Croeso i Cefn Derwen!

…thats Welsh language for “Welcome to Oak Ridge”. Guess I’d better explain.

I’m back in Wales… at ‘our’ place. That’s ‘our’ as in Dave and me, Zach and Gary. After we’de come under attack for the second time, Zach was advised to ‘disappear’ for a while, and my family suggested a holiday cottage they’de used several times and which they knew was empty. So Zach, with Gary (natch!), hopped across the Atlantic into the care of my family for a few months. Eventually, they slipped back and joined us on tour in Canada.

Since then, after a number of years, the four of us found we had a bit of money saved from our nomadic circus existence. We wanted a ‘base’ in Europe for our touring, and this cottage happened to be on the market. My uncle tipped us off. Actually it’s the barn we wanted; the adjacent cottage is quite small. But the barn has become a new training hall!

The middle of Wales is not the most convenient place to have a base, but we couldn’t afford something in the more populous areas of England, and we can still make money when we’re not about by letting the cottage, just as it used to be. And indeed, by letting local lads (and their girls) use the gym. A local farming lad, Neil, rugby player, cross-country runner and stalwart of the local Young Farmers, looks after the place for us and keep order with a rod of iron. Keeps everything tidy for us, too.

So, we’ve bought up all the second-hand weights we can lay our hands on, plus one or two machines; covered the place in mats, including a wrestling area, and even installed a glass track – yes, glass not grass – to keep ourselves trained up on the ‘fakir’ side of our performances. Nails too… and of course balance ‘canes’ and a trapeze.

In recognition of the huge debt we owe to Chad’s magnificent training centre back in Oak Ridge TN, the place is now known, at least to us, as ‘Oak Ridge 2’.

So, I’m currently in residence at ‘Cefn Derwen’, faffing about with what needs to be done on these books. Dave’s visiting his grandparents in Cumbria – his grandad, who inspired him in the first place to use weights, is actually considering giving up Cumberland wrestling now – aged 81! – but still trains weights three times a week.

Slowly, the locals are getting used to the idea that some odd people come and go to our place, which is really isolated; runners go up and down the valley at all hours, often shirtless, with only a few bemused sheep to see them.

One of the nearest towns, Llanwrtyd Wells, hosts at least two remarkable sports – the ‘man versus horse’ race across the hills (only won twice by a man in 35 years) and the famous annual bog snorkelling world championships:

No swimming strokes allowed…

…but bicycles are! (you can Google your own picture of that!). We have indeed come to a weird place.

Meanwhile, to keep our main fitness theme alive, here are a couple of Russian boys doing their training with some rather rusty equipment:

I’ll try and make sure to include a training picture or an acrobatic picture in every post from now on…

About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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