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 Pilgrim Bowmen in France 

Posted by lorrainepb on 06/08/2011 14:37:00 last updated 06/08/2011 14:37:00

Boston has a twin town in northern France called Laval. The twinning started in 1958 and visits take place on a bi-annual basis, turn and turn about.
The archery link started in 1961 between Pilgrim Bowmen of Boston and Les Chevaliers de St Georges, Laval and has continued ever since.
The Pilgrims recently returned from their foray into France and this time, unusually, they won! This is unusual because it is normal for the home team to have the advantage. The visitors are normally tired from travel, late nights and too much gorgeous food to say nothing of the wine!
When in France we usually shoot a Short Metric but if there is a hint of rain Our French Friends prefer to shoot indoors. This happened this year although the weather forecast was wrong. Another reason is, however, that a number of them only shoot during twinning week and they were fearful of shooting at 50 metres with no practice. Nevertheless, their indoor facility is superb where you can shoot 30 metres comfortably. The drill is that you shoot 36 arrows in the morning, retire for a leisurely lunch and then return for the remining 36 arrows followed by beer and then on to more food. Keeping check of your weight is a real problem.
We had a total archery group of 19 people this time although only 7 of those were actual shooters, the remainder being friends and family. It is a fact that in the early days we shot about 4 or 5 times in the week whereas now it is only twice. Friendship is the key but the archery is the catalyst which helps bind it together.
Our French friends organised a day out for us at the Ile de Nantes where they make fabulous machines, e.g. a mechanical elephant upon which we all could ride. In fact, if you type into the search engine on your computer 'Machines, Nantes' you can see it all. The Laval organising committee also organised a day out to the Castle at Angers and 'Terra Botanica' which pushes the Eden Project way down the list of things to see!
One accepts that twinning is not everyone's 'cup of tea' but it can certainly be recommended as the perfect way to learn about a country, it's people and the language and yours truly is looking forward to receiving our friends next year and have certainly booked my place to return to France in two years time.
Report by Ian Clayton

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