Tuesday, July 15, 2014


Just recently Karen and I flew to Oz to visit daughter Ursula and her man, Aiden.  They live in Redcliffe, a short distance north of Brisbane, where the climate in July is sunny and mild - or at least it was while we were there.  It was while there we took in the annual mediaeval festival.

A couple of jousting knights.  This extreme sport of heretofore
seems to attract as many women practitioners as men, and
they are bally good at it, too.
This is quite a big affair: plenty going on and to see, plenty to buy as well, if you're so inclined.  Possibly the highlight is the jousting, although I was especially interested in the cannon and Late Mediaeval handgun (man, these guns are loud - you'd frighten an enemy just with the noise!).  There was also archery (long bows - I don't recall seeing any crossbows, now that I think on it), wrestling (missed that), foot combats, and plenty of souvenir shops and workshops featuring armour, weaponry, clothes, food, drink, ... you name it.

I could have taken a whole lot of pictures, if I had remembered to get some batteries for the camera.  The first five of these are from the internet, but convey well the colour and flavour of the event.
Action in the Tournament.  The combats here are on foot.
The Varangian Guard were popular.  There were two groups of these guys.  I have no idea why. The lamellar armour of the guardsman on the left is very striking.
One of the groups of Varangian Guard.
The helmeted rube in the picture below is myself, moustaches hidden by the throat-protecting mail.  The stick I'm clinging to is in fact a rather crude battleaxe.  No pretty weapon, it would probably be effective enough in action.
Myself in a vaguely Viking sort of helmet.
The thing was fairly heavy, but not uncomfortably so.

Helmets, halberds and hauberks ...
...harmour for the haughty.
One of the more interesting exhibits for me were the mediaeval board games.  In visiting last year, Karen brought back for me a little booklet on mediaeval board games: chapters of Tafl games (the inspiration, I believe, for Terry Pratchett's Thud! game), Morris games, Chess variants, Rithomachia (the Philosopher's game), draughts types, race, and Fox-and-Geese type games.  A very informative little book, actually!
Rithomachia - the Philosopher's Game - a game for
arithmeticians, really.  Four down on the left side, and
four up and one in from the right are the Black and White
'pyramids', comprising 5 (Black) or 6 (White) individual
pieces.  A most peculiar looking game.
Unfortunately, although there were a few examples of these games on display, including a chess set, no one seemed to know how to play them.  I had hoped (as I was passing) to 'get in' a game of Mediaeval Chess, which I know how to play (that is to say, I know the rules up to and including the 'King's leap'), but have (as far as I can remember)  never actually played.  Never mind.  There were plenty of other things to see.
It was a great day, a well organised event in balmy weather.


  1. You would make a good Viking Ion!

  2. Looks like it was a wonderful event and was lots of fun to experience . . . and you found good weather in the midst of Aussie Winter too.

    -- Jeff

    1. My daughter was disappointed the weather was so cold (I found the evenings cool, but the days mild enough) during our visit. She reckoned we had brought Christchurch's weather with us. It's sunny enough back here now, but single digit temperature... The weather on the weekend of the Festival was just about ideal: sunny and mild, and by no means too hot.

  3. Those are terrific photos, Ion, many thanks. I was asking a SCA-type friend of mine in Canada recently if the popularity of Martin's Game of Thrones had been good for medieval reenacting and she thought it had been.
    There's a winter in Australia? Who knew?

    1. "There's a winter in Australia? Who knew?"

      People are skiing about three hours down the road from me.

    2. I gather the summer weather can be pretty scorching up Brisbane way. I'm also told that when it does rain, it makes a thorough job of it.

      By the way, I saw plenty of bats and crows and lorikeets and ibises in Redcliffe, but not a single snake, redback spider, fire ant, cane toad, crocodile or scorpion. They don't seem to have much in the way of cockroaches, either (c.f. Sydney, NSW).