Saturday, 30 January 2010

She asked, 'Do you hunt?' To which I replied, 'No.'

I had an amusing experience some years ago. It's worth recalling in the context of fox hunting.

I was up in rural Derbyshire during winter and I was looking for the church at a village called Longford. My great, great grandmother was born there in 1804 and her maiden name was Mary Anne Fox. I wanted to find the gravestones of, say, her parents, Daniel and Frances Fox, or, indeed, any other Fox ancestors, some of whom I knew to have been buried at St. Chad's Church. But I couldn't find the church.

Anyway, whilst seeking it out, a bunch of fox hunters crossed the rural road I was traversing. One of the riders, a lady, stopped what little traffic there was and I willingly stopped, too, for I was not minded to be impolite. I wound down my window and asked the lady, 'Which hunt is this?' She responded, 'The Meynell' (speaking with a slightly shrill voice but pronouncing the name correctly, as I knew, 'The Mennell'). She then explained the way to St. Chad's Church, Longford. I thanked her and explained, in turn, that I was far from my Cambridgeshire home.

I was driving my Land Rover Discovery and, for whatever reason - maybe she thought that I was a 'sab' - she asked, 'Do you hunt?' To which I replied, 'No.' And she rode on. I wasn't very quick-witted then, for I should have said, 'Yes, but only dead Foxes in Longford churchyard.'

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