Posted by: internationalroutier | May 24, 2010

The Captayne His Autumnal Thinge

By Captayne Brew

It is a busy time of the year for the Routiers. Linnwood house a week ago was a pleasant and relaxing day out, for which see Louise’s account here. Blacktown Medieval Fayre was a good deal more work.

For one thing it was a two day long event, and for another we spent some three hours over the two days marching and drilling (not counting time kitting up, loading powder, checking equipment, etc.) , and dealing with a constant stream of people past the tables the rest of the time. Not that I’m complaining. The crowd was appreciative and interested, and kept us busy not (mostly) with questions of the “Is that a real sword / a real turnip / a real …” variety, but with a good level of engagement. Degrees of knowledge and interest varied, of course, but by and large it was rewarding.

On Saturday afternoon Spike held enthralled a small crowd with an impromptu lecture on the workings of the matchlock and the origins of words. Inspired partly by his performance then, we made changes to the show program on Sunday that improved things greatly, I think. A couple more days of tinkering and we would have had the Blacktown thing down pat. I don’t know what it was about this venue, but it seemed different to (and harder than) any other show we have done. Maybe I’m just out of practice….

Much praise should go to Louise and Jackie for their splendid food display, which started many conversations. The interactive spice-smelling was a hit, and the consciousness of many was raised. The general standard of understanding of the culinary arts, and of what food (of any age, including our own) is made of, was predictably depressingly low – How do people survive, without knowing what vegetables are??! On the other hand, some were very knowledgeable, and we were offered a recipe for turnip pickles that we may get to field test at Winter Camp. Thanks, too, to pikeman Mulcahy, who has had his first taste of being publicly drilled, doing a dam’ fine job of it, and to ring-in Cory and Victor Kent, called out of obscurity and retirement (respectively) to fill the ranks.

We may even raise some recruits out of the weekend. A number of people took cards on Saturday and promised to contact us. If you are one of those, and reading this, do please get in touch! We really want to hear from you. On Sunday we did better, and had a card on which people could give us their details. A dozen or so did, and if any of them “stick”, it will have been a weekend well spent. We will be in touch.

Speaking of Winter Camp, it is coming up fast. It should be a good year on more than one ground. The northern winter was particularly harsh this year, and a cold winter here often follows a cold one there. There has been threat of snow already at Mount David (although I am not sure any has actually fallen yet), so with any luck if the weekend is not dry it will be flakes rather than buckets that fall on us. We are also expecting stronger-than-usual contingents from interstate, and a higher than usual concentration of Poles – Zupans, Kolpaks and Baczmagi are being assembled as I write. The ale is ordered, food preparations have begun, and no doubt there will be other warming beverages produced from secret stores. Oh, and I expect we will do some shooting, too. The Captayne His Cup and the Reverend His Plate are both open to challenge. The current holders must look to their skills, lest they be toppled from their places of honour.

Look for more in the mail in the next few days. Especially if you are planning to come to Winter Camp (and you are, aren’t you?), don’t forget that the next Soldiers’ Council is on tomorrow week, June 1.

See you there.

The Editor’s Addition

What he said.
I am also glad it went over 2 days. Though tiring, it gave an excellent opportunity to adjust immediately and improve what we were doing. Sunday’s shows were immeasurably better (sorry to those people who came on Saturday!) and the other surprise hit of Sunday was the dress up department, ably led by Damo and assisted by Erin. We both noticed on Saturday that the kiddies were enjoying trying on the gear some of the other groups had available and the parents were enjoying the photo opportunities. So on Sunday we set out some accessories (collars, hats, bumroll) and some basic clothes (skirts, jacket, pants) plus some of Damo’s period linen underwear for the giggle factor. The reaction from the teenage girls to those was worth all the effort.

What we were not expecting was how many adults wanted to dress up. A couple of times I had to stop ladies trying to squeeze into children’s dresses lest one or the other be damaged and Damo and I both got out adult size gear (casaque, larger skirt) to fill demand. Maybe next time we write “children’s dress up” on the blackboard?

I loved the way it kept the people at our display longer. A lot of effort went into setting everything up so it was good to see the public looking closely at everything and enjoying it.
Handling the muskets was the other favourite drawcard so thanks to those men who stayed and patiently showed the weapons many, many times over.

Since the Kent Brothers were in town, Glenda and Erin were the token ladies for the weekend (plus Erin’s friend on Sunday). Glenda demonstrated her ample sewing skills whilst the men drilled and as a result even had her portrait painted by a visiting artist. More on that tomorrow!



  1. It was a fantasic weekend, I think the Routiers display was very engaging i think there was a higher level of interaction with the public, compared to what i saw in some of the other displays. The dress-ups appeared to be a big hit.
    I enjoyed my first outing as a pikeman immensely, although two days later one arm does still feel longer than the other.

  2. It was a fun day and the effort everyone goes to is magnificent as always.

    • I’m inclined to agree.

    • I agree. Also it should be a case of no license holder supervising, no touching by TP.

  3. There were TWO fun days, “Robert” – you just didn’t turn up for the first one. :p

  4. […] on one corner of the base. I didn’t think about it at the time, but when we took it to the Blacktown Medieval Fair, we found it leaked through the stitching in the base. Inspection revealed two fine cracks, each […]

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