25 and 26 August.

The morning after the night before..

A detachment of team members, ably led by Nigel Ball, set off to the range to get the classroom sorted out by 1100 hours, when the contents of some large packing cases had been replaced into said cases and collected to be put back into storage for Rex Barrington and his team next year.

Back at the hotel, packing happened. Jack Keates, our much put upon baggage master repelled anything out of team baggage that was seen to be “taking the p***”.

A team member who had family in Canada left us to fly to points west. Management hadn’t twigged that he was the driver of the largest bus on the team, whilst Rosey had joined us in Ottawa, so we had one less bus and one more team member and his bags to get to Montreal.. The net result was that the Captain’s bus (ably and superbly driven by the Vice Captain) was loaded up with all 15 rifle boxes and nearly all the team kit. Every bit of space was filled. Smaller team members were tucked into shoe boxes and squeezed into gaps between rifle boxes.

The team duly arrived at Montreal Airport and duly fell in to “sheep mode” whilst check in was completed and excess baggage charges paid. It turned out that our favourable impression of Air Canada up to this point was to disappear.

In due course, we boarded AC’s chosen aircraft type for the crossing – the fabled Airbus A330, Light Twin French Bug Smasher. Doesn’t burn much fuel as it flies so slowly.

We found the cabin crew’s default answer was “non!” In fact nearer downright rude was the best description. The safety briefing was so rushed that it was not understandable and there was no demonstration that your diarist could see.

It was the First Officer’s sector, so he was handling the aircraft, his landing. Obviously an expert gardener. He planted it.

Team general unhappiness turned to our being downright miffed when it turned out that one of our rifle cases was missing. Caused an hour’s delay to leaving LHR. The Captain received an email from AC on arrival at Bisley, informing him that the case was arriving at Heathrow next morning, having never been put on the flight the previous evening.

Our coach driver duly dropped us off outside the Surrey to be greeted by some friends and family. Team kit and rifles were all duly unpacked whilst Piotr prepared lunch for some of us.

“Good Bye’s”, hugs, handshakes and kisses shared as the “family” went their separate ways.

Succesful tour, fantastic shooting, fantastic people, much ribaldry, much laughter and the odd hang over.

Thank you Tom Rylands.

We still don’t know how many non alcoholic drinks Turbo had when off the range!

Fairwell Canada
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