abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)
I've trailed off keeping LJ up to date - the insidious effect of other social media, and Having Life (tm), and being more busy at work.

However, Raglan, as always, merits a post or three.

Good stuff

Camping for 10 days with my sweetie and friends: this alone is worth celebrating.

This year we travelled once more with the Vitus-wagon, which is turning into the Vitus wagon-train, really, with multiple vehicles.

I've never seen the trailer so full, so that 2 grown men are braced against it as it's re-opened on site. However, the goodwill on site for unloading and schlepping was excellent, and our stuff was sorted and unloaded in very short order.

We had the luxury of setting up in broad daylight, rather than dusk, and looked at each other somewhat bemused when we had the entire tent, mini-kitchen (courtesy jpgsawyer and edith_hedingham) and seating arranged, and still had time before dinner.

The Pologrinus encampment took much longer, and their site suffered more in extremely high winds over the week.

Due to enforcement of 4" tent stake rules, many pavilions were not fit to stay up in the high winds especially on the bowling green. We adjusted our centre pole, but once more the pavalino design came through for us and while it creaked and shifted, our tent stayed put.

The 4" rule is hard to enforce in the face of high winds; if you use 'medieval' stakes, then they are fat and tend to be short, and thus pull out easily, and you cause more damage pounding them back in in a new hole. If you use 'modern' steel stakes, they are skinny and go deeper, but actually do less damage to the ground (which is what you want to avoid on historic sites). A week after we've left, you'll be hard pressed to see where the steel stakes went in.

For the first half of the week we dined 'lightly' (meaning typically 2 dishes per meal) but well together with Mrs Katherne of Lochac and [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher, and made a merry gathering.

We managed one bowl of syllabub, which was the usual spectacle and was as delicious as ever.

For the second half of the week Master Paul, [livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer and [livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham plus [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy and J and G rolled up and our meals doubled to tripled in dishes, ambition and splendour. Here's their menu. The chickens planned for Sunday went off, so were replaced w/ omelettes and refried smoked meats and amazing liver pate, made by edith_hedingham.

Wednesday evening
pre-cook pottage & a stew for the evening

Breakfast - standard fare!
Dinner - Lamb roast
Home made sausages!
Pottage (hopefully with home grown broadbeans)
Fruit patties or similar desert

Supper - cold meats, breads and cheese

We will be 9.5 people!

Breakfast - standard
Dinner - ember day
fried fish
Veggie dish or 2
tart on ember day
green omlette
norwegian pasties
custard / fruit

We will hopefully be welcome Master Alexandre & his lady

Supper - cold meats, breads and cheese

Breakfast - standard
Dinner - a Grand feast!
Roast Beef
Great Pie
Grand sallat
Cheese Gnoochi
Berry fool

We will be welcome the Prince and Princess, the Prince's lady, Mary and Rick and Lady Moria
15 people

Supper - cold beef!

Breakfast - standard

Dinner -
Refried smoked meat

Supper - cold meats

The sausages were a splendid success; or as I called them, 'Innuendoes with Edith'. It was hard to handle or even watch the sausage-stuffing process without dscending to medieval levels of humour.

jpgsawyer's innovation this year was a portable shelter based on a model by Scappi (late Italian cook, I think) that helped keep the rain and sun off the cooks' backs while working, and made working around the firebox more comfortable. It also stood up in light-to-moderate winds well, but dodged the serious winds early in the week.

Thamesreach on tour

The shire's presence was sizeable this year, with both new attendees and old friends. Thamesreach folk were much in evidence in running Raglan, tourneying, challenging, teaching and generally having a splendid time.

[livejournal.com profile] zmiya_san was hip-deep in the Raglan organisation this year, along w/ her mum lady Tamara. She even managed to squeeze in authorising to fence in the week, which is pretty impressive.

The Thamesreach forces triumphed in the Oxford Roll - the regular shire-vs-shire tournament that is a feature of Raglan.

Individuals held their own in the protectors tourney and in the torchlight pas d'armes, and Pan Vitus was once more named protector, after a 45 minute bearpit tourney.

Lord Guy de Dinan and Pan Vitus succeeded in their challenges into the Drachenwald academy of defense, as free scholar and provost respectively. Milady Cicely survived her first storming of the castle and pitched in on the prefect challenges, so when someone asks 'who died and made you provost?' she can say, 'I did!'.

My sweetie served as the prince's champion, fighting a destructive bye in the coronet tourney, when the prince himself had to withdraw. He lost just 1 bout in the process, thus being very destructive indeed.

This week, as we all collectively recover, the happy noises and pictures coming from assorted Thamesreach members shows that the event was as full and fulfilling as in past years, which I love to hear.
abendgules: (Romanesque_Initial)
All shire fencing kit sent to Yule Ball by the Blessed Folks Who Own Vehicles (BFWOV).

This week I ran 2 mock authorisations for 2 fencers who wanted to attempt authorisation at Yule Ball.

This was helped by one occasional fencer rolling up - someone neither of the new fencers had tried to fight before.

We ran through the authorisation routine, and covered some things they would not have seen at all - melee conventions, rules of engagement, death from behind.

So out of that, one person decided she wants to practice more first before trying to authorise, which I think is really smart for her, and she can go and enjoy the rest of the event.

One person is going ahead with authorisation, marshals permitting.

All scribal bumf packed - light duty this time, as my class doesn't have a handout.

In fact relies heavily on other people showing up to take part. If noone shows up I'm bunking off to head to another class!

All scroll blanks packed, to hand off to [livejournal.com profile] badgersandjam.

Bestiary is packed, along with cover sheet and plain text. I'm curious to see peoples' reactions to a work in progress - I've never put one on display before.

Clothes packed. I waffled over what to pack and settled on my plum gown with fur border, because it hangs so well when dancing. :-)

Robert packed feastgear, including our shiny new treasures from TORM. Wait til you see them!

I'm really looking forward to this event. I love kingdom universities anyway, and it's been years since one was in the principality.

Hope we can pick up wine for the trip en route...though I don't know where I'll pack it.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
Last weekend Robert and I went to visit Nicholas and Delia and their family of rescue-critters, to talk about how to decorate the hall for Yule Ball.

This is set at a historic venue in Cambridge for early December.

I'd had a vague notion that we could make paper mache, but having not done any since kindergarten, if then, I was low on ideas in this area.

Fortunately, Robert is an old theatre hand.

So we started w/ reviewing the bestiaries and books we had of splendid creatures, and made a short list of candidates for table decorations.

Then we broke out the newspaper and cardboard, and the flour and water, and started slathering.

Nick and Delia are those useful types of people who don't throw anything away.

So we kept saying 'Do you perhaps have X?' and they'd say, 'why yes, I was supposed to get rid of it, but it's still in the shed...'

Out came scissors, masking tape, buckets and basins, cardboard, staplers, and plastic bottles to use as moulds.

So it transpired in this type of questioning that they did, in fact, even have chicken wire, the holy grail of large scale paper mache work, in the shed. Acres of it, in fact.

Also splendid firm plastic-coated wire, also originally for fencing.

Q:'Why didn't you mention you had chicken wire before??'
A:'You didn't ask for it before!'

Armed with this finest of armature foundation materials, the creatures promptly got far more interesting and ambitious. :-)

So between us we managed a series of table decor items, that at the end of the day still needed painting, but were well on their way to being very cool.

In the process we got to know the house rules: don't leave the lounge door open because the jack russell will snaffle the cat's food; don't love up one dog without offering equal time to the other; don't leave the gate open in case one or the other make a break for it; don't leave any drinks on the floor unless you're ready to share.

They have a very loveable family of critters, frankly, so it was no hardship - just a change from a low-maintenance cat to a constant-watchfulness canine setting.

I'm keen to see the finished works, and hope to visit again before Yule.
abendgules: (archery)
Very Very short version:

Splendid event.
Lots of weather.
Felt truly pleasant.
Met and visited with fine folks.
Ate better than most people do in fine restaurants.
The Grace hound is the most popular dog I've ever met.
We're buying a futon for camping.

I'm desperate to write up the good stuff from Raglan, because it was one of the best I remember, tail-end-of-Hurricane Bertha notwithstanding. (Over the week, two nights and one day of periodic downpours, thunder and lightning right overhead, lots and lots and lots of water underfoot.)

It was one of the most relaxed for me, because I'd decided to organise less, leaving me free to take part and help out in more.

I still pitched in: one day stewarding, one class, some marshalling for fencing and archery. Some court business, including Maistre Pol's vigil and elevation.

But I fenced and shot more than last year, or possibly even the year before. I was still crap, because of lack of practice, but I still savoured the occasional hit on someone (w/ rapier, *not* shooting anyone).

And I felt better and enjoyed it more. I felt freer to just hang with people rather than chase a schedule and that was a great feeling, something I'd missed.

But: I'm flat out again at work.

The Great Britsh Holiday(tm) is underway and half the office is disappearing for the next two weeks, leaving an even more skeletal staff than usual, with a mad schedule.

So when I get home I turn into a cat sofa, stretched out on top of the existing sofa.

(Haggis prefers to sit on a thing, on top of a thing. So given the whole floor to sit on, she'll sit on the fabric you're cutting; given the whole tabletop, she'll sit on the paper you're reading. Same applies to sofas.)

Haggis appears intent on catching up on lost loves from last week, so it's hard to move out from under a determined loves-seeking feline lump. Especially if you don't want to move that much.

Hope to remedy this soon.
abendgules: (herald_cat)
Contrary to expectations, Bolton Castle is not in Bolton, the Lancashire town. It's actually on the other side of the country, with the nearest town being Ripon, and the nearest large town being Darlington. Its main claim to fame is that Mary Queen of Scots stayed there for 6 months, though her retinue were obliged to live nearby, as the castle could not house her whole retinue. It's a good reminder; when you read accounts of her flight into England, the stories leave out those travelling with her.

It's also adjascent to the path of the first stage of the Tour de France this year through England.

Le Tour Yorkshire appears to have lots of public support with loads of cycle-related decor, invitations to watch the tour from the pub nearby, and general promotion on the route to the castle. We travelled on some roads featuring big signs about closures on 5 July for the tour. There's certainly some serious hills and hairpin turns to make the first day exciting.

Driving with Sir Vitus and HE Isabel's brother A, we travelled briskly; Vitus is comfortable at speeds on country roads that I'd never attempt, all the while remarking that it's insane that the speed limit is 60mph along here... as if the speed limit were mandatory not a limit. We succeeded in getting air over a humpback bridge that had no signs I could find at the bottom of a tight turn - on the downside I swear the Vitus-wagon was airborne.

The castle cafe, we found, was the one place not closed at midafternoon - pubs in the country close their kitchens between lunch and dinner, something unheard of in London. Fortunately the last few hot dishes (basically soup and sandwiches) were excellent and we all felt better for eating before starting to unpack and put up pavilions.

We were soon followed by [livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer and [livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham arriving with their pavilion, and we quite filled the small flat grass area to one side of the castle. Perched on a hillside, there are fine views from the castle, including over the maze garden and vineyard; just glorious.

The drawback of filling this space was that [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher and her eldest had no space, arriving very late that night - they opted to crash in the castle rather than try to find flat space in pitch black. They ended up staying in the castle all weekend.

The castle is delightful and looking at other peoples' photos I clearly didn't see half of it, but was caught up immediately in the business of the day. I missed the gardens, the forge and the maze, and can only hope we get another chance to visit in future.

With the tent and pavilion furniture up, I changed to visit the second half of the site, the Jonas Centre, a sort-of scout-camp-ish thing on the other side of the small town. This was accommodation for most of the guests, in cabins with a kitchen and shared dining space where many folks gathered on Friday evening and Sat night. I caught up with the Irish contingent, got a chance to chat with [livejournal.com profile] gothwalk and some of his household, who have useful insights about better serving newcomers online in the Society.

I quizzed them to find out if anyone has caught the irishman responsible for [livejournal.com profile] pogbody getting pregnant. Not yet, though I suspect they know, they just aren't saying...

Their highnesses had had an adventure: her highnesses' luggage had gone AWoL, with all her new coronation outfit, jewelry, accessories (handmade shoes, beaded gloves, the works) as well as all her personal stuff. Her party stopped in town to shop for overnight clothes and toiletries while her entourage and Brighthelm scrambled an outfit.

It was remarkable; in the end, though most people had heard of the baggage-train problem, you wouldn't have known to see their highnesses, then majesties, on the day. HRM Morrigan was beautifully and suitably turned out, and they opted to enter court bareheaded as is done in some other lands. (The one time they check the coronets...)

HRM Morrigan's luggage has since turned up...in Kansas City, apparently, acc to news I heard 25 June (10+ days later). Easy to mistake for Yorkshire!

It was fun to do court again; to be in on the discussion, to pick up where [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy led to, to hear [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher's eldest speak so beautifully and crisply. A did a great job. [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher also had a speaking role reading the Albion tale and of course she did a fine job. The vibes were warm and friendly throughout; the goodwill for both Prothall and Cecilia and for Leif and Morrigan were palpable.

It was a beautiful day out, at a beautiful site, with fencing through the maze to watch, scribing to do, and a castle to take in. For the keen, you could help with the cooking in the castle kitchen; unfortunately the fire didn't draw well and the kitchen windows were limited to a small gap, so the castle gradually filled with smoke, including the gift shop. I don't think the gift shop staffer was best pleased!

The falonry display had a keen and interested audience, appreciating the splendid hawks that sat so calmly on the falconer's fist.

I sat in on a meeting of the Insulae Draconis Inc group - the little group of folks involved in planning the move to incorporation and afiliate status. It was very productive and planned to meet, um, last weekend on skype. Whoops...

Feast was delightful, sitting with [livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer and [livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham, who arrived well supplied with red wine, yum. Further down the table were a Lochac couple and their two daughters; they are living in the UK for another year(?) and decided to lash out to visit an event in a castle, though they'd mostly planned not to play while abroad. They seemed an excellent fit and Dame Marguerite and Thomas F had lots of shared memories.

Second court at feast was well received. The good vibes continued, the food was excellent, the impromptu AoA was very welcome and very apt. I was happy to be involved.

Robert engaged in some profound silliness during court: while someone ran to fetch a recipient at court leaving an awkward gap, he broke out the so called coconut shells (2 wooden bowls, really) and enacted the search on horseback for the missing recipient, playing out searching, leaping over logs, ducking through rivers. It was very silly and very funny.

For some reason, this was the event that I got a half-dozen compliments on my gown. It's a gown I've worn for several years, one I 'made new' (adding a new lining, redoing all the lacings) 2 years ago to wear under my Tudor gown.

It must have been the summer air, or else just the whole outfit with the coronet.

Robert swanked about in his princely-stepping-down outfit most of the day, just adding coronet in the evening (unfortunately my matching outfit is in the shop with the sleeves in the UFO pile).

The pic looks like all the peers have been drawn together by a 4 year old in the middle.

In the evening I drifted over to the Jonas centre to help tidy up - hobbitomm was shlepping pots and pans and serving ware back from the kitchen mostly alone, so Catherine Weaver, nz_bookwyrm and Catlin and I pitched in for awhile. Nothing's more gross than waking up to piles of dirty dishes in the morning.

Sunday was soggy; the sheep in the field looked like extras from the old Looney Tunes cartoon, where Ralf wolf and Sam sheepdog are competing for the sheep. Sheep really do have these tiny sticklike legs under huge coats.

Breakfast gave me an excuse to feed up (alas, without Turkish coffee as Sat morning courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] nz_bookwyrm) before tackling the pavilion, and chat to Barun Pol about archery, among other things, and gradually the weather lightened. We still had to pack down wet canvas, but fortunately Vitus has a big conservatory that is warm in summer and is excellent for airing canvas, and he takes good care of our collective kit.

The last treat of Bolton was spotting their family of boars across the paddock. The boars have piglets, not the tiny stripey cute stage but a bit bigger, but still fascinating to us city slickers.

One more good meal in the castle cafe (special meal for Father's day! very apt with Vitus surrounded by his family) and we set off.

On the return trip we saved a couple of hours journey by having Isabel drop us off at Luton airport parkway, which is a train stop on the northeast corner outside the M25, from where we could change and get to a station near us. Saved the trek round the M25, hurrah.

Haggis was very glad to see us, of course, but showed every sign of having been pampered by her new contract staff the neighbours.

Though it's a trek, this site shows every sign of being a lovely venue for fair-weather events. Many people remarked on how pleasant it was compared to in February! which isn't a great surprise. In heavy weather it would not have been so charming but we were blessed this weekend, and I think we made the most of it.
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
Flat out at work, full brain engagement. Not a lot to spare.

New contract staff started last week, to help 'transition' the bulk of the content from one website to another.

Our list of authors (scientists who wrote up their own content to publish online) who we were preparing to train to use the publishing software on the new website has been slashed.

We supported 200 authors and editors who published their own stuff on the legacy site; we'd cut the list to 67 still-active users who actually logged on regularly.

We're allowed to train 10 - about 14% of our original estimate.

Guess who gets to pick up all the rest of the publishing? while continuing to 'transition' 135 websites onto the single platform? Joy.

All while we're going through a restructuring consultation about our team, which is the most blatant example of change management w/out admitting to it I've ever seen. This is pushing my 'how dare you?' buttons pretty firmly.

As a result: fewer posts. Still have to write up Coronation (short version: excellent castle, yay for doing court again, I love our pavilion even in the rain, and we have awesome scribes.)

Haggis was lovingly cared for by our new neighbours who doted on her while we were away; well, she's easy to dote on.

Friday's coming, thank goodness.
abendgules: (herald_cat)
October 2013: some local heralds at work - you can go to YouTube and see the whole procession in order. It was a glorious day!

Lady Lyonet heralding

Lady Angelica heralding
abendgules: (herald_cat)
...originally published to the principality mailing list (retro, I know, just call me old-fashioned).


Greetings from Genevieve,

I write of an excellent event this weekend, that took place at the ancient camp of Lunt, once a Roman garrison and cavalry training centre; great credit goes to the not-quite-incipient group based in Coventry, who have worked hard with their friends in Thamesreach to bring this event to fruition.

The fighting began with a storming of the gate at the Roman camp of Lunt, with this exercise repeated several times before lunch.

The weather cleared long enough for the Oxford roll to take place in the rebuilt Roman 'gyrus' (where Roman cavalry apparently trained).

It was very cool; how often do you get to fight where the Romans once drilled troops?

The tourney went smoothly, with 4 shires - Deepdene, Pont Alarch, West Dragonshire and Thamesreach - each fronting a team of 3 people, with Lord Ulfarr of the Med-lands joining Deepdene when HE Richard was marshalling, and his highness joining teams as he saw fit.

The ancient lands of West Dragonshire won the first two rounds, the unlimited resurrection and the 'kings' round, thus deciding the roll's outcome. So the final 'last shire standing' round was fought for the joy of the combat - with West Dragonshire leading a glorious and deadly (for them) charge into the field... and freeing them to watch the rest of the round from the sidelines.

Thus, West Dragonshire's arms and those of Lord Johannes of Uffingdon, Lord Steffan ap Gwilym, and milord David Joie de Mort will join those of past victors on the Oxford Roll, at the pleasure of the heralds.

Her highness Eleanor commended the shire of Pont Alarch for their presence on the field, in matching tabards and shields bearing the badge of the shire.

After the Roll tournament, the remaining fighters arrayed themselves in different melee scenarios and pickup fighting, with many benefitting from instruction from the emir Nasr and his chamberlain Sir Siridean, and Master Alexander, a relatively new arrival to the lands of Pont Alarch.

We ate like kings all afternoon and evening - though there is no kitchen on site, Lord Guy and Lady Eleyna had prepared all in advance, and reheated on the day, and you would not have credited it if you had not known the site's resources.

At court, their highnesses recongised Lord Erminric aet Eoforwic as a member of their order of the Fox, and welcomed Lady Valda and milord Hakeem as their guardsmen.

They also restored the ancient arms of what was once the shire of Insula Draconis to its rightful heirs, the shire of West Dragonshire - a piece of heraldic business very fitting for the day of the Oxford Roll.

Well done to Lord Ulfarr, Lady Eleyna, Lord Richard and Lord Guy for their putting this event together, feeding us to capacity and making their highnesses welcome in Eleyna and Richard's own pavilion. We should be proud of this group, whose enthusiasm and growth shows such promise for the future of the principality.


field herald and attendee
abendgules: (Romanesque_Initial)
It's months away, but our neighbours in Anglia (shire of Flintheath) are hosting their annual Yule Ball in the Claret Centre, also called Buckden Towers.

We've already booked one of the apartments.

It's so cool to be excited about an event months away.
abendgules: (scribing)
Scriptorium on saturday in Oxford: very fine,  small but perfectly formed attendance. Mixed results on teaching quill cutting, splendid class by [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher on writing in textura quadrata - enough so that I want to try it again.

[livejournal.com profile] badgersandjam was her usual thorough self and ensured it ran smoothly. With the small crowd we wrapped up early-ish, though still managed to miss a train by about 3 minutes and had to wait 25 mins for the next one.

Travelled back w/ her highness and HE Siobhan her lady in waiting, and it was very convivial.

Sunday we were visited and visiting: first by a NZ mate R who dropped off some packing cases; second by Nicholas who is preparing a fine Yule ball and happily walked off with about 12m of lovely linen for banners; third we threw ourselves out the door to meet [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy and J and Gwennie at Paddington station for a pint and dinner, which worked very well.

G has grown, of course, and her 3 and 4 word sentences are perfectly understandable even to non-parents, which is pretty awesome. The whole process of watching someone learn a new language must be absorbing.

Robert and Joel spent the better part of an hour chewing over stone moulds for pewter-casting, and their foibles, and we rounded out the meal by fondling Ary's glorious new coronet and admiring the beautiful work by Baroness Estrid. Gwen explained it goes on Mommy's head (or was possibly asking if she was going to wear it), but Ary declined to model it in the pub.

We left them at Baker St on the Bakerloo line, where they both remarked on how helpful Londoners are with buggies...at least on weekdays. Less so on weekends.

Robert suggested that regular commuters both sympathised with people trying to negotiate the tube with a buggy, AND would also be well motivated to keep people moving, to reach their own trains. So they are self-interestedly helpful.

We've both stepped in to lift one end of a buggy up and down stairs and escalators, to save some perplexed parent the awkward decision of whether to take the kid or the luggage first up a flight of stairs.

On the weekend, you're just stuck with tourists who are trying to manage a trip themselves; they don't have the same urgent priority to keep moving to get to/from work.

Today Robert hauled many of our broken down cardboard boxes from the attic, and assembled them. He even filled two with one shelf-full of paperbacks.

The move is really happening - though I'm not committing the address to memory til I have a contract in hand.

Even with the move, however, Monday the Gaming Night continues at least this week, and it looks like will continue at our new digs - at least once we have chairs and a table to sit around.

Haggis has been a determined lap hunter today; seeking a lap and gazing up at me expectantly for loves. Either she really missed me on Sat or she can feel the change in the air.
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
...well, really because I forgot to post it to LJ, after posting it to DWL.

One of our newest attendees at this event recorded the procession, and parts of the tourney, for posterity. I'm very grateful to Rob, who was on site early, and regularly asked 'what needs doing?', and then got on with doing it.

Rob's Youtube

The tourney was heralded very well, with a range of different heralds, many of them new voices to my ear. It was a great delight to me to enjoy the procession from a seat with the populace, watching work I love done well.

Thanks again to [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy Schwarzdrachen, Lady Efreydis, and the many contributing heralds for this ceremony.

First entry in the procession (watch them in numeric order)

The processional entry that was most enjoyed, and caused the most delight

I have not yet watched all the footage, but it looks like a sizeable representation, including the final.

I post this around the same time of hearing the happy news that Sir Siegfried has won Ealdormerian Crown, for Mistress Ragni [livejournal.com profile] forest_lady. I hope she brings the same joy and energey to this role that she has to so many others in Ealdormere.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
I read a lovely report from [livejournal.com profile] naharbeit who is new to Ealdormere.

Any comments on the outcome of the event?
abendgules: (prickly)
Unexpected things still happened, of course.

Sir Macarius dislocated his shoulder early in the tournament, requiring a trip to hospital, driven by Gwenllian. We did not have an event chirurgeon (not required in this kingdom, and this was way past a first aid kit) but we did have J, an A&E nurse, who happened to be on site, and who could advise us.

Macarius and his consort Lady Izabella spent most of the day at hospital; they returned during feast, with his shoulder returned to its rightful place and his arm slung into his tunic. Not the way anyone wants to spend an event!

Sir Leif took a firm thrust to the face in his last bout in the semi-finals. He was stepping in, one foot in the air but with his weight transferred just as the thrust from Sir Vitus was coming up, and it was a shocker as a result, harder than you'd throw on purpose, and his back and neck were quite sore. Fortunately, it was his last bout in the semi finals.

After being assessed and advised, again J the nurse onsite, he opted not to go to hospital, but swears he will get checked out at home.

[livejournal.com profile] goncalves had a short bout of urgent replanning when the gas ranges stopped working. Just as he and the cooks had worked out how to cook everything without the ranges, they found that someone had leaned on the emergency cutoff by the door (positioned at shoulder height). Hurrah! feast as originally planned was back on.
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
There were treats for me as steward.

I got the castle gate key to keep overnight, and it honestly was about 6 inches? 8 inches? long - the biggest key I've ever seen. There were standard padlocks on most of the bolts on the doors in the site, but the castle gate still had this whacking great enormous key, and it was fun to use.

The castle has bits of modern retrofitted into the old; storage for a hall full of banquet tables and chairs for instance, is squeezed into the base of one of the towers. So you go through one pointy arched door way, past the spiral stair entrance, unlock the door in front of you, and promptly plunge into complete darkness to reach the inner door, with another bolt...but fortunately you know where the light switch is, and it goes from a mysterious medieval entrance to an utterly banal and modern storage room - though it's round, and in the base of a turret.

A young man introduced himself to me with his SCA membership card - kingdom of Lochac. Milord Huw was on his gap year travels from Politicopolis, staying in Cardiff, and his folks had phoned him to tell him to get his butt to Caerphilly, there was an event on he should go to. So he rolled up with nothing but eyes like dinnerplates and a huge smile of pleasure.

He was prepared to be a punter, I think, but two expat antepodeans, Duncan Kerr and Countess Portia, promptly took him under their wing, found him a gown and feastgear and we added him to feast, and he spent the day basking in a castle, as well as being useful. His delight was palpable, and it made me and everyone around me smile.

We held court in the barbican apartment, which is a large room up a long flight of spiral stairs. Fortunately there was already some benches in the room (strategic, I think, to put seats at the top of a lot of stairs), and though I only carried up 2 benches myself the rest materialised in time for court. This allowed us to dress tables for feast, while running court at the same time.

In the late afternoon sun, their Royal Highnesses, newly invested in court, were facing into the light and squinting, trying not to shade their eyes to look at people. Robert got up and stood in the window, making himself as wide as he could, and provided shade for the 15 minutes or so it took for the sun to move out of their faces. Her Highness Cecilia's coronet sparkled and caught the light like a disco ball.

Court business was brief and to the point - investiture, and some local awards, including an AoA for H, Sir Vitus' son (my callig, artwork by Katherine of Great Chesterford - need to get a scan) and a Fox for HG Alessandre Melusine (my callig, blank by badgersandjam).

The hedgepig scroll was presented, and read in, which was well received, and seems to be gaining a life of its own.

Lady Auriana was given a Lindquistringes, as well as Lady Gwenllian my co-steward - Lady Sarah Asshton's Lindquistringe was presented at feast because she was in the kitchen. I didn't see Auri's scroll but Wenny's was dripping with gold, made by Meisterin Katheryn H.

When you're in court (royal or populace) it's very satisfying to hear approval of awards given, and there was a very rewarding positive murmur when Lady Catherine Weaver was made a member of the Panache - not present, but announced and read in.

TRM gave out Dragon's tears to those who supported the 20 year event. I now hold three Tears (1 for the first Caerphilly event I stewarded, 1 for Raglan, and one now for 20 year), and hope to commission a jeweller of my acquiaintance to make me some enormous medieval brooch for them. :-)

The comedy of court was provided by Sir Clancy, accompanied by his son Jr and Sir Nasr, dressed in their finest 'southern US' regalia, who, in the broadest Texan accent possible, y'all, presented a basket of ;educational goods' to his Majesty. Apparently Sir Sven had travelled with Clancy through southern states, and had asked a lot of questions about local culture.

The goods included a pair of his own overalls, a copy of the Roadkill Cookbook, a Confederate flag, and a white belt painted with Confederate flags - a treasure surely only available in the finest outfitters.

The flags of course prompted hissing from northern US expats, and I don't expect Sven will wear the belt - though he modelled it for the chivalry meeting.

Sunday's activities were quieter than I'd expected, and hoped. Only a few folks decided to fight and fence, and while I had offered to marshal archery, I had not brought loaner equipment, so the Sunday archery didn't happen.

This was disappointing mainly because it was yet another glorious day; I think we need more keen promotion to help a second day of activity after Crown.

The cleanup on Sunday was excellent: I was really pleased, and grateful, for all the help people put in to wash up, pack and break down. It went far faster than I expected, and we had fewer forgotten items than I'd thought we would considering how huge the site was.
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
Crown tourneys and Coronations are some of my favourite events - I've enjoyed attending them for the drama on the field, and the pleasure of the ceremony. And I've loved being steward of them - enabling all that good stuff to happen.

But I think, honestly, Gwenllian and I and our respective shires of Mynydd Gwyn and Thamesreach did a really good job, and our good work was made glorious, absolutely glorious, by the venue and the beautiful weather.

Thank goodness for an unexpected and delightful mild, sunny weekend in south Wales - it would have been a different experience in 2 degrees C and drizzle, which I what I'd banked on and and told people to dress for! It was sunny enough that people's faces and bare shoulders had caught sun by the afternoon. In October, in Wales? It had to be magic.

The warm weather meant people could explore the castle at their leisure; they could sit comfortably to watch the tourney in the sun; we weren't continually closing doors to keep out drafts.

In the evening, Sir Vitus lit a fire in a firebowl, and folks sat around the fire for hours into the night. It made for a wonderful atmosphere full of happy people who were willing to be pleased; it was all I could hope for.

Several people stopped me through the day to say what a wonderful event it was. I was pleased, of course; I realised most of the commenters had not been to Caerphilly before, while for folks in southern Insulae Draconis the castle, a bit like Raglan, had become just another venue. I was taking for granted all that was so pleasing to the guests. It was a reminder to step back and remind yourself; this is cool. It's a medieval event in a castle.

Time seemed to run away from me - every time I checked, it was half an hour to an hour later than I expected. I felt like I'd barely finished lunch when we had to start laying out tables for feast and setting up for court. By 8.30pm on the other hand, it had turned around and felt like midnight.
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
Part of being an event steward is asking people to help, directing help, thanking people for their help.

This is the first time I've had to ask people to post an event to Facebook on the site page for a CADW site. The CADW custodian asked specifically that we send them info, so they could promote the event to their followers.

When I started in the SCA, the time-critical promotional tasks were to get a (paper) event request mailed in to the chronicler to add it to the (paper) newsletter, AND to get a (paper) invitation to their Majesties so that they could claim their expenses.

IIRC there was some arrangement in US law that allowed volunteers for clubs to claim back tax on costs incurred for volunteering (as well as the travel fund costs).

So everything else was secondary - as soon as you had an event site, you had to send a paper invite to the Crown and get an event notice into the newsletter - no notice, no official event. This was drilled into me with passion by their excellencies of Skraeling Althing - to good effect, I'd say, since I can still remember it. :-)

I wouldn't say I'm nostalgic for paper-based event planning, but it does feel odd heading to an event with almost no paper: 2 copies of the schedule, a handful of signs, and a mobile phone seems to cover the comms side of the job now.

The down sides of stewarding is not getting to do all the fun stuff at the event yourself.

This morning I woke up to find my back in spasms, so I'm probably not packing my fencing kit for this weekend.

I'm sorely bummed, as I was looking forward to fencing in another Welsh castle.
abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)
What was the same:

Beautiful site, with run of the castle after hours.
People enjoying camping, doing medieval stuff together, letting the kids run, and playing nicely.

What was different:
Read more... )
abendgules: (archery)
...and it feels wonderful to be clean again, really clean. :-)

The first 10-day Raglan was, I think, successful. No major calamities, only a couple of minor injuries (and one trip to hospital for a migraine, something I don't think was the event's fault). 2nd Saturday proved one of the harshest days for weather, and it rained out the ball, but otherwise I think most of the planned activities happened one way or another.

As far as I could tell, everyone remained fed, dressed, healthy and active for the full time, without a shared food plan, an official feast, or a shower block. (The one porta-john shower booked was not very good - the connection with the water supply was shaky, and we could only use it after public hours. I'd be interested to know how many people used it - I think a few folks slipped off to friends' hotel rooms for cleanup.)

There were lots of shared hearths and encampments, and Flintheath's pavilion became a serious social centre for many of the attendees. There were more trips offsite for groceries and ice, but that's to be expected.

The event was noticeably more busy in the second half when the event numbers basically doubled, but both halves were excellent - puttering around the castle quietly was fun, and so was storming it in force.

Overall numbers were lower than in some past years, possibly because of 20 year Coronation in Germany. We missed our usual suspects under the bridge, as many people were away or taking a break, but we didn't starve, far from it, and were able to feed the hungry and clothe the naked.

It was a pleasure to see as many children as were there. Even those at their first camping event seemed perfectly happy. There were a few kids' activities, but they were at most once a day. Rolling down steep slopes still seems just as important as storytime or any planned projects.

Next year's Raglan will likely be an Insulae Draconis event, not one sponsored by the local shire - and the dates are 1 to 11th August, 2014. Full moon is 10th August.

Just as the event was delightful, so was getting home to my own shower, my own bed, and my own cat.

Well done us!
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
I've written up most of my entries about 20 year - still have to cover Sunday and our trip back. I've backdated them in chrono order.




abendgules: (self-portrait)
I start my day with the record shortest Curia meeting ever at 9am - I think I was the only member of the populace attending. [livejournal.com profile] goncalves was delighted to preside over an 8 minute meeting. :-) I wandered out in shock, wondering what to do with the rest of my morning, other than second breakfast...and going back to bed!

Truthfully my back was aching, and I did go back to bed, to give myself some more down time.

I got up in time to grab a bite and attend an impromptu class on quill cutting. merlyn_gabriel had seen my wailing about quills and asked Mistress Caitlin to demonstrate, so we assembled in the scriptorium and had a very helpful session about how she cuts her quills. I took notes, and Mistress Aine took pictures, so I'm hoping to get in touch with her to develop an article.

It seems to be one of the skills best learned in person - all the reading I've done has given me the idea, but I still didn't have it right, and got the chance to walk through it not just with a scribe, but someone who uses quills exclusively.

From there, I dressed for dinner: feast was to start at 3pm in the respective halls (three halls needed to house everyone) so it was a hustle to get our feastgear etc in place. Happily we got to sit with friends, including Eufemia and Cadogan, and Caitlin and Otto and Ruth (Gaita at this event!), and [livejournal.com profile] hobbitomm and [livejournal.com profile] ormsweird as well. We tried absinthe (one of the Japanese members had given the bottle to Cadogan) and it was potent stuff.

Feast ran a bit long - it's hard to coordinate across three halls when you're cooking in yet another one! I wouldn't even want to try.


abendgules: (Default)

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