Drink

Drink: the romance of fall

26 October 2013

9:00 AM

26 October 2013

9:00 AM

The fall: one of the few instances where American English is superior to English English. ‘Autumn’ has a comfortable charm, but ‘fall’ captures the pathos of evanescence. This might seem curious, for in New England the fall is grandiloquent. Nature is rarely so glorious, so defiant. In Glen Lyon last week, there was more of a sense of fall. When the sun shone, the greens and yellows and browns still danced: mid-autumn spring. Outside my bedroom window there was a rowan tree, with an exuberance of blood-red berries. Yet there was an aura of transience — the natural world falling gently into winter’s grasp — and the hills were swathed in mist. In a few weeks, the Glen will be ice and bleak midwinter.

Our party had come to shoot stags. Apropos of glory and defiance, a hillside full of roaring stags is hard to surpass. But we killed in comfort. A well-run Highland lodge is a fine place for chateau generalship. Lying in a huge old-fashioned bath, up to one’s face mask in peaty water, a glass of peaty whisky close at hand: there are worse billets. The cellar was endowed with the mellow fruitfulness of previous autumns. We ate and drank well. Liz’s venison Wellington was a three-rosette dish: Simon Bize’s burgundies a superb accompaniment. 2005 is a great Burgundian vintage. The Bize ’05 Bourgogne rouge: I have drunk premier crus which were lesser wines, and the Savigny-les-Beaune is coming along magnificently. I remember hailing Natalie Tollot’s 2005 Savigny as the best I had ever drunk. Now, I am less sure.

As Natalie demonstrates, girls make excellent vignerons. They are also good with a rifle. Deer-stalking is a stressful business. You can pursue a stag all day before finally getting a shot. If you cock it up, you are condemned to a black fog of profound self-loathing. But male stalkers are often vulnerable, because they are under intense machismatic pressure. The ladies are more relaxed. They absorb the stalker’s teachings. They then perform well on the target, so that their confidence is boosted before they face the real thing. They put the cross-hairs where they ought to be, squeeze the trigger, and…


It is delightful to see a girl contemplating a beast rather larger than herself which is lying dead in the heather, fallen to her gun, while she is asking ‘did I really do that?’ before being blooded. The joyous faces in the gun-room at the end of the day, still wearing the triumphant war-paint, telling and re-telling the story of the stalk,  incredulous at their success: Earth has not anything to show more fair.

Stalking is like Wagner. No one ever says: ‘I can take it or leave it.’ You will either recoil, damning the whole business as incomprehensible, or you will succumb to the obsession.

Some start young. Miss Florence King is a girl of whom the world will hear more. At the age of three, taken to Glen Lyon, she was bitterly disappointed when she was not allowed to shoot a stag. To quell her lamentations, Florry was given an antler, which she took to bed to cuddle. Her teddy-bear was forgotten. She and the antler were inseparable.

This year, still not shooting, she was allowed into the game larder as a consolation. She watched entranced as the stags were beheaded, their legs cut off below the knee, their hearts removed for the stalker’s dogs — and their tackle sliced off. That goes to China, where dried stag’s pizzle is used as an aphrodisiac (anything that spares the rhino horn). One evening, Florrie was reluctant to finish off her carrots. Mummy was obdurate. If you don’t eat those, no game larder. Capitulation was instant.

Game larders are seasonal, and rare in cities. But if your toddlers will not eat their greens, it might be worth bribing them with visiting rights at the local butcher’s, or slaughterhouse.

Got something to add? Join the discussion and comment below.

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  • Mikala Romans

    Come into my backyard and after my herd of deer and you’ll find out pretty quick how fast and far you can run with motivation to leave quickly.

    • RealLayer

      Deer chasing a cougar?

      • Mikala Romans

        Hopefully none of my neighbors shoot me by mistake. Coyotes, deer, bunnies, a skunk and the local cougar. lmao Like Disney.

        • RealLayer

          All is well in the woods. Next week is deer season here. The fields look like God spilled a crate of tangerines; orange blobs everywhere.

          • Mikala Romans

            Mine looks like a 2 acre mud puddle with the deer coming to the swim up bar for apples and someone seems to have moved into my attic. No way I’m poking my head up there to see what exactly it might be tho!
            My herd has the safety of the conservation authorities. Additionally I’m sure me just getting out of bed before brushing my hair chasing anyone through the woods would scare the hunter right out of them.

          • Mikala Romans

            there is a letter posted on the forum that is so sad. I started bawling my eyes out sitting here in my car halfway through GIT’s response because it’s exactly how I feel (or don’t as it were).
            I’ll have to go back and finish when I don’t have my contacts in.

          • RealLayer

            That is common. I went through nearly a decade of that treatment as a biker-looking dad hanging out at figure skating. Once they realized I was a supportive father, things changed from accusatory to propositions. Cynics are made, not born.

          • Mikala Romans

            You are so right. I went from ugly duckling that was friend zoned by everyone, to biker looking chick being propositioned. Which made me cynical. Then add in being tossed over for BPD, narcissistic, drama queen cheaters and now I’m just completely indifferent.
            Oh, and I guess that didn’t work out so well. I feel nothing but pity (for the boys).

          • Mikala Romans

            I should also add in addition to the list of character traits, after they married and she cheated, she also said “I don’t want to be a mother”. Odd to go back to someone like that when you have full custody of two little boys!

          • RealLayer

            Don’t make the walls too thick. My journey now is to be able to let thing happen without ghosting or lashing out, but just feeling, whatever it is. Sounds ethereal, but seems necessary.

          • Mikala Romans

            That doesn’t sound ethereal at all. Seems reasonable to me. Surprisingly, for someone that spends so much time alone, I’m still pretty social with people from work and friends. I do find though that the friends that I choose to spend more time with now have changed. It sounds mean, but a couple of my friends that seem to be addicted to drama I spend no time with anymore and haven’t over the last year and I don’t even bother making plans anymore with the ones that notoriously flake.

          • Mikala Romans

            I went outside this morning to drink my coffee and throw apples and found him (avatar) in my backyard.
            Chased off my little ones, ate all the apples, took a crap on my shrubs and left. Rude!

          • RealLayer

            I passed at least 18 hunters on my commute. I did wear orange today, just because.

          • Mikala Romans

            My sites this week are 2 hour directly north of me and 1.5 south.
            The north one makes me nervous. Getting shot at is not how I want to spend my week, but would definitely improve my cardio!

          • RealLayer

            Blaze orange & flak jacket are always appropriate. Fashionable, even.

          • Mikala Romans

            Somehow with my job, I think wearing blaze orange might actually get me shot a lot quicker. Although, that flak jacket would be appropriate as long as it didn’t make my ass look fat. lol

          • RealLayer

            Shots fired all around us, here. Reminds me of home…*sniff*

          • Mikala Romans

            That’s actually a little scary. No one could actually miss and shoot you could they? Or, is it in the distance? I had no idea how many of the guys at work hunted (no one ever tells the vegetarian animal lover anything!) but we’re seriously short staffed this week. Everyone gone a huntin’.

          • RealLayer

            Work slows to a crawl here. I am surrounded by half-combined corn fields, and apple trees, with the odd hay field & river for good measure. An aerial photo near dusk would look like a fire ant colony; orange dots wriggling everywhere. 15 years ago my life insurance agent got shot & killed by a relative. You can’t make this stuff up.

          • Mikala Romans

            Bad time of the year to disguise yourself as a deer. 4 years ago, my insurance agent that I have my motorcycle and car insurance with was hit by a car and killed while she was on her motorcycle. Life is full of sad irony.
            Back in 2006, the company I worked for did cross border. I was in Ohio on assignment (why I don’t know as she was a burn victim and clearly injured) and she and her finance joined up with about 7 other people, armed themselves and went hunting. I was out of there immediately!
            I think orange in your area is a great colour this week. Maybe with accents of neon flashing lights on your shoes.

          • RealLayer

            There’s a reason all my bikes are garish colours.

          • Mikala Romans

            I don’t think red is garish. The only reason I have black and silver for a bike is because all my gear is Lethal Angel, which is black and silver to match. Now if that’s not a chick reason for a decision, I don’t know what is! I could end up shot looking like a black bear, but I’ll look darn good and match when it happens. lmao

          • RealLayer

            Check the next avi. That was my last build.

          • Mikala Romans

            That is one pretty darn impressive skill you have. What make is that? That is sweet! Have you ever come across a Hurricane? That’s my dream bike. But, not the newer ones, the old school Hurricane from the 90’s. I saw one on a school trip and it’s been my goal to find one (and own it) ever since.

          • RealLayer

            That is a ’74 XS650, slightly modified ;~). Sold last month.

            The ol’ Hurricanes were sweet, one of the few bikes with as much Tupperware as my Kat. I had a VF1000 Interceptor for a while. 265km/h is an eye-opener.

          • Mikala Romans

            I think to even be able to get my hands on one at this point, I’d have to pry it out of someone’s cold, dead hand. Which I’m not above doing.
            My first was a Kawasaki EX500. Okay, you can stop laughing now. She was a great first in NS. Highway’s there were 2 lane through every small town across the province.
            I’ve never even been close to 265 km

          • RealLayer

            Not laughing. I started on dirt bikes, my first streeter was an ’84 XS650. I have chopped five of them, they make great dirt-trackers. I got rid of all my vintage stuff, except my ol’ CT70 minibike. The Hurricanes are few & far between, now. Mostly because they worked. I see the odd 1000 come up, but the 600’s are rare. Nothing like the prairie at three AM to see how fast your bike will go.

          • Mikala Romans

            There’s something I’d like to get into, dirt biking. Never done it or had one. As with anything, I have the attitude, what’s the worst that could happen? Besides multiple broken bones? Meh, could get that falling down the stairs. lol Or at the gym. Speaking of which, I’m not going to make competitive this year. Was a little bit down about it, but with surgery and no way I’m making weight, but there is next year. Decided to focus on technique and get back into MMA a bit more. The guys are being fantastic and taking it easy on me, but I’m not exactly providing them a challenge and that’s just not fair to them. *sniffle*
            You know, if I were rich and had unlimited garage space, I’d likely have 4 bikes. The Gixxer, a Kat, Hurricane and another Harley. At which point I’d need a smack in the head to limit. I had 5 vehicles at one point this year and 2 parking spots. I’m down to 3 🙂

          • RealLayer

            I sold my killer voodoo dirt bike last year, a YZ 400, two-stroke. After a track day with a pal, I decided I liked the double-jumps & table-tops too much, and figured big air was no place for a 46 year-old. I still thrill the same, but no longer heal like I’m 22. Which is why I switched to Aikido.
            If I had the budget, I would also have a KTM 1190 Adventure, just for berry-picking.

          • Mikala Romans

            I had to look that up. Doesn’t even look like a dirt bike. I like it! I would so kill myself on that…. but, what a way to go.
            Ummmm….. 46 isn’t late forties btw. It’s mid forties. Try not to hurry along pulling the dirt over top of yourself. lmao
            Quote : “Forty is old, fifty is dead” Tm – H.H. I have a mind like a swiss cheese mouse trap. Full of holes, but for quotes it snaps right onto them :p

          • RealLayer

            Silly question for you: Are you affected by the new College of Trades in Ontario? It’s a hot topic here. Just wondered if your fees went up like the rest of us schlubs.

          • Mikala Romans

            The College of Trades doesn’t even recognize us, nor have they classified us as a skilled trade. We’re governed by the Ministry of Community and Correctional Services and we got nailed already 2 years ago hard! PI’s in Ontario was an over 8 million dollar cash cow on the 3 pay tier system. (between us and security, they will never let us go – likely at least 20-25 mill per year just in licence)
            I may be off on a year or two, but it was only about 5 years ago that we actually were recognized with the CRA as a skilled trade and were able to write off all of our equipment and vehicles. Huge difference, I went from 1g per year tax back to between 8-10g per year.

          • RealLayer

            Forgive my ignorance: PI’s?

          • Mikala Romans

            Magnum without the car, gun or the cool friend with the Helicopter. (no mustache either 🙁
            Insurance only… I have a strict motto with domestic – If you think their cheating, they are. Save your money for the divorce, your gonna need it.
            Well, okay it’s not flowery, but it’s my motto anyway :p

          • RealLayer

            Pragmatic is good.

            I may hafta pick yer brain about that. I have looked into that field, and am just about full of working for the Man.

            My moooostache is epic right now. Couldn’t decide between Frank Zappa or Colonel Sanders, so it’s in between.

          • Mikala Romans

            As soon as I see you’ve gotten this, I will delete as it’s TMI for anyone that can click an avatar, but feel free to pick away. Obviously as you know, the money is great, the hours are crap. Personality wise, your a step ahead of anyone else just coming in. Plus, is the benefit of having a friend that is a senior trainer for the best of the best (that’s me, surprisingly enough) I’m always a little shocked that at my age, I’m the best they have to offer? Weird how that works out.
            803-7091 and you know the area code.

          • RealLayer

            Got it. Text Ok to start?

          • Mikala Romans

            Absolutely. I’m same in RL as on Cyber. lol

          • RealLayer

            Start with metalredneck13@gmail.com Lemme know when you get this so I can wipe it.

          • Mikala Romans

            10-4. Wipe out 🙂

          • Mikala Romans

            Not sure why these last ones switched to guest. Maybe because I deleted some? Switch to text for personal info tho. Just cause I’m paranoid, doesn’t mean a moderator isn’t watching. lol

          • RealLayer

            Things look normal here. E-mail me when you can. The one with your number seems to have stayed. Jim.

          • Mikala Romans

            hmmm…yes. Not sure why but done and done with secret squirrel code from our other site that no one here would know. Once you get, you’ll know it’s me. Sent email to powers to see if hiring on preferential with personal training is cool and got the a-ok.

          • RealLayer

            Quote – One good fight and I’m out banging the neighbor. tm – H.H.

          • Mikala Romans

            Told ya… swiss cheese, but for quotes, the trap snaps! lmao

          • RealLayer

            I was actually distracted by the squirrel. Damn ADD.

  • As long as I live I will never understand how intelligent man can celebrate causing the death of wild creatures for sport.

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