Sometime during the night of my last blog, Autumn kicked in. Overnight we went from balmy to blimey!!
Of the next week we managed only 2 full days (though it was blowing a gale on one of them). The other 3 days were curtailed because of thick mist- with a liberal dose of heavy rain and high winds thrown in for good measure.
But everywhere we look we see reminders of the season. The Rowans and Bird Cherries are heavy with fruit- and even heavier with birds guzzling said fruit. The leaves are..er.. leaving, the last of the colour is fading out of the heather and the bracken is starting its transition from green to yellow to rust.
The rain has allowed a good many salmon up the river, at long last. And I even managed to catch one on Saturday. (I wont tell you how many hours I've had to put in for that one fish. Suffice to say that, were I on the minimum wage, I could have bought a whole shoal of the blessed creatures by now.)
And, yes, we're still driving grouse. This is our last week however and I think all of us are now looking forward to getting stuck into the stag stalking after this. One thing is for sure; even the stags on the most far-flung corners of the estate wont be safe. After 5 weeks of being in the beating line, we're all as fit as butchers dogs. Heaven help the guests!
Yes, it's really feeling like it's time to swap the flag for the rifle. Apart from the weather telling us the year is wearing on, the grouse are getting harder and harder to drive to the butts. (The weather is wilder, the grouse are wilder and are stronger fliers, also they are flyer- ie more cunning- and they are starting to pack together in large numbers. All this makes it more and more difficult to make up a bag.)
So roll on Autumn, the stag stalking and the rut. After all this grouse activity, it will be a shorter season than normal. Mind you, it sounds like the whole of Autumn might be foreshortened- they're predicting snow for the end of the week!