Donal's blog

Sharp-Dressed Man

Catherine’s making me some new garb.

Because I’ve gained a bit of weight over the last few years, she won’t make me short cotehardies any more. This will be a houppelonde set: a black bag-sleeve under and a black open-sleeve with the sleeves lined in yellow-gold over. By itself, the black bag-sleeve almost looks like a clerical cassock. But what is a cassock but a long cotehardie with straight sleeves? (I do wear a cassock quite regularly, between being in the choir and a layreader.) The outfit may be ready for Interbaronial Twelfth Night, but University is a better bet.

And she’s going to make me braies and hosen too. Up to now, she’s made knit hose for me, rather like warmup pants. Last year, she took a class from Baroness Isabel and is insisting that I go the authentic route. Maybe it’s a good thing I’ll not be wearing those tennis-dress-length cotehardies anymore . . . .

Back in Harness.

It was actually last week that I showed up at a fighting practice at Mount Trashmore, a Va. Beach city park built on a reclaimed landfill. I thought my armor was all right, but had a couple of failures as I got going. One was to my new shield (a work in progress as yet unpainted), whose arm strap started to give way. But I made some quickie repairs and carried on, fighting as much as I could.

It wasn't much. I really am out of shape. I ran out of wind pretty quickly, but it's a start. I had some sore muscles the next day, but not too bad. The shield is going to take some getting used to, it has a totally different feel from the older one. I've got to paint it, too. Its front is too shiny.

For the nonce, I'm restricting to sword and shield. "The Finger" is still somewhat stiff, so I don't want to try it on a pole-arm just yet.

I went to the practice again today, but discovered that I'd forgotten to pack my kneepads (that I wear under my cuisses). My mental checklist of such things needs refreshing! So I was relegated to slow work, but there were only a few armoured fighters out today; I think a lot were at Kingdom Twelfth Night.

I've taken out a membership in the Norfolk Wellness and Fitness Center. It's a lot cheaper than the YMCA (about 1/5 the cost), and the gear is almost as good. Must lose some weight and get my stamina built back up!

Varied Holiday

Over the holidays, we went out to the mountains as we usually do. No really inconvenient weather this time, though we did encounter fog . . . or really low clouds . . . and some rain en route.

Cathy's family home is a rambling old house built in the 1870s. There are still gas jets in a few rooms. The electricity was added incrementally - one of the first wirings was DC from a coal-mining operation that used to be there.

Back Again for the First Time

I don't know why, but after I posted my first entry I was unable to make anything work. My passwords weren't being accepted . . . I thought for a while that there was some karma that was preventing my access.

But apparently whatever Sir Corby fixed recently fixed that problem as well, so I'm back.

As stated, I got the second pin out of my finger in early December, and the finger is now whole, though still a little stiff.

When I checked out the leather glove in the gauntlet I'd been wearing, I found a trail of blood running along the inside of the palm in addition to the inside of the finger being soaked with blood. And my leg armour had a trail of blood as well, from when I took the gauntlet off after I'd sat down. I must've bled a pretty unfair amount. Several washings got most of the blood out of the glove, and it wiped right off the metal leg armour; but the leather false greave has a permanent stain.

Roger of Howden wrote that one was not fit for battle unless he'd seen his own blood flow. I guess I qualify now. After 34 years.

I'm going to modify the glove arrangement to prevent a recurrence of that accident.

Digital Discrepancy

In over 30 years of SCA armoured combat, I have sustained two injuries that required actual medical attention.

Both of them broken fingers.

The first was over 20 years ago, when hockey gloves were still considered sufficient hand protection for pole-arm fighting.

Actually, had the finger housing not stretched that time, the finger would have been under the padding and might not have got broken. That was the left middle finger.

The second was this July. July first, in fact. Left index finger.

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