The raspberries are beginning to ripen. I had a very productive day yesterday and managed to finish quite a bit in the garden. The chickens were cleaned out and the hostas planted up. I put in an order for some over wintering onions and some broad bean seeds which can also be planted in the autumn ready for an early crop next year. I also spent some time with Basso in the garden getting him to retrieve - not as easy as it used to be - he flatly refuses to pick up a dummy as he recognises that it is not a bird. However I tied a pair of pheasants wings, that I had kept, on to the dummy and this he would return with no trouble. I also had a bit of a clear up in the end shed and refilled the chicken food container. Lugging 20Kg bags of chicken food up the garden is quite hard work but I do have a sack barrow which helps.

Lunch was an interesting affair as we had mostly vegetarian bit and pieces. I made an insalata capreses with some tomatoes that were on the blink, there was a portion of beetroots that I had cooked a couple of days ago and the green beans that I cooked with tomatoes and garlic. Supper was equally a case of using up left overs. I made a cheese strata with some odds and ends of cheese and the end of a stale baguette.

At 3.30 I went off for my gun fitting which was a bit of an eye opener. I felt like I had gone to the Royal ballet with home made clogs and asked for a dancing lesson. Luke was very nice but it was soon apparent that to him my gun was just a lump of wood and when you realise that he did an eight year apprenticeship with Purdey you can understand why. Anyway he took me to the pattern plate to see if I could at least shoot straight. This is a 6 foot square sheet of metal with a chalk circle drawn in the centre. The object being to obliterate the chalk mark. This I could do if I had the gun mounted in my shoulder but not if I had to raise the gun first. So for my homework I have to practice getting the gun up and in position until it is almost second nature. He felt that the gun size was OK for me but that it was far too heavy so he got a very expensive light weight 20 bore to let me have a go. It was like shooting a toy gun to me which just goes to show that the quality of the gun was lost on me. Anyway after two hours and a cup of tea I am happy to stick with my current gun while I practice mounting and Luke had offered to come to the club and give me a coaching session with moving targets. So all in all very successful if a little embarrassing. He even cleaned my gun for me!!!!!

Mike had not come with me so when I got home he required a full run down while the supper cooked and by 8.30 I was pole axed and ready go to bed and watch rubbish on the TV and out cold by 10pm.

Today we have the wonderful Jane coming so I will need to have a bit of a tidy up. I also re set the mouse and rat traps in the shed yesterday, baited with Stilton, so I must check them to see if I have had any success. I know that I am fighting a loosing battle but at least it keeps the numbers down. The weather forecast is for rain and guess who had intended to do the laundry - oh well, if I get it out early I might get away with it.... Then it is dog walking and on with some gun mounting practice!!!! Like all physical skills it takes time and practice before they become second nature.
Have a good day one and all.....
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