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English countryside. Page 35 of 50.


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shoulder at me and said I should consider myself lucky I was not on a ten mile forced walk with the Paras. I never responded as I struggled to keep up with him, but did remember thinking how I wished I had left this thesis to a purely hypothetical content.

Jack Spiller pushed on, halted on the brow of a hill and surveyed the lay of the land. It was breathtaking to witness before me the English countryside and how it had been blended over the millennia into such an aesthetic scene.

Jack Spiller began pointing deep in to the distance. He informed me we had to cover at least five miles, out across Lord X's land and then further on towards the more exposed areas of country. I asked Jack if he was sure about what he had seen? I thought if he denied it at this point, I could at least go home to the smoky city.

Jack said he was positive, as he set off. His body almost broke to a trot, as he descended down a step incline. I raced down behind him, falling and stumbling all the way, until we reached the bottom, and a thick expanse of shady trees.

Beyond them I could here the rush of water. Within seconds my heavy hiking boots filled with cold steam water and the pleasure felt almost immeasurable. We must have walked a further five miles, which felt like a hundred to me, my out of condition body and the soft woolly life I had always led.

As we moved forwards, across a large pasture green field, I heard Jack's gun load. I felt a sick apathy as the barrel exploded, and about twenty foot away, a small brown rabbit jumped about ten foot in the air from the blast. "Dinner!" Said Jack, his tone certain. I remember thinking to myself how wonderful it must be to be a vegetarian.

Jack collected his rabbit as we continued our advance, barely stopping to view or look it over. With one solid movement Jack lowered, scooped up his prize and stuffed in an old canvas bag hanging over his shoulders.

We arrived at a secret location, deep in the woods, which was totally hidden from the rest of civilisation. Jack said we would hide-up there until dusk, then make our way out towards a point known only to him.

He built a small fire, gutted and skinned his rabbit, wrapped it in green leaves and buried it deep in a hole with hot stones on top. I settled for a packet of digestive biscuits and a can of orange squash as Jack devoured his dinner some two hours later. He looked like a savage, squatted on a tree stump, a rabbit between his hands, his mouth full as he told me through muffled consumption: "We'll get goin' in a minute."

I checked my watch. By this time is was 8.30pm and through the yonder trees I could view the last embers of day burning yellow and orange on the horizon. Jack buried the bones of his rabbit in the very same hole he cooked it in. He filled it in with dirt he had dug from it, then meticulously covered the lot over with old, dead foliage. He inspected it, and informed me no one would know we were there.

I looked at my red biscuit packet as we left, and thought Jack wrong. We moved out in to open countryside, Jack flapping about with his hands, telling me to use a bank of trees for cover. I reminded Jack we were not in the army, not in some banana republic, and not in hostile territory.

Jack told me Lord X's game keeper usually patrols about this time of night, and he can get very trigger happy. Perhaps Jack had a point after all.

I moved back towards the mass of green foliage and crouched, so I walked stooped. I must have crossed about a further two miles of country side like that, before the woods ended, and a large hill before me rose ever upwards.

"Come on!" Said Jack, not waiting for me.

I struggled on behind him, huffing and puffing as I climbed steadily towards the apex. We arrived, me holding my side from a stitch I incurred on route. I just had to rest. I seated myself as Jack began unpacking his rucksack.

Deep down before me was a large valley with views that must have stretched for miles. All along the valley itself were different colour fields of freshly grown crops, with just long tractor grooves discreetly etched amongst them. They looked just marvellous as each gentle breeze caught, then shimmered them.

I went to explain it to Jack, but he had already busied himself. He had a collection of thin aluminium tubing, which he quickly pegged out by means of a large mallet, until they constructed themselves in to a perfect box formation. From his bag Jack took three boxes of...

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