Willy Poole Column.
I went to a marvellous party. It was a Christening party for twins. The parents are good friends of mine and desperate keen hunters.
The guests came from all over the Borders - landowners, farmers, shepherds, farm workers and platoons of retired colonels. There was such a spread as one seldom sees. A hog was roasted and there was a bottomless well of drink. A lot of the Herds had come over the hills on their quads and I wished them well in getting home, physically and mechanically intact.
It was hardly surprising that a lot of talk was about the hunting Bill and the perfidy of the present governments - English and Scottish. The Anglo-Scottish Borderers are truly hardy folk. A lot of folk asked me why I had not written about Blair's hunting bill? My answer to that was that, as yet, there was nothing to write about.
There will be time enough when we see what the Lords have to say and how the Government deals with the Bill thereafter. Blair has dug himself a hole and would be well advised to stop digging. It could well become a "kett hole" for NuLab. If they think that English country people will quietly bare their throats to the knife, then they have some unpleasant surprises in store for them. Bad laws make good kindling.
The Capt and I took ourselves off to the Scottish Game Fair at Scone. I like the SGF. It is just the right size for a day out. The English Game Fair is now so huge that you can spend all day tramping round it and getting nowhere.
One of the problems of Game Fairs is impulse shopping. The stalls are full of wonderful widgets that I know that I would like, but equally know that I do not need.
One of the things that prevents me from retail suicide is that there is almost never anything that fits me, although I did manage to find a working sweater. It is strange that clothing manufacturers still cling to the range of sizes that were suited to the Englishman c.1938. People were smaller then. There are shops that specialise in larger sizes, but some prices are sometimes expensive and sometimes I find the quality poor. I need a XXXXL. Good quality stuff in sensible sizes can be got from American mail order catalogues.
I would rather buy British and, dammit, I should be able to buy British.
You can buy beautiful British hand made, bespoke rifles - such a thing as I would love to own and which could be mine for pounds 1,500-pounds 2,000, but then, I am perfectly happy with my Ruger Carbine.
The thought of rifles leads me ineluctably to thoughts of deer and to the fact that I heard of the body of a Muntjac being found beside the A1(M) somewhere near Durham. Previous reports had them no further north than South Yorkshire.
The Muntjac (Barking Deer) originate from Asia and arrived here as part of the Woburn collection. From there they spread all over the Midlands.
They are funny little things - no bigger than a collie dog and before you say - "Ah! How sweet!"- they are death and destruction to gardens. Just suppose you have a lovely bank of bluebells, the Muntjac will destroy it utterly, as they did to a famous bluebell wood that I knew in Gloucestershire.
They eat them out, bulbs and all. They just love suburban gardens, so all you bunny huggers are in for a real treat. Muntjac are wonderful eating.