Friday, 20 March 2009


Today was a busy day on the exercise front. A 5k run this morning, ninety minutes of Flamenco practice then my first outing onto a pelota court. The run was lovely as ever. The early morning sun rose from behind the Pyrenees as the residents of St Jean de Luz took their morning air before a day of work. Flamenco was tough. We have a big soiree tomorrow evening and this was our last practice beforehand. A little stressful but I am hoping for a better result than my efforts last time. Pelota. Well...

To say pelota makes rugby look and feel like ginkana is an understatement. It is a sport that combines the best bits of rugby (the bashing people and deft movements) with squash and tennis. It is also very masculine. The court is roughly five times that of a squash court and four men get locked in with bats, helmets and a hard ball. It is exceedingly fast and I was shattered before we'd completed the first game. Then came the tough stuff. It reminded me of playing rugby at college as we sat having our post match lunch. Within twenty minutes we had sunk four large glasses of red wine, more was forthcoming. No women are permitted into the club and smoking rules are very loose. Although it is a dark bar area seeped in testosterone it is also exceptionally warm and relaxed. I was made to feel very welcome, the Scottish card works well on such occasions, and look forward to future Fridays with much expectation. I do think practice is required before I go back, both fitness and drinking. Time for a lie down.

Basque of the day:- men :: izenaren