Have you got as many weather ‘apps’ on your mobile phone as I have? All of my half-a-dozen promised a morning of no rain. Loaded up for a session on the squirrels I hadn’t even got to the end of the road when I had to turn on the windscreen wipers. Not a deluge but … Continue reading Boxing Clever
Half-way through my seventh decade, my infatuation with the great outdoors and hunting remains as fervent as it did in my first and second. The four-year-old who hunted snails in the garden gravitated through pond dipping, worm fishing, bird egg collecting, and lamping with lurchers. He emerged as a serious air-rifle hunter, with a book … Continue reading The King’s New Throne
It was a splendid morning to be walking the wood with a gun and a camera. Predicted by the weather oracle to be the last day of Mediterranean warmth for a while, I was determined to get some miles under my belt. The rain has been long-awaited, particularly by my farming friends. Their concern was … Continue reading The Owl and The Jackdaw
During the first phase of 'Lockdown' I missed my patrols around the naturalists paradise that is my shooting permission. A mixture of woodland, arable land and livestock farming. The first sensory delight to greet me on my return to the wood was ‘the orchestra’. I stepped into the ride beneath a verdant canopy illuminated with … Continue reading Squirrels and Jackdaws: A Return From Lockdown
For a habitual wanderer, confinement to the proximity of my home could have been hell. I’m glad to say it’s proved otherwise. The order to “stay close to home, don’t get too close to strangers and be home before dark” isn’t new to most of us. These were the instructions given to me as a … Continue reading The Lockdown Wanderer
Is there anything more calming than the gentle patter of rain? The flautist on the branch had heralded the downpour with his trill repertoire. The cock blackbird is rarely wrong when it comes to forecasting precipitation. As the gun-metal grey clouds rolled across, I donned my wet gear and slipped a leash on Charlie the … Continue reading It’s life, Captain … but not as we know it !
20th April 2020 Dear Lady Amelia, First of all, apologies for the apparently impersonal letter. I’m proficient on my PC but my hand-writing is appalling nowadays! I hope this letter will find you fit and well in this strangest of times. I just wanted to drop you a line to let you know that I … Continue reading Lockdown Letter to a Landowner
The call of the gun was strong on this gorgeous Spring morning. After a week of working from home (in self-isolation) I was desperate for fresh air, yet I realised that my wife must be feeling the same. I suggested one of our favourite walks, from Strumpshaw out to Buckenham Mill and back. Old Charlie … Continue reading Another Shot Buzzard ??
Stepping from the motor into my own frosted breath, I applauded myself for adding an extra base layer to the shooting attire this morning. The low winter sun wasn’t going to win against a scything Easterly breeze today. Before donning my shooting mitts I loaded two magazines with .22 Air Arms field diablo pellets. I … Continue reading Long Walk, Little Rifle
The low winter sun that blinded me on the drive to the wood augured well for an extended shooting session. It was 2.30 pm on the penultimate day of the year. It would make a welcome change to stand in the dry after what seems like weeks of torrential rain. I’d already checked the wind … Continue reading A Red Sky Roost Shoot