Shooting, Swearing and Wild Wees…

Well that’s it, we’re into October and after worrying what the effects of Covid would be, thank god there’s actually something of the shooting season to enjoy! Yay!

After a summer consisting of at least 100 hours of training for Trigger and I, we were ready and raring with apparently nowhere to go. Then, thankfully, I got an invitation last week to pick up on a walked up day of shooting. We were on!

I put the call into work, “can I have the day off to do a bit of life admin (which, to be fair I had lots to do in the afternoon) and oh, you know, justgoandpickupsomedeadbirdswithtrigger”…if I say it quickly they don’t tend to hear it properly or question my “crazy idea” of a fun day off.

I got the green light, so it was all systems go and I crammed in a bit of last minute/emergency/“don’t make a bloody tit out of yourself now Amy” training after a couple of quiet weeks since I’d been back working in London.

Having sharpened up again, the day came and off little Triggs and I went full of joy and excitement. Obviously I spent the whole car journey telling myself “don’t f**k it up, don’t f**k it up!” We’d not done a walked up day before and as steady as my boy is, this type of shoot is a very intense day with lots going on.

So, we get started and I send Trigger after a very easy retrieve in a straight line to pick up a duck on the edge of a pen. “Boom, we’ve got this” I think to myself, so I give Trigger the command, confident as you like…we already know this isn’t going to work out well.

For some reason that I still just cannot fathom, I watched my dog in almost slow motion, out of nowhere, dart sharply off to the left, plough through a patch of nettles, charge down a bank and fling himself with utter abandon into the river below for ABSOLUTELY NO F**KING REASON WHATSOEVER!! Mortified. 🤦🏼‍♀️

For the townies reading this who don’t quite understand, this is the equivalent of Messi missing an open goal, Nadal smashing the ball over the roof of centre court on a match point, Usain Bolt actively running in the wrong direction…it’s THAT much of a ridiculous overreaction to a sporting formality. Of course I cringed, of course I swore *very* loudly, but sadly the ground did not open up and swallow me.

Once we’d had a quiet word with ourselves, an “internal monologue” (as my colleague says) if you will, we got our sh*t together and the day was going smoothly. That is until some sharp shooting tit of a gun decides to take down a partridge behind us in the next field over and I don’t have a scoobydo where this thing landed.

I stand there, close my eyes momentarily *please don’t be me, please don’t be me*…and I hear the call, “madam, that’s yours”…BALLS. It took all my might not to flip this guy the bird as I walk past all smiles, “good shot sir! Any idea where it landed?”

Of course it was the other side of a maize crop taller than me and 60 metres into a ploughed sodding field. Where else would it be?

So off we traipse, wrestling my way through the bloody maize jungle and into a rusty barbed wire fence that’s too rickety for me to climb over. So I send my boy, and (after a false start where he retrieved a partridge that looked like it had shuffled off this mortal coil a good few weeks ago) he’s off like a bullet and bringing the bird back without any assistance from me. Why are there never any witnesses when it goes well?!

So I thought to myself, “well, whilst I’m here and no-one can see me I’ll have a little wild wee” – my second ever, and something I’ve finally learnt to do in my mid-thirties thanks to my recent time in Devon.

Side note: my mother is utterly appalled by this apparently degrading act of nature. I, on the other hand, am somewhat proud of my newfound bumpkin ability to conduct my ablutions in the open air. It’s really rather liberating!

Anyway, what then ensues is the longest seven and a half minutes of my life as I manage to get not only my jacket but also the back of my trousers entangled in the barbed wire fence as the rest of the shoot disappear off into the distance.

“Right ok, don’t panic, this is easily rectified” I tell myself as I then get my hair, swiftly followed by my left sleeve equally stuck whilst trying to release my jacket, so now I’m trussed up like some ridiculous Christmas Turkey with, quite literally, nowhere to go.

There’s only one thing for it…I’m going to have to just unfree myself from the jacket, wriggle out and it will all be fine. Tell me something, have you ever tried unzipping a jacket one handed whilst a barbed wire fence is mere millimetres from piercing your bare backside? No? Didn’t think so, and I don’t expect there are many others who have equally found themselves in the same precarious position, but here we are.

Luckily I managed to channel my inner Houdini but all I could think to myself was “they’re going to think it took me f’ing forever to find this bloody bird,” that I’m now unceremoniously stuffing in my pocket, “it better be bloody worth it”, as Trigger proudly trots alongside me and we make a mad dash to rejoin the line, hoping no-one had noticed how long I’d been.

Apart from one remark that I looked like I’d been dragged through a hedge backwards (if only they knew!!) thankfully no one muttered a word and Trigger was praised for his wonderful work. I, on the other hand, spent the rest of the day looking like the wild woman of Borneo whilst trying to surreptitiously check the seams of my trousers for any holes that had gone unnoticed during my endeavours.

But never mind, we move on and we live to fight another day, or another inanimate object it appears, either one.

Until next time…!

@CitygirlCountrylife_

Unapologetically Amy

So I recently set up an Instagram page to go along with this blog (@citygirlcountrylife_) and it prompted me to do a little bit of a more in-depth post about me. It’s something I’ve managed to avoid in the 2+ years I’ve been doing this and, in all honesty, it’s about time I stepped up – if you can’t beat the fear, do it scared!

As those close to me can attest, what you see is very much what you get with me, and one of my little life mottos is to always be “unapologetically Amy” – own who you are and don’t apologise for it. Ever.

I’m not going to lie, it’s not always been the easiest one to live by because, quite frankly, I speak my mind far too often and have a relatively faulty (ok, let’s face it, non-existent) brain to mouth filter that can land me in a bit of hot water on occasion. You’re surprised, I know!

So, yes, occasionally I have had to break my own rule, but apologising for dumb sh*t you say is somewhat different to apologising for your own existence, and the former is the only concession I make! And you know what? Being brave enough to accept accountability for your errors shows a lot about you as a person. I know many people in their 30’s (and older!) who still can’t.

To accept who you are is a tough one – worrying if your mere character is abrasive to others, if you’re “blank” enough (good enough, smart enough, funny enough, pretty enough…) to be in someone’s company – it’s difficult convincing yourself on a daily basis that you are any (or all) of those things and I’m under no illusion it’s a long old path to acceptance. There will be so many times you doubt yourself, I still do occasionally and I have to give myself a proper talking to!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the last two years of my life it’s this: if you’re surrounding yourself with people who think you aren’t “blank” enough to be in their presence, then their presence isn’t worth your concern.

These are not the people that are going to be there when the sh*t hits the fan and believe me, you need to find people who will because at some point in your life it’s going to – on a monumental scale – and you will thank god every day for that small group of friends who pick you up off your arse, dust you off and tell you to get ready for round 2 because, “ding ding”, here we go again.

But that crap, that terrible situation you’re facing that seems unbearable, with the right people by your side and with one step at a time, you manage to deal with it. And here you are on the other side with an even clearer picture of who you are and who is important in your life. Invest in those people, they save you time and time again, no questions asked, zero f*cks given.

Last year I read a book called Daring Greatly by an incredible woman called Brené Brown. In it she describes life as a gladiator arena that you have to stand in the middle of and fight your demons, with the pleasure everyone watching. She made me realise that you’re always going to have critics in your life, but the important lesson is that the only opinions that matter are those from others who are (or have been) also in that arena. Essentially, if you’re not down here with me, struggling through the same sh*t and fighting the same battles, your opinion REALLY does not matter.

Of course, these arseholes in the cheap seats at the back pointing at you, telling you how you could be better are always going to have an opinion – and do you notice how they’re always the ones judging you the loudest?! You’ll never stop them and the sooner you accept that and block it out, the better. But as long as you show up and be seen and you get up again and again, you’re already doing better than them. I’ll say it louder for those at the back, their opinions really don’t matter.

Now some may call me arrogant, other common labels are ‘b*tch’ or ‘ballsy’ but I’ll tell you as I tell them: if I had a pair of b*llocks hanging between my legs, we wouldn’t be having this conversation now would we? I’d be told I was confident, assertive, cocky at a push…so I’ll take b*tch as a compliment thanks, and don’t let the door hit you in the arse on the way out!

Unapologetically Amy…always. 😉

Until next time!

2020 Vision

Yes, yes I know…it has been close to a year (again!) since I last posted 🙈 but I hope you can forgive me as life has changed a fair bit for me in that time.

Over those months of radio silence I’ve been doing a lot of observing & reflecting, collecting a few thoughts I’ve had along the way which I wanted to finally share with you. So I hope you can please indulge me in this slight change of direction just this once and read the following 10 points:

1) Life is bloody unpredictable and each day is a gift, not a god-given right, don’t waste a day or take one for granted. You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do…act accordingly.

2) Following on from that, if something is making you miserable, you do have the power to change it – in work or love or whatever it may be. Just have the guts to change. You don’t know how much time you’ve got on this earth so don’t waste it being miserable, and you never know what is waiting for you around the corner.

3) Stop bloody moaning! (And I mean this in a loving way) You are not as hard up as you imagine. So your limbs might be aching, at least you have them. So there’s traffic in your way, at least you can see it. However bad public transport is for you, you’re not in a wheelchair.

Never underestimate or take for granted the luxury of being physically able to do whatever it is you want. You are infinitely more advantaged than so many other incredible people out there who’s (dis)ABILITIES will put you to shame. Perspective is an incredible medicine. Appreciate your healthy and functioning body even if it isn’t quite the size you want to be.

Which leads me onto this:

4) You are worth more than a waistline. You are no less valuable as a size 16 than a size 6. For god sake eat the f**king cake, and with zero guilt! I’ll admit, this is the one I struggle with the most, but remember these points and it will start to help.

5) GIVE. The amount of people who have said to me recently that homeless people are there on purpose…really?? I can promise you, no one chooses that life. Of all the truly homeless people I have stopped and spoken to, none of them intended to be on the streets and they are all decent HUMAN beings. So you don’t want to give them money? Buy the guy a coffee and a sausage roll, give someone an unwanted dog coat for their companion, set up a food bank donation box at work. Just do SOMETHING. I promise you, it will make a difference.

5) Stop buying sh*t. Use your money on making memories. Go and visit that friend across the country, buy a nice steak for dinner. You do not need another iPhone or another £10 dress from a sh**ty online retailer. Some of the best jumpers I own were ones I bought when I was 18. I’m now almost 34 and I still wear them (whilst making memories that last a lifetime).

6) Always, ALWAYS cuddle the dog. I’ve never had a bad hug from a dog.

7) stop apologising after saying no to something. It’s a terrible habit.

8) Do what makes you happy, you don’t need to mimic what other people believe in or do to have a fulfilling life. I have no desire to travel abroad for 6 months and “find myself” on a beach in Thailand, and that’s ok! But whatever it is you want to do, do it and excel at it. None of this half-hearted sh*t.

Which brings me to:

9) Always strive to be the best version of yourself. Why bother doing something half-arsed? My favourite motto is “Go Hard or Go Home”. Live by it and you will always aspire to live the best version of your life, and hopefully along the way inspire others to do the same.

And finally,

10) Keep f**king going. No matter how crappy life is right now, just keep wading on through. One thing I can promise you is that it absolutely can get worse, but it will also get a whole lot better at some point. Don’t be that person who makes your friend stand up and give a eulogy at your funeral because you gave up. NEVER quit, just don’t. End of.