Posted by: internationalroutier | April 30, 2011

Easter Shenanigans- Rowany

from www.nla.gov.au

In direct contrast to the usual odd-numbered years Easter tradition (aka: going to The Con), this year The Routiers set sail to the 4 winds. Here is the first report of what happened when we got there.

A handful of us went to the Rowany Festival. Miklagard kindly let us share their encampment and we huddled together with Fire and Steel and the Sydney Ancients on the outskirts of the festival making, from what I could tell, 1 of only 2 concerted efforts at period encampments at the festival.

It was an interesting and eye opening experience, but not for the reasons I anticipated.

Yes, those reasons existed too…I had expected a maybe 50/50 split of period to modern tents but in reality it was closer to 10/90. One group actually built their encampment around a small hatchback car, with a bit of a blanket thrown over it as disguise. 2 men had feather dusters atop their helmets. Very little period cooking seemed to be going on (well certainly not period techniques) and the cook shop happily served green curry pork for dinner Saturday night.
But!, I am not here to drink deep of the hatorade. The SCA run their hobby differently and that is fine. I considered myself a guest and just enjoyed the spectacle regardless of how differently I would have done things.
What I wasn’t expecting, however, was to see the best example of a period encampment I have seen anywhere, evah. And not just a little bit better than I have ever seen. These guys are leaps and bounds ahead of what we are doing, and we are doing things reasonably well compared to most.
Welcome to Abbotsford a completely amazing late 15th-early 16thC campsite. They don’t have to worry about hiding the modern gear and rubbish generated because there essentially isn’t any. Camping without the aid of ice; the beer is in barrels, the sausage is in vinegar soaked linen bags, the jugs are protected with beeswax stiffened linen, the herb garden was planted in front. The fire pit, irons and racking was the bomb. No photos of this years camp, (Vic did you get some?), but you can see some from previous years here. With a dedicated kitchen tent, a separate dining tent and a brick bread oven that they rebuild EVERY YEAR, Vic and I had some serious kitchen envy.

Random pluses and minuses from the weekend…(in no particular order)
As with all Cons or major events it was very difficult to find out what was happening where. Schedules pinned up around the place stayed set on ‘Friday’ til we left after lunch on Sun.
The opportunities to spend a few dollars were pretty good- lots of books, baubles, materials, some ready made gear, including shoes, and some whizz bang weapons and armour. Repro Sutton Hoo helmet for $400 anyone?
There was a tavern with good kegged ale as well as a ‘wine bar’ that also sold tea/coffee and period bikkies. I did miss the Perki though, the art of the lounge- and the conversation it encourages- was lacking a little. Because not everyone had a gaming purse other non monetary items/dares had to be found to be wagered as we enjoyed the tavern music Sat night. The barman is likely still recovering from being harassed in a such a fashion. Another young fellow (who shall remain nameless) is likely still washing the mead from his belly button.
By Sunday when we left the porta loos were starting to get a little gruesome, and there were still several days left (for the sake of my friends I left behind I hope they were changed Sunday afternoon sometime).
Damien started to get used to being called m’Lord. This could either be a plus or a minus depending on which one of us you ask.
There was one particularly excellent children’s event on the Sat night. They sent them all out into the dark on a quest/treasure hunt/wild goose chase in small groups- the details of which don’t really matter- but it was great seeing some after dark entertainment for those too young for the tavern but too old to turn in straight after dinner.

Many thanks must go to the Brews for hosting us in their generously proportioned accommodations!
Would I go again? Hard to say. Never thought I’d go the first time!

Random Guy’s blog about Rowany 2011, with actual pictures! (I wasn’t getting my camera out in that weather!)

What did you do?

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Responses

  1. Hope you enjoyed yourself enough to go back.

    (Random Guy)

    • 🙂 Thanks for posting your pics! Have put some of ours up now too. (I tried to post a ‘thanks’ comment on your blog but for some reason it won’t let me log in. Grrr to the technorogy and it’s related electrickery.

  2. Pictures I do have! Will send them to you to do with what you will. On another note, the next best surprising thing about Rowany was the group of excellent musicians camped across the canal from us. No banging drums or gurdies here…a fine counter-tenor from Canberra (sorry, I forget the SCA name) who also played harp and shawm. When I heard this magnificent instrument echoing around the valley playing Stella Splendens, I was sure Ben had arrived! Earlier, Andy had sworn they were playing a CD of Andreas Scholl when they were practising.
    I went to sleep Sunday night listening to 4 part polyphonic vocal sacred music…angelic, and highly appropriate for Easter sunday. It even beat “I was only 38” (I know, hard to believe…)
    The rain set in Monday morning and we were forced to partake in the third best thing at Rowany…ye olde bacon and egg roll with home-made reenactment sauce. Spiffing.

    I will mention that some SCA people have very long memories regarding the Routiers. Perhaps the legend has grown in the retelling, for surely some of them weren’t even born back then? We were glad of our cunning NVG disguise. Miklagard, Fire and Steel, Ancients…all very good company.

    • I had a great time and would seriously consider going back, particularly if the Con was again being run like the 2007 and 2011 events, boring.

      I liked the central lay out, made for a great atmosphere.

      I didn’t hear any “anti-routier” comments. Surely people have moved on from that, as all or most of the routiers involved in the unfortunate incident are no longer members anyway.

      Kudos to the people of Abbotsford, best re-enactment camp site I have ever seen in over 20 years of this hobby.


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