I am an artist, costume maker and re-enactor. I went to Sandroyd School , then Bedales School. After that I went to Putney School of Art, Wimbledon School of Art and graduated from Kingston University.
I have been going to Science Fiction conventions since 1987 and have been a Medieval Re-enactor since 1992.
I have previously been a member of the Far Isles Medieval Society, the Sealed Knot and the Medieval Siege Society.
I am currently a member of the Paladins of Chivalry.
I have been entering costume in competition since 1987 and was made a Master Costumer at the 2005 Worldcon in Glasgow by winning the Best In Class award as a Journeyman.
I have been exhibiting and selling artwork at Science Fiction conventions since 1987 and also exhibit at local art shows.
On Wednesday 23 October the Paladins did an event at Westminster Abbey. This was part of the Anniversary celebrations for the rebuilding of the Abbey by Henry III (I happen to be descended from Henry's brother, Richard, Earl of Cornwall).
We arrived at the Abbey at about 9.00 and changed in the Education Centre in Dean's Yard. Those based in Croyden came by minibus. I decided not to bring armour or weapons and came by Tube.
We then set up displays in the main cloister and in the Chapter House.
I spent most of the time in the Chapter House talking about the arms and armour displays, helping people try things on and keeping an eye on the weapons. There were quite a lot of tourists and I had to call on my (somewhat rusty) knowledge of French on several occasions, including trying to persuade a very determined small French boy from continually taking hand axes and wandering off with them.
We also did three displays of dancing (to live music on medieval instruments) in the Chapter House.
Here we are in the chapter House
After we finished and took down and packed up the displays, we were treated to a tour of the Abbey, ( in our medieval kit) including the shrine of St Edward, the Confessor, the tombs of the Plantagenet kings, Henry VII's chapel, Elizabeth I's tomb and the tombs of Margaret Beaufort, Mary, Queen of Scots and Margaret, Countess of Lennox.
Here we are in the Choir of Henry VII's chapel.
(With thanks to Clare Goodall for sending me photos)
It all went very well. Some people stayed for an opportunity to take pictures in the Abbey church (which is only allowed at set times), but , by then, I decided it was better to try to avoid the worst of the Rush Hour and made my way back to the Tube at St James's Park.
I got the impression the Abbey staff were also very pleased with the way it all went and that they might want us to do events there again.
Here is a first attempt at Judge Lust made from Fimo.
This figure is about 6 cm or 7 cm tall.
I have started trying to make a slightly larger set of all six Bright Judges in clay.
In other news,We moved the litter tray and Bertie's food into the Living Room and kept Bertie in there, so Malfie could go out. Malfie was then a much happier cat.
After another visit to the vet, Bertie's last blood test showed his kidney function is back to normal and the vet told us we could let him out( unless he was wobbly due to drugs). We let him out after another day or so.
He continued to get better.
A final visit to the vet confirmed that he is now OK again. We are keeping him on the special food, but he is now allowed a few treats.
on Monday 23 September I had to get up early and get the car packed and on the road quickly, so I could get to Sandy's house in Balham, pick her up and drive on to Deptford Market to do some work as an extra
But first...Here is a very old picture I found in my files.This is me a Morden Park at one of the earliest events I attended with the Paladins ( probably around 2004 or thereabouts). I scanned this in from a copy of the local paper and think I still have the original cutting somewhere.
We needed to be on site for 10.30, but, knowing what London traffic can be like I left lots of extra time to get there. As it took me twice as long as the Sat Nav estimate to get to Sandy's , I think this was justified.
We packed Sandy's kit in the car and set off, finally getting to the site about an hour early. This turned out to be just as well, as they wanted us to unload straight away into a set of gazebos and then move our cars to the parking they had arranged.
As the parking was at the Greenwich Naval College (some distance away) they had also arranged a minibus to drive us back on site.We then had to spend some time filling out forms and signing consents, before being sent off to get armoured up.
There were nine paladins, five of whom were armoured up. The other four were ladies. There were also three or four guys from the Medieval Siege Society and four guys from another society( not sure which).
It turned out that this was for an advert to celebrate 25 years of the National Lottery. I'm told the advert will be being shown from 17 October.
On chap was chosen to lead and sing a line and we all had charge forward and chant a response, looking happy and unaggressive ( charging forward in full plate). We filmed this several times, sometimes with flags, sometimes without and sometimes running through blue smoke.
Then they gave us lunch. After lunch we had to form a big parade with all the other groups.
There were people in mobility scooters, Caribbean dancers, British Olympians ( including a very well muscled young man in Lycra), female basketball players, a brass band, the Royal British Legion and many others.
We then had march forward looking happy, waving banners, whist the band played -many times, while the took shots from various angles( including from above).
Towards the end of this a light rain started and this encouraged the director to decide he had enough footage.
We went back to the gazebos and ( with one notable exception from the unnamed group) all helped each other wipe the raindrops off each other armour and generally dry off in the hope of preventing rust.
The filming had been due to go on till 8PM, but the director decided he had enough footage of knights at about 5.30. We disarmed and packed up our stuff and I left Sandy guarding our kit, whilst I was shuttled back to the car. Cas then helped me find the right postcode on my Sat Nav to get back to the film site.
Sandy and I packed up and then I drove her back to her house, helped her unload and got back to mine by about 7.30.
In the end it was lucky I had been released early. Our cat, Bertie hadn't been in the previous evening fro his treats as usual and Teddy said he hadn't come in for supper either.
I was just assuming he might have got himself shut in somewhere when I found him on the sofa.
I picked him up to take him in for his treats and he started to make distressed noises. As he continued to make these noises, even when I wasn't touching him, we decided to call the emergency vet.
It was lucky that we took him in quickly,as he had a urinary obstruction, leading to an overfull bladder that he couldn't empty himself
The vet has been treating him and he has made a good recovery, but any delay might have caused either a rupture to his bladder, or kidney damage.
I went to see him on 25 September and was able to spent half an hour fussing him. He was much more alert and very happy to see me.
He came home on the evening of 26 September. He's much better and there is no damage to his kidneys. We acted quickly enough, thank God.
We have to give him lots of pills and keep him in for three days ( So Poor Malfie has to stay in too). We also have to introduce a new food for them both, as the vet does not want any other food to be available to Bertie. This also means - no more treats.
Once the new food is fully introduced we will have to pass the rest of the old food and the treats out for the benefit of our neighbours' cats.
We are having to shut them into the sewing room when we need to go out ( as Malfie is very sneaky and very fast)
Bertie is bearing it all stoically, but Malfie does not understand and is quite upset.
On 21 September the paladins were booked for a one day show at the shopping centre in Leatherhead,
When I arrived I discovered that not only was the High Street pedestrianised, but it also had a market on it. I also found that we were being set up in three gazebos inside the shopping centre. There was a stage set up at the entrance and an area being cleared where they thought we could fight, but it all looked a little too tight for comfort.
Anyway, once some more of us had arrived and I had been allowed to move my car from where I had tentatively let it in Waitrose car park, we got everything out and moved the gazebos so we were not right in front of a shop doorway.
We then moved the cars to the parking they had set aside for us.
I suggested that we put up hangings on three sides to (hopefully) increase security a tiny bit and (hopefully) stop people coming in from all directions. This was actually very effective in this case and no member of the public pushed in past a hanging, but we still had to ensure that there were two people watching the weapons rack at all times.
I volunteered to be the knight who was armed and stood on the stage whilst Tony and Alex armoured me up. This, unfortunately, meant that I had to dance two medieval dances in full plate, due to the timings.
We then formed up for a parade up the high street and back again, with me in the lead ( as that meant we were going at a pace I knew I could sustain)
There was a local group doing some choreographed fighting and once Tony had watched them, we decided that we could do a bit of fighting if we were careful about distance.
In the end we did three bouts. Robbie against Fred (his girlfriend) with sword and heater shield, Me against Alex and then Tony fought Robbie and Fred.
For my bout, I fought Alex with hand and a half . This went quite well, except that Alex had forgotten to put on his gauntlets over his gloves and ended up with a bash on the finger.
It was the first time the client had tried to put on a medieval show and, in general, they did OK, though it took quite some time for the sandwiches they provided us for lunch to turn up.
Here is a picture someone took of me and a young punter at Dover Castle:
I usually do an English Heritage event at Hever castle with the Paladins, but, unfortunately, this year it was on the weekend after I came back from the Dublin Worldcon and not only was I still very tired, but I had also picked up a rather nasty cold bug at the con, so I decided that it would be better not to attend.
The next event I went to was at Amersham on 8 September. This is a nice one day show that I have done several times before.
I gave my friend Sandy a lift and took my awning, my standard and my new gonfalon of St Michael ( which I been planning to unveil at Hever).
We had a slightly better part of the site this year and a far flatter tourney field. Also, as a few members of the Medieval Combat Society had joined us, we were able to do one fight each and then the melee. It was not very hot, but this still made it easier in six stone of plate. All in all the show went very well and we had quite a lot of interest and a very reasonable quality of punter.
Here is an old photo of me in combat against Sir John Chandos ( my friend Tony)
We left the story with our return, exhausted, to our digs at midnight on Saturday after the masquerade.
We continue now with Sunday... but first, here is a drawing of Judge Lust, from my alternate dimension Bright Judges:
Now, back to the story...
We were in charge of getting the time portal back to England and I had decided that it would be too complicated to try to do that on Monday morning, as I would also have to collect any unsold art work then. We were going home on Tuesday morning, but I had already checked that there was no possibility of my art being stored till then.
Consequently most of Sunday morning was taken up arranging to meet Maggie at the car park of her digs,collecting the time portal and getting the car parked at the car park near our digs again.
We had to attend an 'after Masquerade' programme event in the afternoon, but hat also meant we could collect our certificates and pick up the paperwork we had put in for workmanship.
Monday morning was dedicated to getting my artwork back to our digs. We decided to use the tram for this and got all the unsold work off the wall, wrapped in bubblewrap and into the appropriate bags.
As I have previously posted, I sold this cartoon:
I was hoping to sell more ( As at Loncon in 2014 I sold two cartoons and a painting), as, allowing for the hanging fee and 10% commission, I will still be out of pocket.
Anyway, by the time we had got everything back to the flat, it was lunchtime, so we spent the afternoon going to a few programme items and in the Dealers' Room.
We were going home on Tuesday and had to be out of the flat by 10.30, so we got up earlyish,packed, cleaned the flat and put all our stuff in the hall ( as we were two flights up), before paying for parking and getting the car. We had checked with the lady we were renting from that it was OK to park right outside, as long as someone stayed with the car, so getting the car packed was a lot easier and we just about made the deadline.
We realised that we would be very early for our 2PM ferry, but, as I wouldn't be relaxed leaving the car parked anywhere with all our stuff in it, we elected to go straight to the ferry port anyway.
This time we could see a terminal building( and how to get to it) and as we were very early, decided to go and get a coffee. We didn't stay away very long and waited with the car till the gates opened.
This time our car was parked right by the doors at the front of the ferry. I remembered to turn off the alarm again and we went up to our seats( this was a fast ferry, so there was no lounge). I had promised myself some good Irish whiskey, so I went to the shop and bought a bottle of Conemara ( peated single malt) and a bottle of Teeling small batch ( rum cask). The crossing was wet, and the ship rolled more, but I was still alright.
Teddy could not remember if he had booked the Wednesday off and I wanted to be sure to refill Dad's pill box, so we decided that we would try to get home in one run. The ferry was running a bit slow and arrive about an hour late at 5.30 ish
We drove off the ferry, across to Anglesea, across to Wales, then the Sat Nav directed us off the
road we had come in on and onto one the took us through the mountains.
Now, I knew that it had taken just over half a tank of petrol to get to Dublin and I had had no opportunity to fill up the tank again. The road through the mountains was wonderfully scenic, but it was tipping down with rain, the road was all curves, there was a lot of down right next to it and the road signs warned us of falling rocks, skidding cars and ( obviously dangerous) black sheep.
Most of the sheep were white ( thank god) but the road was still quite difficult in those conditions and there were NO petrol stations.
We were down to a quarter tank when we got out of the mountains. Then there were a few petrol stations, but this was rural Wales after 6PM and they were all closed.
Luckily, before the needle hit the last red section, we came to a town with an open Texaco petrol station and ( once I'd worked out that the pump didn't turn to zero until I put it in the car, unlike every other pump I have ever used) I filled the tank and we set out again.
We got out of Wales and across Shropshire and stopped for supper at a services on the M42 . As we had forgotten to buy the essential shopping for Wednesday morning we realised we would have to stop again, but I wanted to put on a bit of distance before we did. We did a brief shop at Oxford services on the M40.
Soon after that our Sat Nav threw a bit of a wobbly. A few times that day we had been directed off on windey roads to avoid traffic problems, so when it directed us off on the A40, we assumed we would be rejoining the M40, or end up on the the M25.
The Sat Nav had other ideas and took us a convoluted route via Uxbridge. Most of the route was through town and often thorough 20 MPH zones littered with speed cameras. I would have much preferred to stay on motorway even if it was a longer route, as I find that kind of driving easier, especially when I am tired.
Anyway, once it got us to Brentford, I turned the bugger off, as I knew where I was. We crossed Kew Bridge, got onto the South Circular ,I took us home via Putney AND I BEAT the Sat Nav's estimated arrival time by ten minutes.
We got home at midnight, emptied the car, Teddy checked his emails and found he had booked the Wednesday off and we got to be a 20 mins past midnight.
I rang Dad on Wednesday morning to tell him I was back and coming round and he said I would find things had changed. This rang alarm bells and I hurried round.
I discovered that there was one thing I hadn't thought of before going away( There's always something...)
The batteries of the pill box had chosen the day I went away to run down, so my Dad had missed week's worth of pills.
Now, I had taken my mobile phone with me and left him the number for emergencies such as this. If he had called me I might have been able to talk him through changing the batteries.
Luckily, he was mostly alright. He had no batteries in the house, so I went out, bought some, put new ones in the machine, checked all the settings and made sure he took the right pills for that time of day.
It only took a couple of days before he was fully back on track
If there is a next time, I'll try to remember to put in new batteries before I go, just in case.
When last we met it was Thursday at the Worldcon in Dublin and my art works were safely on display in the art show...
We now continue with the story...
But first, here is a cute Glider Elf for your enjoyment:
Now, back to the story:
There was still a bit of running round due to the masquerade, but we did spend a bit of time on Thursday afternoon at the convention.
Friday was the day before the masquerade, so we spent quite a lot of time waiting about, being told how the show would work, telling people what we needed, waiting etc. We then had to come back in the afternoon for a technical rehearsal, which had to be re-scheduled twice, as nobody on the committee had thought to check into the work hours regulations for the conference centre staff.
Once we had established when our rehearsal actually was ( and I had had to buy an emergency sandwich for lunch) we were then kept waiting for over an hour, whilst the tech people and the centre staff got side tracked about recording rights. We then did one walk through, which didn't result in us getting the lighting and , particularly, the blackout we wanted.
Maggie was unhappy and wanted to do it again, but they said there was no time. The compromise was that Mike was dispatched to the lighting desk with our script and the threat of Maggie if they didn't do it right on the night
The other thing that happened was that, suffering a mild contact with the floor, the resin spearhead decided to break close to the milliput base. We spent lots of time trying to glue it back together and supported it with a kind of wire frame, but it was still fragile, so I suggested we take the other clear resin spear head with us to the show,then, it the head broke, Teddy could sigh dramatically and pull out the spare.
The only programme item I made it to that day was a version of Just A Minute, which had our friend Seanan McGuire as on e of the contestants. It was quite funny , they got most of the rules right and I saw most of it before I had to leave for the tech rehearsal...
Saturday was Masquerade day. We managed to get to a few things in the morning, but we had to report to backstage by 5.30 PM.
One of the programme items I did get to go to ( I think it was on this day, but my memory is.... Where was I...) was a Phil Foglio Girl Genius Radio Play. I have read Phil's work for many years and have followed Girl Genius from the beginning. I have also attended live performances of the Radio Plays before, but THIS TIME,,,, When Phil asked for people in the audience to give an audition to play a role I spoke up as.. Krosp, King of Cats.
I was appointed to the post and took the opportunity given by the other roles being assigned to caste my eye over the script. It rapidly became apparent that ONLY PHIL had ever seen this before. Even Kajia (His wife), who co-writes the comic and was playing the lead ( Agatha Heteradyn) had not seen it before he handed it out.
Anyway, despite it being the blindest of blind readings, it all went extremely well, was very funny and very enjoyable to do. There were only two or three stumbles and only ONE occasion where someone had to go back and read something again.
The audience obviously enjoyed it and I clearly brought something to the role I had been assigned, because for the rest of the con people kept coming up to me and saying "Hail, Krosp!"
Right, back to masquerade. It's 5.30; I in part of my costume;I have my supper sandwich (which I have been told I have to eat in the Green Room) and we are waiting to go to a desk, sign in and then go back out so we can be called in again and lined up in the right order.
Two of us are guarding all boxes of helmets etc, when I realise some of the group have signed in and not come back. I sign in and am told they're not coming back now, so I have to dash off and get them to come back to help carry all the stuff in.
With all this faff and further waiting around and having passed our paperwork for workmanship to the judges and and having been workmanship judged it is now well after 6.00 and I feel the signs of going Hypo, so I inform our Den Mother ( who is in charge of us) that I am going to the Green Room to eat.
I get to the Green Room and a staff member tries to stop me going in ( Why was unclear) , which is the point that I come close to losing my temper and tell him that he'll have a medical emergency if I didn't go in and eat my sandwich NOW. I wasn't very clear whether it would be a medical emergency for me..or for him. Anyway, he let me in.
I had a false moustache glued to my lip for the performance and, whilst eating, discovered that not only does my sweat polish silver and clean old coins, it also dissolves spirit gum. I finished my sandwich , picked up the fallen moustache and returned to the den to find...
... the spear had been knocked and the spear head had fallen to the floor and shattered.
Luckily, the milliput I had used to make the base had never set properly ( still can't work out why, I mixed it half and half as usual) but this meant were able to dig it out of the socket it was glued into and fit the spare spear head. I, however, took charge of the spear and wouldn't let anyone else touch it till it was time for us to line up and go on ( if I broke it, then it was MY fault, but if someone else had broken it....)
Anyway,we were the first entry, we lined up in time and our entry went without a hitch, we then were led off and were allowed into the audience, so we saw entry 13 onwards.
There were over twenty entries and the standard of both costumes and presentation was very high.
When we came back for the result of the Judging, we were awarded Master Class Workmanship.
Once we have been sent a link to the photos, I will post again purely about the set.
The masquerade winner was a Kelpie costume that I hope to be able to share with you once we have the link.
We finally got back to our digs after midnight and collapsed.
I shall, dear reader, tell you of Sunday in the soon to be released PART FOUR...
We rejoin the story on Wednesday morning leaving the Halfway House to get to Holyhead Ferry Port.
But first , to sustain you, here is a kinky Dalek cartoon...
Now back to the story...
We had been provided with instructions on the route by Mine Host and, despite taking (probably) a wrong turn, got onto the right road and made our way past Shrewsbury and into Wales.
We crossed onto Anglesea, avoided complications due to the Anglesea Agricultural show and arrived on Holy Island. We got to the Ferry Port earlier than we needed to.
I was expecting to end up in a car park from whence we would be directed to the appropriate gate for the ferry. I had hoped we could go and find lunch while we waited, but it was not to be.
We found ourselves in an already formed queue, with the additional wrinkle that several cars ahead of us were empty of passengers and drivers.
We waited, we could do no other. It was not clear when the gate would open and , with our car full of our stuff, I was unhappy heaving it in a vain search for a terminal building( to which there were no signs).
As it was, when the gate opened several people had not come back to their cars. Other cars had to manoeuvre round the empty ones and we were about to do the same when the owners arrived back at a run, shouting at US, as if WE were responsible for THEIR absence.
Anyway, idiots aside, we presented our tickets, got our priority sign for the car and moved on into the port. It was lunchtime and I was worried about going Hypo.
We also read on the priority notice that we had to turn the car alarm off , so Teddy had to look up how to do this in the manual and I located the right button. We were directed on to the ferry , parked , turned off the alarm and found our way to the lounge.
My priority then was food. There was snack food in the lounge( which I later found out was free), but my mind was on substantial food, so I found my way to an open outlet and got some. I bumped into Mike Percival on the way to food, so was unsurprised to he and Maggie had joined us when I got back.
We also found the two more friends had been switched to this ferry. I was still worried about feeling seasick, as I hadn't been on a ferry for at least fifteen years, but the swell was moderate and the conversation also helped distract me, so I was fine.
We got to Dublin and ,as we had agreed on the boat, drove to Mike and Maggie's Air B &B to leave the Time Portal and my paintings ( as their digs were closer to the convention centre). We then drove to our digs, with me carefully keeping out of bus lanes,as I didn't know local laws.
I had to stop in a loading bay when we got there and Teddy went to alert Alice and Paul, who had flown out and arrived earler that day,and should already be in the flat. Then he came back and said that the intercom was broken and he couldn't let them know he was outside.
Luckily, when he went back again, Alice happened to look out the window and saw him. We then hastily emptied the car, with me staying with it, anxiously watching in case we were told we had to move on. Car emptied and our set of keys collected we put the postcode of the car park into the sat nav and drove the car there.
The turning space for the ramps was very tight for my car,as were the space, but we got it parked eventually, pressed buttons again to set the alarm and made our way back to the flat, where I collapsed gratefully and let the other organise supper.
The next day(Thursday), the priority was getting my art up in the art show. We arranged to pick up the four bags of framed pictures and one bag of fimo figures and carried them across the bride over the Liffy, past the conference centre and back halfway to the ferry port, to the expansion space assigned to the artshow.
I had paid for a space eleven foot wide and four foot high. I had to fit in nineteen framed painting of various sizes and ten wooden plaques with fimo figures on them ( this is the highest number of artworks that I have ever had in a show). I had also been given a space right next to Jim Burns ( a well known professional SF artist of may years standing).
It took me quite some time to get all the pictures up and the display balanced. Then I had to add the bid sheets. This resulted in a further hour and a half of picture shuffling, but I managed it. I got all the pictures and figures up with their bid sheets placed without the need for arrows indicating which bid sheet related to which picture.
Jim Burns said he did his displays the same way. Get as many pictures on the wall as possible and them furkle where to put the bid sheets.
A bit more of the day was taken up with rehearsal for our masquerade entry and making last minute decisions, such as which of three spearheads to glue on to the spearshaft. we went with the first clear resin head, which had a milliput base painted to look like bronze. This turned out to be a mistake, but more of that in the much anticipated PART THREE...
This will be another early posting, due to the sad need to attend a funeral tomorrow in Wiltshire.
Ever since the Dublin worldcon bid went live, we had been aiming to go. Once the bid won we started planning.
last time we went to Dublin for a SF con, we flew, but, this time, I decided that I would like to put pictures in the art show. As my painting are framed (with glass) , this meant going by ferry.
I do not get on well with boats, or large bodies of water, but have managed well enough on vessels as large as a channel ferry in the past. The main problem was the journey time between Wimbledon and Holyhead, which is not just off Wales, it's off Anglesea( which is off Wales)
We calculated probable journey times and booked a ferry for early afternoon, to allow for travel. It was only after it was all booked that we found out we had to book in an hour or so before the sailing time, which put the travel time all askew.
In the meantime, we had become involved in a masquerade entry and we tasked with transporting a time portal, consisting of a fold up garden gazebo and a large roll of plastic clematis trellis woven with wires and lights.
This meant we were definitely going by car and, hence, by ferry.
I decided to hedge my bets and travel the day before, drive as late as I could and get as far as I could, find a Travelodge and then go on to Holyhead the next morning, to remove any stress about being held up and being late for the Ferry check in( I am the only driver, as Teddy does not drive).
As usual, it took longer to get ready and packed than we planned and we set out on Tuesday late afternoon. The aim was to get to somewhere around Shrewsbury before looking for the Travelodge.
The journey was not too bad, but not a fast as I hoped.Also, I had been worried about it and about how well I'd cope with the ferry, so hadn't slept as well as I might have. Consequently, as it was starting to get dark, I was starting to get tired.
This was the point the the Sat Nav, in it's wisdom, took us off Motorways and onto minor roads.
This was also the point when we discovered that, unlike days of yore, the maps no longer showed where the Travelodges are.
We passed a couple of signs for B & Bs and hotels(always at a point where we could turn in to them, or go back, due to traffic behind us), but eventually we came upon a sign pointing to "The Halfway House" at a point where we could turn and follow it.
We followed several more signs , but eventually we reached a small cluster of Sixteenth Century buildings. I t was now quite late, but the lights were on.
I pulled into the small car park and went in. I was greeted by a very friendly Labrador and, then, by a by a very friendly publican. Luckily, he had been staying up waiting for one of his regular guests, who had rung to say he would be late. We were furnished with a double room and full English breakfast for the very reasonable sum Of £91.00.
Our host was friendly and talkative and we were made to feel really welcome. He printed off directions to take us to Holyhead and we set of rested and refreshed, at 9 am Wednesday morning.
I discovered that the plan had nearly worked as well, as we had stopped not far from Shrewsbury.
I will continue the tale next time.
In the meantime, here is the picture that I painted on the con bag that I used at Worldcon
Last Weekend the Paladins did a show at a Village Fayre in the small Hampshire village of Hurstbourne Tarrant (near Andover).
I arrived first and had quite a wait before the others arrived. I took these pictures of the rather fine tythe barn.
When everyone had arrived we had ten people including six fighters.
We set up the camp right next to the childrens' play area.
We had three tents and my shelter , as well as a separate archery display.
We did a dance show , displaying two medieval dances and spent a lot of time talking to the public.
In the afternoon we did a tourney. We had six fighters, so no one need to fight twice. The weather was hot, but overcast and windy, so it was good fighting weather for an armoured man.
I fought Alex with hand-and-a-half and then chose shield and mace for the mele. I ended up against Jim (visiting from the Knights of Honour) and we proceeded to beat each other to death, gently subsiding to our knees as we hit each other over the head.
I also used this occasion to field test the use of my better quality long spaulders with my new harness.
They worked just fine, including when using hand-and-a-half.
After the tourney we heard that there would be a tug of war, so Jim, Adam and I decided to take part.
Jim was still in full harness, Adam was in mail and I was still wearing my mail skirt and legs.
Jim was sent off to be on the other side and I formed the endstop on our side with Adam just ahead of me. I had had the foresight to put on leather gloves and made sure to wrap the rope one turn round me. I then took a wide stance, dug my hobnails into the ground and leaned back.
It was a hard fought contest, with the line swaying one way then the other. Unfortunately, we ended up being slightly handicapped by two waste bins which we ended up nearly banging into and lost by a narrow margin.
The other week, I attended a one day event at Andover to celebrate Armed Forces Day.
The event had been added to the Paladins calendar very late in the day and many people had previous engagements, so I volunteered, even though it meant that I had to be on site by 8.30 at the latest.
This, I knew , meant that I had to be out of the house by 7.00, if not before.
I planned ahead and packed the car on Friday ( all save the sword and emergency food).
I set an earlier alarm and all went (mostly) to plan.
I arrived and had to wait for a couple of tank transporters belonging to the Sappers to manoeuvre before I could get in and find the guys.
Only four of us had managed to get there. We had two tents, three banners, my standard and my shelter.
We got set up and then one of the organisers can to find us and asked if we would like to move the camp, as we were behind some of the food trucks and there was an unexpected open space nearer to the area.
As it would take us about an hour to move, we elected to stay where we were. We were still on a main path through the site and reckoned we would still get enough people coming by.
As the organisers were linked to a local radio station, he also asked if one of us was willing to do a brief interview. The others were not keen, so I volunteered.
We also found out we would be doing two fight shows, instead of the more usual one.
I should mention at this point that it was extremely hot -no wind and a clear sky.
I had brought my light harness, consisting of leather arms and legs with steel elbows and knees, mail skirt, thin jack, collar of plates and standard and breastplate. I opted to wear everything except the arms for the first fight.
Only three of us were fighting, as we needed a commentator, but this meant that we had no-one to leave as camp guard. Once we had explained this, the organiser immediately volunteered to send us a security guard to stay in our camp. They also sent us free water and a lanyard each that would entitle us to free food at their concession stand.
The radio interview went well enough and I am fairly sure I did not make a twit of myself.
The first show went quite well, I fought Tony with hand-and-a-half, then Tony and David did a three part fight, changing weapons twice. We then finished of with a melee.
I decided on minimum armour for the second show: Just helm, gauntlets, jack and standard and collar. This time David fought Tony first and Tony and I did the three part fight, ending up with hand-and-a-half. We then finished with a melee again.
I was really impressed with he organisation of the event and with the organisers themselves. They really looked after us and clearly cared about the performers. I, for one would be very happy to work with them again, which is just as well, because, even though there were only four of us, they were very happy with the Paladins and said they wanted to use us again!
They even let us start to pack down early and get our cars on site earlier than it said in the schedule, so we could get off site ahead of the lorries, trucks and tank transporters.
Finally, my old set of bellows( used with my fire rig) is a decorative one I found in a charity shop and adapted for medieval.
These are starting to get a bit ropey, so I bought a new set at a re-eactors' fayre. These had concentric circles carved into them, so I have painted them up to personalise them for the bishop.
A few re-enactors' markets ago I bought the top section of processional cross (with a nice brass cross) with a brass tube section (to slot in the missing base) and a brass fitting to hang a banner horizontally.
In medieval ( and heraldic) terms this banner would be called a gonfalone.
I made a replacement base section for the pole and wood stained it to match the top.
As my character, the bishop, is a knight of the order of St Michael, I have now painted a suitable gonfalone.
This shows the saint and archangel as a warrior of Christ ,standing over the defeated Devil.
Once I have added suspension tabs and a backing I will post again, showing the gonfalone on its pole.
When completed, this will give me three types of flag outside my tent, as I already display a banner and a standard.
As is often the case, I have been busy washing and repairing kit since Milton Keynes.
Luckily, the Paladins schedule in gap weekends between events.
This time I had to repair the stitching holding my right glove into my gauntlet, darn the knee of my fight hose (which are starting to look like they might need patching, as the wool is getting very thin in places..), de-bur most of my sword and dagger blades and repair the neck of a shirt.
I have recently bought another set of leg and arm harness and fought with this at Milton Keynes using my old two-lame spaulders. Since then I have experimented with my longer ( four lames and better quality) spaulders. I think I can make it work and will field-test at the next event.
I bought an old Lancaster Armouries bascinet with aventail from a chap at Milton Keynes and have also spent some time painting the inside with black Hammerite to stop any rusting.
Here is a picture of me testing my friend Deejay's full contact armour with a hand-and-a-half at a previous show.
last weekend I and my fellow Paladins attended a multi-period event at Milton Keynes, as part of their Festival of History.
Getting to there was a bit eventful. I left at 1.20 and hit bad traffic on the M25. When I reached the M1, traffic slowed right down again but I stuck with it until I finally allowed my Sat Nav to divert me to the A5, which was initially slow, but freed up a little later. I arrived at about 4.00.
I was later told that there had been an accident involving a coach and a lorry on the M1.
Anyway, I got there eventually and set up my tent.
Here are some pictures of our encampment. As usual, I had to take the pictures before we were 'live'.
These pictures were all taken on Saturday morning. Another large tent was added later that morning making ours one of the largest encampments. We definitely had the most flags!
This is another picture of my tent .
The event went well, but it was very windy and there were intermittent showers.
We did not fight on Saturday, so had a relatively quiet day talking to the public in camp.
I sang a mass in full vestments on Sunday morning outside my tent. This was filmed and (I understand) the footage will be going on the Paladins Facebook page.
The tourney on Sunday went well and we filled our half hour slot (even though we only had six fighters)with one-on-one combats. It was mostly overcast and the wind also helped keep the temperature down, which meant that I could fight longer without overheating.
We all fought twice and ended up with a melee, which I won ( as agreed..).
The journey home was just as bad as the way up. pack-down takes some time and I left just after 7 PM.
Traffic was quite slow came to a complete halt of the M1 just before St Albans. When it finally started to crawl forwards again I edged my way over and let my Sat Nav lead me off towards St Albans. I had a scenic tour of the outskirts and it finally led me to the M25. I reached home at 10 PM.
I have (mostly) recovered and was alive enough to go to fight practice yesterday evening.