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Farmer John’s March ’15 blog

Farmer John’s March ’15 blog

27 Nov 2015

Less than two weeks after our much loved gamekeeper, Bunny Herbert, died, three of his successors were wrestling with one very stuck pickup in the wettest part of Annis field. I could hear his critical comments ringing in my ears and so could they. Shortly after, Steve arrived on his tractor and pulled him out and we all felt better. Bunny was a true countryman, born at Chapel Row and brought up on a diet of general self-sufficiency. That meant he grew his own vegetables and knew what tasted best from the wildlife under his care. With his dedication to the welfare and feeding of his pheasants, he was always up early and never shirked his daily work. Like most gamekeepers he was hugely territorial with a general policy of attack first when people were walking through his patch. Having established who was boss, he was generally quite understanding, even, on occasion, friendly. My relationship was based on his need for game strips to be ploughed, the provision of a tractor and trailer for shooting days and wheat for feed etc. I valued him and his love for the countryside and know such men are not replaceable. The other day I passed two of his cock pheasants fighting one another on Scratchface Lane. They briefly suspended hostilities to allow me through. At least five hours later I returned to find the same two eye to eye, heads up and down with the occasional flurry of physical contact. Presumably this was all in the cause of “survival of the fittest” and which of these battle weary males would have the choice of the local hot talent.
In a recent medical survey, it appears that those taking regular low levels of physical activity in the form of jogging have a better survival rate than the more energetic. This fact seems to have escaped the notice of our education officer Cliff Marriott. He is regularly to be seen pounding the lanes as he prepares to take his place in the London Marathon. He is raising money for the John Simonds Trust and the Five A Day market garden, an excellent work which his wife Pam Goddard runs at Englefield.
His local Giving page is http://localgiving.com/fundraising/cliffmarriott
If you would like to support these two local causes I am sure it would make all the training and preparation worthwhile.