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.
And here is a close-up:
Until next time