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.

Archery

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.

Fencing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Though it's a trek, this site shows every sign of being a lovely venue for fair-weather events. Many people remarked on how pleasant it was compared to in February! which isn't a great surprise. In heavy weather it would not have been so charming but we were blessed this weekend, and I think we made the most of it.
abendgules: (herald_cat)
...originally published to the principality mailing list (retro, I know, just call me old-fashioned).

----------------------

Greetings from Genevieve,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regards,

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

We've already booked one of the apartments.

It's so cool to be excited about an event months away.
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
...well, really because I forgot to post it to LJ, after posting it to DWL.

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

Rob's Youtube

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I'm sorely bummed, as I was looking forward to fencing in another Welsh castle.
abendgules: (Confesse)
Crown tourney looks like it's coming together - weekend after next.

Cross your fingers that it doesn't turn tooooo wet, and we'll have an excellent event in Caerphilly castle. Crown tourney Saturday, and then fighting, fencing and archery for all takers on Sunday.

After a masterclass in quill cutting at 20-year with Mistress Caitlin, I've been plugging away with cutting quills and using them. I'd used quills before, but Caitlin identified a few key errors in my technique, that I've been following up since June.

The biggest mistake, easiest remedied, is using the wrong part of the quill. A feather crossection is oval, and I'd been sharpening a nib out of the narrow 'end' part of the oval, rather than the wide flat bit. I just hadn't thought it through, but when you do think of it, of course you want as flat a surface as possible, to create a non-curved edge for ink.

Using a quill is fiddly-er than nibs. It's not physically harder - if anything you need a lighter touch, a lighter hand than with a metal nib and plastic pen holder - and the crispness of the thin lines are to die for.

The fiddly bit is the preparation and getting your nib to the size you want, without managing to take the whole thing off in one clumsy slice of the knife. Ask me how I know.

Most recently, after a lengthy round of trim > fiddle > test > trim > fiddle > test > argh, I settled on a hour of nib-whittling to prepare 4 nibs, getting them as close to each other in width as I could, so I could get on with scribing uninterrupted, and just change pens if I needed to. They're still wider than my smallest metal nibs, but they're as small as I can make them consistently, and they 'fit' reasonably well in a 5mm line height.

Having them ready meant I didn't end up needing them all, of course, though I do notice that I wear down the right corner of my quill faster than the left. It would be great to get to the point of being able to trim and re-use as I go, but I don't know if I can get to that point.

I lashed out on a true pen knife, courtesy of Tod's Stuff after 20 year. Man, a sturdy sharp knife makes a world of difference. Talk about a tool for the job.

I hadn't realised how dull my paper-cutting knife had grown til Caitlin pointed it out. Hopefully I won't have to sharpen the pen knife for awhile.

While in Germany in June I also bought a small pocket knife - haven't had a lot of opportunity to try it, as the pen knife is working beautifully.

So my plan is to do my forthcoming scrolls with quills barring emergency ones done in a hurry. Three quill-done scrolls so far.... all waiting on Crown for sharing online.

I thoroughly enjoyed the most recent Rivers of London book, Broken Homes by Ben Aarnonovitch. I'm noticing tighter, more piquant writing, things I hadn't seen before, that are funnier if you live in London.

Not certain if it's because it's improved (think so) or because I'm noticing more about the craft. So I'm investing in copies of the series to review and confirm.

I'm knitting again - testing a lace pattern that I've ripped out 4 times already. My past efforts should tell me that IANALK (I Am Not A Lace Knitter), but I fell in love with the idea of this pattern as a perfect present.

But: C2R? C2L? Purl into the back loop?? Stitches done differently if you're on the right or wrong side? Hunh? WTF?

I'd pack it in, except I've already bought the yarn for the project...

This weekend is likely to be made up of
- knitting
- glass painting
- lists for Crown

Livin' in London: doesn't get better than this.
abendgules: (archery)
...and it feels wonderful to be clean again, really clean. :-)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday

Thursday

Friday

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

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

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

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

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

Feast ran a bit long - it's hard to coordinate across three halls when you're cooking in yet another one! I wouldn't even want to try.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
Another very full day.

It occurred to me, on my way home, that in future I will schedule myself less so I can help and participate more.

By being booked with something every day, I didn't feel like I had a lot of time to hang out the way you'd think you would, over a four day event. Somehow I was always headed somewhere, so the opportunities to visit weren't as numerous as I'd hoped.

Nevertheless today was the day I had a class on calligraphy and I think it went ok. I have no idea how other peoples' classes went, and my hopes of getting to a few of them melted like my energy in the heat. I hope they went well!

Today was the day of great court, which their Majesties organised largely themselves, and sorted with their herald Efreydis, though I asked to run the Pelican ceremony. The court went very smoothly with their Majesties of East and An Tir processing in after Sven and Siobhan, being welcomed, and then the royal heads of Drachenwald being welcomed and giving their fealties each in turn.

Their majesties had asked for everyone to do something special, so Nordmark swore in Swedish(? I think?) Insulae draconis swore in Icelandic with Isabel speaking, Knight's crossing swore in 'Mafia' (their herald appeared to have come out of The Sopranos), Arnimetsa in Finnish. Styringheim had no herald but processed themselves in, and Gotvik promised to support the crown in 'anything fishy and anything silly'.

This was a long court - gifts, presentations, thank yous from TRM of East and An Tir, awards, short pieces of business for each region. Their excellencies of Styringheim had no business, which generated a huge cheer, and so Gotvik decided they had no business at that time either. :-) I was amazed at how patient everyone was, because it was in the full sun, and I watched the shade travel across the faces of the seated royals. I'm convinced that people will be patient for good court so long as they feel there's progress, that someone knows what's happening and there's a sense of purpose.

The ceremony for Ursula went well, and she was very well received by the circle and the populace.

Our P meeting followed immediately after court, so some people were noshing through the meeting and then went for seconds right afterward, and I got a chance to chat with Bertrik and Pietri for awhile. It meant some folks missed seeing the play, but we could hear the singing right up through the windows.

Afterward I shed a layer of wool and change headdresses (what else does one wear to a summer event in the middle of Germany but four layers of linen and a layer of wool plus a wimple and veil?) to go 'wench' in the tavern. It's the bordello night, and Baron Gottfried is raising funds for the kingdom by inviting people to 'go write recommendations' with assorted ladies of the kingdom, each emerging from the nook sweating and exhausted. It was hilarious, and I'm not certain who was having more fun, the donors or the ladies of negotiable virtue. I told Agilmar he'd succeeded in creating a medieval atmosphere like no other. :-) I haven't laughed that hard in ages.

On site there were some visiting journeymen: young craftsmen in a traditional journeyman apprenticeship, where they travel around the country for 3 years, working with whoever will hire them working in the building trades, and living on their earnings. They're not allowed to go home, carry a phone, or accumulate money during the period - it's strictly about gaining experience. They wear a traditional outfit of dark trousers, white shirt, grey vest (waistcoat) with a very 19th c cut swooping low in front, and a black brimmed hat. (The photo from the article shows them in black bellbottoms, but the guys I saw were in grey - didn't notice if they were flared.)

They were apparently working at the castle that week, and seemed pleased to find that a tavern selling beer for 1 Euro a bottle had opened for the weekend, though they were a bit alarmed to hear that it had its own brothel. :-) At least, til Gottfried got a chance to explain...
abendgules: (self-portrait)
This was the one day I got some fencing in, so I was up early hoping and praying that it would start on time. :-)

I love breakfasts at European events; it's not glamourous but it is savoury. Half a dozen different types of bread including ryes and black breads, meats and cheese, quark (kinda like yoghurt, but not), and the best coffee I've ever had out of an urn. I don't know what Germans do differently with large quantities of coffee, other than perhaps just add *lots* but it's nothing like 'conference coffee' in England. Yum.

So many fencers! and happily most of them are signed up to play in the very silly Brighthelm tourney, aka the circle of treachery - every one for themselves, but you can't kill the person immediately next to you. It's great fun, and while good fencers can do well, it can reward just about anyone lucky. We managed a few bouts of girls vs boys, but you can't rely on it! and Lady Lalli, a splendid Lanceknict lady, wins the best dressed competition. (She goes on to win the Albion tourney as well, so she's both lovely and dangerous.)

I stay around for some pickup but there's not a great deal - people are keen, but they're really feeling the heat, and even the keenest don't manage much more than 20 mins before pooping out.

Note to self: for future events, make more time to fence.

The rest of the day is mostly about court - preparing for court, changing court location at the last minute to move indoors - (spectacular thunderstorms that were threatening much of the day appear less than an hour before court), finding banners to hang in the vigil room, and lots and lots of standing.

I assist [livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer with ThorvaldR and Tofa's last court, and step in after their business ends, and before Efreydis opens their Majesties Sven and Siobhan's court. Robert processes in, in his full bishop-ish regalia to mix the oil and soil from the corners of the kingdom, and his presence changes the pace of court, and helps mark the change of royal heads very effectively.

He uses his own ampulla to hold soil, lifting each one to announce it before mixing it with oil.

Once more, I get to see some very glorious scrolls in the process, which always reminds me why I started scribing in the first place. The one on real parchment is just a delight to fondle!

At this court TRM invest [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy as Schwarzdrachen, with my cyclas (so she isn't swamped in one of the monster tabards) and with a baptism, as is appropriate. Happily we'd had a chance to test the cyclas and managed to get her vested reasonably gracefully!

And of course, I'm in prime position to see Viscountess Ursula invted to vigil: she really didn't know why she was called up, and when both their majesties stood to greet her, she was puzzled...til they called the order of the Pelican.

Even after the storm it's still very warm, and the dusk brings out mosquitoes. We swap sunscreen for bugspray on necks and ankles up to knees. I feel like I'm drinking gallons of water; I'd love to know exactly how much I do drink, but it's hard to tell.

I think it's on Thursday night/Friday morning that Vitus' tent collapses in the high wind. This is usually a very sound pavilion (large wedge with 'bell' on each side) but apparently not all the ropes were staked as usual in the hurry to get everything up, and so down it comes in the wee hours.

Vitus and Isabel were actually in a room in the castle, and Paul and Anne were using the tent. There was apparently a huge commotion with the whole camp awake trying to haul stuff out, stashing P&A in [livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer and [livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham's pavilion floor, divers alarums, etc. etc.

Why 'apparently'? Because I slept through the lot. I use earplugs when camping, and was so soundly asleep I entirely missed Anne sticking her head in our pavilion bellowing for help. (Robert was out and about visiting so wasn't on hand either - if he'd gotten up I'd possibly have noticed.)

So it was a shock to find a monster flop of a pavilion out the door in the morning.

Happily noone was hurt - it was a sort of slow-moving accident, on the accident scale. The big loss was the pottery, all carefully stored on the shelving unit, which went over in the wind, smashing lots. There will be a round of replacement shopping come autumn markets.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
One of our most painless journeys for an event: travel to Frankfurt via London City airport, the small 'business' airport in the east end, just 20 mins cab ride from our flat. No trekking via Tube to Heathrow, no 2 hr lead time before even reaching the airport. Bliss.

Frankfurt is one of the civilised cities that has a train station *at* the airport, making the next part painless too, though it's stinking hot. We spot Sir Peregrine in the airport and manage the train ticket machine ok, though with too little time to visit with him or with Ozbeg and Kat, who are somewhere in the airport.

Instead we bump into Duncan and Helena from Harplestane, who have backtracked when their train didn't go to the expected destination and are standing on a platform halfway to Witzenhausen Nord, on our way to Burg Ludwigstein.

Arriving we find the castle shuttle waiting and hand our bags in, and the shuttle drops us off in town to browse. It's a picturesque town built on a hill, with cobbled streets and small boutiques in the highstreet, and no chain stores I can see. (The Aldi, Lidl and other grocery store are on the flat wide ground on the other side of the river.)

For some reason, it feels like every fourth shop is an apothek - a pharmacy - not just here, but in Worms too, where we wrap up our trip (more later). None of them seems very large, and they're all airy and have most of their stock behind the counter - about as unlike a Boots, chock full of toiletries and cosmetics as you could picture. Apparently pharmacists here don't muck about selling makeup and shampoo, unless it's medicated. And a very helpful lady at one points out where to find lamp oil and the best groceries.

I don't know if the Germans are very concerned about their health, or they just don't have chain pharmacies that are halfway to being grocery stores the way they are in London. Certainly from the numbers, there's no shortage of pharmacists to consult.

So on to the castle - it's melting hot, high 20s C and very humid. The castle is, unsurprisingly, on a steep hill, and the valley is full of cherry trees - this is apparently the cherry capital of Germany, with a cherry queen and festival and all. [livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham and [livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer find cherries by the kg on the roadside, and they're beautifully sweet.

Blessedly the early arrivals have set up our pavilion, so we only have to set up our own bed and hangings to make it all mod con. And we have the excellent company of terafan, who is catching up with his pavalino-mates in the mostly-Insulae-Draconis encampment. It was like old times, sliding straight back into company chatting and laughing and hearing about how people recognise his stuff from the internet ('are you sure you didn't buy that? cause I saw one just like it on the internet, on this website called greydragon.org') and have no idea who he is.

He's the premier of the equestrian order in Atlantia (one of his many earlier homelands) and is one of the leading lights in equestrian activities at Gulf Wars. The opening procession, with all the royals on horseback, starts *on time* when he's in charge :-), much to the shock of some participants!

I've told him if he ever stewards the event from horseback, the way he wants to, I'll go to Gulf Wars myself to see it. It would bring the game to a new level to have the guy in charge of the encampment of a war supervising from horseback - NO GOLF CARTS.

We had the happy chance to drive with him from the site on to Worms on Sunday, and visit in the car the way we used to on long trips around Drachenwald - that alone was almost worth the price of admission.

Absolutely sweltering. It's hard to lace into a fitted gown but the skirt is cooler than my jeans.

Dinner is in the dining hall in the castle and it's our first real look at the site - again, perched on a hill, with steep stairs everywhere. Even the closest outbuilding, where breakfast and lunch are served and near the tourney field, is several steep sets of stairs from the castle. It has a small courtyard with buildings all round, and one is the indoor kitchen and dining hall, where we have great slabs of meat, sausages, pasta, and pickled salads.

We catch up there with Bartholomew and katherine from Southron Guard, who are on an extended visit travelling round Europe (unfortunately their colds caught up with them too, and they're voiceless for almost all the event, with K feeling particularly low). And see many others, including Etienne and Melisende. Etienne and Cernac are beginning to resemble each other in a way I'd never have have guessed when I met them. :-)

The Two Barons tavern, in the cellar of the main building and shaded from all directions, proves to be the coolest spot in the whole site! though I'm told the swimming was wonderfully cooling for those who were starting to suffer from the heat. To me, it felt like a heatwave, but it felt *right* - it's late June, it should be hot.
abendgules: (Mountjoy)
Before Christmas Duncan Forbes asked Robert to take part in a demo in Somerset - an annual bash mostly for reenactors, but to which they'd invited the SCA to 'feature' for combat. He agreed and we got a commitment of a small core of people to attend, including Sir Vitus and Master Paul.

It was added to the Society calendar as an event, so those of us who don't like demos could treat it like an event-in-public, which is how we treat our events at Hospital of St Cross, and at CADW sites in Wales. This is the way I can make demos palatable to myself: I'm not trying to recruit people, we're just doing our hobby where the public can see us. In this case, the public were a mix of people attending to be entertained, and reenactors having a weekend 'off'.

The SCA attendees were the core previously mentioned, plus some of the 'new' Coventry members - 'new' now meaning 'been around for about 2 years but still struggling to establish a stable shire'. Unfortunately one of their core members has taken his ball and gone home (don't know any details but that's the jist) which has left them annoyed and combat-marshal-less.

Duncan and Abhilin (now heirs to the principality) have put a lot of time and effort into this Coventry group. It has reminded me of how remarkable our club is - it emerged from student culture, and the best groups still have student enthusiasm and cheery willingness to have a go. Sometimes the best you can do is get out of their way.

They succeeded in both making me feel a bit old and crusty, but also hopeful for the club at the same time. Recruitment needs are looming large in my head these days. Hopefully Robert and I can get there in the autumn, to make ourselves useful to them.

Several people from southern Insulae Draconis daytripped for Saturday; it was a bit of a surprise to realise we wouldn't be packing up by noon Sunday but would have two shows to complete (Sunday is the big day for punters), and the encampment stayed up til closing time at 6pm Sunday. So our weekend ran a bit later than planned! but it worked out ok.

This event proved to be 'where reenactors go to let their hair down and drink' - not that they don't drink anyway, but noone was getting paid for the event, so it was distinct from most reenactment displays. The venue includes a custom-built battlefield with a palisade and rampart, and room for both jousting and gunpowder displays. The public paid to attend, and the proceeds go to the charities of choice.

The SCA demo focused on combat - unsurprising as most reenactment is focused on combat. Here's how one of the SCA-reenactor members explained it to a mostly-reenactor crowd:

http://www.livinghistory.co.uk/forums/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=32009

To give it structure, it was broadly modelled on a King Rene tourney, with a ladies' gallery as judges, tenans defending and venans issuing challenges for the pleasure of the ladies, sometimes for single combat, sometimes for 2 on 2 or 3 on 3. A structured tourney also is familiar to our audience, who are used to having a script. The heralds introduced us briefly, but compared to typical reenactment narrations explained little, and let the fighting speak for itself.

We had a good mix of people wearing very authentic kit top to toe, with newer fighters wearing plastic and tabards, which is representative of the Society.

Each demo was booked for half an hour, but they got shorter as the heat rose, and our numbers dropped over the two days. This was the warmest sunniest weekend of the year so far, and there were a lot of red noses and necklines by the end!

As an 'official' lady, I got to keep score, advise Abhilin who was doing well, and support her in her newfound job of being Lady of the Isle (princess in waiting). We chatted afterward about things to think about to prepare for being prince and princess, and reminded her of the value of good relations with her signet :-).

I realised that in some ways the demo was very 'traditional': for some it would look like the ladies only got to sit and watch, and at times I wish I still fought, to prove this view wrong. But we did have [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher as herald on the first day along with two women fighters. If we do this next year, a fencing demo would be a great asset.

My sweetie says the appeal is the violence; for an audience of reenactors, this is fast, unscripted and full-contact, all features they avoid explicitly on their battle fields. It's surprising and attention getting, and there's no mistaking the good blows.

In the evening, Sir Vitus prepared a meal for everyone: soup and dumplings, beef stew, mashed veg, chicken pies with rasperry-mustard sauce (brilliant) and meringues with mead. Man we're spoiled by good food in our circle.

Unexpected bits: we didn't bank on this taking place just a few weeks before Coronation/20 year, on both of us being sick, on Robert's surgery.

But it proved an excellent 'shakedown' of our camping routine, and of travelling with the Vitus-vagon (our main means of getting our encampment anywhere in Drachenwald). Vitus and Robert and Paul repacked the trailer carefully and efficiently, so we all now know what's in the trailer, and what we still have to sort out.

The biggest downside was camping next to what proved to be the gunpowder platform, so the 3pm show of a 15th c battle between Duke of Somerset and Jacques de Molay was punctuated with cannon fire basically right overhead at what felt like random intervals, with a narrator who made it seem like a violent pantomime. Poor Gracie the lovely [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher greyhound didn't enjoy the guns at all and needed a brisk walk away to help her cope; I didn't enjoy them much either.

As we left, the organiser came to say goodbye, and tell us how glad he was we'd attended; he'd only heard good things so far about us. From the fighters' conversations, it sounded like we'd made a positive impression on both the public and the reenactor audiences, and in this way the event was good for friendly relations with them. Having crossover members with a foot in each camp, like Master Paul, was a great asset - he knows just about everyone, and can find people to drink beer with anywhere.

Lord Duncan is keen to do this again. I'd be willing, partly to develop good PR with reenactors, and partly to see if we get any members from it, and partly perhaps to run an event that already has some structure to it - you don't have to find the event site yourself, hurrah!
abendgules: (self-portrait)
We had a very charming, and satisfying time last weekend - a day event at a historic site, within our shire borders, accessible by public transit,

...with excellent food cooked over the fire, crafts breaking out all over, some dance, some fencing,

...some beautiful weather (on a holiday weekend! the apocalypse is nigh) and the royal presence.

The event steward Elias de Lynn received his AoA, to great cheers - well deserved and well received by the attendees, who were struggling to reach the table over their own wonderfully filled bellies.

Hard to improve on, especially for our first visit.

We got on well with the site managers, invited them to dinner, and they seemed quite happy with us. We're floating the idea of crashing in the modern building adjascent (heated, has a tea kitchen, AND a shower!)...and if you prefer, you can book a room at the hotel next door. The pub is ok, serving Tetleys and London Pride, so we could cope.

I've already had one person sidle up to me to talk about an autumn event, which we'll have to shoehorn in between Raglan and Crown tourney, but it sounds very plausible. We would be very happy, I think, to start holding 2 events a year at this site.

It was also lovely to see Don Domin d'Alsace again, passing through en route to Nordmark for meetings, and Double Wars. He's been made Laurel, for 'divers arts', primarily swordsmithing and clothing, though I suspect his rich knowledge of historic fencing also influenced the Outlands circle. We had fine chats, and he recalled talking to [livejournal.com profile] larmer at last Pennsic, where Larmer had gone fencing, which was a wonderful shared connection.

He's looking forward to playing for the prefect's prize at Double Wars, drawing on his altitude training in Colorado for extra stamina. I hope he has as marvellous a time as I did at my last DW.

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