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Rabbit burgers with chorizo

January 24, 2013 at 2:18 pm

With five rabbits for the freezer, I decided to make some more bunny burgers this week. The rabbits were first jointed and all the outer membrane removed. I consider the back loins too good for burgers, filleting these from either side of the upper back and saving these for other dishes like rabbit korma, or mixing with other game for game pie. With the loins removed, five rabbits will produce three Kg of meat. Remove as many tendons, etc as possible, as they may cause clogging round the grinder cutting blade later. The remaining bones and kidneys can be boiled down with vegetables to make rabbit stock and frozen in small containers for another day. Fat has to be added to aid cooking, so I add smoked bacon lardons, or streaky bacon. In this case I also add a chorizo sausage to top up the fat content and increase the flavour.

INGREDIENTS

3 Kg Rabbit Meat

1 Large Onion

1 Clove Garlic

200 Grammes Smoked Bacon Lardons

100 Grammes Chorizo Sausage

3 Thick Slices of Wholemeal Bread reduced to bread crumbs (150 grammes)

2 TBSP Mixed Herbs

1 TBSP Worcester Sauce

1 TBSP Cooking Oil

2 Medium Eggs

1 Sprig Rosemary

Add Salt & Pepper to taste.

urbanfieldsportsman 1071

 

METHOD

Finely chop the onion, garlic and rosemary and sweat off with the oil in a frying pan on a low heat, until the onions are softened and allow to cool. Place a large bowl beneath the meat grinder/mincer outlet. I prefer the coarse cutting plate setting, although the medium works fine. Once the grinding process is under way, I try to add the meat, lardons and pieces of sausage as I go, to mix the contents and flavours. With a modern electric grinder this will not take long. I used a manual grinder for years, which was in keeping with the rustic way of life, but very hard work.

With the meat ground, I sprinkle the tablespoon of Worcester Sauce over the top and stir in the onion mix, before covering with the bread crumbs, sprinkled with the two tablespoons of mixed herbs. I stir this again before adding the beaten eggs and mixing thoroughly, cement mixing principles coming in handy here.

The final operation is to make up the burgers. I have a burger press, which produces a consistent quarter pounder, with a grease proof disc top and bottom. For the rustic look, roll into a ball in your hands and pat down into a pattie.

This is just one recipe, the same basics apply, but you may wish to add a few chopped tomatoes to the grinder, or pickle, chutney, or a mix.  Likewise instead of the Worcester sauce, add BBQ, or sweet chilli, or the lot. Just remember keep it simple, it’s only a burger.

 The proof is in the eating. Very tasty.

Winter sun at Bushey Leaze

January 10, 2013 at 7:00 pm

My phone rang with an offer I could not refuse, a visit to Bushey Leaze trout fishery, picked up and dropped off at my door, a mild, dry day  forecast and the chance of big rainbows from this spring fed lake at Lechlade. The previous week my companion Pete had taken twelve fish between three and five pounds fishing an orange “Blob”, static under an indicator, so a quick look on Google produced an image, which to my eye said pellet fly, no doubt the only food these fish had ever seen. A hunt through my fly tying materials came up with some hot orange marabou for a tail and orange chenille for the body, tied over a built up body to give bulk, on a short size 14 hook, producing three in quick time.

Having cut my teeth on the Concrete Bowls, fresh water reservoirs around London in the 70’s, where all fish were introduce by Thames Water at 12 inches long and left to grow on in their vast acreages, which often reached depths of ninety feet, I have always felt prejudiced against the smaller commercial fisheries, where the paying public have demanded larger fish and comfortable fishing. In the 70’s, the strain of rainbows were fertile fish, which went into spawning condition early in the year and would often be black and kiped up in April, when the trout season began. In those days the reservoir fishing was subsidized by the nationalised water companies, but when they were privatized in the 80’s, support was withdrawn, leaving the door open for commercial operations, who with the need for year round fishing, stocked infertile triploid rainbows with rapid growth rates.

With a freezer full of various game and trout from my last outing, the last thing I needed was more trout, so had decided for a £30 three fish limit, but with Pete’s offer to smoke my fish, I paid the extra £7.50 for six fish. Arriving at the water’s edge, conditions seemed perfect with just a light breeze causing a slight ripple on the crystal clear lake, where fish could be seen moving and a few rods were already bent into fish. Pete walked down to his favourite bay, while I opted for a spot between trees, where I’d seen a fish top. With my indicator two feet above my new “Blob” I cast in, only for my purple indicator to be taken seconds after it hit the water. Rediculace. This did not result in a fish, the following casts producing swirls at the indicator, or it’s brief disappearance as my Blob was mouthed by more than one rainbow. I could have slid the indicator down to the hook and fished with that, but I did want to feel that I was at least using some skill, so took it off and began a very slow retrieve, getting plucks and on, off strikes. After ten minutes a fish held on long enough for me to set the hook and soon felt the juddering fight of a decent fish, which after some tail flapping, gave up and came to the net. About 3lb, it was a typical stew pond fish, front fins missing and a chewed tail, it’s brief chance of freedom ending on a muddy bank. Another cast and another fish on, this one putting on a better show, making several rapid runs followed by body shaking leaps, before the runs got shorter and the head shaking began. Convinced the hook was about to drop out, I entered the shallows and got a boot full of freezing water, as I reach over to net the still struggling rainbow. Slightly larger, this one had a full set of fins, although it’s tail was split in places and it’s nose and chin were flattened off, another scruffy fish. Fifteen minutes in and I already had two fish, do I continue fish mongering this shoal of confused rainbows and pack up in an hour, or shall I try else where? I chose the latter and went off to find Pete, passing another angler scurrying to claim my fish filled spot.

By now the sun had come over the trees and the wind dropped, the only ripples being made by the ducks and swans. I found Pete studying his motionless bite indicator. This was where he had a dozen fish last week, but today he hadn’t had a take and was now on his fall back method, the bloodworm  without a touch. I continued round and could see that few anglers had caught, one complaining that he’d worked hard for one fish today, but had caught eight in an hour the previous week. Finding another tree lined bay, I searched out the water in front of me, increasing the lengths of my casts,  fishing depths and speed of retrieve, observing the lack of action from the boat anglers and feeling that I should have stayed longer in my first spot. Following a long cast and a thirty second count down, my line tightened as I began to retrieve, the line spraying up water, when I raised the rod to set the hook. This was a very good fish, beating the surface with it’s tail, then diving deep taking line in an arcing run. The fight went on for five minutes before the first sighting showed a good conditioned 5lb rainbow, another five minutes seeming to pass before he was ready for the net, only to turn and slip the hook in the final seconds. I slapped the rod against the water in frustration. The size 14 barbless hook had dropped out on the bank of the previous two fish and the fight had loosened it’s hold at the critical moment.

Walking back Pete was still fishless, so we decided it was time for a sandwich in the sun at the fishing hut, giving me the chance to empty the water from my squelching boot, while deciding what to do next. We could see that the aquarium was now vacant and fish were still moving there, so Pete made his way to the spot and had soon broken his duck, following up with another, to equal my catch. With the sun passing behind the trees, we packed away the rods, after a hard day, bright sun and a flat calm giving us a beating.

Small river working party

January 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm

The floods abated this week, which allowed a small band of volunteers to tackle an overgrown section on our little trout stream, where several trees needed pollarding and another had fallen across the river.

Eight from a membership of thirty was a healthy turnout on a January morning, there being plenty of chat about flies and who caught what from where. Interestingly, some favourite sections for some, had proved fishless for others. Six hours hard graft certainly blew away the Christmas cobwebs, but several good gaps had been created in the dense undergrowth to allow in the sunlight and allow casting, while still leaving plenty of cover for feeding trout.

Pigeons come home to roost

January 3, 2013 at 9:29 pm

With no rain for a few days and warm 10C temperature, I was hoping to find a few rabbits out and about on my permission at an 80 acre equestrian centre this afternoon. I’d only walked a few hundred yards to my first rabbit hot spot to realise that a change of plan was needed. A corner, where a bramble covered ditch runs along the side of a copse, was under six inches of water, the ditch resembling a canal. I usually expect to see several rabbits around this area, where had they gone? Not drowned? Continuing through the copse, I saw signs of fresh burrowing, so all was not lost.

As I made my slow progress through the copse, I saw several Canada Geese in the field to my right, but these are off limits, as were the pheasants trotting ahead of me along the path, the leaseholder trying to keep the centre as a nature reserve, it being bordered by housing estates on three sides. The copse was once parkland, part of a stately home, and had been planted up with a wide range of plants, now left untended, but in their season they add to the pleasure of having access to this private area, carpets of snow drops, giving way to daffodils and blue bells, while the scent of honeysuckles fill the summer air.

When I first visited, rabbits were in their hundreds, undermining trees, burrowing through paths and ruining the grassland, making it unsafe to walk, let alone ride a horse. Today there were none to be seen, so I made my way to the base of a tall pine, which gives cover from above, while providing a clear view of an equally tall oak ten yards away, both trees providing ideal roosts for my next quarry the wood pigeon. For pigeons I prefer to use my Career 707 PCP air rifle firing 21 grain Bisley Magnum pellets, as the pellets lose their momentum quickly and shots can be taken at targets low down in the trees, but equipped for rabbits today, I had my Magtech .22 semi auto rimfire. This means overhead shots only, as a 45 degree shot puts the houses half a mile away within range of the 40 grain bullet.

Once in position, it wasn’t long before a dozen pigeons glided over to take up their roosts, an ideal shot for a 12 bore, but for me with a rifle they have to perch first. They landed behind me, causing me to twist my body for a shot, only to hit the branch below my chosen bird. Off they clattered. I moved round the tree to shoot from the other side, before ten minutes later they returned, this time a clear shot supported by the tree trunk, had a fat pigeon spinning out of the branches fifty feet above. With the birds flown, I retrieved the pigeon and cut away the dark breast meat in time for the next flight. Cross hairs on, squeeze the trigger and another hit the ground. Ten minutes later another fat woodie was at my feet, it’s crop full of ivy peas and mistletoe berries. With the light going fast and a good walk ahead, back to the van, I called it a day with six tasty breast fillets in my bag.

Small river reflections

December 30, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Notified that the first working party of 2013 is in doubt on my local syndicate trout stream, due to field to field flooding, I looked back on last season with the aid of our forum to while away a wet afternoon.

With a dozen of the thirty members reporting their exploits through the season on the forum, some with photographs, it was beneficial to reflect on what turned out to be a very good season for most. Our river is less than ten miles from spring to confluence, of which we have rights to the lower few miles, some of which we share with coarse fishing members of the club. In many places it spans fewer than ten feet from bank to bank, zig-zagging through copses and bordering fields, while supporting a good head of wild browns, many of the larger ones only showing up during the annual hawthorn and mayfly hatches, before sinking back to the safety of the many deep pools along the river’s course.

Each member has three days of fishing allocated each week, either start or end, with Wednesday a non fishing day. Even during the Mayfly hatch it is rare to meet more than a couple of other anglers. All fish are returned to the water, some are gluttons for punishment and give sport to many, while others learn to be more choosy. Seven foot rods and light lines are the order of the day, due in the main to overhanging trees and beckoning barbed wire fences. Waders are a must to be able to reach some of the more impenetrable  pools and even then a successful cast can often be more luck than judgement. Sometimes a feeding trout can only be watched, a cast being impossible. To me, I feel privileged just to be in the trout’s presence, the sun dappling the river as it rushes over the stones at the tail of  a pool, only a few miles from the surrounding towns.

My own season was almost charmed, usually fishing only a few hours each week, I was able to tempt a quality fish on each visit, smaller browns, chub and dace adding to the mix. My best wild fish was spotted feeding hard under the far bank foliage on a September afternoon, a slight dimple of the surface giving it away. A small yellow humpy was flicked in under the bank and taken straight away, resulting in a frantic fight that took me all over the river. This was a fat healthy brown trout of over a pound.

 

With a few exclusive,  expensive fisheries upstream, some introduced fish drop down into our water. In the last few days of the season, this beautiful eighteen inch brown was chasing minnows, when he took my hares ear nymph.

The week before, the weir pool at the head of  our water offered up a  fin perfect rainbow, again on a hares ear, this being the second in a week from the pool, photographs showing different spot patterns on the gill covers. The take had been a typical rainbow smash and grab, followed by a run round the pool that tested my little five weight, seven foot rod to the limit.

Writing these few words brings back many memories of spring and summer and the consolation that the twelve weeks to the start of a new trout fishing season will soon pass.

 

 

Cider bottled

December 24, 2012 at 2:56 pm

Being a cider making household, we share our kitchen during the autumn months with the latest batch, as it goes through it’s fermentation processes housed in a variety of demi-johns hidden under the table, unseen by our visitors sipping mugs of tea above.

Due to a cold wet spring and a similar summer, many apple trees did not set fruit and on those that did, the apples were slow to ripen and the cider making season was put back a month. This was the reason why we still had fermenting cider and I had instructions to bottle it before Christmas. The clear juice is syphoned out of the demi-johns, leaving the lees behind, this is called racking and being the second racking of this juice, the lees were minimal. I had to sample each dem-john and can report a very drinkable cider of good strength, has been produced this year, although the final fermentation takes place in the bottle and should be left for at least six months to mature.

In the past, having made beer and wine and even apple wine, when we had a surplus of fruit from our trees in the garden, it was only a matter of time, being a lover of cider, that I would make my own. We were fortunate to live close to an overgrown lane, that used to serve a big country house and also the Victorian village school, but now lay bypassed by modern roads, being encroached by brambles and various varieties of crab apple trees. Some were sweet others dry, an ideal mix for cider making. We no longer live in that area, but have found other trees to forage, although this year wild pickings were sparse, but once the word got out that we needed apples, the invites came to pick all we wanted from other’s gardens. About 20lb of apples are needed for a gallon of juice.

Continuing the theme of free apples, none of my “equipment” has been bought for purpose. The most important item is the cider press, which was made from odd lengths of 4 x 2 inch wood, forming two verticals and two horizontal struts, glued and screwed in place to create a stressed box. This I lock in an old workmate portable bench vice. The horizontals were cut to accommodate a baking tray into which two pieces of a 6 x 1 inch thick shelf were cut to form the crushing plattens for squeezing out the juice. A bottle jack from the garage supplies the crushing force, pushing up to the top horizontal, while pushing down onto the apple mash, held in an old net curtain, the juice flowing out into the baking tray. It would be easy to put a drain into the baking tray to flow down into a bucket, but it is no effort to empty it by hand, when it fills. The one labour saving device is an electric garden shredder, into which the washed, halved, or quartered apples are dropped, having cut out any bruising, but leaving the skin on. The rear end is raised on a brick so that the mash produced flows out of the spout into a bowl. The net is placed over an empty ice cream carton, before the apple mash is loaded into it and a sealed parcel formed. When the parcel is lifted out and placed between the plattens, juice will already have come out into the carton, which can be poured directly into the bucket through a flour sieve. I already had a five gallon bucket, which is the final destination of the juice ready for the introduction of a dried cider, or champagne yeast. On my first ever batch of cider, I covered the juice with a cloth and let it get on with natural fermentation from the wild yeast in the skins and the air, which took a couple of days, but now using a dried yeast sachet  for up to five gallons, sprinkled over and stirred occasionally over a couple of hours, the mix can be ready to transfer to the demi-johns for the first rapid ferment.

This is my backyard set up for cider making, it looks chaotic, but a production circle has been created, from washing, to chopping, pulping and juicing at the press. The flat apple cake byproduct is good food for chickens, or pigs, while on a compost heap it will soon become a nursery for young worms and speed up the composting process.

Bread punch on the Basingstoke Canal

December 19, 2012 at 1:47 pm

A change of plans meant a free afternoon this week. Hard frosts followed by a few day’s rain had left the fields and ditches waterlogged and my little river was bombing through, so my best option for a few hours fresh air was the twenty minute drive to the Basingstoke Canal.

With liquidized bread and some sliced white back in the freezer from my last outing on the river, bait was no problem and with tackle loaded, I was on my way before noon. Good news, a space in the car park, even with Christmas shopping in full swing; a longer walk, but better than the road side. I’d remembered to fix my trolley wheel puncture too,  which had been a bit of a let down, so a few hundred yards and I was at my swim, a sheltered spot in the town with gardens backing onto the towpath.

Temperatures were still below ten degrees C, but with no wind, or swans in sight, a decent afternoon’s fishing looked on the cards. Many “proper anglers” look down on the pole as a means of catching fish, but very light rigs and delicate baits can be presented by this method, while for the older angler such as myself, no longer possessing decent eyesight, or deft of touch, the rigs can be made up in the comfort of your home, or even bought ready made up at the tackle shop. After plumbing the depth to find the near and far shelf, I started off at the top of the near shelf without a touch, before increasing the depth a few inches and adding another metre to the pole.  This time a small ring radiating out from the float bristle indicated interest in the punch bait, another ring and it sank slowly beneath the surface. A lift and the float stayed down as a good roach pulled the elastic out from the pole tip. The elastic soon coped with the darting runs of the roach and the first of many was in the net.

I started to miss bites, or hook half ounce micro roach, so on went another metre and the float went out to the middle following another small ball of crumb. A three ounce roach, then the elastic stayed out with the steady throb of a six ounce skimmer bream. Good, this is what I came for, the swim has produced near two pound bream for me in the past. Regular feed was being rewarded by more roach, so I shallowed up and dropped the bait into the cloud, a fiddley bite developed into a slide away and the elastic followed into the water. I could see the flashes from a better skimmer and followed it with the pole as it dashed up and down the swim, until it was ready to be drawn away to my net. Another two skimmers followed and a good weight seemed on the cards, when disaster led a three pronged attack. First a hook in the lip of the last skimmer snagged my landing net and pulled through the lip, the line breaking before I could cut the net. Unable to find my spare made up hook links, another rig was attached  to the pole stomfo tip, was set to depth and cast in to sink as the float cocked. Excellent, more elastic out and an eight ounce roach eventually slid into the landing net. Disaster number two now struck. The hook was embedded in the thick part of the roach’s lip and would not come out, so I gave the disgorger a try, only to snap the fine wire hook shank. Two rigs in two casts. I had another rig, but this was not a match, although I was in the moment, catching a steady flow of better fish. As I sorted through my various made up packs of hooks, the third disaster struck, the swans arrived.

Mummy, Daddy and two signets now laid claim to my ground bait, their long necks reaching down to the bottom of the canal, black feet clawing the air to keep balanced. Game over. I found my hooks, looping on the new link and waited, until a mother and young daughter saved the day, when they arrived on the towpath and began feeding the ducks and squawking gulls, the swans making off at full speed in their direction. I decided to give it another half an hour, taking a few more ounce plus roach, but the better fish had moved off, leaving the three inch micro roach to feed at will. By three pm the light was going already, as the shortest day approached, and with a chill already in the air, I lifted out my keepnet to be greeted by that welcome sound of quality fish sploshing at the bottom. Transferred to my landing net and a quick weigh in, before returning, indicated five pounds of silver fish, not bad for two and a half hours fishing, considering the thirty odd micro roach not put in the net.

Busheyleaze Trout Fishery, Letchlade

December 15, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Following an invite to join two friends on a visit to Busheyleaze Trout Fishery at Letchlade  on Wednesday, it was too easy to make my excuses and say no. Probably the coldest day yet, with frost from the previous day still coating my car windscreen and covering the lawn, I shook my head in disbelief as I switch off my phone. They must be desperate.

The pair arrived at 10:30 am to find the lake half  frozen with frost coating the trees, joining a few other optimists at the water’s edge. Buying a half-day, three fish ticket each, they started out in front of the lodge, Pete using an Orange Blob and Ken with a Blue Flash Damsel, retrieved with a slow figure of eight. Very light takes and a few rainbows lost suggested a static offering was needed, so Ken set up with a Bloodworm under an indicator and soon had a five pound rainbow in the net. Pete followed suit and despite iced up rod rings, banked a four pounder. Ken was the first to reach his limit and posed for a picture to prove a point; you can still catch, even when the ground is frozen solid.

Pete’s limit followed shortly after, another four pound rainbow making a run for it beneath a sheet of ice, before being steered to the waiting net. I still think that they were crazy to go, knowing the conditions they faced, but hey, that’s fishermen.

 

Roach Therapy

December 12, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Fishing a five hour canal match in December is no compensation for the loss of flyfishing from your life for a few months, but having signed up for a canal match series in warmer times and gained enough points to put me in second place overall, I arrived at the Basingstoke canal with some optimism on Sunday.

After toiling to my peg with a puncture in one of my trolley tyres, I found myself next to my championship rival. A battle of the giants. We wished. My killer method is the bread punch, fished on a carbon pole over small balls of liquidized bread, one of the secrets being able to judge just how much to feed, too much and they won’t take the small punched pellet of bread bait, too little and the shoal will disperse. I always start off without feed and begin to feed the bread depending on the number of fish, usually roach, taken in the first few minutes. Lets just say that it was twenty five minutes before my bristle float, rotated and dipped a fraction of an inch and held. A lift of the pole and a two ounce roach broke my duck. Not good. My rival was still without a bite and others along the bank were studying their floats intently, so I put in another small ball and fished over it. Nothing. That little roach felt cold in my near frozen fingers, which if I hadn’t already guessed it, was a sign of a hard match to come. The carp family of fish, to which the roach belongs, go dormant below a certain temperature, time to try another method.

I changed my pole rig and put a worm tail on the hook, the float sinking out of sight before it got a chance to cock. A small perch. Good. Being a predator evolved from colder climes, perch will feed under six feet of ice, so on went another worm and another little perch was in the keep net. About this time my rival made a shout of approval, as he finally struck into his first fish. Bad news, his landing net was out to net a good roach. Probably more weight than my fish together. So we continued, until the final 90 minutes, when any sign of a bite dried up. The whistle blew at last to end the competition. We were out of the money, but I needed a lot more weight to have pulled ahead in the points. No chance, he had half an ounce more and was still ahead. Knowing I can’t fish one of the matches due to my MG Owners club’s New Year Lunch, my wife’s favourite event, that’s me out of the running for another year, unless I win all the other matches and he blanks.

After a hard match, when you begin to doubt your ability to catch fish, it’s good to go somewhere that you can bag up, so Monday afternoon saw me on the banks of a tiny river that runs through a park near my home, armed with the remains of my bread bait not used on Sunday’s match. Fed by two streams, one from the local water treatment works, the river is always warm and has a good head of roach. Just what I needed to get rid of my canal blues. I set up with a light stick float,  lobbed a ball of liquidized bread over towards the far bank and trotted down with the current. A couple of yards and the float bobbed before cruising off to the side, as a small chub intercepted the bread punch pellet. No need for the net, another cast, another small chub, this time eight ounces, put a good bend in my rod making a run for the tree roots opposite. The river here is only about two feet deep, but the fish are invisible, until you set the hook with a flash of silver. Another ball of feed and the roach began to line up for the bait, mixed with the odd rudd, or skimmer bream. A lady walking her dog stopped to watch, saying that she didn’t realize there were fish in the river and stayed to chat. With every fish, the lady’s little Jack Russell got excited, barking and pulling at it’s lead, until she bade her farewell. I was now able to concentrate on the job in hand, banishing Sunday’s match from my mind.  The fish  slowed down after a hectic two hours and I pulled my keep net out to reveal a decent haul of silver fish, the bright red fins of the roach and rudd standing out in the cold light. Wish I’d had this lot yesterday.

Cold Comfort

December 9, 2012 at 8:06 pm

My plan this week was to bother the jack pike, that had given me grief on a coarse fishing match the previous weekend, where several roach were snatched before they reached the net.  I went out on a bright morning, armed with my favourite plug, only to be disappointed. The canal was frozen over!

I returned home, as my wife was planning a shopping trip to our old local town and decided to cadge a lift to a small landlocked horse field, where I have permission to shoot, but rarely visit due to the lack of parking. It is flanked by the car park of a large central hospital, which is always full and by large houses backing onto the fields with no parking at all. Access is down a private lane, leading to a footpath, then into the field. The lease holder has car access to the field, I have to walk from wherever I can park.

Dropped off at the bottom of the lane, we decided on a time for my pick up, based on the two hours free parking in town. Twenty minutes later I’d reached my stake out point with a view along a blackthorn covered warren.

With the HMR set on it’s tri-pod, I scanned through the scope, an area in the lea of the now cold north wind and spotted a couple of sun bathing rabbits. I took the first shot at 60 yards and swung round to pick off the second at around 120. Job done. I waited another twenty minutes, but no more shows, so went over and picked up the two bucks. With the website in mind,  I’d taken my camera and posed the two rabbits alongside my rifle, the low sun giving a good contrast. Click. Beep. The battery was dead. Very annoying, as I’d taken an extra picture of the warren before this. With the carcasses skinned and cleaned and nothing coming out to play, another warren further along looked promising, but the sun was sinking below the trees and the wind getting stronger, not ideal for bunnies, despite their fur coats.

Time to go. The temperature was dropping like a stone, reminding me it was early December, as I made my way back to the footpath. A dozen pigeons were grazing, passing within 30 yards, before they clattered up and away. A shot would have been easy, but the HMR would have just left a pile of feathers. Further on a muntjac deer picked it’s way through the undergrowth, stopping to look at the strange camo clad figure trudging towards it, then making off with a flash of white tail. Ten minutes early for my pick up, which was a first, a stile provided a welcome seat, while I waited … and waited. Now my wife was twenty minutes late and the chill was creeping in. Another five minutes and I rang her. She was still shopping. The car parking had been extended to three hours, maybe she should have rung? Hrumf. Good job it wasn’t all day parking!