back to beginners (epitaph included)
There are five epee beginners in the class - all with a year or two of foil. And three of us are women - so soon I won't spend most of my time fencing men who are bigger than me. New strategies are required. The class was on angulation and using the fingers. Although I'd done it all before, I could see where I'd slipped and forgotten important techniques.
Mostly we practised hitting the wrist from above and below and attaching the blade. I was so tired I kept missing yet the coach remained encouraging. "Don't worry," he'd say, when the blade skittered off the fabric of his sleeve - and "well done" when the blade attached and bent as it should.
And after all this I began to hit and attach the blade more often and feel more confident than in a while. So a quietly encouraging evening.
Oh, and today I wrote my fantasy epitaph, after reading too many church epitaphs:
poet & pirate.
In her fifty-second year
she forsook the groves of academe
for a life on the high seas and, wielding her epee,
became the most notorious pirate ever to terrorise the Norfolk coast.
From her fastness in Northumberland
where she haunted the bookshops of Alnwick
she would venture
- pen in one hand, sword in the other -
to right wrong
and, as an expert epeeist,
challenged misdeeds of politicians
while sacking the hoards of the rich.
Through all this, she maintained her love of peace
and espoused non-violent direct action.
In the film of her life
(directed by Tim Burton)
she was played by Johnny Depp
who, sorrowing, wrote this epitaph
when he learnt of her demise
in the 101st year of her life.
Not that I look anything like Johnny Depp ...