The new season brings with it action, excitement and...poetry.
Surely Earth has not anything to show more fair than a pheasanty sort of a covert of a frosty morning. And certainly dull would he be of soul who could pass a sight so touching in its majesty.
Wordsworth may have been stood on Westminster at dawn when these thoughts occurred to him but I dare say that if he had been out in the countryside with a gun more often in the winter, rather than tripping over the daffodils all spring, he might have had a fuller appreciation of the grandeur of the shooting field. Can anything touch it? Standing well back from a hanging wood, hearing the distant “Tap-tap-tap! Eeeyooh! Ayayayaay!” as the beaters begin to push forward through the brambles. Moving a couple of steps this way or that to put the bulk of an ivy-clad oak between you and the low-hanging sun that is just beginning to reflect off the early mist as the freshening breeze whisks it up the valley. Listening for the clatter and squawk that heralds the appearance of the first cock of the season.
Once more into the breach, my friends, for England, Harry and Sunday lunch! Is it not hard to refrain from a bit of lyricism under the circumstances? Why there is not more poetry about shooting, I really don’t know. It seems to me to be just about made for the verse form. Pheasant/ pleasant. Partridge/ cartridge. Natural rhymes.
Even the dogs seem in awe of this first day of the season. Well, first day if you haven’t had six solid weeks at the grouse followed by another month at the partridges. For those who count shooting dates on the fingers of one hand and a bit, the season starts here and there is no feeling like it.
And as the first longtails begin to soar through the leafless canopy and set their wings for a long curl down to the distant copse above the granary it is focus, focus, focus, up, through, press on and on and on and on...
Um num yum! I can smell pheasant in the air. I do hope he kills them cleanly though. I don’t think I am going to be up to chasing leggy pheasants across this plough. I’d like to, of course. I’m just not sure I could catch one before it made that hedge and then it’s into the wood, and I know that wood. It’s bog central. You are up to your hips in two steps and the damn pheasant just sits there winking at you as you plowter about in the goo. I’ve been there before. It wasn’t fun when I was young and vigorous. Today it’s a heart attack waiting to happen.
Please shoot it dead! Well done! That’ll do me. I can take care of that one. That one, on the other hand, is Spanner territory. Watch it, kid! Watch it! It’s down. Yep! In the edge of the wood yonder. All yours, youngster. Walk in the park. You’ll love it. Just wait and see.
C’mon! C’mon! C’mon! This is IT! This is the MOMENT! This is what we LIVE for! This is our JOB! That pheasant is MINE! MINE! MINE! MINE! I OWN THAT PHEASANT! Yes, that one in the wood yonder. Can I go? Can I? Can I? Yes? YESSS! Wow! Splosh! Actually splosh, splosh, splosh. I CAN SEE YOU! Splosh, splosh, bloody splosh! HA! WEREN’T EXPECTING THAT, WERE YOU? Right here we go. Can you take your wing out of my eye? OW! Don’t do that, please! I shall be cross! OW! Can you take this bird for me, Boss. Please! It’s a bit mental! Thank you. PHEW! Any more for you, Sir? Are there? Any more? Or did you miss the rest? All of them? Well, not to worry, Sir. Perhaps you’ll get one on the next drive. I say, best he does, old dog, or we’ll have a dull old day, eh? Is he always like this?
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