Calcraft's Sykes Lane Farm buildings, a water colour

Calcraft's Sykes Lane Farm buildings, a water colour
This catalogue record comes from: Bottesford Local History Archive

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  • Growing up in Muston was never dull there was always something to do as the seasons crept by.
    I was and still am a keen follower of country sports. We would follow the Belvoir hunt on our bikes, go beating for the local shoot at Peacock farm and other shoots around the area, ferreting and the likes.
    I can remember Mr Dewey the headmaster, he lived in Muston, in the shooting season announcing at assembly at Belvoir school when beaters were required at the Castle for the Duke’s shoots, with instructions on what time and where to be on the Saturday mornings. I don’t think that would happen these days.
    Anyway, back to this picture. As I got older I got to know Mr Calcraft quite well and had his permission to go on his land after pigeon and such. If I remember correctly it went down past Sedgbrook mill towards Breder Hills farm.
    On one of my sorties I met up with Mr Calcraft and we were talking about shooting when he said “Come with me boy”. We walked back to the farm and he opened the stable doors shown on the right of this picture, and if my memory is correct it was the far one with the double door. We went inside, there was no horse resident then, and he proceeded to move things about in the manger and after a while produced a dusty and very old double barrel hammer 12 bore gun. “Here”, he said, “you can use this”. As you can imagine l was over the moon as he dusted it off and showed it to me.
    His instructions to me were to collect it from the stable when l wanted to go out and to replace it in manger when l had done, and then one word of warning, “Don’t cock both barrels together”. I can still remember that as if it were yesterday.
    Me and that old gun made many a trip out after school and weekends but there was one particular one I have remembered all my life. Don’t cock both barrels at same time was the instruction but, as life is, you wonder why. One windy and rainy Saturday afternoon I was in a dike bottom waiting for pigeons but there was nothing about. Thoughts went to the old gun as they always interested me, and I inspected it more closely. The barrels were very thin and there was quite a bit of movement in it, loose is what it’s called but in those days that was nothing to me. Of course l tried both hammers back together and they both clicked, can’t be a problem can there.
    As things happen a pigeon presented its self and I upped with the gun and let go. The next thing l knew l was on my back on the other side of the dike with my head in the hedge bottom, still clutching the old gun.
    Double discharge both barrels went off, so that’s why you don’t cock both hammers together. The pigeon flew on untouched. Needless to say, I never cocked both again. It was so good to see this picture and it brought fond memories back. I wonder what ever happened to that old gun but in those days things were so different most farm houses had guns hanging from the beams, it was the way it was, it was a tool of the trade.

    By Tony Gammage (19/12/2017)

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