19 JANUARY 2002, Page 59

Q. Re shooting sticks. I, too, have felt ill at

ease when shooting with female guns and unsure as to whether to rise from my stick. I am grateful for your advice last week, but it would set my mind fully at rest were I to know exactly what protocol is followed by Nicholas Soames. I understand that he uses a shooting stick and, since he is something of a hero of mine. I would like to take my cue from him.

E.G., Andover, Hants A. Mr Soames replies: 'Of course I would rise from my stick if a lady gun came and spoke to me, and I would indeed offer it to her. But if she were a keen shot, she would of course refuse, since she would wish to be at the ready. It has always been my experience that drawing-room manners translate very naturally to the shooting field.'