Wednesday 25 July 2018



As promised, I shall now tell you about the visit to Oxford.

We had arranged to go to see the Tolkien exhibition at New Weston Library with the friends we play D & D with on the Tuesday after a weekend of campaigning.

We decided to go up on the Monday, spend the afternoon and the next morning going round Oxford before the ticket entry time of 1 PM.

The journey up was not pleasant. Oxford station is closed due to upgrading the line to electric, so we had to get a Weston-super-Mare train to Didcot and change to a bus. The train was packed-all the seats were reserved from Padington and we had to stand in the small vestibule at the end of the caridge - by the loo.

Still, at least we were given free water by the train company when we got to Didcot and the bus was air-conditioned.

Here are some of the pictures I took around Oxford

I take some pictures to record the trip, but most I take because I may use them in my art. Some may become watercolours, others may by used in my oil paintings.

The exhibition was quite small, but was very good, with many details of Tolkien's life, influences and the background , as well as many examples of his art and interesting facts about his writing.

I was particularly interested that the he initially proposed to use the name Gandalf as the leader of the dwarves in the Hobbit and later changed it to Thorin Oakenshield.

I didn't buy any mementos from the shop, as everything was hideously overpriced and I already have a rather nice volume of Tolkien's artworks.

After a tip from a helpful street guide, we managed to get into Exeter College and spend a pleasant half hour wandering round.

The journey back was much nicer- though Trainline had mucked up our tickets and we found we'd been given Day Returns instead of Period Returns. Luckily the nice lady at the station upgraded them for us, so we only had to pay about £3.00 extra each- rather than a full single fair of £23.00( or thereabouts).

Despite the difficulties and the scorching weather, it was a nice trip.

Until next time


Wednesday 18 July 2018



I was hoping to go to do a re-enactment of the battle of Tewkesbury last weekend ( which I used to do quite regularly up until 2007), but, unfortunately, the forecast said that it would be between 26 and 27 degrees.

Previous experience has told me that this is too hot for me to fight in full plate and it is not wise to fight at Tewkesbury in anything less than full plate. There are usually about 2,000 to 3,000 men on the field . They come from multiple re-enactment societies and quite a lot of them are from other European countries. Hence their level of skill and training is variable and not all of them speak English.

Consequently, I decided to stay home- which was just as well. Some of the other Paladins went and they told me that the temperature went up to 30 degrees and there were lots of men passing out from the heat.

I had also had a nasty bash to the first joint of my right forefinger whilst training one of our newer fighters and, whist it was getting better and I had been making sure it stayed flexible, it was still at a stage when fighting battle for an hour might not have been the best policy.

I missed training last week, due to  getting back late from a trip to Oxford ( which I will blog about later), but went to training last night.

I made sure I wore steel gauntlets and , whilst I am still getting the odd ache and  twinge, barely notice my bad finger whist fighting.

Here is a picture I found of me advancing with the Duke of Somerset to take part in a melee. I think this might have been at Rochester Castle.

Until next time


Wednesday 11 July 2018

Beautiful Blond


Here is a drawing of a beautiful blond boy from one of  my sketch books

Until next time


Wednesday 4 July 2018

St Albans 2018


Last weekend I was at St Albans Country Show with seven other Paladins.

For the first time for absolutely ages we had a FLAT campsite. Here are some pictures of the encampment

As you can see, we formed a little crescent-shaped island of the Fourteenth century in a sea of plastic gazebos.

There was also a small group of Viking reenactors there, who camped just behind us and put on a reasonable fight display of swords, shields and dane-axes.

It was very hot with not a cloud in the sky , though, luckily, there was a bit of wind. We didn't get many people stopping to ask questions, try on armour etc, which meant we could stay in the shade a lot until we had to do our tourney.

The main area was in a corner of the field near trees, so got no wind. It was probably the hottest part of the site.

On Saturday I light armoured in jack, mail, legs and spaulders. We only had four fighters, but we still each managed two fights and a short melee in the main arena lasting( in total) about 15 minutes, before the heat got  to us

There was a sparse audience, but those that watched us seemed to appreciate the show..

The Sunday was verging on 30 degrees.  I had been for a walk round the stall set about the main area at about 2 Pm and , even in cassock and rochet( with a large straw hat) it was like being hammered by the sun.

Luckily, we had been moved to the small arena near to our camp, so there was some wind, but the Marshal went on in just a jack and I went on in just jack and mail to try to make the fights last as long as possible.

Less luckily, the grass in the small arena had been trampled flat and and was the colour and texture of straw, which meant that the footing was very slippery under medieval boots. I was even noticing it and I've got hobnailed boots.

Despite this, we still managed to do a reasonable fight for about fifteen minutes total.

This time we had a grand total of about eight people watching- including the children.

Still, the client was happy...

Until next time