Day 340 – 6th December – Let’s Play Ball

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After my disappointment for the London Baseball matches I decided to ease my woes by making sure that I was going to a ball game before the London matches take place. I’ll be visiting Seattle next year to see a friend and while I’m there, the Mariners will be playing at home. I’ve therefore snapped up a ticket (there were loads available to be fair) for one of the days I’m in town. It did also have the benefit of considerably cheaper than any of those at the London matches and in a considerably better location than the cheap seats.

Day 337 – 3rd December – No Room in the Ball Park

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Ok, so it’s December so I’m stealing the quote from the Mary and Joseph story to illustrate my attempt to get hold of tickets for one of the two MLB baseball games taking place in London next year. Having pre-registered there was the belief that I would at least stand a change of getting some reasonable tickets for at least one game. Unfortunately from the word go it seemed that the cheaper tickets were gone in seconds or the system kept timing out. All I was ever offered were tickets at a price where I could almost fly to the US and watch the game there for the same price. Eventually I gave up and just looked in unhappiness at the number of tickets the resale websites had listed at about 3 or 4 times the face value price. Looks like I’ll have to take in an extra game next time I’m in the US to make up for missing out here. I do have another chance with the general sale later in the week, but given today’s experience, I’m not going to hold my breath.

Day 292 – 19th October – Too Highly Strung

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So today’s tennis took a more expensive turn today when I broke a string. Like can often be the way for players of my level, it went playing a drive but one that was slightly mistimed and caught a large chunk of the frame. I’m not majorly surprised and to be honest was expecting one would have gone sooner given they hadn’t been used for so long. Thankfully I always carry a spare so was able to use that instead, though as the racket has two sets of strings I could have carried on for a bit with that racket as one set was still fine, though I suspect they wouldn’t have lasted too long. I now need to go through the process of finding a decent re-stringer with strings I will like, given that in the last 5 years I suspect racket string technology has moved on.

Day 285 – 12th October – Change of Ends

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The lunchtime tennis is still going ok, weather permitting, and a small strain picked up after not playing for so long seems to have repaired itself. We’ve had to make a change to our play though as the courts are now fully booked all of Wednesday by the tennis club (which I don’t mind). So we’ve switched to Fridays. Today was a little challenging as there were only the two of us (holidays, illness and meetings affecting others) and it was very windy. Singles in the wind can often lead to a lot of running around and this was true to form today. By the end I knew I’d had about 45 mins of play. Still it was good to get out and do some heavier excecise than doubles would normally provide.

Day 271 – 28th September – Roll Out the Barrel One Last Time

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Thanks to a chat with some new friends and a bit of good fotune I got to do something new for the first time, and what will be the last time. Every now and again the ranch would allow people to do a barrel racing lesson although they are stopping that option (hence it being the last time). This isn’t at any significant speed for most of the lesson as it is spent walking or trotting around the barrels. As with most things it’s a lot more complicated than it looks as it combines, changes in balance, direction, looking ahead in advance and reigning hands all while ensuring the horse is going in the direction you want, which isn’t actually towards the barrel, but just off of it so you can kick on at the exit point. Thankfully we had an excellent teacher and everyone came in completing the pattern at a time of around 30 seconds (much longer than she would take though!)

Day 268 – 25th September – You have 14 seconds to comply

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I’m now back at the ranch that I have visited a number of time, White Stallion Ranch, and have been able to do what I consider one of the highlight activities of the week, team penning. In a group of 4 friends we had some wonderful runs and I was allowed to cut a number of times as others didn’t want to. We were lucky enough to have a totally blistering run and managed to pen the cattle in 14 seconds from the time we got to them. It’s not quite my fastest time, that being 13 seconds but everyone was delighted with such a wonderfully quick time. We don’t get to keep the trophy as it was donated by a guest for photo opportunities, but it was nice to have been winners.

 

Day 266 – 23rd September – Call me Daryl

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While at Tombstone Monument Ranch there has been the opportunity to do some archery. This is something I have done before, as a child, but it has been a few years. I wasn’t missing out on a ride and given the short time I’d be there I wanted to do as much as possible. What I wasn’t expecting was to be firing at Zombie targets. I will be honest in that I missed more than I hit, but then I was also aiming for the head shot, what with them being zombies and all that. So just call me Daryl from now on.

Day 264 – 21st September – Shelling Out

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One of the activities at Rancho De La Osa is rifle and shotgun shooting. Being from the UK I’ve never used anything stronger than an air-rifle so this was a new experience. The rifle came first and I was more successful with this, hitting a number of targets once I had got the hang of how the sighting worked. The shotgun was a different matter and I now have a much bigger appreciation for the skill demonstrated by professional in competition. It wasn’t until my very last shot, the second shot of the final two cartridges that I managed to hit the skeet that had been launched. It was more of a clipping than a centred shot, but I did at least find the target. I should point out that this activity was carefully controlled to ensure that safety was the priority.

 

Day 204 – July 23rd – Court Out

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I played tennis for the first time in a number of years today. I used to play a lot until other stuff got in the way. I also used to be of a reasonable club standard and would play in matches against other clubs. Today I didn’t cover myself in glory and it was evident that there was a lot of rust that will need to be ground off. I hope it won’t take too long and some of the timing was starting to come back by the end of the two hours. If it does I look forward to having some fun matches after work in the next few weeks.

 

Day 186 – 5th July – Anyone for tennis

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Although I don’t play as much as I used to, in terms of sport, my best one is tennis and as such has been a sport that I have always followed closely. To that extent one of the items on my yearly ‘to do’ list is to try to get tickets for Wimbledon. I’ve been very lucky that most years and I’ve been able to go and that even in the few that I haven’t made since I first went, I’ve been able to get a match day programme, creating a library dating back to 1984. This year the tickets were for Centre Court, and while they were nearly right at the back, the view was still good. The highlight for me was to see Nadal play, who oddly enough I had never seen play live before.