Update 28th August, 2017
As usual I must apologise for not keeping up with my correspondence: I was horrified to see that the last missive was in May, just after the Deep River show which I sadly was unable to attend.
As some of you will remember, my wife Chrissy was diagnosed with a particular nasty cancer back in February and life has been pretty complicated ever since. A long and complicated abdominal operation came next and now we are on to chemotherapy which runs until late October. Our annual trip to Scotland was cancelled but we have got away for the odd day or two between treatments. We can but travel hopefully and she is determined to remain positive.
At the beginning of August we travelled to York for a couple of days of luxury in a lovely hotel only a couple of minutes saunter from York Minster. There I was privileged to watch the pair of peregrines that have made the medieval towers their home: it was a strange experience to be surrounded by tourists who had not the faintest idea they were only yards from one of our most spectacular birds of prey.
After leaving York I was privileged to spend a morning and evening stalking Roe bucks with John Robson in Driffield and had the great fortune to bag a bronze medal and a good cull.
Left: Bronze medal Roe buck Right: Cull Roe buck
Here the weather has been pretty good in recent weeks but is not forecast to last. The birds seem to have had a good breeding season, possibly because of the fewer magpies! We hit them hard a year or two back and they don’t seem to have recovered as yet. No doubt they will be back in force soon! Novelties have been a pair of ravens which are very rarely see this far south and a breeding pair of hobbys nearby which must be one of the prettiest small birds of prey. Their agility and speed is astounding and it is not surprising that apparently two of their favoured prey are dragonflies and swifts!
Tilly the labrador has, as usual, been complaining about the severe reduction in rations since the game season finished. She outdid herself by cleaning up a whole tray of blinis with smoked salmon while we were feeding our guests on venison. We are taking much greater care not to leave food at muzzle height now!
Anyway to guns:
In the last few days I have completed a really sweet, lightweight hammergun by Thomas Turner. It has all the well-known features of his guns: miniature locks and forend, cut-away stock, short-ish barrels (27 1/8”) and has got to be the definitive ‘upland game gun’ at only 5lb 3oz!
In preparation for the Vintage Gunners Cup in Maryland, I am just finishing off seven new projects:
A 20g damascus hammergun by William Moore & Grey;
A Scott SLNE 20g retailed by FA Bales and rebarrelled by Westley Richards;
Two 12g H&H Royals, both first models with replacement steel barrels;
An 1876 12g Bar in Wood hammergun by Westley Richards;
A sidelever 12g hammergun by J Woodward & Sons;
And lastly a really spectacular J Purdey & Sons self-opener SLE. What makes this gun so unusual is the ‘Daw Lever’, a snap underlever, and the most outrageous bunches of grapes on the fences. According to Nick Harlow of Purdey, this was only the 11th gun made by Purdey on the Beasley patent!
I will post full details and prices as soon as they are available and let you all know when uploaded.
Still available are a lovely 1893 Scott-made 12g Backaction SLE retailed by Leech and Son;
A very nice 1889 Holland & Holland Royal 12g SLE: 15” restock, 28” TIG sleeved barrels and a Leather & Brass case;
And a gorgeous antique James Purdey & Sons 12g self-opening SLE complete with Oak & Leather case.
that were already in the USA include
Henry Atkin (From Purdeys) 12g SLE
Lastly, I recently finished relining the case for a Holland & Holland 16g SLNE no 8787 that I had not had time to do before. I am very pleased with how it has come out.
Other guns that will be on show in Maryland are:
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