Rat Scratching 6

Its a strange question but does looking good and being successful mean you are going to be a nasty person, I don’t know about fencers (we may get on to that later) but it is certainly the case with people in general, and for my case I put for Forward the different tube line and where you get on and off, for the last 2 years I have been at kings cross and using the silver link to get to canary wharf and it is full of the dregs of London ( yes that is why I am there) and no matter how busy it was people did not push, people weren’t nasty and people got to work in the best way they could ( and I am talking about the silver link here, the tube drivers call it the scum link is so grot grot) but as I have said before I am currently camping down at Jo and Marcs and have been travelling on the district line, and I tell you I have never meat a bigger group of nasty petty, rude, pushy evil little sods, for the first time since I started stick fighting I have wanted to get my epees out and lay about me until all are dead or dieing, and its all the more worse for the fact that they all look immaculate, all in posh suits and fancy clothes, but WHAT I hear you cry has this got to do with the wonderful sport of fencing, well I’m glad you asked (no really I am), the main difference to me between the people on the different tube lines is that the ones on the district are used to success (the areas are posher and cost lots to live in) and that makes them arrogant, but does that apply to the successful fencers that are always at the top of the rankings, now I don’t know about foil or saber but as far as epee goes I can happily say nooo!!, without an exception I have found the top fencers to be pleasant and none arrogant (the Sussex house epeeists are the perfect example of this) so why the discrepancy, after all in a lot of the large companies I have worked for the top ranked successful people are as nasty and little minded pile of sods that you ever want to see tied to post and covered in their own excrement, and I think it is the physical part, the fact it is all so temporary and that if you let up for one second someone’s on you and your beaten, so you never get time to become arrogant, what ever the reasons, I personally find it very refreshing to find the people at the top of the tree are bearing sweet fruit, without that nasty bitter ness that turns you stomach.

Lester, ahhh if have fucked up again, I mean AGAIN!!!! (I’m telling you its nuts it took my kids less time to start walking and talking from birth, than it has taken me to get good at fencing {mind you a lot of fencers cant walk and talk, not together anyway!!), pool went fine but ( 4-1 up with an +5 indicator ) but I banged into Mr. Bennet in the 128, he in a most gentlemanly manner took me to bits (15-6), I am past anger and upset and into disbelief, but their are some plus points

1) Mr. Bennet was most kind in pointing out my problems when I asked him, these are not extending my arm properly and being very easy to feint to that I parry cart{and its bad cart at that}, to this Jo has added poor lunge (I lean) which we will have to fix, and I am going to throw in poor distance control., so lots to work on,

2) I have no points to defend this year so I have not lost anything but the

3) when I explained what I had done to sweetness she was most supportive (she did not make that short silence that mean that I have sodded it up on her eyes) so all in all I could have been worse (it could also have been a lot bloody better), and in the fine tradition of finding someone else to blame other than yourself, I am going to pick Ben Measures, as he is having a good day and he was also in the pool with tom Bennet and beat him, so I am off to find some rotten eggs to throw at him in his fights)

Oh.. 6 new tshirts have been poped on the tshirt page

Jo and Mr. Bengry are fighting on and doing well in spite of being absolutely shattered after yesterday (Mr. Bengry looked as if he had no sleep in 2 weeks and had to wrestle rhinos each day)

update Jo has won, and defended her title, and so the trip back in the Maynard’s car will not be fill with black depression, also the waitresses at the little chief we stopped at did not get shouted at ether

SOD!! I forgot my camera so you have my profound grovelling apologies that their is no movie for the Lester open, this is of particular sorrow as I would have been able to capture the fight between Alistair and the elder barbasavich
brother, which was absolutely amazing and wins my award for the fight of the day, Alistair was totally on fire, and was moving around like a man possessed. Even worse was the fact that no one videoed it, thus meaning that a permanent
record of it was lost forever (if anyone has by chance I video of it, please tell me so that I might get a copy, I dare say Alistair would want one as well) to try and make up for the lack of movie I have written a little quiz for
fencers so that they can judge how much of a fencing freak they are (with any luck I will be able to get it into the sword, but due to its content I somehow doubt it….sigh):

Q1) its Sunday lunch and only the last drop of gravy is left (which you want), do you:

A) If you see anybody else reach for the gravy boat, you parry their hand in cart and riposte to grab the boat, thus claiming victory

B) challenge the whole table to a Sunday open, first having a round of pools, making them all wait ages while you do the scoring then finishing of your uncle in a titanic DE final in the living room before being presented with the gravy
boat and pouring the contents on your now stone cold meal.

C) Gently argue with the rest of your family over who gets the gravy, while you aunt (who pretends she is deaf) nips in and polishes it off

Q2) what do you wear for casual clothes when going out clubing/pubing on a Saturday night?

A) You fencing breaches sprayed gold with the most up to date Leon Paul jacket and a ryne stone encrusted plastron, as fencing gear is so “bling”

B) Normal clothes, what has fencing got to do with going out?? Weirdo!!

C) manly normal clothes but with something that show the rest of the world that you are a fencer, maybe a witty fencing t-shirt, or your fencing trainers (they cost bloody enough to wear out) just a conversation piece so you can get the
talk onto fencing with anybody you might meet.

Q3) does fencing and its kit intrude into you bedroom life?

A) No, fencing kit smells bad; it stays in the laundry basic or kit bag

B) Sort of, my partner likes to see me lunge and leap around a bit before hand, before leaving my kit and fencing ideas firmly on the floor.

C) I do the deed wearing my plastron and a mask.

Q4) how much do you talk about fencing to your none fencing friends

A) Sometimes, it’s more interesting that watching 22 men kick a bladder round a field for 90 minutes

B) They all put cotton wool in their ears when I open my mouth

C) You can have none fencing friends??

Q5) do you do other sports than fencing?

A) sometimes but only as part of a careful controlled training raysheame for the benefit of my fencing, such as swimming or wholesome racket sports

B) Other sports!!!, how could you try and tempt me with this, don’t you know all other sports are the work of the devil and there practitioners should all
be burn at the stake

C) hell yeah, I have a go at anything, as long as it fun, I just do fencing so I can stab people and get away with it.

Q6) Of your girlfriends/boyfriends what percent have been fencers?

A) 0%, ouhh! Nasty!! Not likely. That would mean just too much fencing kit around, and every body and I mean everybody would gossip about it, and anyway who would want to go out with a fencer…er..um.

B) 1%-50%, I can take them or leave them,

C) 50%-100% I must have them!, oh! the way they move, and their shear intellectual brilliance mean that fencers are the only ones for me.

Q7) how much care do you take of your weapons

A) Check them before a comp and if they stop working give them the minimum attention to get the light to start coming back on

B) I don’t, they live in fear of me, not working means I whack them on the ground, and in the case if them being the suspected reason for me losing a fight, I bang them on walls and kick them around, weapons must obey your every need with no maintenance and failure to do so means being given to a decorator to stir his paint with.

C) they are my babies, I check them each night, and have little beds for them to sleep in so that they don’t catch cold, all the way through a fight I constantly look along them checking for the slightest little imperfection in their less than 1 cm bend and gentle tease out any kinks, I take them on holiday so that they can get a bit of sun and fresh air (but I don’t feed them any foreign fencers as that would be bad for their diet)

Q8) how you prepare for a fencing completion

A) after going down extra early the day before, I freat and worry needlessly until I am a bag of nerves, I get accommodation so close to the venue (so that I won’t be late) that the beds are naff and I don’t get any sleep, but that does not matter as I have spent the whole night meditating in the on guard position with my swords laid out in a pattern of cosmic significance before me

B) p-r-e-p-a-r-e???, your kidding right? you just turn up and fight

C) beer, beer, beer!!

Q9) how often do you wash your kit

A) never, if it wants to be washed it can crawl in to washing machine and sort it its self out

B) never, I have a slave called “mommy” who does it for me.

C) When there are more than 3 forms of fungus growing on it

Q10) what happens when you lose badly in a completion

A) shrug, (there is always next year)

B) I burn my breaches, shave my head and become a monk/nun

C) I make all around me miserable for at least 24 hours (after all misery should be shared)

Q11) in you home what evidence that this is the residence of a fencer is there to be seen?

A) none the other members of the human race that I share the house with are normal, and insist that all fencing gear is confined to a cage in the back garden where it can still be heard growling in the night

B) there is a nasty smell coming from the wash basket, and of course you have just tripped over the fencing bag in the hall.

C) my house/room is a shrine to the gods of the duel, with special note given to the toilet carpet which is woven out of old fencing socks.

Q12) how much fencing do you do each week?

A) once sleeping, eating and breathing are done, all other time is dedicated to fencing

B) fencing is more important than eating, sleeping and on occasion breathing.

C) it’s a hobby for heavens sake; I do it when I have time

Q13) when you stop fencing, for example, when you go on holiday, how does this affect you?

A) I carry a photo of my favorite weapon and cry myself to sleep at night holding it.

B) I take my fencing bag on holiday (dealing with all the pain and crisis that brings), and try and find foreign fencing clubs to fight at

C) A break from fencing, horary!!, my coach wont shout at me for a couple of weeks.

Q14) what time do you arrive for booking at a fencing comp

A) On time

B) I sleep out side the fencing hall, so that I can be first in and start my warm up.

C) I do saber!, so I turn up when I feel like it.

Q15) can you remember your first fencing lesson

A) its on video, and I watch it each night, to keep the sweetness of the memory fresh

B) er…yeh…think so… we all stood in a funny position, and shuffled up and down, then we were given a sword and pretended to be Errol Flynn

C) Pain and terror has blanked my memory

Q16) what does the smell of a full fencing hall conjure in your mind

A) Time for my kit to have its yearly wash

B) The smell of joy and rapture, the smells of home and of happiness unbounded

C) What you get if 2 dozen rugby players are locking in a hot sewage farm for a week with a brace of badgers

Q17) if you were washed up on a desert island, what item would you most what to find there

A) The desert Island A-grade, open to last minute entries

B) A boat and supplies…I have to get back for a fencing lesson

C) The lost tribe of “beautifulrandynudes”

Q18) what are the contents of your car?

A) tapes/cd’s, maybe a half empty bottle of coke, some sweets, the odd magazine, just stuff

B) well yes, there is a copy of the sword in a side pocket and you can find about 4-5 half empty packets of sweets, and I will admit that 12 liters is a lot of water to keep in a car, but it is still a car first and fencing transport second (pass us the AA road map its got the location of all “near to comp” travel lodges in it and I will be lost if it goes missing!!)

C) its a sort of fencing scrap yard, bits of weapons, old raged plastrons, and wires fill every crack, weapon tips roll around under the seats every time I turn a corner, and there is the lingering smell of rotting bananas and old
sandwiches, to sit down you have to shift the dog eared a to z’s of places like Lester and Bristol, and never no matter how much you want to no matter how much I plead for you to “just check if my BFA card is in there” ever EVER venture
into the glove compartment.

Q19) how did you get your last injury?

A) I am currently suffering from a repeat injury caused by poor footwork and inadequate stretching pre fight, it has a name as long as my arm and I will describe it to you in minute detail as well as what I am doing to have it sorted, if you give me half a chance.

B) I was cruelly stabbed in the chest by a full on fleshe when I was thinking about something else (its left me with a bruise the size of an orange, that wakes me up when I roll over in the night, the SWINE!!)

C) I stabbed my self in the foot while raking the lawn

Q20) you’re caught in a pub fight!, someone crashes into you and a flailing fist catches you in the ear, what do you do?

A) parry their other hand in octave, enter corps – a – corps and knee them in the groin

B) Insist that the offender is given a red card for roughness

C) Smash you drink into your attackers face, kick them in the kidneys when they go down and leg it before their mates catch you

Q21) Have you actually written down all you answers and are taking this quiz seriously.

A) Naaa!! it’s just a laugh, and I don’t get half the jokes

B) Just doing it while I wait for the next round of the DE

C) damb right its serious!!, its taking about 2 hours to collate all the scores and I am submitting my answers to British fencing, and hope it will add to my ranking points

Q1 A=5 B=10 C=0
Q2 A=10 B=0 C=5
Q3 A=0 B=3 C=10
Q4 A=3 B=5 C=10
Q5 A=7 B=10 C=0
Q6 A=0 B=0 C=10
Q7 A=0 B=7 C=10
Q8 A=10 B=0 C=-10
Q9 A=3 B=7 C=10
Q10 A=0 B=10 C=5
Q11 A=0 B=3 C=10
Q12 A=5 B=10 C=0
Q13 A=10 B=7 C=0
Q14 A=0 B=10 C=3
Q15 A=10 B=0 C=3
Q16 A=5 B=10 C=0
Q17 A=10 B=5 C=0
Q18 A=0 B=7 C=10
Q19 A=10 B=5 C=0
Q20 A=5 B=10 C=0
Q21 A=0 B=0 C=10

What kind of fencing freak are you?

0-40 Points

You’re not a true fencer, ether that of you have done it for so long that you
have burnt out all the freakishness, either way you are far too normal

41-129 Points

Ummm..You have potential to be a fencing freak, but you still need work, at the
moment you are just a general freak, I prescribe 2 Haverstock training camps
and a course of Alp parties, come back and see me next year.

130-200 Points

Ah!!!.. That’s what we like to see a nice well rounded freak, normal people run
shrieking at the sight of you, but you are truly an obsessive person and as
such fencing is your rightful home.

210 Points

FREAK FREAK!!!, get away from me, your just too much!!, you should be kept in a
box and only let out into the rest of humanity as opens.

Rat Scratching 5c

Rat Scratching #5c (13/05/04 – 15/07/04)

As stated in the last update i have been trying to get some art for the t-shirts, but it not been that easy. as to get to the best artists you have to go through agencies and even then you only rent to commissions, rent! RENT!!!, did the greatest artists of the world get their pictures back after 6 months, I think NOT!, did Michele Angelo say “you can have the Sistine chapel roof for a couple of weeks and then some of my boys will be along to pick it up”, I don’t think he did!!!! ………….right back to the point,
so far i have found 4 artists that do the kinds of styles that I am looking for and have asked for a couple of commissions from each of them (I have asked 2 artists of very different styles for the same commissions and we will see how they both turn out), and the reason that the artists that specialise in fencing art have not been contacted is that the current styles i am looking for is computer based anime art, if anybody starts asking for poetic/beautiful t-shirts they will be the first to know ( UPDATE: I gave this reason to Jo Maynard and was told that she could sure do the style that I wanted, so I have taken a how to draw manga book, some example comics, a pen table and some software over to her and Marc’s house, and we will see what comes out of the other end {I wonder what its like to have actual talent rather just being bad
tempered}) I am however having some problems understanding the mentality of artists, or is it that they are having some problems understanding mine (stop!
that laughing at the back), anyway the idea that I might be just giving away the commissions that I am getting them to do seems to strike a cord of horror in their souls, I have had a number of phone conversations which have a long quiet patch in them, that seem to be saying “is their some form of medication that you are on that I should be aware of”, but enough of my drivel the following are the site of the artists and a brief description


(This guy is a very very anime style artist, who does the stylish type of art that makes for good t-shirts, I am currently awaiting his commissions to come though as he has accepted and given me a price)


(Now this guy does, an very British style of drawing, I reminds me very much of the work you see on gorillaz videos and in tank girl, he has produced a cool little guy for the more psychotic tempered t-shirts, the guy is so good that I have requested about 6 commissions as the character will the official logo of stick fight., here he is)

cool eh… (don’t pinch him unless you have permission from the artist)


(An artist from new Zealand, who has completed 2 commissions for me {you can see them in the t-shirts section}, she does fab female faces, and is someone to watch)


( now here I am stuck for something to say, this ladies work is past belief {the net is littered with praise for her work}, and unlike the other artists she is a professional, I only can hope that the ideas I present, interest her enough for her to accept my commissions, but go to her site that’s all I can say.)

Rat Scratching #5d (13/05/04 – 15/07/04)

right!! that’s it!!, I formally declare my self as cross as a ferret in a  privet bush, there is little enough fencing around at the moment (what with it being just after the nationals), without me mucking up what little I can get, my only lesson this week is/was with Steve Paul at 5:00pm at the Lansdowne, I leave work with time to spare and arrive at LTFC dead on time…., yes i did say LTFC, I open the door to the salle and look around, a wind whistles though the door and a couple of dust balls roll along the floor, my brain, which had been hammering on the inside of my skull for the last 30 seconds, finally makes its presence known and points out I had better phone Steve up and explain that one of his pupils is a prat, that over, I hunt down some small defenceless animals and torture them…

It may however have been an unconscious action, (unconscious rather than just stupid), as I am still recovering from the last proper lesson I had with Steve, mind you I can’t blame it all on Steve, I had an hours squash during lunch (at which I got thrashed badly), lunging at a squash ball just does not cut it, nether is it impress by a fleche or corps-a-corps), ran down to LTFC and had a hard hours lesson, then a good 3 hours of fighting, then tootle back to the flat happily in the certain knowledge that I am a fitness god, in the morning I roll over and get up, or rather I try, half of me gets up fine but is happered by the fact the left hand side of my body is still on the bed, nothing works, not good, NOT GOOD!!, it feels like someone has swaped the blood in the left hand side of my body for supper glue, I drag my self though the day and return to proper home in the evening to my darling female how gives me stuff-all sympathy pointing out that it is all self inflicted (my argument, to wit I am doing all for her so that she can have a husband with a Keanu Reaves body {when he was in the matrix} just did not wash), how ever it did cause some concern, as later one, she rushes to the sound of hysterical laughter coming from the toilet, only to discover that its me having just found out that I have had to change from the normal hand I use to wipe my arse as my arm hurts to much. but their is a cure, and was the massage a tried to get but they cancelled at the last minute, No, was it my manly physique combating the pain and rising above it, NO, was it my kinds finding out that there father was in an enfeebled state and spending 2 hours fighting with him YESS!!!, little devils. but I am now all fit and healthy and ready to hunt down my offspring with battling foam swords, which always results in a long period of happy squeals from the offspring, a lot of thundering around and the occasional crash of something delicate being broken. Gasp…I think that is it for this ratscratchings, I am going to try and make the updates in the future smaller and more often, but as for now I am going to see if I can get the artists I have commissioned to send me the stuff and even in some cases answer my attempts to commission them (that’s the problems with people with talent they are always doing something)

Rat Scratching 5b

Rat Scratching #5b (13/05/04 – 15/07/04)

You will have to excuse this part of the stickfight rant, as I am ratted. after having a lesson with Steve Paul (is it me or are morning lessons far more tiring than evenings ones) I have skived the fight night at Haverstock as well as Redhill and Reigate and gone out and got drunk with work, after a happy night which involved explaining about a blokes basic needs (1. feed me 2. shag me) to a woman who landed at our table who after becoming a spinster because she had note got a male after 9 months, I have finally got back to life and fencing (don’t ask me!!, in fact do ask, is it me or do all women apart from my wife want to keep a full table width away from me, as my wife says the words “rabid dog” best apply, but never mind that back to fencing)

this stickfight rant is mainly about club locations, and how they variety, some are custom built, some are just standard calls or gyms mugged for the use of fencing, lets take the ones I knew personally each in turn, 126 first (famous or rather infamous for being the only fencing club in Britain to be held in a bar) has now moved to County Hall hotel near Westminster bridge (thou the bar claim can still be kept up as the gym is on the 5/6 floor and their is a bar on the 1st, so in fact 126 is now “the only flub to be help 4 stories above a bar”) , a fabulous place (though the gym is quite small) for fencing in which I believe the gym gets more from it than the fencing club ( they have just got Jo Maynard to work as a personal fitness instructor) does, so the hotel can put fencing down as one of its sports and also put “fitness instructors include
members of the common wealth team”. (To give you an idea of how post this place is, you just have to look at the little hand towels they have for you when you are in the gym, they are PRE-DAMPENED!!, now this is officially to cool you off, but I think its so really rich people don’t have to sweat, I am willing to bet that the bottle they spray the towels with contains specially selected sweat from Russian sweat shops {sweat shops – get it SWEAT……SHOPS….. oh never mind}, but I ask my self if there is not a business opportunity here, could we not collect the sweat of nubile fencers and sell it to such rich people as the highest quality sweat, i mean if we out our feet in plastic bags while fencing it would work like a charm {URGENT EDITORS NOTE: if you see stickfight approach you during a comp carrying 2 small plastics, RUN!!!, make
it to the tree line before its to late}) The view from the fencing area is fabulous (though I have not personally partaken of it as 6’4″ blokes wandering
around on roof tops carrying swords attracts the kind of attention I would rather avoid) and as of this mo we have not been allowed access to the showers (Note: This has changed since writing {see my top 5 fencing wash rooms}), but there is no denying the in fact that you often get 1 to 1 training at 126 (Marc Bengry is always their, and sometimes people Like Joanne Beadsworth) and the facilitys some of the best looking (you get to walk in/out of a posh London hotel looking as scruffy as hell with swords trailing on the ground),

Next Redhill and Reigate, a club at a large school, getting their without a car is a total sod in the winter and a total dream in the summer due the fact that it is about 20 mins walk over a golf course, but when you are there, there is room for Africa (not to mention tons of working boxes) the hall you fight in is big enough for a comp. (e-mail Chris if you think this is a good idea), but alas no showers (and a very naff tap to fill up water bottles from, but as a compensation the club as a whole group goes to drink at one of the best pubs a have ever been to after each night. also the number do not fluctuate hugely as they do at other clubs, there is nearly always 20 plus people of all ages to fight.

Now LTFC (London Thames Fencing Club) a custom built salle with proper working metal pistes set at St. Paul’s school, it vies with Haverstock for the position of best epee club in Britain (although Sussex house seems determined to take that honour) when you enter the salle you are in no doubt that fencing is what is due to go on here, the club is a bit of a bugger to get to if you don’t have a car, and I personally find the buses a pain in the sword bag (I can make it in 12 mins from the tube train door to on pieste, but it does involve punting over a spiky iron fence and running across the field clanking and trying to ignore the stares of the people going over Hammersmith bridge { Oh.. I have a theory about Hammersmith station, I believe it is a cattle zone, i,e, people that go into it temporary turn into cows and sheep….No NO , I don’t mean literally, I mean their minds turn into cattle minds e.g. {and this has happened a number of times} you are getting ready to get off the tube and just as you approach the door someone steps in front of you and gets ready to rush out as soon as the door is opened, that OK you think, if we both whoosh out the door, up the stairs and out the station “fast through put, keep pushing that zar” {editors: What??} the train stops, i tense, the doors open, we both shoot forward, “SMACK”, me two swords and a bag with kevlar in it crumps into the bloke as with one foot on the platform he slows to snails pace, he turns as my impact cursing, and I see the eyes that were once quick silver now have the look of something that goes “MOO”, freaked out I Jink round him and start up the stairs only to find that people are not so much moving at working pace as plodding at grassing speed, trying to ignore the couple who look as if they are chewing cud and shutting my ears to the noise of bleating, I dive out of what I personally consider the twilight zone of the tube line and make my escape). it should be also noted that Hammersmith does a good line in night buses which go pretty much anywhere (a good one is the N10 to kingscross). the club does a have a good share of drinking fountains and even a chilled filter to fill up your water bottle, it is very well supplied on the coach side with 2 epee coaches and 1 sabre coach their at any time. but LTFC people could not queue if their lives depended on it ( I include my self in this description ) so it is very informal grab a box system with a lot of chattering ( sometimes the coaches yell at people to stop talking and get fighting), drinks afterwards are a strange thing, their is no specific pub or time and it is very much a case of which bunch of people you are talking to as the  here/whether you go.

Havestock should also be in here but, I am going to defer it for a couple of weeks due to the fact they are relocating to a school near the angel ( a good decision in my view as it has a lot of good pubs near it, in fact there is a good pub crawl you can do from Highbury/Islington down the main road to the angel, stopping at all the many many nice pubs on the way, and can you can get tanked up cheaply at the start of the crawl at the Wetherspoons just out side the station), I think the move is a good one for Haverstock and they are now near the not just the northern line but the silverlink and Victoria lines, not to mention a shed load of busses like the 277 to/from Docklands .

Lansdowne, a private salle which is part of a private club (as this translates and people will not nick stuff out of the changing room), with nice cold filtered water {Editor: WHAT is it with you and the bloody water??, you come from Skegness and they drink sheep urine their}, it is also where you stand the best chance of getting a private lesson with Steve Paul, the people are also very friendly and they have excellent piste with duel score boards, and no time limit as the salle is dedicated, but you have to get invited their (or be bloody pushy like me), they drink upstairs in the club afterwards, for which I think you have to get invited again, but I have not dared to go as when fencing I am a very scruffy sod {as an antidote from life in corporate London} (disqualified from the human race for pushing!!!) and most of these clubs usually make you wear a jacket and tie (suppose I better check on that before making final comment)

My top 3 fencing bathrooms (why???, don’t ask me I’m only writing this stuff)

3) LTFC – It at least has got one, although there seems to be a constant battle with the students over the shower heads, they are unscrewed and moved, and nicked, finally they gave been replaced with the kind I suspect you get in prisons, which are fine but means you have to flatten yourself against the wall in order to get wet which in turns makes a bathroom full of LTFC fencers look like a squashed from convention

2) Lansdowne club – nice bathroom NICE BATHROOM, free soap, soft white towels, and the showers OHHH, nice, they are the old style ones that look like a cross between a sunflower and a trifid, but throw the Atlantic at you in lots of little bits, as a visual guide it looks like an old style public school changing room (no surprise three) and a pleasure to use.

1) 126 – Oh heck, this is just heaven, when I for a sough it the first time, I went in and out of the place a couple of time to make sure that I had not stepped into a timewarp or something. but no it is real, perhaps a little guided tour would be best, ….and on your right as you go in you will see gentlemen that there are complementary bathrobes to wear and soft white towels for you to use, further in perhaps you would like to rest and watch TV on one of the many comfy chairs that litter the walls?..No..well let us progress…once you have got undressed and put your garments in the oak lockers in the oak panelled rooms, perhaps you would like a shower, this way please…yes sir that is a machine for drying you swimming trunks!! {weird!!!}, and on your right we have separate sauna and steam rooms, on you left an plunge bath and whirl pool…sir whishes to try that now…Ok please get in and push the large white button…No sir calm down…it OK..Godzilla is not coming to get you its just it gives off rather a lot of bubbles…next week have the showers..all individual cubical with little smoked glass doors and complementary conditioning shampoo and shower gel..no sir you can not have two people to help you stand up in the torrent, I am afraid you must handle it your self,..now once sir has get up from the floor, I can show sir the sinks with free complementary cotton buds and comb washer (you could not make it up)…… What a place to get wet.

Rat Scratching 5a

Rat Scratching #5a (13/05/04 – 15/07/04)
Ah. well here i sit on the Sunday on the nationals, risking life and piles writing this for your joy and confusion, while trying to understand the loud speaker announcements ( but as far as I can tell, it sounds as if the speaker is a concrete mixer gargling with horse radish while trying to shout out random lottery numbers, you think I’m kidding!!, I’m sure i heard someone shout “BINGO” last time), the last couple of days have brought pain and much happiness to many people (sort of like a group sex session and a box of nails), people crying/sobbing (NO! not from the nails), a couple of people wanting to REALLY kill each other, and some of the best team fights I have seen in my brief time in the fencing world, whenever I was not poorly savaging people ,I was happily clicking away with the movie mode on the digital camera that I have nicked off my wife (I am safe as she does not read this page), to download the movie click here (its 20Meg so I would be happier is you just downloaded it {right click “Save Target As”} if you are going to watch it more than once (the down load tends to be a little slow to kick-in but bare with it and it will
come), and yes I am aware that it consists mainly on men’s foil and epee, I couldn’t help it!, the sabre is over before you can get to the pieste and the women’s always seemed to clash with the men’s and the men’s is more interesting to me <> ) .Movie Link,

Ah first but a slight divergence from fencing, which involves the trip home from the nationals, in order to spare Mr Maynard ( A Long suffering human if there has ever been one) a Long trip round to Hammersmith , I spy a sign to Uxbridge (Ah Ha..Low and behold I think), yon tube station is at the arse end of the Piccadilly line, and mayhap it would save us both a lot of caking around if I just got on it and zoomed with the grace that only sore bum muscles and a bloody heavy fencing bag + Laptop can imbue, up the line to Caledonian road and my bed, SOOO! off we get, and thus starts a comedy of errors, come let us read on:

Stage 1) Its so late that I have to get the metropolitan line to action town then change, Cool we can do that,

Stage 2) Off at Acton town and ask guard which platform to wait at, “this one he replies”, Cool we can do that as well.

Stage 3) Silly bugger guard does not know what he is talking about, last Piccadilly train leaves from another platform (ARSE!!!), thus stranding me and a bunch of other blokes on station suddenly devoid of helpful people.

Stage 4) Find Silly Bugger Guard, and get cross, silly bugger tells me that I will have to get 3+ night buses to get back to my flat, I ask him for the map he is reading, he says it is the station copy and he cant give it out.

Stage 5) Silly bugger takes a look at my face and changes mind, I leave the station with map.

Stage 6) Read map and discover that silly bugger can read bus maps as well as he knows train platforms. and I can do it in 2 busses, wait on wrong side of road for 15 Mins.

Stage 7) see the bus I want coming from what I think is the wrong way, move very fast (could have done with that kind of speed during the 32 DE) and wait on right side of the road for half a milli second.

Stage 8) get right bus to Hammersmith, discover that bag is so heavy that it is destabilising the bus, however before the bus tips over an immensely fat man (and I mean totally SUMO) gets on bus, we sit at different sides of the bus and all is safe again.

Stage 9) wait at Hammersmith for the N10 (a very useful bus that goes from Hammersmith to kingscross all night), discover that not even drunken tramps
want to talk to me and even move always if I look at them (Shame).

Stage 10) Get to kings cross, and get off (fat man is still on! {when did he get on this bus???}, bus is listing badly!!, as I turn the next corner I hear the noise of what sounds like a sumo wrestler tipping over a bus, I just ignore it and keep going)

Stage 11) Wait for my final Bus, (its only 15 mins walk, but the weight of the bag is starting to get on my nerves and its 1:30 in the morning), I wait for 10 mins and thing bugger it, I’ll walk!!.

Stage 12) Of course as soon as I set off, the bus comes, I thunder to the next bus stop, waving frantically at the bus driver, as I am the only person on the street, carrying a huge bag, waving wildly and am about 2 yards from the bus stop, I feel that the fact that he drives straight past is a little unfair ( I of course do not yell BAS***D!!!! at the back of the buss and attack the bus station), I am a little bit peeved at this point.

Stage 13) My opinion of humanity is saved by a bloke who pulls up straight after the bus and asks if he can give me a lift any where, Cool we can do that!, next sec he drops me off at the flat, all done!, the I forgive the world its wrongs.

Stage 14) Sleep!!! (for about 3 hours before a sour throat wakes me up)

Rat Scratchings 4a

Rat Scratchings #4a (19/04/04 – 13/05/04)

This is just a quick note to say I have not stopped updating Rat Scratchiness I
am just doing other content on the site at the mo (you may have noticed the
very unfinished audio section, and a new t-shirt) I have a good rat scratching
to come, but I want to get the audio done, as well as a site translation into
other languages. in the mean time…..

Unofficial Fencing Terms #5

Angry Bunny – The result of an unspecified sequence of events, that turn a
normally mild mannered fencer into a raging banshee in a Kevler suit, symptoms
include but are not limited to a) Screaming after each point b) Banging sword
on the floor and swearing c) Bitting the president’s arm off and clubbing the
apposing fencer with it. d) Attempted genocide

Suitable Quote

A Sportsman is a man who, every now and then, simply has to get out and Kill

-(Stephen Leacock)

Rat Scratchings 4

Rat Scratchings #4 (12/04/04 – 18/04/04)
As I have not been stickfighting this week (apart from helping out at one of
Jo’s and Mark’s beginner clubs and getting a lesson from her), which is mainly
due to the major fencing clubs being closed (126 and Redhill and Reigate were
both open but work and tiredness got in the way), I have little current stuff
to rant about, so you will have to make do with the stuff which I have just
made up or found, have fun:

There’s a Line, and knowing this fact means you have just crossed it!! #1
The fencing master in St. Trinian’s was a ex-school inspector called Mr Woodly,
who became the fencing master and lotus eater after being corrupted by the
older girls during an inspection

Unofficial Fencing Terms #4
The Alp (Latin Form: Mons Demens ) – This complex and highly specialised attack
is known primary for the physiological damage it inflicts on the recipient if
successful and the physical damage it inflicts on the initiator if
unsuccessful, the exact composition of this attack has as yet never been
identified but as this move breaks many of the laws of time and space but
successfully completed the term “Target Area” is replaced with “Blast Radius”

A Week in the life of a fencing bag
good grief is that a banana skin?, the last time owner had a banana was last
comp, and that was weeks ago!, but it seems that wire has got the hots for it,
the two of them are entwined together, it looks like it will take surgery to
get them separated “Oah! Wire! a least get a room man!”
An Hour lesson tonight then followed by club so that means we will be just
dumped in the door way when he gets back, “cough Cough” they’ve Spilt Lucozade
powder into me and is got into test box, test box looks a bit weird, you OK
dude?, your looking a bit spaced out, I thought you only had red and green
lights, where did the pink and blue flashing one come from, Hey, HEY!,
Remember, Just say NO
Quiet day today, no lesson or practice, got tripped over twice this morning,
but at least , Breaches, Plestron and Jacket were taken out and washed, they
missed one of the socks though (is it me or do they all look alike?), it hid in
the guard of No.2, muttering something venomous about Persil Performance, I
think this is the same one that bit next doors cat (poor thing still has a
limp), Its a nasty piece of work and seems to have some plan for world
domination, I’m sure that its seen invasion of the body snatchers one to many
times for its own good.
Club night tonight and with a serious competition this weekend its going to be
Yep was right, owner gave everybody a right going over, trainers have got even
more duck tape on them, in fact it is the only thing holding them together,
What!, hang On!, Stop that!!, Stop moaning and shuffling up and down the bottom
of me with your laces hanging straight out in front of you, you do not look
like the undead (though you do smell like them), you will not get a major role
in “The mummy 3 – Revenge of the addidas”
Oh No, the mobile phone has got some of the old banana skin on it, No Wire!,
back off man, she’s not worth it, we told you that bananas skins will go for
anything with nucks and crannies, He’s not listening, its a real mess now their
all tangled up together, it’ll take owner ages to sort that lot out and it will
take weeks for body wire to get over it, were all in for a spell of false hits
and dodgy readings
Hey!, that doesn’t feel like a water bottle!, BOLLOX its a bottle of Jack
Daniels, mask!, OH MASK!!, watch your self on Sunday, he’s on the razz on
Saturday night but at least you’ll be able to tell us if he’s been on the
kebabs or the Curry, breaches says one more of those “Silent but Violent” and
he’s going to give at the seams.
Here comes the car, looks like there will be 4 of us in it, and it looks like I
will be on top of the pile YESSS!!, No crushing, no busting the tip box open,
but there will be that moment when one of the other owners wants a packet of
jelly babies or looks for their BFA card, I will be yanked to one side and get
an elbow right in the side pocket , I tell you it really hurts, but you can get
your own back by jabbing them hard in the ribs with something pointy when they
lean on you and confuse them even more by moving the object so when they feel
for it, they can’t find it <>,
All in?, OK, time to go, are you sure we are all packed as neat as you can?,
you will never get the boot shut unless you pack us a bit better (SLAM)
mmmmumumufmfm…mmm..mmmmdmggmmm.mfmmfmmmhghmm {muffled comments that the
editor refuses to translate}

Looking good feeling great, that cute little ULLMAN bag is going to go for me
in a big way this weekend, even the blades are in a good mood today (for some
reason they were checked and tested last night – AMAZING!!!) they are in top
form (heard No’1 humming the tune from rocky a minute ago) and intend to do
Owner right, no matter how many times they frown at them, asks the judge to
test them and when no one is looking even banging them on the floor, but test
box is still feeling a bit off so i see trouble ahead.
oO oOO! owner has dumped me next to the cute ullman bag, hi there good looking,
you come here often?, well yes, once a year same as me , that’s when the comp
is on, I know….but….well…..yes I…….of Course….It was only a Leon
Paul bag!!, it meant nothing to me….Sigh!!!. I hope the blades are doing
better than me.

It seems that they are, owner has done really well and is a finalist, it means
that I am now stuffed with 5 soggy T-shirts, when the “I was a finalist”
T-Shirt arrives its in for a shock, the last one tried to escape from me once
it saw the state in here, luckily owner caught it just as it fell out when I
went off a curb, Ha Ha Ha There is no Escape!!

Owner has just pulled the J.D. out of me, I heard them saying “What do you
mean, no more techila?, no worries I got this”, Mask has let out a little

Ah, The team event, owners dragging me a bit slow today and has taken the
sunglasses out of my side pocket, I feel it may be a quiet day today

All done and back home we go,

Oh, SOD!, body wire has picked up another banana skin, doesn’t that guy ever
learn, and I don’t think we will ever get the smell out of Mask, some of the
chunks seem to have got into the tip box which means sooner or later owner
going to try and hold a trip in with bits of old carrots, which will be just
plain nasty <> maybe I’ll save that story for another week.

A Bluffers Guide to Fencing

A Bluffers Guide to Fencing – by a fencer’s flatmate.
(or how I learnt to stop worrying and love the balestra)

Fencing, as the name suggests, is territorial. In the same way that the West is
currently struggling with the distinctions between Sunni + Shi-ite Muslims
(stickfight, please take care with spellings), I struggle to comprehend the
intense 3 way civil war between Sabre,Epee & Foil.

As best as I can make out from stickfight’s descriptions, it can be
characterised as follows:
Foil = Cowardly Psychotics
Sabre = Foolhardy Psychotics
Epee = “The Psychotic’s Psychotic”
(NB guess which stickfight is)

Fencing can be broken down into 2 categories of action:
1) Trying to impale someone
2) Pretendingto try to impale someone.

All fencers can do 1, but only expert fencers manage 2.

Stickfight boy, being an I.T.-Type, would of course rather label these “1” and
“0” so he could fight in binary. If, indeed, you do enact this conversion, and
send the resulting 1’s and 0’s to a fax machine, the pictorial results are
fascinating; it turns out that when converted in reverse Mondrian’s otherwise
eclectic artistic style is actually a visual representation of the plot of “The
Count of Monte Cristo” (for foil fighters read same sentence with “Zorro”)

Useful Phrases to irritate fencers:
1) So you weren’t any good at football?
2) Ah-HA, but I have a gun!.
3) Battle of Agincourt, mate. Arrows. That’s the way forward
4) So do Epeeists ever actually attack? (use innocent tone for maximum effect)
5) It’s not exactly sharp is it?
6) My tuba v your epee, i win with one throw
7) So do you roll a D12 to see who moves next?
8) I bet your wife loves you talking her through the fights.
9) So can you download new ringtones into Leon Paul Boxes?
10) How come everyone else realises this went out of date at least 200 years

How to win fencing (for dummies)
1) ensure absence of referee
2) ensure far end sharp and pointy

Uncanny similarities between fencing and ballet
1) Lightness on feet (allegedly)
2) Obscure French terms
3) Frequency of opening of east European can of whup-ass
4) Strange cultish behaviour of followers, and frequency of fans called Crispin.
5) Protective clothing (shoes/kevlar)
6) “No we aren’t camp. It’s actually very physically demanding”

I rest my case.

Before I get any hate-mail, I should point out that my own obsessive pastime is

1) My orchestra is bigger than your fencing club.
2) The cello spikes don’t have buttons on the end.
3) The brass section can drink you into the floor
4) You do, however, have our unreserved apologies for Wagner.

Notes on living with a fencer.
1) Do not startle, or make rapid movements
2) Only uses 2m wide strip of the house
3) Plugged into mains at all times.
4) When you are winning an argument he insists on a new argument. First to 15
5) Cannot do housework without wearing protective kevlar (actually fair point
if you’ve seen our bathroom)

If you’ve made it this far
In his infinite wisdom stick-fight boy has promised (OK he was drunk, but I
have it on Dictaphone) that I can expand this area for my wider deranged views.

It should be noted that the evidently warped mind is not entirely my own fault,
and i would like the court to take into account 5 years of public school
education, a Cambridge degree and farther who is a C of E vicar as mitigating
circumstances. Nobody could remain rational in these circumstances.

Read at your own risk, and ensure regular breaks for methylated spirits. It
makes more sense that way.

**Editor’s note: I would like to point out that the above was written when I
was very drunk tired and emotional. In block capitals on a notepad. It really
doesn’t make any sense does it? Ah well, never mind. Nor does expending huge
amounts of otherwise useful violent fury trying to turn on a lightbulb fifteen
times (or make a box go “ping”).

Rat Scratchings 2

Rat Scratchings #2 (14/03/04 – 21/03/04)

Have had two fab lessons with Steve Paul (Tel: 07768085735 to book lessons, if
no answer leave a message, he does answer them, and in the mean time his answer
phone drives us all potty, in revenge for this, phone his mobile even at night
{instead of home office 0132472540} as the reception is poo in his house and
forces him have to hurtle outside to answer <>) who is one of the
innocent coaches currently try to cure my DE cock up affliction, he has turned
up the notch of the lessons to help cope with the panic response (Symptom: a
Parry that is like hitting a sword with 2 bags of coal {and always the same
direction}) so that I can get further in tricky fights, am slightly worried
that his technical term for this is “random Cruelty”, but after his lesson and
2 hours of club, I feel as if someone has beaten me to death with a loaded
wart-hog. I was so tired that I could not move my hand to turn off the country
and western music what was on TV in the flat and ended up watching it with
drool dribbling down my chin, now I am both physically and mentally scared thus
meaning I can take up sabre at any time!.

Fought Mr Bird again on Monday night at LTFC, man is he fast!, the nasty
thrashing I received has inspired the following in what I hope are a long line
in little known fencing terms:

Unofficial Fencing Terms #1

The Port Lunge (or Plunge) – a shocking and somewhat unnerving experience that
is produced by combining someone with a smooth and fast lunge with a defender
who needs to blink, miss timing your blink just as they start there attack,
makes it seem as if the attacker move from on guard to sticking a sword in your
chest without covering the intervening distance, while the standard result of
this is just the lose of a point, the optional side effects can contains any of
the following, 1)heart attack, 2)fainting , 3)Accusation that they have sold
their soul in return for fencing skills , 4)needing to wash your breaches
sooner than you had hoped

Unofficial Fencing Terms #2

Slice (or Time Slice) – the opposite of the Port Lunge, a condition in which
you blink or sneeze during your own attack, and when you open your eyes
discovered that your have successfully scored a hit (this may or may not have
included a parry and riposte), the reason for the successful hit an be put down
to one of two reason 1) Your coach has been right all these years about feeling
the blade and working on touch 2) your body is better at fencing when your
brain is not getting in the way.

The metal pieste are getting more slippery!, wonder if it would be a good idea
to bring a brush and hover and sort them out and at the same time add a new
weapon class foil,saber, epee, dyson!!, it would be fab, get a load of ping
pong balls and glue them to velcro pads, stick the other side to your kits,
attach ping pong balls and a way you go, first to 15 balls in your hover wins,
that idea has to be explored, here we go:

Dyson Fencing


  • 2 vacuum cleaners (baggless by preference)
  • 30 ping pong balls per fencer
  • a roll of stick backed velcro
  • 2 pad of post-it notes (optional)
  • 2 or more demented or possibly drunk fencers.

Set up:

cut up the sticky backed velcro in to 1cm strips and stick the hook sides to the ping pong balls and the fury side to fencers (nude or in kit it does not matter, but they must be conscious as waking up to find 30 ping pong balls stuck to you could scar you for life) once the fencers are balled up, they take there hovers on the pieste and plug them in at each end, they then touch tubes and await the president (or cleaners) command, to “turn on” and “suck”

The Game:

The bout is played until a fencer has collected 15 of his opponents
balls with the hoover (please note when fighting male appoints there are NOT an
additional 2 balls available to be attacked with the hover, unless that’s you
kick and if it is I don’t want to know!) or if your opponents loses all their
balls. Optional – for each bout a fencer has won, a post it note is stuck on
the front of his mask to impair their abilities in the next bout.

Alternative game:

a less complicated and to my mind one that stands a chance of getting
done at a camp, is to get a number of fencers, the more the better!!!, get them
all sorted out with the ping pong balls, and with their masks on, give each one
a foam sword (those battling ones are best) and let them lose, last one with
balls left wins, utter carnage!!!!, yes it has to be done!!

Picture the Scene:

Its a fencing training camp week, its 2.00am in the morning and all
good fencers are fast asleep after a long day of performing wholesome training
exercises, but all is not quiet, a low humming noise starts to fill the air,
getting louder and heading towards the bedrooms, suddenly the sound of
screaming fills the air overpowering the humming, fencers rush to their doors
and look out into the hall, a half naked figure thunders past looking a lot
nobbler than normal, he is being closely followed by masked apparitions
carrying the latest in electric home cleaning appliances, the next second they
are gone, the humming fading off in to the distance, leaving a couple of stray
ping pong balls rolling on the floor, the fencers look at each other, shrug and
go back to sleep, after all Alp is at the training camp, the unexpected is SO
last 5 seconds ago.



Absence of Blade: Very short fight, unless both parties are in this state, in
which case, very long and boring fight

Advance: “What’s a nice girl like you doing in a salle like this?”

Balestra: A man with a sword and a tutu.

Bayonet: A close-quarters fencing discipline

Baudry Point: A village in Cornwall where epeeists are bred in cages

Black Card: “We sympathise with your loss, but you shouldn’t have let your son
take up fencing”

Change of Engagement: A way to upset your fiancee. Not recommending if fiancee
is sabreur

Commanding the Blade: Clearly stupid. It’s a piece of metal.

Counter-Attack: Aggressive movement to be first to the bar after fencing

Counter-Parry: A rabid dislike of “Jerusalem” (c. Charles HH Parry)

Counter-Riposte: “Yeah? Well. Your mum.”

Corps-A-Corps: Dangerous fencing competition between entire army regiments.

Coule: A way of cooking potatoes

Coupe: A two door car that is incredibly difficult to load fencing gear into

Cross: The mood fencers get in when they read this log

Derobement: A prelude to a more informal activity popular with two or more
consenting fencers.

Feint: Brought on by too much fencing and not enough liquid intake

Fleche: The bit of you that gets stabbed.

Flying Riposte: See counter-riposte, but in an aeroplane.

Hilt: “point at which I can’t be bothered”. As in “I’ll back you up to the hilt”

Homologated: Please, this is a family weblog.

In Quartata: The recommended quantity for attacking innocent passers by with

Insistence: “It IS a real sport”.

Lame: Stickfight’s excuses for losing.

Moulinet: A brand of food mixer. Considered ungentlemanly, but technically
classed as a sabre

Octave: The normal alteration in vocal pitch when a fencer gets a groin hit.


  1. Soak 1 tbsp dried porcini mushrooms in hot water for 10 minutes, then drain
    well. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large, heavy based saucepan and add two garlic
    cloves and an onion (chopped). Fry over a gentle heat for 2-3 minutes, until
    softened. Add the mushrooms and fry for a further 2-3 minutes, until browned.
  2. Stir in 350g/12oz arborio rice and coat in the oil. Pour in 1 pint dry white
    wine and simmer, stirring, until the liquid has been absorbed. Add 2 pints hot
    vegetable stock by the ladleful and simmer, stirring again, until the liquid
    has been absorbed and the rice is plump and tender.
  3. Roughly chop the soaked mushrooms and stir into the risotto, along with
    parsley, 1 oz butter and salt and pepper. Serve with freshly grated Parmesan

Passe: An unfashionable fencing outfit

Piste: No, no. This one’s just too easy. Insert your own line

Plastron: Inhabitant of planet Vengnor. Not very good at foil, but then it has
no limbs

Presentation: Weak point of fencers who have facial hair.

Press: People who take no interest in fencing.

Prise de Fer: A goldfish won from travelling entertainment providers.

Quarte: A sensible serving of whisky.

Referee: Term of abuse.

Ricasso: French exponent of Cubism.

Right-of-Way: Claimed by any fencer driving to the Nationals.

Salle: Word for people who find “room” difficult to say.

Septime: Very cumbersome version of the Greek Trireme ships.Particularly
unpleasant for rowers seated on bottom row (they were chained in place – think
about it).

Simple: Accusation levelled at Fencers

Sixte: How epeeists write their IQ down.

Thrown Point: High risk move, as it results in an absence of blade (see earlier