Sunday, October 14, 2012
Branded by my cheating bloke!
A few frosts in the week caused the first leaves to fall to the floor; disregarding a whitebeam in the garden that always goes too early, the sycamores are the first to discard their foliage closely followed by the ash, the oak is always the last, clinging on to memories of summer. Currently the fish show little sign of doing anything about spawning, the last couple of weeks of fishing saw everyone who turned up take fish, and we still have fish rising around the middle of the day. I have started to put the river to bed, knocking off the fringe and edging in where required before stripping the weed out in the coming weeks. I have also tackled the hedges, that have enjoyed prolific growth this year, if it weren’t for the huge range of “biodiversities” that live in and around hedges I would readily promote brick walls and fences as the future of boundary markation. Conkers, acorns and hazelnuts abound a portly Muntjac feeds every evening under the Horse Chestnut near the fishing hut and squirrels are busy dashing around burying their bounty.
Yes, we have no bananas today...... and take it as read that we have no apples but the two grape vines that grow up around our house are also pitifully short of fruit. A leading grower of award winning fizzy wine in the South of England has abandoned his 2012 crop because of poor quality after a wet summer, and there are similar reports from the many vines that have been planted along this river valley in the past few years, not quite on the scale of the Garonne or Lot but several have got carried along on the “we’re all getting warmer” wave and have marked their fields out for vines.
As has been the case for the past few years we have few ducks visiting the pond despite seeing good numbers during the summer, cold weather could yet bring them flighting up the valley but currently very little barley is being eaten overnight. The pond has also seen a bloom of duckweed which should also prove attractive to the quackers when they deign to put in an appearance.
Today’s paper pronounced that WH Smith had restricted the sale of The Shooting Times. Under pressure from “Animal Aid” who earlier this year published a report that claimed the “lurid pro-violence content” of country sports magazines could have a “corrosive, long lasting effect on impressionable young minds” the magazine will now sit on the top shelf, side by side with Readers Wives, Top Tits and Boobs and Bum and will not be available to anyone under the age of fourteen. Now I must declare an interest here because now and again I submit poorly written pieces for publication in The Shooting Times. Occasionally I also get other requests for written rubbish and around a year ago was invited to submit three thousand words of erotic fiction for an online magazine. An offer I declined, not on grounds of morality or decency, but because after two attempts that amounted to one and a half shades of grey the denoument was delivered after about two hundred words; I couldn’t do it. If I am required to “sex up” my pieces to compete with magazines on the same shelf I may struggle, but I am sure it won’t come to that. The magazine covers a range of countryside issues, and bar the florid faced cove who rambles on about rivers ad neuseam, is well written, balanced and serves as an introduction to many youngsters keen on country pursuits. It is hard enough getting some youngsters to read so why deny them reading material on a legal pursuit in which they have some interest.
A Fourteen year old can walk into WH Smith and buy magazines written in the spirit of Jeremy Kyle in which Shaz proudly displays the cosmetic surgery that she bought her daughter for her sixteenth birthday, or Kanye who introduces us to his wife and sister who turn out to be one and the same person. Two headlines in the current issue of one such magazine, priced at less than a pound proclaim “Mum forced me to marry a rapist and “Branded by my cheating bloke” a lurid tale involving a wayward partner and a hot iron. This magazine and many others of its ilk carry no age restriction on purchase.
Corrosive effect on impressionable young minds?
A Fourteen year old can buy a magazine on cars, lorries, planes and many more pursuits that he has yet to reach the age of consent, so why shooting? Pigeon Pete, and Richard Faulds both won Olympic Golds and I am sure neither were averse to a quick flick through the pages of ST in their youth, Mr Faulds lives near here and I have heard no tales of a corroded mind.
The current badger cull is being portrayed as some new form of hunting in some quarters and both this and the restricted sale of Shooting Times display a lack of knowledge of the countryside and rural pursuits. The Badger Cull is neccessary countryside management carried out under government legislation and not a new sport, the restrictions of sale of The Shooting Times by WH Smith is just plain daft and if it has any impact on the minds of the youth of today, then in the words of the great Hugh Falkus super salmon and sea trout fisher, writer and keeper of chickens,
“My Cock’s a Lobster”
Copy and paste the following link to your address bar if you feel inclined to sign a petition asking WH Smith to lift the age restriction on the sale of Shooting Times magazine