What an resourceful chap I am, I thought, and, in celebration, fired off a couple of 'noble hunter' self-portraits with my camera phone.
But soft! What's this? A rabbit had appeared at the far end of the hedgerow and had started to hop, skip and jump towards me (I'm much obliged to them when they do this, it always makes me very happy). It stopped at a convenient thirty yards and then turned to look at the field and present me with its profile. I sighted up the shot - marvelling at the steadiness of the view through the scope and congratulating myself once more - squeezed in the first stage of the trigger, breathed out and, as I reached the steady point before breathing in again, increased the squeeze for the second stage of the trigger pull...
And realised that I'd forgotten to break the barrel and cock the rifle. Whoops! By the time I'd finally done this and stuck my head back round the tree again, the rabbit had scarpered.
A loudly-mooing herd of cows came into the field just then and - spotting me - came cheerfully towards me to say hello and moo some more. There was no more shooting to be done in that part of the field so, instead, I had a couple of refreshing, citrus-and-bergamot-flavoured sniffs of snuff, took a few more 'noble hunter' snaps for good measure - and then wandered home; empty-handed but, inexplicably, rather cheerful.