Charlie, my son, turned 16 a few weeks ago and today started a joinery apprenticeship.
That can't be right, surely? It doesn't seem like two minutes since he was only so high, and now he's taller than me, has feet big enough to borrow my boots, and sounds like he should be in the bass section when he grunts "ello" down the phone at me (.....and none of this stopped his Mum fretting that he'd get off the train at the right stop this morning..... Think that must be in the Mum job description. )
From this a few years ago:
Charlie is mad keen on shooting and after obtaining both SGC and FAC last year, successfully stalked and shot his first deer - a red hind - shortly afterwards. He started coming beating when he was 7, and is now not too shabby with both rifle and shotgun. He is as enthusiastic about nailing bunnies with the air rifle as he is about decoying pigeons as he is about lamping foxes as he is about walking up for pheasants, and thanks to a couple of generous SD members, he has had a crack at fallow (no luck!), and has had an invite out for roe in the doe season. He's a great shooting companion to have.
I'm feeling quite proud of him today - despite the fact that when he says "I'm off to work", it makes me feel old....!
Two things have crossed my mind today though:
1) With youngsters like him - and I know that there must be other SD members with equally keen offspring, be that son or daughter (my daughter isn't bothered about shooting but will quite happily eat what I bring home) - I feel fairly confident that the future of our pastime is in pretty good shape.
2) Once he has some money in the bank, he can start to pay for his own bl**dy cartridges!!!!!!