Wednesday, 2 December 2009
Cold and wet, but at least no one got shot
Except for a quick glimpse of the low winter sun, it has been perpetually raining in our part of England. The ground is so saturated, we've worn muddy tracks in the lawn on our usual routes: to the kennels, to the sheep pen, to the clothes dryer in the back shed. Very similar to the deer tracks I look for in the woods when I'm out stalking.
And the cold has set in. Not enough to freeze the muck unfortunately, but enough to remind me that living in a quaint English cottage has its definite drawbacks. I plugged the gaps in the old metal window frames that were big enough for me to get a finger between them. I 'upcycled' Ace bandages from Mike's no longer needed wound dressing supplies. Half a bandage per window, poked into the gap with a knitting needle has stopped the worst drafts but we're relegated to 2 rooms - the kitchen and the front room - which I can keep warm with cooking and a roaring fire in the woodstove.
It's so cold in the rest of the house that there are assorted cardigans hanging from the bannister - in case you need to venture outside the 'warm zone' for any length of time you can add layers. I have to wear fingerless gloves to check my email, and to write this. Expect a brief update. I periodically warm up by checking the chicken that's roasting in the oven. A glass of sherry helps too - even an episode of Mythbusters confirmed alcohol's restorative properties (although they mentioned something about succumbing to hypothermia eventually...I can't remember the details)
I'm waiting for the game dealer to drop by. I have a pair of mallard ducks hanging outside the door (shot on the estate so I need to make them a 'gift' to Lord and Lady) and Paul will collect them and prepare them for their larder. I didn't realise that the ducks were hanging right over our mailbox which is actually just an old metal bread bin. Our kindly postman knocked on the door and handed me the mail as the ducks were dripping blood and he didn't want them to bleed on the mail. How thoughtful is that?
We have a busy weekend of shooting, regardless of the weather. I thought I would share a shoot story from Monday with you -
Gun's wife, elegantly dressed - "Mike, Mike. There's a man standing on the hill in front of the gun, and the gun is swinging throuh the gentleman. Surely it's not safe. Shouldn't you move that man out of the way?"
Mike (to gun's wife): "I understand your concern. But the gun knows he's only to shoot up in the sky. As we say 'You don't pull the trigger unless you can see only sky around the bird'. The man on the hill is a 'stop'. He's there to make sure the birds fly over the gentleman gun, instead of sneaking out the side."
Gun's wife (frustrated): " Yes but there're some lovely birds that fly acoss the front of the hill and the gun can't shoot them if he's in the way. Can't you ask that man to get down on his knees or something?"
Mike (stifling a laugh): "That will only clear the path for your gun to hit the other 15 beaters behind him. I'd really rather you don't shoot the staff. No, I think it's best if the gun only shoots at birds in the sky."
There's no pleasing some people. With that I think I'll go check the chicken and wait for the feeling to come back into my fingers. (Note to self - ask Santa for an orange hat and high-vis vest for Christmas this year. And stand behind a tree)