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

Saturday, January 12, 2008

bow-ties, shoes and swords

I hardly recognized the fencers.

We had gathered at the golf club for our annual dinner and awards ceremony. There had been suggestions about dressing up, but I hadn't expected a white-tie affair.

Not that white ties were compulsory. There were also black bow-ties, coloured ties, shirts without ties, waistcoats and, from determinedly casual dressers, sweatshirts. The women did their best but could hardly compete, althought there were some fine dresses and ensembles. In particular, one epeeist had gone for the 1940s look, with straight seams down the back of her legs. Were they stockings, I wondered, or the really authentic 1940s austerity look, created by gravy browning and eyebrow pencil. Alas, she had adopted the modern option - tights. Still, her shoes and dress were very fine, and she approved of my shoes too, before our conversation moved to more general subjects. Soon we had left outfits and fencing far behind and were talking of cinema. "You must see Ang Lee's Lust. Caution," I was told. "I've heard it's good," I responded. "Oh yes," my friend replied, "and the shoes are excellent."

We seemed determined to show that our interests went beyond fencing, although there were fencing questions in the traditional quiz. I didn't know many answers. I have no idea how indicators for national rankings work and couldn't calculate the numbers of D.E. bouts in a large contest. At least I remembered which British epeeist won the 2007 Heidenheim championship. One question revealed the decision to include the bib as a target in foil. My hits often land on the bib but it still sounds an awful idea - and an expensive one. Presumably foilists, like sabreurs, will need special and expensive masks for fencing on electric pistes - a further deterrent for fencers with less money. Epee remains the pauper's sport, with the cheapest equipment.. (Looking at discussion sites, I see talk of outlawing the fleche as well. I hope it will stay. I've never used a fleche in combat but there's something exhilarating about ending footwork practice with a fleche and a shout.)

Speeches at the end of the meal were crammed with jokes. We poured the last of the red wine and were easily amused. Award winners posed with their trophies as cameras, mobile phones and glasses were raised. The main trophies are retired weapons (with ornaments for keeping) but there are also medals for second and third place. We cheered and applauded the winners. Opposite me sat the new master-of-arms. I leaned over to admire his swords and medals and tipped my wine glass. A red stain grew on the medal ribbons. No-one had white wine to remove the stain so a friend tried using salt. It didn't work.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like a nice time.

I think it would have been more in keeping with the setting and the ladies 40's dress to have tossed wine in someones face, than on their medals.

1:55 am  
Blogger QuakerDave said...

Torvill and Dean: THAT takes me back.

One of the most amazing athletic performances I have ever seen.

2:46 am  

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