Friday, 4 September 2009

Making Do

A quick post while I wait for the dogs to eat their dinner, but before I lose the light. I'm woefully behind on my chores.

Mike and I had a Loading certification course to attend today. Loading is peculiar to English driven shooting. A 'loader' accompanies a 'gun' (the person shooting). The 'gun' may shoot with a pair of shotguns, in which case the 'gun' fires, hands you the empty shotgun and you pass him a full (loaded) shotgun ad infinitum until the whistle ends the drive (that bit where the birds flying over your head). Clear? Probably not. A loader can also "stuff", i.e. keeps reloading one shotgun by "stuffing" cartridges into it when it's empty. If I can find a picture of loading, I will put it on the blog. It makes more sense when you see it.

It was a 2 hour course, but a 4 hour car drive there and back so we lost half a day's work at least. And with 2,500 partridges being delivered tomorrow and pens not yet finished, it's been a mad rush to get things ready enough for tomorrow. Mike's still out putting up electric fences around the pens which I quickly strimmed, so quick in fact I forgot to find my safety gear and had to make do with what I could find in the truck: a pair of old sunglasses for eye protection and a bit of tissue wadded up and shoved in my ears to protect them.

At least we had a scenic journey, and the Loading course was held on another estate owned by the Earl of Shaftesbury. Unfortunately, the last Earl (no.10) who was reputed to be a bit of a ladies' man and scoundrel was murdered by his widow (a former nightclub hostess) and her brother 2 years ago. They threw his body down a ravine in the Alps where it was eaten by wild pigs. Only enough was left for DNA to confirm his identity. They were tried in a French court and got 25 years. I believe his son inherited the title and now runs the estate.

We also drove by the Drax estate, whose owner shoots here at Mapperton. Mike was telling me about a particularly wily poacher who "works" around that estate and every year at Christmas, he sneaks in and leaves each of the gamekeepers a brace of pheasants, presumably poached from their own stock.

I haven't even got any pictures to post today, you'll have to make do with a few thoughts and anecdotes instead. I promise to try harder after the partridge are in but, for the moment, I'm losing the light and the dogs need their walk.

1 comment:

Poppy Cottage said...

That sounds like a very thoughtful poacher!!

Busy day sounds like.