Today I shot at the Archers of Bridlington and Burton Agnes Indoor Portsmouth. Its a bit of a mouthful, but basically it involves shooting 60 arrows at a 60cm target face, 20 yards away. This is the classic indoor season competition round. I had the option to shoot in the morning, or the afternoon, or both. However, only the morning shoot contributed to the competition.
The morning score was fairly poor to be honest – 536/600. I was a bit nervous, and this translates into shaking, which does not help the aiming process! That score will probably get me around half way down the score sheet when the results are out.
But this afternoon I shot a lot better. I scored 563 which, had I scored it in the morning, would probably have got me 4th place.
I know – archery, fishing and golf are full of ‘if only’s. But I was really pleased about two things. First, I got over a poor morning, got my act together, didn’t panic, and shot a decent score in the afternoon. And that’s the second thing. I shot a very decent score in in a competition. That will give me confidence for the next one.
Technical note – there were two reasons for my improved score. First, I stopped worrying and just started shooting arrows, like I always do. Second, I paid attention to my string picture. Don’t ask!
The Savoy Saccharum in the background
Out for a walk above Calheta
Last week was the final instalment of my 60th birthday celebrations. Sarah and I had 4 nights in Calheta, which is about 30 miles west of Funchal, the capital of Madeira. The sun shone, we loafed by the pool, and I didn’t look at my emails once. There’s not much to tell about the two days by the pool. Imagine a walrus on a sunbed, and you’ve pretty much got me. Its just what we needed.
We did have one exiting day. We walked along a levada. Levadas are are ancient channels built hundreds of years ago to carry water from the wet, forested interior to the drier but more fertile parts of the island where crops grow. The water is so clear and pure that little fish that look like trout swim in it. We walked about 6 miles or so from Rabacal to a little lake – called 25 Fountains – at the foot of a cliff. It was an absolutely beautiful spot, though a little crowded.
Our hotel was the Savoy Saccharum, so named because it was the site of an old sugar mill. I discovered that way back in the 15th and 16th centuries, sugar plantations worked by African slaves were established on the island. The economic model was so successful it was imported to the West Indies and elsewhere.
The hotel was good, although the dim lighting throughout would have caused big problems to anyone with a visual impairment. But it was a lovely break. What a treat to have 4 days of sunshine in November!
Well today’s been just a splendid day. I’m in the middle of my birthday celebrations. Last weekend, Lizzie (my eldest daughter) was 30, and on Monday I will be 60. So we had a joint 90th birthday party at Hitchcock’s, Hull’s most splendid and quirky vegetarian restaurant.
But today was a different kind of milestone – my 250th Parkrun, which I completed at Peter Pan Park in Hull. Parkrun is just an amazing thing. Its free, and anyone who wants to can have a go. There are men, women, children, people in their 70s and 80s, experienced athletes, and sometimes, people who have just finished a ‘Couch to 10k’, never having run before. You get friendship, support, encouragement, a good run, and sometimes, free chocolates.
Parkrun always start with a few announcements – and today they were mainly about me! Very embarrassing. I got a round of applause for my 250th Parkrun, I was given a card signed by loads of people, and I was awarded Parkrunner of the month (meaning I get £25 to spend in a local sports shop). It was as good as a graduation day!
Anyroadup – there are some pictures of me with Sarah, and our Parkrun buddies. I’m off to order that coveted green 250 milestone t shirt.