New Wild Boar

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.

The Big Day

It seems a very long time ago since I posted confirmation that we had exchanged contracts on our new house.   And it was… but finally we are being packed as I type and all being well, will begin to move in on Monday.

Moving puts us nearer the school and owning is better than renting, but we will miss our Farmhouse, the beautiful setting and our neighbours, all of which conspired to provide a ‘soft landing’ for a Hong Kong family.

It’s been a great year – and I’m looking forward to the next one.

First Clays – sore shoulder

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!

True Love

Friends in Hong Kong sent this over …. and on that subject there seems to have been a resurgence of the old e-mail jokes and stories.  Which can only be a good thing.   I will be sharing and enjoying.

This is what marriage is really all about.

He ordered one hamburger, one order of French fries and one drink. The old man unwrapped the plain hamburger and carefully cut it in half. He placed one half in front of his wife. He then carefully counted out the French fries, dividing them into two piles and neatly placed one pile in front of his wife.

He took a sip of the drink, his wife took a sip and then set the cup down between them. As he began to eat his few bites of hamburger, the people around them kept looking over and whispering. You could tell they were thinking, “That poor old couple – all they can afford is one meal for the two of them.”

As the man began to eat his fries a young man came to the table. He politely offered to buy another meal for the old couple. The old man said they were just fine – They were used to sharing everything.

The surrounding people noticed the little old lady hadn’t eaten a bite. She sat there watching her husband eat and occasionally taking turns sipping the drink.

Again the young man came over and begged them to let him buy another meal for them. This time the old woman said “No, thank you, we are used to sharing everything.”

As the old man finished and was wiping his face neatly with the napkin, the young man again came over to the little old lady who had yet to eat a single bite of food and asked “What is it you are waiting for?”

She answered


Asbo – the first involving alcohol

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.

Asbo – the clerical error

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.

Steve Irwin, Animal Lover and Croc Hunter 1962 – 2006

Somewhat shocked and rather saddened at the death, in what seems to have been a very rare accident (especially given what he did for a living… ) of Steve Irwin,  The Crocodile Hunter.

We used to watch his shows regularly on Cable TV in Hong Kong and his infectious enthusiasm appealed greatly to the kids.

A statement on the Austrlia Zoo website says simply:

At 11am today, the 4th September 2006, Steve Irwin was fatally wounded by a stingray barb to his heart whilst filming a sequence on Batt Reef off Port Douglas for his daughter’s new TV series.
Emergency services were called from Cairns Rescue Base and met Croc One, Steve’s rescue vessel at Low Isle on the Great Barrier Reef.
The Croc One crew performed constant CPR during the thirty minute dash to Low Isle, but the medical staff pronounced Steve dead at approx. 12 noon.

His producer and closest friend, John Stainton said on Croc One today,
“The world has lost a great wildlife icon, a passionate conservationist and one of the proudest Dads on the planet. He died doing what he loves best and left this world in a happy and peaceful state of mind. Crocs Rule!”

Buster 100

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.