Wednesday 23 August 2023

Pentathlon World Championships

 Darren happened to notice that the Pentathlon World Championships were taking place at Bath University, and it was only £5 per ticket to watch the relay races. Obviously we had to go to see it.

Each team was made up of two competitors and 14 countries had entered. Both competitors had to show jump, then fence, then swim and finally run around the track stopping twice to fire laser guns and hit a target five times before they could carry on to the finish. 

The afternoon was full of surprises, the first one being that the fences for the horse jumping looked quite low, but lots of the competitors had troubles with their horses. They often knocked poles off, a few refused to jump certain fences, and the horse with a German rider stopped dead so suddenly that the rider flipped over the horse's head and on to the ground. For this they got disqualified and were docked 300 points which actually meant seconds. That seemed really extreme, as Britain knocked two poles down and only lost 14 points. 

There was also long waits between the events, and I spoke to an official and said that I was expecting it to be more like a triathlon where they raced to the next event and started it really quickly. She thought this funny, particularly as their riding and fencing outfits were quite fancy.

She also thought it funny that a lot of the contestants weren't very good horse riders, and that their scores were very poor.

The fencing looked very technical, and we were disappointed to learn that the British team were placed third from the bottom. All of the teams had played each other prior to the start, but they had one last bout that we watched, and I think that the winners only scored two points/seconds per match. 

We couldn't see the swimming live, but watched it on a big TV screen, and I have no idea how many points/seconds were awarded. After yet another wait and change of outfits, it was on to the running and shooting. 

This was a handicap race, dependent upon the number of points gained during the day. Ukraine went first, then Egypt and Korea. There was some very long gaps between competitors setting off, and the last four teams, including Germany, all set off together very, very far behind. 

Obviously, you can't be good at everything, and the Ukrainians were definitely not runners, and were overtaken by loads of teams. The Egyptians in contrast, were great runners but not such good shooters. 

It was an exciting run to the finish with Egypt first, Hungary came from nowhere and just pipped Korea for second place in a close sprint. Britain had the support of the crowd and did well to move up to seventh.

It was an interesting afternoon if a little slow at times, although we filled the gaps with ice cream, cake and coffee. I would go to see it again, but I definitely think that they should consider a triathlon like changeover between events. 

Saturday 19 August 2023


Next to the outhouse is a very old building with corrugated iron roof and walls, a soil floor and has stood for many years. It also had a giant ivy hat covering all of the roof.

However, it turns out that the main beam holding it up was not attached to anything solid, and it all came down with a massive crash as Darren tried to take the roof off. 

It was built using extremely long nails, so took a while to take apart, but this is how it looks now. 

We are going to replace the building, and have the problem of what to do with a few tons of soil and rubble. 

The answer that we have come up with is to 'roll up the carpet and hide it underneath'. Or in reality, roll up the nearby grass, barrow in the soil, turn a dip into a mound, and then put the grass back. 

We haven't finished that yet, but Darren has found dozens of rockery stones amongst the soil, so we can probably also make a retaining wall. 

The plan is then to pour all of the rubble into the new hole and then put a concrete slab on top of it. 

It's very labour intensive, but hopefully it will work. 

Friday 18 August 2023

Progress on the outhouse

 I am starting with three photos of our outhouse :-

January 2022, it's in the top right corner covered in ivy. 

April 2022, gradually emerging from the undergrowth.

Yesterday, and it is missing its roof. 

What a total nightmare it was to take down maybe 100 year old ivy that had grown to form a solid wooden mass up the walls and roof. It had also got under most of the tiles, so loads of them were broken as we tried to clear the roof. 

It's all down now though, including quite a few bricks and all that we need to do is build it back up again.