(Bit slow this week: broken wireless broadband dongle…)
On Saturday a week ago we went to the Baronial Changeover Dinner in Canberra.
The Canberra medieval club is one of the largest in the country, and they are ruled by a Baron and Baroness. These people are appointed by the King and Queen and are the ceremonial leaders for a number of years. There’s no set period involved, but many people think that two years is too little and five years is too much.
In this case, our friends Alessandro and Isobel had the job for four years. They did a great job, but it’s tiring and they were keen for a break. Recently they went to the biggest SCA event in the world, the Pennsic Wars, and commanded the forces of Lochac (Australia and NZ). So the theatre of the evening was that this had re-awakened their taste for battle, and Alessandro petitioned to be released from his vows as baron to wage war again. Then Isobel declared that she too was ready for war, and had her long hair hacked off in the court. Their Majesties granted them leave to stand down as B&B.
The SCA is not a democracy, but it approaches one in practice. There were several sets of candidates to take up the jobs as Baron and Baroness. The Crown asked the populace for advice on who should replace Alessandro and Isobel. In the end a relatively low profile couple was selected, Aonghus and Gwen. Allison knows them better than I do.
The feast had pretty good food. For instance, there was roasted quail stuffed with chicken and currant forcemeat (fairly period) along with a pomegranate and molasses cream sauce (tasted good, but convince me it’s medieval!). The food was still coming out after 10pm as many people were leaving; they are a bit prone to this in Politarchopolis. I would give them eight out of ten for the food, which is better than most feasts I’ve been to recently.
The entertainment was a little disappointing. There was not much room or time for dancing, which would have been nice. Polit has great musicians and singers, but no evidence of either on Saturday. There was a rather odd Fifteenth Century morality play; points for authenticity but not for entertainment.
I was called up in Court to hand back my office as Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Queen was very generous in her praise for my work in that office over the last two and a half years. They granted me an Augmentation to my Arms, an unusual honour. So I’m entitled to show the kingdom badge on my device.
In medieval times, a typical augmentation for say, a victorious general, was to put the English leopard across the top of your shield, or the Scottish tressure border. Later, things got a bit crazy and Admiral Nelson got a new augmentation for every battle won. He had palm trees and rows of grenades everywhere, and the word “Trafalgar” across the middle. I think he must have upset a herald badly. Hmmm, so have I…
Anyway, here’s what my device could look like. There’s a couple of places I could put the augmentation.
None of this is strictly true as I changed my heraldry about 15 years ago, and haven’t officially changed it with the heralds. I did try, but my new device was similar to one held by a knight in America. I got in touch with him, and he was happy for me to conflict, but I didn’t ever send the paperwork back in.
Okewaite (our medieval group in Goulburn) is having a heraldry workshop on 14 November. I’ve been preparing some posters for teaching heraldry, and I might publish one here next week. So perhaps I’ll get my new heraldry recognised, and some other locals might get their paperwork in too. Unfortunately, the SCA College of Heralds is still stuck in the 1980s and they require photocopies coloured in with particular texta pens — why can’t they accept a jpeg graphics file? Anyway, we’ll jump through their hoops and hopefully get some more heraldry approved soon.