A china-blue hard sky with the sun running low across the Cleveland hills. We are walking the spaniel Phoebe on the old railway track above Rosedale, as far as David can tolerate it with the chronic pain which has accompanied his last seven years., which is about fifteen minutes each way. Phoebe adores any outing and is exuberantly bouncing through the grey-brown heather tussocks. She rushes to greet anyone else on the trail, and thankfully most are very happy to say “Hello” back. They say Labradors are born half-trained, but spaniels die half-trained!
The cold air nips my ears, so I put up my hood so I can only see in one direction at a time, like a blinkered pony. The grouse are everywhere, perching on the walls and bushes, chirring as they fly from post to post, then gobbling, like miniature turkeys, then almost quacking like drakes. They have a wide variety of calls and are not shy. Of course they are reared by hand, so they are very tame. Pitifully naïve one might say. When you look at them they are beautifully marked, with grey trousers under the red-black wings.
The Daily Mail carried a story yesterday about the “Royals” enjoying shooting on the Sandringham Estate, pointing out Meghan had left to go home first as she is an “animal lover”, (you can almost hear the sneer ), but that Kate loves picking up dead and injured birds, and would no doubt be out pheasant shooting herself, and how wonderful, “It wont be long before Prince William gives George his first shotgun . . . . ” The child is five years old!
Surely giving a weapon which kills to a child might be seen as serious abuse. Not just the recklessness and the teaching of how to torture animals, but the imprinting of violence into a young mind as “fun”. But no, this is merry England.
You may say I am being over -sensitive. . . . . But would you like to be shot by a missile the equivalent of a round of machine gun fire into a eight inch long fragile body ?
The screaming agony of it.
We are surrounded by game farms and shoots in our corner of North Yorkshire, but the birds are so full of antibiotics and lead shot they are inedible.
Yes, I have started blogging again.
I hope it wont be always so angry though. As the days lighten up, maybe so will I.
Happy New Year!