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Explaining Persona Video

This video (which is a work in progress) was posted originally to the S.C.A. Anthropology, History, Sociology Facebook Group by Christopher LeClere and is shared here with his permission.

The short video looks at how persona and real life roles effect each other. It is a good look at the S.C.A. for long time members and newcomers alike.


The Anatomy of a Dragon

A link to this articles was posted to my FB timeline and I am sharing it here. It was an interesting read.

Tudor Farm Series – Episode 3

2 months in and the crew has learn all sorts of things that will earn them money. Now they are doing the things that will keep them going… making bread and ale. Huge parts of the daily diet both bread and ale were main source of calories.

It is time to wean the piglets so that the sow can bread again. The piglets are taken to the forest to fatten up on acorns and undergrowth.

Ruth gets to work on the bread and ale by gathering wild yeast from the air and starting grain to sprout. The boys then take grain to a mill to grind. The grain is taken to the monastery to bake into bread.

The boys visit the monastery to learn about how they kept time and help to make a new bell using the lost wax method. Tom learns about bees, wax, honey and how the bees were kept. The wax is then made into candles for the monastery.

The crew also celebrates the longest day of the year, Midsummer, with all festivities of the age.

These activities and many others fill this episode. Enjoy!

A Defense of My Deeds – Chapter Two

(Story by Lord Dante della Luna (Matt Broadway) with permission to post it here.)

By Sir Guy of Warwickshire

To Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Prince of Aquitaine,

 The Greatest of the Black Boars, does your lowly servant Sir Guy of Warwickshire

Sendeth his most humble of greetings,

May this missive find you in most excellent health my Prince.  I would entreat you to set thy gaze once again upon my most humble writings. As you may recall, I, Sir Guy of Warwickshire do find myself most erroneously imprisoned within the vile confines of Maxstoke Castle. I beg you to lend an ear to my case, for I do stand most falsely accused on all counts.

I find myself facing the unendurable second month of imprisonment, and have finished this, my most recent account of my innocence.  Please bear in mind that as I lie stagnant in this meager cell I am not able to fulfill my oath as your most humble servant.  Please bear witness to my cause.

2  –  Concerning the most unfortunate fire at Chipping Sodbury.

I must admit that I remember not the date, but the most unfortunate, but necessary, fire at Chipping Sodbury occurred at some point several months after the Michaelmas Tourney near Norwich.  If I recall correctly, I was traveling south on the road betwixt Wickwar and Chipping Sodbury about two days shy of Midsummer’s Eve.  The day was blustery and overcast, but what else would one suspect of your fair Kingdom in June?

I found myself in the most esteemed company of one Sir Peyton de Mowbray. I believe you yourself graced him with Knighthood shortly after Poitiers. I remember that he did catch the eye of all when he single handedly dispatched at least seven French men-at-arms upon the field during the battle. I never knew a man so skilled with the lance.

We rode abreast one another that day, whilst Sir Peyton’s squire Donald quick marched between us.  I remember the day with fondness.  Donald had secured a silver serving platter from an inn in Wickwar and was holding it on high.  Sir Peyton and myself were rolling bones upon its surface.  It was a sort of gambling game which Sir Peyton had learned from a wandering Jew the year before. We each took turns in rolling the dice and the leader in points after twenty throws won the privilege of having his squire hold the silver tray on high.  I found myself in a constant state of loss, and my squire Symon therefore found himself driving the luggage cart instead of holding the place of honor between Sir Peyton and myself.

“I say, Sir Peyton,” I said. “Fortune finds us within uncommonly chill weather for the month of June.  Prove me wrong.”

“Alas, Sir Guy, I cannot prove your statement to be false,” he said.  “I would find relief from this torturous drizzle of rain that has been tormenting my bald pate all day.”

“Perhaps upon the road we shall happen upon a quaint tavern,” I said.  “It has been many long years since I have travelled this road, and I recall not what lies upon it.”

“Donald,” said Sir Peyton to his faithful squire. “Stow away that platter and the set of dice, and run ahead and see if you might find any shelter from this horrible weather.”

Attending to the words of his knight, Donald hurried back to the pack wagon, and slid the platter and dice bag in among our worldly goods.  He then proceeded to run ahead of our group down the road and around a bend.  He was soon obscured by a copse of ash trees.

“Sir Peyton,” I said. “Concerning the fate of your bald pate.  Why not follow my lead and simply wear a hood.  It certainly is of a fashion, and it would also serve in function.”

“Nay, good Sir Guy, I cannot heed thy most wise council,” he said. “I have sworn penance that I shall not cover my head until high noon upon Lammas Day.”

“Indeed!” I exclaimed. “What fell deed was committed by thy person which induced this most harsh of penances?”

“Ah, Sir Guy,” he said. “Did you perhaps hear that whilst the first snow fell upon the fields of Newberry that I did apprehend the most vile and evil villain Joseph Pickenpaugh?”

“I am familiar with the tale,” I said. “But Joseph Pickenpaugh did lay with the wife of the Lord Marshal, and he was a rustler of other men’s cattle. How could capturing such a man warrant penance?”

At this point Sir Peyton hung his head low and stared at the saddle he rode upon.  I could tell that grave words were soon to escape his mouth.  He inhaled deeply and began to tell his most dreadful tale.

“During the course of the hunt, I found myself interrogating a third servant of the Lord Marshal. The first two having given up no information and did lie in pools of blood upon the floor.  Unfortunately,  while cutting the left ear off the third servant, my dagger slipped and by the most unfortunate of chances, I did slay the Lord Marshal’s dog.  Which had been nipping at my knees the entire afternoon.”

“The Lord Marshal’s greyhound?” I asked.

“Aye,” he replied. “I swore upon my sword that I would leave my head bare to the sun and moon till the following Lammas Day celebration, and the Lord Marshal said it was a noble penance and that he was most appreciative.”

“But the slaying of a dog?” I asked. “Surely there would be lesser penance more appropriate.  I might have worn an eye patch or an uncomfortable bracelet for the stretch of two moons.”

“I contemplated taking residence in a hermitage on the Lord Marshal’s estate for the stretch of a month and a day. I would don the brown robe and apply the cat of nine tails to my body thrice daily.”

“But a grand penance that would have been,” I said.

“It is so,” he said. “However Sir Stephen of Walbrook was already in residence.  Apparently he killed the Lord Marshal’s horse in a tourney earlier in the season.”

“Vile infamy!” I exclaimed.


“Sir Peyton, I must say that I am most emboldened by your course of action.  So much so that I swear this day to lay my head open to the elements as well. Much akin to penitent monks who line themselves up and repeat the same rhythmic prayer together in effort to magnify it’s effect upon the Lord God Almighty, so shall I join you in your penance.”

I displayed my camaraderie by pulling my woolen hood from my head and tossing it aside in the muddy road.  If I were a lesser man I would have regretted my decision immediately.   The wind was chilled and the rain was buffeting against my face.  But I am not a lesser man, so I remained silent to my uncomfortable situation.

It was not long after that I began to sniffle.   Said sniffling led on to sneezing and then to coughing roughly into my mantle.  I was not alone however, for Sir Peyton was joining me and together we formed a chorus of two most sickly bards.  My squire Symon sat under a flap of our pavilion which he had pulled out of the wagon cargo.  Apparently he had no wish to join Sir Peyton in his penance.

“Sir Peyton,” I said.  “Does it appear to you that the day grows hotter even as the sun sets on yonder horizon?”

“Indeed Sir Guy,” he replied. “I am of half a mind to remove my cloak.”

“Sirs,” interrupted Symon. “It grows frigid in the twilight.  Would you like me to stop the wagon and prepare camp?”

“My God Peyton, the boy knows nothing of harsh travel,” I said. “Symon, you wouldn’t know frigid from a witch’s arse.   Besides, look yonder and see that good squire Donald returns with news.”

Sir Peyton’s squire Donald ran down the road which was turning quite muddy from the rain. His hosen were splattered brown with the mud and his cloak was soaked through and through.  It clung to him like a second skin, even in the heavy wind blowing in from the south east. He carried a small sack in one hand and a walking stick in the other.

“Donald,” said Sir Peyton.  “What news have you brought us?”

We reigned in our horses and Donald approached us.  He pulled the hood back from his face.

“Sir, the Tavern at Chipping Sodbury lies no more than one mile down this road.  We draw near our destination.  They have a roaring fire, and several rooms available for the night.”

“Excellent!  Hop into the wagon with Symon and let us make haste to yonder Inn.”

By the time we reached the tavern at Chipping Sodbury both Sir Peyton and myself had taken a drastic turn for the worse.  I was under attack by the most severe of sneezing fits and Sir Peyton was coughing so hard that it was difficult for him to speak a full sentence.  The kindly lady who ran the tavern seated us in front of the fire, and went off to prepare our rooms.  Both myself and Sir Peyton would share a room, and the boys would watch over the horses in the loft over the stable.

“I fear the ghost of the Lord Marshal’s greyhound has inflicted us with most foul humors,” I said.  Sir Peyton mumbled his agreement between fits of coughing.

“Excuse me,” said Donald to Sir Peyton. “If it would please you Sir, I could make a stew with the mushrooms I found by the roadside while I was looking for the tavern.  My good mother used to make  mushroom soup for my brothers and me when we were kids.  She always said that mushrooms were powerful medicine and could cure all ills.”

Donald poured the contents of his small sack on the table which stood before Sir Peyton and myself.  Several red mushrooms covered in small white specks littered the table.  They were very vibrant and pretty. I was reminded  of a sunset I observed once while I was both young and in love. Alas, the fair maid who did capture my heart died in a most unfortunate incident that I care not to discuss at the moment.

It was at this point that my squire Symon decided to speak up, “Sir! These mushrooms do not resemble the type that I am accustomed to eating.  I have heard that some wild mushrooms are full of evil spirits and can do great harm to any who would eat them.”

“Symon, my young buck,” I said. “You are as a young ram, battering your head into the sense of the world. Donald speaks truth, and it has been many years since I’ve enjoyed a good mushroom soup. Please go tend to the horses.  And please see to it that Saint Dominic gets two apples today.  He had a hard ride.”

“But Sir!” exclaimed Symon.

I must take a moment to relate just how intolerable it is sometimes to deal with squires.  It seems that every time I give an order that they begin to second guess my ideas.  It is like they always know better and try to actually steer me!  Steer me in the direction they wish things to flow!  The audacity of pride simply irks me at times.  Symon in particular was the most stubborn squire to ever cross my path.  It seems that he wished to butt heads at every given opportunity.  It was with all this in mind that I cut him off before he could finish his protestation.

“Symon!” I yelled. “I said Saint Dominic will get two apples, and he will get two apples.  I do not care if you have to traverse the length of the entire town in search of said apples, it will happen, and I will not discuss this matter any longer. Be gone with you!”

Symon made a sad little gesture towards the mushrooms.  Like he wanted to feed our mushrooms to Saint Dominic!  But then he simply lowered his head and walked out the door.

Donald hung a pot of water from an iron hook over the fire.  Then he added the mushrooms and a small hand full of herbs and spices which he had procured from the mistress of the kitchen.  The whole concoction simmered over the fire for about ten minutes.  At that point, Donald pulled the pot of mushroom soup off the fire and set it upon the table before Sir Peyton and myself.  He procured a pair of wooden bowls and ladled equal portions of the soup into each.

The soup was warm and it held the flavor of garlic and onion and all sorts of glorious tastes which I have no words for, but let us say that it was delicious. And certainly Sir Peyton agreed for he devoured his share of the soup far faster than I was able to.

After the soup was finished we continued to warm ourselves by the fire, and Sir Peyton indulged me by describing the encounter at Aquitaine.  I know it is common knowledge, but I never really understand the whole awful story behind the deaths of Sir Gerald and the Earl of Northampton. Peyton  amazed me with the intricacies of the entire ordeal.

The soup was working magic of my sick body. I began to feel refreshed, and I stopped sneezing altogether.  Although I must admit that it did not sit very well in my stomach. The room was only about a quarter full of patrons and the Mistress of the tavern was telling them all a story about a small cat which apparently saved a woman from falling down a well the year before. I started to feel as if I were awakening from a very dull dream. The colors of everything in the room started to almost glow in intensity, and the various lights about the room started to shine brighter and flicker faster.  Indeed, the candles were burning so hotly that the wax overran their holders and pooled about the floor underneath them. And, I tell God’s own truth, the tavern keeper’s eyes started to glow red hot like embers in a fire.

“Sir Guy, this soup is not sitting well upon my stomach,” Said Sir Peyton. He followed up these words by exhuming his dinner into the pot which still lay between us.  Yet, it was not vomit which flowed forth from his mouth.  No, indeed.  Eels shot from his mouth.  Long twisted black eels with red eyes and slimy skin.  They wiggled about in the pot and several escaped over the side and slithered about our feet on the rug.  Sir Peyton was as amazed as I.

“I fear we’ve been bewitched my friend,” I said.  I was about to suggest we investigate the nature of our bewitching when I too was overcome with the urge to vomit.  My stomach twisted into a knot of pain and when it unclenched I could not hold it in. Thousands of snails shot out of my mouth and nostrils. Enough to feed a small party of Frenchmen.

“Good Sirs!” exclaimed Donald. “I have poisoned you with dinner!”

“Nay Donald, fault not thyself. I know witchcraft when I see it,” I said as I wiped a few snails from my chin with my tabard sleeve.  “Peyton, take a look at yon tavern keeper and take note of her eyes.”

“Aye Guy. She has a look most vile about her.  In fact, all the patrons of this establishment grow darker with evil as the night progresses.  I believe we have fallen into a nest of dark underlings bent on destroying us.  Donald, roust Symon and prepare the horses and wagon while Sir Guy and myself deal with these demons of the night.” Peyton growled out the last few words as he stood and drew his sword.

Donald looked about the room with a bewildered look upon his face.  He turned to us and said something, but I remember not the words.  I was too busy taking a broom from beside the fireplace and pouring oil upon it’s bristles from a nearby lamp. Donald then hurried out the door.

“Peyton, that bare blade will not kill this spawn of hell,” I said as I thrust the end of the broom into the fire. I turned with my new weapon burning brightly. “We must burn them.”

Several of the evil tavern keeper’s patrons stood to leave, but Peyton yelled at them to keep their seats.  Black leathery wings had sprouted from the back of several of the demons.  My torch burned taller than I thought it would and flames started spreading along the rafters which held up the low ceiling.  I had to threaten several of the Satan spawn with my torch for they were trying to flee the room through the front door. Smoke started to fill the room.

“Take your leave of me Sir Guy.   I will stand firm and make sure none of these demon witches escape this inferno!” Yelled Sir Peyton above the growing roar of the blaze and the incessant howls of the trapped witches and warlocks.

“I will not forget this day Sir Peyton!  May God grant you peace!”

I tossed my torch toward the curtains of a nearby window and ran out the front door of the tavern.  I made my escape moments before the front section of the building crashed in on itself, sealing the fate of both the noble Sir Peyton and the dark horde which lie within the tavern.

Donald and Symon were waiting for me about a block away from the blaze with the horses and wagon. The fire was starting to ignite the thatched roof of an adjacent building and several people were rushing toward the flames with buckets of water.

“Nay!  Let it burn! Let it consume the foul evil which infest it’s walls. And let none forget that Sir Peyton de Mowbray stood fast and hard in the face of his fate,” I said unto the gathered mob of villagers.

I had Symon guide the wagon while I, sprawled across the luggage, succumbed to sleep’s sweet embrace.  Donald, who from that day onward has been in my charge, handled the horses. I praised the Lord for stopping the rain and enjoyed drifting off to sleep in the warm June night.

So you see, the tavern had to be burned.  I blame not the relatives of those who were within the blaze for not understanding.  You see, they were obviously under the spell of the vile demons and did not see the true evil within them.  They were unlucky in the fact that they never partook of the medicinal stew that freed Sir Peyton and myself from the binders of their dark magic.

In service to England,
Your most humble servant,
Sir Guy of Warwickshire

2 people team braiding

A Defense of My Deeds While Wrongly Imprisoned in Maxstoke Castle

A Defense of My Deeds While Wrongly Imprisoned in Maxstoke Castle

By Sir Guy of Warwickshire

To Edward of Woodstock, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, Prince of Aquitaine,

 The Greatest of the Black Boars, does your lowly servant Sir Guy of Warwickshire

Sendeth his most humble of greetings,

When I was of late (Most Gracious of Princes) for a while conversant with you at the Monastery at Glastonbury Abbey, we conferred together of divers things concerning Chivalry, Honor and the Arts of Warfare.  I took great pleasure in our conversation, and the many revelations your speech bestowed upon me concerning the Noble and Gentle Arts that evening.

It is my humble and most gracious wish that you recall this fine evening of conversation that we shared, as we sat across from each other at the chess table, and matched wits with pawns, bishops, King and Queen.  For that evening, Your Highness did grace my ears with the words, “Good Sir Guy of Warwickshire, never before have I met a Knight whose Chivalry and Grace did exceed your own.”  It is with these words that I wish you to recall my nature, and it is precisely these words that I wish you to hold close to your heart as I relate my tale of wrongful persecution.

I seek your aid My Prince.   I have been the subject of a most vile and dreadful court.   I have been imprisoned against my will, and for following the very code of Chivalry that we discussed long into the night that evening.   I wish for you to hear the Defense of my Deeds which led to me being so wrongfully imprisoned in Maxstoke Castle.

I  –  Concerning the Theft  of the Mayor of Norwich’s Prize Horse

It was a cold September morning, no more than seven autumns past, when I found myself traveling south for the Michaelmas Tourney in the lovely town of Norwich.  I was accompanied by my most ardent Squire, Symon of Ipswitch.   You may recall that Symon did charge valiantly into the French lines at that little skirmish at Najera, only to take an arrow to his left eye not five feet from clashing into the enemy and skewering one of their foot soldiers as he toppled from his steed, to lie dead on the ground for the rest of the day.   It was this fine lad who did ride with me to the Michaelmas Tourney.

“Symon, I wonder if you would be so kind as to pass me that fine bottle of spiced wine which we picked up at the market just yesterday,” I asked my faithful squire.

“Sir Guy, it would be my pleasure to hand you the wine, for I have it close at hand, but I would like to remind you that my name is Jeremy,” replied Symon.

“Thank you Symon,” I replied.   The spiced wine was exactly what I needed for so cold and blustery a morning.   The cool refreshment of the drink was precisely the cure for the headache and curdled stomach which the previous evening of drinking had left me with.

“Sir, do you think it wise to begin drinking wine so early in the day?” queried my ardent squire.

“Symon,” I began.

“Jeremy Sir,” he interrupted.

“Symon, you will please me much if you would  stop with this, Jeremy, foolishness,” I said.

“Yes Sir,” he replied.

“Now then, as I was saying, a man held in thrall to the King of England as I myself am, being a Knight of said King, must ever be vigilant to his cause.   I find myself most wrung out due to the excessive amount of ale that Sir Barrowstone forced upon my person last evening.   I have it on good authority that the cure for being most wrung out due to excessive drinking of ale is to follow up the next morning with a judicious amount of spiced wine.   Why do you think I bought the spiced wine in the first place Symon?   Really.  You need to think these things through.”

“Yes Sir.  Sorry Sir,”  replied Symon.

The country road to Norwich was a hard packed dirt affair, with two shallow ditches on either side to divert rain water.   Vast fields of grasses and flowers stretched off to the East, and an old forest stretched off to the west.   Ancient oaks reached out their limbs to each other, stifling off undergrowth due to the shade from their leafy canopy.   Somewhere in the distance the echo  of birdsong could be heard.

I finished the bottle of wine and tossed the empty vessel out amongst the trees.  It clattered across the roots and dried leaves until it found a resting place against a moss covered boulder.   No doubt some poor forest dweller would discover it and find some use for it.  My largesse truly knows no bounds.

At this point in my tale, I find myself at a loss for words.   My true and valiant steed, Saint George, chose this very instant to tumble down upon the road, and give his ghost back to the Holy Father.  Being the able horseman that I am, I landed surefooted to the side of my noble steed, and watched sorrowfully at him gasp out his last few breaths.   A noble war horse, it breathed its last.

“I told you to feed her Sir,” said Symon.

“Symon!  Enough of this!  Saint George was fasting in an effort to purge his soul of foul humors,” I said. “I have told you this some twenty times at least this past week.   The Lord Almighty obviously saw the goodness in his heart and called him forth to heaven.”

“Sir, you can’t expect a horse to fast for a week and survive,” said Symon.

“Symon, I have need of your horse,” I said.

“What?  I’ve had good old Polly for five years.   We’re pals we are,” said Symon.

“Enough of this foolishness Symon.  Please remove yourself from my trusted steed,”  I said.

Symon looked around for a moment.   I had the slightest of thoughts that he may try to ride off and steal my horse, but he bowed his head and removed himself from my saddle.

“That’s a good lad.   Please if you would, remove the riding accoutrements from that carcass and follow along with them please,” I said.

My new horse was quite a valiant beast.   It was black, with a thick mane that somebody had braided into many long plaits.

“You shall be Saint John,” I said.

“Her name is Polly,” said Symon.

“Nonsense.   Anyone can tell that his name is Saint John,” I replied.

“Polly is a girl,” said Symon.

“You have so much to learn my young charge,” I replied.

While it may seem like I digress, the truth of the matter is that I most certainly do not digress.  The aforementioned description of the passing of my most valiant steed is intended to show the certain malease I was under upon entering the town of Norwich.   My heart was torn by the death of Saint George, a most noble beast indeed.   Yet, even though I was greatly warmed at heart by the gait of my new horse, Saint John ,  I still found myself riding though the southern gates of Norwich on an example of the equine species which was most unfit for the tilting of lances.  I began to ponder ways to rectify the situation whilst my worthy squire Symon of Ipswitch did erect our Pavilion upon the list field.

“Symon, given the state of Saint John, what would you suggest as an answer to my current dilemma?” I asked.

“Sir?” responded Symon as he looked up from hammering steel bars into the ground.

“It is a test Symon.   You must give a real answer,” I replied.

“Well, Polly, uh, I mean Saint John is no horse fit for the joust,”  said Symon.

“Yes, yes.   I am aware of Saint John’s shortcomings Symon.   But how do we solve the problem presented before us?”

Symon looked about the fairgrounds which were laid out beyond the southern gates of Norwich.   He was a bit hesitant about his answer, which, seemed so against his nature.   If you had seen him charge headlong into the fray at Najera as I did, you would not think the man capable of naught but impulsive actions.

“I suppose Sir, that I could search out a stable master in Norwich and purchase you a new Horse,” replied Symon.

“Excellent Symon!  Yes.  A quest indeed!  I must place my faith in the Lord and go forth upon a quest to find a beast most worthy.  I must say Symon, you are indeed progressing well along the path,” I said.

“Thank you Sir,” replied Symon.

Knowing that I must cleanse myself physically and spiritually in order to begin such a quest, I removed my chain hauberk and gambeson, as well as my weaponry and underclothes, and placed them all in Symon’s worthy care.   The fall afternoon was brisk.

“Sir,” said Symon. “If I may be so bold to ask, why are standing in the campsite naked?”

“Symon, you know better.   I must cleanse myself in yonder pond.   I must wash away my sin if I am to begin a quest to find a noble steed.”

“Sir,” said Symon. “The ladies in yonder field are all looking over in this direction with gazes most astonished.”

“Of course Symon,” I responded.  “I am an astonishing man.”

At this point I strolled over to the pond which lay some thirty feet from the camp and stepped in the waters.   It was most cold.   I bore the pain of the icy water and did not even grimace as I waded deep within its murky depths.  As my chest slipped under the water I exalted the Lord God,  his Majesty the King of England, the current Pope, whoever he may be, and I plunged my head within the waters seven times in total.  Finally, I felt purged of sin, and returned to the pavilion.

“Sir, you have some sort of pond reeds in your hair, Sir,”  said Symon.

“Symon, retrieve my white linen tunic and drape it upon my person,” I said.  “I must not be disturbed as I begin my quest.”

“Yes Sir,” said Symon.

Symon did bedeck me in my fine white tunic.   Dressed in so virginal a garment I set forth barefoot upon my journey.  If the Lord God did see fit to pierce my feet with barbs and sharp rocks, I would stare down these challenges with a face most fierce.  For my face was set in a fierce way.

I must take a moment and comment upon humility.   You must understand that if it was not for my unfortunate imprisonment within Maxstoke Castle, I would never be setting this tale to paper.  It is not my intent to brag about my most noble and pious ways.   I merely wish to show that the charges which were laid against me are most false, and those that would lay said charges against one of your most worthy and gentle Knights are base and churlish individuals.   I face churlishness.   I face it, and in facing it, I must put my humility aside to press my defense, for no Lawyer of Maxstroke did so for your most humble servant.

On my knees.  I made judgment that in order to satisfy the Lord God Almighty, I must partake of my quest while on my knees.   The fact that my feet were cut and scraped from the most horrid terrain of Norwich had no bearing upon my decision.   So, upon hands and knees I crossed not only the fairgrounds, but an adjoining apple orchard.   I crossed almost half a league on my quest.  By the time I reached a split rail corral on the opposite side of said orchard, I knew not if I recalled the way back home, nor how many hours, nay, months I had been at my deed.

All my struggles were not for naught.   Upon reaching the corral, I spied the most noble of beasts.  Standing a good twenty five hands in height was the most glorious of horses my eyes have ever espied in the many years I have graced the world with my presence.  The Stallion was pure white in color with a mane of long flowing locks which trailed behind it as it trotted around the corral.   I found that the Lord took notice of my pain and suffering and decided my quest was over.  He graced me with this fine steed.

I approached the valiant war horse and whispered in its ear, “You my fine friend, are Saint Benedict Joseph Labre, are you not?”

I rode Saint Benedict Joseph Labre back to my pavilion.   When I arrived, I leapt from his back, and fed him one of the apples from the apple orchard which we passed though on the way back to the camp.

“Sir,” said Symon. “That appears to be Rocinante, the Mayor of Norwich’s horse.”

“Nonsense Symon,” I said. “This fine steed is Saint Benedict Joseph Labre.   He was gifted to me by God.  My quest was quite successful.”

“I see,” replied Symon.

The joust proceeded upon the following daybreak.  While I did not win the tourney, I managed to unseat many a fine man at arms that day, and did win their most excellent steeds and coat armour.   Symon and I led a veritable pack mule train of horses loaded with arms and armour from Norwich the following Sunday.  I must say, that I am astonished that the Mayor of Norwich claims I stole his horse.  I never even met the man upon our stay in his fine town, but I did notice the evil glares the man sent in my direction during my tilts at the list.  I fear he is a most vile specimen, and none of his words should be given weight.

In service to England,

Your most humble servant,

Sir Guy of Warwickshire

(Story by Lord Dante della Luna (Matt Broadway) with permission to post it here.

A&S Cheat Sheet – August 2013

This type of post, the “A&S Cheat Sheet”, is a list of upcoming arts and sciences (A&S) competitions that are a manageable driving  distance from the Canton of Middlegate.  The idea is that Middlegaters (and neighbors!) can use this short-term list of A&S competitions to help decide which events they and their projects should attend. 🙂

And without further ado, let’s take a look at the competitions for August and September.

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A&S Cheat Sheet – July 2013

This type of post, the “A&S Cheat Sheet”, is a list of upcoming arts and sciences (A&S) competitions that are a manageable driving  distance from the Canton of Middlegate.  The idea is that Middlegaters (and neighbors!) can use this short-term list of A&S competitions to help decide which events they and their projects should attend. 🙂

Originally the Cheat Sheet just listed events two months in advance – but hey, we’re live on the Internet now, so who knows what might happen. 😉

And without further ado, let’s take a look at the competitions for July and August.

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Plant roots, stale urine and rain, oh my!

Time traveling Órlaith

(Or a fast beginner’s introduction to medieval dyeing)

Ever since I joined the SCA I’ve been plotting to set up to recreate dyes. I’ve done a fair amount of research by now, so I expect there will be a few posts on the subject to follow, I have a lot of plans.    This particular post is designed as a sort of Beginner’s Guide to Dyeing, I’ll be getting into specific methods and recreations as I go along.  So, first things first

– What am I trying to change the colour of?
There are different applications of the techniques described below depending on whether you use animal (eg. wool) or plant derived fibres (linen, for my purposes).  I’m going to focus most of my experiments on wool,  as I’m given to understand that there’s a trick to dyeing linen.   Whatever the material, the trick is to to change the…

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Sekanjabin & Oxymel: The Basics

by Lady Murienne l’aloiere


First a quick clarification, We don’t drink sekanjabin… Sekanjabin is a syrup that when mixed with water becomes the drink we know, that drink is called “sharbat-e sekanjabin”.This is an ancient drink which is still served in Iran today.

The Sekanjabin syrup is also eaten without making a drink… here is an example from an Iranian cooking blog called Tumeric and Saffron (1)

Being from the south of Iran where summers are long and hot, eating sekanjabin and lettuce was an afternoon ritual in our home. Usually, my mother would place a bowl of sekanjabin in the middle of a large round tray, surrounded by several heads of fresh and crisp lettuce in the middle of the table or on the picnic blanket under the shade of a tree, where we would take a piece of lettuce and dip it into the bowl. Almost every time we had sekanjabin we were reminded by our mother that sekanjabin is not just food but it also has medicinal values with healing powers and a good source of vitamins.

From Master Cariadoc (2) –

“Sekanjabin is a period drink; it is mentioned in the Fihrist of al-Nadim, which was written in the tenth century. The only period recipe I have found for it (in the Andalusian cookbook) is called “Sekanjabin Simple” and omits the mint. It is one of a large variety of similar drinks described in that cookbook-flavored syrups intended to be diluted in either hot or cold water before drinking.”

Here is the translated recipe he mentions above…

Sekanjabin Simple (Andalusian p. A-74)

Take a ratl of strong vinegar and mix it with two ratls of sugar, and cook all this until it takes the form of a syrup. Drink an ûqiya of this with three of hot water when fasting: it is beneficial for fevers of jaundice, and calms jaundice and cuts the thirst, since sikanjabîn syrup is beneficial in phlegmatic fevers: make it with six ûqiyas of sour vinegar for a ratl of honey and it is admirable.


Prior to the Fatimid Period (7-10th century): 1 Ratl = 406.35g or 14.33oz

Under the Fatimids (11-12th Century): 1 Ratl = 437.5 g or 15.43oz

Around the 14th Century: 1 Ratl = 468.75 g or 16.53oz  (3)


1 ûqiya=39g/7tsp (4)

This recipe is for the most popular form of Sekanjabin. This is the Mint version Master Cariadoc has on his site.

Sekanjabin (from A Book of Middle Eastern Food, by Claudia Roden)

Dissolve 4 cups sugar in 2 cups of water; when it comes to a boil add 1 cup wine vinegar. Simmer 1/2 hour. Add a handful of mint, remove from fire, let cool. Dilute the resulting syrup to taste with ice water (5 to 10 parts water to 1 part syrup). The syrup stores without refrigeration.

As you can see the recipe is one of proportions which makes it infinity customizable. The three base ingredients are in halves…. 4 cups sugar, half that amount… 2 cups of water, half that amount…. 1 cup vinegar You can scale the recipe up or down and as long as you keep those proportions you will get the same finished product.

The flavors are up to you as well! I am including a few different combinations on the next page but I encourage you to try different fruits and spices and see what you like.

  • Ginger – Mince 1/2 cup fresh ginger. Add it to the syrup after 30 mins of simmering and cool. Strain out the ginger.
  • Strawberry/Ginger – Slice 2 cups strawberries and a good sized knob of fresh ginger. Add strawberries and ginger after the syrup has been simmering 25 mins. Simmer 5 more minutes, remove from heat and cool. Strain the syrup. Keep the strawberries, they are great on ice cream or angel food cake!
  • Lemon/clove – Replace the vinegar with 1 pint of lemon juice, simmer as before. Add 8-10 cloves at the end of the simmer and let cool. Strain out the cloves.
  • Some other suggestions for flavors… rose, violets, hyssop, basil, pomegranate, sour grape, lavender, jujube, thistle, tamarind, carrot, plum, pear,  and apple


Another drink of this type is Oxymel. Oxymel is a honey & vinegar syrup that is more European in nature. Oxymel can be found in Hippocrates’ On Regimen in Acute Diseases. (5) This ancient Greek source (460-380 BC) mentions Oxymel repeatedly with explanations for its proper use in medicinal treatment but does not provide a recipe for the drink. In Greek Oxymel literally translates to “acid-honey” providing us with a basic recipe of vinegar (acid) and honey, with the diluting water being self evident.

Another early medical man, Galen, provides us with a recipe in Chapter 6 of Book 4 of Staying Healthy nearly 6 centuries after Hippocrates:

Oxymeli – Honey Vinegar

Simmer honey until it foams, discard, the scum, add enough vinegar to make it neither too sharp nor too sweet, boil again until it is mixed and not raw. For use, mix with water, just as you would mix wine with water.

Although it appears that much of Oxymel is presumed to be to taste, here is a redaction by Anahita bint ‘abd alKarim al-hakim al-Fassi:


1-1/2 cup Honey

1/2 cup Red or White Wine Vinegar

Mix honey and vinegar; simmer until well blended; cool.

This syrup is added, water to taste like the sekanjabin syrup is, though I tend to add much more water to oxymel than sekanjabin.


1 Turmeric & Saffron Blog –

2 Cariadoc’s Miscelleny – (c) by David Friedman and Elizabeth Cook, 1988, 1990, 1992.


3 Measuring the Mevieval Islamic Economy –

4 Feast of the Centuries –

5 Hippocrates’ On Regimen in Acute Diseases –