A familiar sight for Edinburgh folk heading home from work across the Meadows on a late summer’s afternoon. I have always admired those splendid chaps in their green uniforms and eagle feathers in their bonnets. The Queen’s Bodyguard in Scotland, practising the noble art of archery in an effort to keep her majesty safe when she does her annual flying visit to distant Caledonia, God bless her.
We kept any pheasants or partridges and hare but got fed up of eating rabbits however they were cooked. I made pate with the livers. Rabbits were my mainstay and I traded them with the local butcher for a selection of butcher meat, eggs and tomatoes. He gave me a generous exchange rate and I went home with a bag of meat and no rabbits that I had to skin.
The wee boy on the left hand side of the photo, with the baggy breeks, fierce expression and kirby grip in his hair, is me, young Bob Redwater. My Ma told me, “If you don’t want to get your haircut, then you’ll need to wear one of your sister’s hair grips to keep your hair out of your eyes or you’ll go blind”. “Okay” I said to my Ma, “I don’t care”. I was a thrawn child, stubborn as a mule.
A love of horses runs in my family. One of my earliest memories was being put on the back of a gigantic ancient heavy horse called Darling. She was blind in one eye and liked to stand against the farm fence and get petted by local children.
We gathered handfuls of grass for her from our side of the fence. She was a gentle giant and stood still while we were given a peg up onto her back. She never moved away from the fence and seemed to know we were in her care. It was exciting and scary at the same time. Read more
I sold all of my guns. The time had finally come for me to retire from an active life of hunting and poaching. It was my lack of mobility and fitness rather than a sudden attack of guilty conscience that made up my mind. I need two sticks for walking and am no longer able to outrun a gamekeeper.
Most of my secret hunting activities took place on private estates owned by the gentry and run by their tweed clad servants. I was able to feed my family with a healthy diet of wild meat as apposed to battery reared animals and fowl which had lived a miserable life before they were slaughtered. My hunting methods were many and varied, perfected by trial and error over a lifetime. Rabbits were my mainstay but we also feasted on Hare, venison, pheasants, partridge, goose, duck, salmon and trout.
It wasn’t hard for me to think up a title that would best describe my unconventional lifestyle in Scotland’s capital city.
I always swore that I would never write about my illegal hunting activities. It was my elder brother Peter who pressurised me into writing about my life because he thought it was worth sharing with others. Whatever the reason the deed has been done and I have shared my hunters life with the publication of a book. Read more
Come along to The Counting House at 7pm to hear Bob’s memoirs. Share a crust of bread, and hear the reflections he has to share…
Bullet points of what you would like to talk about:
- Short History of Poaching and the Law
- Early Childhood
- Living off the Land
- Archery, Ferreting and Boomeranging
- Lurchers, Hares and Deer
- An official Pheasant Shoot
Name of speaker and subject:
Title of talk:
Memoirs of an Edinburgh Poacher