When Horsefield doesn't get stick
Shooting Times & Country|August 11, 2021
As the season inches ever closer, the prep is moving apace at High Park, with young Horsefield proving he’s worth his weight in gold
DUNCAN IRELAND; PAUL QUAGLIANA; ALAMY

I am sure that I have said it before but Elliott — very occasionally referred to as Horsefield on these pages — is completely, utterly, and totally reliable and is a driven man who has been almost obsessive in his determination to make perfect preparations for the arrival of my pheasant poults at the beginning of August. I am writing these words at the end of July, only a day or two before the birds turn up on the first day of the new month, and I have just returned from yet another fishing trip.

When I got home from my expedition to Shropshire (A sweet and cool intimacy, 14 July) I found Elliott had been hard at work tidying things up, checking the wire of the pens, patching it where needed, setting up the electric fences, and seeing to a dozen other jobs.

As soon as I returned from my latest jaunt I went out to High Park, where Elliott was busy putting the final touches to new pop-holes, cutting more roosting poles, and checking once again to make sure that the pens were secure and would keep the poults safe.

Gratitude

He is a marvel; one in a thousand, if not one in a million. If I paid him anything at all, I should most certainly start paying him handsomely, but he works for the love of it and scorns material reward. I could, I suppose, try to slip him a fiver or two, but I know that he would refuse the gift and he might well feel insulted. I shall lavish him instead with gratitude and praise.

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