If it’s Not Pigs it’s Freaks!

What else can you call fully grown, straw Stetson wearing, toy (I hope) gun toting, bellowing adults running down the street leaving a trail of crosses made from breadcrumbs on the pavement?

Well, I think the crosses were made from breadcrumbs. I decided that joining the ranks of the curtain twitchers was the safest bet so I only guessed at the nature of the white substance they were sprinkling all over the place. After all, there was a whole herd of the crazies and only one of me.

Yes, the Freaks were out in force this morning. Now, unlike the pigs, they didn’t actually enter the garden but they were close enough to be scary.

The first I knew of it was someone yelling outside. My boss (who lives in a different century to the rest of us) said, “Is that the Rag and Bone man out on a Sunday?”

Rag and Bone man? Huh? Seriously, he said that.

I dutifully went to look out of the window and saw nothing but the paper boy running down the street. I then discovered he was fleeing in terror. I was still surveying the scene when a man and a woman shot out of the top of the public footpath howling like banshees.

The man went one way and the woman the other but he soon turned around and followed her. Suddenly there were about 12 other people running to catch up with them. They were wearing straw cowboy hats and waving guns around as they ran.

Then the breadcrumb people burst out from behind a hedge. Are you getting why I stayed indoors yet? Every so many metres they would stop and make a cross on the pavement before taking off after the rest of the herd.

I was too taken aback to root the camera out of the drawer and it was over so fast I never stood a chance of figuring out how to work the one on my cell phone. So no photos I’m afraid.

Speaking of no photos, I was down at K2 in Crawley last weekend for the BKK British Open Knockdown Tournament and my camera died a miserable death right at the beginning of the action.

Now, I’d love to be able to say that it was some dire technical malfunction or even that I’d dropped it and killed it, but oh no, it had to be something simple and avoidable didn’t it? Yup, the batteries went flat!

Considering they hadn’t been changed since Christmas that’s not really surprising, at least not to anyone else, but I tend not to think about these things until it’s too late. I was never a Girl Guide you see, and I only lasted a day in the Brownies. None of that “Be Prepared” stuff for me.

Oh well, here’s one of the few shots I did manage to get… Not great, I know.

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Anyway, photos or not, the event was brilliant. Shame about the men’s finals where fighters from the same club needed urging to fight each other, but on the whole it was a really good day out.

Much fun was had on the way from the venue to the hotel too. My friend, Annemarie, and I decided to walk – even thought it was tanking it down with rain.

Now, we knew from earlier on that there was no crossing over the busy road near to the hotel so we decided to use the first one we came to and walk on the same side of the road as the hotel.

Being a Saturday evening there was a lot of traffic and it took the lights ages to change. We stood like a couple of drowned rats waiting for the little green man and then dashed across as soon as he appeared.

Only to discover there was no footpath on the other side of the road. Damn! We crossed back and decided to try the one a little further along. Again we did the drowned rat thing, crossed and found that what we thought was a foot path was, in fact, a bus lane.

Okay, back to the other side again. We knew there were no other crossings before we got to the hotel so once we were fairly sure there was a path on the other side we made a run for it in a gap in the traffic.

Well, there was a path but there was also a reason why we hadn’t been aware that there wasn’t one earlier. There were no lights! No worries, we could see well enough in the light from the passing cars. Sort of…

What we saw every time a car went past were earthworms. Squazillions of big fat ones, all over the pavement. And then we were plunged into darkness again.

OMG! How do you avoid stepping on creatures that cover the pavement when you can’t even see them? And my Vibram Five Fingers have holes in the soles. Ewwwwww.

Up until that point I’d been seriously contemplating removing my sodden shoes but I decided foot rot was a better option than squished earthworm between my toes.

I tiptoed along a little way with Annemarie behind me trying to step where I’d just stepped. We figured that way, if I squashed any, she would step on the same ones and we’d only do half the amount of damage.

Suddenly there was a loud shriek and a rustling in the hedge to my left. I spun round expecting to be confronted by a mugger or, heaven help us, a crazed axe murderer but all I saw was Annie in the hedge.

Then a movement caught my eye. Something small and shiny jumped into the hedge beside her and she leapt back onto the pavement. “Argh, it’s a frog and I kicked it,” she yelled.

As you can imagine, seeing a mere frog after expecting to come face to face with a would be rapist leaves a person with a pretty serious adrenaline let down. My arms and legs felt like lead but we made it back to the hotel in one piece.

After changing my wet jeans for a dry pair I took off down to the bar to meet up with some of the guys from the K4L forum for a couple of drinks. I left Annie upstairs in her room fighting with the trouser press which threatened to kill her as she tried to iron her dogi for training the next day.

She did mine too, which is only right after scaring me to death with the frog incident and I’m very grateful. Otherwise I would have pitched up at the dojo looking like I’d washed it in the local marina.

I only had a pint and a half of lager and I was back in my room just after 11pm but, pre lager, all I’d had to eat and drink that day was half a packet of pickled onion Monster Munch, a veggie samosa and a cup of coffee. Not good.

The next day we were up early and had a 4 hour drive ahead of us to make it back in time for karate. By the time we got there I’d managed to grab half a bottle of coke and a salad but I was so dehydrated during the session that I couldn’t even sweat.

I felt the worst I’d ever felt in a training session. My brain and my body refused to function, let alone put together anything that remotely resembled a combination. A year’s worth of Shotokan training went out of the window that day. I remember Sensei coming up behind me while we were doing age uke and saying, “Since when do we not open our hands?”

Oops, the brain had kicked out and the body had gone back to doing it the Kyokushin way.

I drank a litre of water during training and another in the pub afterwards and I still felt like rubbish. Especially when my sensei pointed out that I hadn’t been myself in the dojo.

The moral of the story? Eat and drink properly before training. Dehydration really sucks!