28 July 2015

Hunting

In the fading light of day, there was a regular visitor on our lawn last evening. Yes, it was our scraggy friend Fred Fox. At first he was just lying on his belly with his radar ears following the slightest of garden noises. He saw me busying myself in the kitchen and watched my every move. These humans - you just cannot trust them you know.

We had no cans of delicious "Fox Food" in the pantry so, in spite of Mama Thyme's vehement disapproval,  I tossed him a chunk of the beef joint we had on Sunday afternoon. Of course he gobbled it down. It must be a challenge - scavenging for food in the urban jungle - and there will be days when hunger gnaws mercilessly at Fred. Like a cancer.
He has a pronounced limp and some of the fur on his rear end is missing. He is not in the best condition for chasing pigeons or lifting the lids of wheelie bins in search of tasty leftovers.

When I was a boy, foxhunting was still legal in Great Britain. Twice a year the Holderness Hunt would gather outside "The New Inn". Twenty or thirty hunters on horseback. They wore the traditional gear - black riding helmets with peaks, white trousers and red tailcoats. As they drank their fortifying stirrup cups - whiskies or hot toddies, their baying pack of foxhounds yelped excitedly ready for the chase. The riders were all unfamilar posh people. None of them dwelt in our village. They just arrived twice a year and these were  the only occasions we ever saw them.

The hunt leader would blow his horn and they'd be off across the surrounding farmland, heading for the thickets where foxes lurked in their dens. A steamy mist hung above the yelping  pack of hounds, intoxicated by a communal bloodlust. And the riders whipped the rumps of their trusty steeds as they cantered across the fields.

Once, half a mile away and adjacent to the appropriately named Fox Wood we saw a little ginger shape pursued by the pack and behind the dogs came the redcoated hunters galloping pell mell. We were watching from the road. As I say, it was faraway but soon the chase ended. You could see the distant hounds and the horse riders circling the kill. In my imagination I watched the frightened quarry - one of Fred's more healthy and more secretive country cousins - being ripped apart by forty hounds that had deliberately not been fed that morning. I was ten years old but I  knew it was wrong. No animal should have to die that way.

Later the laughing hunt leader showed off his prize outside "The New Inn" - a bloodied fox's tail.
_____________________________________________________

Fox Hunting

We shall gather outside "The Victory Inn"
Before we begin
The chase

We are being bused in
From cities far and wide
No place to hide

For redcoats.
We are coming
So I advise you start running

By the demolition site
Or under the railway bridge
Or just beyond yon grassy ridge
Between the tower blocks
And the busy road

We will get you.
So - Tally ho my friend
Tally ho!

20 comments:

  1. There is a lot of expression in his eyes. I feel almost sorry for him.

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    1. If we could read his eyes, he'd be saying "Mother me Auntie Carol! Mother me!"

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  2. I wish it were all in the past but unfortunately it isn't.
    How such barbaric practices can be tolerated let alone encouraged is a mystery to me.

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    1. I know that the fox hunting fraternity - probably all Tory supporters - have often broken the law, so resentful are they of the new rules. People like that often think they are above the law.

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  3. Poor old Fred. Like you, I'd not be able to resist his sorrowful, pleading eyes, either. He'd be welcome to my left-overs, too, the poor little guy. Good for you, Yorky. :)

    Hunting of all animals should be banned...forever and a day...and banned now. Those who get pleasure from hunting are sick!

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    Replies
    1. What about fishing Lee? Would you include that on your banning list?

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    2. I guess not, Yorky. I've not been fishing for many years now...not since I left Newry Island back in 1991.

      I used to enjoy fishing and eating what I caught. And when my ex and I lived at the coast we fished often. There's nothing quite like fish (and crabs) fresh from the sea, but since leaving island living and the coast, I've not been fishing; and I gave away all my fishing gear when I moved here to where I'm presently living, after carting it around with me everywhere.

      I can't see any pointing in hunting animals for the thrill of the hunt....I think you understand my meaning, Yorky. :)

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    3. Yes. I do get your meaning Lee and I share your disgust about inhuman bloodlust - like that dentist in Zimbabwe killing poor Cecil the Lion. How could he have possibly found any pleasure in that? Funny how vegetarians are happy to eat fish. They are living, thinking creatures too.

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    4. That dentist is a disgusting excuse for a human being.

      I guess we all are hypocrites in some ways, even though we don't mean to be or like to be. I eat meat, chicken and seafood; however, not every day of the week, but I'm neither a vegan nor a vegetarian. And I do love animals...and I don't agree with hunting. I live in hope we've progressed further from those days...but so many cases prove otherwise.

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    5. Sorry to be pedantic (again) YP but vegetarians don't eat fish. If they call themselves vegetarians but eat fish, with a view to misleading people then it's an offence under the Vegetarian and Vegan Act 1997. They are simply hypocrites who don't eat meat. On the occasions when I was a non-flesh consumer I couldn't call myself a vegetarian because I couldn't resist a bacon roll on the morning ferry journey to Ullapool.

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  4. Maybe we could raise some funds for Fred's pantry through crowdfunding? Poor fellow, he doesn't look too happy; however he is cunning enough to hang around your place waiting for a handout.

    Ms Soup

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    1. He senses that he has found a friend in me but the beef joint is all gone. I think I will have to purchase a bag of cheap dog biscuits or Fred the Fox will start getting annoyed. The crowd funding idea is a good one Alphie. Maybe we should start a charity for urban foxes - raising funds for food, vet care and perhaps building little fox houses. There'd be pictures of chickens on their walls. and steel bowls for water.

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  5. Thank goodness for Fred and his relatives that fox-hunting has been phased out. I agree. It's savage.

    We have a little fox that zips through our back garden from time to time, but he never hangs around long. (I'm sure he knows we have a dog inside the house.) I've never been able to get very good pictures of him, but I'm always tempted to leave him some food.

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    1. You are an urban softie like me Steve. If we were country dwellers we would be blasting all foxes, badgers, crows and pigeons to smithereens.After all only country dwellers know what nature is all about! (said with tongue pushed firmly into cheek!)

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  6. As for fox hunting .....don't get me started!

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    1. Okay, I will honour your request Graham - I don't want you getting red and blowing a fuse!

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  7. Evidently last night, on one of our late night talk shows, the host referred to the dentist who shot the lion with arrow and then stalked him for 40 hours before finally shooting him dead with a gun. This host said that this dentist must have a terrible time getting an erection if he feels he has to shoot and kill huge wild animals for fun and entertainment. Told him they have little blue pills for that problem. And then, evidently, he asked said dentist how it felt to be the most hated person in the United States who has never advertised for Jello Pudding on TV!

    I believe that all animals-humans included-should be allowed to live out their lives as naturally as possible. That means that no one should kill another animal just for sport. And, when an animal is too old or too ill to naturally take care of themselves and live a life where there is some joy in each day......well, then it is time for them to leave the pursuit of life and happiness to the ones following behind them. Yes, humans included.

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    1. I fear for Walter Palmer's dental practice.Surely no kindly Minnesotans will want him as their dentist but it is a state with a long hunting tradition so many of them will see him as a hunting hero and will be happy to have him fiddling around inside their mouthes - possibly with his tiny penis!

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