While prime ministers sun themselves uncomfortably on the beach in jacket and tie and the public and private sector virtually comes to a standstill, print and broadcast journalists have for decades thanked the patron saint of news scheduling for the fact that the opening day of the grouse season falls slap in the middle of the silly season.
In news terms, when their diaries fall open on 12 August, traditionally one of the driest parts of the year, they dont need to look beyond the date to know they have a banker.
And this year was no exception. In between wall-to-wall coverage of the Olympics (though strangely not much reporting of the shooting), there was some mixed reporting on our sport.
Barbaric and immoral was a phrase trotted out in many places, hailing as it did from a League Against Cruel Sports press release (interestingly illustrated with an image of pheasant shooting ). But beyond the pedestrian controversy story there was, in fact, some worthwhile reporting.
Yes, we know grouse shooting is generally expensive (costing a piffling £7,000 a trip, according to The Daily Telegraph), but this year the media seems finally to have twigged that actually our sport puts something back, in economic and environmental terms, to the landscape in which it is conducted. No doubt this is largely thanks to the wide array of spokesmen and women from our shooting associations who are keen to make the most of the medias calendar-driven frenzy and shape it to their advantage.
I dont think Ive ever seen such an array of comment from keepers, shooters and the sports representatives as there has been this year. The benefits this will bring are enormous. While some headline writers fell into the Not-so glorious Twelfth trap, the headlines in the past couple of days have on the whole marked a sea-change. Take this example from the Yorkshire Post: Game on, as Glorious Twelfth boosts Yorkshire economy. Was there any hint of barbarism or class-hatred in the text that followed? Not a bit. A straight story on the benefit of shooting. Whod have thought it?
On the Twelfth the shooting communitys message was put across loud and clear. Of course, theres been some controversy added to the mix stories on grouse must make mention of hen harriers after all but generally theres reason to be cheerful that the people who in years past seemed to be writing from a position of willful ignorance, have finally accepted the invitation to head to the hills and take in the real view.
The shooting communitys PR department has done us proud this year.