Category Archives: SCA

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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Invading River Haven (with friendship and teaching)

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to the Barony of River Haven and visit with some of the local fencers, enjoying some pick up fights and offering some teaching, coaching and advice where I could.

In return, I got to encounter fighting styles I’d never come across, meet new friends and had a ball – and hopefully a few folks were able to learn something useful.

I’m looking forward to travelling back up for Fencing Fest and spending more time in the region to visit and offer training, I’ve found that I’m learning a lot by teaching others at the moment.

1 River Haven Lady and 3 Meerkats, making bad jokes.

Until next time!

P.S. I’m happy to visit other groups to learn or teach, feel free to get in touch (

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That time I drank my way on to the Stewarding team

This year was my third festival and probably one of the most intense events of my SCA career. It began, innocently enough, arriving early on Sunday to help setup. After getting my gear sorted for the night and helping my camp with their tents, it began to flood with wind, rain and hail. My compatriots ended up leaving for warmer accommodations which left me without anything to do – always a dangerous situation. So, I warmed myself up by helping push bogged cars off site. Many hands, light work and all that.

Drying out from pushing cars, I ended up drinking with the Event Stewards, meeting pretty much all of them for the first time. When more drinks were needed, I offered to get my scotch to some comments of “Dude, my car is closer, don’t worry”. Let it not be said that I’m stubborn.

When I had said I had 4.5L of Scotch, apparently people thought I had that in multiple bottles. The looks on faces as I carried this in and set it on the table were priceless. This was the start of getting to know people who I hadn’t really met before but now feel like I’ve known for at least a year.

Drinking with the team lead to helping them out the next day, following them around and doing odd tasks, from handing out information packs to marking lines, to directing portaloos, answering questions from the populace.. it was a long couple of days during setup, many of which I have partially blanked out. I know I spent 10 hours on a single day directing portaloos, walking the site with the driver and being a visible question person as I was wearing hi-vis and a radio.

On those days I ended up being looked after by the kindness of strangers and friends. So many campsites offered me food, water and alcohol on a regular basis and quite honestly I would have dropped if not for them. Over two nights, I ended up being kidnapped by Mistress Collette to the local RSL, a place I’ve never been aware of, but I was incredibly impressed with the quality of food. I’m incredibly grateful for the kidnappings, beyond the excellent company and conversation I was saved from chewing on boot leather.

As the event started officially I got more involved with the Constable office, taking on my assigned responsibilities and then some. I did a single day of 15+ hours of being the Deputy on Duty, something that exhausted me, but provided me with the chance to meet a lot of people and gain tons of experience.

Given that I was being allowed to perform in challenging roles, I shifted my priorities for Festival and focused on the work. Any who know me will know I generally have a need to be productive and useful – this festival physically broke me but it was the most enjoyable by far.

I did have to cancel my plans for Laurel Prize and the Food Fight, however I am more than capable of stuffing people with doughnuts at almost any opportunity and I only had one person seriously complain about the lack of doughnuts.

Innilgard held the Red Frette social which was the third year having an Innilgard camp night, first year actually advertising to everyone officially. The Crown visited while Collegians sang the Moose song which lead to great amusement. We had large amounts of visitors and a lot of fun. I only know of one person who lost their legs that evening, with special thanks to the amazing Master Paddy for flapping the wings on his hat and heart and helping the person home.

During the event I once again ended up kidnapped by Mistress Collette with instructions to “stand there bleeting” as she dragged me into the Attican campsite claiming I followed her home. I was quickly introduced to everyone and had food offered to me, and I was touched by the instant acceptance and hospitality into a private dinner. I got a chance to meet a goodly number of Atticans at this festival and I wasn’t bitten once (at least by Atticans, but that’s another story).

I had the great pleasure of witnessing two peerage elevations I really wanted to see, the first for Master Gregory who in his usual fashion, smashed the bar out of the park with his vigil and ceremony. Took long enough, but excellent to see.

The other was for Mistress Clara Bonaventure, the Unicorn Doctor Lady, who is quite simply put an awesome person. Always helping, always with an infectious smile and always good company. An impressive oath was given, but that’s only appropriate as it was for an impressive lady.

I was honoured by the Barony of Rowany by admission into the Order of the Silver Cinquefoil – their award for gentles from other Baronies who do service. I proudly wore the pin all festival and will fashion it into a hat in the near future – the appreciation for work, and the (what felt like) hundreds of people who came up to me over the event to offer congratulations made it for me. I thank you all.

Through the course of my work with the Stewarding team and being Diet Vandel I got the chance to meet the wonderful people in the Swamp and spent a good chunk of time relaxing, drinking and chilling with them. They’re awesome people and the environment there helped me unwind on more than one occasion. I don’t know you all that much, but I still have great love.

I was incredibly honoured to be asked to witness the protege ceremony of my friend Declan to Vandel, it was short and private as far as ceremonies in the SCA go, but held a lot of meaning and was incredibly appropriate. Declan I first met at my first festival, and since then I haven’t seen or heard of him stopping working. I can only hope that Declan learns to take the time to chill on the couch from time to time, in between his amazing and precise work.

Among the new friends I got to know better (There are too many to list here, apologies in advance if you’re not named) was a foreign devil from across the sea, the awesome Max in the Red Hat, who besides generally floating around and always being there for everyone, also ended up being Stunt Amos for at least a day to keep me from wearing too many hats. I have a great appreciation for the casual way you threw yourself into work, always with good cheer and happiness. Inspiring stuff.

On the Rapier side, I managed to fight in the Queens Glove, and after her request a few months ago at a training, I acquired the War Pig and War Chicken of Innilgard – pictures to come, imagine squeaky plastic dog toys. I only made it to the Third Round but I managed to fight some impressive individuals and had a hell of a lot of fun attempting to be entertaining.

While I didn’t get to doing any of the testing I threatened would have liked to, I did get to watch some and found myself impressed by not only those being tested, but those doing the testing.

I didn’t see much of my Barony this festival as I was off on adventures and working, but every time I did see them, there were smiles, hugs and inappropriate comments, so I felt at home. A big thank you to the B&B for working tirelessly to provide the camp experience for Innilgard and helping me out with Warden duties.

Finally in closing court, I got to see my friend Mistress Elena awarded a plate in memorial to Mistress Francesca as a token of service, above and beyond the call. I couldn’t think of a more appropriate person to receive such an honour, as she worked all event, not just herding cats Heralds, but also spent countless hours walking the site and troubleshooting.

I was also touched to be included as one of the 12 individuals offered a golden event token (photos once it’s delivered), as a thank you for my service across the site. When standing next to the other 11 I felt humbled as I was among excellent company and to be thought to be included among them was a little scary.

On the final night I had an amusing educational moment on why Lord Gabriel Ziegler instructed me to gradually raise my voice when doing voice heraldry, and not go 0-11 all at once as I made an announcement at Greesispoone and watched a poor Lady have her skeleton jump out of her skin, look around, then quickly stitch it’s way back inside as I went straight to Loud – Capital L. I was glad to be of small service to Greesispoone as they spent all event feeding me, looking after me and otherwise tolerating my bad jokes.

There is more I could waffle on about, but this pretty much sums up my festival.

A big thank you to everyone who helped me in any way, shape or fashion – there are tons of you and you are all awesome. For everyone who fed me, watered me and generally made sure I didn’t fall over – I love you all. Thank you.

Next year I get to do it all officially as a member of the Stewarding team, but I think I’ll see what mischief I can bring for bribery anyway. Sharing a giant bottle of scotch around warmed more than our bodies on cold nights.

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