that framed photo of Tom. 
  The Dad is now best mates with the Arbuckles, Margaret, Alex and their niece, Suzanne, them of Brae Flock fame.  The Dad's sheep are kept with the Arbuckles'.  With them all working together to improve the lot of all their sheep, tending to their flocks in mutual harmony. 
  The Shetland Breed magazine cover November 2011 Rench Dandy at backThe Shetland Breed magazine November 2011 p20 William Bryce and Rench Marilyn IIThe Shetland Breed magazine November 2011 p16 William Bryce and Rench Marilyn IIThe Dad and Rench Marilyn II Best Wool on the Hoof Lanark 2011one man and his MarilynsThe Dad and Rench Marilyn II Lanark 2011Rench Davina  and Rench Iolanthe 2011Rench Dandy 2011
photograph of Tom at Yetholm Showthe judging of Rench Marilyn II Yetholm 2011Rench Marilyn II and The Dad Yetholm 2011The Dad & Rench Marilyn II at Yetholm, winning Champion Shetland Sheep 011011Rench Marilyn II Champion Yetholm Show 2011Yetholm 2011 The Dad and The Husband and more Shetland Sheep folksThe Dad and Rench Tom Champion Shetland Fife 2011some Shetland rams and me
The Dad and I with digestive biscuitsme and Shetland Sheep rams, they just want my biscuitsthey just want my digestivesThe Dad and me with some sheepRench Marilyn and Rench Marilyn II June 2010The Dad with Rench Marilyn & Rench Marilyn IIThe Dad and the world's oldest caravanShetland rams
the ewes feedingfemalesa couple of Shetland boysThe Dad feeding the ramsThe Rench Marilyns and friendsShetland ramsa big friendly sheepThe Dad and Fennel Reserve breed Champion Shetland Sheep West Fife 2011
a young Shetland maleold Horace
  In The Beginning 
  The best things in life start when you're least expecting them, unforeseen and unplanned initially (plenty time for planning when it's needed, once it's all under way).  Little surprises that build to all engrossing life events.  This is how the Bryce Shetland Sheep flock was born. 
  I never gave Shetland Sheep a first thought, never mind a second thought, till I met Mr Tom Findlay.  Once we'd met, I gave Shetland Sheep lots and lots of thoughts as Tom and I very quickly became friends.  He was caring and kind to me, telling me often I was like a daughter to him.  He told me many interesting things, how life was in his lifetime, and much about Shetland Sheep.  He told me so much, and once he was gone, I knew he'd only told me a small fraction, if we'd only had more time.  In recognition of our friendship he named Rench Marilyn (DOB 26/03/08) after me, and her baby, Rench Marilyn II (DOB 01/04/10).  Tom became like part of my family over the few years we knew him, with The Dad enjoying his company too, helping on his small-holding, with the sheep and the gardening.  Tom died December 2010, I still miss him so much.  
  Robina and Tom Findlay Champion Royal Highland ShowTom and just a few of his rosettesRench Iris after toast from The HusbandRench Marilyn is 2nd from the rightRench Iris sticks out her tongueTom winning the Ryan's Quaich trophy in 2005Tom's rosettes from The West Fife Show 2010Rench Marilyn runner up Stathaven 2010 with Tom
a 2009 Rench ewe and her lambRench Iris's twins 2009Rench Iris and her babies 2009Rench Iris in 2009a Rench ewe 2009Dad amd Tom West Fife Show 2010Tom and Wull West Fife Show 2010Tom watching on West Fife Show 2010
Tom at the West Fife Show 2010Tom at the West Fife Show 2010The Dad at the West Fife Show 2010Tom taking a restDad West Fife Show 2010TomThe Dad and his Shetland Sheep Young Handler rosette West Fife Show 2010The Dad's rosette West Fife 2010
a Rench lamb with Tomone of Rench Iris's twins 2009The West Fife Rench Trophy comes home 2010Tom with male lamb West Fife 2010Tom Findlay champion West Fife 2010my old friend TomTom with ewe lamb Royal Highland 2010Tom and male lamb Royal Highland 2010
Tom picks up a 2nd at Royal Highland Show 2010Tom with Rench MarilynThe Dad at The Royal Highland 2010Tom in the ring and The Dad watchingTom and MargaretThe Dad watches Tom in the judging pen West Fife Show 2010William Bryce and Tom Findlay West Fife Show 2010Tom and the female lambs Royal Highland Show 2010
The Husband and The Dad at The Royal Highland Show 2010Dad & Tom & his granddaughter Louise Royal Highland Show 2010Rench Marilyn and Tom Royal Highland Show 2010The Rench 3 at The Royal Highland Show 2010Tom with a male lamb Royal Highland Show 2010Tom with the rams at the Royal Highland Show 2010Tom with the rams at the Royal Highland Show 2010best wool on the hoof Royal Highland Show 2010
The Dad and The Husband Royal Highland Show 2010Rench Marilyn being judged at The Royal Highland Show 2010Rench MarilynRench Marilyn Royal Highland Show 2010 and the competitionTom and Rench Marilyn 2nd Highland Show 2010Tom Royal Highland Show 2010Tom at The Royal Highland Show 2010Tom at The Royal Highland Show 2010
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