It was grey and damp and not getting better when Alex and I turned up at the field. Of course, Barry was there, having already put out the tournament sign on the road, and Andy C was there; both seemingly unable to sleep for the excitement.
The Cotswold awning was already up, as too the gazebo for the bbq, what was left was everything else.
As soon as those container doors were opened, it had to start to rain. That dampening rain that occasionally threatens real wetness. Just enough to coat those optimistic sunglasses. So we took the decision to get the targets out first and face them up second, keeping the faces as dry as possible for as long as possible. No-one likes shooting on wet tissue paper.
The scoring tent around it went up, the solar panel went out, the scoring laptop was powered, the scoring runners briefed . Meanwhile the breakfast started spitting and tea kettle was whistling. The sun was starting to come out a bit and with the targets rapidly being positioned it was beginning to look like the well-planned Swan we wanted.
Beginning in the previous October with the record status request to Archery GB, a lot of work had already gone on to get to this point. From arrangements for judges, orders for food, calls for field party, scorers and scoring runner volunteers, notices out to club secretaries, designing of application forms, to the extent of evangelists wandering around other shoots cajoling people to sign up. The previous weekend had also seen the foam bosses rebuilt to tournament standards and wobbly frames tightened.
The big day having finally arrived, there were archers there as soon as club members arrived to setup. Tents went up fast and sit and relax seemed the order of their day, for archers at least.
Come 9.15, in spite of it all, 16 targets for 75 archers were all ready, shooting kit was inspected, breakfast rolls had been consumed (ran out of bacon!) and Mr Turner was ready for the 10am off with his whistle and stopwatch. Apparently the chronotir was chronically ill.
Denis and Shirley paramounted. We're not sure what that means exactly but they did a great job. Graham kept the field captains field deployment to championship spec while the Andy's looked great in aprons. Jane, Kevin and Diane caked up ( I saw that quarter cake slice Jane!) while Ruth lent much-welcome muscle to the field organisation. Peter welcomed and registered everyone, and for those that stayed..
The shoot itself proceeded almost smoothly. The pace stayed good, the weather stayed dry and warm, almost shedding the damp under the brightening sky and we landed at lunch time, more or less on time.
The rest of the afternoon kicked off after BBQ lunch with the afternoon archers going through their introductions and sighters then everyone joining back in to the great race to the end. Shooting was done by 5.15. 12 Dozen completed. All dry and yet there was still cake!
The work for the field party was fairly light once the field was laid out, we had a few persistent lost arrows, mostly of the 'I'm sure it went over kind' that we eventually found nearer the shooting line and those longbows had a good try at the pennants. We got them back when one lost two consecutive arrows by threading the axle gap. My boot owes one of the youngsters an arrow though.
The judges wrote up their report of the day, hopefully influencing Santa's 'naughty or nice' list while Barry riposted with the tournament organisers report on the judging and collected record claims from hopeful and weary archers.
We supported two disabled archers with both Richards and Alex collecting and scoring. I'd like to think they had a good days shooting.
Closing up, the raffle collected by Ed and Carolyn was sufficiently well endowed in quality and quality that it felt like an age to finish, the results arriving shortly after through Adrian's, Emma's, Vicky, Ted and Jane's efforts. What remained of the field party took down the final tents and restored the field boundary fence to its original position. The day was finally closed down at 1/4 to 7, toilets locked, sign recovered, waste collected and loaded for disposal with the last few of the generous donations of cakes distributed amongst much rounder people than had started in the morning. Aching feet tramped off the field, groaning at heaving heavy limbs over the stile and then went home for a beer. Well, I did. It was Father's day.
Meanwhile, Barry would like to hand this job over - he's done a sterling job already, and we've captured a lot of the work to get to a successful day. Now that you see what's involved - i'm sure you are eager to run the next one.
Thanks to all who helped make this day great. Raffle donations, bakers, scorers, target humpers - the volunteers who showed up on the day and those who worked toward the day to keep the club funded and present Burleigh as a great tournament to shoot.