Ever since I bought my first unicycle in 1987, I have had a vague desire to try jousting.
19 years later…
Samia posted in this forum that there would be jousting in the park in Welwyn Garden City, a mere 2 1/2 hours drive away. That’s a five hour round trip for something that might be great fun or might be a complete disappointment… but my tired legs needed a rest from cross country riding, and 5 hours sitting in the car listening to the cricket sounded pleasant.
So, having driven in scorching hot weather all the way to WGS, following Samia’s excellent directions, I found the park. No unicyclists, but I had found the park.
Half an hour later, the park was still there, but still no unicyclists.
Hmmm. Mr. Fule puts on his grumpy face. A few minutes later, I dug out Samia’s mobile number and rang.
“We’re in a pub, miles away…”
Should’ve guessed. I followed the slightly slurred directions and found the pub, and met the various other unicyclists. They finished their food, mounted up, and Samia rode off a low kerb and landed flat on her face in front of a group of concerned older women. “Are you all right my dear?” “Yes thank you. <blush>”
Finally, back to the park, which was a huge flat expanse of dry crispy grass. Samia had collected the lances and shields from her home nearby.
The shields looked suspiciously like artists’ palettes, cut from MDF. The lances were lengths of plastic plumbing pipe, swathed in foam rubber to make the classic long thin cone shape of a mediaeval lance, and tipped with classic mediaeval tennis balls.
Two of us did a test run. It was almost impossible to steer because of the strong side wind. As soon as I lowered my lance into the charge position, I swang round like a weathervane. We managed one “tilt” in which both of us were dismounted, and my opponent pointed out that I had not presented my shield for him to hit.
We experimented for a bit, and decided that tilting up and down the direction of the wind would be best. The ends of the “lists” were marked out with a pair of red socks. We had a few more practice runs, then the serious competition began.
An hour or two later, everyone had fought everyone. One lance had buckled (and then straightened). Shields had been modified with extra foam, and gaffer tape. Tennis balls had been dislodged and replaced (with gaffer tape). A handle had become detached from a shield (and replaced with gaffer tape). Alex had taken a shield edge in the mouth, and was very lucky that samia didn’t gaffer tape his lip back together.
I think I won two jousts out of five. Another fight had lasted some 20 minutes with neither of us being dismounted, and had been resolved by uni-sumo. I am very bad indeed at uni sumo. The final, between Alex and Matt, was decided by best of 5 at sumo, after Samia decided that best of three at jouting would last until at least a week on Wednesday.
And so back to the pub, after a pleasant afternoon of silliness, and a few bruises to show for it.
In the beer garden, there was earnest discussion of how the lances and shields could be improved. Some ideas were more sensible than others. The consensus was against my idea of balloons on the shields, and short sharp pins on the lances.
Big thanks to Samia for organising it. I hope your preferred cricket team wins the test.