STANDING high in the West Malvern hills as two jugglers hurl clubs past my face at an alarming speed, I wonder, not for the first time, how on earth I end up in these situations.

A juggling club being launched in Malvern seems a perfectly reasonable basis for an article, ditto interviewing its two founders, Steve White and Mark Russell. But when they start talking about using knives instead of clubs, I have to question the wisdom of this assignment.

Fortunately for me, it turns out that they are joking about the knives. Less fortunately, it's my turn to do the juggling.

Under Mark's expert tuition and with more user-friendly beanbag balls, I learn the basic principles of the skill. Aparently, it's all in the throwing.

After a few attempts, I just about get the hang of throwing one ball up as the other is descending, but catching them both proves to be beyond my capabilities.

Minutes pass and, despite my valiant efforts, it's still raining juggling balls in the Russell household and my career prospects in a circus are looking slim.

However, Mark tells me, as he tosses clubs into the air with infuriating nonchalance, that I must be patient; practice makes perfect.

Mark started juggling ten years ago and says that anyone can do it if they take the time to learn.

"I taught myself and it took me a couple of weeks to learn but I've seen ten or eleven-year-old kids pick it up in ten minutes. I think anyone can do it really," he said, clearly not dissuaded by my glaring lack of ability.

Mark and Steve work together as comedy juggling duo Phillippe-Philloppe, performing at festivals, corporate events and workshops across Britain and are setting up the non-profit-making club to introduce others to the skill.

"It's a fun session, with no pressure," explained Mark. "Everybody will drop balls, everybody will make mistakes, so it doesn't matter. It's just fun and social."

The pair plan to teach various forms of juggling at the club, but stress that the fire and weaponry will be left strictly to the professionals.

Mark still winces as he recalls a painful experience when he first began to practice with knives and managed to spear himself in the foot with one.

Equipment will be provided at the sessions and Mark and Steve will offer the opportunity to learn everything from standard ball-juggling to using indian clubs, diabolos and even plate-spinning.

They hope it will also encourage those who can already juggle but have had nowhere to practice, to dust off their beanbags and join in, perhaps even teaching Mark and Steve a trick or two.

"As you become a professional juggler, you get more and more work and do less juggling just for fun. I'd really like to get back into it," said Mark.

'Work' now consists of unicycling on stilts, fire-eating and knife-juggling and Steve admits that he sometimes finds it hard to believe that he gets paid to do something he enjoys so much.

I don't find it remotely hard to believe; you'd have to pay me a lot to get up on a unicycle wearing stilts. But, dropping pens and keys as I get up to leave, I doubt I am going to be asked.

Malvern Juggling Club meets at 7.30pm on the first and third Monday of every month at West Malvern Village Hall, beginning on Monday, January 19.

Each session costs £2, to pay for the hire of the hall. For more information, call Mark on 07785 394964 or Steve on 07973 896197.