Our modern forms of communication are wonderful things; just consider, for example, the mobile ‘phone.

In my previous life (pre-children and pre-sheepdogs, that is) I was allowed out onto the open road in a company car, armed only with a mobile freezer full of shellfish and – wonder of wonders – a mobile ‘phone. The battery for it was roughly the same size as the freezer, the charge lasted for a (whole) hour, and I wouldn’t really describe it as “mobile” unless you had space in the car for it, but I thought it was a miracle.

Today’s mobile ‘phones give you the choice of 3GS or 4GS, multiple megapixels of camera, MP3 players, FM hands-free radio, games, video, Android (what?) or not, but when I bought my most recent ‘phone it was on the assurance of the single specification that it would get a signal in the network “not-spot” where we live. Because that’s important.

So how galling was it that this morning, of all mornings, my new old-school-but-ultra-reliable-there’s-a-signal-everywhere ‘phone couldn’t make contact with Andy while he roamed Worcestershire in search of a lost sheep? Sounds Biblical, doesn’t it? Andy’s language wasn’t especially Biblical and, I have to confess, when I saw a recent addition, Mick, shove the sheep over the fence and then hare off across a field after it, mine probably wasn’t either.

It wouldn’t have mattered quite so much if we hadn’t been waiting for a team from Radio 4’s Farming Today to arrive – to talk about sheepdog training!

When I eventually caught up with Andy he had the errant sheep slung across his shoulders. Before he could speak (I felt it was important to get my defence in while he was still fighting for breath) I described in colourful detail that my ‘phone had “no network coverage”.

We’re on the lookout for some walkie-talkie-thingies now. Recommendations gratefully received.

Luckily, Charlotte Smith’s quite sporting about delays; I had the impression it was a little light relief at the end of a hard week. After a large amount of tea and quite a few digestive biscuits, Andy’s loins were sufficiently girded to get out there and train some dogs – and the odd radio presenter. Kay was such a star, proving that she’ll work for anybody with celeb status so, Katie Price, if you’re reading this – get your people to call Kay’s people…




Watch Pearl Glen, Mel and lots of the dogs you saw in our first DVD Border Collie Sheepdogs – Off Duty! PLUS MANY MORE! The DVD is available from our DVD Store – and we automatically ship the correct format for your country. More info.


One response to “Networking…”

  1. Clive Blake avatar
    Clive Blake


    We have one of your dogs who is now 16 months old. He is fine now after a lot of digestion problems, but he is a star! Jamie, son of Kay and Eli
    As for the phone problem, well its complicated but have a look at this to start
    You will have to type this in but it will give you an idea who provides the best coverage for your area and so you may need to swap providers according to your findings.

    If you need more help then contact me by email and I am happy to give more detailed advice. It basically involves having an improved antenna for the phone, probably through a car installation. Because you are out in the wilds there is no money in it for phone companies to provide coverage where subscibers are few.

    Hope you are both well


    Clive and Alison Blake

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