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

Friday, November 13, 2009

Curry and high heels

I don't know how duellists managed in the 17th and 18th century. The extravagant menus must have weighted them down and as for the costumes, and the shoes ...

My most recent experience of fencing reminded me of them - and I felt more sympathy than usual for the rich, well-fed and elegantly dressed.

The team lunch at work was my idea. We needed to prepare for a meeting at lunchtime. There were the usual possibilities: bringing sandwiches, going hungry, cheese and biscuits in the pub. But there's also an excellent South Indian vegetarian restaurant round the corner offering a bargain 3-course buffet lunch. I thought a meal there would be a cheerful occasion - and it was.

But by the time I struggled into my fencing breeches, I was feeling uncomfortably full - not the best beginning to the evening. And after a couple of weeks with few epeeists, a couple of the regulars had returned. I'd have liked to fence well. Perhaps the lunch wasn't such a good idea.

Halfway into my first bout against the doc, I noticed another problem - an ache in my ankles. Perhaps the elegant shoes I'd chosen for work (a bargain from the Marks and Spencer sale) weren't such a good idea either. I suspect the ache came from running for the train in high heels - trainers would have been more comfortable. I did my best but I didn't even try any deep lunges. I knew my limits.

All the same, it was good to have an epée in my hand. A younger fencer invited me to fence foil as well and I enjoyed that too, though I kept having to remind myself about right of way.

While I was glad to fence, I was also pleased when it was time to go. But just as I walked to the side of the salle where fencers leave clothes, water bottles and spare swords, I noticed something small and dark scurrying around, slithering on the shine of the floor between the kit bags. It was quickly out of sight but I'd seen the sleek fur and a black sparkling eye. I felt sorry for the mouse - it was cold and damp outside - but it was at risk from a fencer's foot. Nor would a fencing kit bag be the best or safest place for a small animal.

The mouse was evidently too fast to catch but the doc joined me in steering it away from the kit bags. It ducked beneath the first of the double doors and headed towards the car park, but was then caught in a frenzy of anxiety. It tried to climb the wall and managed so well that the doc had to scare it down by hitting the wall with his sword. That's when the mouse gave up and jumped over the step of the second door, which we'd opened, and out onto starlit tarmac.

I hope the mouse has survived. There have been torrential downpours since then and I'd like to think he found a warm, safe shelter.

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Blogger The Gray Epee said...

I enjoy Indian food as well, but I can never remember the names of dishes.

Awful rain here as well. Six inches or so in the last couple of days.

No mice that I know of, but cats are seeking shelter on my porch.

1:24 pm  

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