The Exile Files

Raging Against the Outrageous. Laughter and Insanity Abound.

Archive for July, 2018

Back Yard Archery

Posted by Exile on July 18, 2018

I’ve finally found an open area in my garden where I can loose off a few arrows a day. It took me some time to figure out how but using my shed as a backstop and with a little construction work, I can now hang a foam target plate up in both high and low positions and practice all I want.

I have 3 bows to choose from. One, drawing thirty pounds, I shoot for fun with my grandson. He has his own bow and arrows.

The second, a thirty five pound draw, is going to be my indoor 3D bow. 3D is simulated hunting. I have no desire to go out and slaughter the wildlife. This bow is easy for me to use. It feels easy to draw and is comfortable in my hand. This means that I can hold it at full draw for a slightly longer period and concentrate on my aim for that tiny bit longer. I can shoot with it all day long and not feel tired.

The third is a monster. 45 pounds draw and it shoots like a rifle. Hitting anything under thirty yards is a certainty and I use that for outdoor and indoor target shooting. After a days shooting with this, I can feel my shoulder muscles complaining. It is still my favourite bow.

I have no target faces to shoot at yet. Instead, I make cardboard roundels which measure three inches in diameter. I hang them on toothpicks and concentrate on pinning them to the foam. I think of it as shooting the apple. I’m getting pretty good at hitting it at a maximum distance of around sixty feet, which is the furthest point I can get away from the target as the garden isn’t longer! I use all my bows to practice with. So far, I can get all six arrows within a five inch circle in and around the ‘apple’ regardless of which bow I use.
I enjoy this practice. I can only compete with myself and it means I don’t have to wait for others to be done with theirs before I can retrieve my arrows. Which makes practice more intense and concentrated. Plus, I can vary the range as I wish and when I wish.
This doesn’t mean that I won’t be going to the club any more, it just allows me to practice every day if I so desire.

The arrows have to be the correct weight and strength for each bow. So I have different arrows for each. I shoot wooden shafts which are a little expensive but well worth the investment. I have them made in Estonia by Falco. 30 inches long and at the relevant weight to suit each bow. It’s a bit of a science getting them right but the company is always ready to give advice and they haven’t set me wrong yet.

Here’s my 3D specs:

3D arrow specs

And here’s my target arrows:

Target arrow specs.

There are subtle differences. The most obvious being the fletchings and points.

Later this year the indoor competitions will start. I competed in two 3D events last winter and did very well for a beginner. Had I been entered in the correct class in the first event, I would have won it hands down. This year, I intend to be ready. I have a better bow, the correct arrows and a whole lot more experience under my belt. 

I’m looking for medals now.


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The Great Outdoors

Posted by Exile on July 15, 2018

I’ve been camping with my grandson. We were gone for a week. No blood was spilled and no animals were hurt during this happy interlude.

IMG_0876I wasn’t sure how he’d take being away from his mother for so long, but he managed the whole 5 days and nights without a whimper and thoroughly enjoyed himself from start to finish. He kept the tent tidy, kept track of his clothing for most of the time and generally behaved himself. All very encouraging.
So. What did we get up to? Here goes:

Day 1 was easy. We got up early, had breakfast, packed the car and set off to the island of Moen. One and a half hours later we were on the camp site. We set up the tent and generally settled in. After that I turned him loose on the playground and sat myself down in the sunshine and relaxed. He came back when he was hungry and we fixed dinner. More play in the evening for him and we finally got to bed at about 10:30 pm. An owl kept us awake for most of the night… Bugger.

Day 2 started with breakfast and then he went off to play again. He’s 7 years old and there were many others of his age. Even if they were Belgian or Dutch.. kids have a common language.
Then ‘she’ arrived. With her grandmother and uncle. They camped right beside us. A pretty little thing of 6 tender years, my grandson struck up conversation with her immediately. Chip off the old block, I thought. An eye for the ladies. Her name was Lark, which she shares with his auntie.
Suddenly the lad came and asked if he could borrow my pocket knife. Where’s yours? I asked. He’d lent it to Lark. I knew then, that this was serious. His knife is his prized possession. They sat for ages on a log, whittling sticks in the sunshine and chatting about Lord knows what. Finally he led her off to the playground and I didn’t see much of him that day.
That night we had a cloudburst directly over us. Luckily, I’d covered the old tent with a tarpaulin and we remained dry. The first rain we’d seen in over six weeks.

IMG_0855Day 3 and we left for the cliffs. The white cliffs of Moen. Dover in mini-format. It’s a long way down by stairs and it feels even longer coming back up. I needed to stop at regular intervals. We were experiencing a heat wave that day and I was suffering. He didn’t seem to mind.
My legs locked up, my heart was beating like a steam hammer. I was bathed in sweat and wheezing like a punctured accordion, I had to stop at the half way point and sit down for ten minutes.
The lad was really encouraging. Come on Grandpa, we’re nearly at the top, he said. No we weren’t, but I had to put a brave face on it…

I was glad to get back to the tranquility of the camp and relax while he took off with his new found girl friend. He took his pocket money with him and bought her ice cream and a bracelet. I spent the afternoon talking with fellow campers and looking at all the different tents. I’m looking for a new one. Mine is 26 years old and it’s had its day.
I think I’ve found one. Now I have to find out where I can purchase one. More on that later.

That night I saw something I’ve never seen before. A huge toad came past the tent. It was actively hunting insects. When they do this, they raise themselves up, legs outstretched, and move like a dog. Head down and stalking, it finally spotted a beetle and and then shot out its tongue. It’s all over in less than a half second. I watched it do this three times before it crawled off into the darkness.
The lad thought it was great.

Day 4 started with the neighbours packing up and leaving. The youngster was disappointed. She’d used his gear, eaten his sweets, spent his money and now she was leaving. A valuable life lesson. We decided to take a trip into the nearest town and do some shopping. We needed provisions and I needed cigarettes. The town was celebrating some kind of festival and was transformed into a huge market.

mikkel knifeWhile we were there the lad found a pocket knife. He’s always admired my locking folder, which I always have with me and now he’d seen one of the right  size. Excited, he dragged me off toward the shop and pointed it out. I bought it for him. So now he has two knives. A solid little Linder skinner in a sheath, which usually hangs round his neck on a leather thong, and now a Cudeman locking folder, complete with pouch, to hang on his belt just like Grandpas. One happy kid. I’ve spent two years teaching him how to use a knife properly and teaching him to respect what a knife really is.
A universal tool. Not a toy, not a weapon. Something to be used with caution and purpose and not to be taken lightly. He understands this. It is for use in the woods or on camp sites, doesn’t go with him to school and he can carry it when he’s with me. 
I know I can trust him to carry it and stick to those rules.

He practised opening and closing it for the rest of the day. We even had to oil it. Finally, he got it right. He then sat down to some serious whittling and made himself a walking stick. He did a good job of it too.

Our final day went with walking in the woods, a dip in the pool and minigolf. We packed our gear in the evening, ready for the trip home and got an early night.

We slept like logs on our cot beds…


As for that new tent; I’ve found one and ordered it.

An Outwell Bear Lake 6. Google it.

It’s a tunnel tent.

It’s huge.

Can’t wait to try it out.


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