Ilfracombe Women’s Fight Club

Since the christening of dear Ruprecht, the aunts and Folly and I have returned to Devon to continue our holiday. The christening took a toll on us that only the musings of Pluto could cast a darker shadow upon. The ambience in our little holiday hedge is a fraction from becoming maudlin. The aunts are restless, and I wish Bench had brought the storm straps for Folly, she needs to be restricted. But we decided to have a day out.

This descended into Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell when wandering around Ilfracombe, we finally found Aunt Bench (we’d lost her after the Limpet Festival) – she’d found a fisherman. We gently informed her that she need not be a fisherman’s friend. Especially not this one, he has a third eye, and I don’t mean in a spiritual sense. Vom put an end to it. So Bench is now moping about, still oblivious to Folly, who has found some deviants. But that is another matter.

The good news is that it’s Tuesday, and we go home tomorrow. I’m anticipating the arrival back to my hedge home and seeing the toads once again. But for tonight, we are on a ladies’ night, and there is an establishment in the harbour that is sensitive to ‘women of my ilk’. Apparently it is a pagan themed bar with symbolic imagery. I shall offer my patronage with an open mind….I’m as good an earthy pagan as anyone but if it’s full of bloody fairies, I’m off. Can’t stand them – they drop bits everywhere.

Well, we walked into The Wizard’s Sleeve at half seven, it was like a coven meeting after the discovery of a new cheese. They had wonderful musicians playing, who called themselves ‘Matted Thatch’ – the music was heavy metal and it was loud. Coincidentally, I put two cubes of emmental (the only thing it’s good for) into my ears to cope with the volume, so I could stand at the front for what the youth call headbanging. I discouraged Vom from bodysurfing, as she tends to over-egg and use it as an excuse to start brawls. We ordered pints of something called Druid’s Fluid. It sounded dubious, but it was a lovely dark pint with tones of treacle and dried weasel. Vom was a hit with the locals, comparing broken noses (or flat bugles) and they had a contest to see who’s had been broken beyond repair. Vom won hands down. We then found ten pints of Neptune’s Arse on the bar and suddenly, women were squaring up and bets were being taken.

Vom is on the right – she was already in fighting mode as the rules were no beards (it encourages pulling and unbecoming conduct). The woman on the left is Blanda Stent-Coddler, a trapeze artist from Aylesbury. She is a tough nut, and used to live in Plumstead where she’d fight anything with a pulse in an alleyway. Her skills are spitting, biting, and the Quarter-Nelson – she has that much attitude she can’t be arsed with the full half. Vom’s skills are slick, deadly and brutal – the woman could kill someone with a jar of Marmite in the blink of an eye. I was just sipping a fresh pint of Flaccid Bishop when the whistle blew and the crowd whipped up into a frenzy. It was a vicious fight, lasting only 30 seconds. Vom beat her hands down – with the nostril fling and a kick up the jacksy. The prize was 10 guineas, and a trip up Lynton Clifftop Railway (we gave the ticket away).

All in all, a marvellous evening. As we exited the Wizard’s Sleeve, a stool shattered through a window, and a woman punched a random man coming out of the public toilets. I wrote a rude word on somebody’s motor car window, and Bench uncharateristically told a seagull to f**k off. We stopped at the harbour as it was nearing the hour of high tide, and a popular time for people to stand near wooshy bits and get caught out. We were thrilled as four thick people stood low down on the slipway and were surprised by the ferocity of the tide. We left for the Hunan Palace and ordered a giant spring roll each, which was extra crispy, then flopped into bed for a dreamless sleep. Apart from Bench. She woke up at four, screaming about giant ants. Vom chinned her, and we all slept soundly.