Category Archives: Medieval Fight Club

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While away, I haven’t had a chance to look at all the interesting webby stats that WordPress collates for you.

I have just seen the best search term so far that got someone to this site:

“make believe medieval fighting houston”

That’s my new title that is.


Day 3 update

Iain’s piece in the local paper is getting lots of attention on the Surrey Comet and Kingston Guardian websites; I love the comment some wag has put about the picture!

Really annoyed that Just Giving have chosen this very week to revamp their website with massive amounts of teething problems. It means that Iain’s page keeps expiring and links don’t work which is fiendishly annoying. If anyone is trying to donate and can’t follow a link you’ve been sent, or get there from this blog, try searching for ‘Iain Houston’ on – his page is called Iain_Houston and has a picture of him riding in the Alps. Alternatively you can search for the Bishop Simeon Trust, then scroll down for their list of fundraisers until you find him.

Today was the shortest day in terms of mileage and was again mostly sunny, until a massive rainstorm hit the riders at Preston. Hopefully Iain will check in here later with a quick update, but do read Charlotte’s blog for more of his wit and wisdom from lunchtime today. There are lots of pictures and videos too.

Thanks for all your support; it really is keeping Iain going, knowing that so many of you have him in your thoughts and have made donations because he’s doing this.




Gah! The creaking noise from the bike was back when climbing Broomfield Hill on the way home, so I think it’s the pedals, I’ll swap over a newer set from another bike and try them out tonight – I don’t want that noise for nearly 900 miles driving me nuts. Everything else was good though, so I’m happy overall.

I managed to fit the castors to the bike box last night so it’s now as easy to move as a wobbly shopping trolley, one less task for my return. Why the makers didn’t think we would want them in the first place I don’t know – It’s a Polaris bike-pod and it’s excellent for taking your bike on aircraft or trains as it provides a lot of protection in transit (and you can pad out the bike with all your other bike kit and cut down on other luggage).

All well and good, only it’s not really designed for the car-less. It’s unwieldy when you try and travel with it on foot – it does have a set of wheels at the back (which don’t work very well, forcing you to carry the box at an odd angle) but it doesn’t have a carrying handle or strap, all of which leads me to conclude it’s designed for you to drive to airports. This is all very much from the “There’s a hole in my bucket” school of project planning, as if I drove in the first place, I would probably drive to my fecking destination, with the bike and therefore need neither aircraft or bikebox. Mumble.

Anyways, a bit of castor fettling, a small quantity of blood and copious swearing later, the bike box was now be-castored and ready to take with me to the Marmotte once TRAT is over.

First thing this morning I had a photoshoot from a freelancer on behalf of the local paper (Kingston Guardian). Only I don’t think anyone had warned her I woud be in armour when I answered the door. The paper had very much liked the swordfighting angle and was interested in the the medieval show that my friend Andy and I do (called Medieval Fight Club) – I’ve been trying to offer this as a corporate team building event/summer party in order to try and raise funds (no takers so far, boo! Get in touch if you’re interested).

So it seemed logical to the paper to ask me to be ready, in armour to be photographed on my bike when the photographer got to my house. Only they forgot to tell her.

It was a very fast photoshoot and she couldn’t get out of the house quick enough. I asked her what was the oddest things she had been asked to photograph, “Dead people” she answered as she practically ran towards her car.

The last minute TRAT preparations continue and I’ve got Friday morning off work to deal with any unexpected problems that might crop up.


After a great effort from Charlotte, TRAT Race Director, we’ve got the full complement of eight riders again – the new additions being Phil, brother of Liz who is already riding (bit of a family affair as their father is going to be our chef for the trip too!) and another bloke called Rauri – welcome on board to both of them. Those extra two riders make a lot of difference in a group, believe me – from my Saturday morning Richmond Park rides I have got used to riding in groups of about 8-12, if people drop off the back it becomes noticeably more work as the group shrinks. Eight is a good number, so I’m both happy and grateful.

My bike is now ready for TRAT, so hopefully so am I. I got it back from the shop and all of the various noises and creaks that I’m too incompetent to identify (or fix) have now gone. This is doubly good, as well as the tune-up reducing wear on the components which weren’t in best order, I won’t be annoying the hell out of everyone else on the ride having to listen to the various rattles, creaks and squeaks coming from my bike (they will still have to put up with annoying noises coming from me though).

Yesterday lunchtime I picked up various castors and fixings in order to sort out my bike box, will hopefully bodge those on ok tonight (this isn’t for TRAT, it’s for the Marmotte but I won’t have much time once I get back to sort those out).

Yesterday evening I got interviewed (over the phone) by the Kingston Guardian, so first thing on Wednesday morning they expect me in armour, on a bicycle for a photocall! I hope I got across the key points in the interview about TRAT and how the funding is used. They also seemed to like the Medieval Fight Club idea and what Andy and I do with it – hopefully it will lead to further interest in our show.

Recent new donations have tipped me over the half way point towards my fundraising total; with money pledged offline the total is now just over the £1,000 mark which is brilliant, thank you very much once again to all concerned.

Progress so far

Hi all

With just over a week to go before the start of my attempt at ‘The Race Against Time’ (TRAT), thanks to all of you I’m already nearly half way to the £2,000 total that I need to raise! This has been through a combination of online donations, offline fundraising and pledges so far).

Thank you very much to all those who have donated, given their time to support me and helped publicise the event on the internet.

It all helps motivate me to get out and train and (hopefully) to complete the event.

For those who haven’t sponsored me yet or would still like to, please click on the ‘Sponsor me’ link on the right hand side of this page to be redirected to my JustGiving site.

The Auction page has been updated this morning and has some details on the goods and services already donated for us to auction, any further donations are very welcome!

Don’t forget that the Medieval Barbecue and charity auction is in Kingston on 1st August, and more details can be found on the ‘About’ Page. Check in early next week for photos and an account of the last Medieval BBQ (it’s worth looking in just to see the fire breathing and fire juggling photographs).

The other important side of preparations is getting me ready for the ride, I think I’m mostly there – my bike has new tyres and brake blocks (and a grown up is going to look over it just after this weekend to make sure it’s in perfect working order).

I do my last two proper training sessions at the weekend – a group ride in Richmond Park on Saturday and then a club run in the Surrey Hills on Sunday.

Finally, if you would like to be added to my TRAT update list, please send your email address to ihtrat at googlemail dot com and I will send out updates throughout the ride as and when I am able. This is an email address created specifically for my TRAT ride in 2009 and I will not share your email address with any third party.

Best wishes,


TRAT Fundraising, by the Campaign Manager

(From Bryony)

I’m Bryony, Iain’s partner, and I’ve been charged with raising the bulk of the funds for his ride. We need to raise a minimum of £2000 and I’ve been working on the campaign for a couple of months now.

I’ve been approaching companies about possible corporate donations, and offering something rather unusual in exchange: a show by Medieval Fight Club, Iain’s history show which he puts on with Andy, a fellow medieval languages and history enthusiast, which is aimed at getting people interested in the subject in a fun way and giving people a chance to try swordfighting. So far a couple of companies have expressed interest, but there are no confirmed bookings to date. If you’d like Medieval Fight Club to come to your company summer party, or to adapt an event for your customers or clients, get in touch!

Several companies have already been very generous with donations of goods and services, and we’re going to hold an auction on 1st August to get the best prices for the items we’ve been given. So far, these include restaurant vouchers from Nandos, a microscooter from Putney Cycles, books from Murdoch Books and a taxi ride from GreenTomatoCars. We’ve found a brilliant auctioneer and an appeal has just gone out for more donations. They don’t just have to be from companies – if you have something lovely or useful which you’ve been meaning to take to a charity shop, why not donate it to us instead? I’ve selling my rollerblades (size 5) complete with wrist-protecting gloves,  so please have a think if there is anything you can spare us which can be sold for this excellent cause. Keep an eye on the Auction page which will be kept up-to-date with the items donated so far, and the reserve prices.

If you are inspired to join in with helping us fundraise, please read the ‘About’ page for full details of how you can spread the word via email, blogging, Facebook, Twitter, groups or clubs you attend, workplaces and so on. All suggestions for getting the word out there, especially creative ones, are welcome.

So far we’re about a quarter of the way to the target, and the anonymous donation of £200 is both gobsmacking, extremely generous and very, very welcome. Our thanks go out to you, as well as to all the others who have donated so far and who plan to help in whatever way you can!

Iain adds: I would like to thank everyone that has donated so far too – well over a quarter of the way to our total already – I can’t thank you enough.