Oh Deer

December 19, 2012

Someone around here isn’t *quite* getting into the Christmas spirit, it looks like

hanging reindeer

I don’t think Santa’s going to be calling at their house in a hurry…

Meanwhile, if you can spot the deer in this picture, you’re doing well. There is one, honest, but for some reason they like to keep themselves well hidden…


Storms are forecast for tonight, so we’ve been out enjoying the sunshine while it lasts

winter sunshine


Quick, Like a Bunny

May 2, 2011

Knock knock – we open our door to find a heavily-armed gunman with a belt of shotgun cartridges around his waist, Libyan rebel style. Closer inspection reveals it’s the chap who cuts the grass come to warn us against taking any twilight walks this evening as he will be out there laying waste to the rabbit population in the grounds both inside and outside the walled garden. Having suggested he not shoot any grey looking rabbits with long tails we retired indoors to take refuge from the resulting carnage.

I’m kind of torn on the rabbit hunting front. On the one hand they lay waste to the garden, have half destroyed some of the banks and breed like, well, rabbits. On the other hand they are rather cute and at least they got here more or less under their own steam (well, since the Romans Normans introduced them, anyway) unlike the idiot pheasants which are basically fancy battery-reared chickens. But then that’s probably just me being sentimental.

Anyway, the point may be moot because so far all evening we’ve heard just three bangs. Given the state of the roads around here, he may be more effective if he just waits until dark and then drives around in his car with the headlights on full beam. Or even in the ride-on mower although in that case there may not be much rabbit left for the pot.

Why Did the Pheasant Cross the Road

November 3, 2008

Back on the bike today, with the journey enlivened by antics of one of the local pheasant population, surely the stupidest bird on the planet. Fortunately, this was a girl pheasant, which meant it flew away from the road (the blokes preferring the suicidal approach of tackling the traffic head on) but it’s still a shock to the unwary.

At this time of year – actually at all times of the year – the roads here are full of apparently suicidal gamebirds. But particularly now when the population is bulked out both by this year’s young birds and the ones which have been bred and released purely for the purposes of being shot at. When people wax lyrical about game being wild food, I don’t think they can have meant pheasants which, as far as I can tell are no less intensively reared than the average commercial free-range chicken and have the road sense to match. Unfortunately, as one is not supposed to shoot at the damn things unless they’re airborne, the ones that have survived this long are the ones that fly as little as possible. Eventually a breed of entirely flightless pheasants will evolve, hopefully with an inkling of the green cross code. Until then we get a bird whose best plan for survival is to crouch in a ditch until a car – or bike – is almost upon it and launch itself like a cackling feathery rocket in a random direction and hope for the best. ‘Startling’ doesn’t even beging to describe the effect. Who needs halloween, when you can get the crap scared out of you every day of the week?

It hardly seems sporting to me to line up with a big gun and blast away at birds which have been raised and then released and driven towards you just for that purpose (why not go the whole hog and hunt cows? There’s more meat on them and they’re easier to hit). If you want real sport round here, requiring real skill and the thrill of the chase, just get into your car and take to the back roads and see how many pheasants you can not hit. Bonus points for not hitting a red squirrel as well…