Posts tagged ‘Woods’

February 5, 2012

A Morning Shoot









Let me tell you what happened to me a few weeks ago!

Knowing that I was not able to do much because of my shoulders a very kind friend, name of George, dropped in and asked if I would like to go shooting.

‘Shooting,’ I said, ‘how the hell am I supposed to go shooting? The state my flamin’ shoulders are in I couldn’t fire an employee never mind a bloody shotgun (I have a disease – the result of diving that affects my major joints)!’

‘Don’t get yer knickers in a twist,’ he said, ‘you can come along and just watch, just come for the walk – it’s not far. Tony, a friend of mine, has the farm down by the lighthouse and he has that small wood there. He breeds a few pheasants and things and restricts the shooting to family and friends – well, do you want to go or not?’

‘Okay,’ I said, rather stupidly and on the Wednesday morning at six o’clock – pitch dark – I had a cup of coffee, bacon and eggs and waited for George to pick me up.

Now, the wood, is about a quarter of a mile back from the edge of the cliffs with nought but open fields to break the wind coming in from the east and it was the start of the big freeze. Ten below on the morning in question with a wind coming in off the estuary that could cut through bone.

I got out of the Land Rover and instantly regretted getting out of bed that morning, Tony passed round a flask of something with a kick and we went into the wood. Incidentally, both George and Tony carried shotguns, I did me best to carry me.

I know the wood quite well as it has been on the route of a walk that has been a favourite of mine for a number of years and there are a few places in there that you need to watch out for. I have, in fact done the walk with George on a number of occasions so he knew that I was familiar with it.

We started well enough, the going was hard because of the overnight frost and so was easy on the trail shoes I was wearing instead of boots.  Several unfortunate beasts including a rabbit or two fell to the guns within the hour and everybody was in good humour.

At about this time, I suddenly realized that I was dying to pee! This was very awkward as it was bloody freezing and I had no wish to stagger home with icicles hanging off the end of  The-right-honourable-member.

We got to a stream that has a log over it as a crossing and I have to confess it is a spot where I have fallen in on several occasions. Unfortunately, one of the things that I am famous for with family and friends is ‘falling in’, usually streams and rivers but I have also fallen overboard from boats once or twice.

‘You go first, Les, George said, its best you find out how slippery it is, you’ve fallen in here before, – silly bugger that I am, I agreed. The thing is, I got over it without a problem, the log was slippery but the trail shoes did their job and I arrived safely on the other side.

There is a holly bush on the other side and I thought ‘this is as good a place as any’ and so within seconds Percy was pointing at the bush and relief was nearly mine.

In the meantime, the other two began their crossing of the log. George made it and stood next to me checking his gun. Tony did not; he got halfway across and slipped. As he fell backwards into the mud, rotten vegetation and freezing water, the gun went off – immediately behind me!

I damn near jumped out of my skin, staggered forward, sprayed the bush, two voles, a squirrel, a passing sparrow and my trail shoes before lacerating me nether regions on the holly. Tony, got himself upright in the stream and had begun to climb out when I turned to him and gave vent to my feelings with a stream of Anglo Saxon, a language in which many years in the Navy has made me proficient.

‘You ******* half wit, what are you doing crossing a log with a gun cocked…

I had reached the stage were I had begun to move toward him with the intention of taking the gun off him and shoving it somewhere dark and musty, when he backed off and said.

‘I refuse to fight you while that thing is dangling there – it’s too distracting and gives you an unfair advantage!’

I realized then that George was already quietly coming apart at the seams and shaking with laughter because Percy was still unfettered and enjoying the fresh air.

‘Bugger’, was all I could say, I put Percy away and stormed off to the sound of hysterical laughing as my face turned bright red. I haven’t been invited for a return visit…..