The Romans used to say IO SATURNALIA, which means something like “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” but with less shopping frenzy and more togas*. So: io Saturnalia to you!
Saturnalia will be held on Saturday 9 June at Glen Huon Hall, Glen Huon — see the map over there to the right. It will start at 2pm with a pot-luck afternoon tea and many imperial entertainments. There will be games, for people who want to sit and relax! Dancing, taught by Baroness Jehanne, for people who want to get a bit of energy out! Songs and stories, performed by the various bards, minstrels and ne’er-do-wells of the Barony! The hall is warm and cosy with an open fire, so you’ll be comfortable as well as entertained.
The fully catered feast will start at 6pm, and the head cook, Óláfr Hafrillugi, has many plans to boggle your mind and tantalise your tastebuds. Did you know, for example, that the Romans used to eat dormice? And that dormice taste like chicken? Well… they do if you can’t find a supplier of actual dormice after about 700AD so you substitute chicken into the recipe…
The price for the feast is $25 for adults, $15 for kids aged 12-17, and a discount is available for people willing to become slaves and serve the empire for the evening.
Contact the steward, Karl Faustus von Aachen, on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0407 468 244 to book, before the 2nd of June.
* Note: togas are optional!
I am setting up blogging on our website for all Canton officers, you will receive a link to follow and activate your blogging account. I will follow up at our next gathering with some step by step foolproof screenshots on how to post a blog, yes even the constable can follow without making a mistake 🙂
Ursula Mariae Einhorn
The Spring Festival is today, and the canton of Lightwood will be wandering about in the sunshine, telling people about the strange alternate world they’re living in without even noticing it…
If you’ve been following the Lightwood Facebook Group, you may already know about the upcoming Tournament and Feast on Saturday the 24th of August. For experienced SCAers it’s all familiar territory, but what if you’re a newcomer who’s just wandered in and you want to know what’s going on? I’m glad you asked!
Lightwood had its November pot luck feast last night, and it was a lot of fun. We were missing a fair few canton members, after a nasty run of bad news and unexpected medical procedures during the week, but our numbers were supplemented somewhat by the College of St Gildas the Wise.
This was a deliberate attempt at what you might call a “lightning feast”: small scale, short notice, nothing too ambitious, just to prove that we don’t need to kill ourselves to have events. As you can see from the photo, it still looked good. It was also a lot of fun, with everyone pitching in to help.
Pay attention to this website and the Facebook group to be informed of more events. Lightwood plans to have plenty of them!
For a lot of Lightwoodians, the pot-luck feast next weekend is going to be the first actual SCA event they’ll attend. We’ve had our imots for a while, but they’re more for discussion and planning; if an SCA event is a movie, an imot is the a review in a newspaper. Now it’s time for the main event… so what do you need to know?
What To Bring
For any SCA event you need garb and feasting gear. For pot-luck events, you also need some food to share. And because this particular feast is at the home of the canton’s founding household, which is not hugely well-supplied with chairs, you will need to bring a chair and some candles.
The basic rule for attending an SCA event is an attempt at pre-seventeenth century clothing. What that means can vary widely, from this:
all the way to this:
… but we don’t expect you to go overboard. Our seneschal and our reeve, will help you come up with something serviceable for the event, or if you like going mad sewing stuff at the last minute they can point you to some more ambitious designs. Or you can borrow something from someone who already has spares. Contact the seneschal on email@example.com if you need help, after you’ve perused her list of links on the topic of garb.
You’ll have food, but you can’t exactly eat it off the floor with your fingers (even vikings didn’t do that… mostly…). What you need is a plate, a bowl, some cutlery and a drinking vessel, and maybe a jug for your drink. Here’s one version of all that. Plates and bowls can be wood, pottery or metal, and the drinking vessel can be a goblet or tankard. Cutlery is usually metal, maybe with a wooden handle. You can pick up passable versions of all of these at an op shop or Vinnies for a couple of dollars at most, and provided you keep them simple they’ll blend right in.
There are a number of potters in the barony and the wider kingdom who make feasting gear, although the prices can add up after a while. Ask Baron Karl to show you a couple of examples of the work of Master Alex the Potter, who makes a living making and selling documentably period work to SCAdians and the mundane world.
Food (and Drink)
Most SCA events in the kingdom of Lochac are fully catered, though always BYO grog. Pot-luck feasts are different: to keep costs down and increase the sense of involvement for the participants, they require that everyone bring a bit of food. In theory, if you bring enough to feed yourself, and everyone else does too, there’ll be enough to go around when you share it. In practice, in the pot-luck feasts we’ve seen, there’s always one dish that everybody wants some of, and a few that don’t excite the imaginations and/or noses of the greater majority, so if you bring a little more than “enough” then we’ll have enough slack that everyone will still get fed.
We’ll put everyone’s contributions on a table and work out suitably equitable arrangement so everyone is happy. We’ll have people with various “dietary weirdnesses”, as they’re called: vegetarianism, gluten intolerance and so on, all of which count as weirdnesses purely because they’re rare, not because they’re unreasonable. People are making plans to allow for that, so we should be all right on the night.
The key point about all this is that the dish you provide should be medieval. There are loads of resources on how to achieve this, the closest to hand being Baron Hrolf’s cookbook [PDF], or again you can speak to our seneschal.
Also, please note that we won’t have anything to drink apart from water. We’ll get some actual drinkable water — the stuff out of the tap in Geeveston is undrinkable — but if you want something harder, it’s BYO again.
Chairs and Candles
The last two things to bring are simple: bring a chair to sit on, and some candles in a suitably medieval-looking candleholder. No electric lights for this feast! We have plenty of spots to put candles, so the more the merrier.
That should be all we need! Come along, bring what you need, and be prepared to have fun. We’ll eat, we’ll talk of matters relevant to gentlefolk of the middle ages, and we’ll even do a bit of singing. It’ll be fun!
The changes to Australia’s insurance laws over the last little while have finally started biting us in the SCA in a special way, and one of the results is… a sharp increase in the number of members! How did that happen? It’s very simple.
The SCA in Australia has a new contract with its insurers, Nosferatu Bathory Dracula and Associates. Under the rules, signed in a suspiciously reddish-coloured ink on the contract, we have to remit five dollars to the insurer for every non-member who attends an SCA event. By “non-member”, they mean anyone, regardless of age. A pregnant woman can give birth in the middle of the feast hall and her child will arrive owing our insurer five bucks. As well, their definition of “event” covers stuff we don’t usually charge for, including non-garbed activities like arts & sciences evenings and our fortnightly imots, as well as feasts, tourneys, demos, pot-lucks, revels, dance practices, fighter practices, and everything else that’s advertised as an SCA activity.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel, though. If you’re a member, you don’t have to pay the five dollars. And while membership has gone up to $30 per year (it would be nice if the SCA committee hadn’t decided to compound this pain by raising the prices at the same time, but they had good reasons) it’s now, more than ever, looking like a good plan to just pay it and not worry about the new rules.
Putting it starkly: if you attend six events in the SCA in one year, you’re down thirty bucks, none of which the SCA gets to see. It’s a straight tax, with no direct benefit to your group (the indirect benefit — having insurance — is there of course, so it’s not all evil). Whereas if you pay for a year’s worth of membership, it still costs you the same, but you get the benefits of membership and the SCA actually gets to keep some of the proceeds to improve itself.
So what are the benefits of membership? For a start, you get a copy of Pegasus, the kingdom newsletter. This keeps you in touch with the goings-on of the whole kingdom and the wider SCA, and is sent by a kind of email notification system every month. Also, you get a vote in the occasional bits of kingdom democracy, although that’s rare because on the whole we prefer to keep things nicely feudal. And as a member you’re entitled to be an officer in the canton, barony or kingdom. And you or your consort (or both!) can enter Crown Tourneys and maybe, if you’re lucky, end up running the place for six months as King or Queen. But the most immediate effect of membership is on event prices: not just the five buck insurance fee but also the couple of dollars extra that we charge non-members, more or less as an extra incentive to pony up the dosh and get on the bandwagon.
As an example: imagine you’re a non-member who came to our imot today, and wants to come to our pot-luck feast in a couple of weeks, and plans to attend all the activities at the Baronial Investiture next month. And you want to come to more imots when they’re on. How long will it be before it’s cheaper to be a member than not? Do the maths:
|Pot-Luck Feast||6 October||$0 + a dish||$5 + a dish||$15|
|BBQ/Tourney||20 October||$5||$7 + $5 *||$22|
* The insurance fee paid at this point covers you for the whole event; the remaining difference is just the member/non-member price differences.
So as of the very next imot after the Investiture, you’re $32 out of pocket compared to a member. Any event from then to next September that you attend is costing you more than you saved by not buying your membership now.
That looks pretty cut and dried, and is probably a large part of the reason that Lightwood’s membership, for example, has doubled in the last month after staying steady for ages. It applies everywhere though. Think about it, and go get a membership! It makes sense, and saves dollars!
The canton put in a bid to run the baronial investiture on the weekend of 20-21 October, and we got it! So now we’re doing the headless chook dance and organising everything. We are very lucky indeed to have no less a personage than Sir Oz, officially Sir Guillaume d’Oze, Ynys Fawr’s only (actively playing) member of the chivalry, on board as tourney steward and adviser to the cooks. We also have the support of the whole barony and a couple of really lovely venues for the event. Read all about it on the Baronial Investiture pages!
UPDATE: The news is more complicated than that. The rules have changed, and all the names are now different. Under the new rules, we are now proposed, which is a step up from the initial state of unofficial. When we get our heraldry registered, we will finally be incipient. So it’s all very silly, but the good news is that at least we’re progressing… in one direction or another.
I bear some solemn news. The proposed canton of Lightwood is no more.
Yes, it’s true. Tonight, in court, the news was handed down: we are now the incipient canton of Lightwood. Which means we’re officially on the path to real live cantonhood, having been recognised by the king and queen.
Tonight, at the Feast of the Lions in Ynys Fawr, King Siridean and Queen Margie accepted with great pleasure the banner, made by our own seneschal Adelindis filia Gotefridi. They expressed their approval, and thus we passed the last test on the road toward becoming an incipient group. The banner will fly at all Lightwood events (except the one where it’s being further sewn and improved upon by the lady Adelindis and, she hopes, several volunteers).
This is all because all our paperwork has been submitted and appears to be in order, and we are looking and behaving like a real SCA branch. Which is fair enough: we have five officers, regular meetings, over a dozen active participants (counting kids) and the support of the barony and the kingdom. We need to keep running events, like the recent feast and tourney, the upcoming Medieval Mayhem and other future events that we’re just beginning to nut out, and recruit more members. All going well, in 12-18 months we should be able to progress to full canton status.
This is the website for the canton of Lightwood, which is the local branch in the Huon Valley of the Society for Creative Anachronism, a medieval reenactment society. Anyone can join, and we welcome new members. Follow the links on the header menu bar to learn more.