For an event I went to mostly because my friend Nicollette asked me if I wanted to reprise our adventures at 30th Year, I had a great time. The trip out and back went very smoothly, in easy stages. I ended up camping in Eastern Royal, mostly with a bunch of folks whom I only had nodding acquaintance with. That's changed, and I think I've found a bunch of new friends, and maybe even a poleax student. :) Stu did very well in a couple of tournaments on 15 minutes of instruction, finalling in one, and basically placing fourth in the other one.
The abovementioned polearm tournament leaves me in the perhaps hubristic position of thinking that I'm right and practically the rest of the Knowne World is wrong when it comes to properly fighting with a polearm, but I'll let you be the judge. First, practically everyone used weapons that were too long - generally 7'-7.5'. This meant they gave up half of what the weapon should be able to do - be a threat when you're in close with your opponent. And second the current fashion, so far as I can tell, is to start out by making the mistake of setting up in range. Doing so then requires your opening guard to be in pflug (bayonet stance). Practically every fight started the same - set up in range, do 3 thrust-dueling moves, and then try a cut of some sort. I ended up teaching several impromtu classes on easy ways to counter such tactics, and I'm glad to say, several of the students took it to heart and had some success.
My fighting, on the other hand, was limited to one day - and not too much at that. My hip is basically getting worse by the day. 22 August cannot come soon enough, so far as I'm concerned (for those of you not following along, that's the day I get my right hip replaced. Hopefully it'll go as well as the left.)
I liked the history exhibit a lot, and it brought back many memories. On the other hand, the Memorial Wall Of Shields made me very sad, not just for the people I knew on it, but for those who didn't have entries when they should have. We'll all be forgotten eventually - even Mullah Nasreddin
will eventually be lost to the mists of time - but it was sad to see so many of my dead friends forgotten so soon.
I saw a lot of old friends, and not just the usual suspects from Pennsic, but several I hadn't seen in a long time, and had many conversations about the old days. I also spent quite a bit of time gaming and talking with my ex-wife, who has landed in Florida, and managed to put together a very good crew of people for her household. Both she and they are quite fortunate to have found each other. We started to become friends again at Carolingian 40th Year, and it's been an ongoing process. I think this was probably the first time I didn't feel completely self-conscious with how badly I behaved back in the day. While I wouldn't exactly say we were close friends yet, it now seems like that might be possible. I just wish I'd figured a way to do that much sooner.
I thought the event was reasonably well done. Yes, they got the schedule in the event book all wrong, and they had problems because they didn't survey the land properly beforehand - both things that it took Pennsic, an ongoing event, about a decade to get right, if I recall. I liked that the staff treated us all like adults, I loved that animals were allowed on site - horses are much better for ambience than golf carts - and I was _very_ appreciative of the washing stations outside the jakes. Though most of the food vendors were modern, The Gode Bakery was most excellent, and they got most of my custom. Allister thinks he'll never get the bakery into Pennsic, since it is now in direct competition with the Coopers', and if that's true, it is both very sad and not right, in my not-at-all-humble opinion.
I got off site one day to play golf with my friend Randy. It was a decent break from a week of medievalism, even if I had to take some percoset to finish the round. We were dead even the front nine, and he beat me by several strokes on the back once the drugs took effect. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. :)
Campfires every night. That was fun. It's amazing how much a bag of wood holds, and the bag be large enough. :) The weather cooperated reasonably - only one day of rain. Some people complained of the heat, but I loved it.
I've come away with a short-, medium- and long-term goal from the event.
Short term: fix up some of the early OP. Some of that is easy - Bruce and Koppel are missing, and I think that's going to be a snap to fix. Harder is that I think the first King was Bruce and not Maragorn, and I expect that will take some argument.
Medium term - after I've healed up from hip surgery, I'm going to take up cut and thrust, at least enough to study some Silver
, if for no other reason to use his principles of true fighting in my polearm instruction.
Long-term - I'm hoping to be mostly healed by my 61st birthday. I'm going to have one last hurrah at serious fighting, and go reasonably full-bore at it, and then formally retire at 65. I'll still teach, spar, and fight in a couple of battles at Pennsic each year, but I'm not going to beat myself up anymore from not fighting every chance I get.
So, all in all, it was an eventful Celebration for me. Hopefully, I'll still be around and of sound mind for the 75th. :)