“The English country gentleman galloping after a fox – the unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible.”
I saw something unexpected today. Perhaps “heard” or “experienced” would be more accurate, because I didn’t see very much at all. I saw (heard/experienced) a fox hunt. I’m not going to be drawn into the fox-hunting debate, either on the pro or anti side. “Hunting with dogs” is still perfectly legal in Eire, and I’m aware that there is at least one local “hunt”. I’ve also learned that I don’t always understand everything that is happening in my locality. Instead, I’m going to report what I saw, and leave it at that.
My house is a little over a mile from the town. When the mood takes me, as it did today, I walk down to the town. It’s a pleasant walk, and today all I planned to buy was a couple of cartons of milk (whole and semi-skimmed) and the papers. That hardly represents a serious load, especially carried in a rucksac.
For part of it’s route, the road runs parallel to the River Allow. On the way down, I noticed some unusual things. Cars parked at the side of the road in places where there are not usually cars, and a couple of small groups of men, all looking observant and some talking on mobile phones. I wondered what was going on.
Further along, the river comes closer and there is a steep wooded bank between the river and the road, as it passes through a small wood. As I entered the wood, I became aware of sounds coming from the wood. The sounds were: dogs barking and yelping, men shouting and cracking sounds (which I think were trees being struck with sticks). I crossed the road to look down onto the river. In the distance I heard the sound of a “call” (I’m not sure what the correct name for a the bugle or trumpet they use is). As I looked down at the river bank I could see a couple of hounds running around and sniffing the ground. While I watched, a man climbed up a track leading from the river bank. He said that they were trying to prevent the fox (I assumed they were hunting a fox) from crossing the road.
I continued to the town, and completed my errand. I wasn’t at all surprised that there was nothing for me to see on the way home. When I was nearly home, I saw a car driving towards me, so I stepped up onto the verge. To my surprise he pulled into a field entrance a little in front of me, got out of the car and started talking on his mobile phone. As I reached him, he finished with the phone,
- “Did you get your fox?” I asked.
- “Oh, we won’t be catching any of those fellows today” he replied with a grin.
In the distance, I could here the sound of the dogs barking.
All I saw throughout the whole episode were two dogs and some men. No fox, no horses, nothing else.