10 November 2013

Judging the Dutch Championships

Karen and Kath were honoured to be invited to be the judges of the Dutch Championships in October.  It was a busy weekend with 4 levels of Junior Classes to judge and 5 levels of "adult" classes to judge each day.

The journey there was arduous with two lengthy delays on the 50 minute flight and a packed train journey from Amsterdam during the Friday evening rush hour with change of train across many platforms!!

But they were greeted at the station by Rene Delsink who whisked them off to meet with his wife Marina at the venue of the competition. Both the British judges had done a lot of homework before travelling to make sure that they were familiar with the Dutch rules and had a live marking sheet to be able to note all the points in the correct category.  There are several differences from the UK rules, the main one being that the Dutch have 18 (yes, 18) heelwork positions as opposed the UK’s 8.  
 Lots of awards on offer for the talented winners.  The organisers were very pleased with the entry which was a large one for Holland; 46 teams on Saturday and 47 teams on Sunday.  Kath and Karen were the only judges for the weekend but were well taken care of with regular breaks.  The day had an old fashioned feel to it from when entries were smaller in the UK and everything went along at a stately pace.  However, with marks to give and comments to write on each participant’s sheet it was a busy day for them.
Karen and Kath were well positioned behind the desks inside the ring away from all distractions with a good viewpoint for the routines on the AstroTurfed ring area .
During their many breaks it was good to be able to wander around the village where  the Championships were being held.  
The houses in Holland all seem very well kept with so many having a duo of ornaments in the windows or in this case a pair of identical trees and identical flowering shrubs.
Their accommodation was at a splendid Bed and Breakfast Steppenstijn which was run by a wonderful host called Stijnie. Each evening on arrival at the B and B there was always something a little special left for them from Stijnie.  A small bottle of wine, some home made brownies and little cakes typical to the region. 
The very attractive main house.

 This was where Karen and Kath spent their evenings after the competition. 
They were well looked after with huge separate bedrooms, a sitting area and a sauna!
The view from the bedrooms!
No wonder they slept well - it was ideal being so quiet!

At the end of the competition, all the Club members who had worked so hard to make the event run smoothly joined the judges for dinner.  Gifts were exchanged with Marina and Rene with thanks all round and then Kath and Karen were driven back to the B andB for their final night in Holland.  Stijnie, their host at the B and B was to drive Kath and Karen to the railway station to start their homeward journey. 

During breakfast Stijnie ensured that they would be taking a direct train to the airport to save them having to change en-route.  Fond farewells were made at the station and happily the train that arrived had lots of room and a choice of seats all the way into Amsterdam.  Kath and Karen chose to sit upstairs on the double-decker train where they could relax and enjoy the views on their journey. 

Kath and Karen would like to thank Marina and Rene Delsink for inviting them to judge and to all the competitors for making it a very enjoyable weekend.

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