Friday, October 1, 2010

The Glories of Sabbing

Believe it or not, I used to be Hunt Saboteur. Well, not a proper one, a fellow-traveller in the back of a diesel-stinking Land Rover to be precise. It was winter 1988, I was in my first year of Uni and still wondering who I really was. I had hooked up with a vegan bloke called Marcus (still a great friend, still a vegan) who was a proper Sab - out every weekend, the odd face-off, fearless and, of course, very posh (they all were). I had a sort of late-adolescent crush on Marcus, mainly because he was so much more confident, articulate and taller than I was. Not Maurice, exactly, but certainly he was certainly the bloke I most admired, by a long shot, those many years ago.

What got me onto this was a bike ride I had this morning with my dog - when out shot a fox across the road and into a bush. For one of the things I never saw when sabbing was a fox. My abiding memory is of being as cold as I have ever been, sat on a hard bench next to a bunch of teeth-chattering students.

My position on fox hunting has changed and it hasn't. I was never passionate, if I am honest, about the issue. I wouldn't do it myself but, particularly now I live in the country I can see it is part of the warp and weft of life in rural areas. I can understand now why the ban caused such a rucus.

So we change and we don't change. Thankfully, I am no longer the lonely, confused 19 year old searching for a cause. And, unless Nick Clegg is subliminally my new Marcus, my attraction to confident, passionate public schoolboys is also, like fox-hunting itself, now part of the past.

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