Fields of Gold and 2017 in review.

My last event for the year was Fields of Gold in the Barony of Politarchopolis – there was a fair degree of turn about as I’m sure you all recall I attended my first event of 2017 in Polit at 12th Night. Instead of carpooling with pointy hat types, I travelled to FoG alone just myself and several Dresden Files audio books. I had the good pleasure of being hosted by the incredibly hospitable Don Lorcan who promptly twisted my arm and forced good drink, food and semi-drunken sword-fighting discussions. It would have been worth the trip for that alone.

A small amount of rapier gear for FoG. 3 pikes is reasonable, right?

But Fields of Gold was spectacular, flooding aside. I am grateful I wasn’t camping on-site as the flooding and mud was rather severe (and a personal reminder to myself to actually pack boots so my only shoes don’t get soaked through). I got to spend some time in the kitchen helping some culinary heavyweight champions, I fought in the Rose tournament on Sunday and had a lot of fun, taught some anti-Pike technique and got to catch up with friends, some I only get to see once or twice a year. I absolutely intend to be back next this year.

The Feast at Fields of Gold was an amazing experience with an exceptional quality of heraldic display, setup, food quality and presentation and entertainment. I had the pleasure of spending the feast with the Company of the Dead Red Griffin and promptly attempted to drown them all in alcohol. Great company and an amazing feast.

This year had it’s ups and downs, both SCA wise and personally. I came to the realization I’m physically more broken than I was previously willing to admit. I pushed myself through extreme pain thresholds, abused painkillers well past safe dosages and used alcohol to remain pain free and realized I’d rather abuse my body and be effective than stay safe and be a burden. I’m stuck with a feeling that if I can’t offer meaningful contribution in the SCA I shouldn’t bother attending. Not the ideal mindset, I know, but one that has more to do with my own personal issues than anything from the SCA.

I made new friends, pissed people off, learnt new things, made mistakes, and otherwise continued to process complex chemical reactions to sustain myself as a carbon based life form.

17th English Cookbook

I started a new area of professional study this year which gave me access into some rare documents and materials locally. One of the highlights was being able to see a 14th century French book of hours and to read and digitize a cookbook from 1628 England.

Book of Hours, 14th Century France

I began some research into SCA period bookbinding and printing techniques as a result of my studies into collections and conservation. I think there are a few rabbit holes down there I’d like to explore, if even just to create some story and schtick. Cooking wise I only served as cook at one event this year, a detraction from my usual feast(s), but I haven’t felt the motivation or drive to cook a feast locally. I have a few SCA period research and redaction projects in the works and I hope I can present some new material this year and perhaps submit an article or two to be published in a newsletter.

I spent more time this year looking at historical fencing manuals and a few lectures on YouTube. I got a lot of mileage out of this presentation from Master Don Mateo Montero de Madrid. Fairly simple ideas but it helped me focus a bit more. I was asked to do some fencing teaching this year, both locally and interstate and I really enjoyed working with people on some of the basics. I also picked up my authorizing rapier marshal tick among others and authorized my first new fighter. That was a really enjoyable experience. Other than that though, I feel I’ve hit a bit of a wall with my fencing. My chronic injuries came into effect more this year as I previously mentioned and where I felt comfortable running around a site working loaded on painkillers and a shot or three of scotch, that’s not something I’ll allow myself to do on the combat field. In 2018 I’ll have to look at ways to get more involved in fighting and to deal with the pain better while maintaining good technique.

I also failed miserably to get any sewing or new garb done this year. The help was there, the fabric is there, but I ran out of time, effort and willpower. I began sewing my own stuff in the SCA because I don’t have the budget for custom garb, I’m not the figure for a lot of the off the rack items and I’m self conscious enough to want to look good. The problem I ran into was one of having a lack of spoons to juggle my own projects with the work for others I’d taken on and my own personal life – so to cut stress and save time, I threw my own sewing aside to focus on officer/stewarding/other duties. I don’t regret that for an instant, I enjoy officer/stewarding/other duties much more than I enjoy sewing, but I do wince a little at myself and my dated garb every time I go to an event.

A ramshackle attempt at last minute late period with assorted costume pieces.

I put together a few odds and ends to make a pseudo late period outfit to attend a small event here in Innilgard and while I was fairly self conscious about wearing something more costume than garb I did enjoy the change from tunics. One of my goals is develop a late period wardrobe to go along with my tunics so I have the option based on what I want to be doing, what the event is, etc.

I have a few plans for 2018 and 2019 but for most of those you’ll have to wait and see.

Let me leave you with the cheesiest awesome video I found in 2017

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