Monday 8th August

The team managed to pack most of the kit needed for the (nearly) three week tour last night. Bulging cabin bags and even more corpulent hold bags seemed to leave little floor space in the Surrey dining room overnight.

Rifles were divvied up into rifle boxes, foam replaced by mats in many cases, all stored in the armoury overnight.

0700 this morning was the agreed time to convene for breakfast. We were near enough thereabouts.
T'was not long before the aroma of the Captain's sizzling bacon permeated the dining room. Butties for all to fortify us for the anticipated journey to Heathrow and the expected interminable wait while checking in team kit, ammunition and negotiating rifle export with customs.

Our coach arrived in good time, all our belongings disappeared, hopefully into the transport and off we set, though too early for a chorus of “we're all going on a summer holiday”.

Terminal 3 as busy as expected on our arrival – Air Canada checked us in surprisingly efficiently and with a minimum of fuss. But you know that as a team, something is always going to “crop up', be it someone who forgot their passport/firearm certificate/brain or powder compact. In this case, the fiancee of the Chairman of the Surrey Rifle Association was heard to ask the Chairman
“David, where's your rifle box?”
“Must be here somewhere” muttered the Chairman.

Our Baggage Master was seen to assume an expression of concern, but he had counted the boxes, and there were fourteen.

Confusion reigned momentarily, till it was realised that a tall, left handed member of the team had originally said that he would meet the team at LHR with his rifle box, forgetting that he had left it at Bisley and so joined us there instead, hence providing an extra box.

So, where was the Chairman's box? After due consideration, it was concluded it was still in the Surrey Armoury. Cue a frantic call to the Surrey Secretary, who immediately dropped his ball cock, rushed to the Clubhouse and couriered said box to LHR. If anyone was between Bisley and Terminal 3 this morning and saw a white plumber's van balanced on two wheels on tight bends, you now know why.

The rifle box made it, a very sincere “thank you” to John Tapster, the van has been entered for the next attempt at the world land speed record.

Unusually for airlines these days, our flight arrived in Halifax pretty much on time. The weather was, and still is appalling. At least the rain is reasonably warm.

Canadian customs dealt with us promptly and thoroughly – Andrew Webber, Jeff Jenkins, and Bill Gilles of the Nova Scotia Rifle Association greeted us all to a warm, though rainy welcome.

The team managed to find their way to the hotel, and enjoyed a well deserved shower beer and bed.