Monday, 13 October 2014

Well that was most of 2014

Firstly many apologies to readers who have come to this blog this year and found nothing new. My only defence for not writing and being up to date, is that frankly I have been far too busy with my Conflicting Interests to be writing about them. And as I look at last year’s Blog updates, it seems I was a tad busy then too.  In future I will endeavour to be less tardy.

So what has happened in 2014? Well from a Gaming point of view it has been pretty good. Firstly my game I ran at Salute was very well received. It has been some time since I last played Piratical games, in fact so much so that I sold my large(ish) 28mm pirate collection sometime ago. Then I discovered 40mm and especially Sash & Saber miniatures, and it all started again.  So Salute this year saw me running several games of 40mm pirates in  my new scratch built Caribbean town. I just love the level of detail that you can achieve in this scale. The games themselves were the usual blend, of Mayhem, carnage and humour. I get a great mix of new players and various gamers who have played pretty much every game I have run at big shows. We always have a blast. Best comment of the day came from the dad of two kids who played. The younger child, a boy of 9 years said, “the best bit of the day, was the pirate game, I loved the hunting for treasure and shooting my sister. I really loved it cos it was run by a pirate too”:0)

A quiet Caribbean Port, before all hell breaks loose.
Other gaming has been pretty healthy this year too. Mainly due to me purchasing the very excellent Zombicide for my wife, Heidi, last Christmas. A small group of us now play a variety of games every other Tuesday, mainly Zombicide, but we have played other board games, Pirates Cove, Ankh Morpork, D&D and recently WarhammerQuest too. I also squeezed the odd game of Spacehulk in during the summer too. Much fun. And the dark winter night beckons.

Spacehulk, the old ones are the best ones.

The future? Well…Tuesday gaming… Zombicide (which I will feature separately) and WarhammerQuest. For Salute 2015? Watch out for a huge  pirate game, 40mm ships, it will be mayhem, Yaaaar!

And Re-enactment, how did that go this year?
How best to describe it? A year of Highlights. Which was the best bit? I really can’t choose. Firepower at Kenilworth,  Multiperiod at Kentwell, Kelmarsh,  Holding the right of the King’s Vanguard at Tewkesbury, The Not COW, Getting Freddie Flintoff shot at Bosworth, Leading a Yorkist Division at Bosworth, Fighting a siege a Pendennis castle. It really has been a stonking year.

Too much to write about really, so in Chronological Order here are some of the best bits…
Suffolks at Kenilworth Castle Maybank Holiday.
We love Kenilworth, a great Tudor venue. This year our event was a lot less stress for us, as EH combined the event with other Tudor activities. We did our Living History thing, which was a good way to kick off the year. We provided a sword demo and our Firepower demo. Much banging by the Suffolks, very well received. Weather was great, Canvas dry, all made good omens for the rest of the season.

Kentwell through the Ages:
Not much I can say about this event that I haven’t said before. Second year it has run and it just gets better. We provide the medieval village folk on the barnsward at Kentwell. Just a lovely chilled weekend. Doing our Living History thing. Some of our non-Kentwell friends get to play at one of the best sites in the country and when they have, they kind of get why we love it there so much. This is predominantly a non military weekend, with the exception of the Multi-period firepower display. This is the only part of the event done in 3rd person. This year we had weapons from 15th, 16th, 18th, 19th & 20th C. That’s medieval, Tudor, Pirate, Napoleonic, Victorian, WW2 & 1950’s Home Guard. Who knows what we’ll add next year.

Ramming Jezebel the swivel gun

Tewkesbury, a select group of Suffolks went to Tewkesbury to fight for the king. We fought in the colours of our mates the Worcester Household. Saturday’s fight was Ok,  Sunday’s was much better.  Opposition provided by the Hartley Household. Great fun. Heidi had a great weekend with her handgonne and we loved having our Token Lancastrian with us. My mate, Adrian Pinn, would arm up each day and then announce he was off to muster “Farewell Yorkist Scum!” “Die well Lancastrian Dog!”

The Not COW
When we started the Suffolks we held an Off Season Social called the Council Of War. It was held in our house and always included a Medieval Banquet, cooked by several members of the household. This year it was pretty obvious we had out grown our Living room. We decided to hold the banquet somewhere else. The obvious choice being Kentwell, (For many of us our spiritual home) So on the last weekend of July the Suffolks had a quiet LH weekend which included a banquet for ? in the Merchant’s Hall. It’s hard to describe how cool this was. The food was fantastic, cooked by a team of folk. The Merchants Hall is a very evocative building, built by reenactors in a traditional style, it needs very little dressing. By the time it is candle lit and everyone present is in their finest 15th century attire it makes for one of the most special evenings of the year. Can’t wait for next year.
We actually had a weekend off in August this year!

A wonderful place for dinner

Freddie and Bosworth.
I’m gonna be on tele in January:0) In August this year my family took part in a TV programme called Flintoff Lord of the Flies (I think) It basically involved England Cricket star Freddie Flintoff and his co presenter Robb Penn, travelling round Britain in a Green chip van, meeting people and finding out what makes them tick, their hobbies, their passions. The WOTR Federation were approached to see if they could find a family in the South East who were going to be at Bosworth and would be prepared to take part in the show. I said I was up for it and I think the general consensus was that we probably wouldn’t mess it up so we got the gig.
So we had an entire TV film crew visit us and hang out in our conservatory and chatted about re-enactment. Which included my good lady wife helping Freddie into all of my armour, he kind of fitted, kind of. Freddie wasn’t supposed to be taking part he was just going to chat and ask questions. LOL:0)

The Eaglings with Freddie Flintoff and Rob Penn, and Freddie's chip van.

So the Friday evening we arrive at Bosworth, LATE. We picked up our brilliant new tent delivered from Period Tents and then started to put it up in the rapidly fading light. On the plus side Mr Flintoff & Mr Penn had arrived before us and were already cooking us Fish & Chips in their funky green chip van, Smashing!
Saturday came, We successfully fitted Freddie into some soft kit borrowed from the 6’2” Bendy, stuck him in my armour  and got him into a block of Men At Arms getting shot by the gunners in the Fire Power display. Great fun and the guy is such an over actor.
And to cap it all, Bosworth then became the perfect mix of both my Conflicting Interests. I was given command of a Division of the Yorkist army in all the battles. Just like wargaming but without the dice. Awesome, except that apparently I had to stick to the script. God Save King Richard, Loyaulte Me Lie.

Duke of Suffolk's retinue leads the Yorkist army out of camp :0)

And then Pendennis:0)
For those who don’t know, Pendennis Castle is one of Henry VIII’s gun forts sitting on a blustery headland that juts out into the English Channel and overlooking the entrance to the Carrick Roads, the first deep water harbour in the west of Cornwall. Pendennis also just happens to be THE perfect location for the Suffolks.

Last year we had a three day event at Pendennis and this year we were back for  five. Two days of just us, doing our LH thing. Then three days of LH and the Siege of Pendennis.

This is the largest event that the Suffolks have done. 32 Suffolks, including the kids, spent the week at Pendennis, and we had a blast. Even so we were missing a handful of regulars, and sadly I think we will never be able to get a date to suit everyone, which is a real shame as this is the one not to miss. I mean, most reenactors get to do events in great venues up and down the country, we usually get to stay in the grounds of castles, it’s a real privilege. However there are very few groups who get to live in the actual building, which is just what we get to do here. I get given the keys to a castle. How cool is that?

The garrison of Pendennis Castle
I played the role of Sir John Killigrew, and was supposed to be the Good Guy. Unfortunately I made the schoolboy error of letting the crowd know that Killigrew was an MP, boy did they get hostile:0)
So we got to live in a castle, shoot Elizabethan Sakers, have sword fights and musketry. We shot at a three masted ship and we even got our own pub for an evening. There is just too much to put in this small blog entry, I think I’ll have to write an article just for this one show.

I think I’ll have to go with Pendennis as being the Top event of the year, but it’s a damn close run thing. I owe a huge thanks to all those who played in 2014. It was stonking fun, and 2015 is already shaping up to be just as good:0)