Monday, 7 January 2013

Conversations In Gun Shops Pt2

Myself and the BLF (bloody lady foreigner) have been in spain for the past few days visiting her folks for Navidad and Año Nuevo. It's been a lot of fun being brand-new, stuffing my face with all kinds of delicious pork products and trying to learn to speak Spanish. There hangs a tale: I've been learning my Spanish from BLF (bloody lady foreigner), which has weighted my vocabulary in 'certain directions' as she swears for the Spanish national team.

One afternoon having eaten all kinds of wonderful things she suggests we walk off a few calories with a visit to the Armeria. I'm fascinated by gun shops and the strange nonsense you hear from characters on both sides of the counter. Gun shops are also the first port of call to learn about the local hunting culture, and as so much about hunting is numerical or made up of familier concepts, it could also be the chance to practice my Spanish, so we wander down there.

Gun Shops the world over all follow certain themes, and they are also a window into the local conditions and traditions. In Alicante the clothes are a bit lighter for the rainless plains of Spain, the locals favor a lightweight boot over our warm and waterproof boots but mostly its the same kind of stuff you'd see in your local gun shop from London to Loudon county.

Unlike the green north this Spain is a land of long dry plains and dusty jagged ridge lines - only just greener than the set of a spagetti western. Hunting here takes place over large distances; running Hares down with rapid longdogs called Galgo, an extencive tradition of Falconry, they are serious about hunting conejo (rabbits) but the real obsession is the Red-Legged Partridge, or 'Perdiz'. The rich guys use the same driven game tactics as in the UK, the country folk or 'campesino'  hunt them over dogs during very long walks. To reduce the distances walked, and as Partridges can't be eaten after they've been shot with a high velocity rifle, the locals hunt them in a style of hunting I'd not seen before.

If you can't get to the prey, you must get the prey to come to you. 

The armeria stocks the kit for 'Reclamo'; hanging above the counter were several models of 'Reclamo' a sort-of 'Judas Trap' for Partridges. The plan is to capture or breed a mature male bird, house him in a portable birdhouse, which you can take to the hunting ground and have him call the girls to your waiting gun. Saves on all that walking.

By the time all this had been explained to me the BLF's patience with being my personal google translate was wearing a little thin, so I resorted to talking cartridge choices with the shopkeep. Pretty easy in any language, numbers are numbers, Remington and Winchester are the same in any language, even for people who are in the habit of adding or missing out vowels from words. I dont know my letters yet so I wrote on the back of a business card, remembering to start the question with the upside down question mark, enquiring after the whereabouts of the bunny-whacker of choice the 17HMR, "22 minimum" came the reply to which I thought I said "that's unfortunate in England we use them to hunt rabbits" Elfa and the gun shop guys blushing faces told me I'd actually missed out the 'e' and said "that's unfortunate in England we use them to hunt c***o" which sounds similar-ish, but means something very different.


More soon