I was eavesdropping the other day. Well not exactly eavesdropping because the two ladies I was overhearing both had voices which carried. That’s a kind way of saying they were loudmouthed. I was in the local agricultural supplies shop. Or centre. Everything that sells anything’s a centre these days. I was there to get a big sack of hen food.
Anyway, the two loud women were going on about hunting. Did they look “horsey”?, well no not really, but they were both fairly substantial. And one wore a ratting cap. Now, I cannot abide fox hunting. Yes, yes, I know its been banned but it’ll be back soon under the auspices of the present Tory administration. Some would say that fox hunting is an essential part of the English country scene and has been for ages. So was smallpox or hanging thieves at the crossroads. Others might claim that the local hunt gives an opportunity to local riders to, erm, ride. Well, I suppose it does, but chasing a fox or not, our local hunt is just a huge nuisance, blundering about the place, scaring grazing animals and cluttering up narrow lanes with horse boxes and Range Rovers.
Why the rant about the local hunt ? Well I just wonder how many of those involved share the same beliefs about killing wild animals as that bloodthirsty American dentist who shot Cecil the lion – that being that hunting is in humans’ DNA. What rubbish. I haven’t got blue eyes or blonde hair. I also don’t have an overpowering need to first injure a splendid lion with a bow and arrow – A BOW AND ARROW ? – for God’s sake, let it limp off and hide, in great pain, then many hours later finally shoot it. Then cut its head off.
Of course psychotic murderous nerds like the American dentist are excused because we’re told that the fees they pay help towards the costs of maintaining the game reserves. What rubbish.
What brought all this on ? Well, the big loud ladies in the first instance and in the second, me sighting from my bedroom window a superb dog fox loping across the field opposite. He looked in really good nick. All shiny and well muscled. I did get the binoculars on him and I swear he had a wet nose too.
The big loud ladies, given half a chance, would chase him, with dogs, and rejoice, blowing their silly horns if they caught him. Then they’d let their dogs tear him limb from limb. Dogs go for the anus and stomach first, to get at the entrails. Foxhunters are no different to any other leisure hunters. They don’t have to do it. They do it because they LIKE killing things.
I have three hens, so I’m not supposed to like foxes. Of the four villagers who keep hens I’m the only one who’s never lost a hen to a fox. This isn’t because I’m any better at keeping hens. Its down to pure chance really.
What would I do if my hens were taken by a fox ? I’d be sad. I like hens. And I’d probably not have any for a while. But I wouldn’t start creeping about the place with a bow and arrow like an American dentist looking for a fox to kill, any more than I’d shoot the herons who fly over from time to time eyeing my fish, or kill all the sparrows and starlings who steal huge quantities of henfood. Hang on a minute. Something just occurred to me. Maybe, back in Minnesota, the neighbourhood lion killed some of the American dentist’s patients, thus triggering dental hunting instincts. As if. No, he’s just a sad, lethal wannabe.
If you’ve got this far, I’m sorry for banging on. So I’ll stop. I’m a cartoonist so I suppose I should be banging on about cartooning. Its wandering along its strange, unpredictable path. I flogged a couple of gags to Private Eye last week, which is unusual for me. Mr Hislop must be on holiday again. Private Eye NEVER take the gags you think they should take. But I don’t mind. Its just nice to get into a magazine which really uses cartoons, as opposed to the increasing number of magazines staffed by people who have had a sense of humour by-pass. Humour ? Isn’t there an app for that ?