The weekend of July 21-22 2001 held this years Oystermouth Multi Society event hosted by Platagenet Events. Oystermouth is situated on the Gower just south of Swansea in Wales. A stunning castle set in wonderful grounds, the setting again proved to be a good backdrop to the daily events that took place in-front of quite a large crowd of public.
Arriving at about 15:00 on the saturday, it is not possible to comment on the Friday evening, or on anything that had happened to that point. We had some problems finding the entrance to the non-authentic camping area due, in no small measure, to not reading the excellent map that had been supplied with the pre-event material sent out by Mark Griffiths but more to the journey that we had endured to get there in the first place.
Initial feelings on the weather, which had poured the night before it was understood, did not help the after effects of a high speed blow out on the M4 just before the Severn bridge necessitating a call out to the friendly RAC boys who soon got us underway again. However, as we arrived about thirty minutes prior to the main event of the day, namely the Battle of the Flags, we decided that the time as better spent putting up tentage and battening down should the weather turn inclement for the evening.
However this did not prevent us walking up the hill from the non-authentic encampment in time to watch the last fifteen minutes, or so , of the Battle. From my position it looked like good safe fighting with everyone acting in a manner that I would expect from a multi-bash. I did think that the arena was a bit small and that the crowd was a tad close to the action but there you go.
A brief look around the stalls followed and we were pleased to see an eclectic mix of traders, some familiar and some new. Certainly I got a "Hedging tool" for future use around the camp fire at the more authentic shows that now happen each year. There is always something that money can be spent on if you are looking!
Afternon moved towards evening and, having got changed into my mediaeval undies (well braes, hose and a shirt) we moved onto the beer tent. Ably disabused of our hard earned cash by Brother Martin the evenings festivities commenced. As usual, good ale and good company, not to forget the entertainment laid on made for an interesting evening. Especially good, in my opinion, was the request for anyone who wished to sing to come forward and take the mike. Some wonderful songs and some questionable ones made for a good evening.
Back to the tents at some silly hour of the morning and the presence of Security was a welcome sight as the non-authentic tentage was rather close to a main road by the sea shore; although at that hour of the morning they were tending towards leaning against the wall next to the portaloo having a smoke! Ah well certainly "one of ours" who went to use the portaloo spent the next two hours there fast asleep in situ as it were (well that is what he told us).
And so to another day, Sunday. And more of the same with more heavy duty looking at the stalls. It was good to see that there were sufficient but not too many food stalls there and, certainly the owner of the stall who was doing breakfasts and tea/coffee certainly made me laugh. More looking around the site and the stalls, meeting people and putting faces and names together. Impressions on the day were of enough time to look around and take in the event and time to get ready for the BattleWe had time to look around the castle and thought that it was a good idea to not allow public in on the day but not to bar renactors who wanted to have a look.
Watched the cpmpetition fighting on the Sunday and it was interesting to see people coming to terms woth *only* having an arming sword to play with. This can only be good for these sort of competitions as it will help to increase everyones awareness of the particular styles needed when armoury is limited. Congratulations go to the winner!
Finally to the battle. A battle of the flags which can sometimes become dangerously competitive. Not in this case, with many a hit acknowledged with a cheery "Good Blow" and a smile. Maybe this is a bit of a rosy eyed view of the event but it really was the impression got on the field. Also good to see that people were adheeding to the "No Head Shots" rule and that there was a clear devide between the less protected fighters meeting their equivalents on the opposite side and the heavier "clankies" getting to gether with people able to have a good time/fight.
All in all an excellent weekend that event the weather could not dampen.
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© David Debono October 2001