The act of a gentleman.
Now I was sort of lucky in a sense of growing up with a Dad around, who is now currently enjoying his 84th year kicking about.
Now there are many skills this great man has passed on to my knowledge base from carpentry to building and even cooking, he can turn his shovel like hands to most things, during the latter part of the war years they had a German PoW stay on the farm called Richard, now this man was master cabinet maker and seemed to enjoy his time on my Grandfathers farm, showing these simple countrymen a few skills in wood.
Dad grew up with both his Grandfather and Father working alongside him, as they still farmed with horses up until 1948 before they got their 1st tractor.
An Alice Charmers if memory serves me correct.
Now Richard taught my Dad a few things in his time over here, and knowing Dad he would of taught Richard a few things about farming and probably more as well.
So Dad had a rich and varied childhood growing up in pre-war Britain, with Grandfather one side and Father the other, work was done to their standard not yours, even after working for himself and others Dad has a respect for work that would put most to shame, for 36 years he held his job as a machinery sales rep. taking the job after he retired from farming due the health reasons, he finished his working career as a sales rep, selling farm machinery to farms from Plymouth to Lands-end.
For 36 years he was never late and stayed till he was done some nights it would be 9 or 10pm he would roll home, as we all know farmers work all hours epically summer time and when harvesting crops, so if Dad wanted a sale he worked around them, I know several lads who trained with Dad, but sadly they lacked something which Dad has and many do not, respect.
Dad would only turn up at a farm if, A: he had been invited to come or B: he needed to collect accounts, as we all know farmers are a bit tight with the ole purse strings.
These young chaps thought it would be a case of turn up on a farm, spout some waffle and ole farmer would open his wallet and boom a sale, sadly I know from the hours I’ve sat in the car waiting for him during holiday times, Dad could be in with a farmer for a few hours, I very often used to get told to wait in the car with, Dad’s parting words” doing business boy, sit here.”
Then after an hour you would see, the farmer’s wife come out, waving you in, cup of tea boy, bit of cake, few buns, “oh yes please Mrs Farmer’s wife.”
But I knew Dad was talking shop, percent this, cost that, part exchange the other, but I knew keep quiet and listen, or else.
From farmer working out if he does really need this bigger tractor to what Dads firm would give them for the old one, it’s a big step, not like buying a car at maybe £10 or 15 thousand, but a tractor runs to £150,000 and that’s a long term invest.
I know of a few tractors and implements that Dad sold when I was a babe in arms, over 40 years ago that are still going today.
So even today I instil on my kids, if we as grown-ups are discussing business, go and sit down and be quiet.
And the values I was taught and my father before me are passed on, but sadly we are finding, this value and many others are let fly in the wind as they say.
So being brought up old school I hold old school values, from my work to my private life, and all between.
Now I pride myself on these ways and from having a laugh with the boys to meetings I carry myself a loft on the knowledge of a gentleman.
This does not mean I walk around talking posh with my nose in the air, it means I act and behave according to the situation, now I see a lot of young men who go out for a meal at the pub, after a hard day at say a show or event and then seem to just want to get tanked up like it’s their last supper, downing 4 or 5 pints then the poetic words start followed by the smut and all this before a meal then sit there getting lairy at the table, I’ve witnessed waiting staff looking at the table in disgust, and even had managers go over to ask it be kept a bit more like it should.
Alas these young men seen to never take the hint or learn from the past.
The act of gentlemen is also manners, from opening a door for a lady or an elderly person, maybe offering a wheelchair user some assistance. I very often get looked at strange by wheelchair users for offering to help, maybe load their car or reach upper shelves in supermarkets, and they very often look at me in disgust as I’ve said or done something terrible to them, but I do feel one can offer, even if refused.
The manners I have been taught are, please and thank you, and a few others like, removing my hat to eat or drink, boots off at the door, serve a lady 1st, holding her chair out, and many others from letting people in at slip way on the roads. Correct use of roundabout rules, it’s the little things that matter. From tiny acorns grow mighty oaks so to inspire is to win the fight.
Now these ramblings are here for all, and some apply to the field, if you’re invited out to shoot, don’t be late.
Be polite, Its somebody else’s land and rights, Don’t go back on your own to shoot, and don’t ever try to poach the land for yourself, there is nothing worse than inviting Fred out shooting then hearing from farmer that, Fred has been around trying to bag the land to shoot himself.
So You go out on Phil’s shoot, and you both see a target, who goes 1st, gentlemen’s rules say the host, but the host may then tell you to go on and shoot, it’s better to allow the host the opportunity to drop his own target, on his land, he might not say anything, but I can guarantee he will remember it.
You see how this goes, it’s the little things that make a ripple in the pond, and if enough ripples are formed you get a wave that has enough force to change things on the surface.
I had the pleasure of seeing a complete stranger showing these traits the other week when I was out for a meal with the wife, this young man maybe 20 or so of age had a young lady with him and showed her as much due care as a true gentlemen should show a lady, it was nice to see some young men still have a bar set so high.
Maybe it will rub off on his peers and raise it higher still.
So from holding a door open, to allowing the fairer sex to pass first we feel it’s more of an honour than a duty to call one a gentlemen.
An honour to allow one to go second or help another soul is a small price along with some manners; they seem to be a forgotten thing in today’s modern fast paced world.
Maybe our Grandfathers had it best after all, they worked hard and it showed in their manners total respect for others.
How many still stop and show kindness to others, how many show respect for the quarry we pursue on our self-adventures of the hunt, that’s another thing that is lost today, respect for the animal, from the deprived people dog fighting and stealing household pets from people’s homes, to the utter lack of respect in the fields, it might be a rat or a rabbit, but a short while ago it was a living creature with its own place on the planet.
I used to go out to kill all in sight, these days I spend more time enjoying Mother Nature than taking from her, yes I carry out pest control, but have learnt the hard way from over killing land, the farmer no longer needs you, so you lose the land, or what seems to be the current issues are man-made diseases such as Myxi and VHD1. These were invented to control the numbers but a true countryman needs only his skills and knowledge to control the numbers, I have had several shoots, now lying barren for these diseases coming in and wiping out the population, which then you are not needed as there is no rabbit to control.
So as a true old school countryman I take pride in the work I carry out, being selective on the rabbits keeps a healthy stock. That big old war torn buck can breed again this year throwing out a good healthy stock of fur and meat, Yes you read that correct I use the fur, it’s a good source for so many things, from gloves and mittens to pouches and rugs, it’s easy to work and very durable.
Out with the family, we always get told how polite the kids are.
The meat I use for myself and is also sold on to the local butchers, or passed on to the elderly who seem to all have a fond memory over a rabbit.
I also supply a local zoo, the lynx and cheetah love a fresh rabbit or 2 once a week.
I have proved I can hunt, and found over the years there is nothing to prove to anybody except myself for a “Big bag”
Seems to me the only big bag is one of self-pride, alas some seem to just have this need to dispatch all for as far as the eye can see, which is not the way of the countryman, we are taught to harvest what we need and leave some for another day.
Even though we see more and more of the kill it all attitude, it comes back to bite you on the ass, same with deer control, the need to bag 4 or 5 or more animals going to the game dealers, for a few pounds in the back pocket, manage the herd by all means but leave enough stock to maintain a strong base.
Right I could ramble about this all day long but being a gentlemen I won’t, so parting thoughts are a bit more respect for yourself and others and let us keep the world a little happier.