FL13 - Page 68



Made in England
activity concentrated on one thing –
survival.
He edges forward, using his elbows
to propel himself, his hands holding
the gun so tightly they could crush it.
Then, just for a second, a glimpse of
brown skin behind that tree. Aim,
carefully, there is nothing else at that
moment, just the cross-hairs and that
square inch of target.
Then more.
Crack!
Crack! Crack! Crack!
His shoulder hurts, his eyes sting
but in the crosshairs he sees red
droplets hanging in midair.
Noise, shouting, gunfire, the acrid
smell of cordite. It seems to last forever, but is no more than a few minutes.
Take care, there may be more. He
reaches the tree and quickly looks
around it. No more standing. At his
feet a body. He toes it over. A young
boy. Fifteen? Sixteen? A weapon still
held in his lifeless fingers, the top of
his head missing, flying insects
already inspecting the offerings. No
vomit this time, just sorrow and disgust. No time for that; men to command and lead and save.
He stares straight ahead. Black and
white, black and white. One of the
badgers rolls too close and brushes
Ted’s foot, nonchalantly regaining its
composure before waddling back to
the fray. No deaths in this woodland
glade.
Ted rubs his eyes with thumb and
forefinger, then slowly rises. Doesn’t
look like the old brock from the West
Woods is coming tonight. All the
young ’uns are accounted for, so no
outside influences are involved either.
Happy with that thought, Ted turns
and quietly makes his way back
through the woods, his badger ‘family’ oblivious or un-alarmed by his
departure.
‘Twit-twoo!’
The tawny owl greets him, hidden
from view but obviously quite close.
Ted smiles, the only one of that family
to make the classic owl noise but so
rarely seen. Most country folk, and a
few folk visiting the country, will have
seen the luminous beauty of the barn
owl, but there were so many more,
and, if you knew where to look, much
more to learn about these night
hunters. Ted follows the small stream
for a few hundred yards, before veering away to the east where he knows
a family of little owls will be foraging,
good to see on a fine night like this.
See, I told you – not just angling.
Intrigued? I do hope so. I must say a
big thanks to Phil Escott, who not
only proofs Rob’s mag for him, but
who also jumped in at the last
moment to help proof my book as
well. His comments were very
encouraging and he assures me it
wasn’t just to make me feel better.
Only time will tell.
Anyway, enough of me, what about
you lot? It’s good to see that a few of
you have taken up the call to send
some photos in for the Christmas
photo competition, but I still need to
see more. Come on, you’ve all taken
them, you know you have. Look at my
meagre attempt at capturing a squirrel’s reflection in the lake – surely you
can do better than that. Get it over;
you know it makes sense.
So to some proper carp, and there’s
one or two of you who’ve been getting a bit greedy, catching more than
one – how does that happen? Dan
Eke was a Broad Oak member until
early this year, when he was forced to
take an early bath by the G.O.G., but
every cloud and all that. Since then,
Dan has been fishing Fryerning and
has been having a great season, culminating in two more personal bests
recently – a 34lb mirror and a 32lb
common. Brilliant stuff, Dan, I just
know they’re gonna keep on coming.
Well done, mate.
Another guy who’s being a little
greedy is Anthony Hardy; not only did
he appear in here last month with a
fine common; he now has a couple of
remarkably leathery ghost carp to
show off, both in excess of 30lb – nice
work, Anthony. Recent ‘Spirit Level
Award’ winner, Ed Betteridge, has
been at it again, and in a massive
way. He’s not only gone and bagged
another stunning, heavily-scaled mirror from Oxfordshire, but has just bettered that with a remarkable mirror of
48lb. The much sought after Bitemark
has not been out for 15 months, and
has increased in weight by a fair few
pounds, so to say he was pleased is
obviously an understatement. I really
feel that he should win the award
again, but what does anybody need
two spirit levels for? So, instead, and
as they are such wonderful fish, I’ll
send you a signed copy of my book,
Ed. I know it’s not as prestigious, but
Spencer finally showing Treena the
way.
68 FREE LINE

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