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I have a long held belief that when a Springer Spaniel is in pup, built into her womb is a video clip on constant replay of a pheasant taking off in flight. Complete with a soundtrack of flapping wings and the distinctive cluck-cluck-clucking they make as they take off. Why do I think this? Well how else can a sweet little Springer puppy from a very very early stage in life just know what to do when they see or hear a pheasant. Just how else will a sweet little Springer puppy know to bolt after the bird, flushing it out, while controllably – yes I did type controllably – leaping around. After all Springers are not manic, just enthusiastic and damn good at their job.

The trouble is that this built-in Springer/pheasant instinct doesn’t just happen in the great outdoors. Picture the scene, me and my best mate were in the kitchen of Tabor Hill HQ having had supper, the jug of Pimms going down a treat and on in the background a Midsomer Murder. Much of the plot was based around a wood with a cottage by a pond. All very pretty and Midsomer-ish, but every blooming time anyone went near this wood a pheasant kicked off. It didn’t matter what time of day or night – the clucking started. And every blooming time I had four Springers leap in the air, run round the kitchen, bolt for the front door, dash across the garden, sending gravel flying and out into the yard. Once in the yard there were four Springers leaping around ears flying while desperately trying to spot the pheasant. It got so bad that you couldn’t watch the episode and when finally the jug of Pimms was finished I turned off the TV and best mate went home, while Springers were confused and knackered.

I will admit this isn’t the first case and I suppose it won’t be the last. I had trouble trying to watch Downton Abbey. It was during a brief period of the drama when there was a housemaid called Ethel. She wasn’t the brightest spark or the hardest worker and every time Carson the Butler yelled ‘ETHEL’ my poor dog leaped in the air, swung round to look at me with the manic…sorry intelligent…look of ‘WHAT, I wasn’t doing anything”. All I could do was laugh and all Ethel did was sulk.

And as for hounds…..oh blimey…don’t mention hounds to Ethel. Hounds have been in the farm yard and the farm yard is not owned by me, but by Ethel and Ethel HATES hounds cos they invade HER yard. So if there is a hunting scene on the TV there is a panic to grab the remote to turn off the sound before Effs hears them and all hell breaks loose.