My son Ben has kindly bought me six archery lessons with the Crystal Palace Bowmen, who meet and practise at St Dunstan’s, where regularly Ben plays cricket for his school and football for The Warren.
This evening’s session is the first time I have handled a bow in earnest (discounting a couple of tries on a Schroder event day in the early 1990s) and it is certainly a fascinating sport with an incredible tradition. It’s a friendly club in a lovely setting and the coaching staff soon introduce the basics and have you shooting at a 20 metre target with a beginner’s bow. I look forward to the weekly meetings and further testing my aim in the future!
As an aside, St Dunstan’s in Beckenham has been a regular field of play for the family, as I played football on the same ground in the early 1980s for Guardian Royal Exchange. Even when I lived in Chelmsford, Essex, I used to be collected by the team captain – Steve White – and driven by him to various south London clubs. St Dunstan’s was our home pitch and I played in defence for the second team for one season before becoming a central midfielder for the first team in 1982. (He usually had The Pretenders on in the car and hearing them now often reminds me of those Saturday trips).