Friday, 3 June 2011

Playing with sharp weapons


Roger suggests that I tell you about our archery course for beginners. From this, I infer* that it will be fine to show you a photo of him with a Mars bar in his mouth.

(*A lovely snippet from the Simpsons: Homer asks Lisa just what is she inferring? To which she replies in that fabulously-smug voice "You're inferring; I'm implying!")

Anyway. Roger pretending to shoot an arrow (which had been put away by then) while holding his prize, a Mars bar, in his mouth:


We had four weekly classes in all, on a lovely birdsong-filled field in Ponteland, that in reality was the Coldest Place in Britain on Tuesday Evenings.

We were a select group: just Roger, Annie and me. Three friends who encouraged each other, even when we couldn't hit the target from three feet away. The tutors, seasoned archers both, were immensely patient, coping well with our wilder shots, my inability to locate my own chin when looking sideways, our lack of hardiness when it came to bitter Easterly winds sweeping down on us despite our thermal vests, winter coats and warm socks.

Real archers from the club, wielding the most covetable high-tech shiny bows, their targets mere specks on the horizon, would pass, giving cheerful encouragement; beginners' courses are a good way of recruiting new club members. They seemed to be having fun, although much time was spent with metal detectors, searching the field for lost arrows.

Peter and Jean were our coaches; when the course ended, with the June intake ready to replace us next week, they said that it wouldn't be the same with the new group. You may infer or imply what you like from this....

We loved it all, however, despite the weekly hypothermia.


Peter showed us how a longbow worked. We were allowed to hold this bow, but no more; we touched it reverentially, marvelling at its lightness. I loved that connection with the past, although I doubt if the English archers at Agincourt used bamboo bows. (Incidentally, the English victory is seen very differently by the French.)


At the end of our final session, we aimed for a sheet of A4 paper pinned to the target, through which a thread hung, with a Mars bar dangling below. We were supposed to slice through the thread (which is well-nigh impossible). Hitting the paper at all seemed miraculous.

In the event the person whose arrow came closest to the thread won the prize.

Amazing how a nice, gentle, kindly soul turns into a ferociously-competitive rival when chocolate is involved.....


And did he share it? He didn't. I think he blamed drool on the wrapper.

Drool. As if Annie and I, inured to dogs, cared about a bit of drool.... We remain bitter.

So, would I do it again? Possibly; it depends on what Somerset has to offer a duffer novice. I didn't seem to improve much over the weeks, but maybe in warmer weather, with a bit of motivational chocolate....

11 comments:

Toffeeapple said...

It is such a fun thing to do isn't it? I wonder if you'll search out a class in Somerset and take it up permanently?

jabblog said...

I was never good at darts, snooker, javelin or anything involving aiming something at something else. I think you've done well - your coaches will miss you and that's tremendous:-)

A Heron's View said...

You might do better aiming at a larger & moving target ?

Am told that Exmoor venison is a satisfying meal !

frayedattheedge said...

I could come along with you - I am sure I would be so bad you would look brilliant in comparison ...... I have abysmal hand/eye co-ordination - I can't even hit a golf ball!! Imagine not sharing the Mars bar - I'm just surprised he didn't have to be taken to hospital to have an arrow removed from his person!

HAZEL said...

I reckon I could conquer Mt Everest for a bit of chocolate!

Anna at the Doll House said...

Hello Rachel

Thank you so much for your lovely comments: I shall certainly follow up those links. In the meantime, it's a real pleasure to welcome you to The Doll House.

I have always admired the way archers release their arrows. It looks so effortless. From now on, though, I will be picturing Mars Bars rather than bullseyes. I hope you get the chance to follow up your beginners course.

Anna

MLou said...

That long bow looks cool. I'd love to try this out. It helps that I'd do anything for a Mars Bar. And the cold helps the flavour. Even putting them in the freezer doesn't keep me from eating them.

Marcheline said...

Why didn't they let you try the longbow? I would have been begging for just one twang on that sucker.

Preseli Mags said...

I'd do that for a Mars bar too. I approve of the safe place to keep the prize chocolate, although I prefer mine with the wrapper off. Congratulations on your archery endeavours.

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Was Roger perhaps an only child ?
As for archery , I heartily approve . If there's ever another invasion , we'll be able to stand behind the three of you , safe in the knowledge that you'll keep us all safe .

BumbleVee said...

I bet you will be able to shoot better in warm weather.... actually the warmer the better because you will be able to stand calm and straight..instead of shivering and hunching to keep warm.
However, having said that I shot my best round ever in freezing rain.... to take a gold medal...
I think,having heard the others whining, I must have figured ...hey....this is my chance to beat them ...my competitive side showed up and I marched over to the firing line with a big grin on my face. My hair was dripping and plastered to my face.... my mascara running down...must have looked wild....perfect. Scared them all into submission I guess.

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