Wednesday 23 April 2014
Here's the latest episode of Schools Challenge TV, this one featuring an interview with Amber Hill and several others that I've filmed over the past few weeks. It's a good episode I think, and certainly gets the message across that shooting is as much for women as for men.
Living in deepest suburbia, we don't get to see the wildlife you'd encounter in the countryside, although it's surprising what we do see, either in the garden or when we're out walking the dogs in the local woods. One of the nice things about Surrey is that there are acres of public commons where you're free to walk, cycle, ride, etc; paradoxically in the countryside you tend to be more restricted where you can go, as so much of the land is owned and farmed by someone.
When I moved here, around 20 years ago, it was rare to see a fox. Nowadays you can almost guarantee to spot a few if you're driving late at night, and we often come across signs of them in the garden and in the road outside the house. They're still quite shy, mostly, unlike some places where they are becoming very bold.
I caught this one on a trailcam, sniffing round the duck pen at the end of the garden. I knew we had a fox visiting, but I'm glad I didn't bother sitting up for it as the trailcam didn't snap it until 3.35am. This one looks less keen on the ducks and more interested in sniffing where the labs have been.
I'm reasonably confident that the duck pen is as foxproof as it can be, but I'll keep a close eye on the situation!
Tuesday 22 April 2014
Had a call from an old contact today, pointing out that I'm billed as "the late James Marchington" on this account of the development of the Parry survival knife.
Much as I admire Mel Parry and his long association with 'The Regiment', it's misleading in a couple of ways. First, to the best of my knowledge I'm not dead yet. And second, the knife was developed largely by Steve Collins of PS5, although I don't doubt Mel had some input at the time.
Still, I'm flattered by all the nice things he says about my book, and it is a good looking knife. At the time I wrote the book there was no production model available for testing or photography so we illustrated it with Steve's drawings.
Wednesday 2 April 2014
Here's an interview that I filmed with Amber Hill at the CPSA's 2014 Awards, after she won the Clayshooter of the Year 2014 - well done to the CPSA for getting it posted on their website early the following morning.
This foxshooting tale was quite literally filmed in the dark; fortunately I had some powerful IR lamps and an IR camera which makes it all possible - and Robert and Nigel had night vision spotters and riflescopes so they could do their thing without any need for visible light either. But if you'd been driving by at the time and looked straight at us, you'd have seen nothing at all. Spooky.
This episode of The Shooting Show includes an outing after pigeons that I filmed with gamekeeper Geoff Garrod in Essex. It was a frustrating day as you'll see, but that made for an interesting tale and we made a decent bag in the end. I'm pleased they chose a frame from my slow-mo sequence for the title frame of the video - it took a lot of effort to get that shot right.
Here's a programme I filmed for Schools Challenge TV, in which we do a SCTV-style Top Gear test of the new Range Rover. It's a fabulous car, and I could have done with lots more time to film it zipping through the Oxfordshire countryside. But the best fun was watching Tom and Heather explore the car - their irreverent, jokey style is the antidote to all those pompous car reviews.
This one was an interesting challenge - I set out to film crows and magpies eating some eggs that I put out as bait. It took a few attempts, but with patience and some cunning camera placement I got some good footage in the end - I particularly like the bit where the crow smashes into the egg, and if you turn up the sound you can even hear him swallow! I was amazed to see that I'm berated in some of the comments for wasting opportunities to shoot. Some people are never satisfied!