The Exile Files

Raging Against the Outrageous. Laughter and Insanity Abound.

Archive for September, 2017

Robin Who?

Posted by Exile on September 2, 2017

Inspiration can hit you when you least expect it. It did earlier on this year while camping with my grandson. He was thoroughly bored on the campsite as we were there in the early part of the season and there simply weren’t that many kids of his age to play with. Taking a walk in the woods with him. I found a hazel tree and thought it might be an idea to cut a stick and make a crude longbow and arrows for him to play with as I did as a child in rural South West England. It was a great success. It got me thinking. This could be a new hobby.

I haven’t used a bow since I was about twelve or thirteen. That’s a half century ago. Not sure how to start, I contacted a local archery club and went to try it out. Not as easy as I remembered it was, I had a bit of a hard time hitting a target but decided to give it a try. Some equipment is necessary. A bow, arrows, a quiver to hold said arrows, a wrist protector and a leather finger guard to prevent ones finger tips from being torn off by the bow string. I found all these things locally, close to the club, and so it was, that I enrolled in the club as a beginner.

Medieval English archerNot being the fit young man I once was, I elected to buy a longbow with a 30 pound draw. That’s about one fifth of an English warbow, but back in the days of longbow fame, i.e. the medieval era, men trained with the longbow from the age of seven years. They developed all the muscles necessary to use such a weapon. It even changed their skeletons. I don’t have those advantages. For now, my bow is powerful enough but I will need a more powerful bow at some later date as my muscles develop and my technique improves. The principles involved are, however, the same. Draw, aim, release.

With regard to improvement; this is a game one cannot win. Like golf. One can only improve. There is no ‘winning’ involved, unless one competes at tournament level against fellow archers. One strives to beat ones own high score at ever increasing distances from the target.
An old soldier, I am used to firing a rifle, wrapping my shoulders around it and holding it firmly into my right shoulder and leaning slightly forward to fire it accurately. The longbow is a different weapon. One stands erect, bow thrust forward and the right arm drawn back pulling on a string. Back straight and feet planted about a eighteen inches apart in the direction of fire. Weight evenly distributed. My ‘stance’ needed work from day one. It still isn’t perfect, but it is improving and with every arrow I send off I am becoming more adept and accurate.

I realise, at this stage, that I would not have been of much use at Crecy or Agincourt, but I find great inspiriation in history. Every time I hit the bullseye I count another dead Frenchie.

God for Harry, England and St. George….

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