Our grouse day last week turned out well. Everything ran like a well-oiled machine and when we finished we got well-oiled also. The bag was 'only' 47 brace, but the shooting was challenging- and that's what (most of ) the guests like. Spare a thought for the 3 stand-in beaters, however. They were all experienced pheasant beaters but had never done grouse before. And they thought their lives had ended. Give them their due, they stuck at it but by sundown they were ready to drop.
But there again, so was I. And I struggled to put in a half day of hind stalking next day before going home and going to my bed. I also took the following day as a 'sickie' as, by now, I was fairly convinced that my post-curling aches and pains and post-shoot hangover was, in fact, the 'flu. Whether it's your Common-or-Garden strain or otherwise, it's been a swine.
It's some consolation that the day I missed was thick mist and driving rain and would have been totally unsuited for stalking. However, that Friday was a (water-) bed of roses compared to Sunday. We got about 3" of rain in 12 hours and a mention on the national news. With an unhealthy mix of stupidity and stoicism, I fulfilled a commitment to curl on Sunday afternoon.
Getting there wasn't bad, but the journey home took twice the time and involved several detours. It also involved many breath-held sorties through headlight-deep floodwater. It was a real releif to eventually get home, I can tell you.
And now? Now I'm starting to feel as inundated and overwhelmed as those roads. Between weather, guests, catching up on essential jobs and the 'flu, I've hardly gotten out of the starting blocks with regard to the hind cull. My ponyman has sprung a surprise weeks holiday on me, the rain has wreaked havoc on our roads and washed away my most important footbridge, I'm desperately needing to catch up on my stoat trapping, fox middens and grouse gritting and I struggled to put one foot in front of the other today. Blimey!!