Today was the last of our grouse shooting- a keepers day! We haven't had one of them for a long time.
It has to be said, however, that this was no serious attempt at a 'bag'. We had 8 walking guns, 8 standing guns and 2 beaters. The Hill of Doune day was our venue and although the wind and weather conditions should have been perfect for it, there was a poor showing of birds.
During the banter before we started, I promised my colleagues that if I maintained a 100% shot-kill ratio I would buy a bottle of champagne for each and every one of them. If you knew what my shooting was normally like, you'd understand that this would be one bill I would welcome.
When the first drive was halfway in, I had my opening gambit. A covey of 7 or 8 birds came hurtling at me, low and very fast. I dropped one well out in front (no small achievement in itself) and swung on another with the second barrel. The time between those 2 shots was probably less than 2 seconds- that's how long my colleagues had before their champagne evapourated! Hey ho.
From there it was all downhill- except the walking. I take some small comfort in the fact that nobody could make much of these birds today but it was great fun trying. Our tally for the day was, ahem, 23 brace. Not including a good few Famous Grouse that were bagged back at the larder.
When I got home this evening I was relieved to see Maisie, my young Border Terrier bitch much improved. She developed a major infection in her womb at the end of last week and had to undergo surgery on Monday. The vet reckoned it was pretty touch and go for a while but here's hoping she's past the worst of it.