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I can’t decide whether the eucalyptus & spearmint bubble bath was a mistake or not.

Let me back up a bit: We bought a new house last autumn, and one of the very first tasks The Fiancée™ took on during the renovation was gutting the downstairs bath and putting in a me-sized bathtub. Our previous apartment, aside from being roughly the size of our current livingroom, had the serious drawback of only having a shower stall; since the apartment I lived in before that had a largish tub, I had gotten used to a post-armoured-combat soak in hot water.

Yesterday, I participated in a seven-hour-long combat demo at a local folk festival. This was the third year we were there; it’s a free festival and the organizers always happy to have us: the little kids love watching the “knights” fight and we’re right between the food court area and the local vendors, so it’s a win-win for everybody. The fighting draws folks in and then they browse the stalls (including our recruitment stall) and we get lots of exposure.

Me in full kit, roughly an hour into the fighting.

Unfortunately we only had five fighters and two fencers able to come out, so those of us in armour ended up fighting to utter exhaustion. I was so wiped out that I ended up crashing out after a meal and a brief shower to get the worst of the grue off; I probably should have had a hot soak because stiff muscles kept me from sleeping well last night.

Tonight, I remedied the situation: I filled that tub to the brim with very hot water to soak out the aches and decided to try out the new “invigorating” bubble bath but the eucalyptus oil (or whatever the active ingredient is) stings like a bastard when it hits a raw patch. My left shoulder is black-and-blue; I’ve got welts on both legs; both my hands are sore (I took shots on both gauntlets though the course of the day); I’ve got a massive armour bite on my left leg (I think the greave has been bent slightly out of shape and is digging into the shin); and of course I’ve got chafing and raw patches everywhere… and once I got into that bath I knew about it.

On the plus side, that eucalyptus sinks right into sore muscles: I’m a lot less tense than I was and I think I’ll be able to get a good night’s sleep tonight… especially since I’m planning on treating myself to a very stiff glass of scotch. I figure I burned off enough calories yesterday to justify bending my diet a little over the alcohol, and in any case I’ve discovered that neat liquor has no carbs.

I’m happy with the quality of my fighting yesterday; of the five of us there were two other fighters at more-or-less my level, one fighter of considerably more skill than I, and one Knight who was coming off an extended break due to injury. I was able to hold my own against all my opponents to a greater or lesser extent and we all had moments where we really had to push ourselves. I started out with sword-and-board and then moved on to polearm and longsword as the day progressed, mostly because it’s a real bitch getting a full gauntlet into the strap and grip of my shield; I’m quite happy with how well my polearm fighting went, especially considering that I haven’t even picked it up since… well, since last summer’s demo at the folk festival.

So, despite my aches and pains today, I think the demo went really well, although there’s a couple of things involving organizing, time management and delegating tasks that I think need improving before next year… and since this was my first big responsibility since becoming the local seneschal I’m taking full responsibility for any shortfalls: it was on me to make sure this demo worked out. As it is I’m counting my lucky stars at having an experienced group of people to pitch in and carry it off. Still, I think almost everybody had fun yesterday, at least most of the time, and even the rough patches were navigated with good humour and patience.