Site updates!

So as I’m sure most of my regular readers would have noticed, I updated the design of the website to go with the New Year. I’m quite happy at a few of the small changes I made and how it has come out.

I’ve also written some new content for the website, some ideas I’ve bounced around and worked on slowly for a few months now.

First I wrote a short introductory guide for people interested in assisting in feast kitchens. It’s by no means as complex or indepth as some of the other guides out there, but it provides a good start to people who have no idea where to begin.

I also spent some time finishing a short guide on applying for office positions in the SCA. I’ve written at least half a dozen in my time in the SCA and I’ve only been unsuccessful once (I attribute my success to picking jobs no-one else wanted). I’ve also read a ton from well written multi-page documents covering every possible type of experience to a short line of “I will do it”. I know what I personally prefer to see.

As always I’m open to constructive feedback or questions on either of these, I plan to add some more writings this month, suggestions on topics are welcome.

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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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Fencing Fest, La Prova Dura and the end of an era (tongue in cheek)

This post is a bit of a combined one as I haven’t written in a while.

You may ask, what have I been doing, where have I been? The real question is, where haven’t I been?

First, I drove up to River Haven for Fencing Fest. Adelaide – Ipswitch took me back to back 12 hour days of driving solo each way for a total of 48 hours+ on the road over the weekend. It was a good challenge, but as much as I want to drive solo for a while.

I did have the pleasure of enjoying a bunch of the Harry Dresden audio books along the way which made the trip very fast, compared to past years road adventures.

Along the way I stopped to see the CSIRO Dish in Parkes, if you’re ever there, it’s worth the look.

At Fencing Fest itself, I got to take classes in Spanish fencing, some of which still hurt my brain to put into practice, I got to participate in three journeyman prizes and a Guild of Defence tournament as well as do some marshalling. I got to meet new people, get to know others better and had a really relaxing time, even if my fighting was fairly crap. I learnt a lot and had fun doing so – which made the trip worthwhile for me.

I also plied several characters with dubious quantities of booze. Good times.

Finally this weekend I attended La Prova Dura here in Innilgard. I only managed to make it for the one day, in between doing Taxi for wayfarers and a bad case of hayfever I didn’t feel up for a whole weekend – but I got to see some really cool fights, excellent displays of heraldry and armour and a lot of courage. I really admired the three gentles who took to the field with polearms – it showed a lot of flair, was excellent to watch and lead to some really amusing moments.

Photo: H Taylor

I had the pleasure of stepping down after two years as Baronial Seneschal (not pictured: the bottle of Gin their Excellencies gave me among other tokens of thanks). Haven been given the symbolic alcoholic sock, I escaped court a free elf, only to be called back up by their Majesties…

Photo: H Taylor

…Who apparently saw fit to admit me into the Order of the Golden Tear. It was an honour to receive and I hope I do it justice. There was a bit of turnaround to the whole experience as I received my AoA two years ago at the last La Prova Dura when King Steffan and Queen Branwen reigned, to receive another award from them at this La Prova Dura was a nice touch of follow on.

It feels like just yesterday I was stepping up as Baronial Seneschal, but at the same time passing it on with the Office and Barony in good standing feels like a weight off the shoulders. There were tough times and fun times and overall I learnt a lot and can only hope the process hasn’t made me too bitter and jaded.

That’s it for now, I should hopefully have some more updates to this website soon, I’m reworking all my A&S and looking at developing some basic rapier guides – no promises on a date but stay tuned.

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Meerkats invade Krae Glas

A week ago I had the pleasure of being part of the Meerkat advance strike force into the Barony of Krae Glas. We crossed the border in the dead of night and proceeded to advance into the Barony. Our totally not prepared victims met us on the Saturday as we proceeded to run a rapier training day, full of fighting, teaching, coaching and just general tom-foolerly. In addition, we had the pleasure of being taught by several notables from Krae Glas, so the education-invasion wasn’t entirely one-sided.

On the Sunday, after what felt like the worlds longest drive, we reached the Hamlet of Grœnahólar within the Barony of Krae Glas and proceeded to be entertained by very pretty horses and skilled riders. It happened to be my first event watching equestrian and I found it very entertaining. Master Yevan held the field against two fighters from Krae Glas, eventually moving into a full on team melee, after which we began the challenge tournament. Eastern fighters were encouraged to challenge Meerkats with three passes per challenge, different weapon combinations each pass.

There was an offhand severed hand, war chicken and pig among the usual dagger, buckler, rotella, longsword suspects.

The forces of the East narrowly defended their lands with their Baronial Rapier Champion taking the day.

Overall it was a great trip full of great hospitality in a great Barony. I’ll be visiting again and looking forward to the fights.

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Lamb-a-palooza I

I had the pleasure to work at and attend the first Lama-a-palooza the other weekend, a first time event for one of my friends, that just happened to spiral into a massive Royal event with over double the regular expected numbers.

That said, it went as close to perfect as any SCA event I’ve attended – mainly due to the large amount of help given by the attendees. I got to see large numbers of my friends receive well deserving and in some cases, well overdue awards and I had an enjoyable day cooking the lamb spit to feed the hungry mob.

Seriously, it was a hungry mob. I’m starting 2 hours earlier at 8am and hiring a lion tamer with a whip and a chair to keep my food safe next time. That said, we fed everyone, had minimal waste/leftovers and I didn’t hear any criticism over the food quality or quantity. I’m pleased.

I cooked these lamb roasts sourced from the Atherton Farms by my friend Ulrich which turned out great. Spit roasted over charcoal and brushed liberally with olive oil, lemon juice and salt with a fresh rosemary brush.

I also had the pleasure of seeing the Gobbled Frette run, the Baronial Cooking Championship – I returned my perpetual trophy again, and received a permanent pewter token to add to the collection. I intend to build a stack if I’m able for an A&S project.

The Gobbled Frette was the first competition I entered in the SCA and the first thing I won. This was the second time holding it and from when I first started in the SCA, with the Barony struggling to get a single entry, to now where we need trained teams of judges to run A&S smoothly due to all the high quality entries, I feel privileged to be part of the group.

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