It’s been one of those crazy busy weeks where my feet haven’t hit the ground both at work and socially!
On Wednesday night I attended the 1st Annual Duffers’ Drinks, hosted by Orvis in Regents Street with the Salmon & Trout Conservation UK, and organised by the wonderful Zambuni PR. It’s always good fun being around fellow countryside lovers in the City! The event marked the start of ‘Duffers Fortnight’, the height of the mayfly hatching season and, supposedly, the easiest time for any newbies to fly fishing to catch a prized fish (those are not my words – having only tried fly fishing a handful of times I think it will take more than peak season of mayfly to help me catch more fish than trees…) Not only was this a chance to catch up with some familiar faces from The Field magazine and Shooting Times, but also a great opportunity to hear from the Salmon & Trout Conservation UK. Anyone who participates in fieldsports knows that they come pretty much hand in hand with conservation and it was great to hear from a charity who are taking such an active stance in their conservation efforts to protect our waterways. A surprising guest speaker for the event was Matthew Wright from Channel 5’s ‘The Wright Stuff’. Prior to the evening, I wasn’t aware of how much of a keen and avid fisherman Matthew was, nor his passion for conservation and preserving the wonderful fishing environments for future generations. It was a great evening – so bravo to Claire Zambuni and her amazing team – and left me wanting to know more about this fantastic charity (if any of your are interested, the Salmon and Trout Conservation UK’s website is worth a look). I may also have engaged in a bit of shopping in Orvis as their new range is practical, feminine and in some amazing colours!
To round off the school nights, Thursday saw me socialising with my fellow Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club ladies (the UK’s largest ladies only shooting club) in the form of wine tasting near Pall Mall. The lovely and very knowledgeable Imi Taylor, a bun club hostess and who also works for Swig wines – handy! – organised a fun and educational evening accompanied by christmas sized portions of cheese. Needless to say this was a good opportunity to catch up with my shooting girls outside of the season – who needed no encouragement to congregate in a wine bar – to hear about the days they are planing for the game season and which game fairs are in our calendars. It was also good to catch up with some of the new bun club members and hear about where their shooting is going to take them over the next few weeks.
The absolute highlight of my week had to be returning to the field on Saturday and, after (what has felt like weeks) being reunited with bestie Victoria Knowles-Lacks (of The Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club) for a simulated game day with The Perfect Clay at Bisbrooke Hall, Rutland. This sim day has to be my favourite! Patrick is a fantastic host, with top banter and really looks after all of his guns. 1000’s of clays are thrown over you and the terrain – and wonderful hosting skills – really make you feel like you are on a serious game day. The clays themselves were a mix of sharp and fast or sky-high for a challenge. It was good to get the old competitive spirit going although the generous elevenses did seem to hinder the shooting on the third drive! By the end of the day the usual levels of clay poaching had ensued, but unfortunately for Victoria, I had ‘instructed’ one of the ladies, who was on her first ever sim day, that she had to take all of Victoria’s clays – and she did a very good effort!!
Aside from the shooting, Bisbrooke offers stunning surroundings in the form of the Great Hall for the bacon rolls and the superb hearty and homemade lunch (make sure you look out for the picture of Patrick’s stunning aunty just behind the door – absolute doppleganger.) The estate is run by a family who are incredibly proud of their heritage and really want to give something back. I cannot recommend this day enough and it has now become a firm favourite in my shooting calendar. If you would like more information on The Perfect Clay their website is here.