I'm not around tomorrow - off to Sunny Sheffield to referee the u20s Championships. The epée's fine - fewer opportunities for the fencers to shout at you, but I worry about the foil. It's so fast, and the definitions of what constitutes a proper attack or defence shift all the time.
For instance, my coaches are seriously élite, and they taught me to stand still, parry an attack and riposte without moving: the attacker brings their target to you, and if you retreat, you give them another opportunity to attack you while giving yourself more to do before you can hit them back.
This weekend, the referees were looking for a retreat to signify that the defender had actually parried, rather than just stuck his or her arm out (at foil, scoring goes to whomsoever has 'right of way', in epée both fencers score if they hit each other at the same time, so defence isn't so much of an issue). I didn't adapt to the refereeing, and got a hammering. The rules haven't changed, but the interpretation has - which makes refereeing a fraught experience.
Anyway, off I go, with my suit - another new development which worries me: I move up and down a lot while refereeing, and therefore sweat. Ugh.
Books in the post today:
Pearls of Love: How to Write Love Letters and Love Poems. Before you jump to conclusions, I won it over on Awful Library Books, one of my favourite websites (mmm, satire and cataloguing). I intend to use it in my Poetry classes if ever I get one again.
John Lucas (ed.) Writing and Radicalism.
and World Without A Superman. I was never allowed comics as a kid, so you can shut your mocking faces.
Oh, and the London Review of Books to take with me. I'm leaving my computer at work, but may wander round Sheffield with my camera, so if you're a fan of brutalist architecture, there's a treat coming.