Today is a day of contrasts. I walked up my hill in a blaze of sunlight. It looked and felt like spring. Yesterday’s frost had melted. The road was no longer icy. One of the red kites was perching in the trees at the bottom of the hill. He observed me approaching and took flight, gliding low across the field. Later, at the top of the hill, he flew close overhead and I was able to watch him with admiration.
At the top of the hill I looked to the right, towards the sea, to note that there was a great swathe of dark cloud with streaks of rain stretching to the ground. On the coast, there was a substantial downpour. To my left, towards Driffield, there was another bank of heavy cloud. I was in the middle of a wide corridor of sun and blue sky.
I walked down the other side and on to the sodden grass.
Climbing back up the hill I noted that the clouds over the coast, contrary to the direction of the light wind, were heading my way. It rapidly became dark and gloomy and I descended in wintry drizzle.
As I approached the bottom of the hill there were a series of loud bangs and I realised that there was some shooting going on. I soon identified the source. I stood to watch. Out in the field there were a lined of ten guns, all dressed in their brown tweed, To the side were four men with dogs. There was an island of trees and vegetation in the middle of the field and I could see ten beaters with their clapper boards yelling and beating through the undergrowth. Every now and then a bevy of frightened pheasants would take to the sky. The guns would be raised followed by a series of bangs and the birds would drop like stones.
I contemplated this for a while.
It was apparent to me that the whole landscape was a product of this ‘hunt’. Without it those copses of trees would have been chopped down long ago. The only reason any natural vestiges remained was for this very purpose.
Those ten guns came from privileged classes. They even travelled from abroad. They were guests of landed gentry and paid hansomely for the privilege of standing in a muddy field to take potshots at sitting ducks.
Gamekeepers were employed to breed and care for the millions of pheasants and grouse. The land was carefully managed and ‘vermin’ like foxes, stoats and my elegant red kites, were also ‘managed’.
The beaters were also paid as were the dog trainers.
This was a ‘country sport’ a pastime of the elite. They did not even want the birds they shot.
How much money was tied up in this unpleasant activity?
How very pointlessly unpleasant.
Back home I played some Talking Heads and did some editing.
Meanwhile, out in Coronaland things are going mad. The hospitals are becoming overwhelmed. The front-line medical staff, who have had no Christmas break, are exhausted, and they know that the fruit of Christmas and New Year mingling is yet to come.
The cases in the USA, UK and Brazil have shot up again. The hospitals are already overwhelmed. The death rates are climbing! Oh to be in New Zealand or Vietnam with better governments and clearer strategies, where the Covid-19 rates are in single figures and nobody dies!
the government is panicking and dithering again as the scientists warn of catastrophe.
It looks like we are moving to a stringent lockdown even as we begining to roll out the vaccine!
Already they are talking of closing schools again! At the same time they are talking about deploying troops to schools to handle the mass testing. Thoughh how that can be properly, and safely, carried out is a mystery.
I don’t think this government has a clue! They say the first thing that comes into their heads without thinking through the logistics!!
Bunch of twats and morons!
There is talk of a new Tier 5! Soon they’ll have the army on the streets shooting people!
The new variant is taking over and seems much more contagious.
The only good news is that the vaccine is being deployed quite fast, with a high uptake and no serious side-effects. The Oxford vaccine is likely to be available very soon as well. All vaccines seem to be effective against the new strains – though there are concerns that future mutations might make the virus immune to the vaccine. However, even then, we are assured that the new vaccines are easy to tweak!
It would be such a shame to go down with the disease so close to receiving the vaccination!!
Stay safe!! Herd immunity is on its way!!