Hello everyone! Now, I am trying to get into the swing of creating more content, more regularly. I love writing, I really do, but often blogging in particular, takes a back seat as the demands of life and creating the magazine whizz by. With the help of some of my wonderfully supportive friends, I am on a mission to organise my content (of which I have SO much of!) so that I can effectively and regularly share it with you all in a better way. After all, IN THE COUNTRY isn't just a magazine, it's so much more than that.
I love shooting, I have done for years but it is only really since I met James, that I have really been able to throw myself into it more and more. He even bought me my very own shot gun for my birthday a last year. A very beautiful 20 gauge Kofs, the perfect gun for a beginner I'd say!
Clay shooting is probably what I do more of, on the farm, socially with our friends and through work and blogging. However, rifle shooting is also something I LOVE. I love the thrill and the buzz you get from this, the technique is totally different for the two and I know that for me, (I'm sure I am not alone in this,) there is something quite empowering about picking up a shot gun, aiming at a target and pulling the trigger. I can't really explain it.
With all that said, I was delighted to receive an invitation from the ladies at Bloxham PR, asking if I'd like to attend a morning of clay and rifle shooting at the iconic West London Shooting School, along with some delicious country and game style cuisine thanks to the brilliantly talented, Tim Maddams. As I am sure you can imagine, the decision to accept this delightful invitation, wasn't a tricky one!
Upon my arrival, I was delighted to see the beautiful Pip A.K.A Mcclounie & Armstrong there which was so so so lovely and gave us the perfect opportunity to catch up! Shout out to Pip as she has been such a lovely and supportive friend over the past couple of years and her blog is absolutely one of my favourites! It isn't often that we all manage to get together and catch up properly in the midst of work, living life and the rest of it, so this was a really lovely surprise and also it's always nice to turn up at an event and see a familiar face!
After a brief introduction from Mark Heath about the history of the shooting school and the ways in which it has developed and matured over it's impressive 100+ year history, we were split into various groups for the morning's activities. For me, first up was the newly constructed Rifle Range at WLSS.
As an amateur shooter, in my free time, I always welcome an opportunity to improve my technique with the help of the fantastic, highly experienced and even more patient instructors here at the WLSS. Their sense of humour is literally second to none!
I have always found it really hard to look down a scope and focus on or even locate the target sometimes, despite it being a running joke with us at home, it is rather frustrating. The faces I pull as I try to focus my eyes and locate the target clearly is ridiculous! Mark was on hand to help. I am hugely left eye dominant when I shoot and this is the problem. By placing tape over the left side of my glasses or placing cardboard (less attractive) over the left side, stops my left eye from dominating my vision and my right eye then begins to do the work for me - as it should! Once I had comfortably located the target, I was ready to go.
The rifle we were shooting was The Highland Stalker by John Rigby & Co with Leica optics. It was an incredible experience and I loved it, having Mark take the time to talk the technique through with us, and tailor the shooting experience to us as individuals was great, I feel like I have really been able to take some pointers away from this.
Both groups then met down at the Rifle Range where we were treated to some delicious Elevenses created by Tim Maddams. It was utterly delicious. Tim served up a selection of; Venison Salami, Pan Fried Pheasant and Wild Garlic Yorkies, plus Cured Trout on Rye Bread with Sour Cream and Wild Sorrel.
After Tim's delicious creations, followed a brief talk from Tim Woodward, Chief Executive of The Country Food Trust - a charity which has been formed to support and feed those in need with delicious, nutritious country inspired meals in association with Tim himself. From there, we swapped over and it was time for us to head out onto the clay grounds. To say I was excited would have been an understatement!
Richard Weller was our instructor for the clay shooting session and he was an absolute pleasure to be around! Despite most instructors normally starting ladies off on a 20 gauge, I was keen to shoot with the 12, purely because I had a 20 back at home and I was really keen to improve my shot using the 12. Richard was brilliant and hugely accommodating about this. I was really pleased with how I shot on the day and I feel like I have also now been able to master the one simulation that I always struggled with - rabbits. I was regularly shooting both pairs in a short space of time, thanks to Richard! For me, I know I need to slow down, focus and lock onto the target smoothly, rather than being to quick to move the gun and pull. Once we had identified that, I was smashing it... quite literally! THANK YOU RICHARD!
My eyes also affect me in a similar way when shooting shotguns too and so we used the tape solution and I was able to focus on what I needed too. I am keen to explore ways of doing this without having to wear tape on my glasses each time, not massively stylish! An eyepatch was suggested?!
Shooting over, reluctantly, we headed back towards to main house for a sit down lunch, again created by Tim.
On the menu was a mouth-watering dish of Devonshire Lamb, Wild Garlic, English Asparagus and Jersey Royals. SO DELICIOUS! It was a real treat!
The conversation at the table was booming, it was brilliant to sit down over some fantastic food and get to know so many different people. Following suit, was Tim's dessert; Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Rhubarb, Hemp and Oat Crumb with some yummy ice-cream that had been perfectly matched to the dish.
Lunch devoured and conversation flourishing with some brilliant connections made, I reluctantly had to tear myself away from the table and the event so that I could make my way home in time to send out some of the Spring pre-orders. Entrepreneurship is a real balancing act and I had a lovely brief conversation with Kaylie Bloxham, founder and CEO of Bloxham PR who hosted the event. It is so important not to feel guilty about how you spend your time.
I hope you've enjoyed hearing about my day at the West London Shooting School - it is such a brilliant location to shoot and I honestly can't recommend the instructors enough. Take a look at their website for more information about the various lessons and courses they offer. www.shootingschool.co.uk
Until next time...
Lots of love,
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