After a slightly hectic Friday night organising equipment, there were only a few things that needed doing on Saturday morning, and we left Southampton in convoy at 11am, with our car (Lukas driving, Stuart, Bo and Irina passengers) stopping by campus to drop off the keys to the range.
Once out of the city and onto main roads, we realised quickly that Lukas’ car was behaving sluggishly, however this had been the case at leg 1 of SEAL Recurve the previous week, so other than frustrated comments and concerned glances at the scheduled arrival time (which was hovering around the scheduled start of shooting) little attention was paid to the cars underperformance.
This all changed at around Newbury, when the car simply stopped accelerating, and slowed to a halt at the side of the A34. We naturally left the car, and took refuge in a field while Lukas informed his breakdown cover.
We were informed by the person Lukas was speaking to of the existence of a pub in the vicinity, and took off immediately to the Canarvon Arms. Reaching a less major road on the far side of the field, we found ourselves at the gatehouse to Highclere Castle, and therefore headed away from the castle on the assumption that the pub was unlikely to be on the grounds. Crossing the overpass, we looked down onto the A34, and could see Lukas’ car, hazard lights flashing, by the roadside.
We then continued along the roads, enjoying the novelty of the day in the countryside, until we reached the promised Canarvon Arms, which turned out to be a very pleasant, hospitable, and above all else warm roadside pub. After making contact with the rest of the convoy, who were still headed towards Warwick, and ensuring them that all was as well as it can be when one is stranded halfway between Southampton and Oxford, we settled down and ordered some snacks.
Much was discussed at the pub, topics ranging from politics and economics through to the evolution of written language, and after about half an hour Lukas departed to meet the recovery vehicle. He was then returned to the pub, along with a now mostly-fixed car, and since shooting had, by this point, already started, we returned to Southampton along roads where it is less inconvenient to other drivers to be doing a maximum of 40mph up all the hills.
The scenic route turned out to be rather pleasant, although somewhat confusing at times, with the Satnav desperately trying to take us back onto the M3, but we eventually returned to Southampton at 3:30.
The match report for the Warwick Open Novice Tournament will be continued in another episode once shooting has finished, results have been announced, and the competitors who made it there have returned home.