Where Have All The Characters Gone
I was talking to a dear friend Keith Reynolds (The author of Dog in the shooting times magazine) at The South Yorkshire Game fair just recently, Our conversation got onto the good ole days and by this I mean the great game fairs of yester year.
When I was just a young whipper snapper and starting out as Young Gun and other writer’s names I used at the time until I found my place as The Ole Hedge Creeper, I would sit on the stands at the game fairs and listen to such folk as dear old Fred J Taylor with his gallon of cheap red wine telling stories and passing on knowledge to us.
Another great inspiration who gave me great passion to keep writing even though I am badly dyslexic was John Humphrey’s , John saw a passion for writing that lay in me just as my Pappy did (My true life hero) and taught me ways to deal with my affliction and to keep writing.
Another dear friend and inspiration was Clarrissa Dickenson Wright (also Johnny Scott) who not only inspired me but pushed me on to write more and more in fact who in part was one of the people who inspired me to write my series of books and cook books.
So when I say the great game fairs of yester year I mean not this plastic type shadow of its self shows we have many of now, No I mean good ole proper country shows, Where on the magazine stand etc you would find such character’s in all their glorious colours passing on knowledge and having a jolly good laugh meeting their reader’s.
Thus affirming those bonds that as a young or old countryman would warm too, I could not wait to get to the next show or rush out to buy The Shooting times or Shooting News (Countryman’s Weekly) and more magazines to find out what my inspirations had been up to, I know I am not the only Old Boy now who remembers those days of the great game fairs and magazines of yester year.
Also those magazine articles of my youth had such passion and inspiration in them to a young countryman and beyond.
For today I find all to many of these articles now written to have lost that flair that passion that inspiration, What I see are perfectly worded and well written articles write down to the last full stop in every detail,
But what I don’t see is the passion the inspiration that takes me along with them either on the hunt or just looking at a piece of new kit etc, Its all too professional now and for me as of many of you that have emailed me about this, Many of you say my in articles you can still feel that passion and inspiration and that’s the difference in how I write.
As you can hear my voice telling you the story as it unfolds as if we were stood at the bar with a cider in our fists or on my stand at a game fair, I take you to the field or hill top with the wind hitting your face as the ice cold air nips your ears, That is what is missing for me in many articles now and why I write the way I do as my dear friends no longer with us inspired me to do.
So with this article I dedicate this to them and thank them from the bottom of my heart as they inspired a generation and beyond with their scribbles, I hope to do the same but have very big boots to fill and as of yet I have not even filled half of one of those big boots yet.
I will quote a snippet in the words below from my book
The Ole Hedge Creeper (Start to the Heart)
Something I often hear fellow Sportsmen ask is this, where have all the characters gone?
Growing up as I did with my parents’ owning and running pubs, I met so many people who can only be referred to as characters. Some possessed the kind of personal character You wouldn’t want to be around, Others I would gladly spend every waking hour of every day in their company, These were such characters as the local rag and bone man, With his horse called Marcus, A man who would get so drunk he would be seen slumped forward in his seat of his horse drawn cart asleep on his way back home, His horse knowing exactly the way to take his master home.
A professional eel catcher, His clothes stinking of the fish baits used in his fyke nets, a man who always found room at the bar, I am sure this had nothing to do with the ordure he emitted, or his terrier who would growl as soon as you looked at it.
An ex royal marine Commando who fought a clandestine war within the forests of France. An old man now in his late 70s who was still as pristine as the suit he wore, on the outside a perfect gent but on the inside a man who found it hard to leave his war time learnt skills behind. A man who served 15 years in foreign prison for his part in a failed coup in some far off land.
Then there were the sporting characters the type of character who would give many a game keeper a sleepless night. Or gamekeeper himself who would give the wayward poacher a harsh lesson in the laws of the land.
Both men from different sides of the same fence, A fence that one saw as his boundary to his place of employment, The other seeing the fence as nothing more than a hurdle to climb on his night-time forays after his lordships pheasants, Both men in their later years still bore the animosity one another brought about by their chosen sporting path.
It is characters like these you will be introduced to in the pages of the Ole Hedge creepers books, all very real people that have been part of the author’s life and who in part have made him the man he is today.
Making him a true countryman and sportsman of the old school with a love for the quarry he seeks but also a man with a love for the countryside.
A passion for Fieldsports and with a real passion to Pass it On to futer generations, Spoken as he speaks and from the heart, You won’t find a false shine or polish given to his words, thus making this read as if you yourself were indeed sharing a pint with him inside the walls of his favourite public house.
So next time I am asked where has all the characters gone I am simply going to answer as follows.
To the woods in search of a pigeon, to the flight pond in search of duck, over the fells with the ferret keeping clear of his lordships birds, or maybe not, out for a walk with his favourite running dog in search of a Coney for the pot that’s were all the characters have gone.
Some wonderful words from my first publisher there in my first book, All my books are available from www.fourteenacre.co.uk and every penny from myself and fourteen acre goes straight to the Pass It On Young Sports initiative www.pass-it-on-young-sports.org.uk to further inspire our next generation of fieldsportmen and women.
So for me this is what I say in my articles you will get the passion the inspiration, you will come with me to the hill top or fell and come with me on every hunt, I will take you were the wind blows and the drummers do battle with the pugs deep underground, Or the wildfowl light up the night with the sounds of far of lands and sends a chill down your spine.
Or on our stands at the game fairs were you will find an oasis of the great game fairs of yester year, This is where I will honour my childhood hero’s in part named in this article, Where all are welcome weather rouge with ferret terrier or running dog or a gentleman in his tweeds with Labrador at his heel.
For on our stand this is where you will find the characters the stories to be told, were we will inspire the next generation of characters to think outside the box and not turn into a sheeple free thinkers with a larger than life colour that you truly only get within Fieldsports.
And as for the Young Sports all I can say is quite simply.
TOGETHER WE CAN INSPIRE
By The Ole Hedge Creeper
Arrrrrrr Tiz Proper Job Muckers I Telle 😉