The Hunt

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 .

13 Replies

  • Oh my, what a tale! I read it to my dear as a bedtime story just now. I could hear the hooves and feared for the cat. And I am so glad to know your V is a hero, too. I'm impressed. That took some nerve! Good for her! I rather share your dilemma, George, loving tradition but foxes more. Nice to get a glimpse of both sides there, and so well written. You brought some welcome color into my imagination. Goodnight!

  • Thank you for your wonderful post!

  • What a lovely start to my day! I think us lot have got very philosophical during our journey !

    Julie x

  • George felt like I was there with you both, made my day as always x

  • You tell a good tale gorge pa an author in the making , brought a smile to our morning .😆😆

  • Wow ... the story I just read just proved that some of time just stands still, waiting to be admired. I could see the huntsmen, hear the dogs and horses and even smell the smoke from fireplaces in the cool air all the while that little fox taking refuge under your wife's care! For a moment time not only stood still, but traveled backward to a time when the only mode of transportation was one's horse.

    Thank you once again , Georgepa


  • Wonderful tale. Made me laugh and cry xxx

  • As ever Funny, Brave and so perceptive. Keep going. love to you both x

  • Lovely story Georgepa. Great lady your Viv. Maddy 👍🏻

  • Wonderful post GP, I'm also not a fan of fox hunting but like the tradition of the ceremony and costume, I bet if the red, but grey or brown hunting attire wasn't the traditional 'uniform' we wouldn't be so drawn into the spectacle. Poor foxes! I remember a pack of hounds ending up tearing a fox to pieces in my granny's garden when I was a little girl, not a pleasant end for the poor thing.

    Anyway, I'm glad the pack decided to leave you and V to your spectating, perish the thought! I'm also impressed with V's brave stance to outwit the hunt back in the day. Well done her!

    Take care and I hope the next drug run proves just as eventful. ( I have a vision of 'Breaking Bad' if you happened to have watched that series. I.e. You cooking up Crystal Meths in your spare time and using the wheelchair for transporting it to your dealer. Ha ha )

    Love Kate xxxx

  • Great picture you painted and it brought back memories of watching the hunt as a girl in the East Riding. My sympathies were always with the fox but I would have loved to be all dressed up , looking beautiful and haughty on a horse !!

    Now we have foxes in our London garden. It is entertaining watching the cubs playing but they are a nuisance and fearless ! They clearly think I shouldn't be in the garden !

    I think the least said about the drug run the better !

    Love, Jean x

  • Well done V. I haven't seen a hunt meet for years but next week I'm going to our son and his family in Suffolk to spend Christmas with them. He isn't opening the restaurant Christmas Day but both he and his wife are working on Boxing Day and I'm looking after the boys. He is opening Boxing Day as for years, before he took the restaurant over, the hunts men and women have ended the hunt with a big meal there so Mark continues to host it. He told me it would be good if I can take the boys to see the start of the hunt and I'm looking forward to it, even though, like you both, I hate the thought of killing foxes.

    Thanks for reminding me of my childhood memories of watching, hearing and smelling the hunt.


  • Sounds just like a tale from long ago. I was in England in my teens and I saw the beautiful country side and could lamost imagine your day as it unfolded right infront of your eyes.

    Where I live we dont have horsemen riding through our town streets, or fox hunts in comparison we are quite boring.

    As for V and helping the fox escape she sounds like a true rebel, those stories will live on forever

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