abendgules: (Confesse)
TL,DR: good event, missed some friends, fencing fencing fencing.

10 days of near perfect sunny hot weather. In Wales. The 4 horsemen and their mate Ronnie Soak must be saddling up. There were a couple of very windy days, making Lynette's [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher tent billow like unto a sail before the wind, and proving the value of storm guys, especially when your pavilion is perched on the outer edge of a bowling green on a hill.

Robert and I travelled together w/ Man-and-van (though not our charming Lithuanian driver of 2 years ago, sadly). We put up the big pavilion, and R partitioned the inside so I had a space to change and dump my stuff. I stayed in a Burgundian bell, which was *just* big enough for 1 person and a small amount of kit, but not for hanging gowns or airing sweaty clothing. One of the reasons R always wanted a pavilion was so he could stand upright, to dress and arm himself.

One resolution post-Raglan - invest in a better camp bed. The £10 stretchers aren't sufficient for a good night's sleep.

Our encampment included the usual suspects: [livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer, [livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham, [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy and family, Paul (with Anne for first weekend), [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher, and usually some guests for a meal. For the first weekend Edith's brother visited, and took part in the joint cooking effort (putting a professionally trained chef in the mix means you have very speedily diced veg, but some differences of opinion about How Things are Done over the fire); we had [livejournal.com profile] maryf and Rick at dinner one day, [livejournal.com profile] goncalves and J and baby J another, Cornelia from Austria another day.

Good weather meant camping was relatively easy; wet things dried easily, for ex, and we could sprawl in our usual space.  We ate gloriously well, again, as ever. It sounds mad to keep saying how well we ate at Raglan, but honestly it's hard to put into words how terrific the food is.

Gracie the hound proved a welcome fixture in camp, and very popular, as ever, w/ little girls.  Delia camped further along the castle wall w/ Tilly, alongside several Thamesreach ladies.

I mostly-finished a heraldic surcoat for Gracie, though didn't get the closure finished, so to model it she had the belly strap pinned in place only. L says that the coat slides to one side on Gracie the same way all her coats do, so perhaps G has a hitch in her stride that shifts her clothing. She looked great though and drew many admirers.


The under-7 yr set were spoiled for canine choice in our camp area, though once Tilly decides she's had enough, nothing can stir her little bulldog heart and she simply stops wherever she is. Gracie is more biddable in that way.

Thomas F brought his prototype pole lathe to play with to keep himself entertained after cooking, and it was fascinating to see it in action, even if it was a work in progress.

I spent most of my own time on fencing: marshalling, teaching and entering tourneys, though once again I avoided melee settings.

I had a very crappy incident where I injured another fencer, and my own analysis is much harder on me than his was. Not happy about it.

It was one of 2 significant injuries on the field (the other one to Lynette during her Academy challenge, which bruised her face) and both required reports.

I ended up teaching my 'stick the pointy end in the other guy' a couple of times, once on the schedule and once ad-hoc, when we had some 'free play' time one afternoon.  We got a lot done in free play time, so I'm going to suggest more of it in the schedule.

One of the most effective practice times was 2nd Sunday morning when people were beginning to break down, but still had a bit of time to spare, and once you nudged a few people, they found their kit faster than you might think.

Some familiar faces were missing from the event, because of schedules, I think, and there were fewer pavilions on the bowling green. We were warned that next year camping space may be at a great premium b/c of construction on the permanent toilets; we'll definitely lose some space, the Q is just how much.

OTOH This year I got to know some folks from Lough Devnaree better: Gytha, Orlaith, Thora, Micheal, some of the kids. That was excellent and worthwhile and I might not have spent as much time w/ them if the 'regulars' had been there.

Gytha made a name for herself by training and authorising in combat in less than a week, thanks to Robert and Yannick's efforts to work with her. It was a delight to see someone launch herself into the deep end, thrash about but really enjoy it and come out authorised and fighting-ready.

My peer-populace talk had mixed results - the bits I thought were interesting weren't of interest to others, and I didnt' answer some questions well, though I'm trying to follow up w/ them. It did prompt some discussion round campfires afterward though.

The open party on Friday with Thomas and Edith was excellent and well-attended, and they had an embarrassment of amazing food, almost all of it historic.

[livejournal.com profile] nz_bookwyrm gave an excellent talk on spiced wine - he's moved from just offering to get your flavourfully drunk, to researching recipes, translating them, and offering tastings for comparison. I came away w/ a spice mix for one of the recipes (dated 1525) and am hoping to try it myself.

The biggest barrier to making a medieval spiced wine is a common one for re-creation: we don't really know what medieval or renaissance wine tasted like....just like it's hard to recreate medieval clothing w/out medieval sheep and flax to start the process.

But Esbiorn had documented the limitations and identified where he'd made some comprimises to get as good a result as he could. I was impressed all to heck.

Our trip back was a bit fraught. Our man-with-van didn't show for 3 hrs, and when phoned said things like, 'on my way' and 'just leaving' and other similar remarks. His van had failed, he needed to get another from a rental agency, and he kept putting us off instead of explaining the situation, and of course we had no recourse.

It was infuriating, and meant we arrived in Ldn at rush hour on a Monday. Not a great end.

All kit stowed, R and I stared at each other and I suggested takeaway - it seemed the solution for almost everyone post-event, judging by comments In Another Place. One of my knapsacks is still not quite empty, and now as I'm getting ready for another event, seems no point. 

The best pics are In Another Place, mainly by Delia of Ely, but a few others as well. Once again, I took almost no pics.   
abendgules: (self-portrait)
The ceremony to welcome Lord Aodh O Siadhall [livejournal.com profile] gothwalk into the greater house Sylveaston went very well, with advice from [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher on some important details. This rounded out the ceremony in a way that I really appreciated and I would not have known of, without her help.

I was amused that when I brought the belt of obnoxious brightness over for sizing, it was a knight, Sir Jonathan, who instantly saw significance in the colours. I know that Dame Oriane still wears her green belt with yellow borders as her connection to Sir Richard Gilchrist and thus her connection to the house. Aodh will find many Sylveaston descendants to meet yet.

The tone was dignified and pleased, which is what I wanted.

Aodh's role in the house is as 'dalta', which apparently in old Irish is 'student of the bard' - someone who might, or might not, be a bard in his own right, but even if not, gets a fine education and benefits from the support of the bard. I liked this title; it seemed very apt for him, and avoided the 'protege' which is a bit loaded in Society terms.

Photos are courtesy of Lady Agnes, Aodh's lady, who got Lord Aidan to record the occasion.

We're sitting within the castle, in the fountain court, shortly after principality 'thing' (Parliament) to talk about principality business.

Me introducing the ceremony, and managing to recite the lineage from Sir Merowald (as it applies to us) correctly. (Lyonette told us later of 'Merowaldry', Sir Merowald's offer to paint up arms people wanted, no registration required. Now Robert has a name for his guerilla heraldry...)

The intenture (read by Robert), belt (continuity with the greater house) and livery (as promised n the writ) all went as I had hoped.

Having cut the signed indenture in 2, I show the 2 pieces indented to witnesses.

I wanted to incorporate some statements that originally came from Sir Menken [livejournal.com profile] chequey and Dame Eleanor [livejournal.com profile] kes_zone, about dependents being neither slaves nor servants, but nobles in their own right.

This is important to me, as Lord Aodh has his own household, with his lady Agnes, that they care about a lot, and I wanted to make clear I wasn't taking it over.

A completely unplanned and unforseen effect was me commenting, as I held Aodh's hands as a vassal, that he was paterfamilias of his house, with his own duties and obligations; that in that role, he remained responsible for his house,

...but that I was available to advise him on dependants, suitable placements for children or orphans, or places in convents for those who were unsuited to marriage.

This raised a small laugh, but apparently struck shock and terror in the Catholic hearts of the ladies of House Green - particularly single ladies, or whose other halves don't play - who all assumed I was referring to them directly.

I found this out later, as Lady Agnes passed it on, and it now has common currency that at least one lady of House Green is destined to a nunnery...

I had warned Aodh of the Belt of obnoxious brightness...I'm hoping he'll wear it fighting.

Aodh's livery: 3 ells of good cloth and 3 more of linen, to outfit himself suitably.

Aodh complains of being a mammal and having warm blood and thus not liking wool clothing, so I dug up the lightest wool blend I could find - it may even be linsey-woolsey, I'm not certain. It's for him and his tailor to sort.

I'm kicking myself because I can't find a picture of the uncut indenture. I nicked the text wholesale from a previous contract Robert wrote for Sir Vitus for one of his dependents, with only small changes.

I like the line about protecting from unjust harm - if the harm is justified, apparently you're on your own. :-)

This indenture being made between Genevieve la flechiere, Viscountess and peer of Drachenwald by letters patent on the one part and Lord Aodh O Siadhail on the other part, testifies that the said Lord Aodh stall stand in service to the said viscountess for peace and for war for the term of one year and one day following the date of this document
The lord Aodh having the estate of dalta, and being retained with the said viscountess of the ancient house of Sylveaston for the said term by indenture without fraud or evil device, shall be accorded all the customary rights and privileges, vis of livery, maintenance, counsel, instruction, advancement and defense against unjust harm.
The lord Aodh shall in turn accord the said visountess with service in matters of charity and hospitality at such occasions and tourneys as they shall be mutually conveniently present therat.
The lord Aodh shall also afford the viscountess Genevieve support in matters touching court, law and custom, and the management of her estate as are within his normal competence.
He is bound not to be a maintainor, instigator, barrator, procuror or embraceor of quarrels and inquests in the country in any manner, and shall not know or understand of any manner thing to be attempted, done or spoken against Viscountess Genevieve's person or honour but he shall let and withstand the same to the uttermost of his power.
Should the lord Aodh be in any error or found in any detestable crime, as soon as Viscountess Genevieve knows it she must admonish the lord Aodh charitably that he may gain from it.
Done before noble witnesses this nones of August AS 50, at ffair Raglan.

After this ceremony I started the discussion about 'peers, what have they done for us anyway?' which ran for about an hour, or til we ran out of daylight.

We had a keen discussion overall, with nusbacher enjoying her role as devil's advocate. We heard some stories from peers that I'd not heard of before - like how Sir Elffin came to be knighted in the West, and how Sir Clancy turned down knighthood in his first homeland.

The only drawback I've observed from these talks is that peers like to talk, when in fact I want to get more newcomers to talk. :-) But I hope that if we keep holding the time and place to chat, it'll become the place to ask questions and come to be known as a feature at Raglan.
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: (home sweet canvas home)
Clearly I won't get to a day by day diary of the event. Better to start with highlights.

Travel to site without the Vitus household and Vitus-wagon made for a very long day.

Up early, cab to Casa de Vitus in extreme S London (enjoying a lecture on African cultures and the evils of colonialism from the cabbie), unloading cab and setting up for loading man-and-van.

Man-and-van arrives bang on time: load up with our stuff, the best of the Vitus encampment kit (firebowl, futon and seating), and TRHs encampment and set off.

Long trip, getting stuck in London traffic. Happily our man knew his way round the Borders so we deked to cross into Wales via Chepstow, dodging the worst of the M4 westbound traffic. Practiced yoga breathing to stay calm watching other crap drivers on the road.

Arrive, unload the van, say goodbye to our man (who returns bang on time again the next Monday).

Set up pavilion, bed and bed canopy.

The rain had started midafternoon, on and off. We found a slightly bedraggled set of Thamesreach lads, 3 of them sharing travel and neighbourly accommodation, sheltering under the bridge with potnoodles and one-pot burners, so we invited them inside the pavilion to shelter in more comfort.

Had a cold dinner, a beer and fell into bed.

Saturday (long lie-in) and Sunday were spent continuing to set up, distribute assorted kit brought in the van, and reacquaint ourselves with Raglan.

Robert and [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher cooked daily for the first few days, with our main meal at about 1pm, and a light supper in the evening. It was very relaxed and low-key.

Over the weekend we sat and ate with Dame Marguerite and Lord Yannick, Lochac natives living in England til December, who we'd met at Coronation. They proved excellent easy company to sit with at length, and we were sorry to see them go after just a weekend.

Their beautiful daughters were entranced with [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher's hound Gracie; a young man from Ireland was in turn entranced with them. Gracie received a great deal of doting care from many hands as a result.


I did a bit of shooting, and managed more in a couple of days than I'd done all of last year, which was satisfying. I sat in on Barun Pol's slightly-past-beginners class, to find out what he would teach.

I got an excellent explanation and demonstration of both facewalking and string walking, which are barebow skills almost unknown in my circle of archers - they're against the rules where I grew up, so to speak - not allowed in Olympic archery at all.

I'd brought my dad's lovely extremely long longbow, and once more rejoiced in its beautiful smooth draw. I was even spared the annual arrow tribute of the field, finding all that was lost before the event was over.

At this Raglan their highnesses set a challenge to the populace; as they are new to the region and this was their first raglan fair, we were asked to convey to them the spirit of Raglan.

[livejournal.com profile] nusbacher and I as we hunted for arrows behind the butt, mused over the archers' dance, which was clearly a bassadance, with changing tempos as you sweep for arrows with your feet and shuffle through the grass, stopping just so, then reverence as you stop to pick up your arrow.

This musing turned into a short interpretive dance at court, called 'archers' where Robert choreographed and provided the tune from BBC's 'The Archers' on an onion flute (a 16th c instrument that sounds exactly like a kazoo). It was extremely silly but anyone who has ever hunted for arrows recognised its essence.


I did get to fence more than before: I chipped in my few bouts to Lady Juliette's free scholar challenge, and then milady Marlene's later in the week, as well as [livejournal.com profile] nz_bookwyrm and Catlin's provost challenge.

One evening during fencing pickups, I watched two dons and one Dragon' Steel consistently misjudge their distance while fighting Lady Catlin, and come away laughing, saying, yes, her arms really are that long.

She handed them their butts in a way I hadn't seen before in a single session! It was great fun to watch.

Seeing Don Domin and Baroness Celestina again was a delight; I can't believe they've been gone 3 years already. Their youngest marked his 1st year at Raglan, and their eldest is like a new girl I hadn't met before, she's changed and grown so much. Everyone looks well, happy, healthy.

I got to fight C&T with Domin and Duarte [livejournal.com profile] goncalves, which was great fun and assured me that I'm *not* out to lunch in my calibration; will have to take it up with other C&T folk when I have the chance.

I did my bit in marshalling: keeping the round robin tourney going, taking a turn in the academy challenges.

Unexpectedly I found myself teaching fencing to a complete newcomer who was the spitting image of Ysabella-Maria, and a friend of hers from the convention and SF/fantasy world. It was like talking to a darker version of Y-M!

Lord Alexandro had taken up rapier and Y-M had assured her friend he could find instruction at Raglan; so he spent a busy 4 days with me, goncalves, Duncan Chaucer and other marshals sucking up as much knowledge as possible, with the end result of authorising in effectively 4 days.

I was impressed all to heck; must be some kind of record.

With weather threatening, the fencers combined storming the castle with the princess' champions tourney escorting the princess through the castle. As is his wont, Don Antonio authorised her highness Eleanor with a rubber band gun, allowing her to defend herself should peril threaten.

She commented later that she'd 'brought a gun to a sword fight', and chose Duncan Chaucer as champion.

Camping life

As the week progressed more people turned up, and the schedule filled. [livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer and [livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham brought a trailer this year, and set up not just their usual splendid kitchen but a supplies tent as well. This small Saxon tent survived all but the very harshest weather on the last Sunday, when we caught the tail end of hurricane Bertha.

The under-bridge space got busy, full of food and wine (especially wine! holy mackerel) but we struggled through the hurly burly to keep enjoying [livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer and [livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham's menus, complete with fresh baked bread and pies done in the clay oven.

You can camp on bread and cheese, but by god, you don't when they're around.

Thomas and Edith sent leftovers to the Thamesreach lads (things like goat stew and commodores) which were more inhaled than eaten.

The newest members of Thamesreach made themselves known this year: not just by rowdiness but by awesome helpfulness, being attentive and considerate, and by an amazing job of small-melee fighting in the Oxford roll.

Facing a formidable melee team from Flintheath with twice their numbers and far more than 2x their bodyweight, they followed Robert and HRH Nasr's instructions to the letter, forming a 3 man shield wall, with 1 shield to protect Sir Nasr'. They held off a much larger force and allowed Nasr' to pick off their opponents with a spear, like knocking so many apples off a tree.

Even better was hearing the prince commend them on their work; they'd done just what was asked and shown the power of good leadership over a much stronger and more experienced force. It was a sweet engagement to watch and even sweeter to hear the followup and advice. You could practically see them glowing as they came off the field, and rightly so.

People from outside Thamesreach remarked on these nice young men who were so helpful and polite, as if I had had anything to do with them; but it was warming to know they were 'ours'.

In the 'new skills' department the dyeing class was smaller than hoped, but still a success, with 2 shades of onion-skin yellow achieved on the brazier, really entirely driven by [livejournal.com profile] jahanarabanu.

I'd not thought it through but fixing the dye with alum would have required a lot more water and then left us with an alum-laden dyebath to dispose of on site: duh.

So we took home our two shades of golden yellow and I hope to fix the colour with an alum bath and try further dyeing w/ onion skins at home. [livejournal.com profile] jahanarabanu says she'll try a couple more dyes on the yarn she has at home, and bring the results to Yule Ball.

I also, after years of planning Round Tuits, started to learn to spin, with Cat Weaver's help. We fixed my long-held pewter spindle whorl, bought at Pennsic about 15 years ago, onto a lovely turned stick by Eldgrimmr, and Cat sat and advised me about starting to draft.

She kept saying I was doing well but I couldn't help but compare it to her own beautifully fine work! Now I just have to retrieve my started work from the camping kit still at Vitus and Isabel's.

Court business

The surprise elements of the event at court went smoothly; the event featured no less than 5 voice heralds.

Edith gave me grief after court. I'd told her to make sure she turned up because Lyonet was getting something nice; I'd told Lyonet to attend in her smart clothes because Edith was getting something nice at court. Neither was a word of a lie, and yet somehow noone will trust me again...

Seeing the joy and goodwill at Baron Pol's call to vigil was very satisfying. I love helping good things happen for others; I love seeing awards well received. It felt that Leif and Morrigan's decision for Pol was timely and joyous, and Pol's vigil went well.

I'd arranged for a new white tunic for him, Mssrs Ariel and Raphe arranged food, we collectively brought in furnishings so he could meet friends in comfort.

My and HE Ursula's attempt at an open discussion during his vigil had mixed results; we had lots of old-crusty attendees, but fewer newcomers than I'd hoped. [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher did sterling service, drawing people into the discussion and asking the tough questions so those who did take part said it was brilliant.

However, I think we can address this imbalance with more leadup time and priming people to think about the 'deep questions', and hold such a discussion whether there is a peerage to take place or not. Raglan is a great time to do it, with several long evenings to fill with company.

My sweetie was in good humour; he was tired from setup but had wit to spare, and we had a succession of evenings round the campfire with friends in stitches from his commentary.

Don Domin, watching Robert marshal and direct the torchlight tourney, commented to me that 'he's so good at this'; setting the tone of the tourney, providing the sense of occasion with a start, middle and finish. I sometimes forget just how good he is in that regard, and that not all kingdoms have a Master Robert.

Wrap up

Last Sunday saw the end of a hurricane with lots of rain and very high winds, so many people decided to start packing earlier rather than later including us. Our man-and-van arrived early and we packed out to reach S London early afternoon through slashing rain on the roads, and C London by midafternoon.

We staggered in our own door to joyous feline greetings by 4ish on Monday and treated ourselves to dinner at the kebab shop. With [livejournal.com profile] goncalves visiting for a course we paid £10.50 to feed 3 people with fresh juice for everyone. Awesome.
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: (15thc_worker)
...still posting bits and pieces from the summer.

This Raglan included glass painting with acrylic paints, and I asked everyone to send me pics, because I wasn't much good at getting them, at the time.

Here are some of the results:

Viscountess Suzannah - her glass in front of her Sun and Chalice scroll
2013-08-22 susannah

Lady Agnes, who modelled her ivy leaves on an example on site
Agnes glass

Lady Agatha, who put us all to shame
Glass Back view
Glass Arms 2

Still waiting for a few folks' photos, but it was very satisfying project to do with folks.

ETA: Glasses by Dom Duarte [livejournal.com profile] goncalves for members of his household - he did 5 in all.

For HE Aryanhwy


For Lady Eleanor


For himself

abendgules: (self-portrait)
Robert took on a greater share of fire-care and cooking this year, which meant less fighting and time on the field. He's still nursing his post-surgery hand, so is being very careful with how much it does.

He chose to herald the torchlight tourney, and this year Master Gottfried entered as a guest, which was splendid - he always looks awesome, and he's a pleasure to watch with a great weapon.

Robert did get to play long weapons with Gottfried and did play in the Oxford Roll, a tourney of his own making, where he records the winners' arms on, well, a roll of arms (early pic, this has grown at least 2x as long since then).

This year it was won by Pont Alarch, which was a first, and excellent for them, well deserved.

Robert also continued in his annual campaign of painting other peoples' shields, when they haven't Gotten A Round Tuit. Blank shields offend his wa, so he 'fixes' them with  a quick dose of simple heraldry.

This year it was Hakeem (argent, a chevron and a canton sable) and Harada, known to some as Clancy Jr (gules, a Japanese temple gate argent - Harada is interested in a Japanese persona) who gave in to having their shields civilly taken from them, returrned less than an hour later painted with some simple arms. Apparently a stylised temple gate looks something like Albrecht Durer's A in his signature.

Since he only brought red, black and white paint to Raglan this year, they are simple, but man they make a difference to the look of the fighting. One year he painted a long teardrop shield chevronny argent and gules, for someone in Pont Alarch, and it looked like something out of the Bayeux Tapestry, and you could see it everywhere in photos afterward.

Just as cool, though, was carving and casting a new pin on site with Joel, [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy's husband. Since J's introduction to pewter work a few months ago he's run with it, found new sources of materials and references - he came armed with a type of carve-able stone easily available in German craft shops that Robert had not tried, and that's what they used to make a new brooch. It's awesome to see them working together, and clearly J is just as keen on the process, the skills and the technical intricacies as Robert.

This pin is in the shape of an hourglass, because one of their highnesses' challenges this reign is to 'make something on site'. You can do preparation and bring materials with you, but do the work at the event - and the pin is the token of their highnesses' approval of the best item made on site at that event.

Charmingly...the token was made on-site, in Robert's small pewter crucible over a gas burner.

On other pewter fronts:

Something Robert has posted since 20 year is a clip of his pouring the 20 year token - the slush-casting process to make a hollow piece on YouTube.

Aside from having the right mould, the art is in the timing to pour the mould allow the outside to set, and then pour off the excess before it sets solid.

Also: use pure tin. Robert's notes about the process are on his wiki.

For the filming, this was my first try at using the video option on our ageing camera and I'm reasonably pleased at the outcome. Next time, I'll turn off the stupid washing machine before recording.
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: (home sweet canvas home)

One super aspect for me at Raglan was coaching shooting with two young archers, [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher's eldest A. and Floris and Hannah's eldest E. 
Both were attentive and careful, and seemed to really enjoy the shooting even with rain. A persisted in shooting even in a downpour that soaked her through, and her efforts were rewarded - she had a group of 4 arrows that you could circle with your thumb and forefinger, and thus TRM named her their archery champion. Pretty cool.

Apparently E had gotten the shooting bug at Double Wars this year. After a quiet morning of shooting with me, Floris and Hannah went offsite to get their daughter equipment of her own at the nearest pro shop. Whenever I saw her off the range, she was shooting her toy bow with plunger arrows (usually at her brother), so she's clearly got archery on the brain. 

The great Syllabbubb

[livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham wanted to test a medieval recipe for syllabub (a mix of white wine and heavy cream, whipped) whereby you whip the cream by pouring it into a bowl from a great height - like two storeys. Really!

My sweetie took this experimental archeology into hand, and after duly practicing pouring with water, poured two pints of whipping cream into a bowl filled with a bottle of white wine.  from the top of the bridge (linked to [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy's LJ for the photo).

And good gall-dang, doesn't it work brilliantly!

It appears that the pouring the cream off the bridge into wine aerates the cream and sets it in bubbles, so you end up with a huge alcoholic froth on top and a boozy beverage underneath.

[livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer spooned some into his tall pass-glass, and we took turns getting silly frothy moustaches. It was better than any milkshake. 

Gracie the greyhound, the perfect pavilion accessory

Gracie belongs to [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher, and has been part of the household less than a year. She's a retired runner, and has the sweetest temperment imaginable. She seems very happy to be towed around by excited kids, and isn't bothered by outbreaks of love and fuss. Though being nourished on what [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher called biologically appropriate raw food (BARF), Gracie actually seemd to prefer her duck mince heated through and cooked for her, and was not above snarfing crunchy bacon rinds on offer.

She looked perfect, flopped as only greyhounds can with their whole bodies, snoozing outside our pavilion.

She had to move for awhile during one day, when the nice CADW staffer came by to ask if we could please move her delicious snack (a half a sheep's head) out of sight - apparently it was a bit too medieval for some visitors' tastes.

Gracie's one failing was assuming that everyone would be as delighted to meet her as she was to meet them - including the castle cat, Tibbs. Tibbs has taken over the role from the much loved Edward and Beatrice, castle cats, welcome wagons and mighty bacon-hunters of past years. She's kept company by Black Meg (all black, unsurprisingly), and the two of them are much more low-key than either Edward or Beatrice were, though apparently excellent mole-hunters.

Tibbs was profoundly unimpressed by G's assumption, and gave G's face and ear some serious swatting, resulting in anxious swabbing of Gracie's head by worried little girls. The cat, with its bottle-brush tail retained, sat with its back to us, tail extended, behind a fence marked PRIVATE. It was as close to '*** off' as a cat can get.
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: (armory)
The late afternoon, for me, wrapped up with preparing for court. In a way, it was easy, since I've managed several elevations. It felt a bit odd, though, organising my own - isn't someone supposed to fix this for me? But in the end, I think I got a ceremony that suited, and that was visually striking, in line with my own fondness of good court.
I opted for the 'four peers speak' style of ceremony - partly because I quite like it, partly because it's familiar to most attendees. 

The speakers were Master Floris and Mistress Hannah, together, for Pelicans; Sir Alaric for knights; Mistress Nerissa for Laurels; and Countess Elsa [livejournal.com profile] cameleopard (in a letter read by HG Alessandra Melusine) for order of the Rose. 
To this I added two further letters: one from my own Pelican, Brand Thorwaldsson [livejournal.com profile] black5sugars, read by Master Etienne, and one from my friend Dame Sarra Graeham, who introduced me to the Society. 
Sanzmerci herault [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher read Sarra's letter (Lynette knows Sarra from Ealdormere) and L did her best Sarra Graeham impression, aiming to recreate Sarra's thoughtful inflection and timing. 
I asked TRM to name me Dame Genevieve, as I'm fond of the style 'Dame', over 'Mistress'. It's a popular style in Ealdormere, where most of my favourite women peers were so named, including Enid and Sarra.

As I'm not a martial peer, I also asked to swear fealty not on the sword but on my own herald's staff, given to me by Vitus and Eleanora last year, made by Lord Vrank: it's a caduceus, as befits a messenger, and Vrank made one each for Robert and me when we were made Heralds extraordinary.
Some clothing-staging bits, in which best laid plans go pear-shaped (as they say here) 

I felt it was important to wear white at an elevation, as the knights used to wear a plain white gown after their ritual vigil and bath.

I started a new white front-laced gown in silk and linen, very simple lines. But the silk I had required interlining, because it didn't have enough body for a very fitted garment. This required basically cutting out two gowns and sewing them together as one, plus cutting and sewing a bodice lining for more support.

I had finished the machine sewing and was starting the hand-finishing...and realised after an hour of the hands sewing that I didn't have enough hours remaining before the event to finish. It's still hanging in my doorway, waiting for attention.

I don't do all-nighters for sewing. My R. elbow has started complaining (the hand that holds my sewing steady), and it's aggravated by handsewing and knitting. I'll have to be more picky about what I hand-sew in future.

SO: I wore a white undertunic I already owned, and made a 3/4 length cyclas (sleeveless overgown) in very light white wool - had to piece the hem to get the length I wanted, and brought it, unfinished to the event. I managed to tack the neckline facing one afternoon, and [livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham and [livejournal.com profile] kirieldp sat in the encampment and did the final hemming half an hour before court. That, plus wimple, veil, coronet and heraldic cloak was the final elevation outfit.  The veil was silk, very floaty, and really did billow in the breeze.

 [livejournal.com profile] badgersandjam called it my 'novitiate outfit', which was apt, though that part of the effect was unintentional - what I wanted was modest, white and female clothing. I didn't even try it on together til I was dressing for court, and found the cyclas is a close fit; if I want to wear it again it will need side slits.

It felt a bit cobbled-together to me, but Robert said it looked great: simple, elegant, like a 13th c statue. :-)

Another couple of pics from [livejournal.com profile] badgersandjam: me in court, reading in a scroll, and Robert, being his handsome self.

I've always liked the effect in coronations of taking off one's personal arms (rolling up banners, setting aside shields) in favour of the regional arms, and then resuming them on stepping down. I also liked katherine kerr's (from Lochac) notion of approaching the Crown in her shift only, bareheaded and barefoot...but I wasn't quite so brave.
So as a display of stripping off I approached the throne with coronet and cloak, and then took them off, so it was just me, in white, before the crown.
The kingdom Pelican cloak used for most elevations is deep blue velvet, with the Pelican on the back, and the breast. Robert said the effect was excellent dramatic theatre - a white figure receiving the Marian blue cloak. So that's in keeping with my taste for good court.
It's hard to go wrong with the backdrop, really.  

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: (home sweet canvas home)
I'm trying to keep this all straight in my head, but it's jumbling up in the longer event.

So far:
Wed - putting up pavilions, lots of rain
Thurs - lots of rain overnight, archery, more rain, marshalling ransom tourney, salon, passage of arms
Friday - lots of rain overnights, flooding, near collapse of the royal pavilion, the Miracle of the Drains in our encampment,

What I'd left out of Friday was the morning fencing Progress through the castle, whereby her Majesty [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy, in a borrowed helm and chain shirt, armed with rubber band guns, is accompanied by a group of fencers through different scenarios to reclaim the castle from bandits.

With the wet weather, and the fighters occupying the fountain court, the fencing concentrated on the gatehouse scene and the bridge-to-the-tower, which are excellent fun, and the shortened trip meant everyone could take part attacking or defending on multiple tries, first in twos then in threes or fours. [livejournal.com profile] hobbitomm made certain everyone had a chance to do everything, with different mixes of experienced and novice fencers together.

This scenario was first tried with HE Judith as queen, and was so much fun for everyone it's been a firm favourite ever since - I enjoyed it immensely as princess myself.

I opted to marshal this scenario, so as to gain some experience marshalling melee (I've been trying to complete my MiT requirements for awhile). Again, the youth of the fencing community made the most of death from behind, but [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy managed to reach the tower all the attempts but one, which says a lot for her defenders. One of them included the Lady heir of the principality Lena, who did some defending in her own right.

Friday evening was court - the last court of Clancy and Ursula as P&P investiture of the heirs of the principality Richard and Lena the red. C&U opted to hand over the coronets to the Crown, and depart, leaving Ary and Paul as prince and princess of Insulae Draconis for about five minutes. (I was reminded at this point of an investiture of Diane and Cordigan, briefly, where the Midrealm queen toyed with the prince, saying she'd always liked the title of princess of Ealdormere.)

As it was drizzling, no scrolls were handed out at this court, but many honours, including PCS for a trio of sisters. Their parents had already received their farewell awards, but in this case the crown opted to honour the girls (aged 7-ish to 13) as well, which was well received. Certainly the family will be sorely missed in Flintheath.

...and it was my call to vigil. I'd put on my best new gown, the russet and black early 16th c one with the silly hat, and had to carry the puddle-hem skirt around me through the castle. I'm really happy with this gown - and I was winked at by *two* different peers of the realm. Golly.

[livejournal.com profile] goncalves and I had decided earlier in the event that one of the 'finished' rooms in the castle would be best for a vigil - it had previously served as a scribing room.

I felt a bit weird, actually asking other people to sort this, because it felt like the kind of work I typically did - oh, you need  a Raglan room furnished? ok, I'll find the banners and stuff - so I wasn't so much sorting it, as asking [livejournal.com profile] goncalves if *someone* was sorting it. (The weirdest part was coming upon an impromptu 'meeting' of my friends, who were all Pelicans - they were all standing together, talking amongst themselves - and I wondered 'should I go talk to them? or should I let them finish their meeting?')

At any rate - I was escorted to vigil by [livejournal.com profile] goncalves, Floris and Hannah, and all the other Pelicans followed along. It felt quite strange not staying for the end of court. And I found the room hung with banners, with a table laid with sweets, candles and drinks, and seating for three (or more if people were friendly). It was lovely, and wonderfully strange at the same time - this is for me? really? *really*? Wow.

I'll not go into the vigil in detail - everyone's is different, and I think mine was blessed with friends and goodwill.

I was amazed, charmed and humbled by the number of people who came to speak to me - who waited patiently in poor weather to tell me their thoughts and wish me well. Fortunately, there was an adjoining room for holding the beautiful vigil book [livejournal.com profile] maryf had made me - and somewhere dry to write in it - and [livejournal.com profile] goncalves ' gambling den was right next to it, so if people got bored they could pass their time and lose their money in good company. We left the jug of beer there at the end of the evening.

It was a mix of serious considerations, and simple happy wishes. I was charmed by how some folk took their responsibility to advise me very seriously - people I'm not especially close to. There were a couple of themes that were touched on several times, which hints at their importance overall. And little can compete with HG Elffin's advice, of course. 

There were no 'best' visits, but interesting ones were from people who brought questions - the shire of Pont Alarch visited en masse, and asked questions, which was excellent, and I hope I did them justice. It was hard to keep to the time limit Floris set, but I appreciated him keeping time so that others could speak as well.

As asked, the doorkeepers (Floris and Robert) closed the vigil at midnight; I'd said I wanted to go to bed and not stay up all night so as to be some use the next day, and they honoured that request. The rain had stopped, and the sky was packed with stars, in a way that you cannot see in the city. I felt tired, and very, very blessed, and wrapped in the warmth and the genuine-ness of the Society at its best.

It's not always like this, and I know it, so you have to treasure the times it does come through.
abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)
...not quite at midnight anymore, we're all getting old.

This was a similar format to last year, where Sir Vitus laid out a broad  'path' of torches (1 hr burn) and four tenans (himself, Robert, Duncan Forbes and Sir Alaric) held the field, and the venans issued challenges as they met each tenan.

It meant a *lot* of fighting for the tenans, particularly as there seemed about 2x as many venans as last year.

Our own forces of Thamesreach include our two newcomers from last year (Ben and Al), Gabriel de Wyck, Elliot, and young Kate, never mind the newest fighters from Coventry, and the regulars from around the principality.

Aside from some very fine fighting, the excitement of the evening was provided by 'Kev', our collective Lochac mate, who nearly passed out at the sight of his own blood when he got a graze on the eyebrow, inside his helm. The prince thought he was concussed he was so woozy, and I went all round the houses finding appropriate event staff to treat him.

Kev was fine, in the end, but face wounds always bleed like crazy, and make everyone jumpy.

Navigating a puddle-filled castle in the dark, in Dutch clogs, is exciting all on its own!
abendgules: (Default)
...courtesy of [livejournal.com profile] badgersandjam*.

I wore my heraldic cloak and visc circlet to approach the thrones, but took them off before kneeling.

I wanted the impression of setting aside my honours, so as to approach the Pelican investiture as 'just' Genevieve.

Robert held my cloak and circlet for the ceremony.

view of my white gowns for elevation 
I'm promised more pics soon, as HE Ursula took a great many on my behalf. Looking forward to seeing them.
abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)
Thursday: Later that day was the salon (not, as HG Sir Alaric called it, a 'saloon', which is a different social setting that only he attended!) discussion, at which we threw around the ideas about the ideal courtier. I was delgighted to find people trickling in, for a total of 20+ bodies, from noble, to 'base, common and popular'.

HRM [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy started the stakes high with a quote from John of Salisbury, and Lynette [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher replied with a serious challenge. I think it would have ended there, had it not been for HG Sir Elffin, who stepped in with questions as a 'humble country knight', and got the talk rolling. Circulating some platters of treats also helped. [livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer and [livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham did their usual wonders, feeding us a steady supply of fritters and treats, sweets and savouries.
In all, I think we talked for over an hour on assorted topics, with the leading ideas bouncing back and forth. What I took away from it was:
- the primacy of the arts of combat; without knowledge (and, for the original authors, proficiency) of these, one cannot be a competent courtier
- the importance, for our current middle ages, of leadership - except that 'leadership' as we think of it - leading by example, the leader who serves the body of people - is much more a modern idea than a medieval one. There is a glaring exception of course - the example of Jesus Christ, the servant-leader - but precious few emulate him to that degree, even within the church, as Elffin pointed out.
- [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher argued that 'leadership' as a term is unknown in the medieval writings, but Etienne stated that Machiavelli used it, and so we might follow his writings in this regard. 
- we briefly discussed whether or not women could be courtiers and peers, but there wasn't much heart in really thrashing this one out. :-)
The discussion came to a fairly natural ending, I think, and I thanked everyone, and drank more watered wine. Whew!

Over the rest of the event, I found people taking time to say they'd enjoyed the talk, even if they didn't speak up themselves. It certainly showed that our ideas of what a medieval leader is (if not a courtier) range widely - HE Clancy is convinced that all nobles were effectively mercenaries, while Robert (unsurprisingly) does not see that same view. Sir Elffin said it was among the three most enjoyable such talks he'd attended. And her Majesty was delighted, and 'serving where the Queen can see you' is always an asset. :-)
From the 'meta' aspect of the discussion, though, it occurred to me that I've read shamefully few of the 'mirrors for princes' - medieval advice books intended for leaders. They are a genre unto themselves, and there's examples all the way through our period, even well before print technology. I was delighted, and humbled, by how many people came prepared for discussion, debate, complete with references. 
So from that, I've proposed a sort of medieval book club, focusing on the mirrors for princes books we have access to - one with a leisurely pace, aiming to read one book at a time, and then discuss it at coming events. 
I'm aiming for the books that are easy to find, either online or in used bookshops, and it may be supported with a blog, to accommodate those who aren't able to reach the events.

So we're starting with 'Book of the Courtier', which inspired me with the idea, and is available in both online and paperback format, in different translations - and we'll see where the discussion leads.
So far, most of the interest has been from within Insulae Draconis, but I'm sure the idea can travel, and there's no obligation for me to drive the whole thing. If people want to meet more locally for their own discussion, that would be brilliant - maybe with a blog post to follow.
abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)
So we're all home, and now mostly dried and aired out, and are (gradually) being put away. I'm still getting my usual workday routine back, but have spent most evenings slobbing after some halfhearted laundering and putting-away. 
This year we travelled in splendid spacious comfort with [livejournal.com profile] armillary, who found that renting a 3-seat small van would be £200 cheaper than an estate car for the days requested. Go figure. So we actually brought all our camping kit home, instead of stashing it in the VitusVagon as usual - probably for the best, as a great deal of it needed drying out. 
Why, you ask? Ah, well, we can thank Wales' lovely liquid sunshine.
Our travel was uneventful, with most Londoners still avoiding roads after months of predictions of travel chaos during the Olympics from TfL. [livejournal.com profile] armillary kept remarking on the fine conditions, and I kept knocking on wood or wood-like substances. It doesn't do to tease the London travel gods. 
We arrived at teatime to find the site heavily windblown; while waiting for our kit to be decanted from the VitusVagon we helped Matthewe Baker set up his enormous pavilion, which was taxing in the serious wind. I was very glad of extra hands to hold ropes and hammers for stakes!
Our own pavilion, blessedly, was its usual pleasure to put up - 17 minutes from staking out with magic string to last pole, including a quick canvas repair at one of the loops. I was a bit alarmed by the 'play' in the centrepole and spars; this may have been the harshest test yet for our pav, but it held up. Hurrah for oak centrepoles.
That evening's meal was courtesy of the chippie, and fish and chips never tasted so good after hours of wrestling with canvas and wood in the wind and rain.
We crawled into bed early. As much as I wanted to visit, I now know I'm better off with a decent night's sleep at events.
Thursday started promising, but midway it started to rain, rain, rain. We were caught just near the end of an IKAC, and had to take a break to keep ourselves from total drenching, vs getting just soaked. I was amazed as many people stubbornly stayed to shoot; it was getting pretty uncomfortable, and the straw butt had soaked up water like a sponge and was danged if it was giving back any arrow points!
It was a great relief to get back to the campsite for midday dinner, and a not-terribly-medieval cup of tea.
In the afternoon I think I armed to catch Mssr Cernac's C&T class but only caught the tail end of it, but it meant I was available to marshal Sir Vitus' ransom rapier tourney - which proved to be a sort of freeform fountain-court-of-treachery, with death-from-behind thrown in. The only aspect that slowed it down was the handing over of tokens, requiring people to take gloves off, put hands in pockets and pouches, find slippery pearl tokens, hand them over to ransomer. 
With the death from behind proving so popular with the youngest fencers, it was very tempting to treat the tourney like a pantomime (HE'S BEHIND YOU!) but after the first couple of deaths I decided to leave them to it. 
abendgules: (Default)
...as I'm now called to vigil as companion of the Pelican, to give answer to the Crown at Raglan Ffair in August.

bits about the day )
Her highness [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy held a brief court - receiving a new student herald into the college (Heinrich Polonius), acknowledging Nesta's accomplishments, and bidding her well on her journey...and inviting me to vigil. Ary had scribed a beautiful little writ on parchment, to call me to give an answer at Raglan, which I hope she'll post in public. (Robert suggested I pounce the other side and write an answer!)

And we agreed that Raglan is going to be a very fine event, and a very busy one. :-)

I found myself circled by wellwishers of Thamesreach and of the event. I hadn't realised how many people, along with me, were thinking of an elevation. [livejournal.com profile] exmoor_cat offered a lovely impromptu gift of a bottle of his blackberry wine, which I'm looking forward to trying (sooner the better, as he warned the cork may not stay put for long under pressure).

Approaching the weekend, I felt tired; from work, from family stuff, from general life, and not really feeling up to being 'on', travelling right after work, setting up camp, and being sociable. Just the anticipation of Edith and Thomas' excellent 'garden' feast, and seeing a few people I'd not seen lately, had kept me going - left to my own devices I'd have spent the weekend at home.

It must be a trend: I'd seen Kathryn Hebenstreitz put on vigil at last Double Wars, even as she'd been telling her friends she wanted to go home; I saw my friend Helen [livejournal.com profile] buttongirl called to vigil in her underdress and sandals (and her a clothier). So I feel at least I'm in good company, standing up in court in my sweaty fencing gown and hood.

So: if Raglan did not already have a great appeal to those who know it, know of it, or have heard of it...I urge you to consider attending, for the splendour of the court, and to counsel me as I consider my answer to the Crown.

Raglan Ffair registration
abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)
Happily, [livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham took pics of this cupboard, that made such a difference to the kitchen setup. I can recommend it to anyone who does flat-pack furniture for medieval camping. You'll have to consult Paul or Thomas on assembly, but I think it's reasonably self-explanatory.


abendgules: (Default)

August 2016

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