Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Keepers deny being upland pimps

Grouse lovers across the UK were this morning celebrating the advent of the Glorious 12th, the annual festival that celebrates all that’s great and good about Red Grouse. A series of events will be kicking off today on any number of carefully and lovingly managed upland grouse moors.

Arthur Balsam, a wealthy grouse fancier from London, travelled up to Scotland at the weekend. “I look forward to this all year,” he said. “I’m going to find myself a nice attractive Red Grouse, take her out for dinner, show her a good time. Candles, wine, young heather shoots... We’ll see where it leads... Who knows, perhaps we’ll settle down, lay a clutch, raise a brood. That’s the dream. Call me a soppy old romantic, but I still want that fairytale, they-lived-happily-ever-after relationship”.

Others are less idealistic. Tom Logan, a farmer’s son from Buckinghamshire, is more pragmatic about the prospects of pulling Red Grouse. “Yeah, for me it’s all about the birds. Loads of hot grouse totty, creeping through the heather, giving me those alluring come-hither looks. They’re gagging for it, the little teases. I can’t wait to get a couple of them back to my hotel and give them a good seeing to”.

Meanwhile, upland gamekeepers are reportedly stung by accusations that they’re little more than pimps for their grouse-loving clientele. Dougie McTaggart, head keeper for an estate in the Highlands, was emphatic. “We’re not in the business of procuring grouse. This is a completely transparent industry, I’ll have ye ken. What goes on between an independent, free-willed young lady-grouse and one of our clients is a private matter. Our clients are just paying us for the grouse’s companionship, and nae other. It’s not like we’re trafficking foreign birds like Chukar”.

For those who don’t consider themselves grouse-fanciers, the whole matter remains deeply confusing. “I’m deeply confused,” said Nikki Hollis, an entirely representative member of the British population from Reading. “I thought the Glorious 12th was all about people who think killing wild animals is a fun thing to do. Whether it’s Red Grouse or Hen Harriers, I was under the impression it’s all for shit and giggles and money. Shows how an ignorant, anti-bloodsport townie like me can get completely the wrong end of the stick, doesn’t it?”

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