Game Fair snippets

The non-existent queue for the gents' loo

Wouldn’t you be p*ssed off?:  I have noticed that there are some differences between men and women but those organising toilet facilities appear not to have twigged these.  At an all day event there comes a time when nature calls and you look for the loos.  On Saturday afternoon I strolled briskly into the gents with no problem at all and yet nearby there was a queue of 39 women for the ladies’ equivalent facilities.  And I have the photos to prove it on this blog!  Surely that’s close to sexual discrimination – or at least water closet discrimination?  Has the CLA ever had a woman Chair by the way?

Red tape: bureaucracy is an easy target at the Game Fair.  All you have to do is say ‘red tape’ and a groundswell of chuntering develops.  A gentleman, I think from Worcestershire, asked a question about red tape at the ‘debate’  on Big Society which had me on the panel.  Caroline Spelman tut-tutted about red tape and said that this government would reduce it (I think all governments say that don’t they?) and said that the difference between this government and the last would be that this government would trust people to do the right thing rather than assume that they would do the wrong thing.  I look forward to sending off a cheque to the Inland Revenue for my income tax without filling in any forms and on the basis of me doing the right thing!

And the gentleman who asked the question was complaining about the forms he and others in his village had had to fill in to get £40,000 out of the Heritage Lottery Fund.  What exactly does he expect?  The £40k he got could have gone to someone else so how should HLF choose without him telling them why he wanted the money, what he would do with it etc?  The MPs’ expenses scandal should be warning enough about lax handing out of public money.  The origin of the word bureaucracy is in office – it’s office work.  We need good, sensible and quick office work but office work is still needed.  And red is a nice colour anyway.

Part of the queue of 39 ladies for the ladies' loo (no it isn't the queue for the ice creams) at the same time as there was no queue for the gents.

Kate Hoey: is the Labour MP for Vauxhall and the Chair of the Countryside Alliance.   She was at the same table as me at lunch on Friday and when she learned who I was she was keen to give me her views on the RSPB and raptors.  She wasn’t the least bit interested in discussing the matter, I just had to listen.  It would be quite difficult for me to vote for Ms Hoey if she were standing in my constituency.  Ms Hoey is a bit coy, or in fact silent, about her role with the Countryside Alliance on her official website even though the Alliance has its Headquarters in her Vauxhall constituency.

It’s my hobby:  while I ate my lunch of a venison roll on Saturday I sat down in the sun and watched a hobby high overhead chasing martins (the closer of which were all house martins so I guess they all were).  Below it was a crowd of people which probably had a higher proportion of raptor haters than any other crowd in the country.  And yet I bet hardly anyone noticed this superb falcon looking to catch its lunch as I ate mine.  Someone else had done the killing, skinning and cooking for me whereas the hobby was all on its own.  I finished my lunch but didn’t see the hobby catch its midday meal.

Best bacon: …and while we are on the subject of rolls… the Barn Bacon Company, whom I have mentioned previously in another place, provided me with my Saturday breakfast.  And delicious it was too.  They now have a sign claiming to be the best bacon rolls at the Game Fair and there was a long queue for their produce early on Saturday morning.

Buzzards, watch out: buzzards are the raptor species next in line for an assault in my opinion.  I had several conversations when people told me that they were worse than hen harriers!  Praise indeed from the grouse shooting community.


21 Replies to “Game Fair snippets”

  1. As you probable know cameras are this year placed on Buzzard nests at Langholm to see what they are feeding on. The fact that most habitats are being destroyed with tax payers money on the estate to produce more heather to produce more Red Grouse does not seem to come into it. Even good ‘white ground’ favored by Black Grouse is being destroyed. End up with plain heather not surprising predators have to eat Red Grouse as this nothing else left!


    Poor buzzards. The above and others suggest that buzzards probably turn to eating grouse in numbers only because grouse moors are poor habitats for voles, and, I daresay, because all the rabbits and hares they would eat in preference if they could have been shot!

    Alas I’ve also heard mutterings about buzzards, and also about red kites ‘eating songbirds’ (?!) from countryside types here in the lowland south, this despite what I had assumed was a preference for carrion…

    Perhaps some new long term raptor diet studies, especially in newly colonised areas, might help combat misinformation and hearsay with science, and if there really are conflicts with commercial shooting interests, ways around them can be found before people illegally resort to the shotgun or poison bait. I’m sure such things are already being done though?

    1. Chris – good comment, thank you. I don’t think there is much doubt that any raptor will take a wide variety of prey but red kites are very much carrion eaters – maybe they are spectacularly idle? But they will take young pheasants and young rabbits and insects and small birds and a whole range of other things. A new dietary study would be very interesting I agree.

  3. Mark writes in his blog –

    “Below it [a hobby] was a crowd of people which probably had a higher proportion of raptor haters than any other crowd in the country”

    Below is an extract from the current CLA Game Fair website:

    Falconry has always been one of the core areas of The Game Fair. All aspects of this ancient art will be on display. There will be opportunities to see different birds of prey and learn the basics of the sport. Specialist exhibitors will be on hand to give advice on all aspects of falconry including information about clubs and courses.
    Sponsored by Volkswagen

    Falconry Experience Village
    Come to this area and see these magnificent birds of prey close up. Find out more about them from experienced falconers.
    A comprehensive display of raptor inspired art will also be on show in the Village.

    Birds of Prey Display
    See this large exhibition of Falcons, Hawks, Eagles and other species, a fascinating insight into the many different types of birds of prey.

    Main Arena – Flying Displays
    World renowned expert Terry Large will be flying his birds and giving a live commentary during his display. The South East Falconry Group will also be flying their Perlin in the Arena.

    Mini Arena
    This is a marvelous opportunity to handle a Hawk and to learn about falconry at first hand. Advice will be available on all aspects of falconry including clubs and courses.

    The clubs exhibiting for 2011 will be
    British Falconers Club
    Welsh Hawking Club
    Scottish Hawking Club
    South East Falconry Group
    British Hawking Association
    South Eastern Raptors Association
    The Overseas Club will be The Belgian Federation for Falconry.

    Exhibition Area
    The exhibition area features a diverse range of retailers specialising in falconry equipment.
    CFF Trade Supporters – 2011
    Honeybrook Animal Foods
    Ben Long Falconry
    Bespoke Falconry Gloves
    Raptor Experience
    Falconry Electronics
    Martyn Brook Art
    Independent Bird Register
    Colin Woolf
    Bill Prikett
    Falconry Basics
    Steve Magennis
    UB Falconry UK
    Masters of the Mews
    World of Falconry
    Andrew Ellis

    I don’t expect you to apologise Mark but I demand that you withdraw your outrageous statement. Think very seriously this matter!

    1. Trimbush – I think if you had had the experience that I have had of attending around 15 Game Fairs in the last 18 years or so and had had the innumerable annual conversations with people red in the face, spluttering with rage, and calling for raptors to be culled then you would agree that, whilst not all at the Game Fair hate raptors, it is the place to go to meet those people who undoubtedly do. I cannot think of another crowd with a higher proportion of such people – can you?

  4. The loo thing is quite common – I have on occasion, often with the help of a couple of helpful men, organised the take over of the gents to get rid of the ladies queue. No man has ever objected. Organisers please note: two ladies loos to one gents ( or why not unisex loos … No homes have a urinal fitted)

    1. Debra – welcome to this blog! i think many men feel embarrassed, as I did, as one sees ladies queueing for ages. It surely isn’t too difficult to plan accordingly. thank you for your comment.

  5. Here we go again – the loony left rears its ugly, unthinking and ignorant tribal head !!

    Indeed Mark – I cannot think of another very large crowd with a higher proportion of people that love raptors – can you?

    You are well advised not to keep talking to that chap with the red face

    Most importantly you should not express views that ‘inflate hatred’.

    I advise you to check your ‘professional indemnity’ cover – You may need it in the very near future.

    1. Trimbush – another large crowd with a higher proportion of people who love raptors? I’d try the Bird Fair – that would be my guess. And I am not sure why you think that you can come onto this blog and be rude and offensive about me? Calm down please.

      1. No doubt there are ‘bird lovers’ at both events – the word ‘raptor’ or ‘falcon’ does not appear on on the current Bird Fair website (inc Exhibitors) as far as I can determine – likewise in the ‘tags’ panel – but there is the RSPB Co-op Credit Card!
        As to being ‘rude and offensive’ to you – I should – for my parents have reared me not to be so – and thus I genuinely do – apologise to you.
        To me – you present a challenge – which addionally wonderfully illustrates the dilemma between Bird and Games Fair attendees
        But – what I cannot understand – for the life of me – is a good brain supporting obvious and demonstrably ‘bad science’ – it really puzzles me; I’ve enjoyed employing the most brilliant (bio-) science brains – some were educated ‘beyond the level of common-sense’ – but that’s not you!
        What twists a good science brain? – Aaron Blair has no doubt a similarly ‘good brain’ – to enable them to kid themselves into believing – for example – that the ISG’s RBCT exercise represented good sciemce? – Abominable!
        Your bias can only be ‘political’ – as it is no doubt with Aaron – but it’s still regretably ‘ugly’.
        Good science the RBCT wasn’t !!!

        1. Trimbush – that’s very kind of you – apology accepted. Please feel free to be as challenging as you like – I don’t mind that a bit. But I think that you are making a mistake when you assume that anyone (at least myself) who disagrees with you must have some motive – in my case you have decided that it is political. I think that where you and I differ might be partly in our world views but also we do interpret the science differently. And obviously i think my interpreatation is a better one than your’s – if i didn’t I’d have to change my mind.

          I think the RBCT was good science. A replicated experimental study – but with some problems of execution (as is often the case with long-term field experiments which can never be as easy as laboratory studies) and with the possibility of different interpretations. I think, for what it’s worth, that you should stick more to criticising the interpretation and less to criticising the motives or capabilities of the people carrying out the study or those basing their views on it.

          And yes, there are plenty of bird and nature lovers at both the Bird Fair and Game Fair – and that is one reason why there are many environmental NGOs present at both. I can’t remember the figures but, a few years ago, when the RSPB was running a bird of prey campaign we (it was ‘we’ then) secured hundreds of signatures at the Game Fair, so there are lots of bird lovers and raptor lovers there. I didn’t see many gamekeepers signing up, in fact some pointedly refused to do so. At the Bird Fair a few weeks later there were many more signatures from a smaller overall crowd – so proportinately more raptor lovers!

          1. Mark – you appear to actually know very little about the ISG RBCT farce – it would be better if you kept your naive ill-informed opinions to yourself

          2. Trimbush – but my opinions are what this blog depends upon! You are free to come and go as you please.

  6. Rather surprised by your suggestion that buzzards will be next raptor to come into the firing line Mark…that must be a South-east England perspective – where theyve only recently returned. During my professional lifetime I retrieved literally hundreds of shot, poisoned and trapped buzzards from grouse moors, pheasant shoots and keepers freezers. Up here in Scotland they have always been a target…dont listen to any nonsense about them being “mistakes” when someone was after crows or foxes…theyve been targetted by shooting and trapping [particularly crow cage and Larsen trapping] for a very long time.

    As regards Langholm…why is so much money being wasted on showing that raptors eat grouse?….these species arent protected by Law because no one thinks they eat grouse [or pheasants, or partridge] – they are protected by Law because society as a whole wants them to survive but mainly because we know from experience, that without laws they can and will be wiped out.

    1. Dave – thanks. Of course buzzards have been in the firing line for ever, but I just get the impression that they are being talked about more and more – and it could be that their recovery in the East of England is part of the reason for that.

  7. Ladies Loos

    Always a problem at big events – with the one exception of the Camra Beer Fest at Earls Court!!! It the only place I know where the men have to queue and the women all love it ! Me included!

    I am not sure but I thought there were fewer blocks of loos than last year….. certainly it is absurd to provide the same amount of loos for men as for women and I think almost all men would agree.

    Hopefully CLA will review this for next year.

    1. Sarah – welcome to this blog! Let’s hope that the men (and women) at the CLA will get this right next year.

  8. Trimbush – I did chuckle at your disingenuous outrage. Regrettably, Mark is right, and you only need to read some of the none sense in the media recently which backs this up – Red Kites kill Song birds and lambs apparently and no doubt they will carry small children away in due course. In case it wasn’t obvious to anyone else, the activities listed at the CLA in relation to Raptors are nearly all, if not all, to do with captive Birds of Prey. Birds of Prey under control are probably much more acceptable than wild ones being allowed to terrorise the population and decimate grouse numbers (apparently).

  9. I must say having been involoved in raptors for many many years in both a professional and amateur capacity as well as attending several game fairs i believe your asssessments correct Mark. THe point Gert make sabout captive versus wild raptor is also probably a direct hit too. Here in Gods own county we have had mutterings about buzzards and worse for some years, we also regularly loose kites to illegality, our peregrines are limited to none grouse moors, as to harriers well we all know about that one. As Dave says Buzzard is almost certainly numerically the most persecuted and of course the court cases would suggest that most of it is done in the name of game shooting. Thus we would expect the Game Fair to have a high level of raptor haters. I suspect by comparison at bird fairs there will be a few sparrowhawk haters oh and the song bird people. sorry trimbush but logic and experience says you are wrong.


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