Evidence of Late Parasol Duelling

Sunday, December 28, 2014 0 comments

Elegance!

An interesting picture.

Dating from the first decade of the 20th century and ostensibly a fashion plate from a magazine.

It should be quite apparent to any Parasol Duelist that this is in fact an illustration of the latest fashion for Duelists. While uncommon by this time there must have been some schools still operating.


Note that the figures are slightly different but would still be recognizable to a duelist from Victoria's time.


The "reverse plant" shown by the lady on the left is a figure not documented under Her Majesty's rules and may have been a local variation. That or a permitted flirtation move perhaps given the gentleman beside her.

Also the twirl has degraded somewhat as it is allowed to rest on the shoulder.

The previously wide interest and popularity of Parasol Duelling is evident in these late illustrations. When one goes looking for them they seem to be everywhere!

 Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

The Parasol Duelling Figures

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 0 comments

An Elegant Display

Here is a magnificent display of the formal Parasol Duelling figures.

They are being demonstrated by the accomplished and beautiful Raven Hawthorne, who competed in the World Championships this year held in Calgary Alberta.

Here she is in fine, and colourful, competition form during the Flirtation Trials at the 2014 World Championships!




The following photos were done to assist the judges in evaluating the formal positions during the Compulsory Figures portion of a full Parasol Duelling competition. I have also included Madame Saffron Hemlock's comments on the significance of each figure in the social life of a Lady.

Here then are the formal figures which all Duels are composed of.

First up we have the PLANT

 Note the upright posture and the vertical position of the parasol shaft in this photo.

Modern Duelling Parasols tend to be short so it is not necessary to actually "Plant" the point on the ground.

The plant is a sturdy position from which to move to other figures and one that can be completed very quickly if needed to counter a snub.

Madame Saffron Hemlock says of the Plant:

"Every lady must at some time take a stand, either in defence of her person or her principles. The Plant says, “This far and no further.” Or, alternately, as if she is Gandalf upon the Bridge, telling the Balrog, “You Shall Not Pass.” But gracefully. And without raising her voice."








Next we have the TWIRL

Something to note in this photo of a proper Twirl is that the shaft of the parasol does not rest on the shoulder but is held slightly above.

The Twirl is an elegant swirl of colour over a Lady's shoulder and makes a great display piece.

The Twirl should be used with care because it takes some time to complete but if started when an opponent has committed to a plant can be successful.








To be considered complete the parasol must complete at least one 360 degree rotation.

Care must be taken to not have the open parasol touch the hat or some judges may subtract points during the compulsory figures.



Madame Saffron Hemlock says of the Twirl:

"A lady in a tete-a-tete with a friend creates a personal space behind her, into which nobody can stick their long nose or their over-eager ears without looking ridiculous. A well-placed Twirl not only frames the lady’s face becomingly from the front and enhances the intimacy of her invitation to a tete-a-tete, it protects her rearward space from busy-bodies and the over-familiar hands of passing cads."




Finally we have the SNUB

The Snub is the most active of the figures.  Note especially the directness of the position, it is important to "aim" directly at the opponent.  The snub must start closed and is then opened to be considered complete.

The Snub is the one figure for which technology has an important role to play. Modern metal shafted and catchless parasols excel in the speed at which they can be opened and closed. This makes the Snub an excellant figure to be used for quick changes if needed to take advantage of an opponent's twirl.



Madame's comments are succinct:

"Self-evidently, a Snub enforces a forward personal space against riff-raff, upstarts, former friends, arch-enemies, and other undesirable persons."











Street Duel figures are similar, with the exception of the Twirl which is usually done to the side given the shortness of the Street Duel Parasol's shaft. 

Thanks again to Raven Hawthorne for her great pictures!

To find out more about this great sport go to:
Madame Saffron Hemlock’s Parasol Duelling League for Steampunk Ladies

For background on the history and development of Parasol Duelling 
or click the Parasol Duelling tag.

The Rules for Parasol Duelling


Keep your sightglass full your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ


Parasol Duelling Down Under!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014 0 comments

Wonderful Competition.

Just received this report of a Parasol Duelling competition held recently in Australia!
A fascinating variation on the standard rules.

Looks like a lot of fun was had under the hot bright summer Sun in Australia.

Well done Ladies and Gentlemen, looking forward to hearing about your next competition!

Keep your sightglass full your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ




Parasol Duelling
Goulburn Steampunk & Victoriana Fair
Hosted by
The Steampunk Crew of the Airship Sirius
Dec 2014

TheCrew of the Airship Sirius proudly hosted their first ever Parasol Duelling contest at the Goulburn Steampunk and Victoriana Fair last weekend, Sunday the 7th of December 2014. The Fair was a fun-filled event hosted by the Goulburn Waterworks Museum, consisting of Victorian dancing, steampunk market stalls, tea duelling, tours of the 1880s steam powered waterworks, and of course parasol duelling. The event was small but well attended and enjoyed by all. 

The Parasol duelling on the day was hosted by The Crew of the Airship Sirius steampunk group and sponsored by Skav’s Steampunk Workshop. The Crew’s very own Dr John Yardley, ship’s surgeon, was the overseer or referee for the event. The days’ event consisted of; an introduction to parasol duelling and its history; a morning demonstration duel; another demonstration in the afternoon followed by the contest itself. The demonstrations were performed by Inventor aboard the Sirius, Beibhinn O’Donnell, and ships cook and seamstress, Lucia Handcock Dickson. Registrations for the event where taken throughout the day.
Demonstration by Inventor Beibhinn O’Donnell,
and ships cook and seamstress, Lucia Handcock Dickson.
Photo by Steven Shaw
Dr John Yardley, ship’s surgeon,
the overseer or referee for the event.
Photo by Steven Shaw

The rules used for the duels on the day were a modified version of the traditional rules to make it easier for beginners to the sport, and the rule set favoured by the crew due to the confined  spaced aboard the airship. Though the sport is normally an all-female affair the contest was open to both sexes, as there is no gender discrimination aboard The Airship Sirius.

The contest itself had a modest turnout of 12 participants. The contest was played with participants paired up in the usual manor, they then fought the best of three duels, with the loser being eliminated and the winner going on to the next round. Winners then played winners and so on for 3 rounds until only two participants remained. The last two participants were a Gentleman by the name of Simon, and one Lady Madeline, both of the Earthly Delights Historic Dance Academy. The whole event was a clean fought contest with the Doctor only having interject on a couple of occasions, only one parasol was damaged, due to an over excited Snub, and fun was had by all involved.

The final duel was hard fought, with it being extended from the normal best of three, due to the participants repeatedly drawing the same move to their opponent. Finally the match came to sudden death with Simon claiming victory with a well-executed Twirl, beating Lady Madeline’s Plant. 
The winning Move, Simon claiming victory with a well-executed Twirl, beating Lady Madeline’s Plant.

Simon, of the Earthly Delights Historic Dance Academy was then awarded with a lovely commemorative victor’s certificate and a medal, made by Skav of Skav’s Steampunk Workshop himself.

The Colour of Memory

Tuesday, November 11, 2014 0 comments

Lest We Forget

When I was growing up history was something that permeated our house.

There were books and photos, and old records.

There were fossils, models, maps and artifacts.

I was always interested in military history, because the military and warfare runs like a horrible bloody thread through the history of civilization. Didn't matter if it was ancient history, Romans, Greeks, Persians, Celts, or Mediaeval sieges and battles, or 18th and 19th C wars, or the great upheavals of the 20th C. I was interested in them all. There was one thing that I remember very clearly though and that was the major difference in the way my Father treated the wars of the 20th C compared to those of history.

These wars were different, they were different because they were still MEMORY not just HISTORY. My Grandfather fought in the First World War and I had friends whose parents had fought in the Second.
The Ghosts of these wars were not ready to be history yet. They were real people still living, still working, still hugging their loved ones and trying to live with the MEMORY of chaos and destruction that they had been forced to live through. They also struggled with the memory of those they had lost.

British troops negotiate a trench as they go forward
in support of an attack on the village of Morval
during the Battle of the Somme. Photograph: PA

As a kid my strongest impression of the difference between the Wars of History and the Wars of Memory was simply that History had colour whereas the modern wars of the 20th C were BLACK and WHITE.

We had photographs of these titanic struggles in all their gritty horror, you could see the face of war in its terror and its destruction, but there was no colour. That made them real in some senses but strangely unreal in others.




The Thin Red Line. 93rd Highlanders at Balaclava.
Illustration for Scotland for Ever (Hodder and Stoughton, c 1900).


The wars depicted in the history books were often illustrated in colour paintings, romanticized,
propagandized, draped with the colours of empire and the gloss of academic history. The Wars of living Memory were written of that way but they were illustrated with photographs that gave a glimpse of the true nature of war.

The first time I saw colour photos from the Second World War I was shocked, these were real people, they looked my age, they were not the Black and White ghosts that I had seen for so many years. Along with the colour came the realization that these great upheavals had been filled with REAL people who smelled the earth, the smoke the blood and the death just as I could.

Suddenly War changed from a historical event to a mass tragedy, necessary sometimes but never something to take lightly. Suddenly to stand with the dwindling numbers of veterans on November 11th became not only a duty, but an honour. These men and women had seen unimaginable horrors, they had lived through chaos and destruction and they were REAL people. People I could shake the hands of, people I could see standing with tears for their lost youth and their lost friends. The colour that is in their memories we can never see, we only have the black and white old photos.

There is now, no longer anyone alive who knows the colours of WWI, who remembers the smell of the mud of Flanders, the sound of artillery or the shrieks of dying companions. That war has become history.

Soon the same will happen for those who lived through WWII. And still, there are wars where young men and women fight because they are told to. There are still men and women now much younger than me who will have such memories. 

To stand beside them today is to stand beside all of those who are now history, to stand and remember is to make sure that History is not forgotten.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ
  

"The Night Mail" Rudyard Kipling 1905

Saturday, October 18, 2014 0 comments

A Rudyard Kipling SF tale.

Reading the Log of the H.M.A. R 34 I posted about last time I came across this gem:

10.15 a.m. Weather report from St. John's :"Barometer 1010.2.Steady ; temperature 44 F. Fog. Visibility about half a mile, fog seaward, wind westerly, very light."
This is all right.
Turned in for an hour, but unable to sleep.
Become absorbed in Kipling's story of "The Night Mail" in Actions and Reactions. Think I must have read this story fifty times! Every time I read it the more impressed I become with the reality of its prophecies, which give one that very same  "atmosphere" of Aerial Liner travel that we are actually experiencing during every
moment of this journey.

 A quick lookup on Google and I discover this wonderful tale:

With the Night Mail

A STORY OF 2000 A.D.

(TOGETHER WITH EXTRACTS FROM THE CONTEMPORARY
MAGAZINE IN WHICH IT APPEARED)

BY
RUDYARD KIPLING

Illustrated in Color
BY FRANK X. LEYENDECKER
AND H. REUTERDAHL

NEW YORK
Doubleday, Page & Company
1909



This is a wonderful SF tale about traveling on a Mail Packet across the Atlantic. A delightful look at a future where airships are as much a part of regular air traffic as are heavier than air craft.

You can read the whole book, complete with the original colour illustrations, at Project Gutenberg here:

"With the Night Mail" by Rudyard Kipling

A bonus is the ads and articles that make up the "EXTRACTS FROM THE CONTEMPORARY
MAGAZINE IN WHICH IT APPEARED" portion.  Here is an example:


 High Level Flickers
"He that is down need fear no fall"

Fear not! You will fall lightly as down!

Hansen's air-kits are down in all respects. Tremendous reductions in prices previous to winter stocking. Pure para kit with cellulose seat and shoulder-pads, weighted to balance. Unequaled for all drop-work.  Our trebly resilient heavy kit is the ne plus ultra of comfort and safety.  Gas-buoyed, waterproof, hail-proof, non-conducting Flickers with pipe and nozzle fitting all types of generator. Graduated tap on left hip.
Hansen's Flickers Lead the Aerial Flight
197 Oxford Street
The new weighted Flicker with tweed or cheviot surface cannot be distinguished from the ordinary suit till inflated.
So what exactly is a "flicker" a parachute or some sort of personal lift device?
Lots more intriguing bits and pieces of the world of 2000 AD as envisioned by Rudyard Kipling.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

The Log of H.M.A R34

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 0 comments

Trans Atlantic Airship!

The  R 34 was built in 1918 for the Royal Navy by the William Beardmore and Company in Inchinnan, Renfrewshire, Scotland. Her design was influenced strongly by that of a German Zeppelin that had been captured almost intact in England during the war.

In 1921 it was decided to attempt the first ever return East to West flight across the Atlantic.

From Wikipedia

It was then decided to attempt the first return Atlantic crossing, under the command of Major George Scott.[11] R34 had never been intended as a passenger carrier and extra accommodation was arranged by slinging hammocks in the keel walkway. Hot food was prepared using a plate welded to an engine exhaust pipe.

The crew included Brigadier-General Edward Maitland and Zachary Lansdowne as the representative of the US Navy.[12] William Ballantyne, one of the crew members scheduled to stay behind to save weight, stowed away with the crew's mascot, a small tabby kitten called "Whoopsie"; they emerged at 2.00 p.m. on the first day, too late to be dropped off.[13]

R34 left Britain on 2 July 1919 and arrived at Mineola, Long Island, United States on 6 July after a flight of 108 hours with virtually no fuel left.[14] As the landing party had no experience of handling large rigid airships, Major E. M. Pritchard jumped by parachute and so became the first person to reach American soil by air from Europe. This was the first East-West crossing of the Atlantic and was achieved weeks after the first transatlantic aeroplane flight. The return journey to RNAS Pulham took place from 10 to 13 July and took 75 hours.


As an observer on board the crossing Air Commodore Maitland kept a log of everything that occurred and this was published as a book. Illustrated with 35 photographs taken during the flight, this is real airship adventure!


Here is the introduction to this fascinating read.
IT is often thought necessary to preface a 
first literary effort with apologies from the author 
for its shortcomings. In this instance no one 
could be more aware of such a necessity than 
myself. But am I entitled to make apologies? 
R 34 is not a literary effort neither, therefore, 
am I an author. 

In writing a story such as this, the obvious 
and comparatively simple course would have 
been the adoption of the conventional narrative 
form, helped by notes and memories, ample 
time and thought and a comfortable arm-chair. 

Apart, however, from its practical usefulness 
or official importance, R 34's journey was just 
one long, wonderful and delightful experience. 

To look upon this journey coldly as part of 
yesterday, or to treat it with recognized con- 
vention, would be to lose both the essence and 
the spirit. 

My only hope of convincing my reader of this 
is to try and induce him to share our adventure- 
taking him with us upon our flight. 

Every word of this diary was written on board 
the Airship during the journey, with the exception 
of the explanatory footnotes and, of course, the 
appendices : the writer perched in odd corners, 
and amid continuous interruptions and ever- 
changing surroundings, to the silent accom- 
paniment of the wireless, like ghostly whispers 
across lonely space. Every incident, important 
or trifling, was recorded at the actual time of 
happening. Even to stop to focus or to pigeon- 
hole these would have been to destroy actuality. 

If only I can share a little of that fascinating 
and buoyant adventure with any readers of these 
pages I shall be content, I only hope my ship- 
mates may not find their journey too dull; if 
they do they must not blame R 34, for the 
fault will be mine. 
You can read this wonderful adventure in its entirety at the Internet Archive


For those who want a hard cover version of this book a reprint  edition is also available from Amazon
 
Keep your sightglass full your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ


Title
The Log of H.M.A. R34
Journey to America and Back.

Author
Air-Commodore E. M. Maitland
C.M.G., D.S.O, A.F.C, Royal Air Force

Date
1921

Pubisher
Hodder and Stoughton
Re-published
Kessinger Publishing (Sept. 10 2010)

ISBN
1164269127

Mr Hublot

Sunday, October 5, 2014 0 comments

Wonderful!

A delightful short film by Laurent Witz.

This short won the Best Animated Short Film Oscar in 2013.

 Check out the trailer:



If you get a chance to see this I highly recommend it.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ


Mystery Solved!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014 0 comments

Thanks to everyone who entered their solutions.

SPOILER WARNING this post contains the solution to the Mystery of "The Evil Eye of Africa" if you would rather try to figure it out on your own first you can start at the beginning here.

Here is Margaret Curelas of Tyche Books, with her announcement of the winners and the solution!

Keep your sightglass full your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

 
"The Evil Eye of Africa"
By Jayne Barnard

A Guess-the-Murderer Mystery in Two Acts 

Steampunk Mystery Game Solution and Winners

Thank you to everyone for reading and submitting solutions to "The Evil Eye of Africa" Steampunk Mystery Game! Many thanks to Madame Saffron for reviewing entries. And, of course, our deepest appreciation to Jayne Barnard for writing the story and giving us such amusement.

Three intrepid detectives have solved the mystery: H. L. Dickson; Tim Ford; and James Prescott. All three submitted wonderful analyses of the mystery, and their solutions are presented below. Each poses several queries that we hope Hercule Hornblower will be able to resolve when he makes his arrest.

Now, the moment you have been waiting for...it is time to unmask the murderer of Baron von Boddy!

Report from the Parasol Duelling World Championships

Monday, September 15, 2014 1 comments

We have a new World Champion!

Saturday September 13, 2014 dawned grey and chilly in Calgary.

Wed Sept 10, 2014
Two days before
the World Championships!
The previous week had seen an unseasonal and tree-damaging pair of heavy snow falls with temperatures dropping 27 degrees C in 12 hours!

It was not at all certain that the outdoor venue at which we were to have the Championships would be ready.

The World Championships were scheduled to run at a major outdoor event called Little Big Street during the Beakerhead festival in Calgary, and right up to the Saturday morning it was unclear just what kind of conditions the contestants, judges, and spectators would have to contend with. Luckily as the morning progressed the temperatures rose and the clouds thinned. By the time the competitions began in early afternoon the day was quite pleasant and by the end of the competitions the new World Champion could accept her accolade under a bright September Sun.

Since there has never been a full formal Parasol Duelling competition, one that included all three sections of Compulsory Figures, Flirtation Trials, and Duelling, it took a bit to get organized but soon the competitions began.




There were nine competitors entered in the competitions. Two were Junior ladies who could not participate in the Flirtation trials but participated in the Duelling and Compulsory Figures. One lady competed in the Duelling competition only.

The entrants to the World Championships of Parasol Duelling 2014
L to R
Standing: Josanna Justine, Sarafina Kain, Cali Kyhn, Karen Siemens, Teigan Blondin de Boer, Lorna Vanderloh
Front: Briona Justine, Raven Hawthorne





The Judges for this event were:
The Honourable Madeline Salisbury (aka Monica Willard)

Baroness Daniela Fawkes (aka Dana Teh)

Her Grace Doctor Christine Pearse Duchess of Argylle (aka Christie Vanderloh)
Chief Judge, and Black Sash, Madame Saffron Taxus-Hemlock (aka Jayne Barnard)






There were two Doctors for the event, myself and Dr. Johann Portsmouth Adler (aka Stewart MacPhee)
Dr. Johann Portsmouth Adler (aka Stewart MacPhee)
receives his Doctor's ribbon from the Chief Judge

The order of the competitions was Compulsory Figures, followed by the Flirtations Trials and then by the Parasol Duelling.

The Compulsory Figures were interesting. Each contestant must complete all three figures during the standard count, in the order Plant/Twirl/Snub, and they must make each figure distinct. It was a difficult job for the judges to determine the winner. The contestants did very well each completing all the figures in the six seconds allowed. There was a surprising amount of variation between their routines.

Each contestant ran through the figures three times before the judges.

Karen Siemens, in the guise of a Hungarian competitor, complete with accent and attitude to match, livened up the proceedings.  When I reminded her, pointing at her cuffs, that under the Brandenburg variations of the Hanoverian Rules lace was not allowed and she must remove them, she promptly replied "Really? My Lace? As you wish" and started to undo her blouse!

Once that misunderstanding was cleared up, with much laughter and chuckling from the crowd, the competition continued apace.


The winner of the Compulsory Figures Competition was Josanna Justine with her elegant, smooth and graceful display.


The Flirtation Trials were run with three contestants at a time going through their routines together.  Each trial consists of the contestants doing one of the standard figures, elaborating on the move for the full count and finishing with a completed form in a tableau of sorts. The figure to be done is chosen by the judges and there is a trial for each of the standard figures.

Flirtations are a chance for the contestants to show off their creativity while still performing a complete figure. The competitors did not disappoint, with each figure being shown with elegant, tasteful but exotic positioning.
For this competition the audience is asked to participate by indicating, by applause, their favourite of the three in each trial.
A Flirtation Trial for the Plant
L to R
Josanna Justine, Teigan Blondin de Boer, Karen Siemens

 The winner of the Flirtation Trials was Karen Siemens who, with her Faux Hungarian accent and attitude, but also precise and controlled movements, wowed both the audience and the judges.


Karen Siemens Flirtation Trial Champion with Madame Saffron Taxus-Hemlock Chief Judge

A tea break followed the conclusion of the Flirtations, whilst the competitors warmed up for the Parasol Duelling competition itself.


Tea at the Judges table
The Duchess of Argylle and Madame Saffron Taxus-Hemlock
The light and the dark in amity.
With the preliminary competitions done and the Sun shining brightly the formal Parasol Duels began.
Here the skill and style of all the competitors, young and old(er) alike, was very apparent. These Ladies had been practicing intensely for this competition.


Once the first rounds were done there was a short period of deliberation and the judges revealed the Semi Finalists.
The Semi Finalists
L to R
Cali Kyhn, Sarafina Kain, Simone 'Bronwyn' Haywood- Brazel, Karen Siemens





The excitement of these final duels was palpable! Even spectators who knew nothing about what they were seeing knew something big was happening. After a couple of duels the final two contestants faced off to determine who would be Duelling Champion!

After the applause and huzzahs died down Madame Saffron Taxus-Hemlock, as chief judge, rose to present the competition champions with their sashes.

Madame Saffron Taxus Hemlock presents Sarafina Kain with her Duelling Champion's Sash
The Compulsory Figures Champion Josanna Justine


The Flirtation Trials Champion Karen Siemens adjusts her sash.
Finally, as a hush fell upon the crowd, Madame announced the Lady who, based on the points from all three competitions, was to be awarded the title of the First World Champion of Parasol Duelling.

Karen Seimens World Champion
Receives her sash from the Chief Judge


And here they are: the winners and World Champion of the 2014 World Championships of Parasol Duelling.
L to R
Sarafina Kain, Duelling Champion
Karen Siemens, Flirtation Trials and World Champion!
Josanna Justine, Compulsory Figures Champion
Congratulations Ladies! 
Well done!


This was an interesting and complex event. One that demonstrated the full range of Parasol Duelling competitions. For being the first one ever, I think it came together very well and everybody seemed to be enjoying  the event and definitely got into the spirit of competition.

Photo by: Curtis Anderson
L to R
Back: Lorna Vanderloh, Christie Vanderloh, Monica Willard. Andrew Nadon, Cali Kyhn, Sarafina Kain, Me, Stewart MacPhee, Karen Seimens, Teigan Blondin de Boer, Jessep Crossfield
Front: Coleman Vanderloh, Rown(?), Raven Hawthorne, Briona Justine, Jayne Barnard, Dana Teh, Josanna Justine.
Missing: Simone 'Bronwyn' Haywood- Brazel, Peter Justine and Jess Willard


Thanks to everyone who helped to make this event happen:


Ladies and Gentlemen, I salute you!


And so the bright September sun set on the first ever Parasol Duelling World Championship.
Thanks for reading!

Photo by Audra Balion

Keep your sightglass full your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

Lewis King has posted a bunch of pictures of the competition here.

For more information go to:
Madame Saffron Hemlock’s Parasol Duelling League for Steampunk Ladies

For background on the history and development of Parasol Duelling 
or click the Parasol Duelling tag.

The Rules for Parasol Duelling


Parasol Duelling World Championships 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014 0 comments

Saturday September 13

The first World Championships of Parasol Duelling is happening!

If you are in Calgary come on down and cheer the Ladies on in their efforts to be the World Champion.

To follow the competition live the official Twitter and Facebook hashtag is #parasolduel.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ


Parasol Duelling World Championships

Tuesday, September 9, 2014 0 comments

The Excitement is building!

There is less than a week until the First World Championships of Parasol Duelling are held at Beakerhead in Calgary!

Many Ladies are signing up to compete in this elegant and exotic combat.

After much agonizing, and ladylike gnashing of teeth, Madame Saffron Hemlock has put out the format that the competition will have and I have posted it in its entirety below.

This will truly be a one of a kind event and I will post photos and the results right here so stay tuned!

For more information go to:
Madame Saffron Hemlock’s Parasol Duelling League for Steampunk Ladies

First Parasol Duelling World Championship event details

For background on the history and development of Parasol Duelling 
or click the Parasol Duelling tag.

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ



Parasol Duelling World Championships

Calgary, Alberta, CANADA
 1:00pm, September 13, 2014


The World’s First Parasol Duelling Championships will take place at Little Big Street, adjacent to Calgary Stampede Grounds, Calgary, Alberta, CANADA

Competition consists of three Elements, from which the competitors’ points are drawn to calculate World rankings:
1. Compulsory Figures – to demonstrate proficiency in basic positions and transitions.
2. Flirtation Trials – to demonstrate understanding of the social functions of basic positions as well as their  physical mastery.
3. Duelling – two-duel Round Robin followed by semi-finals and finalist duels.

Open competition; no pre-qualifying necessary (subject to change as wider pools of candidates seek to enter).

Pre-registration is encouraged, via statement of intent to compete posted on the event copy or emailed to Madame Saffron (madamesaffron@gmail.com)

Registration at the event will be accepted up to the start of the Compulsory Figures Competition.

Competitors may enter any one, two, or all three segments of the Championships; however only those competing in all three segments will gain sufficient points to contend for the title of World Champion. Junior Ladies, those under the age of 16 years, are not permitted to enter the Flirtation Trials.


Competition Format: Compulsory Figures: 

      These demonstrate competence with the three basic figures: the Snub, the Twirl, and the Plant.
     
Format: 

      Each competitor will perform the sequence of Plant / Twirl / Snub within the 5-count, holding in the Snub for the Doctor’s ‘Hold.’  Each basic figure must be completed in its entirety before moving on to the next. Judges may, at any point in a sequence, call a Hold to determine whether a parasol is correctly placed in any figure.
     
Scoring:
     
      Each competitor performs the sequence three times, for a score out of a possible 10 on each sequence. Their best score of the three sequences, as awarded by each judge individually, is aggregated for a category score out of 30. This counts toward both the category ranking and the overall title of World Champion.

Judges’ Note:

Each of these basic figures has both a physical and a social component. In addition to watching for correct completion of figures and smoothness of transition between figures, judges will consider the competitor’s communication of the social purpose of the figure as follows:

Plant: Every lady must at some time take a stand, either in defence of her person or her principles. The Plant says, “This far and no further.” Or, alternately, as if she is Gandalf upon the Bridge, telling the Balrog, “You Shall Not Pass.” But gracefully. And without raising her voice.

Twirl: A lady in a tete-a-tete with a friend creates a personal space behind her, into which nobody can stick their long nose or their over-eager ears without looking ridiculous. A well-place Twirl not only frames the lady’s face becomingly from the front and enhances the intimacy of her invitation to a tete-a-tete, it protects her rearward space from busy-bodies and the over-familiar hands of passing cads.

Snub: Self-evidently, a Snub enforces a forward personal space against riff-raff, upstarts, former friends, arch-enemies, and other undesirable persons.

Competition Format: Flirtation Trials:

    These demonstrate the three basic figures in their natural habitat, the Promenade, where ladies would interact with each other and with gentlemen, as well as repelling cads and other uncouth persons. The basic figures are expanded upon to serve the purposes of social intercourse, either attracting or rejecting friends, acquaintances and potential suitors.

Format:

    Each competitor performs three 5-count sequences, each sequence elaborating on a single figure and ending in an artistic variant of that figure.  The judges decree the order in which the sequences are performed, and may vary that at will so long as each competitor performs a Plant sequence, a Twirl sequence, and a Snub sequence.

Scoring:
     
      Each competitor is awarded a mark out of 10 from each judge for each of the three sequences. These marks are averaged for that judge’s score. The three judges’ scores are added together for a category score out of 30. This counts toward both the category ranking and the overall title of World Champion.

Judges’ Note:  Junior Ladies, those under the age of 16, do not compete in Flirtation Trials, as Her Britannic Majesty believes very young ladies should remain invariably demure in public, and not attract attention to themselves. If there are sufficient Junior Ladies registered in advance for a formal competition, a suitable alternate to the Flirtation trials can be scheduled. In all other aspects of competition, including duelling, Junior Ladies compete as equals with their elders.

Competition Format: Duels

    These establish the competitor’s ability to read and react to changes in their social environs.

Format:

Each combatant is assigned two opponents in the opening round, and will duel with each in succession. Standard duelling format: overseen by The Doctor, duelists begin back to back, pace out as directed, turn, and commence to duel for the count of 5. At the hold, the winner is determined. Each combative pair duels three times, with the best two of three determining the winner of that combat.

Scoring:

Duelling points are as follows: each individual duel win gains 5 points; each loss gains 3 points. With six duels against two opponents in the opening round, a combatant may gain up to 30 points. These points determine who moves up to the semi-finals and count towards the overall title of World Champion.

In the semi-finals, combatants are assigned two opponents at the same scoring of 5 points for a win, 3 points for a loss.

The highest-scoring combatants (those with the most wins overall) advance to the Finals. The winner of this round is the Duelling Champion.


World Champion: Highest total points added across all categories.

Mystery Part XXI

0 comments

The murderer unmasked?

We come to it at last!

The final post of Jayne Barnard's "The Evil Eye of Africa."

In which our intrepid investigator holds the traditional summation with all the suspects together in the manor of the late Baron Von Boddy!

If you think you have solved the mystery email your deduction to:  madamesaffron at gmail.com.
We will be accepting your guesses and deductions until midnight on Sunday September 14th.

Madame Saffron (aka Jayne Barnard) will be drawing from all the correct solutions for some prizes from Tyche Books!

 The first post is here.
A list of all the characters is here.

You can get all the posts by clicking on the mystery tag.

Good luck with your sleuthing!
Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

"The Evil Eye of Africa"
By Jayne Barnard

A Guess-the-Murderer Mystery in Two Acts 


Act II: Hercule Hornblower Investigates

From the Case Journal of Hercule Hornblower: 

August 30, 1898




It is time.
As  I have collected all the images from all my spiders old and new, I have assembled all the suspects and will now put to them the questions of my little gray cells.






Madame Midas-White: Did you or did you not know the research that guided Baron von Boddy on his travels was in fact stolen? Did you kill the baron to silence the man you believed the only one who might challenge your claim to a treasure you had invested so much to recover from its desert hiding place? Or, when he refused to refund to you all the money he had cost you by claiming all his purchases in England and Egypt were made with your approval, did you shoot him for ruining your perfect record of money-making?





 




Professor Plum: You stole the research into the Nubian mask from Professor Indy Brown, is it not so? Did you come to Boddy Manor to claim your share from the baron, and kill him when he refused to split the proceeds? Or, if he had failed, to kill him before he could confirm your theft and see you ejected from the highest university in the land (yes, I know Cambridge will argue that it is the highest, not Oxford, but for the purpose of this discussion…)







 


Colonel Cardsharp, er, Mustard: You claim to have been the oldest friend and the trustee of Baron von Boddy, and you were missing from London when he reappeared here and vanished again. Did you, being desperately short of money and on the verge of being thrown out of the very regiment where you had accumulated so many battle honours, kill your old friend for the treasure he may have brought back from Africa?











Professor Indiana Brown: You lost your own original research, the product of many years’ labour, to the baron. You were laughed out of the most illustrious university in the English-speaking world (yes, I know all about what Cambridge would have to say on this subject). You were beaten to a treasure and the undoubted fame that would rightfully have been yours. Did you come here to confront the baron on his secretive return, and kill him in a fit of your undoubted American temper?






 




Sir Ambrose Peacock: Perennial financial distress is your lot. You gambled away the last of your own fortune to Colonel Mustard – and nobody would blame you for wanting to murder HIM – and your hope of marrying another fortune was misled by a female fortune hunter of convincing guise. Did you kill your uncle to inherit his estate, and any treasures he may have accumulated in his latest African adventure?












Lady Peacock, you loveliest of liars: You tried to induce the baron to marry you in Cairo, or, failing that, to take you with him on his treasure hunt. When that failed, you lured his feckless heir into marrying you instead, that you might inherit that treasure by another route. Did you come here to Boddy Manor to silence the baron before he could reveal to his nephew your true nature, if not your true name?

Lady Peacock?

Where is that young woman?



Mystery Part XX

Saturday, September 6, 2014 0 comments

 The Lady disagrees

Here is the next post of Act II of Jayne Barnard's "The Evil Eye of Africa."

The first post is here.
A list of all the characters is here.

You can get all the posts by clicking on the mystery tag.

Remember that if you think you have solved the mystery email your deduction to:  madamesaffron at gmail.com.
Madame will be drawing from all the correct solutions for some prizes from Tyche Books!

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ


"The Evil Eye of Africa"
By Jayne Barnard

A Guess-the-Murderer Mystery in Two Acts 


Act II: Hercule Hornblower Investigates

From the Case Journal of Hercule Hornblower: 

August 28, 1898



 Colonel Mustard has fallen from formerly valiant warrior to vile seducer and worse. In my collection of images from the parlour spider-eyes is recorded a scene between himself and Lady Peacock that concluded with overt violence, from which the lady defended herself adeptly.


There are, however, a number of good views of the lady’s jewels, and it comes to me where I have seen them before: in a report in Cairo, from the jeweler who left the gems with Baron von Boddy “on approval” and never saw their return.

Can it be that the lovely and delicate Lady Peacock, who married Sir Ambrose within three days of meeting him, is the same woman as the mysterious widow the baron dallied with in Cairo?

What does she know of the baron’s quest? Has she too come seeking the treasure? Were she or Sir Ambrose, singly or together, at Boddy Manor when the baron’s ship came to rest here for that brief interval from his telegram to his death?

Click here for the next installment.

Mystery Part XIX

Thursday, September 4, 2014 0 comments

Threats!

Here is the next post of Act II of Jayne Barnard's "The Evil Eye of Africa."

The first post is here.
A list of all the characters is here.

You can get all the posts by clicking on the mystery tag.

Remember that if you think you have solved the mystery email your deduction to:  madamesaffron at gmail.com.
Madame will be drawing from all the correct solutions for some prizes from Tyche Books!

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ

"The Evil Eye of Africa"
By Jayne Barnard

A Guess-the-Murderer Mystery in Two Acts 


Act II: Hercule Hornblower Investigates

From the Case Journal of Hercule Hornblower: 

August 25, 1898





Professor Henry Walton Brown Jr., of Indiana, USA, has joined us today.

 I discovered him in the parlour, threatening Professor Plum with a revolving pistol.
 

 In the trunk I saw yesterday was a map such as Indiana Brown, in his ill-starred Oxford speech, claimed to have created, and a hand-drawn sketch of a mask such as he claimed he had assembled from ancient written descriptions. These resemble most closely the pages seen in Baron von Boddy’s photograph of the Eye of Africa mask. I am convinced Brown could identify them as his own property.

It is indisputable now: Professor Plum perfidiously stole his fellow academic’s research and sold it to the baron.

Click here for the next installment.

Mystery Part XVIII

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 0 comments

The Devil in the details

Here is the next post of Act II of Jayne Barnard's "The Evil Eye of Africa."

The first post is here.
A list of all the characters is here.

You can get all the posts by clicking on the mystery tag.

Remember that if you think you have solved the mystery email your deduction to:  madamesaffron at gmail.com.
Madame will be drawing from all the correct solutions for some prizes from Tyche Books!

Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed and your water iced.
KJ


"The Evil Eye of Africa"
By Jayne Barnard

A Guess-the-Murderer Mystery in Two Acts 


Act II: Hercule Hornblower Investigates

From the Case Journal of Hercule Hornblower: 

August 24, 1898



A day of the most surprising in this investigation: Baron von Boddy did not drown. He was murdered.

The Cornwall Constabulary knows this, but has kept it silent from the newspapers to further the investigation. Naturally, I offered my inestimable services to aid them. It is to be hoped that Mrs. Midas-White did not kill him, as claiming my fee from a murderess I helped to arrest could prove awkward.

To record in brief my learnings:

1.    The skeleton clearly shows the nick of a bullet in a rear rib, indicating it was shot in the back.

2.    The airship salon’s panoramic forward window has cracks in one corner, radiating from a small hole.

3.    Some solvent, possibly fuel oil, has damaged the walnut flooring of the salon beneath the window. Did it dissolve a large blood stain?

4.    The trunk to which von Boddy was tied was filled with books and papers, much water-stained but all of them the property of the American Professor Indy Brown.

5.    Finally, the canopy and cork belt missing from the airship were found stuffed into a crevice on the moor.

For my reference, a view of the rocky shore where the skeleton washed up:


Click here for the next installment.

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