Great Western War was this past week(end). I was out on site at Prado Regional Park in Chino, Ca. on Wednesday at noon and began setting up our tent and other accouterments. It was bugger all windy and hot. Not a fun way to begin war, but alas, the only way I was afforded. Luckily I only had one rafter pole casualty which I was able to remedy with a bit of wood and duct tape (the saviour of all ills)!
Siobhan (Jean (siobhan_genie) for all you non-SCA types) found out later in the day that her Jury duty date had been postponed until Tuesday (today) and that afforded her the ability to come onsite Wednesday evening. With no fires allowed Wednesday night, we kept warm with distilled spirits and friendship around a glowing bottle of Scotch. I made quite a dent in my bottle of Potcheen(irish moonshine) going through half of it that night, and continued to kill it off the night after whilst whooping it up at the pirate party in the La Familia/ Gyldenholt encampment. Much fun and imbibing was had by all that night even though I ended up completely sober by the time I fell into bed.
Friday was a relaxing day up until about 5pm when the majority of our encampment (The 3 Drunken Celts) decided to wander of in search of food and to gander at Merchant’s Row. While I was in the midst of dressing for the evening, my compatriot Erasmus (or Raz to most (Dickey to even fewer)) was going out of his gord trying to ready the encampment for Marcos’ bid for freedom from captivity on the ship WhiteStar as well as for the Rum Runners Rampage and Whiskey tasting to be hosted later in the evening. I tried to help where I could, but found that I had a later start than intended and needed to dress not only for Marcos’ bid, but also to stand guard for Her Excellency Lasairfhiona (red_goldilocks) who would be standing vigil in preparation for her elevation to the Order of the Laurel.
Unfortunately I was unable to stand for my entire scheduled time as I began feeling overheated during my duty and had to make a run for the privies. Luckily someone was able to stand in for me until I returned. At the least though, I was able to be there for the invocation and to begin Lasairfhiona’s vigil with Raz at my side. I’d say we make pretty good, menacing, and imposing guards, wouldn’t you?
Yes, that is indeed the much discussed buff coat which I had been working on for what seems like years. I finally finished it and donned it for its debut at War on friday night. Two more reference shot pictures can be found here:
After standing guard (my only regret being that I could not stand longer) Raz and I rushed back to our encampment where the Rum and Whiskey tasting was already under way. It seemed to be going fairly well and was under control so I opted to strip down to just my shirt and pants to cool off as I had been overheating the entire night thus far. Once I was as cool as I could get, I sat in a chair outside and away from the party just trying to cool down more and re-hydrate.
Oddly, after only an hour in the chair, a RockStar, and oodles of water later, I began feeling well enough to try some of the amazing Rums and Whiskies which made it out to the party. I soon discovered, however, that the party we throw with the intent of educating people about the wonders of different scotches and whiskies had indeed served its purpose well this year. I learned that no matter how good the Rum, I just don’t enjoy drinking rum. As such I found myself finishing out the night at the whiskey table savouring some Balvenie Double Wood, some Sheep Dip, and even more Potcheen that had been brought by another of our camp dwellers. After a rocky start to the party it was finished off on a high note and I was able to go to bed around 3am feeling that while not as successful as parties past, the Rum Runners Rampage was indeed another success.
Next year though, it is back to the basics and single malt Whiskies/Scotches only once again. We know we can never reclaim the glory of the first party, but we sure can try and match it once again.
The special part of the party actually came out long before the party ever started. Since we knew this year would bring out people who were different types of drinkers than the majority of the 3DC, we decided to have a snobs corner for a very select few deemed worthy enough of the Good Stufftm. This included an early Friday tasting of just the line of Edradour Straight from the Casks. What a wonderful teaching tool this line of single malts is! We had 7 different bottles all 12 years old and all distilled by the Edradour. The only difference in these bottles was the finishing methods, ie. the types of casks the scotch was aged in. So we corked all 7 of them and sat down with a small group of aficionados and learned how deep of an impact the finishing method for a scotch really is. It was an outstanding experience for all.
Running back one day before I move on ahead, I do need to make a very special mention of one bottle that was gifted to us on Thursday. Our close friend Eoin (or Cherries as the 3DC call him) had come on site only for a few hours as he had to make his way out to Las Vegas for the Ren Faire out there that he had committed to his wife to attend. Because of this he would be unable to make the party, but stopped by to gift a bottle and drink with us…
If you read the label, you will see that it is a Jameson’s Irish Whiskey, Reserve blend aged 12 years. This is a bottle, I am told, that is only available at the Distillery its self. You may also note that it has been specially labeled for the 3 Drunken Celts. How effing cool is that!?!?!? When Cherries went out to Ireland this past year, he made a special point of obtaining this bottle for the 3DC. We were all unbelievable honoured and touched by the gift and the thought behind it. So we corked it on spot and all had a taste!
One thing about the 3DC, we will cork any bottle regardless of cost because for us it is all about the drink. And let me tell you right here and now, this was one FINE bottle of whiskey to join the ranks of our favourites. It finished with a beautiful after-taste of rich wintery spices which was so very very pleasant to all the senses.
Okay, now THAT has been taken car of and I can move on…
Saturday was a very odd day for me. It began just as the night had ended, as all at war do, very early in the morning. I believe somewhere around 7am. If you have been paying attention up to this point and are fairly adequate with math, you will note this translates to 4 hours of sleep, which is somehow acceptable at war. As we all began to wake and muster in the shade at camp, something came over me and I decided I would fight on the Armoured combat field rather than fight rapier as I had authorized for only days prior. So I began donning my armour and waiting for the others to do so as well. (This is about the best picture I have of my armour kit. I am on the left losing my arm: http://www.waywardcelt.com/postnuke-phoenix-0.7.2.3/html/coppermine/albums/miscpics/MVC00715.JPG )
Once we were all ready, 7 of us in total, we marched out onto the field for what turned out to be a glorious day of battle. (If I find any links to others’ pictures of the battle field at GWW I will post them as I didn’t take any further pictures after Friday night.) I ended up fighting along side Fergus and His Excellency Sir Sean of the South Baron of Tir Ysgithr. We fought the entire day, something I had never done before as I am typically exhausted after the 3rd or 4th battles. After the fighting, the Atenveldt army marched off the field in columned formation. Fergus and I were asked to join as we had fought along side the Aten army all day. His Majesty of Atenveldt had a bit of a surprise for us after we had mustered under the Aten Royal encampment’s banner: we were to be paid for our services to the crown on the battlefield. After an inspiring speech his Majesty awarded all fighters in attendance a token bearing the war’s date and his name inscribed as if to be a coin.
Fergus, Sean, and myself returned to camp from the day of fighting on a high which I have rarely seen, let alone experienced. Of course it was ungodly hot, so the armour was promptly removed and the drinking began…
What I need to do here for a moment is let you understand how the next few events came about: I was tired. Exhausted really. I had not eaten but half a muffin for breakfast, and naught for lunch. We returned to camp around 2 or 3pm after the fighting. I was dehydrated. I was primed and ready to go….
So I sat down and put away 3 chalices of cider (on tap courtesy of Sean) and then we began passing around the Tullamore Dew. Well, when the cap gets thrown away, the bottle must be finished. So it was, and so it was. Of course another bottle of the same appeared and the same was done with it. (Mind you only about 5 people are really drinking the stuff, myself included.) Half way through the second bottle, we decide it is shower time and make our way to the shower liner, only to begin passing the bottle around again. And this is where things get a bit hazy. I remember laughing my ass off waiting for the showers, and then I remember taking a shower and drying off. I remember coming out of the showers and sitting down with the same group of friends, realizing that I was not going to make it back to camp on my own. That is about the point when I passed out on the grass in the shade and got really comfortable. I don’t know how much time passed, but it began to get cooler and cooler, so I re-donned my tunic and continued to sleep (luckily when I had exited the showers I was still coherent enough to make sure I was wearing pants).
Then it began to get VERY chilly and I started thinking about making my way back to camp when a group of friends including Siobhan came to rescue me. I think I surprised them a bit in the fact that I got up and made it to my own bed without their assistance. Well, I crashed out again and slept. When I next awoke, Siobhan was in the tent and from what I could tell was preparing to go out for the evening’s walkabout. Boy, was I mistaken. Come to find that it was midnight and she was coming HOME and getting read for bed. Ugh, I had missed out on saturday night entirely. Well, I decided to get yup for a moment and grab some water, when I ran into Sean, who had been stumbling through camp. I thanked him for taking care of me and realized at that point that I was STILL drunk. So more water, then off to bed for me again.
Sunday I awoke with nary a remnant of the drink still with me. I had a bit more water and went on with the day’s events, which included mainly sitting round and laughing while half the camp packed and prepared to go home. Sunday is always a bitter-sweet day since our brothers and sisters from the far off regions often leave this day whilst the remaining friends we see often typically stay through until Monday.
Movie night did not happen this year, which I was sad about at first, but as the day grew long I realized that it may be a blessing in disguise for the remaining camp goers within the 3DC encampment as it afforded us a quiet time to sit around the campfire (which was finally allowed after the ban lifted on Friday!) and enjoy each other’s company through conversation an liquor of course.
I finished off another half bottle of Tullamore Dew while sitting around the campfire with Sir Brut and his squire and enjoying the misfortune Aisha (browncolleen)had by introducing Sir Brut and I. You see, as an infidel she had seemingly not realized that by allowing me to buy her a few (read 7) indulgences (on a parchment suitable for framing!) she had turned her back on Allah, and taken God as her saviour… for why else would she need decidedly Christian indulgences to wash away future sins, to be forgiven, and allow her entrance into Heaven? This went on for quite awhile as half a bottle of Sambuca and Tully were downed, and everyone aside from Aisha were laughing our asses off. Come to think of it, even Aisha was laughing a bit too…. but I can’t seem to remember why. When all was said and done, Sir Brut left as the care-taker of Aisha’s indulgences (as she was not in a state to be trusted with them on her own) and in compensation for the parchment Sir Brut gifted me with a set of fore-arm armour from Luther Anshelm Armouries. A fair trade indeed.
The night continued on and we finally all retired around 3am once again, only to wake at 7am and begin the long and tedious process of tear down. Monday mornings suck. No hangover, but the energy expelled yesterday made me feel like I have one today. We finally made it off site around 1:30pm, and made it home by 2pm. We unloaded into the garage, I did some necessary yard work on the front grass, showered ate pizza, and fell asleep around 3:30pm. We next woke around 8pm at which point I closed up the house and went back to bed. Didn’t even make it to the jacuzzi as intended, but thank gods for Aleve!
Jean had to go in to court as an Alternate Juror today, so she was out the door around 7:30 or 8, and I made my butt get up around the same time as she left since I have (had) a ton to do today. Namely laundry and unpacking the items lettering the garage. I got those two tasks done about an hour ago and also ended up putting in the new OEM radio in my Grand Cherokee so we can get rid of it some time soon. (The radio in it didn’t work, so I bought an OEM stock radio on eBay before War for $30 including shipping, as I figured $30 for a working radio would add at least $300 at trade in time.)
The rest of the day will be spent going to Mission Motorsports and trying to figure out what is up with my motorcycle, then off to somewhere to see what I can find to take the oil stains out of my driveway (one of the many reasons my 90k miles Jeep Grand Cherokee is going buh-bye).
For now, that’s all I gots ta say. It was a fun and relaxing and exhausting war for Siobhan and I. I am sorry to hear that it was not as good for some others that had crappy drama to deal with.
AH…. just before I go, I found a few good pics of the battle field this year…
look for me I’m in the green tunic with a tan square at my neck, and a helm with a horse tail/mane on top…
my back again… helmet off
Marching with His Royal Majesty of Atenveldt off the field at the end of the day