They say a change is as good as a rest.
For the first time in a long time I was waiting with the horse, a long way out on the West of the estate. On a different beat from my own.
I was there to give our new apprentice a helping hand. He's going to be ponyman on this beat for the season. Despite being at about 2000ft, I was giving him the lowdown. I droned on about how to saddle up the horse, what pitfalls to watch out for, where the ponypaths were etc etc etc.
I was in full flow when he blurted out "blimey!" (or similar) and launched himself out of the rover. I thought he'd maybe reached the end of his tether with the advice. In reality he had noticed that the horse had pulled the end of ITS tether and was about to get the hell outta Dodge.
Without missing a beat, I continued "....yeah, and that's another thing you have to watch out for....."
My colleague who was stalking eventually came to the poor lads rescue and had us move onto the next hill. We had been watching him crawl in on a small group of deer and he was lying within shot of them, but couldn't see much for a nasty roll to the ground.
As it turns out, the deer moved off without presenting the stalkers with a shot. There was no time for another stalk so we made our way back to the rover. Before we left I took a couple of photos of Callum and Prince.
I downloaded them onto my laptop a few minutes ago and stopped in amazement. They reminded me so much of a photo that I used to keep on my wall over a decade ago. That photo was of me and a horse called Fraser. It was taken on my first day as a ponyman, only a few hundred yards away from the same spot.
That picture took me back to 1987 quicker than Dr Who's tardis. Where did the years go?