Finally feeling a little improved, I ventured out to the training cabin on my own this afternoon just to see what I could still do. A few weights, a shaky handstand or two, some light stretching… Well, I decided, things could be worse.
I lay back on the weights bench, finally having got my tee-shirt off (still feeling alternately chilled/sweaty), contemplating how long it is going to take me to get back into the condition I want. Almost drifted off for a while, then heard sounds of the kids (Leo, his mate Chris, Chris’s brother Billy and Jaymee too) approaching like a wolf pack across the yard, following the finish of school.
They splashed through our little footbath ritual in the lobby and I decided to stay put, pretending to play asleep (or dead?). Should I expect concern from my son as he leads the pack into the cabin, throwing off his shirt…? “You OK dad?” perhaps, since he knows I am sick? Nah…
Thanks, son! John Hurt – all may never be forgiven…
…of course, the only possible response was to leap up, grab him and wrestle him to the ground whilst making the appropriate blood-curdling screeching noises, with Chris and finally our teen bodybuilding champ Billy piling in on top. Leo’s chest amazingly strong against my enfeebled form – goodness, the boy is growing up! Gave them the sweaty warm-up they needed anyway, and me re-engaging in contact sports as I so much like to do with my contemporaries, albeit here with my son and his friends, made me feel so much better too. Jaymee observed us in silence, disdainfully shaking her head and I distinctly heard ‘Huh, stupid boys…’ – I guess I was included!
I left them to it. 18yo now, Billy is an adult and highly competent supervisor and ensures that the younger ones stay within the range of weights and movements appropriate for almost-12yo’s (Leo and Jaymee will both be 12 by the time they return from UK after New Year, and Chris a couple of weeks after). And their acrobatics they can be trusted to ‘spot’ for each other – one thing we’ve taught Chris, who is a recent convert, is the art of supporting and moving with other gymnasts to ensure safety in practice. Gym, acro, weights, finding gay love and adventure.. all here in these books, available too as e-books.
OK, commercial over. Let’s start the pictures today with a recent one of one of my favourite equilibrists from UK, Edward Upcott, who comes from the Spelthorne/Heathrow/Spelbound stable and is seen here performing on a Spanish Island with ‘Pirates’ earlier this year:
He is now the age when Dave and I properly started performing professionally, and I can tell you that performing in the open air under a warming blue sky is a brilliant feeling! But then, if it is in the blood (like my alien infection!) then any kind of performing opportunity gives you that certain ‘buzz’:
The top British acro-gymnastics clubs produce some of the best acrobats in the world, and I’m exploring options to connect up with one of the best (in the West Country) whilst I’m over in UK to see about possible coaching/participation opportunities should Dave and I end up (as we are considering) spending more time on that UK side of the Atlantic. And not overlooking options in artistic gymnastics too since our qualifications from US are transferable…
…and then, perhaps wind down our performances and leave it to the next generation (like Upcott… and, of course, certain kids called Leo and Jaymee…). It’ll mean a fair bit of travelling if we live in our place in Wales, but it will be huge fun. Fingers crossed that itinerant coaches might be welcomed in British clubs.
Just had a e-mail from Neil, the lad who looks after our training barn at Cefn Derwen (‘Oak Ridge’ in Welsh; his mum looks after the house). It shows his truck slewed across the track as the first snow of the winter hits Mid Wales… lovely! Just what we need to look forward to. Perhaps this is the wrestling arena into which we invite Neil and his mates to take up our challenges:
In fact, there’s no reason not to do all our training in the snow (if we’re daft enough):
A warm sun on your skin, out in the snow, can be really invigorating if you’re generating heat.
So… the Alien Invasion is on. Kids out of school at lunchtime tomorrow and all of us on a plane to Chicago at 4pm, heading for a transfer to London. First stop Oxford (my mum’s, cramming in all of us somehow) then on to Cefn Derwen when we’ve sorted the time difference. We’ll keep the communication going – and I musn’t forget the life-saving crimson and yellow capsules!
A few more ‘appropriate’ pictures then, to finish off this post:
(That picture is too good to be true, but the boy at least is I think un-retouched…)
OK, that will have to do for now. Got to do some packing – not least presents for Christmas and two birthdays! Whether I’ll be able to carry the suitcases (we’ve already pre-paid an excess baggage charge!), or stagger and look helpless, remains to be seen.
Next post, if AA/BA keep their act together, will be from UK.