said we would need to be out for at least a week, and I should prepare myself for some pretty uncomfortable conditions. I did not like the sound of that. I am a man used to my bed and a couple of big soft pillows; the thought of playing out in the woods for a week sent a feeling of despondence reeling through my body. I never have much liked that shitting in the woods with the animals mentality.
Jack Spiller said if I wanted to see these things I needed to employ a more determined outlook; and yes I know Jack was right, but some≠times we get used to things, and believe me my creature comforts I am very used to. I asked him, albeit reluctantly when we would be going, and more importantly, how much it would cost me? Jack sucked his teeth.
He made it appear as though he did not already have a price fixed in his head, but I knew, Jack Spiller was the type of man that had one price for everything. He said five hundred pounds would not be an unreasonable sum.
I told him sharply, it would, and he would not get more that three hundred from me. We finally settled at £375.00 which initially I thought was outrageous. I knew I was being ripped off, but found myself in a position where I could do little or nothing about it.
If I declined Jack Spiller's offer, I would always wonder just how much I might have seen. But in reality, I never expected to see too much. Jack said I should meet him back in here, The Red lion the following Friday.
He said we would go out on a Friday to Friday basis. He advised me to lose my bottle green cords, my comfortable worn slip-on shoes, my flannelled check shirt and brown patched sleeves and shoulders sports jacket and attire myself with something more appropriate. He said I looked like the scarecrow in farmer Turner's field.
After asking his advice, I was reliably told to visit the army surplus store where I could get myself some "proper fatigues" as Jack Spiller called them. He said I should tell them I needed to survive for a week in the field. I suggested to Jack, that perhaps we could pop back here each lunch-time for a clean-up, a few hours sleep and something decent to eat.
Jack just looked disgusted. He said I might have an academic mind, but a week in the field would soon sought that out for me.
I thought he was teasing. How wrong I was. I left Jack, travelled back to my humble abode, wrote up what I had and spent the next few days shopping. I found a good shop that dealt in ex-military merchandise, which I might add was not at an ex-military price.
It cost me nearly as much as Jack's fee again, just to look like some formidable gorilla about to overthrow the elected government of our country. I returned to the Red lion public house the next Friday and found myself scrutinised by the locals.
I stood outside the pub, Jack Spiller calling people out to witness my embarrassment. According to one old gentleman: "Jack Spiller 'ad always been a bit of a lad. E likes Es bit t' fun," I was told. I sunk a pint or two before we finally set off. No cars or bikes, just a pair of stout walking boots, Jack in front his rucksack loaded to bursting point, and me struggling on behind complaining about how the straps cut your shoulders to ribbons.
We were no more than two hundred yards out of the village when Jack Spiller collected a large pump-action shotgun from a hidy-hole in a tree stump, and I wondered what the hell I had gotten myself involved with. Jack told me it was just in case! But never actually told me what 'just in case' meant.
Was if for the game≠keeper? If it was I wanted nothing to do with it. Was it for whatever inhabited that craft? Again, I wanted nothing to do with it.
If Jack Spiller wanted to fight some personal war out in the field, that was his prerogative, but personally I would rather just run! It always seemed a more intelligent option to me.
We crossed at the top of a country road, mainly hidden by thickly lined trees and hedgerows, climbed a slatted wooden gate and dropped down in to open farm land. Before me lay a consortium of boxed fields, peripheral trees and thicket hedges, and a patchwork quilt of rising and falling countryside.
The day was hot, the sky powder blue and the air humid.
I climbed out of a green patched material coat, and placed it in my haversack. My green military jumper I tied around my waist, and I struggled to keep up with Jack Spiller's, long, determined strides. I complained some more. Spiller stopped, looked over his
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