The Coverbridge Inn. Photo: Ben Etridge



They’re called a Norfolk Tumbler, a man named James is saying. He demonstrates with his hand. They can swivel from their hocks, see. That’s unusual for a dog. It’s why they’re so fast, even over rough ground. Had a good one a few years back. Then one night we’re out, she’s on a rabbit, and bang—she slams into a heavy roller. You know, the kind they use on fields. 

The fire crackles. Most of the smoke makes it up the expansive stone chimney, but not all. The inn we’re staying at has been here, on this bend in the road, since the 16th century. Tomorrow we’ll notice the roof slates; they’re nearly two inches thick. By now the bar has filled up. It’s mostly men, and nearly all of them are wearing tweeds. They’re windblown and thirsty after a day out on one of the pheasant shoots.

She never saw it, James goes on. It was all grown over with grass and weeds. The rabbit knew it was there, but she didn’t. Going full tilt. The whole front of her, all smashed to pieces. Had to shoot her there and then—no sense in ’owt else. Best dog I ever had. But what can you do? It’s the nature of the beast. 

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