Game on!

We attended the East Anglian Game and Country Fair in Norwich over the weekend, which was something different. It was partly due to our interest in finding out more about wild food and other country pursuits, and DJ’s desire to witness the…er… ferret racing advertised in the flyer…

And I have to say that it was excellent fun. The show was enormous, with everything from duck herding to falconry displays, and luckily the weather was fantastic, which made an awful difference. It’s never much fun trudging around these things in torrential rain. People took their dogs along – which took the opportunity to cool down by jumping in a nearby pond – while others even brought their ferrets with them in little harnesses. And I thought City people were weird!

Some of the demonstrations were fascinating, if a little out there. Carroll Rawlings specialises in making pigeon decoys – basically plastic pigeons on sticks – which are used to entice pigeons, the bane of farmers, out into the open so they can be ‘controlled’ and then taken home for the pot. He talked us through how he makes them – often using real pigeon feathers for the wings – while setting them out on little sticks around the field.

Simon Whitehead’s ferreting display was also an eye opener. I suppose I’d been under the impression, being a complete townie, that using ferrets to chase rabbits from their warrens was cruel, so I was a bit dubious about it all. Thankfully the demonstrator wasn’t able to use real rabbits due to Health and Safety regulations, and so substituted toy ones! But I had no idea that the conventional way to deal with rabbits now as an agricultural pest is to gas them – something which is not only cruel as it takes time to work, but is also indiscriminate and potentially dangerous to livestock too. So I guess ferreting – done properly – is much more humane and better for the environment.

In ferreting the ferrets chase the rabbit from their warrens so that the ferreter can catch them in a net and humanely dispatch them. The only problem is that occasionally the ferret decides to kill the rabbit itself, tucks in and then falls asleep underground. In which case the unhappy ferreter has to get out his spade and dig the ferret up – which thanks to modern technology can be found electronically by the ‘ferret locator’…!

Meanwhile I’m beginning to wonder if DJ isn’t missing out on his vocation as a poacher. He took advantage of one of the ‘have a go’ stalls to try out clay pigeon shooting for the first time. We had to queue up for ages in the hot sun as this was a very popular stall. But the tutor was knocked out with DJ’s skills – he didn’t miss a single one of the ten clays – and left the guy speechless. Apparently he was only the second pupil that day who had managed to hit them all. Smart Alec!

We finished up the weekend watching Winston the Singing Farmer and Bernese mountain dogs dragging carts, having lost our small change on a racing ferret by the name of Pepsi, and feeling at home from home surrounded by these delightful eccentrics. Bliss!


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5 Responses to Game on!

  1. Christine says:

    Knowing the cost of going to these events ….. That\’s not frugal and you\’ve blotted your copy book good and proper there for the frugal living unless you tell me someone else outside family paid for you all day. Bet you didn\’t even pack sarnies!!!!!!!!!!  But events like that are great fun aren\’t they? Best if you can do them on expenses or be paid to be there for a reason. But frugal they are not – how many things did you buy and how much did the turn on the clay pigeons cost?Right then that\’s you told off. Please stay at home for four weeks with no days out now to get the frugal finances in order!!!!!!!!!!

  2. rik says:

    I\’ve got to agree with Christine on the cost of country/game fairs etc. and also shotguns. Well done to DJ though, it takes some skill to do that! (I still say get an airgun though, different skills but cheaper!).

  3. piper says:

    Ouch…I can feel the flea in my ear as write….!  It was £10 entry – foolishly we could have saved £3 by booking our tickets on the net but forgot.  I didn\’t do any of the have a go things (DJ\’s clay was £10 I think) although I did forget my sarnies as Christine predicted and paid £3 for a hot dog…oh and 50p on Pepsi the ferret\’s race which would have doubled my money if I\’d won but miserably failed to win. But I filled my water bottle up with water from the taps in the toilet for free if that redeems me….probably not. Grounded forever…

  4. rik says:

    Even being frugal you\’re allowed to spoil yourself now and then. You\’ve got to have some reward for the sacrifices!

  5. Christine says:

    Careful Rik – don\’t encourage the lady in her merry old empty the purse ways (could do with a naughty giggle emoticon here). She is supposed to be trying to be as sensible with money as the gentleman in her life who thinks twice about buying a packet of crisps she says.  This is the lady who says she is determined to save up for a decent pension cos she can\’t manage on the same state pension as me and who seems to be the despair of her very sensible with money mother (wicked giggle from the point of safety behind the large, sturdy sofa  here).

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