Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Practical archery

Shark, Squirrel and Tiger attend an archery lesson. This is really just an excuse to hurl pointed projectiles, but the instructor, who pirouettes before he flashes dazzling smiles and theatrically claps his hands together like a game show host, quietly says you are only allowed to shoot the arrows to those round targets, and Squirrel doesn't have one of those strapped to the top of her head, so Shark, please stop trying.

I say the instructor's in charge, so listen to him, even if he does look like a game show host. We know that you two had your routine argument this morning, by which commotion mama knows that you are awake, but let it drop. Squirrel's ear-piercing singing like a rat eating razor blades, waking you up at 7am every morning and refusing to stop even after you have thrown a book at her face, does not mean now you have permission to shoot her.

And by the way, I tell the little grits, here is your history education. Archery and all pointy throwing things is a fundamental development in human civilization because it is a means of hunting tasty rump and not just a means of engaging in warfare with the next door neighbours.

Equipping ourselves with the sort of weaponry that meant humankind could serve up mammoth steak and not scrabble around in the mud grubbing up earthworms is the sort of history we like round here. Practical and active. Better still if it is pointed, sharp and deadly.

And with this sort of experience, I tell the gritlets, you can have an entirely new perspective on battles like Agincourt. Just imagine how black that sky looked if you were French. Quite frankly I would have been cakking myself and legging it as fast as possible to hide behind the nearest tree. In fact when I see Tiger's determination to skewer that lethal point into the target I feel a similar effect.

And I know that in terms of learning about technology warfare with the latest military seek-and-find gear, we have a long way to go, but this sort of amateurishly hopeless have-a-go technique of missing the target everytime while learning ancient sports, warfare and how to catch dinner, is somehow very British.

As is sitting in the bus shelter afterwards, eating chips.

Overall, not a bad day, except for the rat and the razor blade early morning alarm call.


The Boisterous Butterfly said...

Are they going to take any more archery lessons or was this a once in a lifetime deal? It is rather dangerous isn't it? They could be whittling their arrows in the woods and go after each other. Is spear throwing next?

Tessa said...

It is, isn't it? Awfully British, I mean. My husband is constantly looking at the wood pigeons with blood lust in his greeny-brown eyes. I find life in England quite terrifying, actually.

Anonymous said...

Are you working your way up through ancient English weaponry? I'm looking forwad to the post about introducing them to jousting!

blogthatmama said...

I think my boys would love you to home educate them with lessons like that. There's a job for you in North Yorks if you want it!

Casdok said...

Very British! I love the images this post brought to my mind :)

mamacrow said...

maybe it's just a boy thing but we've had rubber swords, re-enactments, broad sword fighting and archery round here since - forever. and sometimes the kids join in!

Grit said...

hi bb! six lessons of archery! six! how difficult could this be? you are right. we could do some serious damage with a pointed stick and i could save the cash.

hi tessa! you know the british are quite feral underneath this calm exterior? not in any sexy way either. properly brutish and possibly knuckle dragging.

yes mud, and i really am keen to visit the royal armoury at leeds, ever since i saw that knight undress at wrest park. i think i might have fallen a teensy bit in love then. perhaps you should try the medieval male instead of all these modern bankers.

btmama, this home ed lark requires a great deal of resourcefulness, some might say insanity. an underachievement on a school tudor project might seem like the better option by comparison.

dear casdok, i am sure we both recognise the value of the field - lots of space to crash around in, stare at the sky and the earth, and not much of an audience to detain us.

mamacrow, you are delightful, and i am laughing.