To our utter shock and horror, we ascertained a short while ago that we have moved to a country where hunters live. Yes, hunters, in a European city, with huge guns.
This story actually starts some time ago, when I used to walk with the red dogs in farm lands very close to our house. We loved it: dirt roads, no traffic, the red dogs could run loose and smell SPANISH THINGS (it appears that everything smells different here for the red dogs, that’s why we have to stop at all the random spots where other dogs walked, breathed, sat, had a wee and a poo in the last century).
So the farm land walks were wonderful.
Until the day a strange looking hairy old Spaniard came galloping towards the red dogs and I on his horse and started shouting at me, in Spanish (which I could understand, yes, it is similar to alien language which I could speak from birth – please note the sarcasm).
Of course when I returned home, I spoke to a friend who told me that this shouting Spaniard was probably trying to warn me that hunting season had started, which means that anything that moves in the fields are fair game and as such, I should avoid the farm roads. I was astonished; firstly, clearly there is a difference between one standard human, two red dogs, and wild game? Furthermore, one would think that there would be enormous warning signs everywhere warning people about the hunting season, but apparently not. It appears that this knowledge is part of the book of knowledge that Spanish children are born with. Foreigners don’t get those books.
About one week after this event, my husband and I were woken up at some ungodly hour (on a Sunday), with the sounds of people shooting guns. Admittedly I did not know what this sounded like, but for some reason my husband does…
Apparently we live in an area where these shooting events take place regularly. Later that day, we went walking with the red dogs, on proper non-farm roads, when we spotted a group of 4x4 vehicles parked in a little field between houses. Of course being the nosey people that we are, we spied on the 4x4 vehicles and their occupants for as long as we were able to.
For the record, I come from a country where people hunt as well, with huge guns, camouflage gear, lots of alcoholic drinks and meat for the braai, in order to shoot some game. Not that I ever partook in these events.
Now, in the town we live, hunters seem to behave in a similar fashion: the 4x4’s were grouped closely together, the hunters were in full camo gear, bearing huge guns, their whippet dogs sitting quietly next to them… whilst they were sipping their coffees and eating the baguettes and gammon. Yes, I admit, I was already in stiches with this: clearly hunting in the European fashion requires some serious style. However, here is where it becomes even more interesting: of course the camo gear in necessary, the hunters are hunting in a farmed field full of cut corn, it is therefore of tantamount importance to blend in with the corn, but of course, since the wild rabbits and birds that they are shooting will spot them a mile away if they are not in camo gear. Indeed, they hunt rabbits and birds. The mind boggles.
As such, I have learned a couple of lessons which I have no problem in sharing with you:
1. Walking on farm roads can be seriously dangerous for your health.
2. Clearly some Spanish hunters have a size issue: from afar, the red dogs and I could be mistaken for rabbits and birds.
3. It is safer for my health to stay at home and have more wine.