To be fair, when I spoke for the second time to the lady who answers the telephone at the local constabulary’s firearms department, I didn’t put it exactly like that, though I have a feeling she knew what I meant. To be fair to her, if she wasn’t genuinely appalled that my FEO still hadn’t conducted the promised interview and delivered the paperwork (having assured me two weeks ago that there were no problems and that my new shotgun certificate would be with me well before its expiry date), she did a very good job of pretending to be. Of course, she may have been well-practiced.
Nonetheless, a life lesson, learnt young – that one should never be impolite to people from whom you wish to obtain something, at least until after you have obtained that something – served me well and having negotiated the cloudy waters of social discourse, she promised to make every effort to see that the certificate would be delivered at the interview she intended to arrange for Monday. We shall see.
A Free Weekend
For the reasons described above, I am temporarily without my shotguns, having delivered them to the local RFD for safekeeping until the paperwork is sorted. This renders the patterning trip I had planned for tomorrow impossible and leaves me in the (not entirely unhappy) position of having a freer weekend than I had anticipated. I’ve therefore decided to spend the weekend migrating between the computer and the shed.
Here at the former location, beyond this post, I will endeavor to write up at least one of the longer articles I have planned for this website (most of the first part is now complete and in the process of being edited) and in the latter, I shall fix the pedal board from my organ which, after 10 years of hard use, now has so many broken keys as to render the instrument unplayable. The machine tools were out in force this morning and much progress has already been made.
I have been able to make some small progress on the shooting front this week, even if things are not currently going to plan. I was grateful to my friend for the loan of the stock extension pad which was delivered via my wife at the local airport(!) on Friday afternoon. The irony of having to stow my guns within two hours of receiving it was not lost on me, put it that way.
I was also able to reserve for collection with my guns and certificate, two boxes of the old Hull Subsonic clay load (28g / #7½). It pleases me to think that, although places like JustCartridges can supply (or obtain) almost any cartridge you could possibly want – provided you buy in quantity and pay their premium – only one’s local gun shop can sell you odd boxes of interesting cartridges that you’d never otherwise see or realize you wanted (and at a substantial discount).
In case any of my readers are wondering why on earth I’d buy a cartridge like that when I haven’t shot a clay target in over two years, the answer is simple: it’s about covering the edge cases in cartridge performance and demonstrating that the general principles upon which the analysis we do for this site relies are correct.
I will shoot patterns with a handful of the Hull cartridges and compare them with another “big brand” 28g / #7½ clay load and show – I hope – that substantially lower muzzle velocities tend to provide improved performance. (It’ll be an embarrassment if they don’t – Ed.) This feeds back into .410 cartridges like the Eley “Fourlong” and “Extralong” (Subsonic) and helps to confirm that the conclusions we’ve drawn about those cartridges, on the basis of lower-than-usual muzzle velocities, are correct.
(The experiment to compare paper- / plastic-cased loadings of Eley Grand Prix also remains outstanding and will be reported here when completed.)
I was asked by my wife some years ago, after a service of thanksgiving held to celebrate the arrival of my son, what the flowers in the arrangements in the church at which the service was held were. The answer I first gave was that they were Dianthus but when pressed, told her their common name, which is of course, “sweet william”. This is a name which has significance to her and, thinking they were attractive, she asked me whether I could grow some for the garden.
After several years of trying unsuccessfully, last year, I managed to germinate some seeds and keep them going through the winter well enough that four of the plants survived and are now in one of our borders, flowering beautifully. I believe she’s appreciated them, though, to be entirely honest, I don’t really care for pretty pink flowers as much as some other more useful plants from the genus Capsicum and some of the other Solanaceae – no longer including Nicotiana, I’m happy to say.
Early this morning, however, my appreciation of the sweet williams was somewhat increased by the arrival of an hummingbird hawk moth doing the rounds of those plants and the nearby wallflowers. I’ve always liked the hawk moths: ever since I found a friendly privet hawk moth struggling to escape a busy pavement (it was the size of my palm, but climbed onto my face, where it was – apparently – comfortable enough to stay for some minutes) and rescued it from the feet of inattentive humans, I’ve looked out for members of that family and there, this morning was another of them which in over thirty years, I have never seen. I have always thought – perhaps mistakenly? – that hummingbird hawk moths were rather rare in this country, so I spent at least ten minutes watching it go about its business, proboscis flailing wildly! An excellent treat.