I’ve had a lovely morning walking round Harris’s Copse; not shooting anything, but seeing a few wood pigeons who are too easily spooked. A baguette and a pint for lunch from the Robin Hood, and back in, this time via the south entrance.
As soon as I’m in, there’s a grey squirrel running up a tree. I shoulder my air rifle and watch where he’s going. No clear shot yet, but I plan to work my way round to his tree.
Then there’s a crack behind me.
I look over my shoulder and some cove smoking a fag has come onto the track, two dogs running before him, making a hell of a racket. I’m against a tree and he never even looks in this direction, happily wandering down the gully with his dogs.
My squirrel of course is long gone. I hang around for a while, trying to spot him, but he’s having none of it.
So I go a little deeper into the woods, and find a nice tree to lean against… trying to make myself look just like any other mess of shrub. It’s peaceful: the songbirds have returned, and a couple of pigeons fly overhead, but they’re not stopping for a quick hello, welcome to my barbecue.
Scanning the trees, I see another squirrel (I guess it could be the same one; they all look the same to me) climbing a tree about 40 yards away. I’m just about to swivel round and I’m wondering if I can get a tad closer, when something down the hill catches my eye.
Some old woman, almost bent double with a huge pack on her back, is encouraging her two fat little Jack Russells, which are too damn knackered to yap, to climb the damn hill.
I don’t believe it.
I sit and watch her—and her dogs—struggle up the hill for about ten minutes. My squirrel of course is nowhere to be seen.
But I’m sure I can hear the little bastard laughing.