I just spent a very pleasant Saturday morning walking around a wood near Whiteparish. With wonderful weather and amid beautiful countryside, I tried my hand for the first time at Field Archery. This was the culmination of a four-week evening course I've been taking - the course, I hasten to add, in a well-lit church hall!
It has been really quite good fun learning to shoot, though clearly in such a short time I have only picked up the basics. The next step to improving is to get my own kit and to join the local club. I have to say, I found the experience very similar to golf, in that as you aim your shot there are five or six things that all need to be in place for the shot to be good. Very similar to a golf swing. Also like golf, there is a huge variety of kit available to the unwary buyer - I suspect if will cost me something like £200 to get kitted out with a bow, some arrows and the necessary accessories, though looking on web sites it looks easily possible to spend over a thousand on the bow alone. Plus, of course, you go along there as a novice and you really have to trust the merchant's judgement on what to buy.
Anyway, that's all for the spring. Hopefully by March I'll have paid all my tax bills and will see the way clear to buying some stuff and checking out the local club - a spot of target archery on a warm summer evening sounds wonderful, though I'm not sure how competitive I want to be. For it to work for me it'd have to be a relaxing expereince and I very much got the impression from the coach that there were plenty of people at the club who were more than just "social" archers. We'll see. Hopefully - unlike golf - the club subscription fee will be sufficiently small that I can just pay it and write it off if I don't like it
So Saturday was a busy morning, because before the archery shoot I had to drop my car off for its annual service - I currently have everything crossed that they won't find anything wrong with it. But anyway, I was out of the house for eight o'clock (there is something very wrong about having to get up so early on a non-work day), but what a beautiful day, and being out just after sunrise too. I wish I'd had my camera with me.
I did have vague plans to get up early on Sunday with the camera, though when push came to shove and the alarm went off, I turned back over. A pity, because there had been a thick frost overnight, and Sunday too was cold, cloudless and sunny. I should have headed into the forest.....but there again, it is nice to be able to lie in on my days off.
Sunday remained good and we capped it off by visiting the Christmas Village in Winchester, complete with ice skating. Of course Jacqueline didn't take part at all, preferring to go shopping, which was a pity since it was her idea. I did skate, at least, but only really for fifteen minutes. At twenty, I had a girlfriend who was a mad-keen skater, and from her I learned a lot, but these days I just feel stiff and awkward, and am afraid of falling over and damaging myself - time off sick means lots of money lost. It is sad, I know. Alice, on the other hand, gets noticeably better every time she skates, and seems to really enjoy herself. Maybe she has found an outlet for herself?
Worth noting that because we'd planned to go skating I left the camera at home once again, a great shame because the whole village would have been great to shoot as the sun was going down in the brilliant blue sky. Would have needed a flash and a tripod to do it justice, though.
Maybe next weekend I can go out with the camera and get some decent winter photographs, though next Saturday we also have to buy a very important christmas accessory - the tree.