Drink and the outdoor life

Rouser 2013
Rouser 2013

Gentlemen of a certain age were not averse to a drink or two or three in days gone by.

Rouser is reminded of a nonegenarian mentioned in Sussex in Bygone Days by Nathaniel Blaker.

‘I recollect asking the late Mr New, who had ridden on horseback not less than seventeen miles in the morning of the day on which I sat next to him at dinner, what he had done to be so well and strong at his his age.

‘The answer was: “I was always very careful. I never drank much wine. Five or six glasses at dinner, and the same after dinner, but I used to drink punch from six o’clock at night to six o’clock next morning.”

‘But he forgot mention that, in the intervals between these orgies, he was most abstemious and lived in the open air.’

Blaker also recounts the story of a Falmer man who, riding back after a convivial night out in Brighton, ‘was very much annoyed by a man who would ride close beside him. When he got opposite the Barracks he tried to avoid him by galloping his horse. On stopping, he found he had been racing his own shadow!’

Of course, no-one experienced the outdoor life like the Sussex shepherd.

Pictured, alone on the Downs with his dogs, a shepherd contemplates his realm.