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My fifteen years of living in the countryside, 9 years in Hampshire and 6 in Devon saw me share that space with a wide variety of wildlife. From streamlined stoats, noisy owls, phrenetic giant green woodpeckers, lilac kingfishers, scary badgers, road-sense challenged pheasant all the way to slow worms, lady birds and fat, sometime grumpy, bumblebees. And I was the one who benefitted most from these close encounters. But what always puzzled me was I never saw, let alone met, a partridge, despite the fact that my neighbours adjoining both farms said they were quite common. 

So you can imagine my delight when I discovered that my new home on the outskirts of Yeovil is also home to a group of four of these lovely birds. I don’t often see them during the day and presume they are rootling around in the adjacent fields. But come dusk, they suddenly appear on the terrace, potter around for a while before fluttering up onto my roof to settle down for the night. 

There is something so comforting about knowing they are there even if my Maremma sheepdog occasionally stands on the patio and barks rudely at them. And for me, their presence this time of year is even more appropriate and welcome. So when my garden services man mentioned that he was going up to Scotland for a game shoot and did I want him to bring me a brace or two of game birds, including partridge, I felt rather unsettled to say the least. I hope I didn’t cause offence when I politely declined but I know I got a rather odd look when I suggested I might want to plant a pear tree. 

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