The air seemed crisper and colder the sky an acute blue and silent of birds and bees, time did stand still, as I stared at the round etched end of the two barrels of a shot gun barely 4 foot from my face. This gun was held by a man who had last year hit me with his fists and had kicked me in the ribs and back. This was not the Sunday afternoon that I had planned; my actions, today, had left me with 7 armed men on one side of my gate, one agitated and pointing his loaded and cocked gun at me, while I stood on my land with my garden rake. I new I was shaking, my whole body was like jelly and I felt clammy and cold as I tried to put forward a picture of “in-control-ness”.
How did I land in this situation: well it was simple really, every Sunday through Autumn and Winter, for the last eight years, the hunters had come and hunted the valley in which, I alone, live; I don’t have any neighbours and the valley is usually mine and mine alone. Last year, the hunts dogs went out of control and I just managed to make it to my field where my goats were, just in time to beat the dogs with my stick to keep them from killing my stock. My goats, sheep and horses –flabella’s, were running scared with two large dogs after them, I managed to get the stock into one corner and place myself between them and the dogs. One of the hunters appeared and saw me beating his dogs, he called me every whore in Babylon punched me to the ground and kicked me in the ribs and back. I got up and defended my stock. He eventually got his dogs and dragged them away. My stock took months to recover. The next evening when I got home from work I found a dead fox on my doorstep with a couple of cartridges.
The hunters kept coming every Sunday afternoon, to hunt none existent foxes. I would rush up the fields and get my stock into their sheds and lock them in and then stand on my land, to be yelled abuse at for stopping their hunt.
Today, I saw them on the far side of the valley, their dog’s crazy out of control. I took my van and parked it in the narrowest part of the single track lane, took my car and parked it across the lane, took my Harley and placed it in-between the vehicles so not even a walker could get by without climbing over them. I had no right, it is a public road, I had no insurance on the car, the van belongs to my boss and the bike was vulnerable to been damaged or stolen. I locked the vehicles and got my animals in and locked them in. I started to do my gardening. The vans engines grew louder on the chippings of the lane, I kept gardening, they stopped by my vehicles, they beeped. I kept gardening, they called, I kept gardening. I heard them say “there that woman in the garden” I kept gardening. The bell on the gate rang and I clutched my garden rake as I walked out of the garden and down my drive. The Autumn leaves rustled, the breath of the cows in the field opposite was as loud as a winter storm.
They shouted and yelled, they called me names, they threatened me with the guards (police), they kicked the car and tried to open the doors and they shook their fists at me and pulled angry faces, they pointed their guns at me. I told them not to take an aggressive attitude with me and that I would not move my vehicles until they showed some respect for me, my right to enjoy my home in peace and my right to graze my animals on my own land in peace.
After more shouting and threatening one old man came to the gate and asked me what I would like from them. So I said that they were not to go up the lane without having the courtesy to knock on my door. That they were not to hunt with dogs, never to go on my land, that they would not hunt the valley more than twice a year and only with my agreement and at my say so.
After some more aggression from the one chap, the rest agreed. I let one vehicle pass to collect their dogs which were loose up the valley. The rest went away.
After about 20 minutes I heard a vehicle coming down the lane and presumed it to be the guards( police) it was the old man. He asked to come in, and we sat in the garden and talked about how he remembered my farm as dilapidated sheds, the work that I had done with my own hands on the cottage, land and garden. He asked if I had a problem with Mink and I told him how a mink had killed my favourite ducks the year before, he said that he would come back next weekend and lay traps for me, that he would shoot mink up the valley for me and that there would be no further trouble.
He said that he had never seen anyone look more determined, more adamant and more terrified in his whole life. He said that for one woman to come into a situation with a group of armed men who had been drinking all morning and to stand there unarmed and to stand my ground was one of the sights in his life that he will never forget.
The last time I looked down the barrel of a gun, my first husband was on the other end of the gun, he had in a drunken rage beaten me yet again, taken his gun out of its cupboard and was now holding it to my head and threatening to kill me – again. Today, I stopped the hunt in my valley, today I stood out from under the shadow of my violent ex husband and stood in the sunshine of the love and caring that all my male friends have shown me, today I became a stronger person.
Today, I think of all those men and woman that are in violent relationships and am gratefull that I managed to get away.
Report threads that break rules, are offensive, or contain fighting. Staff may not be aware of the forum abuse, and cannot do anything about it unless you tell us about it. click to report forum abuse »
If one of the comments is offensive, please report the comment instead (there is a link in each comment to report it).