The slings and arrows...
I remember a holiday in Menorca, many years ago. I signed up for an archery session as it seemed the best way to try an activity without expending too much energy in the heat. Dougie had been exhausting himself playing volleyball but he was keen to give it a go so joined me at the target area.
The archery teacher was Pedro, with his bronzed body and tousled dark hair. I lined up with the other participants (mainly women) and listened carefully as he explained the rudiments of the sport. I nervously waited for my turn and then, when ready, took hold of the bow.
Pedro stood very close behind me, placing his arm on my arm. He helped to pull the arrow close to my cheek and whispered instructions into my ear:
“You need to have a firm grip, Senora…..now gently ease it back….steady…steady….now release”.
The arrow sliced through the air and landed, ‘thwack’, straight into the gold bullseye.
“I think maybe you have done this before?” he enquired with the hint of a smile.
“Oh no,” I replied, breathless. “This is my first time.”
“I think Senora is a natural.”
Dougie rolled his eyes and, after his own equally impressive set of arrows, led me back to the sunbeds for a lie down.
Fast forward umpteen years and we're back again in front of a target, this time in a very wet field near Cirencester. We've come to The Cotswolds Range, a superb, purpose-built venue for archery, air rifle and crossbow lessons.
Dougie and I booked a two-hour session to cover air rifles and archery. It might be raining but we're under cover and everything about the equipment and set-up is very professional.
Air rifles first. I discover that my left eye is dominant so Jez adjusts the sights on the rifle to accommodate this. We then enjoy a series of games, competing against each other until our final challenge, the Pistol Maze, where, as a pair, we only just fail to win a crystal and have our names on the Hall of Fame.
For the hour of archery we have proper arm protectors and to adjust for my dominant eye, Jez suggests I aim for a spot above the centre, which will improve accuracy. With his expert tuition, Dougie and I enjoy shooting at the normal target, then have fun aiming at balloons and an apple (just like William Tell) before playing a game of noughts and crosses. We had such a brilliant time: I'd highly recommend it.
Our instructor, Jez, has qualifications with the NSRA and Archery GB. He ensured our safety was paramount and proved to be the most patient, informative and engaging teacher.
I think back to Menorca: standing in the hot sunshine, in a bikini, holding a rickety bow and suffering very bruised forearms. Who needs Pedro in his skimpy shorts anyway...
You can read Trish's blog at www.mumsgoneto.co.uk