abendgules: (self-portrait)
Since I've started reading news in Another Place, I post less. Sigh.

I had an excellent Double Wars: it's the big spring-early summer Drachenwald event in southern Nordmark, where you catch up with so many friends and get to play with people from outside your own region.

This year the event moved sites, to a 'new' location (in quotes because it was one of the early venues, but has much improved since then), and this site is very promising.

There's fewer indoor spaces at this site, but much, much more camping space, with lots of room to grow for a bigger event, while still offering catered food all event, loads of activity space, and a sauna and hot tub.

The biggest 'complaint' was lack of hot showers. The water heaters were a bit underpowered for the demand (guessing that boy scouts don't shower as often?) so most showers after about 8am were free//// brisk and refreshing.

Having a hot tub sat outside the sauna, where you could gaze up at the stars of southern Nordmark, compensated pretty well for me, though.

It was also blessed with almost perfect weather for 10 days straight; warm, sunny early 20s during the day, cool and brisk clear nights. This, after snow squalls and rain and hail the week before, both in England and in Sweden. I'd packed to be wet and grumpy for a week, and found myself shedding layers and begging sunscreen from better-prepared friends.

It'll be 'the really excellent weather year', I think, in peoples' memories.

We flew in to KPN via a real airline that allows baggage, and took the train rest of the way with the last stretch being extended by a few hours, from not knowing local train times or taxi habits. We compensated with a fine pizza in the small town nearest the site while waiting for an available cab.

On site, we stayed in one of the rooms, and were welcomed by friends old and new.

Best bits:
- introducing people who'd not attended Double Wars before round to my friends, and seeing them enjoy the event for themselves

- seeing a friend who has recovered from a stroke last year attend: she's quit smoking, lost weight and looks amazingly well considering her recent health history.

- smooth running courts with well-received awards - happy acknowledgement for recognitions well deserved. The hard work was done by Lady Agnes, TRM's herald, but I got in enough scroll reading and heralding to keep my heart happy and feel connected to the business of the event. And of course got to oogle scrolls up close.

- running a class where at least 1/2 attendees were new scribes: I passed around samples of heavy paper, perg and samples of parchment so everyone could write on them and 'feel' the difference between them. I also talked through different qualities of parchment (passing round samples), how to use pounce, what's in it. It was no contest really - the parchment won out hands-down. :-)

- taking part in the Laurels prize tourney: this event was basically a display where artisans brought their current works, and everyone else gets to ask them about it. I bought the 2 Arabic scrolls (promissory and finished work) to explain what was special about them and the process, and got lots of kind comments on the work. The one Arabic reader in the crowd even said nice things too.

- fencing went well this year: the new Masters of Defense offered to 'rent' themselves out for training for cash and gifts towards their order, for regalia and 'stuff'. I booked Master Fardang, who is also left-handed, for advice on how to make the most of my stature and leftie-ness, and had an excellent hour discussion, working through skills, and sparring. I gave him cash, plus 3pcs of real parchment as donation.
Over the next couple of days, I shared this advice with others when we were sparring to explain what I was working on, and had a lot of fun 'just' sparring, with people who were of all skill levels.

As it worked out, I didn't open my C&T bag this trip.

I had one hard hit, that hurt my neck on impact. I called it, the fencer acknowledged it at end of the scenario, apologised, and I advised the fencer how to avoid hitting too hard (lifting the elbow straight up, as if you were backed against a wall - point stays level). After that scenario (one of the melees, for Knakkebrod war) I marshalled.

It's occurred to me that I could fence single, and skip melee, for the duration, til I'm more comfortable with my fencing and my own abilities. Most (but not all) excessive hits I got at Raglan last year were in melee; I think we just don't get enough practice to have the control to manage our own calibration.

- catching up with friends like P&E and their kids, A&Sk and kids, getting to know others more.

As ever the week sped by, and I was shocked when I had to pack up again. I carried in 14.5 and 19.5 kg bags, and went home w/ 2 bags at 19.5kg, with the difference made almost entirely of squeeze cheese and 1 piece of fabric. :-)
abendgules: (Cut and thrust)
prev posted to assorted media:

Greetings from Genevieve, Thamesreach rapier marshal,

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

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

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

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

I counted 6 fencers with new authorisations:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your servant,


Genevieve la flechiere
Thamesreach rapier marshal
abendgules: (armory)
Crown tourney was Oooop North last weekend, about half an hour out of Manchester, at a scout camp site, where Paul and [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy won Crown.

It's a good site for the event, accepting the fact that it has no medieval anything, though the scout great hall is quite handsome with a nice fireplace.

But it's Oooop North, and it's early April. And sure enough, the wind blew, the rain blustered, and it was bloody freezing standing around.

And...Robert didn't make it. He came down w/ a cold a day before we were to leave, and was not in a fit state to travel. He certainly didn't want to sit wrapped in a cloak, watching the other kids play, having loving friends ask him why he wasn't fighting.

So he stayed home, and I went to the event on my own. I felt like I was missing something all weekend and of course I was, my sweetie. (And my circlet, because he usually packs them.)

With our withdrawing, and one other couple withdrawing with the fighter's faulty knee, the list was small at 5 couples, and even a round robin took just an hour. The outcome was what I expected: HG Sir Thorvaldr, fighting for HE Countess Tofa, and HE Pan Vitus, fighting for HE Visc Isabel, in a best of 5 which went to the full five bouts.

At the fifth, Vitus yielded the field and gave Thorvaldr the victory.

At court, the countess previously known as Tofa approached their Majesties in Japanese clothing, and was crowned princess Tomoe (To-mo-AY, I think). I believe she is the first Japanese princess in Drachenwald.

On other fronts:

Much fencing - [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher and others were keen to fence, and we had 2 guests from An Tir who were fencers, one of whom proved to be a don. So we fenced as much as time allowed, with [livejournal.com profile] hobbitomm, [livejournal.com profile] goncalves, Master Alexandre and me concentrating on authorisations.

The good outcomes were

- Alexandre and I are now fully authorised cut and thrust marshals
- we both now hold great weapon C&T authorisations

Also, my gauntlets work a treat: I used them for both single sword and two-hand sword C&T. The bell cuff helped take the edge off blows that would have otherwise hit my forearm pretty sharply, but I still take it that I need splints or hardened leather bazubands or similar.

[livejournal.com profile] hobbitomm insisted that with my gauntlets outshining the rest of my kit I should fence naked. I said wherever he led, others will follow. Oddly, he didn't take me up on the idea.

On the fencing kit front:

I had successfully 3R'ed my first fencing gown: that is, cut it up the sides, added large gores up to the armpit gusset, and sewn them up again, then enlarged the sleeves the same way.

If I'd planned it better I'd have cut open the gown from cuff to hem at the side seam and simply made a very long (pieced) gore that ran from cuff up arm through armpit and down the side. But I didn't plan that far ahead.

As it is, I've inadvertently ended up with something that looks very like the lesser known Greenland gowns that have wide-top gores that run right to the sleeve (rather than pointy ones that end at the waist or hip). So in all it's a good result.

Armed with the C&T marshalling card, I can now go to Double Wars and pester the senior fencers for field time so my experience can better match my warrant card.

On planning for DW front:
Their highnesses of Nordmark William and Isabetta attended Crown and were their usual lovely selves.

Isabetta is gatekeeper, and William is head of combat for this year's wars, positions they took on well before 'accidentally' winning the principality tourney in March.

I enquired about combat classes at Double wars- there's no shortage of arts classes but I've not seen any fighting or fencing teaching planned. So I'm going to pester for instruction. I can't go to Nordmark 10 days and not get something out of it.

Sir William said plainly, 'if someone came to me and said, I want to learn, can you take an hour to teach me, I'd be a fool to turn them down'. William is conventionally last man off the field, and I've never known him to knowingly refuse to help someone.

On the spreading bread on the waters:
I was really happy to see Lady Tamara, the founder of the Bulgarian shire St John of Rila. The shire she's built there is growing and thriving, and she looks very happy with it, though equally happy to no longer be seneshal.

I'd sent her a handout on heralding tournaments for one of the newer members, and she says it was just, just what he'd needed.

He'd read it through and written the tournament instructions out in a small book to refer to for tournaments and had put it to use at their recent spring event.

It's very charming to have stuff you do well received, even in small doses.

Unfortunately in the wind and busy day I dried out, and came down with a ferocious tension headache from dehydration, to the point of nausea. By the time I realised what had happened, my head was engulfed and my shoulders were rigid.

I packed up my kit at 8pm and left the feast hall and lay down, but basically didn't get up again except to change out of my gown. It took over night plus a lot of vitamin I to clear.

Sunday morning started well with [livejournal.com profile] nz_bookwyrm's coffee service: he brought his portable stove to make Turkish coffee a la Mangy Mongol.

We then had some time to fence: Asbiorn and I did a dagger authorisation for a new fencer, and he and I warmed up while Catlin trained someone new, and I did sword and dagger passes with Lucrezia, which was great fun. She's a very methodical student and wants to talk through moves, just the way I do, which I appreciate.

I was among the last to leave site with the event staff, and it felt like a long trip home to my sweetie who was getting far more attentive Haggis-care than he really wanted through the day.

By the time I got home she was in a mood for Out and Personal Time, thank you, no cuddles required.

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