I've said it before, and I'll say again; driven bird shooting, like most bird shooting isn't about the shooting. It's about a good day spent in the countryside, camaraderie, and the craic. Sometimes it's more about the craic than other times. This was one of those days. And your's truly was the target. I brought it on, myself. And I was relatively certain there would be some pay back for my off season offering.
To make this story complete, the back story is in order. Last year, a photo of two of my mates, in matching tweeds, surfaced. I couldn't let that go, and knew what I'd have to do. So, a screen capture, a bit of cropping, and an internet search later, and I was packing and shipping a pair of custom, nesting coffee mugs with heart shaped handles. Presented at the syndicate's season end dinner it not only got a laugh, but set in motion the events of my last day at Watton.
SL and CC
Now, it is important to know that I full well expected pay back. And I will say that after a days of shooting with the guys, and there yet to have been even an attempt, I was beginning to get a little worried. Surely these guys were up to the challenge. Well, they didn't disappoint. Last year I'd shown my Achilles heel, when I made my enthusiasm for sticky toffee pudding (with a dollop of clotted cream) known. Sticky toffee pudding is a most excellent dessert seldom found in the US. I liked STP, and that was not lost on them.
So, as the day began to take shape, I was approached by a member of the syndicate. He came bearing a two pack of microwavable sticky toffee pudding. He'd remembered I had a fondness for the dessert, and had found them at the grocery store, and thought I would enjoy eating them at home. How thoughtful. I was truly pleased and impressed. A couple minutes later another member approached and handed me a two pack of sticky toffee pudding, thinking I would enjoy taking a few home. Wow! How thoughtful, and coincidental, I thought. I do like sticky toffee pudding, so.... A few minutes later I third member of the syndicate approached bearing a two pack of sticky toffee pudding. Oh! I get it. Looking across the barn yard I saw CC standing by his truck smirking.
"I know what you've done!" I hollered. "Well done!"
Retribution was been handed out,.... all day. Even after the lunch break I was still being gifted sticky toffee pudding. Unbeknownst to me, the sticky toffee pudding I had stowed in the truck was being snuck out and given to others to give to me. They just seemed to be coming, and coming. By days end, I was the lucky recipient of 16 sticky toffee puddings, and a sticker toffee pudding ale.
The Sticky toffee pudding wasn't exactly the end of it, however. The syndicate has a shaming system. Commit an offense of any kind, and the next weekend you'd be made to carry your gun in a pink gun slip. Well, the week earlier I'd forgotten a few empty hulls on my peg after a drive. I'd alerted a member of the syndicate of my mistake, but the damage was done, and I would be awarded the pink gun slip.
As for the day's shooting? Well, I lucked out and found myself with warm barrels on hot pegs, and got in some great shooting. In fact, I'd say it was my best shooting day of the trip.
And as for the sticky toffee pudding, and the craic,.......