Yesterday I went to sing at a Christmas Shopping event held at Arley Hall, one of the Cheshire estates with big house, gardens etc. It is an annual event in aid of the Joshua Tree Charity which provides support for children with cancer – a worthy cause. As a member of Cheshire Rock Choir I’ve sung at this event before, it’s always a worthwhile thing to do and there’s always time to browse the stalls after performing.
On arrival, our shared lift car was parked and we singers were directed to the big house but as we got out of the car we were disturbed to hear loud gunshots from a nearby wood.
“Oh yes,” said the marshal, “they’re shooting pheasants.” Apparently it’s the shooting season and the pheasants were “it”.
Who “they” were I don’t know, but there were several dark green jeep-like vehicles parked near the wood so I suspect “they” were part of the hunting/shooting section of society which I’d decline to mix with. None of our group felt comfortable with the reality and proximity of a group of people with guns, shooting and killing pheasants which had been reared for the specific purpose of being shot for sport and for so-called enjoyment in country pursuits. We went off and sang our hearts out for half an hour in the courtyard of the big house. Our songs were joyful, fun to perform, a large audience gathered to watch us and hear us; there were smiles on their faces, they cheered an applauded and enjoyed our set of songs, some of them Christmassy, some of them fun, some of them powerfully emotional.
I forgot about the shooters and the pheasants until we were on our way out of the estate. The guns had fallen silent and the jeeps had gone. Then we saw several pheasants in the fields we drove past and cheered for those who’d got away.
It has to be a strange kind of person who gets pleasure from killing birds. This kind of person is surely well-fed and solvent enough to buy or hire guns and jeeps, and is clearly not starving and in need of pheasants for food.
It’s all for greed and no’ for need. (I think that may be a Scottish saying and it hits the spot rather well).