abendgules: (Cut and thrust)
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Greetings from Genevieve, Thamesreach rapier marshal,

I'm writing to thank the many contributors who helped make the Thamesreach rapier revel one of the best yet.

Particular thanks to Master Alexandre, Dom Duarte [livejournal.com profile] goncalves and Lord Nicholas, the out of town marshals, for their time and expertise to help make this year's spring rapier revel successful through authorisations and support.

These marshals spent much of their time authorising the fencers of Thamesreach.

Every time I thought we were done and we could fence I turned around and more hopefuls had turned up.

I counted 6 fencers with new authorisations:

milord Bennet: single, rigid parry
milord Stas: single, rigid parry, dagger
milady Jane: rigid parry (began fencing in September)
Lord Guy de Dinan [livejournal.com profile] exmoor_cat: dagger
Lord Nicholas d'Estleche: cut and thrust single weapon and great weapon
HLady Lyonet de Covenham [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher: cut and thrust single weapon and great weapon (and finished paperwork for single blade, dagger and rigid parry)

...so 2 people newly armed to the defense of Insulae Draconis, plus 4 people developing their skills and building towards becoming a deadly force to reckon with, for a total of 14 authorisations. Not bad for a single revel's work.

It was a real delight to pause sometimes and consider the scene of a dozen fencers almost all drawn from southern England (plus 3 guests from Pont Alarch Ooop North) engaging in the arts of defense.

In the afternoon, Master Alexandre spoke knowledgeably of the skills most needed for novices to master first, and we rounded out the afternoon with 45 mins of melee, starting with 5 a side.

The most entertaining bout was probably when Duarte was entered as a 'swing' melee member. Every time someone died on either side (at this event the 'stairs' team battled with the 'shed' team, referring to their res points in the courtyard), Duarte changed sides as called by Master Robert, who was assisting the marshals.

Duarte ably managed to follow directions: 'Duarte, you're a shed!... Duarte, you're a stair!...' correctly, *almost* all the time.

Those committed to the arts of peace were ambitious in their works this day: as part of the great work to ornament the shire, the artisans laid out and traced 10 of 12 drawings of the labours of the year onto silk for a substantial silk painting project - substantial as the drawings are easily 150cm square or more for hanging in the hall.

HE Oriane, Lady Margrete [livejournal.com profile] m_nivalis, Lady Anilyne, milord Marx, milady Maude, and milord Patrick were people I saw working on this project though I may have missed someone.

We sat to feed about 20 people with splendid hot dishes (Byzantine lemon chicken, stewed lamb, lamb tagine) and cold (pork chacuterie, biltong and sausages, cheeses) 2 great compound salads, date lombards, with breads, nuts and fruit to round out the table.

We lingered over our meal and then some folks danced while Lady Contanza Albion [livejournal.com profile] zmiya_san spoke of heraldic matters to those interested in registering their names and arms.

Our hall was beautifully dressed with the long-missed per pale az and ar hangings of old, returned to the hall with thanksgiving, plus our fine diapered cloths, and the still-growing Thamesreach bunting.

Again: many hands contributed to an excellent day, whether hanging the hall, preparing food, instructing and guiding, or in the cleaning and tidying at the end.

HE Oriane arrived with me at the start of the day to open the hall, and with me was the last to leave: my thanks to her for her commitment to making this event a success.

I look forward to seeing many fencers on the field in the coming months, particularly at Raglan ffaire.

Your servant,

Genevieve la flechiere
Thamesreach rapier marshal
abendgules: (Cut and thrust)
Pictures of the shiny:

Sorry for the fuzzies - limit of taking pictures one-handed.

View of the coverage of my thumb, and flexibility: I'm making a fist.

When I got them Robert asked if when I closed my hand my thumb could fold over my fingers, or was it stuck out straight. It sits on top of my fingers.

Making a fist around a long sword.

Only drawback I can see is the limit of the bell of the cuff: I can bend back my wrist only so far. So any moulinet is limited to a kind of cone-shaped curve (w. my wrist at the point), not a full circle with my wrist at the centre.

HOWEVER: the customer service was such that I think you could ask for extra-flared cuffs. They seem very amenable to doing custom work.

Will be able to tell you more after Double Wars in May!

New toys

Mar. 27th, 2015 10:22 pm
abendgules: (Cut and thrust)
Hint: not the vacuum cleaner.

Arrived today, weeks before Double Wars. Hurrah!

abendgules: (15thc_worker)
In more cheery news away from health and work worries:

I've just ordered these gauntlets for cut and thrust combat.

[livejournal.com profile] nusbacher has a pair, and very handsome they are too.

Finding gauntlets that fit and genuinely protect my hands for C&T has held up my participation somewhat.

Robert very carefully reworked an existing pair of clamshells I had from when I fought in armour, that never fit correctly, so that I could hold a single crosshilt sword or dagger.

When I'd used them for bastard sword I'd gotten a blow on the thumb that cracked it, putting me off for a year. They really didn't fit.

But the mods were a bodge at best: once in my hand I couldn't change weapons or even change my hold on the hilt. They shifted and slid about, and I was always at risk of a blow getting through.

So when I saw these, I thought, millenium hand and shrimp, those are what I want.

I hope and have asked that they be delivered in time for Double Wars: inshallah.

While I am reluctant to book myself solid for Double Wars, I do want to run the scribes social hour again: a round table where you can share 'tips and tricks' or just ask a question.

Nordmark is overrun with scribal talent; if I can squeeze it into a room for an hour, it will yield great pearls of wisdom in a friendly setting.
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: (herald_cat)
Thamesreach's most recent revel was last weekend, the first to follow WorldCon where SCA had a display table.

[livejournal.com profile] exmoor_cat followed up the contacts made at WorldCon, and as a result, we had 6 (SIX!!) newcomers to the SCA at the revel, plus one new arrival from An Tir.

I don't think I've ever seen 6 new people at one event. I'm impressed all to heck and really hope they come back.

Dame Oriane and Lady Emoni and I had planned a heraldry and banner-making revel. As it turned out just one person had a personal banner to work on, so we charged ahead on the shire bunting instead. Earl Paul and Lady Anne brought their mate Mark along and formed a jolly group to support the day.

Newcomers willingly worked on painting and sewing and pressing new armory and the familiar Thamesreach device to add to the collection.

I'd rustled several tunics from TE Vitus and Isabel, so we had clothes all round and everyone sat for our potluck dinner.

Milord Marx's lady Victoria brought not one but two Persian dishes, in part I think to ensure she would have veg-friendly food to eat, and Robert's frumenty was also veg-friendly this time round.

Having Paul, Anne and Mark there meant the dancing was more focused than me just yelling at folks and we danced about 2x as long as usual, because the newest folks were very keen and very happy to take part.

The hardest part was getting folks to pipe down so we could explain the steps. :-)

A real joy was the setup and cleanup; with several new people looking to be helpful, both these stages flew by in a flurry and we had probably the swiftest and most efficient setup and cleanup I can remember in ages. Hurrah!

Today (Wednesday) I throw myself on the grenade of teaching rapier 'properly', like following a teaching plan and doing it systematically. I have 3 interested participants to date. The goal is to reach authorisation stage in time for Yule Ball.

I'm shamelessly using someone else's handout (on Marco Borromei's website) as a guide as to what to cover, and what order to do these things in. I'm hoping we generate just as many authorisations as there are fencers.

Periodically I get a dose of nostalgia for my first homeland. And at this point, I remember that I was not interested in local revels in Caldrithig, that I had no time to attend and support new people because I was busy going to events out of the area.

[livejournal.com profile] buttongirl was all over this, and I just wasn't in tune at the time; why go to a local revel when you want to attend a major event?

I also remember that I had no time for fencing. Now I'm the local marshal, and about to teach others.

Feels like I've turned around completely; it's all about local revels, and all about building a group; it's about historical rapier combat which puts me on the field again (vs armoured combat that was always an uphill struggle for me).

Part of the change is because travelling 2/4 weekends a month isn't an option anymore, not in Drachenwald.

Part of it is because I want to build the SCA I enjoy, and the stuff I enjoy is going to events, and Making Stuff (TM), and having tournaments (whether armoured or rapier).
abendgules: (maciejowski)
I spent Valentine's day at work, then hustled home to go to fencing practice for the first time since September, to get poked all over - both my opponent and I are hopelessly out of shape and practice.

Romantic? not terribly. But I was really, really pleased to be back at practice. I came away happy to be poking and being poked, for the first time in ages. I'd honestly forgotten how much fun it was, even when I'm getting absolutely pummelled.

After Crown, I have to haul out my cut and thrust kit plans, and see if I can outfit myself with suitable leg armour, and possibly better arm protection, in time for the Templecombe demo in Somerset. Can't see doing it before then, not and still get my sweetie gussied up suitably for the event.

We then decamped to the pub, where we raised a pint with Alaric and his squire Alex - Alaric is moving back to his first homeland of Lochac soon, and Alex's visits are only occasional, so it was a good time for a drink.

Alaric and Nerissa will leave a huge hole in our shire; it's the curse of Drachenwald.

[livejournal.com profile] larmer and family are due to visit next month! Hurrah. I'm hoping to take a bit of time off in March so hopefully I'll be able to spend some time with them.
abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)
Saturday court had been long - combining principality and kingdom business - and making up for past courts where scrolls could not be distributed in the rain. Our evening was still ahead, with our light supper and dancing; the musicians had gathered in our encampment and practiced over the afternoon. I never tire of listening to musicians warm up, because I know how hard I find playing, and am glad that there are folk who delight in making music as much as I delight in dancing.

But frankly...I was beat. I changed out of the novitiate outfit, put on a wool tunic, and went and watched dancing for awhile. And in the end, I went to be reasonably early.

Sunday was the Big Day of Fencing, with two more provost, and three prefect challenges to complete. I watched the wrap up of the individual skills challenges for the provosts in the fountain court, but it began to rain (surprise) and the fencers retreated to the undercroft, where they set up the half-hour all comers challenge area. 

It seemed heavy going - fencing as continuously as possible, for half an hour, in the semidarkness (no candles wanted in the undercroft), with rain outside and repeated shouts of 'NEXT!' and 'EDGE!' or 'CENTRE!' to get the challengers or their opponents to start in the middle of the fighting area. I got a stool for Gabriel our timekeeper, and water for everyone. 

I was impressed by both challengers - I hadn't got to fight HE Pol or HE Anna for their challenges, and was glad to contribute to this one, for Lord Duncan Chaucer, and Lady Gwenllian. There was an exellent pool of combatants to draw on - from newly-authorised, to Dragon's steel.

Seeing this challenge enacted made it, to me, much more achieveable, and I'm now thinking of aiming for a provost challenge for next year's Raglan. 

The afternoon was the prefect challenges, for Dom Duarte [livejournal.com profile] goncalves, Master Cernac, and Visc Eirik. I armed up for cut and thrust, so I could meet Cernac in this form as many times as possible - it meant I felt a bit clumsy fighting the others, and couldn't change weapons easily (my steel gauntlets were lovingly repurposed by my sweetie from a pair by Lord Duncan McLeod in Caldrithig - but they're not easy to take on or off) but I decided I'd not fuss about trying out different forms, just stick to sword and dagger. 

They were distributed around the fountain court, and we formed an orderly queue (of course!) to fight them. The marshals rotated them round the court, so everyone stood in sun (which had now emerged, making the whole venue steamy) or shade as was available. 

Again - it was heavy going. I felt pushed, as well as the challengers, because I rarely fight for anything like an hour at a time. I took a wicked, wickedly sturdy blow from Cernac's two-handed sword on my L leg; we both paused, and he said, ah, not wearing armour there are you? The next bout with him he made a point of taking my right leg, with a much more moderate blow.

While it no longer hurts all the time, it's made better padding/protection to my delicate thighs more of a priority, at least against two-handed weapons.

I was as relieved as any to mark the end of the challenge. I could hardly drink enough at the end.

TRM had watched this latter part of the challenge and then held court that the participants could be honoured and the new challengers announced as successful provosts and prefects.

It was a fine moment to also award arms to the youngest fencer, who had authorised at Raglan just a few days earlier - Etienne explained he'd fought long and hard that young men of great enthusiasm and violence might also join the combat on the field. :-)

He had similar welcomes for his fellow prefects, explaining he'd long fought with Cernac, til they had discovered the SCA; he'd long fought with [livejournal.com profile] goncalves (5 hours a day, 3 days a week, at one point), til they discovered the seneschallate, and were able to put their energies into new venues.  

Etienne had taken apart his own prefect braid, to put one strand in each new prefect's braid, thus creating a lineage to his own. A very gracious gesture.

That day's beer felt heartily well earned, for me.
abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)
Saturday proved a catchup day - to catch up on the activities that the rain on Thurs and Fri had cancelled.

Started the day with a meeting of the Academy of defense (my first!); this meeting managed to agree on some changes to the governing docs of the academy to make it easier to run, and also to agree on when to run the *10* challenges into the academy that were planned for this event: 3 free scholars, 4 provosts and 3 prefects. 

It ended up with the free scholars and half the provosts challenging on Saturday, and the other half, and the prefects, running on Sunday, which meant 'all the fencing you could eat' for most of the participants, over two days.

The first half was attended by their majesties on the bowling green, and provided an excellent venue for Viscount Eirik to be inducted into the order of the Dragon's steel. This was a delight to witness, and even better to take part in as herald. 
HE Eirik was completely oblivious to Master Etienne's excuse for a one-strike duel, as an excuse to position him on the field, before calling his friends - Sir Peregrine, Sir Gilliam, Mistress Melisende, Countess Anna - to testify to his qualities, and advance him to the order. 

The challenges then progressed, with me sponsoring someone for the first time (Lord Cedric of the floppy hat) into the Academy. Sadly 'The Floppies' (Cedric and his family) are leaving Drachenwald soon, so this was one of his last events in the kingdom.
abendgules: (Default)
Happily Robert has started a new job this week, with an actual office to go to - short commute by bike to Clerkenwell. This is a relief both financially, and getting out of the startup he'd been contracting for. Just listening to Robert talking to the startup boss made me realise that some grown men, even accomplished ones, cannot hear good advice when it's given them.

More pleasantly, April included a weekend chez [livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer and [livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham to help paint their pavilion, which promises to be splendidly medievally gaudy, and a fine couple of meals in good company with them, [livejournal.com profile] maryf and Fionn, and Master Paul.
In my gradual return to activity, I've been doing some modern sewing following a pattern(!) - I've made myself trousers for the first time, following a pattern, plus the advice in Pants for Real People
This is essentially an all-new experience for me: I took a stab at pattern-based sewing when I first got a sewing machine in university (now, effectively, a generation ago) but just couldn't get excited about it, with all the 'extra' steps I couldn't see the point to. Making medieval stuff was fun, but making work clothes was, well, work.
Now, as a more experienced sempstress, I see the value in taking 'extra' steps in setting up and finishing work; adding things like interfacing is no big deal, whereas at one time it was a saga. I also now know enough when to follow instructions, and when to ignore them. And I'm resigned to some ripping out, reworking, unpicking; it just happens as part of the creative process.

The fitting method in the book tests the pattern in tissue first carefully, then modifies the pattern, then cutting fabric, followed by testing the pinned-together trousers, before committing to sewing up, and gives a lot of tips that I wish patterns came with (ie. not just 'do this' but 'why to do this').

And the whole point of the book is to demonstrate how to tailor modern patterns to fit your shape; if the paper pattern is doing X (sagging, pulling, not covering you!) then you need to change Y to improve the fit.

It also has lots of mods: adding assorted styles of pockets (trousers without some place for your phone and pass are a PITA), changing waistband styles are just the easy ones.
And the book's models are frankly more Rubenesque and asymmetrical than me! which is heartening.

The only drawback is the plugs for the authors' proprietary products in the book - their own multisize patterns, graph pattern paper, narrow interfacing, Scotch tape, etc etc. OTOH...well, they do this for a living.

While I was laying out trouser fabric, Robert spent part of the long weekend bashing at an old steel clamshell gauntlet of mine, to make it into an absolutely bombproof C&T hand protection for a crosshilt sword (latter also bodged together with a rattan hilt on a Hanwei practical rapier). 
The gauntlet was never quite the right shape for me for armoured fighting, but looks like it will serve very well for C&T.
I was uneasy persuing C&T further than authorisation without decent hand protection - and alarmed at the crappy light hand protection other people were using for C&T at Double wars last year - basically padded gloves and prayer. I value my hands more than that.

So now I'm partway there - one hand ready, one more to go. 
Hoping to hear soon if there's to be any fencing at Coronation in Arnimetsa, and if there is, can I squeeze both my Tudor outfit and fencing kit into one suitcase?
abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)
Been lying low, mostly concentrating on getting to and from work, getting as much work as I can focus on done, and finishing projects in time for Double Wars. Head still not fully back into work mode, just trying to get stuff directly in front of me done, so as to be moderately useful. Higher planning faculties are still on hiatus...Read more... )
abendgules: (catching snowflakes)
In the midst of the grumpiness over this silly game, there's been some pleasant intervals.

Earlier this week I was reading Terry Prachett's The fifth elephant on the Tube. I haven't read it recently, and it felt fresh and new to me, so I was enjoying it.
I got up to change lines and a gent stopped me to say 'it's lovely to see someone reading The fifth elephant and smiling - I think it's one of his best'. Sometimes I think we could have a whole book club on the Tube, if only Londoners were brave enough to speak to each other.

I just finished Charles Stross' Halting State. It's brilliant; cyberpunk-ish, gamer-ish, even reenactor-ish. Awesome, if dense.

Monday I had an amazing fast run around my local park, having missed my lunchtime run. I think anger fuelled me in a way that my usual running distraction (science podcasts from BBC, Guardian and others) do not. I figure I can only get smarter by listening to these, if only by osmosis.

I've been visiting the West End kitties this week (for friends on holiday), who are warming to both Robert and me for cuddles, though only for short spurts of time. They're lovely and playful kitties, very kittenish, even as adults. It may be the novelty of our visit - we're only dropping in every couple of days - if we were there daily, they might ignore us in a more adult cat-like fashion.

I've indulged in some rare retail therapy around Covent Garden this week. First to the beadshop (always risky to the wallet - I felt much better paying my £11 as someone else was ringing up £50; made me feel like I was getting off lightly). Then meeting [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher  for coffee, a chat about our respective news, and then browsing the outfitters' shops in seach of trousers that would be work-friendly. Came away with trousers, two running shirts and fresh socks.
Comfy socks are hard to find - cheap synthetic ones don't agree with my feet when I walk briskly. I'm a delicate flower that way.

Further such therapy is still to roll in the door, as my recent book orders are expected before long.

Fencing practice went well, with six folk in masks. I think four of us are ready to authorise, maybe more, which would be brilliant. [livejournal.com profile] goncalves  and marshals from Flintheath are expected, and [livejournal.com profile] exmoor_cat  is talking about expecting 25+ bodies.

Have booked to attend Polderslot's masked ball next weekend, and am looking forward to travelling with [livejournal.com profile] armillary  and enjoying the company of lovely folk from that region.
abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)
 SO: the PLN is to attend Double Wars, fitter than I am right now, as fit as I can be (without sacrificing job and sanity) and authorised on the rapier field - possibly even in cut and thrust (C&T).

I checked my calendar today, and if DW is held on its traditional dates around Ascension day, this week is 40 weeks from the start of Double Wars - [livejournal.com profile] liadethornegge  or [livejournal.com profile] camele0pard  (or other Nordmark folk) can you confirm dates?

Since returning from Coronet in August, I've endeavoured to do something active every day. I had one day off for illness, but otherwise I now have a couple of weeks  behind me of daily walking, running, yoga-ing, and fencing.  I'm tracking my fencing and fitness training on the Drachenwald fighters forum, under training diaries.

So far, I'm feeling the extra activity in my legs - not strain or pain, just awareness that they're doing more work than before. I have no especial aspirations to shrink or change shape, but if it happens, that would be a happy bonus.

SO: who is with me?
Who wants to attend DW fit and strong and ready to surprise their opponents ('sh*t, he's gotten better since we last fought')?
Who wants to carve a swathe through Attemark with that great rallying cry, 

Make way make way - Insulae Draconis is headed to the sauna!

Happy to take on extra travellers, who are prepared to commit to their own goals for this coming 40 weeks.
abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)
In our journey, we had a lot of time to talk (or listen, as the case may be - have you ever travelled with Sir Vitus?).
the PLN revealed )


abendgules: (Default)

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