Last week, being in the middle of New Zealand’s summer holidays,
I looked for something out of the ordinary. Whatever I was in search of, it had to take me and my kids away from the melee of technological society - away from TV, play-stations, mobile phones, blogging, elearning. You name it: I wanted to be away from it!
A front-page article in Wellington’s daily, splashed a picture of an activity I thought might just do the trick. So early next day, Catriona and I hurriedly bundled ourselves into the car with a lunch hamper, and off we set.
An early start:
At that time on a Saturday morning, it was only half an hour’s drive away. We arrived at Harcourt Park, early enough to stroll round and breathe in much of what we would experience while the day matured.
The natural beauty of surrounding bush, pristine sweetness of the air, simplicity of being on foot, softness of cropped grass, gentle medieval music tinkling up from the valley, brought us into another age and atmosphere.
This is 2009! On these hallowed grounds, there are to be duels fought - and battles! There are to be archery competitions, mounted skill-at-arms contests, and the pageantry of jousting!
Callum Forbes and The Order of the Boar Jousting Club, the network of medieval clubs from all over New Zealand including The Company of the Dragon, and the welcomed participation by jousters from, Sweden, Belgium, USA, Canada, Australia and Holland, are set to make this a day to remember.
The Upper Hutt City Council is the sponsor of a two day World Invitational Jousting Tournament.
The parade of the participants is colourful and it is splendidly different.
If it weren’t for the digital cameras poking eagerly from the appreciative crowd, and the quality Tannoy commentary, I’d believe that the twenty-first century is a memory of things past! All this is happening - with today’s technology – now!
The most skillful jousters, riding the bravest steeds, are wearing the finest suits of armour at the tournament.
But warm up contests are necessary to whet the skills of horse and rider. Armour is not required. Besides, carrying 40 or 50 kilograms of extra steel must not tire a trusty steed too early in the day.
There are archery competitions to watch and siege engine displays to see. Activities of foot combat and swashbuckler combat rouse the interest of all, anticipating the main event, the jousting.
Round one, of three, begins at noon. The day is a sizzling pizza, warming in summer’s oven.
Let the pageant commence.
With such splendid displays of sport and ridership, it was difficult to cope with the connotative action from the Tannoy when its music started up. We were pulled sharply back into the twenty-first century.
As the last jousting run of round 3 came to a close, the sizzling pizza, hot from the oven of summer’s kitchen, cooled in a humid afternoon.