Country mouse hacks out with courtesy

Gone for many, with the sad demise of so many village shops, is the local paper round. We certainly don’t get a newspaper delivered anymore, and now that the shop at Petersfield station has also closed, I have to wait until I get into the office to see what our politicians and celebrities have been getting up to. The past week has been embarrassing, following the dreadful failings at the News of the World it’s journalists writing about journalists.

In different circumstances, I’ve been responsible for a lot of hacking in my time and, often, it’s left me afraid and fearful. For 30 years, I used to hack my horses or ponies along the road, first in the Cotswolds and then in Sussex, and, although the majority of cars would slow down, I found that you could predict, with some accuracy, by a car’s make whether it would or would not.

Land Rovers were the best, followed by Volvo estates; you couldn’t rely on a Range Rover, but could be pretty certain of a Mini. Vauxhalls and Fords were poor, but white vans were always the worst. However, the riders themselves could do better-it’s not difficult to raise a hand in thanks, but too many don’t. A little courtesy goes a long way these days, whether you’re a rider or a journalist.

* Subscribe to Country Life and save 40%