Howling gale, lashing rain… welcome home to the UK! Three cars waiting for us at Heathrow – my dad, my old mates Colin (with son Ollie) and Roger also. Brilliant. Made us feel like film stars (well, there are seven of us…).
For about ten years before Dave appeared on my scene, Colin and I were best mates. We schooled together, played together, discovered bike rides and skinny dipping, toasting ourselves in the sun (yeah, naked sometimes) in those long summer hols, discovered gymnastics through experimenting on the river bank with acrobatics and stuff… nothing could come between us. And now, he’s happily married, I’m gay and – yeah, he says he knew that years before I knew it myself. He used to defend me to the rest of our class in school when I was out of earshot. Brilliant.
And now my son (a whisker off 12) and his (soon to be 10) are re-enacting our friendship despite a distance most of the time of 4000 miles. Leo’s mate Chris (not with us) is in the ‘clan’ too which they formed in the summer: they constantly Skype, comparing their gymnastic and weights achievements, all three are dedicated to sport and Ollie is set to spend as much time with us on this visit as he can. And, like their parents (even Colin) none of them want to wear tops unless they have to do, and barefoot is normal…
In fact there’ll be a constant succession of visitors to Wales once we get there, but Ollie is more or less going to be ‘in residence’ until Leo and Jaymee leave with their mums to return to school.
All of which makes me very happy. Colin and his wife too. The boys won’t be separated now. And Jaymee gets on very well with the younger sister – although the Dave/Karen/Jaymee/Dave’s dad part of the group will be in Cumbria for a while after Boxing Day, visiting with Dave’s mum (now rather less than estranged) and his dad thinking about his future, maybe house-hunting…
Wales on Monday then, with my parents joining for Christmas itself, Clare and my mum in charge of food… only one major storm forecast so far between now and then!!
The books ‘cut in’ where Dave and I first meet in the States back in 2000. Not too late to acquire some Xmas reading, especially given that they are all available in e-book format
And now, some thematic pictures to cheer up a foul evening of weather here in Oxford UK!
The only one of our group (in Tennessee) that really does martial arts is Gary, but we all love a good fight and generally wear a little less! we don’t miss u[p on a chance to practice our pull-ups…
That young man’s upper arms seem to need a bit of work, and he realises that! There are other (sometimes seasonal) ways to improve core strength:
Group work is good:
Lots of interesting variations there! However, just the simple pike hold is a great strengthener, especially for the stomach:
It is however Christmas, so you are allowed just the occasional rest from training (I’ve been doing too much of this recently, thanks to the creeping bacteria):
Now a few pictures which just show off great results, and should inspire:
Well, those guys got it right. We’re hoping to do some stuff outdoors, weather permitting, once we get down to Wales…
…you know, kids trying to outdo each other on toughness, and maybe their parents too… the sea is a possibility, even in December, but few locals would do that…
Next post, all being well, from Wales on Monday.
Right now, we have a bit of sleep to catch up on, having effectively missed a night out: