abendgules: (womaninmotion)
Back to commuting cares in the big smoke.

The paralympics are on, and we're once more being asked by TfL to collectively reconsider our commutes. Kids are back in school next week, or very soon, and the usual rush hour crush will return. 

In this light you'd think I'd be leaping back onto my bike.... but no, I'm struggling to get up the enthusiasm. Why?

There's a lot going for a part-cycle commute - it's cheaper, it's invigorating, it's same time-spend as a walking+Tube commute. But I find myself dragging.

Part of the answer is the path of least resistance. I biked because it was easier than wrestling potentially serious delays by Tube and avoiding crowds. 

But from where I am, it doesn't look like anything like the volume of traffic and visitors are involved in this second event, so there's not the same pressure to change my route.

Part of the answer is my energy levels; I managed the hour on the bike daily, but at the expense of doing anything constructive most evenings. I felt tapped out, and didn't want to do much but sloth on the sofa, even with my creative pre-Raglan deadlines pressing. 

Part of it is - I miss running, and I feel I can't both cycle commute to work, and run at lunchtime. 

I ran yesterday at lunch for the first time in weeks, and man, have I missed it. I miss the midday break outdoors, I miss feeling pushed by running (in a way I'm not pushed by cycling) I miss stretching afterward. Running, even my short distances, and my slow times, makes me deeply happy, and feel centred and calm.

Shooting my bow also creates that deep sense of centred happiness, where I find myself just grinning like a goon, for feeling so completely, exquisitely content and 'right' in my place.

I beam at every passing archer, who is grumbling and moaning in their typicaly ways. (Sent off a note to ask about rejoining London Archers this AM.)

It's a rare feeling, really, and I need it.

So as virtuous as it might be, for all sorts of reasons, I'm back on foot and on the Tube for my daily commute for the autumn. 

I'm likely also flogging on the cheap folding bike, as an unsuccessful experiment for me, and sticking with the old trusty 10 speed of my yoof.
abendgules: (archery)
On Sunday I went to the Olympics - womens team event at Lord's. I cycled there, very stubbornly, through a rain shower. Took about an hour all round, including getting knocked off my bike by a black cab on Marlebone road (don't ask).
Met [livejournal.com profile] thorngroveok and got screened etc and found our seats. We were in the Korean cheering section, it appeared.

Thank goodness for cheap binoculars; I could see the archers form beautifully, and was looking at them while most people were focused on the target (well, the TV screen showing the target). There was a lot of really beautiful form on display; the women are remarkably uniform in their form, and only one woman (from US) really stood out looking like she had pursued a different style.

She must be able to produce the scores on demand though, otherwise she wouldn't be there.

The rain came just as the second round of matched competition was starting - truly, the women stepped up to the line, and the skies opened with cold heavy water. The spectators groaned and scrambled to get under wraps, but the archers had no such option. There was no time to get another layer on, so they just had to shoot as they were.
This single-elim match with scores and targets visible on the big screen is a world away from my experience of competitive archery. 
I ached for the archers: 2 mins for three people to shoot six arrows, one at a time. So effectively you each have 20 seconds to take your place on the line, prepare, and shoot...1 arrow, alternating with your teammates, for a total of two. Sounds like lots, except that I used to take up to 2 minutes to shoot three arrows, all by myself, without having to step on and off the line.
After four ends, your 8 arrows contribute to a score that determines whether you and your team advance or fail. After many years of training, preparation, dozens of events attended...those 8 arrows per round are all that you get to prove yourself. 
The round has been designed to focus the most presssure possible on individual athletes, and very few arrows determine who wins the tournament. 
At this stage, there are no duffers, and no 'lucky' shooters - these are all elite athletes who had to qualify nationally and regionally to attend. But even they can be unprepared for the experience of shooting in front of 5000 spectators, whipped up by commentators, with someone commenting on every arrow. And it showed. 
When this round was first suggested in the 1990s, I was gobsmacked. The round that was being shot at the time, at 1986 worlds and 88 Olympics onward, was already a departure from traditional tournament formats, a concession to the TV cameras and schedules, with elimination rounds. This 70m shootoff seemed a monstrosity. 
I can see the appeal, at least to clueless spectators who are used to elimination rounds and watching events like Wimbledon. It's simple; the winner is easy to spot; it's fast; it lends itself to the TV screen. 
It has very little to do, unfortunately, with how most archers spend their days and years practicing. Very few people practice in front a stadium full of people; most days, you shoot by yourself, or with a handful of friends and club mates. 
I ached for them that were there, because they seemed a lot less like athletes and much more like performers, sharpshooters at a wild west show or a circus act.  Even if I'd wanted to keep competing, I don't know if I would have wanted to take part in this display.

The individual round isn't much better - after the ranking round, 24 arrows per match against another archer.

The populist and participation-focused person in me thinks: is this really the best way to encourage new archers to aspire to excellence? Become good enough for national team, travel the world to shoot...15 arrows in a shootoff? total of 60  if you're lucky?

I realise lots of sports do this - they have heats in track and swimming, and you might not make it to the finals.

But there's no shortage of runners and swimmers in most countries - sheer numbers oblige you to have preliminary elimination rounds. It's also part of the game from the outset; even 10 year olds compete in heats.

Archers may only do this matched elimination at the elite level - a world away from the community and training that first inspired and nurtured their interest.

So: I had very mixed feelings in the end. Glad I'd attended to see it, but sad that something I loved has been so mucked about with for the sake of airtime on TV. 

ETA: corrected number of arrows shot in individual shoot-off matches. I thought it was 24 arrows (4 ends of 6), it's actually as little as 3 ends of 3, up to 5 ends of 3...then a single-arrow shoot-off as tie breaker if needed.
abendgules: (archery)
My one involvement with the Olypmics, aside from work, is going to see the womens' team archery event. 

As my sweetie double-booked himself this weekend, I'm going with [livejournal.com profile] thorngrove who was cleverly on hand when we determined the double booking error.

I'm currently reviewing my travel options, given the repeated warnings of travel delays through anywhere in London.

Oddly, the travel planner on the Olympics site and the TfL travel planner give me two quite different cycle routes to the same location. You'd think they'd use the same algorithm. OTOH, I've gotten different routes out of the one planner, entering the same data. Guess it's a complex mapping tool.

I have distant hopes of seeing the Canadian coach, who is a friend from Ealdormere - Ricard of Sable Tree - but this will only happen if he shows up to watch. There's no Cdn women in the event.

Otherwise I'm keeping close to home, and my scribing slope.
abendgules: (archery)
 Last Sunday I went to the archery range - I've established that there are a handful of hardy souls shooting most Saturdays and Sundays at London Archers, regardless of the weather - but they can be very thoroughly hidden from view at the other end of the range, where the land dips in front of Kensington Palace.

At any rate: I was prepared to trot down to the other end to shoot, but got sidetracked by...a minature field course.

Field shooting is a bit like golf: you shoot at different shaped targets from odd distances - sometimes you know how far it is, sometimes you don't. This was an erstatz unmarked course of about 10 targets, from 10 to 50 yards, set up in the handful of landscaped privacy shrubs and yew trees around the clubhouses. 

And it was a one-arrow round - just one arrow per target. If you missed, tough.

I shot about 40 arrows in 2 hours...and hit the target once. Maybe twice. 

I came away thoroughly chilled (fair bit of waiting around for other shooters, because only one person could shoot at a time from the stake), but rather charmed and amused at the creativity of making a field course in the middle of the city. And reminiscing about when I used to shoot field courses more often as a teenager - not my favourite form of shooting, but one of my parents' favourites for many years.

It might be a good laugh to find more field shooting to do. The catch is getting to the sites.
abendgules: (Default)


Lovely Indian-summerish weekend in Thamesreach.
Started with shopping in Shepherd's Bush, meeting Dragana, a recent arrival to Thamesreach from the fair lands of Avacal, An Tir. Despite Tube 'planned engineering works', the biggest hassle was the football fans congregating at the station - fortunately less of an issue on the return trip.
As often happens, I didn't come home with what I planned to buy, but still managed to spend money on fabric - a beautiful light herringbone linen in a madder-orange-red, and an astonishing silver-and-blue diamond woven silk, which I think will make stunning trim on anything cool-coloured - white, blue, black. I bought the rest of the bolt. Dragana found a gorgeous burgundy wool which, if I didn't already have in spades, I'd consider buying myself. 
Happily, one of the favoured run of fabric shops now stocks haberdashery, which is a first - usually fabric and notions are separate in this corner of London.
We also stopped at the firetrap, to buy me some towels.
At my favourite shop, we found out that the properties along Goldhawk Road are being 'redeveloped' - the shop management is not keen on it. I found the relevant planning document on the Hammersmith and Fulham council website, which says (emphasis mine):
 

It is proposed that properties at 30-52 Goldhawk Road should be included in the development area. These are of poor visual quality and of a scale that is no longer appropriate for this part of the Goldhawk Road townscape. It is also important to include the frontage so that better access to the market and central part of the site can be provided, better connecting the regeneration area with Goldhawk Road. There should be opportunities to re-locate these businesses within the main development on suitable terms
 

Talk about being damned with faint praise - 'poor visual quality'?? Why not just say, 'ugly'?
But frankly, if you think Classic Textiles is ugly, you haven't looked at the rest of the market frontages. This is not Knightsbridge, for pete's sake.
Seems their resistance may be overruled - most recent chance to comment closed on 11th Oct.

Back home Robert was being clever with metal bits (photos to follow eventually), and we found a weekend-long Star Trek moviethon to pass the afternoon, puttering on our respective projects. HIGNFY has started a new season, but was slow to warm up

I've finally finished a couple of knitting projects enough to block them (one is still drying); stitching up is next.

Sunday was a lovely day, and I took a risk and headed to London Archers' range at Kensington Palace. Unfortunately, the club seems a bit shaky on communications - they're not very good at letting people know when outdoor shooting is on through the autumn and winter. It's usually on, unless it's off, sort of thing. It was so beautiful out, though, I felt safe taking the trip to find out.

Sure enough - sunshine, not a breath of wind, intermittent cloud. Spectacular for long-distance shooting, and I spent a very happy hour or so trying out Dad's bow. It's longer than mine, and is marked 38 on the handle, which is probably 38lbs at 28" (archery equipment uses a mix of Imperial and metric measurements, depending on what it's for). I very carefully strung it (don't know when it was last strung!) and took it for a spin.

Wow. I don't have a huge dataset for longbows, but this one is beautifully smooth to draw; the extra length means the sharp increase in draw weight towards the end of the draw doesn't happen to me. It's probaly lighter than my own (couldn't carry both to the range) but it was a joy to shoot.




Results at the other end, at 30m (see that outlier? I blame the arrow. Look at the rest of the group, it's near-perfect!).





While I didn't shoot for long (don't want to strain me or the bow)...it was one of those days when I feel centred and All There while shooting - fully in my body, in the experience of shooting, and have just a glimpse of what Buddist monks hanker after by taking up archery - moments of perfect stillness untroubled by anything outside the moment. 

I beamed all the way home, wrestling with the very long carrying tube on the Central line, and then on the bus - it's too long to stand upright on the Tube. It blocks traffic one way or another.

Afternoon and evening were quiet - laundering assorted fabrics and projects, more knitting, dinner with Robert, still more knitting while watching the new ITV 'Upstairs, downstairs' drama thingy, Downton Abbey. Beautifully made, and Maggie Smith is excellent. I love Edwardian fashions. I see ITV now has an online catchup player as well.
abendgules: (archery)
Last month Robert and I trekked into the wilds of Flintheath (Norfolk), to join in the battle of brothers - this is an ambitious event intended to set up a friendly rivalry between ourselves in ID and the principality of Nordmark.

So far, only Duke Sven has attended on behalf of Nordmark, with his son - and this year he left his son behind.
So he scrambled some willing troops from ID to make up the numbers, and carried on a series of small-scale melee scenarios in an attempt to take over the principality.

Awkward enough having to buy local troops to run an invasion, but they got trounced.

Because of small numbers, there's very little melee training for most Insulae Draconis fighters, which is a shame, because I think most of them would enjoy it. Those who know the most about it are generally from other kingdoms, or are visiting from Nordmark. Sven himself is pretty accomplished, and generally holds his own at Pennsic. So it was a big learning experience for many of the ID fighters, even the medium to long-term fighters - rules of engagement, keeping together, coping with long-weaponed snipers, etc.

Sir Vitus even commended Lady Katherine from Thamesreach for doing her part in the melee - being a shield isn't always glamourous in a melee, but she did a good job, and kept a safe place for the long weapons to work from.

The ID side had the honour of being led by our princess AEringunnr herself - she'd re-authorised after a layoff of 7 or so years (her son is 6), and was delighting in once more being in the press of the shield wall. It was really a pleasure to hear her calling for Nordmark blood in the engagements. :-)

In the afternoon, I felt like the Pied Piper, calling up any archers who wanted to shoot to the small and slightly remote archery range to practice - I was pleasantly surprised to find a dozen archers showing up, including some newcomers. All my arrows were promptly loaned out and we kept the range open for a couple of hours to warm up, then run a speed round, then a wand shoot, just for fun. I felt like I'd been run over by a truck by the end, running from one end of the range to the other, helping newer archers and chasing long-lost arrows into the nettles, but noone complained, and everyone seemed to have a good time.

There was a fierce rivalry over the wand shoot, but I feel that Lady Caitlin, who split a wand with her first arrow, was easily the winner, over a second archer who split a wand spectacularly (it blew up and shattered, it really did) after several shots.

I'd lucked out, actually - I'd found new wands for free at the local Travis Perkins (lumberyard), in the form of spacing strips - thin slats of wood inserted between stacks of lumber to allow the forklift to slide its blades between them for lifting. They were just the right size and quality (ie. cheap) and, when fished out of the yard's dumpster, the price was right! (For Canadians - picture a slat from a wood-and-wire snow fence, and that's about the size of a wand).

I'm taking almost a dozen to Raglan for a rematch of this event.

Argh - just lost the second half of this post! May return to it, to describe dinner and evening.
abendgules: (archery)

I've posted less of late from the office. Since I've asked, repeatedly, to have more responsibility, it behooves me to actually, um, be responsible. And boy, I've been responsible this week. Whew.

When I get home, I sometimes check my e-mail, but I find it so easy to fall into the abyss that is the Intawebs, I try to stay off the laptop at home.

However, I've had a very full month or so of fine mostly-medieval-like activities that deserve note.

Tretower
The clever Dom Duarte [livejournal.com profile] goncalves  has continued to build good relations with CADW, and arranged for a free booking at Tretower House in south Wales, not far from Raglan and Hay-on-Wye (the book village, known for its literary festival in the spring). It's in a beautiful small valley, and you can see why a nobleman would want his tower in the centre of the valley - uninterrupted views of all the hills around him. The air is a mix of garden and sheep pasture smells.

The sheep are very skittish, especially considering they have strangers trudging through the corner of their field to reach the tower almost daily. On the other side of the house is a small pasture and a tiny stable for two small ponies and a couple of donkeys.

We've visited Tretower before, but not since CADW refurbished its main hall with wool hangings, a beautiful painted canvas covering the hall wall behind the high table, sturdy trestle tables and benches, and some fine cupboards.

The hall has been subdivided with additional walls, shortening it slightly, to create some new kitchen staging areas, specifically a space for butts, and for the pantler. The house used to have two additional wings, possibly the original bakehouse and brewery, but they were knocked down in the early 20th century. Their outline is still preserved in the  garden, where the paths mark their shape distinct from the grassed areas.

The kitchen and prep areas have also been furnished with more tables and benches, new chests, and lots of table settings, jugs, platters and kitchen implements.

The SCA and other groups have actually used the kitchen in the past - some selected trusted cooks have been allowed to use the hearth to cook meals, and one of the finest meals I've enjoyed was prepared here by Master Paul, Thomas Flamanc and my lord Robert. However, at the moment, the chimney is home to some protected species of bats, and all fires in the chimney are banned til they move on.

At this weekend, this didn't slow down Thomas Flamanc and Lady Edith, who set up Thomas' raised cooking box and spit, and set to making a range of fine foods for lunch and dinner. Lunch included lentils with onions, and elderflower fritters, among other delicacies.

Dinner was a fabulous rich goat stew and a compound salad by [livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer , cold roasted leg of lamb by Sir Vitus, and two different forms of gooseberries - one a 15th c version, almost a gooseberry custard with eggs and cream, and a 16th c version with butter and breadcrumbs, by [livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer  and [info]edith_hedingham,  and Paul and Anne respectively. Both were cooked, and both were amazing each in their own ways.

One of the reasons for me going was to enable archery to take place - Mynydd Gwyn have purchased a couple of straw butts, and we set one up for practice in the corner of the garden. After the public left, we moved it to the shaded part of the field, and measured out the distances for a royal round for Duarte, Heinrich and me to shoot. I surprised myself by shooting 60 on a royal round - best score I've shot in years, and certainly my best ever on a RR with a longbow.

Heinrich's form improved a lot over the weekend (though he's rather excitable and stops paying attention to his form halfway through an end), and he was still at it on Sunday, so it must still be fun. I find it a bit hard to judge if he's enjoying himself - he's a funny sort of kid.

Milady Anne and I puttered on our respective instruments over the weekend - she has proper renaissance recorders and takes lessons, while I'm tootling a tin whistle. Yes, it's post-period, but dang, it's easy, and louder than a recorder, even if it's a bit brassy. I'm hoping to play for dancers at Raglan fair this year.

The treat of the weekend was sleeping in the hall - setting up our rope bed and sleeping in the large upper hall in one wing. It was cool and comfortable enough for a summer sleeping bag, and was a joy to wake up in.

Robert, Vitus and Duarte are full of plans for event bids for this site - summer Coronet, or possibly a summer coronation. The catch with the coronet is that two weeks later is Raglan fair, and most people are only willing to trek all the way to Wales once a year.

We didn't want to leave, any of us. We ate a mountain of splendid leftovers (after a fine breakfast as well!) before rather slowly packing our bags into the assorted vehicles.

Photos are by Robert, hosted on the Armour Archive.

abendgules: (Confesse)
I seem to be struggling to post regularly. I'm trying to stay busy at work, and am (mostly) succeeding, and now have a lot less inclination to sit in front of the 'pooter once I get home. I much prefer the idjit box and my knitting.

Recent weekend activities have included:

- a demo at Gamesfest on Saturday, and shooting over 100 arrows(!) on Sunday
- a fabulous local revel, with a terrific class about late-period cosmetics and associated recipes
- attending the Far Isles' autumn event, and waiting on Her Celestial Magnificence Nerissa

...this doesn't include finishing my post about Raglan, from 2 months ago.
AND documenting the joy of the first permanent full-time employment paycheck in 3+ years (that was last week's high).

I've wanted to document all these things, but have trouble squeezing it in at lunch or between e-mails at work.

This week's small victory: completing a scroll with both calligraphy AND illumination. I'd planned to hand the illum. on to someone better at is, but that original plan fell through, and last night I had to buckle down and once more try my hand at some painting.

I kept a practice page on hand, so I did nothing on the scroll without first testing it on a scrap scroll.

Wonder of wonder: it wasn't appalling! I was reasonably pleased with myself when I finished.

It's not as fine as the original, or as delicate, but that will come. And it gives me the freedom to do all the work on a scroll, without having to coordinate w/ an artist (which has its own rewards! but this means I can burn the candle at both ends w/out keeping someone waiting...)

Pictures shortly...
abendgules: (archery)
It was a glorious late-summer weekend - quite warm, sunny, clear, which is enough to get Londoners to both moan about the heat, while heading to the parks to have a last-blast boozy picnic.
I got down to the London Archers range at Kensington Palace grounds on Sunday. This was my first chance to shoot at the club, and it was perfect.
The gents were shooting at 70m, and there were some beginners shooting at 30m, which was where I wanted to start.
One kindly agreed to take some pics.
It's a lovely site; the drawback is that it's not north-facing, as FITA fields are supposed to be. So by midday, the sun is full in your face as you're shooting. I can see why almost everyone has wee peaked caps that shade their eyes, but don't bump into the string.
I really like the view that takes in the Palace at the far end of the field. It's further away than it looks, honest: sometimes the club has only half the field, and still manages to hold long-distance tournaments.
Sadly, the days are shortening: can't squeeze in much more shooting after work on weekdays, so have to make the most of good weekends.


Gf at full drawGf at full draw

London archers, perfect late September afternoon
waiting for Godotwaiting for Godot

 
still at 30mstill at 30m

but somehow the palace has gotten closer




abendgules: (archery)
Madam NoName has absented herself the past couple of early mornings, but returned for mid-morning breakfasts to enjoy with Robert.

Strings are still the toy of choice: they are chomped a short distance from their free ends, and then carried firmly and determinedly to a safe place under the dining table to be eviscerated, toyed with and generally treated like prey.

Some notices survived the weekend and the slashing rain on Monday. I may replace a few this weekend.

I've successfully joined the London Archers, and am hoping to start shooting as soon as I have a hard case for my bow and arrows to carry on the Tube. There's still light til about 7-7.30pm, so if I arrive at 6pm I can get in an hour or so at Kensington Palace grounds.

I've enjoyed visiting the past couple of weeks, to watch a clout shoot, and part of the club championships. Very nostalgic!

Continuing inquiries about taking the GNAS 'Leaders' course. Unfortunately, it looks like a shameless moneyspinner for GNAS, for the sake of a time-limited accreditation (renewable every 3 years, for a price) to satisfy CYA needs of scout camps and other sites that have ranges.  Why it would take 4 days to teach good sportsmanship and the basics of shooting is beyond me - I could do it in a saturday morning and still have time for coffee.

Hoping they have a grandfather clause for experienced coaches, but seems very unlikely.

For thems in Thamesreach who might want to learn to shoot, even if they don't have kit, there is this (slightly pricey but no strings attached) option: 2020 archery.

You can book sessions for groups - in fact, that's exactly what they want you to do. It's a bit steeper cost than some clubs might offer, but can't complain about the location, or the professional attitiude. Correspondence has been answered promptly and graciously.
abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)

(It's taking too long to write up the whole thing in one post, so I'm breaking it up to post bits and pieces.)

The furnishings, pavilion bits and clothes are finally put away for another year.
From unpromising beginnings, this proved to be a lovely Raglan Fair.
We travelled with Sir Vitus and his baggage train, along with his squire Edricus, and our friend Wulfgar, who was visiting from Lochac. The trip flew by in the catching up with Edricus - we hadn't seen him in several months.
We arrived mid-afternoon Thurs in serious high-wind conditions - just minutes after[info]jpgsawyer's pavilion centre pole had snapped and dropped on Lady M.'s head, demonstrating that really, we were Having Weather(TM).
As we were supposed to set up right next to this spot (on the bowling green, on a very exposed corner of the castle site) were weren't too certain about our own chances of getting set up safely. And when it was up, the wind was lifting the whole pavilion from the bottom like a breeze scooping up under an umbrella, threatening to lift it right off the green like Dorothy's house in Kansas.
Thankfully, Daffyd was willing to negotiate over locations, and we ended up in a more sheltered location next to the castle, beside a pair of arches that supported a bridge onto the bowling green. It was still very windy - it was the first time we'd ever used wind guy ropes - but we didn't feel nearly as likely to blow right off the grounds. Master Paul and milady Anne set up next to us, and [info]jpgsawyer  and Lady M. started setting up the camp kitchen under the arch.
The arch proved a lifesaver - keeping our kitchen area dry and relatively sheltered, providing Thomas with a base to work from for his cooking demo and class, and from whic to serve the fabulous food we ate all weekend. We were isolated from most of the other campers, but with the smell of woodsmoke and roasting piggy rising from the kitchen, everyone knew where we were!

Thursday evening HRM Judith arrived safely and was welcomed in the Polonius camp to visit and pass the time with good food and company. I left her in the care of these fine gents, and headed to bed.

Friday was a bit soggy: but of all days to rain, this was the best, as only general classes and fun activities were scheduled, things that were a bit more flexible than Viceroy tourney and courts. I spent some time scribing, and some time doing archery marshalling - Merlin was once more running a window shoot, which is great fun.
On Friday evening, Her Majesty presided at court (heralded skilfully by [info]nusbacher), and was pleased to hear Sir Vitus and Edricus establish a contract, drafted by Robert, penned by yours truly. And nz_bookwyrm got his long-overdue AoA. Hurrah for Thamesreach!
Saturday was WIIIIIIIND-Y, really windy, but dry for the Viceroy tournament, and the fighting was great to watch. Wulfgar, visiting from Lochac, confirmed that many fighters had improved their skills noticeably since his last visit a couple of years ago, which is always good to hear.
Robert had one of his best tourneys, fighting with confidence and control - noone caught him completely flat-footed, and I think he fought the bouts the way he planned and expected to. He won at least as many as he lost.
The final was between Sir Alaric and Master Sigmundr, with the unsurprising outcome of Alaric and Nerissa winning.  However, it was by no means handed to Alaric, and the best 2 of 3 with 9 other fighters ensured he earned it - this tourney held more bouts than the Crown tournament he won a couple of years ago, which frankly is as it should be, IMO. I want to be confident that the winner of the tourney has won with both skill and stamina, rather than just luck.
One especial pleasure of the tourney was having three women heralds calling the bouts: Lady Katherine Gordon from F'heath, [info]nusbacher  (who also boasted us in - it's fun to have a stately walk in with someone reading our honours), and [info]kirieldp  took turns.

More to come! especially if Edricus posts his photos...

abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)
Meaning to post about Raglan, but busy at work, and unmotivated at home, surrounded by piles of laundering and a now-dry canvas hanging in the hall - acutely aware that Mum is visiting next week! (Insert anxious tidying motions)
Until I can post you'll have to make do with my new favourite photo, courtesy of Master Paul. It's now my desktop at work!
I've definitely got the shooting bug again, and am hoping to check out London Archers this evening - they're the folks who shoot in Kensington Palace gardens (royal household grounds) during the summer, just as they have since mid 17th c.



abendgules: (archery)
So:

1. China Zhang Juan Juan (world cup medalist)
2. S.Korea, Park Sung-Hyun (previous gold medalist)
3. S.Korea Yun Ok-hee (previous world cup medalist)
4. N.Korean Kwon Un Sil (prev. 9th in world champs) is 4th, lost to S. Korean

This is the first time Korea has not taken the gold since 1984.

I'm familiar with world championships, but 'world cup' is a new development in archery competitions.

I *think* it's possibly the pre-Olympic 'filter' event, that determines who gets to go to the Olympics from the world regions, but I'm not certain.

The N. Korean was an extremely 'tight' shooter - everything about her style was tightly controlled. She held the bow (even when wearing a finger sling), she stopped almost completely in mid-draw to turn her bow arm and set her shoulders, then drew aimed shot very very quickly, almost like a snapshooter. Almost no time to aim at all.

And her release ended up far behind her head, but in a very different way from the dynamic releases of all the other Asian archers.

The rain was absolutely pelting down for the 1/8 finals, but the scores were just a bit lower than typical: 105 and 109 vs. 112-114 (out of 120). More 8s shot, wider groups, at least to start.

It was sort of heartening to see even the elite archers, like Park, struggle with nerves - you could see that she was irritated with her results, and she only squeaked into the final. Most of the matches were only separated by 1-3 points. There wasn't much to choose between anyone.

The difference is that their 'nerves' result in an 8, whereas my nerves resulted in 6, 5 or worse. :-)

There were some very cool camera angles: a pinhole camera in the centre of the target showed some shots (replays, while filling arrow-collecting time) landing right next to it. Very flashy! though not very informative about the shot if it wasn't in the gold.

They had cameras directly in front of the archers, showing their draw and anchor and pull through the clicker, and release and follow through - good view of the relaxed (or not relaxed) hand.

There were some fine replays in slow-mo, showing the arrow leaving the bow, and its fishtailing motion down to the target, and also the tiny shower of rain springing off the stabilizers on release.

They also added a mic right in front of the archer, so you could hear both the release and the 'thuck' of the arrow hitting the target - a complete experience.

Even the Koreans are using a lot more 'body English' (body Korean?) after the shot - their follow through used to be so controlled, so mechanical, no matter what the conditions.

It's extraordinary to see how much freer they are now. Perhaps now the fact that the arrow is gone long before you can react has sunk into training, and so now rather than recommending a consistent followthrough on the bow side, what you do with the bow afterward doesn't matter.

The crowd following was crazy: I've never seen chanting fans at an archery competition before. :-) The Koreans and the Chinese were keenest of course, and cheered after every arrow. Astonishing.

It was sort of funny to see them toughing out the huge downpours: everyone broke out their plastic pocket rain jackets in translucent pastel colours - they looked like dancing candied almonds in the stands.

Yesterday in one of the elims a Russian and and American man shot off, and tied.
So then they have a single-arrow shoot-off, and tie, both shooting 8s.
So they shoot off again - and tie, again, with 9s.
So finally they get one more arrow to shoot off (if this one tied, they'd have to measure it from the centre of the target, which is a bit naff, but I suppose you have to break it somehow) and finally the American pulled a 9 out of his ass to the Russian's 8.

But they both looked almost embarrassed and awkward, at both losing their composure so much in this shootoff - each convinced the other would tromp all over them, only to be given a reprieve, twice.

Results pages, if you're interested. New Olympic record shot by one of the Korean men here - 117 out of 120. (World record of 120 out of 120 dates to 2005. Eeek.)
abendgules: (archery)
I was wrong - the archery has continued, at least some of it, but the commentator still hasn't learned anything aobu the sport.

So I wrote to the BBC editors:

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