Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Bull's Eye

4 weeks into my archery training and I am beginning to feel like I know what I am at. I have got so so lucky with this course. Roscommon Archery hold their courses twice a year and can cater for up to 6 novices per course, but this Spring, for what ever reason, only 3 people applied to join. One of these fell by the wayside for no apparent reason and a 2nd had to stay in India due to work commitments, so I inherited the course on my ownsome - one to one tuition!

Bit of pride might be sneaking in here! Not a bad grouping
for a 40' target. 
My instructor goes by the name of Con and is a top bloke. I pay close attention to him and try to absorb everything he says and he is delighted to have someone who listens to him and does what they are told. I gather it can get a bit doubting or rebellious on occasion. Between us we have got me well into the all-important CONSISTENT shooting. At my level hitting the bull is less important than getting your arrows into a close group or "pattern". The theory goes that if you stand exactly the same, breathe the same and handle the bow the same for every shot, all your arrows should arrive at the same place. Once you are consistent, you can then move the 'sighting' (aiming) onto the bull and up the distances without peppering the hall or surrounding scenery with random arrows.

Here I am in week 4 able to create a decent pattern even at the longest indoor range (18m or roughly 60 feet) onto a 2 foot square target or, if Con is messing about a bit, 'caging' and nailing small drinks bottles of coffee cups pinned to the target. On this course (I cannot answer for others) you start by using a small plastic 'sight' on the bow while you get your consistency sorted (your eye lines up bow-string, sight and bull's eye) and later (next week!) you convert from sighted to "instinctive" shooting. I presume there is a stage where you sight the target and then take a sneaky look where your arrow-head is lined up before loosing the arrow but that's all in the future. Not very far into the future, admittedly. Con says it all goes to pot but then you realise how good you are and you prefer the unsighted shooting. Everything else he has said has worked so what could POSSIBLY go wrong?

Charlotte's Trixie - an ace ratting dog
He has also sent me off to browse around equipment supply websites but I must not buy anything because I have not yet been 'measured up' for bow length (riser and limbs), arrow length and draw weight (poundage). I am glad about that. I went onto one website and have to admit to being completely baffled by the choice of gear available. We are confident, though, that I can bring in a full set of equipment at under my "half a 2CV" budget.

Meanwhile, months back, I may have sneaked in a reference to a new village project with which Lizzie has got involved. I was sworn to secrecy back in the early days as it was all a bit tentative and Liz did not know what form her involvement might take. Now it can be told - the village Amateur Dramatics group (The Lisacul Players) is staging 3 nights of Michael Joseph Ginnelly's comedy "A Wake in the West" -loads more detail on this one the village website including (soon) a review by me of the Opening Night which was a superb and thoroughly enjoyable riot.

The Lisacul Players (dress) rehearsing 'A Wake in the West'
As well as the 'admin' support that goes with her job (the play is happening in her building); tickets and books and so on; she is the official 'prompt' as well as costume adjuster/seamstress. Yes. She has a little seat just outside the window (stage right) and a heap of blankets because of the cold and draughts and her script and she has to follow every actor's every performance to make sure no-one misses a line or freezes. If they do she has to 'whisper' the line through her window and hope that the actor wakes up and cops on seamlessly.

The chicken eggs start to hatch.
For most of the cast this works well, she tells me, but one of the cast is (deliberately) a rambling drunk given to mumbling as if very well lubricated, in a heavy local accent. For this guy she is usually laughing behind the scenes, unable to understand half of what he says and totally unable to detect if he has missed a line or a cue. She tongue-in-cheek, gives out to him at each act-interval for being such a convincing drunk. "Years of practise", he says.

They wont be needing these any more.
Meanwhile in the livestock dept, we have a happy event to announce. Well, reasonably happy. Our chicken eggs in the incubator came round towards Day 21 and there was a mad scramble to pip and hatch. Unfortunately I missed the signs on Day 20 and failed to remove the dividers in the incubator or block up the floor-gaps which allow you to roll the eggs. Chicken #1 hatched and fell down the gap, so drowned in the water reservoir. Ooops.

After that plenty hatched safely or nearly hatched (they can get exhausted or stuck half way out) but for some unknown reason a couple have died since. You just find them flaked out on the floor. One other hatched successfully but has badly made legs and cannot get up off the floor. He/she flails around like a frog and we will have to cull this one out. Net result so far, then, just 4 healthy chicks (from 13 eggs), but, hey, it is still only March. Plenty of time for more batches and some incubated by broody hens. That is the way it goes sometimes. On the bright side, 10/13 eggs were fertile, so there is not a lot wrong with our roosters.

No comments: