A day's hunting up on the moors - in code
NOW THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN IN A FORM OF CODE BECAUSE AT THE TIME SOME UNPOPULAR LAWS HAD BEEN PASSED BY THE GOVERNMENT TO BAN FOX HUNTING WITH DOGS. (You could shoot foxes but not hunt them with hounds)
THE ARTICLE MIGHT NEED TRANSLATION - BUT ONLY IF ENOUGH OF YOU READ IT.
It seems that neither the redoubtable William nor I, Barry of Brixton, had blotted our copy books when last we sallied forth to harry Charlie, for we both received yet another invitation to attend a meet at Battle by Y Gaer. Paul of the Fforest and Andy from Aberdare mounted on their trusty steeds were to be our companions for the day together with the mounted clan of The Mistress Sandra and some others who, all together, formed the band of the B&TH followers.
As is customary at such meetings, hot and fruitful cups are proffered and imbibed accompanied by tarts sweet and savoury. The Man dressed in Scarlet paraded nearby along with couples canine. All very traditional. When Bobby Hethlee and his faithful pooch passed by in the lane, I waved and wished him the compliments of the season to which he amiably responded. No problems there. Seemingly Mr Blair can’t get his own way all the time. Equally importantly and despite the dire threats by weather pundits of snow, ice and frost, the day seemed to be set fair for good sport.
Eventually after much hellos, the company set off, attended as usual by 4x4s driven by country men in cloth caps. There is a strict sense of priority at such events, Charlie looks down from up high, the couples set off with their tails in the air, The Man in Scarlet plays the tune on his pipe, and the Man of the Whip keeps the couples in order. The Mistress Sandra, attended by the ladies of her clan brings up the cavalry- of which William and I were merely one pair. There is no mooching along in such company - brisk trotting uphill and down dale is generally the order of the day. But there is also a lot of hanging about whilst the Henrys and the Henriettas snoop and sniff their way through bramble and bracken. From time to time there were squeaks of considerable excitement from the couples and it would seem that scents vulpine were wafting in the breeze. Indeed that might well have been the case because a couple of the sharp eyed onlookers in the cavalry perceived our Charlie - or one of his mates - breaking cover with the idea of leading the Henrys a merry dance up the valley. Eventually a few hours later, the motley group of followers found themselves up above Pont faen alongside Richard’s stone. Whilst the views from this hilltop are somewhat impressive, it proved to be a drafty spot around which to linger. The cavalry does come well prepared against the cold with little flasks, some glass, some silver, some leather clad and each contains liquors sweet, fruity, fiery and distinctly boozy so as to give warmth to the innards of the mounted folks. But that picturesque hilltop is not a place to stay long on a winter’s day.
As the sun dropped down onto the horizon and the day drew to a close we realized that again, we never had got even close to Charlie. Nothing illegal had happened this day. But for those of us, especially we Fforestors, who enjoy an equine Treasure Hunt up hill and down dale, it had been a good, if frosty, day. William, my Gaelic Hannoverian steed, of course, never throughout the day, put a hoof wrong and back at the farm, for once, was rewarded for his labours with corn fare together with all of those trimmings normally reserved for magicians; goodies which he justifiably had earned by the sweat of his brow. Me - I went home to the land of Monnies, jumped into the hot tub where I savoured the memories of the day and made plans for the next outing with the Mistress Sandra, her clan and all those noisy Henrys & Henriettas.
Folks, do come along with me and William - you’ll enjoy the ride. Mr Plod is not looking too hard.