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.

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Monsalvat!

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.

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.

Another

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

Another

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.

Gout

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.