18 JANUARY 1957, Page 30

Country Life


TIME to stand and stare isn't guaranteed by travelling at top speed, but when one has been doing things with moderate haste there is pleasure to be had in idly watching sheep winding up from a meadow, a farmer plodding along a headland or a boy with a dog on a footpath. I was sta.nding looking about when my eye fell upon something in a hole in the drystone wall. It was an iron object and when I drew it out it proved to be a gin trap. The gin was outlawed not long ago. One hears very little talk of it now, for the rabbit was the gin-trapper's main quarry. 1 looked at this one, for gins, in spite of the outcry that never ceased to be made about their use,, were and remained the main weapons in the trapper's armoury. A gin is hardly as rare a piece of rustic ironmongery as a horseshoe yet. What should, one do with a rusty gin trap? I lifted a large stone and solved the problem by dropping it on the trap to smash it. Ultimately the gin will survive in museums beside spring-guns and man-traps, but it was the rabbit plague and not, I think, the law that made this certain.