Valhalla

During take off on our flight home this morning I began to fantasise, 
no not that kind of fantasy including air hostesses, but the silly 
kind I am prone to when just about to start writing. This time 
I thought to my self how funny it would be if having been absorbed 
in one of Bernard Cornwells Saxon or Arthur novels I was to doze off 
into the land of nod and began dreaming about one of those dangerous 
and exciting shield wall confrontations. Then at the height of 
battle surrounded by dozens of heathen dogs trying their best to cut 
me down, my sword shattered and by shield smashed, I would draw my 
mighty battle axe and scream Valhalla repeatedly at the top of my 
voice as I slay my enemies and received a good death in return.

That is where I wake up on the plane with chaos around me, being 
restrained by many hands and slavering down my chin. Not a pretty 
sight. But could you imagine the scene, it could be part of a film 
I am destined to write, who knows. 

This morning whilst editing my blogs I came across this post on 
facebook by Stephen Mr-Orange Stephen, "This chick I met last week 
says she wants a guy who is 'funny and spontaneous', yet when I tap 
on the kitchen window uninvited late at night dressed as a clown 
it's all panic and screaming" excellent.

Many years ago just before I was eighteen I had a very similar  
experience I will share with you. I had two very bad molars and a  
definite fear of the dentist. However, there reaches a point where 
you have to go to your own personal room 101. My mum came with me 
as I was going to have gas and it took some coming round from, 
(I was a big sissy really). On the way to the dentist of doom we 
walked past a few small second hand car showrooms, I had just passed 
my driving test a few weeks before at the first attempt. One 
particular car cought my eye, it eas a really nice white MG 
convertible with red leather interior, a young lads wet dream of a 
car. This car should be mine, however, I had a meeting with doom 
to attend. At the dentist it all went relatively well and the rubber 
mask was applied and out I went.

The next thing I knew there I was the proud owner of a beautiful 
white MG convertible complete with red leather interior, just like 
the one in the showroom. The car handled superbly, it was a bird 
magnet and I was driving it, I cannot remember where but remember 
approaching some traffic lights and stooping for the red. That is 
when disaster struck, some dastardly villain, better suited to a Tin 
Tin movie, had lain in wait for me like some modern day highway 
robber to relieve me of my magic car. The swine did not fight fair 
as dastardly villains don't but grabbed me round the throat from 
behind, his right arm came over my right shoulder and locked around 
my throat, battle on.

I responded quickly and caught the swine before he could pull me  
backwards and off balance, I grabbed his bicep with both my hands, 
and although I had not learned Ju Jitsu then, executed a perfect 
sitting version of a dropping shoulder throw turning the tables on 
this assassin completely as he landed between me and the steering 
wheel. That is when I went to work, my right fist assumed the power 
of Thor's Hammer as I ponded the nasty, heinous would be car jacker 
numerous times, I made him have it alright. Passers by tried to stop 
me but I was in punishment mode and we all know what that means, I 
was in the zone.  I stopped when I saw his blood spattered face and 
broken spectacles, also one of the passers by new my name and 
sounded quite like my mom. Oops!

Well you are right oops did not quite cover it, as reality dawned 
amid much gnashing of teeth, the dentist still had a few, wailing 
for the nurses and varios secretaries and my mum plus dark 
mutterings of calling the police, I slowly came round in a now 
deeply unpleasant dental surgery but for reasons other than the ones 
it had been unpleasant for earlier. Carnage, that is what greeted me, 
sheer disarray, destruction and carnage and one seriously unhappy 
dentist. Needless to say they could not wait to get rid of me, I was 
told never to darken their doorstep again under any circumstances, 
not surprising really plus I had forgotten where I parked the MG.

This incident has remained with me for many years now, countless  
dental visits later, obviously it was the gas that touched a nerve  
rather than the dentists drill. No doubt it fuelled a very active  
subconscious into taking a journey, quite figuratively, in that 
lovely white MG convertible with red leather interior. Maybe that is 
why I have such an affinity with shoulder throws now, who knows. The  
workings of the mind are still a great mystery in so many ways. The  
thing is it was a real Valhalla moment but a deeply unpleasant one 
and whilst it has had no lasting effect on me that I know I cannot 
speak for that poor dentist. We have been asked to complete 3 
questionnaires on the way home, one for the hotel, did that as 
required no personal data capture, one for the tour operator and one 
for the airline, did not do these as they are all about data capture.

As you know I have been reading Gerald Duhigg?s very interesting, 
'The Power of Habits' whilst on holiday. One chapter was on the use 
of data capture from a multiplicity of sources, by corporations that 
want to influence our behaviour and change our habits in their 
interest. OK I know some of this stuff and so do you, a trip to the 
supermarket is for those in the know a s close as we will come to 
engaging in psychological warfare, but trust me they have us hands 
down and are perfecting their black ops for use against us. Our 
hotel, the Hotel Austria, like so many there, is family owned and 
run, it has been for generations, it is lovely, homely and a little 
idiosyncratic. It is not a sterile experience that you will receive 
in one of the chains where you are processed through the machine, 
your actions monitored and measured at every turn. Staying at the 
Hotel Austria, a mom and pop establishment as I believe it is called 
in the states, is one in the eye for the corporate giants, it is a 
small act of rebellion to stay there, we thank them for a wonderful 
holiday. We took valuable time out from busy lives, we walked in 
beautiful countryside  with spectacular scenery, we met nice, odd, 
interesting people, we ate interesting, tasty, often  strangely put 
together combinations of food, we swam in one of the best pools we 
have ever visited and our minds took a break from the grind we now 
return to.

For a short while at the Hotel Austria we escaped from the world of  
mind games and revisited a simpler world, we put our packed lunch in  
our rucksack, our boots on our feet and headed off for the hills, 
and gorge. The relaxation was total, it was brief but as Arnie, 
himself of Austrian extraction, "I'll be back". We do not need to 
go, or be put to sleep to escape our busy lives, to dream of sports 
cars or glorious battle adventure. We can go to places that are very 
real, where meadow, river, woodland and mountains combine to provide 
a place where body and mind can rest and recharge, where we can 
relax and grow a little and put our lives in context. The best bit 
is that at the end we will return to our home and our loved ones 
refreshed and fulfilled and raring to go. I hope my friends are 
going to get together in Eccleshall Woods tonight for some Wild 
Wednesday training, I have missed kicking the thai pads and punching 
the focus mits this week, it will be good to train tonight, Ju Jitsu 
tomorrow and circuits,  
grappling and dirty fighting on Saturday, I need the practise as I 
am off to the dentist next week.

So back to my flight home, we are currently over Germany with the  
Swiss border off to our left and heading towards Belgium. My wife is  
reading on her kindle and the young man on my left is playing a game  
on his I-pad. We were wide awake at 6am this morning and I did doze 
a little on the coach to the airport. On longer flights I like to 
sleep as much as possible and I do tend to dream, I can control some
of the things I dream about and I only sleep lightly so more than 
likely I will not have a Valhalla moment. Should I take 40 winks I 
promise not to think of sports cars or Bernard Cornwell novels, but 
of seeing my beautiful grandson tomorrow and giving him a big hug 
and a kiss.

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