[Lesson time ]

Lesson time

[Having a shot at the practice range ]

Having a shot at the practice range

[All ages, all styles of archery welcome. ]

All ages, all styles of archery welcome.

[photograph] [Some of the shots are REALLY hard !]

Some of the shots are REALLY hard !

[Stalking a deer ..]

Stalking a deer ..

[The scenery is breathtaking ]

The scenery is breathtaking

[I can see why the club shirts are floor orange ]

I can see why the club shirts are floor orange

[I shot a cat in the head !!!!!!!!]

I shot a cat in the head !!!!!!!!

March 22, 2015

I am very used to being on my own, as Peter used to travel a lot and I loved nothing more than staying at home with the cats, but I have discovered that being on my own is totally different to being ALONE. That is hard work.

It is very hard for me to make friends. I hate being out at night, and once the small talk has dried up I find it very hard to connect to people on a purely 'social' basis. Where I tend to find companionship is through my various obsessions, err I mean hobbies.

I have always been drawn to 'Ye Olde' pastimes. I love my carriage driving of course, and my wool spinning. I'm making new friends up here with my carriage driving (through two clubs), but unfortunately the spinning club in Armidale meets whilst I am at work (because I really enjoyed my spinning club in Sydney) . And I've met some lovely people at work as well, but again I'm not into pub nights, etc, with them as I live out of town.

In the last few weeks I've been really emotionally rattled, and have had to make the heartbreaking decision to move on two of my ponies. I love my 4 in hand, and have had fun, but I can't progress with them as I don't get many opportunities to train. Loading them is a huge effort, I have to tie wheelie bins full of feed onto my carriage then load that on my ute so that it looked like something out of Dr. Suess, and probably not legal (the police up here love booking people for inappropriate loading of vehicles, I have heard of people being booked for having their groceries on the seat of their car instead of the footwell!).

The other issue is I am now on a minimum wage, and although I have 7 acres it is 7 acres of dirt and I have to hand feed the ponies (and my 2 black sheep), which is costing money. And every dental or farrier visit is x4, no matter what the size.

So, after swearing to myself I would never sell these ponies (I bought and sold way too often in the past and alway at a loss), I have sold Bobby and Moochie (at a loss of course). They are going to a carriage driving home so I am really pleased. I also sold one of my sulkies, and 3 sets of harness, so I have the money to pay off my credit card and my car rego for this year with some left over.

So I have decided, just because I can and also because I need to make some friends, that I would finally have a go at archery, which is something I have wanted to do for years (along with riding side-saddle but I'm not getting on a horse again in my lifetime I think). And I am proud to say that I have NOT seen or read any of the Hunger Games Series, which has been a reason why the archery classes I wanted to go to in Sydney was always booked out !

I went to Armidale Target archery when they had a 'come and try' day a couple of months back. It was fun, but 'not my scene' and I don't blame them in any way but the membership was too expensive for me (even more expensive than my harness clubs memberships, which have a large insurance component due to the danger of the sport).

So for my birthday I bought myself a dirt cheap bow and some arrows, and made myself a target consisting of a chaff bag stuffed full of other chaff bags, and have had 20 minutes fun each afternoon teaching myself how to hit the bag.

Then I saw on Facebook that there was a field archery club, only 10 minutes from my place. So I gathered up the courage to go out and do the whole 'Hi - my name's Amanda' routine, and I had a ball !!!

This club is a Field Archery Club. Field Archery is a combination of Golf and hunting animals. There is a course of 20 targets, which are vinyl photos of animals (all feral animals in Australia, such a boars, deers, goats, foxes, rabbits - and a feral cat!). Rather than the traditional round 'bullseye target' the shot is scored on if that shot would have cleanly killed, wounded, or incapacitated the prey.

The 20 targets are set out amongst the bush, so you have to walk quite a long distance. There are markers on the ground to show what distance you need to shoot from, depending if you are a child, junior or adult. I was shooting at the child's range and missed most of my targets, (except of course the cat which I shot in the head - eek !!)

There are two rounds, one of which you get to shoot 3 arrows per target, and a second round where you get to shoot just one arrow per target.

We were out from about 9:30 till 12:00, first doing some shooting at the practice range with me and another new person who started today, and then we went out on the course. I did the first round, with a lovely lady called Diana (who lives around the corner from me and who had the most amazing kick-ass bow with every bell and whistle imaginable), and the wife of another archer down from Brisbane.

Well the place is beautiful ! The club started less than 2 years ago and only has a small number of members. So I was surprised at how good the facilities were. It turns out that it was a former scout camp that fell into disuse and disrepair, so the archery group now has rights to the sight and are slowly repairing it all so that inter-state and national competitions can be held there.

There is the most beautiful casurina grove I have sever seen, and a lovely river winding through the classic Uralla boulders.

We had a good chat and a giggle on the way, and everyone was very supportive of my useless shots, including one that ricocheted off a rock and almost shot me back ! I came back with 6 damaged arrows but a huge smile on my face. But I was knackered - you don't realise how much exercise you have done until you get back to the clubhouse - so I declined doing the second round and went home for a nap !

So I will definitely be joining up, and need to work on my overall fitness.

Posted by Amanda on March 22, 2015 02:58 PM