My life fades, the vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of chaos, ruined dreams, this wasted land. But most of all, I remember the Pike and Musket Society, the group we called Routiers. To understand who they are we have to go back to the other time. When the re-enactment was powered by polyester, and the desert sprouted groups with gal and velvet. Gone now, swept away. For reasons long forgotten two mighty warrior tribes went to war and touched off a blaze which engulfed them all.

1973-76 Ford Falcon yellow "Interceptor" (Mad Max) clones ...
Kick it in the guts, Harry.
That’s me in the the driving seat. I think we burnt nearly as much oil as petrol.

On the roads it was a white-line nightmare. Only those mobile enough to travel to Melbourne, brutal enough to eat from highway cafes would survive to get to Monsalvat. The re-enactment clubs took over the highways, ready to wage war for history. Pierre, Sanders and Gross in the ISM Fairlane 302 with the Cleveland V8, Steve Roland and Greg House in the mighty House ute, the late Roley Dunkerley, Simon Fowler, Dave Rea and I in a run-down rent-a-wreck yellow XB Falcon Interceptor with a dodgy gearbox.

The House Ute in full woodwork machine moving rig.
The House Ute in full woodwork machine moving rig.

And in this maelstrom of decay, ordinary men were battered and smashed. Men like House, the combat Wombat. In the roar of an RSL curry, he lost everything, and became a shell of a man. A burnt-out, desolate man. A man haunted by the demons of his bowels. A man who wandered out into the wasteland looking for a khazi. And it was here, in this blighted place, that he learned to eat again. To understand who he was you must go back to the last days of the old world …

The ISM Fairlane
The ISM Fairlane

This is the remembering. The event at Monsalvat was held in 1984, fresh on the euphoria of the convention the previous October. The NVG were the hosts, I think the old Victorian Viking Society was there, and the Melbourne SCA, and from Sydney were the Macquarie Hackers and 1066.

Image may contain: tree, bridge, sky, plant and outdoor

I can verify that Cardboard Chicken Man was there, wearing an ice cream bucket with an eponymous cardboard chicken crest. I can’t vouch for him being a member of the SCA, but that was the strong impression we were all left with. Entertainment was the lovely Heather singing the Scarborough Canticle, and Roy Castell reading a chapter from the Hobbit. The supplied booze was Steve Nic’s White Lightning, which accounts for the vision dimming. Food was a beast onna spit, the side dishes mostly seemed to come from the odd historical recipe (a 1965 copy of the Women’s Weekly Cookbook). There was more crushed velvet and spray painted knitted woollen “armour” than on the punters at a ‘Medieval Fayre’.

China Customized Plastic Ice Cream Bucket with Lid Manufacturers ...
Now comes with attractive chin strap!

Discussion turned to such abominations, and how we could do better, but it wasn’t until the trip home in Pierre’s car that plans were laid. For this reason, we only count those physically present in the ISM Fairlane as the founding members. The rest of us, they say, can only claim to be accessories to the few, the happy few…

Broken Gearbox Fun - PerformanceForums
Meanwhile, just this side of Goulburn

Coming back through Goulburn that night, Roley tried to grab a quick change to second, and shattered the gate. Only I could become one with the gearbox and do the changes to get home. It was my time to drive… again.

Pierre led us north… to safety – to a place in the sun… In the tenth year, nurturing his vision of a new world, Pierre married and resigned. The Captain and the Black Haaande waged war against the SCA for years… together they raised many musketeers…

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Pierre leading the Routiers on to Glory in 1989!
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Routiers, the Next Generation

House went on to many other things in many places, but up in the Pilliga, locals terrify travellers with tales of a disembodied bowel, roaming the scrub, snarling like a wild animal at night. The locals may laugh at the travellers, but they never, ever stop in the Pilliga after dark.

What of Roley? He continued re-enacting for many years, then went into a hermetic retreat. He’s gone now, earlier this year. Remember him… when you look into the night sky.

A beginner's guide to stargazing | Live Better

And as for me… in the fullness of time, I became a leader – the chief of the Blue Mountains re-enactors until someone put a black floppy hat on my head and handed me a pike…

As for Cardboard Chicken Man… That was the last we ever saw of him. He lives now… Only in our memories…

The Cardboard Chicken lives on…

With apologies to Monsalvat, the NVG, the SCA, 1066, the script writers of Mad Max and Mad Max II, the English language in general, and above all, our livers.

An Anthem for St Ives Medieval Faire, or, It Raineth Everie Daye

When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man’s estate,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
‘Gainst knaves and thieves men shut their gate,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came, alas! to wive,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came unto my beds,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
With toss-pots still had drunken heads,
For the rain it raineth every day.

A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that’s all one, our play is done,
And we’ll strive to please you every day.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616) , from Twelfth Night, or, What You Will Act V.

While researching the battle of Turnham Green, I found this article about William Harvey’s observations at Edgehill in the British Medical Journal. Harvey’s experiments early in the 17th century redefined the role of the heart and the circulation. He attended Edgehill and the rest of the 1642-3 campaign with the Royal Army as the king’s personal physician.
Military medics in the Falkland/Malvinas unpleasantness in the 1980s made similar observations (Smith, J Surgeon Commander. Commentary on military cold injury, Journal Army Medical Corps, 1984; 130: 89-96)
I’ve reproduced the BMJ article in its entirety.

BMJ. Dec 11, 1999; 319(7224): 1561.
PMCID: PMC1117270

William Harvey, hypothermia, and battle injuries

I was interested to note that the high survival rate among exanguinated battle casualties in the Falklands conflict was partly attributed to the coldness of the climate, which may have facilitated clot formation and induced a form of suspended animation. A BBC documentary, Living Proof, on 28 September 1999 included a detailed discussion of these effects. The phenomenon, however, had been noted previously by our greatest physician, William Harvey, author of De Motu Cordis (1628). Harvey was present at the Battle of Edgehill (1642), the first battle of the English civil war. According to Aubrey: “He told me that Sir Adrian Scrope was dangerously wounded there, and left for dead amongst the dead men, stript; which happened to be the saving of his life. It was cold clear weather, and a frost that night; which staunched his bleeding, and at about midnight, or some hours after his hurte, he awaked, and was faine to draw a dead body upon him for warmth-sake.” Harvey was also familiar with the best way of raising body temperature: “I remember he kept a pretty young wench to wayte on him, which I guess he made use of for warmth-sake as King David did, and he took care of her in his Will.”

1  Aubrey’s Brief Lives, edited by Oliver Lawson Dick. London: Penguin Books,1949:211-5.

Further reading

Being an Article on the Wisdom of 17th Century Military Rations and Their Appropriateness to the Modern Age
by David Green

A contemporary depiction of a plundering soldier.

A five-year long study has found that the nutritional guidelines used for the military and civilians in Australia seriously underrate the dietary needs of males doing arduous outdoor work, particularly in extreme climates.

This is not surprising in an effeminate age obsessed with ideological sound diets of tofu, lentils, brown rice, oat bran and vegetables; which diets perversely ignore the needs and desires of real blokes for meat and lard.

Chris Forbes – Ewan, of the food science branch of the Materials Research Laboratory in Tasmania (argh), said that the dietary guide-lines provided to the military did not take into account Australian climatic conditions, nor the strenuous demand of army training. He found that soldiers on exercises in the Snowy Mountains needed an average of 21,000 kJ per day, while those on manoeuvres in the tropics needed 19,500 per day. The recommended daily maximum is 16,900.

This disparity was causing the soldiers to feel faint and to perform poorly, as you might expect. Recently, with the knowledge that for standard exercises soldiers need about 17,000 kJ, the military diet has been “beefed up”. Reading this information in Food Australia, I was curious as to how the standard 17th century daily food issue stacked up to the demands of army life. A food technologist friend of mine made calculations of the following English Civil War period daily ration:

English Civil War Daily Ration

One pound of bread (454 grams) 4,500 kJ
One pound of meat 4,500 kJ
One pound of cheese 7,700 kJ
four pints of beer (2,400 ml) 3,000 kJ
Total 19,700 kJ

Bearing in mind the meat was often bacon, the kJ count would often have been higher. This amount is also what was issued and does not take into account such foods as were “garnered” along the march from nearby farm yards and village stores. As such, the 17th century soldiers diet, when it was issued, was reasonably adequate – as an English officer of the time observed “It is enough, cry the soldiers, we require no more!”.

I wonder if the doyens of the diet world, both civilian and military, would consider such a mighty feast for today’s hard-working men whether in uniform or not. I doubt it. I suspect there would be endless pontifications about the food value of pasta, rice, cereal, green vegetables and all the other crap which amounts to so much chaff and low grade filler – cow fodder if you ask me.

17th century remedies from Gervase Markham’s The English Housewife 1615

Firstly: A preventative

Against Drunkenness

If you would not be drunk, take the powder of betony and coleworts [any member of the cabbage family] mixed together; and eat it every morning fasting, as much as will lie upon a sixpence, and it will preserve a man from drunkenness.

In case too much was drunk for the preventative to be effective…

For the headache

For the headache, you shall take of rose-water, of the juice of camomile, or woman’s milk, and of strong wine vinegar, of each two spoonful; mix them together well upon a chafing-dish of coals, then take of a piece of a dry rose cake and steep it therein, and as soon as it hath drunk up the liquor and is thoroughly hot, take a couple of sound nutmegs grated to power, and strew them upon the rose cake; then breaking it into two parts, bind it on each side upon the temples of the head, and so let the party lie down to rest, and the pain will in a short space be taken from him.


The oil of lilies if the head be anointed therewith, is good for any pain therein.


Take rue, and steep it in venigar a day and a night, the rue being first well bruised, then with the same anoint the head twice or thrice a day.

For the swimming of the head

For the swimming or dizzying in the head, you shall take of agnus castus, of broomwort, and of camomile dried, of each two drams, mix it with the juice of ivy, oil of roses and white wine, of each a like quantity, till it come to a thick salve: and then bind it to the temples of the head, and it will in short space take away the grief.

Finally, for those who suffer from longer term effects…

A restorative for the liver

Take fennel roots, and parsley roots, of each a like, wash them clean, and peel off the upper bark and cast away the pith within, then mince them small, then put them to three pints of water, and set them over the fire; then take figs, and shred them small, liquorice and break it small, and put them to the herbs, and let all boil very well, then take sorrel and stamp it and put it to the rest, and let it boil till some part be wasted, then take a good quantity of honey and put to it and boil a while, then take it from the fire and clarify it through a strainer into a glass vessel and stop it very close, then give the sick to drink thereof morning and evening.


For the gout, take aristolochia rotunda, althea, betony, and the roots of wild nep [probably ground ivy], and the root of the wild dock cut into thin pieces after the upper rind is taken away, of each a like quantity, boil them all in running water till they be soft and thick: then stamp them in a mortar as small as may be, and put thereto a little quantity of chimney soot, and a pint or better of new milk of a cow which is all of one entire colour, and as much if the urine of a man that is fasting, and having stirred them all well together, boil them once again on the fire; then, as hot as the party can suffer it, apply it to the grieved place, and it will give him ease.

For the hot gout

For the hot gout [highly inflamed], take five of six spoonsful of the juice of hemlock, and as much swine’s grease finely clarified [LARD!!!!! ], and beating them well together anoint the sort place with the same, and it will give sudden ease.

(also known as The Anthem)

From Macquarie to Gundaroo
From Odinfest to Morrisset too…

We must be strong and brave
The Mediæval Movement we’ve got to save
If the SCA plot suck-ceeds (ih! ih!)
They’ll destroy reality….

They ponce about in fancy dress
And suck up to the Baroness
They think that life’s a game of D&D…


They fool around with wooden sticks
They think they’re cool, but THEY’RE JUST PR*CKS!
They can’t accept that swords are made from steel…


They hit each other with rattan canes
And pulverise their stupid brains
They’ve never read a work of history…


(…and they did!)

© Andy Sinclair
Traditional, Orig. Macquarie Hackers (Tune: Starblazers)

Truly the Song of Songs! Where is the true re-enactor whose heart does not swell at the sound of its immortal strains? Where is the SCA dick-dog who does not cringe (or laugh) as their dirty (Lycra™) laundry is aired?

Originally written by the Macquarie Hackers, the University-based Mediaeval group whose members went on to form the core of the Routiers, this has to be one of the most well-known songs in the re-enactment scene. The second line originally said “From Odinfest to Maldon too”, but after the Routier’s historic victory at Morrissett, the name of that immortal battleground was substituted as being… how shall we say … more appropriate?

(tune: “O Tannenbaum” or “Oh Christmas Tree”)

O Magdeburg, O Magdeburg
We saw your burning towers
O Magdeburg, O Magdeburg
The fires burnt for hours
The people ther died by the score
Hundreds then, and thousands more
O Magdeburg, O Magdeburg
Your people are no more…

O Magdeburg, O Magdeburg
We saw your people burning
O Magdeburg, O Magdeburg
Our stomachs were a-churning
The screams of death, they rent the air
A carnage caused by Routiers
O Magdeburg, O Magdeburg
I’m glad that I was there!

(Commercial Verse)
That time has passed, but have no fear
New Magdeburg is rising
The tavern here is full of beer
And many people dicing
So come along, and have good cheer
A dollar fifty for a beer
O Magdeburg, O Magdeburg
Your spirit lives on here!

©1991 Dick Dog Music
by Sarge and Spike of the Routiers

This one was actually written (well, scrawled down on one of Helmut’s tissues) during a quiet moment at the New Magdeberg Tavern at the 1991 Convention. Sarge was in fine form that day, and we even wrote a commercial verse to attract the punters.

(to the tune of “I am Woman”)

WARNING: This song is not for the faint of heart!!

I am Routier, hear me roar
‘Cause I’m just too foul to ignore
And I bear the scars of Thirty Years of War;
I’ve got gout in me legs
And my teeth are blackened pegs,
But I’ll always find some comfort at the keg.

Oh, yes! I’m a thug, and I’m paid to dish out pain,
And yes, I’ll pay the price, but look how much I’ve gained,
If I’m paid to, I will do anything…
I am tough! (Tough!)
I am invincible (Invincible!)
I am Routier!

And When cannon’s mouths do roar,
And Imperial eagles soar,
Above the swaying mass of fighting men,
Then you’ll find me at the back
Of a furious attack,
Marching with my ashen pike on high;

Oh, yes! I am brave, but it’s courage brewed in beer
Yes! After a few jugs, I know there’s nought to fear,
If I’m drunk enough, I will fight anyone…
I am drunk! (Drunk!)
I am invincible! (Invincible!)
I am Routier!

And when the battle’s won
And the foe is on the run,
Then it’s time for all good soldiers to have fun….
Then I’ll get among the sluts
In the baggage trains and huts
And vent my lust between a young girl’s legs;

Oh, Yes! I am Gross, but it’s grossness born of need,
And yes! I’ll pay the price when my penis starts to bleed.
When I’m lustful, I will f*ck anything!
I am lewd! (Lewd!)
I’ve got syphilis! (Syphilis!)
I am Routier…….

©1989 Pierre La Bosche

One of the most well-known Routier songs, this may well be Pierre’s finest effort. It is as thoroughly disgusting to listen to as it is fun to sing, and is known as far and wide as the Routiers themselves are known. If we had a companie song, this would be it. Halleluleuh!

Being an catch with subtle humour wasted on no-one, Not even the boneheaded.

Here are the words of the catch, a simple song intended to be sung in rounds by drunken make-merry types, often with humourous intent. It was once sung by a certain Swedish Cultural Ensemble at the XAMC bardic competition to rapturous applause, appreciation and much appropriate mirth and joy. It probably would have won if not for the fact that the ensemble contained two of the judges who, in truth, contributed much of its talent, and thus disqualified itself.

When Celia was learning on the Spinnet to play,
her Tutor stood by her to show her
to show her
to show her, to show her the way.

She shook not the note, which anger’d him much,
and made him cry “Zounds!
’tis a long prick,
a long prick,
a long prick’d note you touch,”

Surprised was the Lady to hear him complain,
and said it and said and said,
I will shake it
I will shake it when I come to’t again.