Where It All Began
From The Start to The Heart
(Chapter 1 My 1st day in the field)
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 & I know it was a Wednesday as Dad & his Muckers 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 & this 1st time was no exception, I awoke with Dad tripping over my toy tractor as he tried to sneak down stairs then hearing my Mums soft voice from the kitchen, 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, I am 2 years old well nearly 3 so I grabbed my teddy bear & checked that my little brother was OK then went down stairs to the smell of fresh bacon cooking & the kettle boiling, As I write 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 & did not want to be waiting on the back step again waiting for his return, So he made me a promise if I was up when he was ready to go I could go ferreting with them, Well he did not think that was a promise he would have had to keep for a few years I think I can still see the look of shock on his face when I came round the corner in my Rupert Bear pyjamas carrying my Teddy Bear, Mums says my 1st words were I am up so you have to keep your promise Daddy you have to take me with you, As I looked around I could see all my uncles there, They were not really my blood uncles but I still think of them as so, right there stood in front of me was a man mountain Uncle Les well over 6ft tall ex-Army & built like a tank who gave me a wink & said yeh lad you can come as Uncle Chris/Barry & Uncle Bill gave Dad some ribbing saying there ya go a chip of the ole block & you can't go back on a promise, Well dad was not too happy to start with as he kept trying to say you're a bit young & it's too cold for you etc. but the lads just ribbed him even more, So Uncle bill sat me on his knee & told me a story of when he was a boy & 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 My Uncle Dave stood there, I can see it now it was like meeting the hippy from the young ones with his long hippy hair white daps(trainers to you modern kids) blue jeans & an Army camo coat, Although Uncle Dave is Dads brother we are more like real brothers now & in later years he was my best man at my wedding but we will get to that later in the book or next one, Dave came in kissed my mum said get the kettle on then ruffled my hair nicked my toast & said you're up then you coming ferreting, Well 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, Well it seemed like a life time to this 1st time ferreter as we drove to the farm about an hour or so away I must have fell asleep as the next thing I know good ole Gyp our Whippet was jumping all over me licking my face as if to say come on boy we are here wake up.
Or another of my sayings as it was drummed into me as a boy, The Trophy Of Hunting, Is A Passion For Conservation.
TOGETHER WE CAN INSPIRE