Christmas is finally over for another year; all those months of preparation and anticipation and it's nothing but washing up before you know where you are. I got a nice pile of books for Christmas and a couple more today when I was out and about (I'm sorely tempted to reduce my amazon wish list as well, but perhaps I should read some books before I buy any more) I also got a decent haul of kitchen bits too, so I'm basically a contented woman (or would be if I hadn't been struck down with another cold, so instead I'm revoltingly snotty).
Partly in a bid for fresh air, and partly because it's the first time I've ever been asked to such a thing I went to a Boxing day shoot on Wednesday. We've had rotten weather over the last week - it's rained enough to make building an ark seem like an excellent plan but Boxing day morning couldn't have been more perfect - right down to the crisp frost. Since retirement my mother has developed a passion for shooting and it was interesting to see her in action. She's fiercely competitive which helps because even on a fun day - which the Boxing day shoot traditionally is - they all take it very seriously. It was just like pictures in 'The Field' or 'Country Life' suggest - or for that matter in any country house story written since the mid 19th century (although there are rather more Land Rovers than the Victorians might have had, and indeed more than the average dealership has on display even now).
I've been quite keen to learn to shoot for a while - though my ambitions are strictly clay based. Even if Pheasant shooting wasn't so expensive, or such a male dominated sport (lady guns are rather frowned on even now) I don't think it would be for me (though I do like the clothes and the scenery) it just doesn't feel like my world, though possibly it has something to do with mum confiding in me that most people who shoot get peppered with shot at least once. She told me this just when it was precisely to late to turn back, thankfully we all escape injury this time... I could easily get used to the hospitality though, there's nothing like a hot glass of mulled wine followed by a cold glass of champagne, not to mention the warm mince pies, to set one up before an hour spent ankle deep in Derbyshire mud. The lunch was rather good too. Indeed the only thing I would have liked to see, but didn't, were the dogs working (I have a soft spot for 'One Man and His Dog' and watching working dogs generally).
Books tomorrow. And maybe more mulled wine.