Monday, 24 August 2015

Summer Siege That Was

This past weekend was Summer Siege, which is my Canton's main event each year. In the past it has been in early summer but this year they tried moving it to after Pennsic to see if we could get a better turn-out, as it always seemed to conflict with local non-SCA activities early in the season. Thought I'd post a quick update on what was a really busy day.

In general it was a great event. The new site worked well, and we had great weather and a pretty good turn-out I think.

Note: While there are some A&S tidbits in this post, I spent most of the day doing martial activities so while I try to focus on A&S things on the blog this post will be a bit different. I'll hit the A&S stuff first though so if the rest doesn't interest you, you can skip it. :) It will also be a bit of a long post and not much in the way of pictures to break up the text. Sorry, I'll try to do better next time.

A&S Stuff

So Summer Siege is traditionally a small local event, and this year gate was by donation so the cash flow was a bit simpler. That made it the perfect event to test the stick-purse to see how it would work in a real-life scenario for sorting different currencies and making change. I also brought my documentation and set it up at the A&S display table, so people could take a look if they wanted to.

Thankfully our Gatekeeper was thrilled to use it (thanks Lady Jane). It certainly seemed to work better that throwing all of the bills and coins into the same container. I think the concept was that people could just drop their donations into the container, but people kept wanting change and it got complicated. The stick-purse seemed to help with that.

Jane also told me the colour coding of the bags was really helpful as they could tell what bills were in which pouch. That was my original theory and why I did the colours despite the lack of evidence of colour on the draw strings of the original artifact. It just made sense, and this seems to prove the theory.

They couldn't really use the pouchlets since they don't cinch quite closed because of the thickness of the leather on this version, but I knew about that already.

There was also some discussion about whether it would have sat better on the desk in period because it would have been filled with heavy coins rather than light paper money. I suspect that would have made some difference.

In any case, it was fun to see the stick-purse being used for essentially what it would have been used for in period, and to confirm that the design for the most part worked. I'd call that an experimental archaeology success.

Sorry, I'd meant to get a picture of the stick-purse in use but it was such a busy day I never had a chance. Maybe next year we'll use it again. I had also meant to take pictures of the items at the A&S display table for the Pinterest page, I'm a Bad Baronial A&S Minister. :)

Martial Stuff

The main reason I was so distracted at the event was that I was the Rapier Marshall in Charge, as usual for this event. I think I've run the fencing for the last four years now. Normally we don't get a huge turn-out, I think our high previously was five fencers and we've had years where I only get one or two other fencers. This year we got 11 (although two weren't in armour) and we did five authorizations (two primary authorizations, two rigid parry authorizations and one two-weapon authorization). I also had three Marshals in Training on site so they had a chance to do lots of inspections and observe the authorization process.

The authorizations took a lot longer than expected (I only knew about one of the parry device auths ahead of time) but I'm happy to do them since its so hard for locals who don't travel much to get to events they can authorize at. Since I haven't been to practices in more than six months and am from a different Canton I actually count as an unfamiliar marshal for folks in Caldrithig (Ottawa), which makes things easier.

Unfortunately, by the time we were done most of the auths we were right in the heat of the bright sunny day. We did one of the planned tournaments for a bit (a modified bear pit with retained wounds and random plague striking the winner after a certain random number of fights), and then people just sort of did pick-ups until they tired themselves out. I brought ice water, flavour squirts, and all kinds of snacks and had nothing left to bring home other than some pretzels, the fencers seemed to have a good time and no paperwork was required for anyone doing anything silly. I'd say that's a good day of fencing.

Archery and Thrown Weapons
Summer Siege is also host to the Baronial archery and thrown weapons champions tourneys (largely because its the only regular Baronial event that is during the warm months and has the outdoor space to do these activities). Whenever I can I always try to participate in Baronial Champions Tourneys, just as a way to support Their Excellencies and to help make sure they get a good turn out. Last time I did the thrown weapons but this year I did both, since I have my new arrows that His Excellency Master Percival made me last year.

I started with the archery tournament. Given I hadn't shot in probably five years, I wasn't expecting much. My goal was to hit the target at least once and I hit it a total of four times for 8 points. That's not going to win any tournament I've ever seen but at least I shot. :)

I had more confidence at doing at least respectably at the thrown weapons since I throw my axes a few times a year. The tournament had each person throwing six times from each station (axe, knife and spear) at two distances (10 yards and 20 yards). Bulls eye was worth five points, middle ring three and outer ring one.

Surprisingly I did really well with the spears, not usually something I do well. I must have found the right balance-point or something because they we're flying really well (including a couple of bulls-eyes). I hit a few axes too but it was the spears that really bumped my score. Maybe even more surprising, I hit a couple of times at 20 yards with both the spears and the axes, something that I've never been able to do. As usually my knife throwing stunk at both distances and I clanked all of them.

I was one of the last throwers but while I knew my score was really good for me (I probably beat my personal best by something like 20 points), I didn't really have a sense of how it compared to everyone else since I was running around so much and didn't have a chance to see the other throwers. That is, I didn't have a sense until I got called into court by Their Excellencies as the winner, then I had a pretty good idea. :)

So I'm now Their Excellencies of Skraeling Althing's Thrown Weapons Champion.