The joy of a day spent bagging almost no birds

The highlight of my country calendar is when I’m lucky enough to be invited to what even the host describes as ‘the world’s best worst shoot’. It’s the worst shoot because the bag is often truly atrocious. This year, for example, in the course of six or possibly seven drives — the details are hazy — we managed a total of nine birds between us. That works out at an average of one and one eighth of a bird per gun over an entire day. But still, disappointingly, we were well short of the all-time record low of three.

I’d love to be able to blame this shaming tally on poor gamekeeping: ‘Of course, I’d have bagged loads more if a single bloody pheasant had flown anywhere near my peg the entire day.’ But in all honesty it wasn’t the birds that were the problem so much as the useless gits standing under their flight path. Some of us kept missing because we were too coldy or decrepit; some of us because we were too laidback even to bother raising our guns; some because we don’t really like killing things that much; some because we’re simply lousy shots.