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, May 09, 2007

soggy shoes and suicidal snails

At the weekend I had two days with friends in Paris. I've been blogging about that elsewhere but there wasn't any fencing involved, although I did think the Place des Vosges looked like the sort of place where d'Artagnan and friends might hang out. It was sunny in Paris.

Back in England, everything is busy at work and it's raining. After the extravagance of Paris I couldn't justify the cab fare - I grew up reading Noel Streatfield's wonderful book Ballet Shoes, in which the splendidly independent and economical Fossil girls were brought up to "save the penny and walk" rather than taking the bus. So I set out to walk the mile and a half to fencing.

Before you get worried, I did make sure I could keep the swords dry. My feet were another matter. I could hardly wear the smart work shoes I need tomorrow, my walking boots take half an hour to lace and sandals or plimsoles are simply stupid in the rain. That left the cheap trainers with holes in. I squelched all the way there, with my kit stuffed into a back-pack, doing little jumps to avoid the snails on the pavement. The chief occupations of British snails seem to be sliding on pavements in the rain, being crunched into slimy, crackling messes and eating one another. French snails have a more interesting life according to Microcosmos but I suppose lots of them end up on a dinner plate.

I don't suppose I avoided all the snails but I did enjoy the wonderful smell of wet hawthorn. It's in full blossom just now - deep white or intensely red - and it's always been my favourite.

However the walk into the leisure centre across the hall was less happy. I left a damp trail - luckily the health and safety people weren't watching. Then I slipped out of the soaking trainers, revealing sodden fencing socks. Saving time by changing socks at home is not always a good idea. At least I hadn't tried to walk in full fencing kit.

The fencing was much as usual in that some things worked, some didn't. I was a little more successful that I'd expected and thought I was planning more (sometimes) and thinking more strategically. Unfortunately thinking strategically didn't always coincide with good hits. But I felt just a little fitter and faster than in previous weeks - probably the Paris effect.

And I got a lift home!

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