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A fox in a box.

We have been enjoying a late Summer for the last couple of days and today was no exception.
I was sitting in a hide looking out on a field of disced wheat stubble, that had been drilled with **** and the new plants were just showing through.
The pigeons usually wait until the **** is a couple of inches high before they seriously attack it, but Farmer Boulden has seen birds out there and so I thought I had better show my face.
This was my second visit and I shot 20 odd in a short session a few days ago and they were full of old wheat grains, so the birds on the **** field were clearing up the old crop.

The sun shone from a clear blue sky with almost no wind.
I sat back in the hide with just a handful of decoys out, not really expecting much action, but I had nothing better to do.
I was listening to The Afternoon Play on BBC radio and quite absorbed in the Raymond Chandler story, when I heard the rumble of a diesel engine coming along the hedgerow behind me.
Expecting a tractor, I was surprised to see that it was the elder Mr Boulden in his Land Rover.
There are three Mr Bouldens, the elder is Jim Boulden, known as "Uncle Jim" and then his nephew Martin Boulden (the main farmer) and his son Paul Boulden, who mainly handles all the livestock (sheep and cattle).
Uncle Jim must be in his mid 70's and sort of retired, but he is always around doing something.

"We've got a fox down the farm, can you come and help me out", he called through the hedge.
"Give me a few minutes to pick my bits up and I will meet you there", was my response and he chugged off down the meadow.
I had no idea what he was on about, but as I drove into the farmyard I could see Uncle Jim's wife standing outside an old railboxcar, where they kept hessian sacks, wire, string and the like.
Now Uncle Jim's wife is very small, birdlike, with a bun of grey hair on the top of her head,a long black dress and a dark long sleeved cardigan, done up to the neck (think Grandma Clampit from the Beverly Hillbillies, right down to the wire rimmed spectacles).
She isn't often around and although I have caught the odd glimpse of her, I have never ever spoken to her.

"There is a fox in the shed", she said, "can you shoot it ?".
"Not while its in the shed I can't", I replied, "we will have to get it out".
Uncle Jim didn't look keen on going into the shed, so I suggested that I went and pushed it out and Uncle Jim stood to the side of the door and shot it with my gun as it came out.
He looked even less keen about that idea, but I got the gun out, loaded it , gave it to him and went into the boxcar.
My guess was that Uncle Jim wouldn't shoot the fox and it would just run away and I could get back to my radio programme.

I carefully made my way round the side wall until I was on the end wall, farthest from the door, there was no sign of the fox, but it was dark in the boxcar and it was full of stuff.
Moving towards the door, I banged everything with an old broom I picked up, hoping to flush the fox out.
As I got closer to the door, I could just see the barrel of my gun sticking out in a businesslike fashion, "so Uncle Jim is going to have a go", I thought.
Just then the fox came out from behind a pile of sacks and went through the door like a rocket, a single shot and it rolled over in the yard, stone dead.
I climbed over a bale of wire and a few sheep troughs and got out of the dark old boxcar.
As my eyes got accustomed to the bright sunlight I couldn't believe what I saw.
Uncle Jim's wife had the gun, he was standing well back behind the boxcar.

"What happened", I said.
"He wouldn't have shot it", she replied, "so I did, here is your gun".
I took the gun from her and removed the unshot cartridge, "have you done much shooting ?" I asked.
"When I was a young girl I did", she said, "but I haven't used a gun for 50 years" and she got hold of the fox by its tail and dragged it off down the yard.

Uncle Jim came and stood beside me and we both watched her walking off down the yard.
"Crumbs", I said " I didn't expect that"
"You don't know her", he said.
"Whats she going to do with it ?" I said.
"No idea" he said.
"Well at least you know you won't get it for dinner , don't you" I laughed.
"No", he said.

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