I’m like a child at Christmas right now. I really am.

It’s that time of year again and I can literally hear Oxfordshire calling me as I toss and turn in my sleep.

(I really should see someone about that actually).

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past year, you’ll know that it’s the CLA Game Fair later this week, three solid days of country sports, country people and country pomp and ceremony. Marvelous.

This year’s event is particularly significant for me. The CLA Game Fair of 2006 at Broadlands was my first, having only been with the magazine for 10 days and when I arrived at the fair car park I was shaking like a leaf – would I be expected to know the sport inside out – what if someone had a question I couldn’t answer?!

People seemed to be swarming like bees around the Shooting Gazette stand as I approached and I knew that I had to show everyone that the new boy could hold his own. I did, I think, and it was an experience which has stayed with me even two years on when so much has happened, both in our office and the countryside community.

I tried game, held and fired a gun, and even tried sloe gin, all for the first time at the fair – and I probably learned more about fieldsports in those three days than I had ever known before. If only those sceptical about our sport went to the CLA for one day – I wonder how they would view it then.

I was devastated when I found out that the 2007 event was cancelled, but that’s all in the past now – the best thing we can do is to go head first into the 2008 fair at the magnificent Blenheim Palace, spend a bit of money, meet old friends and of course make new ones.

Everyone at Shooting Gazette is looking forward to meeting you, the reader, so if you get a chance come along to our stand on Gunmakers’ Row and say hello. There is a great subscription offer to be had, so you’ll definately go home with a lot more than you bargained for!