Last week I was pushing V up our village high street on what I call the " drug run " (collecting V's prescriptions from the pharmacy at our surgery , nothing more sinister I can assure you ) when coming in the opposite direction was the local hunt . Now I am not a lover of hunting but unfortunately I am a lover of tradition and there is probably not a stronger tradition in the Devon countryside than hunting . So I am caught between the devil and the deep blue sea . On the one hand I would outlaw hunting ,on the other I love to see the spectacle . I know they are supposed to be drag hunting and that should be OK but I also know they "accidentally " catch foxes . What a dilemma but I am afraid instead of shouting rude things and "long live foxes " I stood back and admired .
The Huntsmen were in their scarlet jackets and white breeches with highly polished riding boots , astride giant horses braided and plaited within an inch of their lives . Coats glistening they sidestepped and danced their way towards us . Out of the corner of my eye I saw a cat sitting on a window ledge watching apprehensively as the hounds approached . "Don't bolt" I prayed but she did making a darting run for an alley . The dogs surged forward but the"whipper in "I believe he is called growled at them , quite literally and they came to heal only to take an interest in me and V and the wheel chair . But another growl pulled them back . The horses of the leading huntsmen took exception to the wheel chair and became frisky and pranced and kicked up their hooves as much as to say 'give me a five foot hedge to go over but I am not going past that thing !' But go past they did and as they went each of the scarlet clad men doffed their riding hats and gave a little bow in the saddle . Then came the rest of the entourage . All shapes and sizes astride over groomed horses in tight white breeches , some looking a little over tight on rather expansive bottoms but non the less all looking immaculate . Although I can't think why one would go hunting in full make up . Nevertherless the men saluted V with their crops and the women waved and smiled as they passed by , some twenty or thirty of them with all the noise and clatter of hooves on tarmac that you would associate with the household cavalry .Then they were gone .
I wondered to myself if they would have been quite so affable if they realised the little old lady almost bent double in her wheel chair was the same woman who many years ago, had aided the escape of a fox being pursued by the hunt by driving her battered old 2CV car across the gap in the hedge which he had dived through so neither the dogs nor horses could follow and resisted all the efforts of the red faced huntsman to move on until the fox was long gone . Maybe , who knows perhaps times have changed ,I do hope so .