No pay, but the reward is in the day
Being invited to a new shoot is always welcomed with delight in my house. I am filled with nervous excitement, so when I was recently invited to pickup at a new shoot in beautiful Newbury I was particularly enthralled. However, there was one caveat that stuck with me: “I am sorry that we cannot pay, I hope this isn’t a problem.”
I paid no notice at the time and it wasn’t until I sat in my armchair that evening, tired and weary, that I found myself irked by this humble apology. I am a member of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces so not especially well off. While £20 or £40 would have been a nice little addition to the household coffers, it doesn’t compensate for the effort that it has taken to train, feed, insure and taxi my dogs to and from said shoot.
What more than makes up for it is that feeling of tired nostalgia I have when I look back on a fantastic day; the feeling of satisfaction that I’ve only ever experienced from the very real consequence of the long, tiring, frustrating and often laborious hours training my dogs; and, perhaps most importantly, the taste of the quarry that I have prepared, cooked and served to a house full of people who have been too afraid to try the delights of game meat before.
The point to this little story is should we be obsessed with a financial reward for a long day of “work” or should we relish the opportunities that could so easily be snatched away? Helping on a small closeknit shoot like this stands head and shoulders above any of the big commercial shoots that I’ve helped on, where the respect, compassion and understanding of why we do what we do is far too often lacking.
M. Williams, by email