Renewing the Pledges – A Slightly Sordid Tale on a Soggy Day

We’re all on the train this soggy Friday morning…

…The Welsh Highland Railway from Porthmadog to Carnarvon and return – and you’ll get this post as soon as I find a suitable WiFi signal, which is not easy on the slopes of Snowdon!

I’ve forced a ‘training-free day’ on everyone today, especially after yesterday – which is really what today’s tale is about.

The females all went off on a shopping trip to Wales’s second city (Swansea) after their routine early-morning workouts, leaving “us boys” (I still count myself as one!!) to our own devices at Cefn Derwen. The four teens took off for run up the valley and back to work off their breakfast – shirts off of course, to feel the refreshing light rain on their chests – and I busied myself around the house and yard.

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Well, to be fair, I didn’t need a spanner quite as big as his!

The boys returned to the barn to work on every muscle in their bodies, from top to toe, including their tongues. I could safely leave them to it – these are fitness freaks par excellence and know exactly what they are doing, suitable to their ages (12 – 14 with my Leo and his best mate Chris at 13).

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Eventually, I went down and found them, naked as usual, clustered around our mirrors, posing, touching, feeling, squeezing each other’s muscles and generally complimenting each other and themselves on their achievements. Two may live in UK and the other two in the US, but they think of themselves as a single team and constantly Skype about their training.

As this is a generally gay guys blog, let me just say again here that three of the teens here, including my son Leo, are as straight as they can get, and the fourth one who is quite new to the clique – well, I’m not exactly sure. But it makes no difference – these are mates, and it is all about their physical prowess – not sex! I also think that one definition of true friends is people who are comfortable around one another naked – and our various families have always a free attitude around the house to that ever since the kids were born – as well is in our home gyms. And by the way – as responsible parents, we absolutely keep our gay sides to ourselves when dealing with our kids (and any kids, since we coach gym) – just sayin’…

The boys were very sweaty, of course…

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…and Leo, having wiped his hand across Alex’s chest and then licked it off (as they do!) suddenly remarked that they should renew their ‘pledge’ to work for ever-better results, wherever on the planet they found themselves… Which they started off by duly licking drops of sweat off each other (“sharing the strength”, grins Ollie…)… 851
Now I’ve got to confess that I’m partly responsible for starting this stuff – but American sports organisations (along with Fraternity Houses) like their pledge initiations, usually involving nudity – and so that’s two influences at least on Leo and his friend Chris, being Americans, on having the teen gang do this last year in Wales and again in Oak Ridge last Easter. For my sins – well, you can read all about it here, especially in the first two books about our gay love and acrobatic lifestyle:

The first part...The second part...Loving the Boy: ISBN 978-1-907732-30-0

The Power of Love: ISBN 978-1-907732-41-6

Against All Odds: ISBN 978-1-908645-35-7

It gets worse, of course. Stage 2 involves drinking a lot of water and then all of them using a communal bucket. Feet get dipped in and then wiped on the others’ faces. A plastic cup is then passed around… a solemn swearing ceremony to pledge to continue to work your butt off in the gym and to help all the others…

‘Dad – you’re one of the boys too. You should join in…’ Arrrgh. Very flattering for the older generation to be thought of as one of the next-generation lads, I suppose – but then we are all still pretty ‘physical’ with our acrobatic performing and coaching and we do work out daily with our kids and their friends – and yes, I suppose we have taught them everything they know about fitness and acrobatics… And so, dear reader, feeling rather flattered, I submitted. I told you this was a slightly sordid tale. It gets worse.

‘Tell them about the Russian women, Dad…’

Oh yes, the ancient Russian ‘babushkas’ who swear by using their own urine as a skin food. Chemically, and medically, it is true. You can buy extremely expensive skin treatment lotions containing high concentrations of the chemical urea, which is the principle constituent of urine. And urine, it turns out is slightly antiseptic… well, you can guess the rest. We all go around shirtless so much (and enjoy the Vitamin ‘D’)   but its good to protect against the nasties if you can, especially if you enjoy looking tanned – of course most acrobatics is performed shirtless. Chests and backs duly massaged all round. A period wondering what to do next, since you have to give it time to do its work. The boys spent theirs stretching each other to their limits, three boys each working on the fourth – more essential training if you want to be able to hold amazing positions in acrobatics…

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quite a back bend

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While they did that, I started my own weights routine, quickly joined by the local farm lad who keeps the place operating for us when we’re away. His farming duties had been rained off, so he had run the three miles up to ours, quickly noted the (un)dress code of the day, shed his rain-soaked tee-shirt and shorts, and joined in enthusiastically. Neil doesn’t wish to appear here naked either, so I need to use an older picture:

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The two of us older guys now seriously sweaty, and the young  ones remaining a little pungent too, we all needed one of these…

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Here in Wales, whilst we do have hot water and showers, we also have rain, no neighbours and an excellent swimming hole which makes the rain irrelevant so, like Billy here, we took to the river instead:

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After which, we raced back to the house, towelled off, and then, because this is Wales and it’s wet and cold, and because it really makes our little place feel cosy, I lit a wood fire. In July! I ask you. Six guys, toasting ourselves in front of a log fire in our underwear while eating lunch with rain beating against the windows. What an excellent way to spend a short vacation!

Then, I finally persuaded the boys to find something to do not involving stressful exercise and nudity, and set about preparing dinner for ten – ladies back from shopping and our amazing gay couple friends Tom and Iestyn up from Llanwrtyd. A good feed of local Welsh meat, wine for the bigger boys and girl… yeah! I enjoy cooking.

So, today, it’s eight of us on the train: Beyer-Garrett steam engines keeping the boys happy and what can be seen of scenery keeping the girls happy ‘ ‘The top of Snowdon’s up there, guys… through the fog…’

Cover 3 ThumbA nice look at Caernarvon Castle and a quick lunch, then the return trip and now, back in Porthmadog, an internet signal! I’m finishing this quickly in a corner of a cosy little teashop while everyone else is peering at sailing boats in the harbour and the little railway museum. Still raining though.

I need a few more fitness pictures to make up the usual quota, so here we go:

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golden blond

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Oh – just thought of something else. I set five crossword clues a couple of posts back. Just in case anyone cares, here are the answers:

Dope

Acrobat

Press Up

Grumpy

Despatch Riders

Any questions? (except the final one… I didn’t quite understand that clue either, except I remember from school chemistry that little balance weights are called ‘riders’. Oh well).

No-one else back yet, so a couple more pictures now: the Russians don’t do fitness by halves…

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Oh, here they come – time to upload this lot. OK, by the way, if anyone has great pictures out there which fit the theme and would like to share, just send ’em to gymacrobat@gmail.com. Cheers!

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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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