Just got back from walking the Jack Rascal Terrorist across seriously frozen fields. The road outside Chez Hogday was solid ice which set in around 9pm last night. You could tell that from the sound of passing cars and their revving engines and spinning wheels. Generally, the drivers of said vehicles around these parts tend to be newly graduated wankers playing `rally driver` in either their parents car or in some old hacker with a dustbin sized exhaust tailpipe, a plastic fin across the boot lid and an insurance premium that exceeds the value of the vehicle to the power of ten.
I was up at 06 double-O to make the sexydelicious Mrs HD her breakfast of porridge, sliced peaches, Lyles Golden Syrup and a mug of builders tea. I then wrapped up, nipped outside and scraped the ice from the widscreen, side windows and lights of her car, finally starting it up and setting the heating to full before she set off for work. Once the dawn broke I was out with the pooch and striding up the frozen road for a klick before striking out across the wide open spaces.
I used to rough shoot, I used to clay shoot, I used to wildfowl. One thing I never did was shoot handguns in a gun club, before handguns were banned, as I felt no need. I was kept well trained in small arms by the police and when you've been trained to shoot at human beings, knowing that your point of aim and the weapons you were using could be terminally detrimental to their vital organs and then trained for the far more difficult task of assessing when not to, you tended to lose the desire to do things, like paintballing, for fun. I also lost my desire to hunt. It happened almost overnight. I just decided one day that it was over for me. I sold my two remaining shotguns, a Savage Stevens pump action and a Greener GP with its beautiful Martini action. I bought a decent camera and started photographing wildlife. My Labrador retriever became a non-working dog overnight. He took to his new life like a Labrador takes to water.
I went on a hare shoot once. My former in-laws were all rustics working in agriculture, more agri than culture. We turned up at the shoot and one of my brother in laws friends looked at me and said, "Is he safe"? He was assured I was. Later that morning this rustic was banging away with a Remington 1100 semi automatic shotgun (very `sporting`) at a jinking hare that was running straight at the line of guns. Safety rules dictated that one stops shooting when it runs towards the gunline but young Clem's adrenaline was up. He was swinging his aim towards me and I heard, rather than saw, his last shot as I dived to the deck and covered my head. Someone had a quiet word with him and he looked a little sheepish. If he'd looked a little hare'ish I'd have considered a snap shot in his general direction.
I learned that country types may have a born right to shoot on their land but they don't have the born skill to do so, that comes with training and experience. However, what is most worrying is that his type always think they're so bloody good with a shotgun.