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_

Who’re You Picking Up?!

So it’s been a long enough time since my last blog that it’s now got a little bit awkward and I figured it was time enough I just bit the bullet and got back into it, but I just couldn’t think of what to write…

Then thanks to the joys of “bumpkin language” once again providing a suitable sized opportunity for misinterpretation, I found the inspiration once more.

Stuck waiting round the coffee machine in the office, I decided to break that typical awkward silence with one of my less familiar colleagues and we defaulted to the usual back up convo of weekend plans.

Forgetting I was talking to an utter townie who has little to no background knowledge of my lifestyle, when he asked “what are you up to then?” I simply said, “oh just the usual now it’s winter, picking up on Saturday and mucking out the pig on Sunday.”

Queue the bemused look illuminate his face as he tried to work out a diplomatic way of asking if I was either into casual swinging or openly cheating on my husband…”Erm, aren’t you married?” He asked.

“Yeah but we don’t always spend the whole weekend together and he’s working both days anyway”, I said, blissfully unaware of the even larger hole I was digging myself.

“Riiiight, ok. I mean it’s great that you have such an open relationship, but that’s not the conventional type of activity I’d expected from a farmers wife, I have to say.”

Now queue the bemused look slowly creep over my face. “What on earth are you going on about?!” The penny suddenly dropped…”ohhhh you thought I meant picking up men!! Good god no, I’m not a tramp!”

My colleague looked visibly relieved that I hadn’t just massively over-shared to break an awkward coffee silence with a guy I barely knew. But the bemusement quickly appeared again, “so, sorry, but what do you mean then?”

Suddenly I found myself having to break down the set up of a day’s pheasant shooting and then got into the equally awkward conversation about what I have to do with the birds that are still alive when Trigger brings them back to me after picking them up.

He looked so appalled at the thought of me bopping a half dead pheasant on the head that, quite frankly, I’d rather have continued the conversation about extra-marital coital activities! At least he’d have stopped staring at me as if I was a murderous lunatic that he needed to hide both sharp and blunt objects from immediately.

I admit, only 3 years ago I myself balked at the idea of “people shooting something in the face for fun”, but it’s been an engrained part of culture in the farming community for over a hundred years, forming and renewing friendships that have been neglected over a busy summer & harvest and traditionally supplying them with a source of food over the leaner months, and learning more about it has given me a better understanding.

I like to uphold this tradition of using the birds for consumption as my attempt to justify the sport to myself (still unsure how successful this ploy is) and will always make sure to take home any birds my husband shoots, offering them to friends and colleagues who wouldn’t necessarily otherwise have access to eating pheasant.

So basically, what I’m getting at is, unless you want to be fed game bird and possibly chow down on a piece of lead, I’d advise not coming round to mine for dinner from now until about April…but if you don’t mind giving yourself an expensive dentist bill then come on over, there’s plenty to go round!

Until next time…