Well, the game bird shooting season is now in full swing and I’m already thrilled on my daily walks in local countryside to discover all these manly men (and occasional WAGs) in, depending on their shooter or beater status, their Barbours and Hunters or camouflage gear (I’m not sure why they wear this latter, as they are galumphing through the woods, bellowing to the birds, and even if they weren’t their bellies would be protruding from the undergrowth.). Of course, I must get ready to be shot down for saying that I don’t know how the shooters miss (which I notice they mostly do) the pheasants, which have been so loved and nurtured by their grain-generous game‘keepers’ that they hardly bother to fly. If ever there was a case for pecking the hand that feeds you, this is it. Let’s not get romantic about Mellors in the solitude of the wood; nor let us be seduced by the myth that ‘managing’ the countryside for game is good for wildlife (which flourishes just as well in woodland accessible for public recreation, though there might be fewer pheasants). Here are lots of Wilde’s unspeakables, powerful in their rural outfits, proud of their 4X4 lifestyles, pompous with their Purdeys. Some of them should find their way into novels, but not by reading them… I feel a character or two coming on.