I bet you thought I had forgotten you. Yes, this is indeed Squire Townshend St John De Grincheux signing in to spread a bit of Christmas Cheer.
Maddie and I will be hosting the usual eighteen to twenty odd for dinner. Cook and her team are all prepared, turkeys have been stored, hams salted and one thing and another. I have taken the liberty of picking the drinks to be served, of course.
Nothing like starting the day with a bit of a halloo over the moors, before lunch. A stirrup cup of spiced rum or mead and then off to dinner. "Freddie" Flingstuff is going to be along to add a bit of celebrity colour as well as the usuals, Nigel Snipe-Razzell, Geoffrey Loosely-Gaye, "Bogroll" Bligh, "Wingit" Hershaw and, of course, our new MP for our adjacent county Upper Middleshire & Blazering, "Perkie" Perkins or Sam as he prefers to be called. Dashed good thing he beat off that UKVIP candidate, Joseph H. Snottham. Borderfolk & Sheepshire is a staunch Conserve-IT seat. We'd like it to stay that way next year.
I did invite Henry Treadsoftly but it sounds like my sister Hildebrande has some things for him to do before they pick up dear old Colonel Somewhat-Vague and Henrietta from Crumbleigh Towers and the Much Vexing mob come to join us for lunch.
At one time, the Colonel would have led the charge, of course but in those days we would have been chasing real foxes instead of a chap dressed as one who the winner "shoots" with a foam lump loaded ina toy gun. Oh well, at least we can use a few hounds.
The economy hasn't been the same since the days of the hunt. I'm not a lover of blood sports and don't like seeing foxes killed or birds shot but I have to say that a lot of people who had jobs which relied on the extra income from those sports have left the area, now. The kennels are largely closed, the blacksmiths and farriers went, makers of all sorts of gear, a local brewer, I could go on. The town folk won't have it until the foxes start on their bins and become a nuisance but we had a delicate control here in the country. We did know what we were at, even if it looked like we were a lot of rich old farts overdoing it. No gamekeeper on my estate ever gassed a badger, shot a bird of prey or saw off wildlife. I saw to that. I still have the odd hen harrier but not like we did since the grouse moor closed. I couldn't have all those protesters stomping about. Same with the fox hunting. We stopped it but I tell you, now, if you live in the country, you get a different perspective and maybe you should think on that. It's easy to make judgements about things you don't understand because you aren't close enough to care.
Now, let's get back to enjoying a good Xmas. Wherever you are, I hope you enjoy the company of your family and some time to relax. We could do with more time off in this little nation of ours. It's quality time when well spent and we should all have that opportunity. So grab a bottle of something you like and here's a toast to a great new year in 2015.
Damson Gin....now where did I put the Damson Gin? Excuse me, folks, I have a couple of important bottles to dig out. The home made stuff is just nicely ready for the festive season. Hope you grabbed some of those bunches of sloes back in the Autumn.
Happy Christmas All