Nick, Bob and I went up to Auckland last weekend for what for me was the first out-of-town SCA event since I got sick and it went really well.
We flew up at about 6:50am Saturday morning arriving just after 8 and grabbed a car from Avis. Nick had taken care of the car booking and it was fine. We arrived a little early at the motel but they were cool about it – so we popped down the road for a coffee. Unfortunately the people before us had ignored the no smoking signs and the room was pretty pungent but apart from that it was OK. Not flash but I slept alright. We dumped our stuff and got changed and not for the first time I was glad that I’d chosen to wear Burgundian rather than Elizabethan because its so much easier to get dressed into.
The first site was a picturesque church with a very mundane but thankfully warm and comfortable hall and we had a couple of hours to mix and catch up with other travellers and our host group, Ildhavn. I also took the opportunity to check out the arts display and there were lots of goodies. The coronation itself was in the church proper which was very pretty and had an odd flying duck on the wall.
The normal ceremony more or less and a few awards were handed out. The most amusing moment from my perspective was when someone (and I forget who) was called up to receive an Award of Arms which they didn’t have despite being a peer – it immediately became apparent that in fact several of the attending peerage and baronage had never received Awards of Arms and I think 6-7 people were awarded, including Sigurd. Sigurd of course had previous awards which in themselves included Awards of Arms – it wasn’t at all unusual for people in Southron Gaard to skip the solo AOA and jump straight into an AOA level Kingdom Award.
Then we all up and moved to a second church hall which was quite large, for the feast which was mid-afternoon. I thought that the timing might not work for me but it was fine because I’d got up so early I’d had breakfast early. Each table was set with a set of oil lamps which were lit and needed regular topping up. I think that someone said they were using canola oil. Also someone said that there was something like 200g of sugar in the feast per head. There were certainly some delicious desserts, I think that most of us were quite full by that time so we were able to have a second round the next day at the tourney – hooray.
By the end of the day I was pretty tired and a bit grumpy but I went along with the pub plan. Nick would probably have preferred that I didn’t. It was a rugby night and the chosen pub had decided to have all the TVs on and up loud so we moved to the Carlton which was a little barn-like. I wasn’t drinking and neither did NIck and we headed off fairly early.
They had a fabulous site for the tourney the next day – a band rotunda on a hill in Cornwall Park (think very big) which seems to be everyone’s favourite dog walking area. Kiwi would have loved the target-rich environment. But it was cold. I cam home thinking that Auckland was much colder than advertised but Rob said that it had been down to -5 in Christchurch so maybe the whole country was chilly. Anyway I was glad to ahve taken my woolen gown but should have included a cape, partlet and/or hood.
The big news from our end is that Sigurd has taken two squires, Ulrikr and Esselyt (I hope I spelled those correctly) in two very nice ceremonies at the tourney. This was largely the reason for our travelling northwards but it was a very nice event and I am very glad that we did.
Definitely a highlight of the trip was a special viewing of some of the medieval manuscripts in the Auckland City Libraries’ collection. It was mentioned that Christchurch was noted for not having any but maybe we should organise a trip down to Dunedin some time to have a look at theirs. Just gorgeous stuff and we were all as thrilled to see the less decorated pages as well as often these get overlooked. Many photos were taken but not by me as I left the camera in the car!
I returned to Christchurch fairly exhausted as you might imagine but it was totally worth it and I now feel that I could consider other SCA journeys so long as travel and accommodation were well organised in advance. Watch Flickr for photos sometime this weekend.