S-wordplay

Not long ago the toes on my left foot began to itch. I thought this meant I was soon to inherit something from a long lost uncle-in-law but Suze said it was more likely to be athlete’s foot. This pleased me no end; just four months of regular swimming and I was turning into an athlete! Off I went to the chemist to buy a tube of Daktarin but at the same time thinking that if I could manage to get footballer’s knee and perhaps develop tennis elbow, I would soon be an all-round sportsman.

But why stop there? I asked myself. Cricketers sometimes get ‘bowler’s shoulder’ and fencing enthusiasts can suffer from blessure à l'aine which is groin strain resulting from all that forward lunging, but you’ve got to say it in French, because fencers like to impress their opponents with their puissance and elán. It’s fair to say, I think, that to be a good swordsperson you really need to be able to speak French. I dabbled in fencing years ago at university and, while I was a mere dilettante, I could sometimes put my opponent off by assuming the stance, stamping my front foot and shouting “Endive!” Ah yes, those were my salad days!

But alas, our local swimming pool is out-of-bounds while we try to keep this wretched coronovirus at bay, so I’ll have to find ways other than swimming to maintain or reduce my less-than-svelte profile. Power-walking in the forest will help but my neighbours might find themselves bemused when they see me in our garden, wielding a bean-cane by way of an épée, advancing menacingly towards our covered clothes hoist, stamping my foot and shouting ‘Endive!’ “A twit,” they’ll think. “A very palpable twit.”

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