Thursday, August 02, 2007

Phil Drabble 1914-2007

Phil Drabble death at the weekend was a coincidence for us in the Berriew area. As the man who put sheepdog trials on the map was dying, the local annual trialing competition was taking place in the next field to our garden. There were 92 dogs this year and the competition lasted until late into the evening.

I never competed in trials myself. Never had enough control over Brock when I was full time sheep farming to put our skills on display. Brock only became fully trained when his arthritis meant he could no longer run - and just sat in the back of my landrover and barked whenever prompted by my tooting the horn. Not sure what Phil Drabble would have thought of that.

Phil Drabbles voice was "soft as country rain, as right for the world of five-bar gates and grass chewing as John Arlott's was for cricket". 'One Man and His Dog' started in 1975 and continued for 17 years, sometimes attracting audiences of over 6 million viewers. I was an occasional viewer, but my father loved the programme. I daresay he was as outraged as I was when S4C dropped 'Garddio' last year. Reading his obituary in today's Telegraph, I realised he was ' a cussed countryman' who would not be told what to do. No wonder I liked him.

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