It may not be the best shot ever. But it's the only shot I have of the Hat of Win. A friend forwarded me this photo, snapped during a tactical demonstration when my young friend and I had the ever-auspicious task of Guarding the Box. This perennially-exciting challenge comes in when the artillery unit has to leave the piece and go do manly deeds elsewhere on the field. Because we don't like to leave several pounds of highly explosive black powder unattended, those of us lingering at the back with water and supplies come hang out with the box. Plus, the box gets lonely.
Sadly, though I have the Hat of Win, my young friend lost her cap in the excitement. We found it later, but she's bare-headed here. I promise she isn't usually such a slattern....
And the contraption draped unflatteringly over my shoulder? Portfire holders. Portfires are road-flare like flaming sticks that we use to fire the cannon. Lacking an extra man-at-arms, I got to tote the extras around and light the new ones when the one the firing position was using went out. It's not a glamorous job. It's even less glamorous when you run out of slow match (rope soaked in a chemical solution that makes it burn slow and very hot) and have to use magic fire instead.