James is Learning The Hard Way

Thursday night my lovely wife and I planned our agenda for the following day. We were keen to ensure all was in good order and timely.  It was simple;

– 6pm finish work
– 6.15pm Collect Mother-in-Law for babysitting
– 6.25pm (or so) Polish my wifes shoes (as promised everyday for last 3 nights) and sort kids
– 6.40pm I get suited and leave for Christmas dinner in Hurstpierpoint (20 minutes away)
– 6.45pm Wife leaves for her Christmas party
Easy….

I went to work on Friday and the day passed fairly uneventfully until about 4.30pm when I got a tweet from a friend of mine;

@Jungledon large dead deer by side of A272 between Ansty & Bolney if you r interested! #roadkill

Interested? – Possibility of high quality fresh food for free, and chance to practice my skills…? Yeah, of course I was interested!!!

I finished work on time and despite another tweet that cast some doubt if the deer was still there, I figured there wouldn’t be much harm in doing a ‘quick’ 7 mile detour to Ansty to see if there was any evidence.

Despite the darkness of night and lack of any moonlight I instantly saw the deer. I felt the surge of adrenaline run through my veins and the hair stand up on my neck (although this could have just been the cold).  I decked out my boot with a tarp that I carry for these exact occasions where I happen to pass small or large roadkill (I was a scout – think positive and be prepared).

I stood over this beast of an animal and had a look for obvious signs of damage.  Cars started to slow as they passed me and I began to wondering how this all looked. I could almost feel the bemused eyes of the passengers and hear the “Look at this guy! What the hell is he doing with that…that… is that a deer?”.

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I grabbed hold of the antlers and dragged the animal to the boot of my car. The fact that it had been raining meant the fur and ground were wet which helped but it wasn’t the easiest thing to move about. When I got to the car I had a similar realisation to the guy from ‘Jaws’ but I wasn’t in need of a bigger boat, just much bigger biceps! I was totally incapable of lifting this mass of meat into my boot. This needed a strategy. I pondered. I spent ages trying every which way to get it in the car, it was like a tantruming child that didn’t want to be put in their car seat (some of you know exactly what I am sayin’!). The harder I tried the less likely it was gonna happen. It was just too big. It was at this moment my phone rang…

As I pulled the phone from my pocket, I saw it was my wife calling.

Suddenly the carefully organised plan from last night re-entered my conscious with the speed of a bullet. Oh dear (no pun intended) I am a dead man.

I gingerly answered the phone but wanted to sound natural… “Hey babe, you alright?” The rest of the conversation cannot be documented here as I don’t want to upset those easily offended. Let’s say that my wife quickly got to the bottom of where I was, and what I was doing. The conversation ended a few short words after.

I said I would be on my way directly

The damage was in the main done. My wife couldn’t leave until I got back and had missed the start of her party, I had shown myself to be a massive fool and was cross that I had made the mistake in coming out at all. I should have gone home. This wasn’t working out… at all.

I knew I had to head home but as I looked at the deer I just felt I wanted to give it one last try. I had literally come this far… Beautiful fresh meat (with lovely antlers) – what a waste! I took a moment and considered my options which didn’t take long as I didn’t have many options to consider… I had one hope. It was a long shot, a real long shot but worth a try.

A call to my wild food buddy Dave (@foragesussex) was my last ditch attempt to rescue something from this terrible situation that was a spiraling nightmare.

“Dave it’s James, listen mate I need your help. I need you to come to Ansty (from Ardingly – another 7 miles away) NOW. Can you do it?”

Dave is a top guy and although I knew such a request would be simply out of the question for most (understandably so), I knew that if Dave could – he would. I held my breath waiting for his response.

“Er, yeah I was just doing some work, but, er, I guess I could come….. OK mate I am on my way.” – YOU LEGEND DAVE.

True to his word Dave hopped into his car immediately, but time passed soooo slowly. Out of desperation I called him two or three times checking how far away he was. I was meant to be home by now. The pressure I felt was growing to unbearable levels.

After another 10 minutes and at least 80 more cars having passed by (slowly) Dave pulled up and jumped out the car. With nothing more than a brief greeting he grabbed the ‘other end’ and the deer was manhandled into the boot. I shouted my thanks as I stepped on the accelerator and drove babysitter bound.

The car stank. Not of ‘dead animal’ smell, I am used to that, this was a musty smell, a strong whiff that was a mix of wet dog smell and a sweaty 15 year old boys bedroom. You’ll know what I mean if you have a dog and a 15 year boy in your house. It really was stinky, but there was a lot of deer to smell…. down the windows went, all of them.

As I rounded the corner of the Mother-in-Law’s house I closed the windows and sprayed a little air freshener to mask the overpowering whiff. It was lame effort; the smell good or bad wouldn’t hide the fact I had a boot full of hooves, antlers and a carcass the size of a Shetland pony.

As I opened the door for my Mother-in-Law I could sense without difficulty that my 45 minute ‘delay’ had been noted. Before driving off I again tried to play it cool and fumbled for the radio control to find something Christmassy to listen to. Driving in silence only makes the silence louder.

As soon as I got home I knew what I had to do. Despite lack of time to prepare I think I delivered the best, most sincere, heartfelt apology that I could. Having brushed her boots Mrs G left me with a few things to consider and left for her party. The apology didn’t have the effect I hoped, but it had the one I expected.

I washed my hands and face, and then washed my hands again (the smell wouldn’t go). I threw on a shirt and jacket and rushed out to my Christmas dinner with the car windows open. The deer still had its face pressed up against the tailgate and legs clearly visible to any following traffic… I felt my family car, complete with children’s car seats and a large dead wet animal in the boot gave out a mixed message, but no time to dwell on that.

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When I arrived at my party I was hoping to keep the reasons for my delay on ‘the download’ however as soon as I sat down I was questioned about the deer. What? Had the stories of my stupidity reached my party before me? Unbelievable!  Turns out the initial tweets about the deer were read by more than just me and adding 2 and 2 together clearly made 4. These guys knew what I was like.

On another day I will conclude the story on the deer, but it is another blog post in itself. The second part is more about bad luck rather than more bad decisions, but again it was another nightmare. This deer was never meant to be…

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Before I sign off I gotta say;

Firstly thank you sticking with another long post. Frankly I don’t blame you if you just scrolled to the end. I had to tell it as it was, and be honest about it.

Secondly I want to thank my wife for putting up with me. I amazed everyone including myself with this display of selfishness, inconsideration, irresponsibilty (the list goes on). Thanks to Dave for his help and formal apologies to my Mother-in-Law, Mrs G’s party friends, and the hosts and attendees at my party.

I still do not know why I did what I did, I think my enthusiasm for hunting and gathering just boiled over and Elma Fudd took over my body and mind. I still shake my head in disbelief as I type this. What a fool. “It wont happen again”. That is a true statement, but it’s also what my wife has made me tattoo on my face.

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About James G

It's a bit of this, and a little of that. Nothing fancy. You're welcome to it.
This entry was posted in Deer, Road Kill and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to James is Learning The Hard Way

  1. Excellent. I know what you mean about moving heavy things around. And not passing up the chance of some fresh meat. On some level, I hope the wife was very pleased. But I suppose she could be a vegetarian…

    • James G says:

      Ha, my Mrs is not a vegetarian although I think hell will freeze over before she eats any roadkill! Very much a ‘townie’ if you know what I mean!

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