But finally we arrived in Stoke-on-Tern, where the Denham's live. When we saw their dogs, we knew the whole trip was worth it: They have the most beautiful blues we have ever seen. Three generations, each with nice heads, nice shape, nice temperament, and a wonderful colour.

Stokedale Star Dancer

Val Denham had a surprise for us: exactly a week earlier her bitch Stokedale Spice Girl had a litter from her stud Stokedale Star Dancer: 4 tri dogs, 2 blue-merle dogs and one blue-merle bitch. The bitch was absolutely lovely, and we wanted her!

We talked a lot with the Denham's . They are not so known in Europe because they do not show very much.

But the Crufts winner 1999 is bred out of Stokedale. We were shown many pictures of their dogs, and they have bred consistently beautiful blue-merles for quite a long time. They also had two youngsters, about 10 months old, from 2 different littersStokedale Shadow Leader. We asked if the dog was available, because an acquainted breeder in Germany was looking for a beautiful blue-merle dog and finally the Denhams agreed to let him go. Stokedale Shadow Leader is now already doing well in the Quo Vadis kennel.

The Denhams liked Nathalie very much, and she got a whole bag of toys from them. We made plans to come back in September and bring back both our puppy bitch and the dog (which we did, as you can see on "Muffins" webpage!)

When we left, we drove to visit Jean and John Catliff, the owners of Mallicot Collies. Alan had arranged that we could meet them on short notice. It is very difficult to find them. Jean Catliff had given me precise instructions, but can you imagine a route description that is made of dozens of roundabouts.

I like roundabouts, but here there were double and triple roundabouts! Finally we were lost in Lichfield. Continued on next page...