Sigginstown Castle at night.
Sigginstown Castle at night (photo by Gwerful)

This adventure started at a New Year’s party, where the assembled room was asked where we should go: Crown Tournament or Strawberry Raid. Yes, because this travelogue is about Strawberry….. So… you can tell that we didn’t choose Crown.

Spring had several events this year for us. Double Wars, Coronation, etc. This time we travelled first to Holmrike for their Majgreve, a warm and fun event, after which we were given a place to sleep and a lift to the airport by Ganglere (many thanks).

Then our adventure in Ireland began.

We went north, we went east, we went west, we went south. I started as a passenger, as Kareina has driven a car with the steering wheel on the wrong side before. I gave little shouts of encouragement along the way… “Closer to the middle, closer to the middle argh…” After a day I tried driving on the left, and I got exactly the same call…

Incidentally, I have rarely seen such narrow roads, and the speed limit…. I didn’t dare to try to get up to legal speed..

We had time to look at some of the thousands of castles they have. We had time to visit the museum, we had time to meet random people on the road. However, we didn’t make it in time to see the only known rune stone on the mainland. We did manage to meet our king and queen for a couple of beers in a small cozy pub.

Oh, the bartender’s face, when he asked if I had tasted Guinness before, and I replied “only from a can”–his expression was priceless. Guinness on tap in a pub in Ireland is better.

After exploring much of the island, we made our way to the home of Etienne the Younger, packed up all our things into his car, and went to the site, which has a defensive tower/castle with surrounding fields.

We had been allowed to borrow a tent on site. (Many thanks to whoever lent us this, and the things to sleep on, and in.) The rest of Thursday evening was spent getting to know the other participants on site.

Oh, yah! Geri also arrived on Thursday. Geri had also been at the New Year’s party, and showed some interest in coming along. It is a little ironic that the times we have the opportunity to train together are on various long trips, as we normally live just over an hour apart.

But, back to the event…

Thursday evening, mingling, local beer, fire, conversation, eventually we went to bed. There came the first surprise, it gets cold here, really cold.

We woke up to our first work shift, cooking breakfast. Scrambled eggs, bacon, porridge, bread, coffee, tea, fruit compote. One important note: Bacon here cannot be compared to what we have at home in Sweden. Swedish bacon is ashamed to be called bacon in comparison. My life without Irish bacon will be a little paler, a little harder.

Back to the event…

It’s Friday, breakfast is ready, time to do some training. Agnes clearly has an ability to get eminent coaches, and this year is no exception. But before training, there was a small court. Yda had been told that autocrats wanted to serve the thin fried on stove top pancakes (plattar in Swedish) for brunch. So Yda stood and fried them at full speed. When all the pelicans were summoned, Yda looks around for Valda, as it was known in advance that Valda would sit vigil this event, but she wasn’t on the site yet, then Yda realises they are coming for her. It was a good surprise, and a good daytime vigil, with plattar. Plattar make everything better.

Then there was (fighting) training.

Did I say that Agnes finds amazing trainers? She does! Duke Brannos shared his fighting philosophy and a bit of how his fighting works. The first day we had to learn to walk, to keep our distance and to always be on our best guard. Or rather to try…

Then we armoured up, and had a little melee. The last blow to the melee left me alone on our side. Against Krake and Brannos as opponents… It went as expected, they had to help each other to succeed in winning…. 😉

Then there were some pickups, followed by a hot shower, followed by dinner.

Then it was time for court, people got to glow under the spotlight of recognition. Drachenwald got some more nobles, we got to see a new pelican being taken up in the flock. Then Valda is sent on vigil to consider joining the pelicans, and. Alexander was also sent to sit vigil to consider becoming a knight.

Did I mention they sat vigil in a mediaeval castle? The rest of us celebrated outside, with cheese, bread, drink, sausages. A full party worth of snacks was in place.

Eventually, soon after Kareina and I got in to say some “wise” words and talk to both of them, the party was moved back to camp, where it continued well into the night, when we went to bed the singing started in the prince’s part of the camp. I fell asleep listening to the singing.

Again we wake up, eat breakfast and then it’s time for the day’s training. This time it was about pressure, how to put pressure on your opponent and how to stay relaxed yourself, we also went through how to shorten the range. Later they held a tournament. I skipped it and went on to the market instead.

I had brought a few knife blades to the event, and I sold most of them. I also found some commemorative castle bags, some leather to make knife sheaths of, a pair of shoes, and some cool stickers. When the market was over, it was time for court. A court with two new peerages Valda as pelican and Alexander as knight. So there were tears.

After the court we wandered over to House Green for the round table discussion about peerage, a little about what how and why. It was an interesting discussion that quickly went quite late into the night.

Sunday morning. I fixed the breakfast. So it was a morning of pleasant conversations about how bacon should be fried. Along with all the other possible subjects.

Eventually we moved on to training. There we went a bit into the psychological part of fighting.

And a little about how to put the different parts together.

I sneaked away from the end of practice, to attend the tour of the castle. Of course I did, it’s not every day you get a guided tour of a castle led by the King Consort of the East. Who, incidentally, has been involved in parts of the castle restoration. Not only is the castle beautiful, the view from the tower is quite nice.

After lunch we geared up for an afternoon with pickups. I had some really fun fights. It is always fun to find new playmates. Sunday also had a theatre presentation. A dramatic story about how a dragon was horribly killed, how a doctor saved the dragon for the right money, and lots more. I feel so sorry for our poor king and queen who missed the entire show.

The rest of Sunday was spent on important things, saying goodbye to those who were going home. Toasting marshmallows over a fire, talking about everything between heaven and earth. Eventually it was time to give up and go to bed and sleep again, this despite the knowledge that the event would be over when we woke up.

Monday. We worked together cleaning after breakfast, then we stayed a few hours to help them take down the big tents. When that was done, and we had done the obligatory round to say goodbye, we returned to Etianne’s house, where I collapsed on the sofa and slept the afternoon away.

Tuesday, the event being over, we went and looked at the local Ulfberht sword at the museum. That is so cool. The rest of the museum is nice, too.

Many thanks to all of you who made this event as good as it could be, a special thanks to noble Ingemar for everything and especially the coffee.

Your most humble storyteller,


Ps:1 don’t know what/who they sacrificed to get this weather. Brilliant sun every day…

But it was definitely worth it.

Ps:2 I got/took the last strawberry. #lifegoal

Ps:3 If you’ve ever thought about going to this event, do it, it’s definitely worth it. It’s a fantastic event.