As a child I grew up in a tiny hamlet called Inglesham, we could often see Concorde glistening in the sun at Fairford Army camp.
We didn’t live in the heart of the hamlet so alot of my time was spent making mud pies with my guinea pigs, searching for my escape artist hamster & feeding heifers from the adjoining farm grass over the garden fence.
I spent many weekends & holidays with my cousins at Northleaze farm, my uncle worked on the farm & lived in a tied cottage.
I spent my time there among chickens & chicks, geese & goslings, ducks & ducklings, rabbits & guinea pigs
fox hounds & border terriers.
My uncle ran the terriers for the Vale of White Horse Hunt.
The front room was hunting wall paper, fox tails & heads, Otter tails & heads & badger heads, hunting pictures, hunting dinner sets.
There were several terriers, one boy who’s name I don’t remember, Bella & Susie & the puppies Thadius & Lucky.
In my time spent there, there was a fox hound bitch & puppies, one of which was called Lucy, Lucy then came back when she had puppies, in tradition the puppies were all named with the initial L & when Lucy went back to the hunt, three of the puppies stayed to be ‘puppy walked’ Lapwing, Landmark & Locket.
This was my normality & I never questioned it, I loved the hours spent running free with the puppies & terriers, we would take them to the wood & get scared to death if we heard a twig snap & would run all across the field to the safety of the cottages.
There was nothing there except the farm & two tied cottages, to be totally immersed in nature was the best childhood, surrounded by fowl & deer, calves suckling my fingers, it was just how life was, I knew nothing else.
One weekend fox cubs were there, can you imagine the joy for a little child to be able to bottle feed & cuddle cubs !! They took great care of these cubs & when they set them free, my uncle, who was still running the terriers for the hunt would go out & block ‘his’ fox’s in their den, whilst I assume blocking others out of theirs, I was just a little kid, I didn’t understand, but I do remember questioning my cousin ‘what would happen if he didn’t manage to block them in??’
Then I grew up a bit & I started to have a mind of my own & it occurred to me
‘WHAT A FU[K!NG HYPOCRITE !!
How dare he fight for these fox’s lives when he enjoyed watching others ripped to pieces, how could he possibly care so much for something he sought to destroy on a very regular basis.
I think I had grown out of visiting all the time before I had this revelation, we moved to a town called Highworth when I was eight & life was evolving, I never forgave him for his hypocrisy. He went on to run otter hounds & I checked out his Facebook page whilst reading this, he & his second daughter out with mink hounds was the last post, he is 79 now, so dunno if he is still at it.