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