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The Tentacle

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Hidden Talent

In July 2018, TEn Director James Sharp was invited by Insurance Age to share his hidden talent with the industry.

“My ‘hidden talent’, now buried under a few extra kilograms, was Fencing. Not garden perimeters, nor the activity undertaken by purveyors of stolen goods, but with swords.

I was first drawn to Fencing by the relative warmth of my school’s gymnasium, by comparison with the playing fields outside. February 1963 saw my initiation to the game of Rugby, amid arctic winds, sleet and snow. Yet, it would be wrong to say it was climate alone that drove me so decisively indoors.

True, we could only wear a thin cotton shirt whilst Ruggering. But, worse, a pair of blue horsehair shorts, worn in the ‘commando’ style. Inevitably there was chaffing.

And then there were the half-time inspections to ensure that we had all achieved muddy knees by that time. Child cruelty by any other name!

Therefore, I escaped into the optional Fencing class on Thursdays, because I didn’t much fancy Boxing and Woodwork had already proven itself beyond me. Happily, I progressed swiftly and by the following winter, Fencing had become my full-time sport.

Indeed, I continued to play sporadically until my mid-30s, occasionally winning County Championships with my trusty Sabre.

So, that is why corporate invitations to Rugby matches - at any level - are wasted on me.”

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