So the half term hols have passed by in a purple and orange swirl of pumpkin sludge (that stuff really grosses me out) and highly flammable/handwash only lurid halloween costumery. For part of the week off we escaped the village and went to a well known holiday park for a little get away! Now, I’m not going to talk you through it or mention the name of said holiday park. I’m also not going to go on about the usual staycation gubbins such as cycling through soggy leaves, drinking deluxe gingerbread flavoured hot chocolates and splashing about on the swimming pool slides because no one gives a kipper’s dick.
However I did book the tweenagers into a kids Fencing class which I think may be worth a mention. I thought Toby and Lottie would love being able to legitimately and repeatedly thrust a sword into each other without getting a rollocking and I knew that the class would be held in a safe and controlled environment with a Sports NVQ wielding Yoof to preside over proceedings……….
Fencing – the ancient art of swordsmanship and the ancient art of orderly vertical planks stuck together.
The Sports Trainer Yoof welcomed us into the Fencing Salle! (may drop a few more french words for added pretentiousness later on – keep a look out). Toby and Lottie had worked themselves up into a heightened state of excitement at the thought of stabbing and maiming each other for the next 45 minutes. This was partly due to the wait outside with a happy band of exuberant children and *Fencing enthusiast* parents waiting for the class to begin. One of the Dads, I’ll call him Hugo for arguments sake was practising Fencing steps with one hand behind his back and offering advice to his 7 year old son who didn’t seem to think his Dad was a total prat at all (ahh bless, give it another 5 years). My prat alert radar was bleeping loudly because another Dad (let’s call him Crispin) had also started earnestly showing his twin daughters proper fencing lunges with his oversized umbrella as a blade. I say proper Fencing lunges – they looked very foppish and swordplayish and my previous experience – watching the Fencing scene in Die Another Day with Pierce Brosnan and Madonna -hardly qualified me to comment on this Olympic sport.
Madonna and Pierce Brosnan (properly dishy in his day) and always liked to keep his tip up in Die Another Day.
Once ensconced in the Fencing Salle and after a quick warm up the children were issued with fencing gear. The swords were Foil? Epee? Sabre? Nah, they were Foam (innit). Like the ones that kids always want you to buy at multifarious stately homes/castles, you know the ones – conveniently placed at toddler height next to the wooden swords (for all your cut lip needs) and probably near the erroneous book selection – ‘That’s not my castle’ anyone? All with a free and guaranteed Dolby Surround Sound melt-down when not purchased.
It was clear from the off that Sports Trainer Yoof didn’t have full control of the class. All of the 10 children were giddy and some of the parents were frothing a little at the mouth too. Toby and Lottie were old enough to spar together so Ted and I were simply there as entourage – the support team, on hand to take photos, utter encouragements and issue fresh towels/Haribo on demand!
Sports Trainer Yoof began by showing the class some moves and paired the children off to have a ’bout’. Once unleashed, the kids started stabbing, thrashing and flailing at each other and it didn’t look terribly controlled – scrappy – if you will, but as you already know – I’m no Fencing expert. So Sports Trainer Yoof reined it in and demonstrated again how to lunge and parry.
“I’ll have to stop you there,” piped up Hugo (the expert Dad) with a florid and agitated expression about his gouty face, “I did Fencing at university and I really think you aren’t covering the basics properly,” I’m surprised he could remember his university days frankly.
Then uninvited – Hugo along with the assistance of Crispin (other umbrella wielding expert Dad) proceeded to demonstrate how to fence properly complete with terminology and mincing steps.
This started very politely and formally but once Crispin realised that Hugo wasn’t to be outshone in front of his 7 year he too stepped up his game and a full on fencing ‘p*ssing contest’ ensued. Hugo’s son (Charlie) started cheering and shouting indecorously for his Dad and so the twin daughters of Crispin (Henrietta and Iona) entered into the shouting and heckling fray. Sports Trainer Yoof looked perplexed nay flabbergasted at this audacious display of peacocky buffoonery! He eventually recalled his health and safety training and mustered the children over to the other side of the salle from where he tried to continue his lesson amidst the duelling, stamping and grunting sound effects coming from the two pompous Dads. As we were leaving, sweaty and puce faced Hugo and Crispin were still sparring/bouting/whatevering each other and it looked to be an old fashioned contest – until first blood drawn from the torso! Bit tricky with a foam sword………
As you were!
More from the village next week.
PS, apologies if you are properly into Fencing and all the lingo, any mistakes are the fault of my ghost writer. Crap research on her part!
Super chuffed to be a featured blog on #FridayFrolics this week. Big heart emoji!