That was a fun week and a half. There were some early teething troubles, with cooking equipment not working, and stuff like that, and getting my foot sunburnt to extent that from the Wednesday on it was so bandaged that I couldn't wear my good suede garb boots for fighting was annoying.
Things got better as the week went on, however, and some really cool stuff happened, some of which was also thought-provoking to me. For example, I did go in some tournaments - basically all the fencing ones except the Ladies Tourney (for obvious reasons) and the Brighthelm one (as when I did one of those at Coronet I found there was basically no fencing involved in it) – and they were fun. I debated with myself (and a couple of others) a lot about whether to do the “novices” one (for those who haven't won an SCA tourney or been Princess's Champion) as, being far from a nbovie, I worried that it'd either be unfair to anyone I beat, and/or embarrassing to not win. The format seemed interesting too – score one of each of six body parts to win. So I was the most experienced fencer there and I came last (could I get a right leg? Could I buggery? I'm in this to kill people!)... But it showed me something interesting internally:
All I could think of was it being like school sports day, and how I'd always be last picked for the team, and come last in every race. So I try to be conservative, and it's not really my style, since I come from choreography and HEMA as a background. Then, as soon as it's announced that two people have made their six parts and won... I turn into fucking (Prequel) Obi-Wan or something, and am chasing people around the field to saw parts off, and pulling Matrix-style horizontal-from-the-knees-while-cutting-the-throat-of-the-person-nailing-me-into-the-grass moves... Translation: I have no tournament head; instead I have a put-o-a-good-show-for-the-audience head, even in unchoreographed contests.
Several people said throughout the week that I'd be better just sticking to that more showy and aggressive style, as it both is more entertaining and works better for me. Which I know it does. (It's also been suggested that I ought to do well in a Princess's Champion tourney).
Elsewhere in tournaments, it was cool to fight ni-ten-ichi with both katanas against the only other fencer who uses a Japanese style with a tachi – both of us doing the correct form too. Oh, mustn't forget, I was given a token from HH Catriona for good deaths, in the form of a coin to pay the ferryman... I'm going to have that sewn into my fencing jacket. I also forgot to mention my amusement at Lynette and myself working together as "horrific, like a gang." Oh, and directly following from that, my confusion at the bizarre comedy rules that meant the two of us killing everybody mean somebody else won the team thing, rather than Lynette - I think I was fencing too sober.
The other fun fencing bits were in the Castle Melees at either end of the week, which I'll come to in a minute, and the Prize Plays. The first one, Katherne's Free Scholar, I did left-handed for practice, and also I did most of the two Prefect plays at the end left handed too (Though had to drop out of the last fifteen minutes of that, as when I reached for the water bottle my hand was trembling, suggesting low blood sugar. So, trying to not be stupid with this diabetic thing, I decided I was out and sought sandwiches.) In between I went right-handed for Lynette's Provost play, as our styles suit that better, though again I stepped out of that a few minutes from the end.
I also unexpectedly found myself authing in stick and shield on the Friday morning, after the Oxford Rolls. Having not expected to be doing that, I hadn't eaten for armoured combat, but had enough in me after the auth to stick around and take part in the armoured Brighthelm tourney, which was more fun for me than the fencing version at Coronet. Having not eaten for it I dropped out halfway through, though.
Elsewhere I found the time to buy a ship, and Letter Of Marque And Reprisal, so Wolfram is now Captain Wolfram of the Privateer Aerys. (Captain Wolfram sounds cooler than Captain von Falkenstein, who probably needs to be played by Conrad Veidt in a greatcoat and monocle.) I also sung pirate metal songs to too many people... I just realised after getting home that, though I have the Barbossa costume, and most of my SCA garb is kind of piratey, this kind of relates to a different area of my life in which I swore I wouldn't be Will fucking Turner, and now it's weighing me towards being Will fucking Turner.... Bollocks.
Um, what else? Hung around with lots of cool friends, caught up with my cowriter about a thing, and... Oh, yeah, the second fencing castle melee. There was a movie moment if ever there was one: ended up on my knees with a rapier in the left hand and katana in the right, fending off multiple opponents all using case of rapiers, while Master of Defence Cernac led Baron Antonio, Lynette, and others in chanting “Wolf-Ram! Wolf-Ram!” I was boned anyway, but could at least choose my way out, and I'm going to remember that chant for a long time.
Other thoughts: A lot of people commented on how I was looking much better – healthier – this year than last, and I felt better too, despite being Night Steward twice, and lack of sleep. I had no coffee on several days and didn't actually notice a difference, TBH. I found upon returning that I felt a certain weird sense of closure- I mean, the disasters of the last year really started in April, but the full on health crap manifested from the allergy incident at last year's Raglan onwards, and here I've been back and in one piece, managing the glucose numbers despite more carbs and buggered up food routine while camping... I dunno, it did feel like a good and successful conclusion to a year or a season-arc.
Now I'm back, and I need to get on with moving on, getting work done, making the new house my home... So, yeah, those are my thoughts for the moment on my summer holiday at Ffair Rhaglen XII.