It is a bright and early start this morning but a self inflicted problem. As the weather was good I took the dogs for a nice run yesterday morning and then bought the Saturday Telegraph which I only buy for the general knowledge crossword puzzle which I enjoy and I feel keeps my brain from complete atrophy. I rustled up the lunch of bacon and eggs and then settled to the puzzle but time got the better of me and then I was late leaving for Faversham. I was to be at Sandi's house at 2pm and only just made it. We then set off in convoy for the estate where we are allowed to roost shoot. I parked my car on some fairly dry ground and then piled in with Sandi and her husband to negotiate the next part of the track which was very treacherous and slick with mud which the tractors had churned up. I was very impressed with Sandi's off road driving skills and she got us nicely positioned despite sliding all over the place. The valley is a very beautiful place with a wide deep bottom flanked by beautiful mixed woodland on either side. We made our way up one side of the woods which was very slippery on the track but the actual woodland is fairly clear of undergrowth. Pheasants were darting in and out and seemed to be in abundance then suddenly we spotted a very colourful bird... It was a peacock [this was definitely not for shooting] and Sandi put her dog on the lead just in case he decided it was fair game. We found a spot not too densely covered overhead so that I could get a decent shot but it was a beautiful still evening bathed in sunshine so the birds were coming in much too high for me to reach. I had a couple of goes but managed to wing one bird and shot down a medium sized branch!!!! Sandi's husband wandered off to see if he could find better shooting elsewhere and as it turned out he managed to get two birds which he kindly gave to me to bring home. As the light failed we gave up and made our way back to car and slithered our way out of the valley. It had been a lovely way to spend a Saturday afternoon standing in the wood watching and listening to the sounds of nature. It also brought home to me the feast or famine nature of hunting for your food. Two miserable pigeons would have made a mean supper for the three of us and the dog, however it will do nicely for Mike and I this evening.
I was fairly tired when I got home so just as well I had some nice beef and potato pies ready for the oven which we had with some peas. I had hidden one of the pigeons in the garden for Basso to find and bring to me which he did with great ease. I then prepared both birds for supper tonight but both Mike and I had a hankering for something sweet, sadly the cupboards were bare so I set to and made a batch of pancakes which we had with sugar and lemon juice. They hit the spot perfectly and I wandered off to bed where I fell instantly asleep. It was a pretty rotten night as my back was playing up and I kept waking and having to shift position to relieve the pain. As I am due to go shooting this morning I have started the day with a breakfast of coffee and ibuprofen in the hope that the back will ease and I will be able to swing my gun around well. The weather forecast is for rain so it may turn out to be a very damp experience. Sandi gave me a bag full of red onions which are on the blink so my first job of the day will be to make a big pot of French onion soup for the freezer and I am sure there will be plenty of cold days yet to come when it will be just the thing. Oh I can see it now, steaming in a bowl with a crisp crouton piled high with Gruyère cheese!!!!!! anyone fancy a bowl?????