So I have to say that the administration of Gulf Wars is making me not so anxious to want to go next year.
If you’ve been to Gulf, then you know the parking lot is a long way away, with no real good way to walk to and from, and no busses. The Pennsic parking is supremely better, and would be even if there were no busses. It’s a lighted walk back along a road at Pennsic. It is a completely unlit walk back until you get to something civilized, and that could be a while, on terrain that has holes and other issues. But hey, that we knew about.
You may or may not have heard about the waterbearing kerfluffle. The end result was that it was a ton of extra work and even more acceptance of crap for the Calontir waterbearers. They did an amazing job. Even so, it was harder to get water because while they tried to be everywhere, they had to be somewhere at a single point. I guess that’s the Schrodinger’s cat aspect of waterbearing or something.
Yet, at the same time, the ones who were sooooo worried about germ transfer that they felt the need to make it more likely that fighters would get dehydrated and overheated, neglected to ensure the most basic of sanitation issues. There was no hand sanitizer in the porta-potties. None when I got there, and then only the real small bottles taped to the door and finally a medium-sized bottle set next to the row. I suspect those were contributed by people in the area because I didn’t see them on other porta-potties.
Then there was the fighting schedule. I don’t mind tournaments, I even like to fight in them. I do mind having a tournament go so long that it delays a battle for over three hours. We do have better things to do than sit on the battlefield and wait for that long. I’m in the SCA, I get that things don’t always start on time, but this was ridiculous.
With all that bad stuff, and there was other bad stuff, there is one salient fact. I have great friends. And no matter how stupidly an event is run, my friends make it worth my while.
The knighting of Duncan Faramach was an amazing experience for me. It was such a joy to ride on the coattails (or would this be cloaktails?) of his day. He’s been an inspiration to me for years, and seeing him receive the accolade was a something I cannot really describe. I will say I’m so glad I didn’t kill anything with the spear I was using to hold his banner during the ceremony 😉
I only fought on Friday. I tried to on Thursday and Saturday, but… On Thursday I suppose I technically fought, but I only went out for the bridge battle, and I got stuck in the wrong place for 7.5ft polearm, blocked the 4 spearmen aiming at me for a little while, but died about 2 minutes in. I didn’t get to swing at all. And that was the end of the day for me. Saturday I tried to put my fighting pants/leg armor on and those hints that they have been giving me that their days were numbered became a death rattle. The good news is that I had already started working on that but, but the bad news is that it will take a couple of weeks probably. Still, on Friday during the field battle I got to kill a lot. Richard the Rampant was my scutum guy and he’s a monster. He created a ton of angles and lanes for my polearm.
I had a great time with my friends. I even got an Ealdormere fix, getting to see Jocelyn, Nigel, Adrielle, Berend and Mahault. Hirsch and I had a great time playing chess on the veranda overlooking the rapier ravine battle and drinking (his) beer. Of course, I let him win since he was supplying the beverage 😉 There was lots of other singing and silliness and it was a grand time.
Halidor told me something very nice, that even though he had known me several years before I joined the SCA, he said that I became a part of Calontir so quickly that he forgets knowing me beforehand. I say that because it is true that the one structure on earth that I feel most comfortable in is the Royal Pavilion at a war.
When Siridean and Sile were on the throne, I helped set up the Pavilion at Pennsic, and they had just laid down the mats and the pillows. I saw the pillows on the ground and starting running from 15 yards away and launched myself onto the pillows and rolled clutching one through the pavilion. Sile looked at me, and I said “I’m home.”
So, I guess, Gulf Wars is lucky that even though they mismanaged the event horribly, I was still “home.”