Email from my brother

I'm a bit behind with posting these, but I can't deprive you of them any longer. Here is number one of four.


Hi Fay,

How's it going? I checked your blog before writing this but don't know if anything extra is happening with you or that now you're back at work it means you're busy. Or that I've skimmed over your blog and missed something important. At this point I'm going with the first option.

I couldn't speak to mum and dad last week either because I was away on an SCA weekend (Society of Creative Anachronisms) at Pirongia and they let me know what's going on with the family. I managed to rope Paul (my nephew on Juliette's side) into coming along for the day on the Saturday at Pirongia. He's eight now so is enjoying things quite a bit. He managed to come second in his first ever contest for the junior archery and won a leather bracer (a leather arm protector that stops the string of the bow from hitting your arm). Only last month prior I signed him up as my fletchers apprentice on a Contract of Indenture where by I get first dibs on "anee wynnings from archeree tournaments, hastiludes and chance bets at the butts". I can actually spell but the contract was written in olde English and stained with tea to make it look really authentic. I believe my marriage certificate uses the same modus operandi.

The upshot is that I've always wanted another leather bracer and contracts are contracts, so... His contract lasts for "seven yers and one day" so I should be able to skim off his winnings until 2019 at least. Result!

I came joint second in the adult archery contest and managed to talk my way out of a shoot out for the first place. You see the core archers all practice on the third Sunday of the month and we belong to the (fictional) household of Geoffrey Wulf who is under the employ of the (fictional) constable of the Tower, Sir Alan de Boxhill. Sir Alan de Boxhill actually existed back in the 1370s but doesn't "exist" now so to speak. He's like a figurehead boss, the Colonel Saunders to our archery KFC.

So any win by a household archer is a feather in the cap for household, right? So after three separate rounds of speed shooting, distance shooting and animal target shooting the marshal in charge had three archers on equal points because we all won our rounds. However the first round was one by a household archer, the second round by a non-household archer and the last round was won by me the oldest household archer in town.

Because it was near lunch I said that rather than do a shoot out to decide the winner perhaps the winner should be the archer who among us scored highest in the rounds they did not win. I did this because I knew that the other household archer would definitely win this way because he shot really well in the second round. Following this? Don't worry, I didn't either and I'm seriously not kidding. I knew that if we did a last shoot out where winner takes all there was a possibility that the non-household archer could snatch victory from a lucky shot, so I angled it to make sure the household gained all the glory. Not me, the household. Understand? It was not about me.

Ha! Who am I kidding? What actually happened was that I thought we were shooting to decide the final third round placing because I thought I was out of the competition as a whole. It was only after lunch that I realised I had a chance at shooting for first place for the whole shooting match (if you pardon the pun) and talked the marshal out of it. However later on I did managed to pick up the prize "Resplendent Peacock award for best Light Combat (archer) or heraldic appearance" because of my kit. I take solace in this because if you're going to be a f*ckwit might as well look fabulous while doing it.

It's the last week of the school holidays here before they launch into term something or other. I have no idea how school terms work. I was told they got two weeks off for "half term" but two weeks sounds a bit much. I was also told that they have four terms rather than three. All I know is that next week things will get a whole lot easier with just Sam to look after. Don't get me wrong, Eva is lovely on her own and Sam is lovely on his own but put them together is like water and potassium, it's like the Incredible Hulk and Jack McGee, it's like Baileys and Lime Cordial. Those two do not get on and they can not get on for hours without a break. I don't know where they get it from. All I know is that without Tom and Jerry cartoons where I can sit them down for ten minutes, in silence I'd be ... hang on a minute.

Take care,
Mark xxx

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