Welsh Unis (2008-03-04 - 4:23 p.m.)

So tired. So very, very tired... or perhaps lethargic is a more apt description. I have no energy and can't even get up the Bangor hills without stopping for a rest. Yikes. I hope this is planning to go away immediately. I have no patience with being sick. It's not just me, either - Thandi has the exact same weird symptoms.

It was the Welsh Universities Fencing Competition in Swansea this weekend. The Bangor fencers turned out in force, and a minibus full of 20 of us trundled down the twisty Welsh coastal roads to Swansea. It's about a five-hour trip and the fencers whiled it away by singing modified football songs (example, to the tune of My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean: "If I had the wings of a sparrow/ If I had the eyes* of a crow/ I'd fly over Cardiff tomorrow/ and spit* on the people* below.") (The Cardiff fencers are not well-liked - by anyone, really).

Most fencers were staying in a hotel (in family rooms with a double bed and two singles, which inspired much gleeful speculation as the fencers are mostly 20-year-old males) but as there were four female fencers and only three beds, I was invited to go stay with Welsh Jon and his family. Welsh Jon is attending Bangor Uni but is originally from Swansea. As it turned out, I lucked out on that one - I got a room to myself, and Welsh's dad prepared a full Welsh breakfast for me on Saturday morning, as it happened to be St. David's Day. It included eggs, sausage, bacon, tomatos, mushrooms, cockles, and laverbread. The latter is basically boiled seaweed with oatmeal. I had a bit of trouble with the cockles and laverbread, but gave it a game effort. Very Welsh, anyway.

Although I've only been doing épée since late January, I decided to fence two weapons in the competition. I then proceeded to get trounced in épée on the Saturday. That said, I fenced not too badly (just didn't win) and only came in 11th (as there were only 11 female épéeists!) However, our club's Women's Captain, Kevanne, did manage to come in fourth and just shy of getting a medal, which was exciting.

After the giant breakfast, I couldn't eat all day due to nervousness about fencing, fencing, and the aftermath of fencing. However, by 6pm I was starving, and we went to an all-you-can-eat Chinese place and stuffed ourselves. That night there was meant to be a fencing social, but Swansea did a crappy job of organizing it (as they did with the whole competition, in fact), and when we turned up to the venue there was no one there but a few confused-looking fencers from Aberystwyth. Never let it be said that fencers can't make a party out of anything, and we were trying - until the bar staff came along and told us to keep the noise down. In a student's union bar! At that point we all gave up and went home.

The next morning brought another giant Welsh breakfast, and the foil competition. Here, happily, I did much better. I trounced the other newbies in my poule and came in 10th overall in a field of 16. This was quite respectable and made up for the épée fiasco. As well, Aberystwyth also have a token Canadian in their fencing club. She's called Amy and is from Victoria - and I kicked her butt in the foil. This made up for the Bangor women not quite managing any medals - at least they could say, "Yes, but our Canadian is better than your Canadian!" Then they made little Pokemon noises ("Canadianne! Can can Canadianne!")

In case you are curious, in a fencing competition everyone is assigned to a small poule of five or six people. You fence everyone in your poule, and your points give you a ranking overall. Then you have a direct elimination match (1st against last, 2nd against 2nd last, and so on). If you win your DE, you fence the next person up. If you lose, you keep your original ranking. I lost both my DEs, but did way better in poules for foil than for épée and so came out much higher in the rankings. Bangor as a club did very well, though - we got 1st in Men's Sabre and 1st and 2nd in Men's Epee. Not sure about Men's Foil, but I'm pretty sure we got a medal there as well.

The whole competition was very badly-organized, and an attempt to run Women's Foil and Men's épée and sabre, all on Sunday, did not go well. We didn't end up finishing till 6pm, had a five-minute medal ceremony, and then had to rush out to the mini-bus. The result was we didn't get back to Bangor till 1.30 am (we had eaten and left Swansea by about 8.30pm). It was a long, LONG trip on wet, windy roads. I did manage to drift off for a few minutes, to the strains of, "I'm Bangor till I die... I'm Bangor till I die. I know I am, I'm sure I am, I'm Bangor till I die..."

That made yesterday morning a bit of a struggle, particularly as dad called at 6.50 am to talk about rental cars, and I had an Advanced Statistics midterm at 9am. Sigh. No wonder I'm tired and sick today.

In other news, I was in a lab last week revising for my statistics midterm when I got a call from Liam. "Hiya, just wanted to tell you not to panic when you get home."
"What? Why would I panic?"
"Well... just ignore the blood-stained note... there's no reason to panic."

So of course I panicked.

Turned out he had hit his head and had to be taken by ambulance to the hospital. He was calling from A&E. The note in question was in fact covered in blood, and just said, 'Bumped head. At hospital'. He's fine - the cut was a minor one - and I will be forever grateful that he thought to call and warn me before I got home and saw the note! The doctors glued up his head and it seems to be healing fine. Life's an adventure around here...

Anyway, I am feeling terrible and am going off to have a nap. Happy belated St. David's Day from here in Wales!

*Actual lyrics modified for a family audience!

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Missed anything?
moved! - 2008-05-12
Sunday = time to ramble on - 2008-05-11
apparently I'm doing monthly updates these days. Sorry. - 2008-05-04
watershed - 2008-04-06
end of trip - 2008-03-31

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