Well I looked out the window with delight, the grey drizzling clouds of the last few days had gone, just as the man on the BBC weather report the night before had predicted. The sky was blue with some wisps of white cloud and the sun was shining. Fantastic.

Although it was early I decided to shovel beans and toast into my mouth in an attempt to kick start my body ready for a bit of training, I had deliberately rested my knee (yes that is my excuse) for the last week in an attempt to stop it hurting every time I did a front stance.

Looking at the time I knew I should leave, I hadn�t been to Uffington White Horse Hill for some time and wondered how long it would take me to get there.

I got in the car and put the tape on and sang along as I am only allowed to do when on my own, the heater was up to full and the temperature gauge didn�t read much above 2 degrees! Anyway, I hadn�t seen the sun for some days and it had been another wet Christmas so I was happy.

As I rounded a bend and the song I was happily singing to reached a crescendo, I had to put the brakes on as I came up behind a lorry. A lorry on the Sunday morning after Christmas going my way, great.

I arrived at White Horse Hill 4 minutes late. As the training was my idea I thought that this was fashionable but the crew from Wantage standing in the wind seem to think I was a lightweight! I wasn�t the last to arrive and eventually we were ready to go.

A light jog up the hill got the blood pumping, but as I looked across the impressive view of my local countryside I realised that there was a large dark cloud heading our way. The wind was getting stronger (I have lived by the Ridgeway all of my life and visit it frequently, only once have I ever been up there without a wind) and it was bitingly cold. We stopped half way up for a quick couple of Heian kata and then continued our jog to the top. Just before the hill fort itself, where the incline becomes much steeper we stopped again for another kata and as soon as we finished we raced, in a manner of speaking, to the top.

Standing on top of a hill fort a couple of days after Christmas with a wind (that must have had a very large negative number as its chill factor) rushing over and through my body, something occurred to me. My lack of exercise of late (remember I was resting my knee) had made me feel rather tired, well more than tired, I was already knackered! But I decided we must carry on as it was too cold to stop!

After another kata we broke out the pads. As organiser I had managed to avoid carrying them up the hill, and we started punching them. It was so cold up there I couldn�t feel my hands, or at least I thought I couldn�t till I did something to my finger, oh yes I could feel it then. I�d caught it a week or so before and now I�d done something more to it.

After checking it wasn�t broken we decided to carry on with kicking. Front kicks, side kicks, roundhouse kicks, back kicks, it is interesting to see peoples technique change when the floor is muddy slippery and covered in sheep droppings. Then we decided to go for the jumping front and side kicks, I was glad it wasn�t my pads that were being redecorated in faeces!

Then I slipped as I did a flying side kick and twisted my ankle, not badly mind you, and as I thought how this had been a stupid idea, it started to snow. Yes snow. I didn�t see Michael bloody Fish say anything about any snow. It wasn�t heavy and it wasn�t settling, but it was snow.

So then we put the pads away and did some one step sparring, I though it may give people an idea of how differing ground conditions could affect the way your techniques are delivered. This obviously gave Paul an idea as he then started doing take downs and grappling his partner. The enthusiasm caught and we were all doing it, luckily today�s washing powders can deal with all types of stain!

When we had managed to roll around in everything we could find we decided to do another kata or two before heading off back down the hill. As we did the wind and another flurry of snow laughed in our faces which I am sure had frozen into masks of pain by that stage.

We said goodbye to the two die hards (idiots) who had cycled up and jogged off down the hill stopping for another kata or two. Then we jogged off to the car park and out of the killer wind.

Back in the car park I eagerly accepted some tea from someone who really deserved a medal and wondered if I�d ever feel my hands again. After a photo and a bit of a chat it was time to go home to get back to Christmas couch potatoism that I had for some stupid reason shunned for the last hour or so.

Eventually I got home and warmed up, my finger was OK but the back of my hand was heavily swollen for a couple of days. I think the others enjoyed it as well, in a strange sort of way. Now all I need is an idea for next year.

Andi Kidd