Up early as was due to be in Elvington by 10.30, to meet Mike, who responded to my request for an air rifle on Freecycle, by inviting me to borrow one of his. He'd asked me if I'd had any experience of them, and I said, no, not since my Dad let me have a few goes on his when I was about 14. He told me that he'd show me how to do it, and asked a few questions about our garden as some places are not suitable for using air rifles.
So I set off soon after 10am and zoomed out and Mike was waiting for me at 10.32... not bad timing! I locked my bike and he took me, his dog, two air rifles, a bipod and two tins of ammunition pellets out to a farm about 10 minutes drive away. He's related to the farmer and goes to shoot pigeons in a barn where they roost and foul the straw bedding and hay fodder. The pigeons he gets are fed to the cats that the farmer keeps. Mike set up a target using hay bales, a wooden board with an A4 paper bulls-eye on it, and showed me how to use the basic rifle, which has the charge of air put into it by 'breaking' it and flexing it to just past right angles. It takes one pellet at a time. I had a few goes and I think he was surprised how good a shot I was.
Then he showed me the multi-shot air rifle, which has a magazine of 12 pellets, and is powered by a little CO2 canister similar to one in a sodastream fizzy drink maker. This had telescopic sights, which made seeing the target much easier, and the gun was lighter too, and easier to hold. However, when the canister is full, the pellets go faster and end up higher on the target, and as the pressure reduces, they go slower and gravity pulls then down, so aiming is much more difficult. However, the ability to pepper the target with holes withing a short space of time makes up for this.
I chose to take the single shot one with me, and when we got back to his place, it went into a plastic sack and into a pannier, and I cycled home. On the way back, I found a pheasant and a crow which had been killed by motor vehicles, so I popped them in my trailer to add to my compost. I also collected some branches and they went into the trailer too, for the stove.
Had lunch, and then did a load of weeding in the garden, picked beans, and was interested to see the squirrels seem to have lost interest in the walnut tree. Maybe it's the curry?
In the evening I had problems getting onto the internet, so couldn't finish or publish my blog and couldn't do my usual facebooking. But I did do a large pile of pears and apples... and the stove is very well laden now.