An epic weekend indeed. Anzac Day Anarchy was fun, although once again it was even quiter than last year. We're all getting old. Adam and Jess rode the 38km from here to Shelly Beach, Jake and I drove down and met them *L* [livejournal.com profile] jb_rulztheworld, Tracy, Robbie and Sandy were already there and for the first time in at least 5 years we had a beautiful day to enjoy in the park. Although nice weather also meant loads of people so we didn't get our usual concrete shelter, but we did manage a picnic table so it was all good. I also took 30 or 40 photos for my photo essay due later this week. I need to narrow it down to between 7 and 11 and then edit and 'shop them together by Thursday. Since the theme is 'History of Sydney Waterways' and there are some seriously awesome rocks at Shelly, I might go with 'Erosion'.







I have no technical skill whatsoever and a pretty shitty digital camera that's coming up on 10 years old, but I think I did OK.

The drive up the mountain range was quite plesant, although the single-lane winding roads at 80kph were a little more interesting after it got dark... we got to the show and found our group just in time to unload the car and be served dinner. Hurrah! Met some of the Battery guys, played Napoleonic trivia (we came 3rd out of 4 teams... the first two got prizes, and [livejournal.com profile] knightsmarshall's team did so badly they had to be recognised in front of the whole ANA... and we got nothing :p), Adam went off to bed and I stayed up until after midnight talking to [livejournal.com profile] knightsmarshall and Andrew and Garth who I used to do 15thC swiss with. Slept surprisingly well considering I was only on a pallet made from a couple of blankets and got up at the luxurious time of 7am. Found [livejournal.com profile] knightsmarshall (he, Dee and Gene had stayed in a cabin offsite, luxury!) to borrow a needle and thread as I had ripped my pants the night before (where the fall-front attaches). Costume malfunction resolved, it was time to drill the cannon. There are 4 men to the cannon, each with their own duties. We rotated and drilled through each position 4 times so that we all knew who was responsible for what and coule keep an eye on one another. However my main job for the day was loading charges. Adam was on a different cannon, but he too ended up in the same position.

We had two battles, one at 11:30 and one at 2. They were great fun. We were short on powder for the first but we coped, but we made up for it the second battle. We had 5 extra shots to we ended up double shotting a couple of times for extra bang for your buck, and even triple shotted the very last one as we had 3 charges left and only time for one bang. I even got to fire the cannon once, boom! :D We got to run the guns out on to the field and reposition it as the french forces moved and all that, hold fire while our own troops marched across, and 'kill' a cheeky frog bastard who had wandered away from his own line and was threatening to drop his breeches. There were also some pyrotechnics to replicate falling shells from the opposing cannon.



The guy in the awesome hat on the right is John, the leader of Sandham's Battery, the guy closest to the camera is his son who was the Sergeant on my gun. The cannon closest is the gun I was on, the next one was Adam's and there were 2 smaller ones who was run by another group volunteering with us. It was very loud when all 4 were going off at once!!!

I should mention that it was fucking FREEZING. The actual temp varied between 6 and 13*C over the course of the day, however there were 50kmph+ winds, very little cover and showers on and off all day, sometimes with an edge of sleet in it which made the apparent temp somewhere around 2*C. There's a reason those little jackets are called bumfreezers, they stop right above the bellybutton. They called for snow and hail all day but thankfully it held off, although quite a few tents got damaged in the howling winds. We hung around after the show and packed up the tent we had borrowed, then helped the Battery move their gear into a locker room as they weren't leaving until today. Stupid winds meant that I got hit in the face by a flying METAL CAMP BED. No fair either, it hurt a hell of a lot more then the stupid ant bite last fortnight and I had nothing to show for it, just a tiny cut inside my lip where it hit my teeth. The invisible bruise still bloody hurts *sulk*

Anyhow, we hung around and went for dinner at the local RSL Workman's Club with the Battery and also [livejournal.com profile] knightsmarshall and co which was fabulous. Sure, we had to drive the whole way home in the dark and didn't get home until very late, but it was great to have a chance to actually talk with people, and have a nice hot meal and let my fingers thaw out a bit before we had to drive home. Once we gort there it was straight into a hot showr and bed, ahh.

Oh, and John also gave us a thank-you gift: a small, hand-cast pewter cannon made by one of the group's members. It's SO COOL. The wheels spin around and everything, and it's bloody heavy. It's about 5 inches long including the cannon frame, I still need to take a photo of it. Dee got some photos of us actually loading the cannons during the battle so hopefully I'll post those sometime soon too.

Today I bought a new computer chair, and finally finished my Report of Dooooooom for class tomorrow. That leaves the photo essay and HG Wells for Thursday and Friday respectively. Fingers crossed for me...
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