Thursday, July 24, 2008

More International Congress (Sweden part nine)

The afternoon program went quickly, with very interesting presentations on the history of Scandinavian whippets. Lordy be those Scandinavians are just too gorgeous. It was a little difficult to concentrate on the words of the afore-mentioned (and pictured) young Cary Grant/Gregory Peck look-alike Magnus as he talked about Swede William's ancestors. Then came the illegally good looking Norwegian, Espen Engh, followed by the dishy Dane, Birgit Wamberg.

(photo Google images) Espen Engh, well, could YOU concentrate?

What a lovely relief it was to steal Lisa's two dogs and take a long walk around the whole estate during the break before dinner. Stavros and Bree were glad to stretch their legs, and I had the honor of getting the bashful boy to pee and poop! This is a big deal for a dog person!

We came back to dinner and the Gala Match Show. Dinner was indescribable (which is a foolish word to use, if I'm going to try to describe it to you). So, look:

There were little name tags to let us know what we were eating.

(Pay attention to those white crocks and you can click to enlarge - use your back button to return)

I filled my plate with salmon - smoked and broiled - and devilled eggs, and parma ham, and beef tenderloin with pesto, and Swedish bread, and... But I passed up the contents of both of the white crocks. Behind me in line was yet another Swedish male model (well, he could have been), Henrik (go visit his blog, it's in Swedish, but he's got beautiful pictures of Kragga Manor and himself, and his whippets). He said, "No herring for you? What a shame. It is delicious. Our specialty!"

Bill eats that god-awful stuff in jars from the grocery store, pickled herring, and the thought of it turns my stomach. I don't want fish in cream in a jar. But, I was in Sweden. And this was not fish in a jar, it was fish with a lovely creme fresh sauce and just picked dill and herbs and scallion, and when in Sweden... so I got a generous helping of the contents of both crocks, and bravely headed to our table.

"How do you like it?" asked Henrik, looking too, too handsome.

"It's really quite good," I said, finishing both piles. It was good. A little fishy, but so fresh tasting, and the sauce was nice and saucy and I had been a good little American tourist.

When Henrik returned from getting seconds, he had something else on his plate. A shallow quiche/pie looking delectable.

"Oh, I didn't see that!" cried I.

Lisa piped up, "No, I don't eat that: it has raw fish."

"Oh, no, me neither. No raw fish for me!"

The table started to chortle. I looked from side to side, face to face, all giggling and looking away.

"What?" I asked.

"Oh no." I cried.

"The herring?" My stomach lurched. Yes both of those white crock piles had been raw herring. The Swedes tried to make me feel better by explaining that the vinegar cooks the fish. Yeah, well that cucumber in vinegar was still raw, don't you know it! I hid my face in my napkin and fought the urge to ...

I managed to soothe my poor stomach with a delicious desert of custard with rhubarb and strawberries.

The Gala Match Show featured Scandinavia's Top Twenty whippets of 2007. Swede William's sister Bree was invited, and Helene's stunning Daisy, and Henrik's lovely Memma. The format was quite brutal, with three surprise judges, an American, a South African, and an Australian. Two whippets would enter, be judged, and the three judges would pick their favorite of the two. That whippet which got the majority vote would move to the next round. Bree came in and looked like the walking illustration of the Standard. Perfection! Judging time. WHAT!! The American voted for the other dog!!! No! (The Whippet Gods got her back, though. She helped Lisa the following Sunday at the HUGE Sighthound Specialty, and handled Bree herself, when Lisa's dogs went all the way to Breeder's Group BEST IN SHOW!! HA!!) Daisy didn't advance either, even though she also won HUGE later in the week. (I told you it was brutal.) But Henrik's Memma advanced right to the last round, so we got to cheer for her.

Lisa and Helene were staying at the Manor, but Crystal and I had a hotel about twenty minutes away in a charming town. (Lisa would join us there the next night when Helene went home to her children for a few days.) A delightful couple from Belgium who were also at our hotel kindly gave us rides back and forth. I got to eavesdrop their french! I love french! The GPS spoke french! I told them, "Je comprends un peu, et je parle, er, less" so they spoke slowly when they wanted me to listen in. Rita was familiar with my writing, and with Mama Pajama, so we felt like old friends. Actually we were, as we had met at one of our American Nationals. Girard's driving was decidedly European and we shaved a good ten minutes off each trip. Wheeeee! Lovely, lovely, fun people.

Tomorrow would already be the last day of the International Whippet Congress. How could that be?

to be continued... HERE

hug your hounds


  1. Okay we are sorry we laughed at the herring episode but now you can say you've eaten it and never have to eat it again.

  2. Nice to hear from you!! I have linked your blog from mine. I really enjoy reading your traveling story from your Sweden trip and I laugh!!!!

  3. My european grandfather used to eat herring all the time for breakfast. Love the photos of the food...hmmm, maybe I missed a meal! r

  4. Hiya...muzzer for the Cary Grant Look Alike.

  5. Oh my tastebuds are screaming! We want raw fish ... especially from the land of our ancestors (actually Finland, but close enough ...) hmmmm I think I have a jar of herring in the frig somewhere.

  6. Oh, what a shame! In Japan, they have great, fresh raw fish! I even pursuaded my close American friend to try sushi when we were visiting Hokkaido and now she's hooked. When it's fresh, it's not "fishy" and is quite a delicacy. ;D

    I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed the herring though!


    Dog lover

  7. Mom would actually eat that herring, she tries EVERYTHING! But what you DID try looked delicious!!!!

  8. We are sorry to read the news about Sweetie and Shelby/Elsa, but hope you find comfort that both of them found a great deal of love at the end.

    Toodle pip
    Harry x

  9. You know, Bill may not let you take any more of these trips if all he hears about upon your return is how cute all the men were! :)

  10. You were having the best of times even with the raw fish.

  11. Hi Patience,

    It was nice to meet you again in Sweden. Thanks for the nice book...
    Hope to see you next year at the national ?
    Love from Belgium

    Rita Vanhaeren
    Song Sung Blue Whippets

  12. Oh my, I haven't seen so much talk about food since I was obligated to read my great-aunt Violet's long letters to my Grama Hazel, detailing each meal of every day!! Not as funny as you, however, and no raw herring!

    Susan and the gals....

  13. Loved you reporting of happenings in Sweden. I laughed all over again at your comments. Nice to meet you again and catch up with so many like minded people.
    Should have tried the raw fish. Fantastic.


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