Squirrels go up in smoke
Shooting Times & Country|June 30, 2021
Charlie accounts for a few greys on his latest foray into fieldsports with his dad, who hadn’t bargained for a fiddly extra job at the end
RICHARD NEGUS

We are doing A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Charlie informed me when I asked what he was up to at school. “Excellent, Puck or Bottom?” I replied in the annoying dad way that only dads may joke.

“No, I’m a second angry man,” he responded, with not a hint of a smile. “I walk in to see that Puck has given Bottom a donkey’s head, then I say ‘you look funnier than a squirrel driving a speedboat’ and then I say ‘burn’ and walk offstage.” I paused for a full five seconds. I used the time to furrow my brow to the degree required to match my ‘What?’ reply.

Squirrels, speedboats, and burn were not terms I remember Shakespeare using from my English literature lessons. Charlie clarified that this was a ‘reimagined’ version of the play that he and a few friends had written as part of a drama project. He went on, in exhaustive detail, to recount every line, gag, slapstick kick, and pratfall that he and his cohorts had penned, which I am sure will be much funnier on stage than it sounded on paper.

Day-Glo

I reminded Charlie that we had an appointment with real squirrels, admittedly not waterborne ones. He disappeared up to his bedroom in a flash, leaving a snail trail of school uniform in his wake, returning in short order decked out in camouflage trousers and Day-Glo yellow Pokemon T-shirt. I fetched our air rifles and, after sending the boy back to change his top, we set off for Flea Barn.

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