I was reminded of the image of the Ouroboros today – the snake which consumes its own tail, representing the cyclical nature of life.

I visited my parents today, taking with me, amongst other gardening tools and supplies, the garden gun. I took the opportunity to shoot a handful of patterns to re-test the Fiocchi #6 cartridge with their blessing and I’ve just finished typing up the results.

That finished, my boy was – happily – keen to have a(nother) go with the garden gun and fired two shots at an old plastic flower pot, shredding it and subsequently looking very pleased with himself. He won’t be shooting often, because he’s still very young, but I am starting to wonder how I might be able to help him do something shooting-related appropriate to his age.

By “appropriate”, I mean that, although everything he’s tried so far has been heavily supervised, with huge emphasis on his and everyone else’s safety, it would be nice to let him shoot at a target or two in the garden under his own steam. Clearly, he won’t be using a garden gun in any circumstances where an adult isn’t pointing / operating it for him for some years yet, but I do wonder if, next summer, we might get hold of one of those bright orange air soft rifles and let him shoot a target or two in controlled, but perhaps slightly freer circumstances (e.g. sitting with him, rather than actually moving his hands for him).

Of course, that reminded me of my own learning to shoot and the reluctance of my parents – particularly my mother – to allow me to learn (or even plink in the garden) for most of my childhood, in spite of my having a reasonably obvious talent for it. It was particularly ironic then that they should approach me to ask today whether I could do anything about the flock of 18-20 pigeons that have destroyed [what would have been] our winter veg’.

Sure enough, when I looked out of the window, there they were, eating the garlic! I never knew pigeons liked the taste of alliums, but presumably green shoots of any sort will do when there’s nothing better to eat. I took a pot shot at one of them with the garden gun soon afterwards and missed it entirely, but said that I’d consider what else we could do.

Apart from the apparent ineffectiveness of the 9mm, I’m concerned that a .410 would be significantly noisier and therefore more likely to upset the neighbours, but it might be possible to use an air rifle or something low-powered, keep the projectiles within the boundary and fulfil the requirements of the law and the general licence – whilst bagging myself a number of tasty dinners. We shall see.

In the meantime, I’ll be out again tomorrow afternoon, with some Gamebore Regal Game in 16 gauge to field test and another box of Hull’s “High Pheasant” .410 load which needs patterning with the lighter chokes. Which one goes out tomorrow, we’ll have to see, but after a mix-up with the paper and the delivery company, I’m not expecting to be doing any patterning unless I receive an unexpected inheritance in the form of corrugated cardboard…