The Honour Taker

Friday, June 24, 2016 1 comments

The Honour Taker

 Previously I posted an article by Stewart MacPhee, writing as Dr. Johann Portsmouth Adler, about the Prussian forms of Parasol Duelling.

Here is another excellent post.

Well done Sir!

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

Ed: It is my pleasure to post another wonderful article from the good Doctor Adler.

This one discusses the history and forms of the infamous Ehre Nehmer move and how it was used in other Parasol Duelling styles. As an eyewitness and formal Doctor (umpire) at many Parasol Duelling competitions he was well placed to observe and study these moves. 

A valuable addition to the increasing amount of information being compiled on this intriguing sport. 

Abflug mit gnade
(Departing with grace)
By: Dr. Johann Portsmouth Adler

    Many of my colleagues as of late have been asking me many questions regarding the elegant form of parasol dueling known as the Prussian style that is widely practiced in the Germanic territories.  One topic in particular is the dreaded move known as the Ehre Nehmer or Honour Taker.  While talking about this with my fellows there arose a bit of controversy over just what form the move in question takes when practiced.  While some will state that it appears to be a twirl but instead of facing the opponent the duelist instead turns their back, appearing like a “reverse twirl”, others still state that the move in question takes the form of a snub, where the duelist keeps the parasol facing their opponent, but then turns on their heel and walks away appearing like a kind of “reverse snub”.

    While I initially found this quite strange as the move that I had grown up hearing about, and had witnessed on more than one occasion, had always taken the form of the aforementioned “reverse snub”. Imagine my surprise, after exchanging letters on the subject with learned minds on the continent and my own investigations, when I found not one or two, but three variations of this move!  While they may all be called “Honour Takers”, in their own way they are each a separate move as practiced by those of different schools or styles of the sport. 
    So with that in mind, I have decided to sit down and write this missive on what had originally started as a Germanic move but has since seen its way from the vaunted drill academies of Berlin to the elegant runway plots of the Seine and, if rumours are to be believed, to the very shadow of Buckingham Palace itself.

Calgary Spring Regionals May 2016

Monday, May 23, 2016 0 comments

A Fine day's competition.

Sunday, May 1st 2016 was a beautiful sunny spring day.
Perfect weather for the Second Annual Spring Regional Parasol Duelling Competition.

 The competition was held in the same location as last year, at Weadickville just outside of the BMO Centre in Stampede Park, during the 2016 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo.

We had done two demos during the weekend and so we had a pretty good crowd of spectators for the competition.

 Katherine Lingwood, Cindy Bedford, Stewart MacPhee, Cali Kyhn,
  Karen Siemens and Deanne Robbins.
Photo by Grant Zelych

I work at a vendor's table at the Expo along with several of the regular duelists from Calgary and earlier in the weekend we had been so busy that we actually missed one of the demos!

Luckily the other members of Madame Saffron's leapt into the breach and conducted an excellent demo. Makes me proud indeed to see our members taking up the reins and elegantly demonstrating our great sport. Please join me in a hearty well done!

On Sunday, not taking any chances, we made sure to head for the Duelling Ground with lots of time to spare. When we got to the site there were already several duelists and quite a crowd of spectators gathered.  With ten duelists signed up it took a few minutes to get things organized.

Our Judge and record keeper for the event was the ever efficient Baroness Daniela Fawkes (aka Dana Teh). Her first official act was to read a "Welcome and Admonition" from Madame Saffron Taxus-Hemlock, who  unfortunately could not attend this year's competition.

Here is a video of this stirring start to the Spring Regionals!

Duelling in the Spring Sunshine!
Cindy Bedford vs Kyra McDonald
Photo by Karlo Keet

There were 10 competitors for this year's Regionals. Two winners of the 2015 World Championships, including the current World Champion, and the 2014 World Champion were amongst the Duelists!

The Regionals also include new duelists some of whom have never dueled in competition before, as well as more experienced Ladies.

Again this year we saw how everyone has continued to improve their duelling figures. There are also clearly developing styles and strategies which are fascinating to watch in action.

Karen Seimens and Deanne Robins
Photo by Karlo Keet

The format of this years competition was to be a true Round Robin where everyone duels everyone else during the course of the competition. Wins were to be awarded 2 points and a draw was awarded 1 point. It quickly became apparent that even running two duels at once, with 10 competitors it would take too long to run the competition in the time we had available.

So after the first three rounds had been fought it was decided to drop the two lowest scoring duelists off the list.

In one of those serendipitous events from which traditions are born, when the first Ladies were told that they had been eliminated, Raven Hawthorne asked all the remaining competitors: "Ladies can we give them a Twirl!"

A beautiful, and elegant way to show the respect due their fellow competitors!

The competition was stiff and the Ladies demonstrated their prowess with great speed and poise.  Here is a selection of photos that should give you a good feel for the competition.

The intensity of these duelists is very apparent here!
Raven Hawthorne and Sarafina Kain
Photo by Grant Zelych
Karen Seimens
Photo by Grant Zelych
Audra Balion
Photo by Karlo Keet

Raven Hawthorne
Photo by Karlo Keet

Cindy Bedford
Photo by Karlo Keet
Tamara Horne
Photo by Karlo Keet

 The duelling continued with the lowest scoring ladies being dropped from the list after each round.

Running two duels simultaneously took a bit of getting used to!  In order to prevent confusion only one of the Doctors would do the count but loud enough for both pairs of duelists to hear. This allowed the competition to proceed quickly but smoothly.

Raven Hawthorne and Katherine Lingwood
Photo by Karlo Keet

Nicole Baker and Kyra McDonald
Photo by Karlo Keet


Cindy Bedford and Audra Balion
Photo by Karlo Keet

Finally after a further grueling 6 rounds of duelling, three Ladies emerged victorious!

Each was awarded one of these magnificent ribbons created for this event by Raven Hawthorne.

Winner's Ribbons by Raven Hawthorne

Here are the winners of the 2016 Spring Regional Parasol Duelling Competition being presented their winner's ribbons by the Baroness!
 First Place Ribbon to Audra Balion
Photo by Karlo Keet

Second Place Raven Hawthorne
Photo by Karlo Keet
Third Place: Nicole Baker
Who had never dueled in competition before!
Photo by Karlo Keet

Congratulations Ladies!

2016 Spring Regionals
L to R: Audra Balion 1st place
Nicole Baker 3rd place
Raven Hawthorne 2nd place

Thank you to all the Ladies who participated in the Second Annual Spring Regional Competition.

Photo by Grant Zelych

Thank you also to my fellow Doctor, Dr Johann Portsmouth Adler (aka Stewart MacPhee.) for his sharp eye and strong voice!

As always thanks to the wonderful photographers that make us look so good!
Karlo Keet of Catstar Images
Grant Zelych
and our intrepid videographer Alex Norrington.

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

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

Click here for information on the history and development of Parasol Duelling 
or click the Parasol Duelling tag.

The Rules for Parasol Duelling are here.

Spring Regional Winners

Friday, May 6, 2016 0 comments


Here are the winners of the 2nd Annual Spring Regional Parasol Duelling Competition.
Held at the 2016 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo on May 1st.

The winners!
L to R
Audra Balion 1st place
Nicole Baker 3rd place
Raven Hawthorne 2nd place

Congratulations Ladies well fought!

Stay tuned for a formal report of the competition.
Keep your sightglass full, your firebox trimmed, and your water iced.

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

Click here for information on the history and development of Parasol Duelling 
or click the Parasol Duelling tag.

The Rules for Parasol Duelling are here.

Coming Soon!

Saturday, April 23, 2016 0 comments

A trailer for my next serial story!


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

Airships Ship of Dreams

Monday, April 11, 2016 0 comments

A Video full of Airships!

A wonderful video of  post WWI Airship development, triumphs, and tragedies.
Lots of video from the time.

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

Second Annual Spring Regionals coming May 1 2016

Sunday, March 27, 2016 0 comments

Ladies! Are You Ready?

Join the Ladies of Madame Saffron Hemlock's Parasol Duelling League  and the Steampunk Arts and Science Society (SASS) for the Second Annual Spring Regional competition!

All ages and experience levels are welcome.

The competition will be held in association with the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo
You don't have to be an Expo attendee to compete but you should  be a member of Madame Saffron's.

Here is my report from last year's competition. 

We will be competing in the same space as last year so a perfect place to see and be seen too.

Looking forward to seeing this first official competition of 2016!

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

Click here for information on the history and development of Parasol Duelling 
or click the Parasol Duelling tag.

The Rules for Parasol Duelling are here.

See you all on May 1st!

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

Role Play Serial Story from the Messdeck Part IX

Friday, March 25, 2016 0 comments

Wrapped and delivered with care...

Here is the next, and last part of the first serialized tale from our role play group "The Messdeck".
You can start from the beginning here.

Previously Lt Cmdr(E) Maxwell MacDonald-Smythe and his crew in the aged airship HMAS Doris have been enjoying the hospitality of their shipmate Doctor Christine Pearse, who is also the Duchess of Argylle. As the evening progressed in companionable warmth and fellowship after their cold journey north in the winter skies of Northern England and Scotland, they discover that they have been tracked by small mechanical automatons. The bugs are controlled by a nearby cloaked Royal Navy airship.

The crew succeed in disabling the devices and Sgt Fraser warns the cloaked airship off with a flare rocket from his Sgt Major's private stash of exotic weapons.  As the airship leaves it drops a package.

Frozen Sky
A serial story from The Messdeck.
Part IX
Collected and edited by Kevin Jepson 
What follows is a slightly edited transcript of the role playing we did for our visit to the Manor at Davaar.
Max calls up to Watkins, "Find anything aboard?"

"No Sir, all shipshape."

"You checked in the cabin?"

"Aye Sir, were nothing Sir. Unless they are in the gas bags it looks clean."

"Very good get down and go back inside with Simpson and see if you an Cooke can make out what these things are!"

"Aye aye Sir!"

Miss BB standing in her grey bloomers, with her heavy skirt in a heap by her feet, says, "Did you check in the box of warm clothes? I hope they are not in there."

*Iveta checks her holster and its pistol and then heads for the gate.*

*Beyond the walls of the Manor Sgt Fraser slowly moves around the trees near the edge of the property, his rifle ready as he scans the area for what fell from the airship as it left. It is full dark now but the snow on the ground seems abnormally bright, as often happens during a winter night in these latitudes.*

*The shadows of the trees are like black holes against the snow.*

"Blasted thing was around here somewhere..."

He chuckles to himself, "Can't believe I had to use the flare round already." He turns a small bend on the trail and sees the package sitting in the middle of the trail up ahead. It is a wooden crate precariously balanced on one corner in the snow.

"OVER HERE!" He yells.

Miss BB says, "Darn, now I have to run. Coming!"

Iveta turns around and smiles at BB. "Without that skirt, you may even find it fun!"

*The two officers jog briskly through the gate following the sound of Sgt Fraser's voice at the edge of the treeline.*

*After a last check of the outside of the control car Max heads back into the Manor to join Watkins, Simpson, Cooke, and the Doctor in the parlour.*

"It's a frosty clear night and no mistake." Max shivers. "Was almost getting used to being warm again too."

"Well Commander if that ship has moved off perhaps we can return to being warm."

"I apologize for the turmoil Ma'am."

"So far nobody has punched any holes in my walls so we are way ahead of last time." She says with a rueful grin.

Cpl Cooke is munching on a meat pie while looking over one of the captured bugs.

"Well Cpl, these things all down now?"

Cooke swallows and sits up straighter. "Aye sir! I'll leave my gear on as long as we are here just in case though."

"Well done Cpl, let Watkins and Simpson take a look at one of them things."

Cooke holds one up. "Here you go lads."

*Simpson gingerly takes the critter and moves over to the side table under the fancy electric lamp and soon he and Watkins are looking at it through their pocket magnifiers and muttering quietly to themselves.*

Max watches for a second then shakes his head with a smile. "That'll keep em busy for a bit."

As Iveta and Miss BB move across the open space surrounding the manor they see the dark bulk of Sgt Fraser waving from the edge of the trees. Coming up to him Miss BB says, "Good shooting". She smooths her bloomers and asks "What have you found?"

Fraser nods at the two lady airship officers and then points to the crate lying further along the trail. "That's what it dropped Ma'am, but I wouldn't touch it yet. Maybe the doctor has a cart we can borrow to bring it back?"

Iveta eyes the crate, and the size of the depression it made in the snow as it landed, trying to guess its weight. "I'll go see if there is anything at the house. Shall I bring a few more hands?"

Fraser nods. "Yes Ma'am. If you please, maybe that Mr'Gears fellow?"

Nodding, Iveta takes off toward the house at a nimble run.

BB yells, "Pony, bring the pony! Everyone loves a pony."

Miss BB and Sgt Fraser stand watching the crate. Miss BB, hands on her hips says, "It's a box. Can we lift it ourselves?"

Fraser looks to BB. "Best not to touch it yet, don't know what it is."

"Can I kick it?" she asks.

Fraser starts. "NO! What if it's an explosive?"

"Hmpf. Maybe the pony will kick it." says Miss BB.

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