Wednesday, 4 August 2010

A Gross Occasion At Crusty Hall.

The 12th August is an important date in the diary for any so-inclined poppets who are into hunting down a game bird or two. It is, of course, the date upon which the Grouse shooting season starts.

Here at Crusty Hall preparations are underway to mark the occasion, but as many of you will know, one is a lover of all Mother Nature’s creatures …well, perhaps not wasps … or bluebottles … or Esther Rantzen … (well we shall settle on a lover of most of her creatures) and so one does things a little differently on one’s magnificent estate; One uses the 12th of August to celebrate a one day festival which has traditionally been known as Gross Shooting Day.

Each year, a week before the special day, one assembles the household staff in one of the outbuildings and with the assistance of one’s faithful houseboy, Chu Me, one peruses the mob of depravity to find those that have not worn well over the previous year: This can be because of many different reasons; the sun being kept off their sallow complexions through duty expectations, an appalling bone structure, a lack of fruit consumption leading to inadequate Vitamin C absorption or simply because they are hereditarily hideous and one has just been too preoccupied to notice.

Anyhoo … the chosen few that one finds the most gross – hence Gross Shooting Day - are then issued with a ticket, a pair of goggles and some shin pads and, as they stand with excited faces ( … yes, I’m sure it’s excitement) one leaves, so that Chu Me can give them their instructions in private.

Then early morning, on the 12th, one dons one’s shooting jacket and heads down for a hearty breakfast. After which, one arms oneself with one’s trusty paintball rifle and heads out into the grounds, with a hip flask of gin to accompany one on the safari ahead.

In an overgrown field at the back of estate, one stands upon Gusset Clump and waits (Gusset Clump is a small mound of earth that elevates one sufficiently above the height of the long, unkempt grass to give one an advantageous vista). Then for the rest of the morning, Chu Me scurries through the grass coaxing the chosen participants out into the open with a wooden stick; this is when the fun begins!

Clearly there is a cross section of ages and one is disappointed that older members simply jump out in front of one in the first 20 minutes, panting heavily as I blast them with aubergine paint pellets. They paint-splatteredly return to the kitchen where Chef always prepares an elaborate array of nibbles and refreshments to reward participation.

Some of the younger one’s, however, are significantly more competitive. Only last year Gardener’s useless apprentice managed three and a half hours on the run. It was like a scene from a Sir David Attenborough documentary watching this horticulturally challenged poppet spring from the tall grass like a young Gazelle, running for its life from the jaws of a ravenous tiger (Honestly, poppets, Grouse can fly at speeds of up to 80mph, but point a paintball gun at a healthy member of staff and one really does get the same affect).

One’s aim was unable to find him and pellets fell, defeated, to the ground. In the end one had to mount one’s trusty steed and, as he hid behind the distant hedgerow, one galloped towards him with the reigns gripped between one’s teeth in true cowgirl style. With a powerful squeeze of one’s inner thighs, Dribble shot over the hedgerow, straight over the pray’s head and landed four feet away from him. Pulling on the reigns, Dribble rose up on his hind legs. One turned and fired two pellets into the buttocks of one’s Titchmarchesquian quarry. After one shot one's load, the hunted down poppet fell to his knees and wept … exhausted!

All in all, it’s a wonderful way of establishing team work amongst the household staff; it gets them out into the fresh air, gives them a little cardio-vascular exercise … and reminds them of their position within the estate.

Quite exhilarating, one can assure you!

© DCG 2010

1 comment:

  1. Goodness, that sounds like a lark. In Montreal they have an indoor paintball idea if ever you want to give Crusty Hall a load of Pollock.

    Ophelia Buttocks
    Art Critic to the Stars