The Godfrey

John Hammond's latest shooting companion.

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People|March 2020

Floating through the shoot day on a happy cloud of bumbling incompetence The Godfrey, unbelievably, is the retired CEO of a major international corporation. Superb company, he entertains with a wealth of fascinating stories and his jokes, often with wandering and confused punch lines, are considered to be, by his fellow guns, an irreplaceable part of the between drive banter.

Although he lives close to the shoot, he’s almost without fail the last to arrive and is totally incapable of instilling any degree of urgency into his elaborate shoot preparations. In an attempt to ensure that he arrives booted and spurred ready for the fray, the Shoot Captain has on numerous occasions had ‘speaks’ with The Godfrey’s long-suffering wife. All to no avail as The Godfrey will inevitably discover at the last minute, usually just as the guns are moving off, that he has mislaid his fore end or some other vital piece of his equipage.

Getting him to and settled at his peg requires patience, strong arm diplomacy and the single-minded skill of a combative mathematician. The Godfrey is totally unable to process numbers. If asked what peg he’s on, he’ll smile in a most charming manner and pluck a number out of the ether. Then in order to justify his random choice will, in a plausible manner, embark on some complicated formula which will enable him to arrive at a number which in no way corresponds to the number of the peg he's staked a claim to. He has on several occasions been known to orchestrate a state of complete mayhem amongst a team of otherwise perfectly intelligent and numerically literate guns.

In an act borne out of sheer desperation, the Shoot Captain once bought him a peg number calculator. It was a small, easy to use mechanical device that hung round the neck on a leather strap. The Godfrey managed to lose it before the end of the first drive. Despite the best efforts of the keeper and one of the beaters who owned a metal detector, it was never found.

Charming and generous to a fault, The Godfrey is a valuable addition to any shoot day and for sheer entertainment value, he’s a hard act to follow. But don’t be fooled, on the odd occasion he finds himself facing in the right direction, as the beaters start to tap the birds out over the guns, he can knock ‘em down with the best of them.

Published by Vintage Guns Ltd on (modified )

People|March 2020

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