Thursday, 29 December 2011


My Birthday is over the holiday period.
We were down near Portsmouth where my parents live. My daughter organised a surprise visit to the Mary Rose collection, my brother drove me there, and it was only when we arrived at the dockyard gates that I dared to think I was going to get to see the bows.
The family had all chipped in and made me a 'Patron of the Mary Rose' which allows access to the private collection, but the people there had gone above and beyond the call of duty and opened up specially on a holiday.
Andy who showed us round was brilliant, he was enthusiastic, knowledgeable and funny. I couldn't stop grinning as he showed us round the artefacts culminating with the bows.
It was great to see them close up and even hold a couple (wearing latex cloves of course).
I was particularly interested in seeing the bows with knots and ripples in, as the more perfect ones are those usually exhibited.
The bows just looked and felt 'right', they were a fair bit longer and fatter than those I usually make with a more graceful taper than the rather straight tapered laminated bow we tend to see today.
My head was reeling, and Andy urged me to take as many pics as I wanted which was great, as I can now pore over them at my leisure.

The book of the collection 'Weapons of Warre' is superb and I've been avidly studying that too, and, not just the bow section.
The whole day flew by and there was a surprise family pub lunch after the trip... I was pretty much stunned and grinning for the next 48 hours.
The trip has given me a better feel for how I want to make the 90# bow I'm working on and it's bolstered both my confidence and enthusiasm.

All in all the best birthday ever!

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