quaker fencer

kathz isn't quite my name. I may be a Quaker. If I'm a fencer I'm a bad one and I don't do sabre. If I'm a Quaker I'm a bad one - but you've worked that out already. Read on. Comment if you like. Don't expect a reply.

Location: United Kingdom

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

coffee tables

Did you ever read The Prisoner of Zenda? I seem to recall a chapter in which Rudolf Rassendyll defeats Rupert of Hentzau using a tea table.

At fencing tonight one of the younger members was doing a school project which inolved surveying club members and spectating parents on what we thought about coffee tables. (I think his next task is to design and make a coffee table.)

So, for a while, instead of fencing, we filled in forms and answered questions about coffee tables.

- do you have a coffee table?
- do you have any problems with your coffee table?
- what do you use your coffee table for?
- how often do you use your coffee table?
- how big is your coffee table
- what sort of coffee table would you like?
- when friends come sound for coffee, do they use your coffee table?
- do you use your coffee table when drinking coffee?
- do you like hot drinks or cold?

Not having a coffee table was no escape. There were further questions about whether respondents would like a coffee table, what they might use it for and what style of coffee table they preferred.

These were accompanied by a demand for name, age and profession.

We did our best. I said that my coffee table had serious problems with falling over and too many books (I was going to suggest emotional problems or a broken heart but this seemed slightly unlikley). I explained that I liked my coffee hot and my whisky cold. A fellow fencer estimated her coffee table's width at "half the length of an epee blade" and said she would like a baroque coffee table..

Others were more imaginative. One claimed to be a mafioso whose coffee table had problems with bullet holes following daily use for protection in gunfights.

We began to wonder whether we could all commission coffee tables. What might the fencer's coffee table be? It would be used as a shield and must be fairly light. Perhaps a specially small coffee table for use with foil and a dramatically sturdy one of oak for sabreurs.

I can't quite work out what the epeeist's coffee table would be like.

Fencing was quiet - three of us fencing steam epee found it difficult to see if a point has attached properly and landed with sufficient force. We laughed a lot. No serious fencing at all.

I'm tired and recovering from a cold but it's good to be fencing (and I've hardly any bruises this week).


Blogger Elizabeth McClung said...

I have read Prisoner of Zenda, but I can't remember that particular table victory. That is a lot about coffee tables, particularly as I have yet to own one - something about having long wide spaces for spontanous lunging I think.

I think a fencers coffee table should be sturdy enough to leap upon while fencing someone dastardly across your livingroom, but also tall enough to be able to jump up to swing from your hanging chandelier.

9:38 pm  
Blogger kathz said...

Here's chapter 9 with the tea table episode at the ned, but it doesn't involve Prince Rupert himself - just two of his henchmen:


The key paragraph reads:

" I smiled to myself. An instant later the door was flung back. The gleam of a lantern showed me the three close together outside, their revolvers levelled. With a shout, I charged at my utmost pace across the summer-house and through the doorway. Three shots rang out and battered into my shield. Another moment, and I leapt out and the table caught them full and square, and in a tumbling, swearing, struggling mass, they and I and
that brave table, rolled down the steps of the summerhouse to the ground below. Antoinette de Mauban shrieked, but I rose to my feet, laughing aloud."

Could a properly designed coffee table take on the same role?

9:46 pm  
Blogger kathz said...

I don't think the link works but you can find an e-text quite easily if you want to look it up.

Chapter IX is called "A New Use for a Tea-Table"

9:51 pm  

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