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The Hunters Chronicles - Thursday 29th November 2012

It is evident that this year we have entered testing and trying times. For the first time, due to heavy cloud cover and protracted periods of rain, the battery and solar array have failed, plunging us into the dark both technologically and literally. The effect has been most uplifting. No longer has ones attention been frequently distracted by the 'mobile matrix'. Without emails to check, news to read and opinions to be shared you have the stimulus provided solely by that which is around you. It may frustrate those whom wish to contact you. May concern loved ones who, rather than physically visit and converse with you, have come to rely on a text message. The peace and focus gained was refreshing!
Lighting reverted back to paraffin lanterns, as peripheral gadgets such as mobiles and computers are hardly essential to survival, they were left in their state of suspended animation. Such was the delay in the return of our power source, that even the batteries in my little trusted headtorch started to sputter and wane as they gasped for energy.

Now, my time spent hunting has been reduced by the increased consumption of wood and the need for fuel for heating. Whilst my forays may have decreased in regularity, the hunter is always scanning, always seeking to spy a 'source'. More concerning than any of the above, is the distinct and notable lack. The land is still. Quiet. Seemingly devoid, at least by day, of life. No rabbits spotted at dawn nor dusk. The pheasant numbers greatly diminished, though the barrages and salvoes from the guns still echo across the valley from time to time. The leaves remain undisturbed as no squirrels hop and bound and forage amongst them. Songbirds flit from branch to tree. Crows often and noisily frequent their flight paths overhead. Only now and again will the hurried flap and flutter of the distinctive woodpigeon be detected speeding from east to west then back again according to the position of the absent Sun.
The wisdom of our ancestors in their choice to trap and rear livestock now bears new gravitas and meaning. One of our five chickens will die this week. Two more at Christmas as hopes of a pheasant gracing the table have all but evaporated.
I revel in the challenge. I delight in the supposed, though thankfully unreal, demands and pressure this places upon me. Unlike our forefathers, I have a mighty and vast commercial infrastructure to fall back upon should the proverbial poop hit the fan. It may have its failings in the eyes of many for numerous and varying reasons, but as is true of society in general, like it or lump it, whilst it is perceived to fulfill a need and purpose and it works, it works. When it doesn't we'll adapt. Or die. I sincerely hope that my brothers and the sisters of the woods have triumphed over the recent adverse conditions, for if they have succumbed, my reliance on vegetables others have grown and shipped will increase. If not for my captive creatures, it'd be little more than sprouts this Christmas!

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