FROM THE BATTLEFIELD TO THE BEERTENT: A TYPICAL WEEKEND
Musters are usually advertised well in advance in the regimental newsletter and the society magazine Orders of the Daye, giving you time to book any holidays off if you want to make a long weekend of it.
Although you'll already have full directions, as you approach the venue you will find 'SK' signs directing you to the campsite. Whatever time you arrive, you'll be greeted by members of the host unit who will direct you to your regiment, give you a bin liner and a leaflet on the weekend's event including a timetable and listing local pubs, shops and other amenities.
The campsite is divided into sections for associations (Birch's are members of Cromwell's Brigade), so you will always be camping with people you know. On site you will find toilets, water, food caterers, equipment traders including camping supplies, and a large beer tent. The Sealed Knot's own medical service is available around the clock for emergencies. If you've forgotten anything, there'll always be someone to provide a spare, from a tin opener to a pair of pants!
Apart from the battles which are usually mid-afternoon, the day is yours to do what you please, whether it be relaxing, socialisng or local sight-seeing. If you're a child, you can explore the campsite and make new friends; if you're an adult, you can recover from the previous night's visit to the beer tent.
Leading up to the battle itself, people are found preparing themselves and new recruits for the battle. If it's your first muster, this is an ideal time to learn the ropes from experienced Knotters. Drums are used to call the regiment for form-up. This is the time when even long-serving members start to feel the adrenaline rush.
After the noise, intensity and excitement of the battle, everyone sits around chilling, counting bruises and regaling one another with exaggerated stories of heroism. Younger members start on the beer whilst the older members treat themselves to a nice cup of tea.
As hunger sets in, people drift off to find food. At some events we have a regimental barbecue. Food traders are always available but many members prefer to cook their own food. This is the point that the other side of Sealed Knot life begins.
The beer tent is the hub of the campsite, where you can meet with old and new friends from regiments across the Sealed Knot. Entertainment is usually provided at the large shows with a variety of live music and discos. The beer tent is child-friendly, usually has a late license, and the food traders almost always stay open until it closes. As well as the beer tent, groups of members can be found around camp fires, chatting on the camp site or in local pubs.
At the end of the weekend, many people take the day off work and stay over to wind down and take a more leisurely drive home. In the weeks after a muster, the mind tends to wander back to the events of the weekend and counting down the days until you can do it all again.