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The Rule of Six: good news for misanthropes but bad news for grouse

September 14, 2020

Fantastic news that shooting parties in England have been exempted from the Rule of Six! It seems that the rule forbidding more than six people from gathering together doesn’t apply to field sports.

I must make haste to obtain a shooting licence for my estate. I’m sure that in my deeply Conservative constituency the authorities will turn a blind eye to the fact that my land is about the size of the average municipal playground, and that we’re somewhat short on heather and grouse. No matter. I shall be hosting invasive species parties. My guests will encouraged to bag a brace of marauding grey squirrel, or possibly some screeching green parakeets.

I will of course warn my neighbours to take shelter from the occasional volley of shot accidentally fired in their direction. And, as a good neighbour, I shan’t hesitate to repair any fences that get pock-marked. Should anyone end up being terminated with extreme prejudice during the festvities, not to worry. I have insurance for that.

I reckon that two or three shooting parties before Christmas will be enough to take care of the squirrels, at least for the while, though they won’t make much of a dent in the parakeet population. But the birds do talk to each other, I gather, so hopefully they’ll be sensible enough to stay away, or, better still, to return to whichever foreign land they hail from.

Other strategies will be required if we’re to have a jolly festive season. Perhaps the government will make an exception for dogging, cock-fighting and whippet races, if only to show that it’s not biased in favour of the recreational habits of the upper classes.

I’m not sure we’ll go so far as to indulge in such merriment, but we do have a cunning plan that will save our annual Christmas party. We’re thinking about starting at 7am, with two-hour time slots for invitees, no more than four at a time. Our friends who live locally could do exactly the same thing, so you would end up with people rotating around each other’s homes in a kind of celebratory round-robin.

On the other hand, since the COVID regulations of other countries are likely to prevent us from embarking on our usual November tour of South-East Asia, I may well be pretty morose by the time we get to Christmas week, so one option to consider is to slip away to somewhere like France or Spain for a fortnight in December, which would force us to self-isolate for a couple of weeks on our return. A good excuse to abolish the party altogether. A ten-minute zoom chat with various friends and relatives should be more than enough to fulfil the required social obligations.

Either way, the next three months should be a grand opportunity, following the example set by the government, to flout the law in creative, albeit specific and limited, ways.

There’s another silver lining to the incipient second wave. Should parents be irresponsible enough to let their kids go trick’n’treating or carol singing, one would think that they’ll quickly move on when they see the large sign on our front door proclaiming “COVID House – Keep Away”. And if they can’t read, a crudely-daubed red cross should do the job.

So whether you’re a party animal (apart from a grouse) or a miserable killjoy like me, there’s plenty of opportunity to make mischief in the coming months. Should be fun.

From → Social, Sport, UK

  1. your post triggered a question.
    what is the condition of your attic, as to squirrels?

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