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.
|Action in the Tournament. The combats here are on foot.|
|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!
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.