Saturday, 5 February 2011
Oscar Wilde had a good turn of phrase!
"The English country gentleman galloping after a fox - the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable." Oh how right he was. And did you know that Oscar Wilde's full name was Oscar O'Flahertie Wilde? What a perfectly splendid moniker - sounds so dashing. I expect the men in their red coats, riding importantly up and down our lane today feel dashing too!
The huntsman had been round to tell us that the hunt were hunting our land today. As I have said before, the farmer just adores hunting and does see the fox as vermin. I, on the other hand, hate the idea of fox hunting and love the wonderful sight of the fox in the landscape (not that I see him very often - he keeps a low profile); maybe I would change my view if he got my hens but that hasn't happened yet. In any case, I came to the land late in my life and don't feel it is right to interfere.
We have had two days of roaring winds and pouring rain, so that the land is really waterlogged and the farmer was really hoping that the hunt gave us a miss today, but as Tess and I set out on our walk, all the horseboxes and all the followers in their fancy "country gentleman" coats and driving their Land Rovers, pulled up outside the farm, parked on my laneside lawn churning up the grass, and got out their binoculars.
Then came the hounds, closely followed by the huntsman, the masters (in their red coats) the gentlemen in their black coats and the so-called hoi polloi in their ordinary riding gear (it costs about £10,000 a year to keep a hunter, so not so much hoi polloi). Tess and I retreated behind a gate (I didn't trust those hounds, lovely as they are, to not mistake Tess for a tasty treat).
Camera at the ready, I waited - and at the last minute they turned down our furthest field, across the beck and up into our topland. I dashed upstairs in time to see them streaking across our top meadow in full flight.
Stay safe Mr Fox. We know you are there, for we saw you last week. Don't be tempted to come out of your earth. Lay low and let the hounds go and you will live to fight another day.
Poor quality photographs, mainly of people getting ready to join in as the hunt came past - but the best I could get and it does give you the general idea of what a churned up mess they have made, if nothing else.