Saturday, January 10, 2009

And Now, For Something Completely Different . . .

Kia ora tātou – Hello Everyone
The little hunted boar
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.

Medieval Tents in Harcourt Park
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 Company of the Dragon
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.

The Black Knight
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.

Hitting the Target
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.

Swashbuckling Duel
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.

Bronze Shield on Oak Door
Haere rā – Farewell


Paul C said...

Hi Ken,
An excellent post that explores a soft spot in my heart for anything medieval. You capture the fun, community interaction, and learning opportunity. I also enjoy your pictures including the cool Flickr slide show.

It is truly amazing how technology is improving and enhancing the blog format. How wonderful to read about this event from a participant on the other side of the world.

While you are enjoying summer holidays we just had a ten inch snowfall in Ontario. We're enjoying the beauty of polar opposites.

V Yonkers said...

My family and I also got a kick out of your "summer" vacation, getting the same 10 inches of snow on the other side of the lake from Paul. My daughter's comment, "cool".

Blogger In Middle-earth said...

Tēnā kōrua Paul and Virginia!

I'm glad you got something out of this post. Catriona and I had a great time - she is a real fan of the movie 'The Knight's Tail' and I just watched it all come alive for her when we walked into the park. It was as much fun for me watching Catriona as it was for her watching the jousting!

@Paul - I was aware of the 'polar opposites' when I put an image of a furnace on the Day in a Sentence Post. Most participants (not all) will be in winter at this time :-)

@Virginia - "Cool" is obviously the word for where you are right now too! Though I don't think that's quite what your daughter meant ;-)

Catchya later