Sunday, January 27, 2008
Oscar Wilde and the family shoot
Well that was quite a weekend. First on to the important business of my Grandmother. Despite having something rather wrong with her kidneys she seems okay at the moment. Like an episode of House she has some sort of virus that is making her kidneys rather unhappy but the exact nature of it is unknown.
When I visited her she was rather jolly this is because her three favourite things are available in hospital
1)Drugs. My grandmother loves taking drugs, in a 1960s housewife sort of way. When the doctors offered her sleeping pills she could barely contain her glee.
2)Eaves Dropping. The woman opposite my grandmother in hospital is having a to-do with her daughter. Listening to this drama unfolding was making my grandmother's eyes positively sparkle.
3)Nice Beds. It is traditional for my grandmother to receive guests while propped up in bed surrounded by the papers, radio 4 going on quietly in the background and ideally a dog and a cat lounging around like cushions. The latter two are not available in hospital but the bed adjusts so matriarchs can sit up and read about the situation in Kenya (which she pronounces Keeen-ya).
The nurses in the hospital were amazed that at the age of 88 my grandmother was hosting dinner parties and going for long walks with her dog so while the doctors still don't know exactly what is wrong with her she did seem in very good sorts.
This weekend was also the event of the family shoot. It's a mass gathering of the family more than a serious sporting event. Every bird that is shot (and they are very few - there are only about two shots of note in the family) will be turned into some sort of delicious meal. It (the bird) will have had a terribly nice life of scampering around the Dorset hills in specially grown crops designed for it to live in.
The shoot was the smallest it has been for a while, various parts of the family were off doing things in other countries but as always it was a joy to catch up with cousins, second cousins and various 3rd and 4rd cousins who have now been absorbed into the fold.
The day is split into three main parts, in the early morning the hills are covered in cousins as they beat, or shoot depending on their position in the family. After about four drives across various hills everyone has a mid-morning snack of hot soup (wild mushroom this time) and sausages. It's the thought of these hot snacks that keeps you going as you stumble through fields of kale or over hedgerows.
After the snack there is a final drive through woodland that is extremely tough going and like being in the Great Escape. You stumble over trees and things while gun-fire goes on around you and various surprised animals - including deer - scamper in your wake. After this long and exhausting 'walk with guns' everyone returns to the house for a lovely meal made up by various members of staff.
It was on the way back to this that my Great Uncle Rupert accused me of looking like a Wildian figure in my tweeds and tie, which in turn caused another distant uncle called Tom to remark that it was probably genetic as we were relatives of a Mr Oscar Wilde. I wasn't aware of this connection previously but it's a pleasant surprise.
The day was finished off by visiting my grandmother in hospital, after causing myself a cracker of a head injury as I managed to prang my head on the door of the Range Rover and made an awful lot of blood come out of it. Thankfully it was only a flesh wound so after a bit of bleeding and a sort of bandage I'm fine although it does appear that TCP is now my new fragrance.