Chapter 1 My 1st day in the field, this is a chapter from my very first book I wrote The Ole Hedge Creeper (From The Start To The Heart)
The very 1st memory I have was on a cold Wednesday December morning at 5am 1974, I know it was December as all the Christmas Trimmings were up and I know it was a Wednesday as Dad and his Muckers (friends) always ferreted on a Wednesday as this was always the traditional day they had off of the docks as they were all Dockers, 5am was the time as over the years this was the normal time to meet and this first time was no exception.
I awoke with Dad tripping over my toy tractor as he tried to sneak down stairs then upon hearing my Mums soft voice from the kitchen I awoke further, I heard her say shut up you noisy bugger you will wake the babies, too late even back then I could hear a ferret sneeze from a 100 yards.
So here I am 2 years old well nearly 3, I grabbed my teddy bear then checked that my little brother was ok then went down stairs to the smell of fresh bacon cooking and the kettle boiling, as I write this I have tears in my eyes just remembering all this.
Well now I knew Dad was going ferreting this morning as I heard him on the phone to his pals the night before, I had been keeping onto him for weeks to take me and did not want to be waiting on the back step again waiting for his return, he made me a promise if I was up when he was ready to go I could go ferreting with them,
Dad was not too happy to start with as he kept trying to say you're a bit young and it's too cold outside for you etc. but the lads just ribbed him even more, Uncle bill sat me on his knee then told me a story of when he was a boy and of all the old time ferreters of who had gone before me, Let's just say I was enchanted all I could think about was getting out there, I could not eat my scrabbled egg on toast fast enough, then came a knock at the door who was that ? could it be my Ole Pappy ? but no it was my Dads younger brother Uncle Dave stood there, I can see it now just as if it were this morning, it was like meeting the hippy from the young ones with his long hippy hair white daps(trainers to you modern kids) blue jeans and an old Army camo coat, although Uncle Dave is Dads brother we are more like real brothers too in later years he was my best man at my wedding but we will get to that later in the book or maybe the next one, Dave came in kissed my mum said get the kettle on then ruffled my hair nicked my toast then said you're up then you coming ferreting then, I was more excited than a ferret Faced with a Rat as Mum tried to dress me in one of those thick padded suit things with my Rupert The Bear Wellies gloves & hat to match.
We got to the first warren as uncle Les Dog Skipper marked to say a bunny was home, now this is a true story but a comical one too, As Skipper(he was a Springer Spaniel) would mark to say bunny was at home he would break wind, so the lads would say how many are home skip ? however many break winds he did that was how many rabbits were at home, now I can't write what they really said but I know you can all guess and the dog did not break wind to how many rabbits were at home he just broke wind when excited, but it is very funny and you had to be there to really take it all in, for a first timer like me that was the start of the most memorable day of my life so far, Dad taught me how to lay my net. I can still hear his voice in my head now, make sure you put the ring down the whole so the rabbit trips over it and falls into the net make sure there is no tangles and the other ring is at the top of the whole with the peg is good and strong as the bunny will run of with your lucky net, we don't want that do we, Right then and there was the first lesson I got in field sports, and I telle it was not going to be the last as we all learn something new every day That's something my Ole Pappy taught me,
Then there it was a rabbit sat in the hole just behind my lucky net, I froze like a heron ready to pounce then In my head I heard my Dads words? If a rabbit shows at the net look away it won't bolt, so I looked away but just could not help but look out of the corner of my eye, all of a sudden as my ferret Sam caught up with rabbit it hit the net like a bullet from a gun, I can still see this big buck rabbit in the air pursed good and tight in my lucky net as the peg held strong and pulled it back to ground.
I was on it like Jason Robinson landing a winning try for England, Dad tells me all he could see was the bottoms of my Rupert the bear wellies sticking out of the rabbit hole with a load voice shouting in the net in the net I got one in my lucky net.
As my Uncles picked up the nets they kept saying well done lad that's the first of many for a life time ferreter like you, uncle Les giving me a cheeky wink saying see told you that was a lucky net didn't I and he was right too as that net had caught literally hundreds of rabbits for me over the years now.
All the money from these books get ploughed back into Pass It On Young Sports thus helping securing our generations of field sports countrymen and women yet to come and follow on from us, oh and before I forget ask me if you see me about a saying we have and must be said in a German accent DONT BITE THE FERRET ;-)
TOGETHER WE CAN INSPIRE
By The Ole Hedge Creeper.