NFU Christmas Ball

Mar 07, 2019
This is a true story as told to by my local English “Bobby” ( This would be a Cop for you Canadians ). This must have been about 45 years ago back in England, we hadn’t been married long and were living in a farm cottage in Norfolk. I had an FAC as I had .22 rifle that was approved for “Vermin destruction on land at Park Farm Earsham, and Manor Farm, Hedenham.” I must have wanted a change to my FAC which required a visit from my local “Bobby” who showed up at the back door one evening, arriving on his pedal bike. I know the younger readers will think of a young man in shorts and bright vest on a mountain bike with water bottle, first aid kit and radio! Not so, here we had a middle aged fellow on an old bike, in full uniform, heavy leather boots, and a helmet. The only extras been a pair of metal bicycle clips used to keep his trouser legs out of the chain. As our Bobby made his way along the country lanes his only asset was stealth!

Our Bobby came into the kitchen, there over a cup of tea we got chatting, firearms were strictly controlled in the UK and the conversation turned to firearms related issues, notably poaching and home defense, here is the tale he told me.

It was nearing the festive season and the annual NFU (National Farmers Union) Christmas Ball was taking place. This was a “posh” event, long dresses and dinner jackets or suits for the men. The couple in question, I can’t remember their names exactly, lived in a typical East Anglian Farm house complete with very nice gardens and farm yard. Normally access to the house was through the “back door” into the scullery and kitchen. The yard in this area was always muddy, churned up by the regular coming and goings of the Land Rover along with numerous tractors and a couple of dogs. As our couple were dressed up, the farmer brought the “Humber Snipe” (Car) round to the front door so they could keep their shoes clean. The farm house had a gravel driveway flanked by well kept lawns and a row of old Elm trees, the driveway swept round past the steps up to the front door.

From all accounts the evening went very well with plenty of eating and drinking, our couple departed the event and arrived home in the early hours of the morning. They drove up to the front door where the wife got out walking a little unsteadily up the steps, she then found the front door was not latched. She turned and had some choice words to her husband, something to the effect, “You silly old fool, you never shut the door.” Before he could reply a man (later determined to be the burglar) dashed out of the front door elbowing the farmer’s wife arse over head off the steps and over the low wall. When she landed she was upside down in the rose bushes. The burglar then proceeded to dodge round the back of the car while the farmer came round the front. The night was crisp and cold, but with a full moon. The burglar starts legging it off down the drive, literally with a pillow case of family silver over his shoulder. Our farmer staggered up the steps, (he had had a couple of scotches’ to many that evening) reached behind the front door where he grabbed his “Twenty two” bolt action rifle. Taking a loaded mag off the top shelf of the hall way dresser he chambered a round and steadied himself on the door frame, he fired one round. Now it was the burglars turn to go arse over head as he took a round in the back of his thigh! There he was surrounded by the family silver yelling for help and swearing his head off.

Our farmer now proceeded to move a chair onto the top of the front door steps which he then sat down in. He watched as his somewhat distraught wife crawled out of the rose bushes, also swearing like a trooper. He then asked his wife to pour him another scotch and then be good enough to please call the local constabulary. His wife was none to happy to find that their house had been ransacked. When asked later why the farmer didn’t offer assistance to the injured burglar, he replied that due to the state of the house if he had walked over to the injured man he may have done something he would have later regretted. Anyway, that man was a villain so he felt much safer sitting on the front steps of his farm house sipping a scotch where he could keep an eye on him while his good wife got madder and madder as she checked the state of their home.

The Constabulary later arrived in their little “Pander car” as we used to call them, took the burglar away who was later found guilty of breaking and entering and sentenced. He protested loudly about it been unfair that he was shot.

The farmer was cautioned to be more careful when shooting at rabbits on his lawn late at night.

Keep your powder dry,
Mr Wolverine

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