K minus 2 days…

Licences. Granted.

Europass. Updated.

Rifle. Packed.

New waterproof boots. Bought.

New neck gaiter. Bought.

New ski jacket. Bought (hooray for TK max).

New kitbag. Not bought yet (that’s tomorrow’s lunchtime).

Tickets. Sorted.

Passport. Good to go.

Money. Never enough but I’ll get by 😀

Ammunition. Sorted.

Paperwork. Drowning in it.

Phone. Roaming enabled.

Nearly good to go…

And sorted… sort of…

Like I said earlier, the new licencing system on the Gardai’s end seems to have worked well, taking four working days to get the licence applications examined and approved. Once my notice of the licences being granted arrived, I went over to the GPO on Saturday evening and at the desk gave them the application granted notice, paid my €240 by laser card (three licences. ouch), and the chap behind the desk gave me back a receipt. But payment was sent directly into the computer system there and then. Come Monday morning, the company that prints the licences in Co.Clare printed them up and dropped them in the post, and they arrived in my postbox this Wednesday morning. So from start to finish, the entire process from application form in to licences back into my grubby little paws took 13 days (about six hours under 13 days actually).

Of course, there were one or two minor hitches – those and a look at the licences themselves after the break…

Continue reading “And sorted… sort of…”

New licences granted in four working days…

With the new licencing legislation being rushed into place this year, there was rather widespread dread of significant problems with the new system. And in fact, many problems did show up and are still being encountered – and the next few weeks are the real acid test, as the extensions of people’s licences expire. From what I’ve seen from talking to farmers and hunters, the majority of shooters did not understand that when those extensions expired, the shooters were no longer licenced to possess any firearms; and that this year was a reapplication and not a renewal as it has been for the last 80-odd years.

Most shooters seemed to believe that they had to wait until the extension expired in order to apply; some even thought that when the extensions expired, they’d be asked to come into the station and pay the annual fee and renew as before. And since a large number of extension letters apparently never made it out, and yet more shooters received extensions to their extensions in error (as such second extensions don’t have any authority under the Act); the level of confusion out there is high, even allowing for the typically Irish approach to a change in the system (ie. ignore it until you can’t, don’t learn about it until someone gets annoyed enough to explain it to you in small words, admit nothing and give nothing up…).

With all that, I was feeling rather unhappy about the odds of getting my licences in time to travel abroad. My own fault really – when the workload in college took off at the start of this term (I grossly underestimated the amount of work I had to do when the embedded systems course changed its hardware platform, as did several others), I had left the application slide. Now granted, for several weeks noone was being advised to apply – with the commissioner’s guidelines not published, the restricted list update SI not published, the local gardai not being briefed on how to handle the new process, and even the An Post system not up and running for paying the fees, every NGB out there was advising people to hold off from August 1 until around about mid-September or so. Still, the last six weeks are my own daft fault.

So I was quite pleased at the speed of the turnaround on my licence application. More details and forms after the break…

Continue reading “New licences granted in four working days…”

K minus 7 days…

A few weeks back, just before the NTSA AGM, I resigned from the board. I guess ten years is about as much as anyone ought to do on a committee, in fact I personally think I left it a few years too long. It means I get to go back to shooting again. But, like after any long slog at any job, I found I was rather burnt out, and was having a lot of trouble getting back to the line again. Enter Herself Indoors, who for a birthday gift, is sending me back to Kuortane for the training camp this year.

I went before, in 2007, and would have gone in 2008 but it didn’t run; so I’m looking forward to this. I’m hoping it will act as a mental reboot, and let me recapture some of what I lost sight of during all the legislative and political bleepstorm we’ve been dealing with for the last few years in Irish target shooting — namely, actually shooting!

Myself and Daniel have been talking about our preparations and post-trip plans, Daniel’s done all of the travel logistics (thanks Daniel!) and I’m hoping that with the benefit of the 2007 trip’s experience, we’ll take away more than we did last time and recover from the return-home shock better than I did last time round.

There is something about going to a place like Kuortane for a training camp like this one that is deeply satisfying on a level that’s hard to explain — unless you’ve done something that demands absolute consistent perfection of you, and which pushes you to your absolute limit in some area. And if you have done something like that (whether it be Michelin-level cooking or high-level martial arts or really deep mathematics or whatever), then I don’t need to explain it, because you already know what I mean better than I can explain it.

For the first time in a long time, I’m really looking forward to getting back to the line again 🙂