Thursday, December 3, 2015

Invitation: The Christmas Joust

It is that time of year again. Christmas is an active time in the Tavern and it is not all Holy Mass in the Crypt, although I do expect a fine, solemn and happy occasion down there welcoming the Christ Child once again. 

But there is more. I was in the kitchen this morn supervising a rather fine effort by the Tavern Chef to make a very slow-cook dish (curried chicken if you need to know, with mushrooms, onion, three colours of peppers, some celery and a mixture of five types of beans, all in a rich, thick sauce) when I glanced out of the window. There through the trees were the groundsmen preparing the Jousting ring.

The scythes are long gone but the Traditions remain vibrant.  The Tavern's  Jousting Marshal has been busy for days getting ready and surveying the field of possible Knights to invite as well as many 'wannabees' amongst the farm boys and squires. 

Marshal is an interesting term. It is a long revered name and Title bequethed into the English language from Sir William Marshal, Earl (Warlord) of Pembroke, the Marshal of All England. Today our fly-boys - modern Knights - are commanded by such Air Marshals.

But this month gets much time devoted to sourcing and inviting the best from around the world. For England has exported its Traditions to all corners.
And what a fine, manly tradition we find. Courage, skill, elan and of course Honour.

Practice sessions abound, all over the world. We expect a fine turn out.

Yes, that was a fine effort to simulate just what it is like behind the Tavern each year.

Let's just get more of the flavour and some more of that fabulous music.

In the Fair Isles they are gearing up.

In the far off American Colonies they are practicing too.

They are doing quite well for such strange peoples.

I expect to oversee spills and thrills.

And of course, fill the winners of the various classes and clashes with the finest ales for the benefit of their ails. 

Take this as an open invitation to attend.

B.Y.O Steed, Armour and Weapons of Choice (just in keeping, OK?)

Pax Dei.


  1. Replies
    1. The grounds are indeed employed for many rituals, James. Some rather more sedate than others. :)

  2. I remember many quiet and pleasant evenings spent relaxing and observing that fine jousting ring, the happy souls who frequented it and gave it the youthful and lively atmosphere with continual happiness and exuberance as they pursued their challenges. I also recall some fine feasts, worthy of the name because of the time spent in preparation with the best and freshest ingredients readily available. Agreeable hours deserving of contemplation.

    To those who give time and appropriate thought to such mystical pleasures, I genuinely bid them the grace of the season, great pleasure in pursuing such grace and the enthusiasm to propagate it.
    Peter H.

    1. 'Tis fine ground to walk upon and even ride one's steed around. I have a 'field kitchen' beside it too where village folk throng and barby the prawns and pork chops. This has a dual purpose: feeding the duelers and keeping the saracens away.

  3. I almost got distracted by the thought of your slow cooked meal...

    I gathered myself together quickly and focused on the Christmas joust. It reminded me of Prejama Castle in Slovenia, and the jousting grounds beneath...

    The thoughts of jousting also reminded me of my holiday in Carcassonne and Les Lices where jousting tournaments took place...

    Les Lices (The lists) is the area between the inner and outer city walls, the place where knights took part in competitions and jousting, hence the name.

    1. Splendid, splendid. 'Tis good to see the frogaise practicing and did I notice Nigel Farage in there? I am sure that was him gesticulating at the squire who was inspecting his nails. I would welcome Sir Nige in the jousts.

      Your photos grace this Tavern, Cherie. And I can attest that the chicken dish turned out first class. (Not that I expect any less from my chef) :)

  4. Come to think of it Amfortas - you are right - I saw no Saracens at all! It is a most effective strategy and one to be emulated!
    Peter H.


Ne meias in stragulo aut pueros circummittam.

Our Bouncer is a gentleman of muscle and guile. His patience has limits. He will check you at the door.

The Tavern gets rowdy visitors from time to time. Some are brain dead and some soul dead. They attack customers and the bar staff and piss on the carpets. Those people will not be allowed in anymore. So... Be Nice..