Interested to read that the Wild Boar – extinct in England since the 17th Century – is making something of a comeback. Re-introduced into the wild following the hurricane of 1987 when many farmed animals escaped, they now number some between 500 and 1,000. After the recent release of animals in Devon, most boar slipped quietly away onto the moors and into the woodlands, their natural habitat.
Now concern is growing that they will become, like foxes, urban vermin, foraging for food in our back gardens and rooting through our bins.
And good foragers they are too. We experienced them in Hong Kong where wild board and abandoned domestic pigs have come together to create a surprisingly large population around Sai Kung and the Country Park. They would come down the valley into our garden – before we ‘reclaimed it’ – towards the end of the year when water was scarce. I would often see them through the railing when I parked my car but, at the first sign of movement towards them they would be off like a shot.
As we cleared the land and planted vegetables they visited more often – eating all my radishes and generally making a right mess. Good quality 6ft fencing was the answer….
Now their number is growing in England it means they may be shot….. Roll on the Wiltshire boar population! I must check if Mr FM is adequately tooled up for such an event.
Browsing through the papers this morning, I caught this story in the Torygraph. The British Lawnmower Racing Grand Prix takes place next weekend in West Sussex… 4 classes of Mower.. from Tractor to Roller.
Strangely insane, there is a certain appeal……
As the shooting season begins I admit to an degree of anticipation. The cool mornings, low sun, still, quiet and peaceful.
Happily shattered by the crack of 12 guages. Well, what did you expect? Keats?
So yesterday, having texted Mr FM to see if he was up for a few clays I went out into the paddock in search of a pigeon or two. Crafty so and so’s pigeons – they have great eyesight and once spotted they turn away from you in an instant. Most just flew across the field and into the big chestnut tree. Oh for a second gun! But I managed one, crossing left to right and turning slightly away from me – it was a good clean shot, though I say so myself. And, not having even opened the gun cabinet since February I was feeling pretty smug.
Back indoors for a proper breakfast, which tastes all the better for having done a bit of honest work beforehand and the phone rings. Mr FM is up for clays. Hoorah!
Grab kit, cartridges, gun and ear defenders, leap in Land Rover an off we go.
2 hours and one very sore shoulder later I realise a number of things: I have not completely lost the knack – but I need more practice. That the instinctive shot – a quick clean mount – is better than thinking about it too much. Think and the bird is gone. And how much I’ve enjoyed shooting.
Roll on the first day of our shoot!
Mark Whittaker of Gloucestershire is currently at large after going on the run in June, charged with breaking the terms of his 2003 Asbo, the first banning a man from drinking. The 47-year-old is alleged to have threatened a petrol pump assistant who refused to turn on the machine – because Whittaker’s companion had a lit cigarette. Nearly a quarter of Asbo cases involve alcohol or drugs.
A 15-year-old who in August was collared for being drunk in breach of his Asbo escaped when the court heard how a misprint had stated that he must not be seen in public without alcohol. He was also bound by the order to act in a manner likely to cause harassment, alarm and distress to others, in what was either a clerical error by the magistrates or a radical new law-enforcement policy based on reverse psychology.
I like the latter – my sense of devilment.
A wonderful story in the papers today about Britain’s oldest worker, Buster Martin, who is 100 today. He is being given the day off and taken to the Chelsea ground to be presented a team shirt with ‘Buster 100’ on the back.
Mr Martin has some wonderfull views on life:
On not working: “I’d become the most miserable sod you have come across” .
On ‘retiring’ at 97: “I didn’t enjoy it, too much time on my hands” ”Boredom is a big killer of men”
On telephones: “I have never in my life owned a phone – they are a bloody nuisance, you can be sitting peacefully indoors and they start ringing. I hate them.”
On Foreign Holidays: “You are only going to spend a lot of money to go over and do the same things you would do here”
Wonderful. Happy 100th Buster.