I went for a long walk Sunday afternoon in the gloriously empty country north of Dinton. After an hour or so I was walking past a tatty, isolated cottage with no less than 4 tatty Land Rovers parked around it. I was just passing the front door when a young man stepped out with a shotgun in his hand - I could see that he was fiddling with a cartridge in one of the barrels. He didn't seem to notice me as I passed, quickening my pace. A small, aggressive dog came blasting out of the gate, yapping after my heels, and at the same moment the young man snapped the gun shut, pointed it skywards and fired.
A nervous moment - if there are two things that make me jumpy it's firearms and hostile dogs.
Still, it's reassuring to see that the countryside hasn't been completely annexed by doctors and solicitors. There remains an old-fashioned rural working-class out there who would rather spend their weekends shooting rabbits than prettying up a suburbanized cottage garden.