At around 3am one morning I figured that my living room needed a medieval weapon to make it complete.
The next step was deciding I needed to make it myself.
The third was finding a place that would let me do this quickly before sanity and sobriety got home and asked what the fuck was I thinking. Fortunately the internet was there to help and I came across the Forge of Avalon.
I fired a mail and booked in before telling my boss I needed a few days off to go and forge a sword. He was in agreement this was a thing that should happen.
I had no idea what to expect. I figured that at the end of day one I’d be lauded as a an exceptionally talented prodigy and flush with success be retroactively added to the history books as the greatest smith the world as ever known.
On a more honest level I knew that I’d suck.
I flew over to Glastonbury and met with Kate who handles the front end of the business. She’s an absolutely delightful woman who just looks mischievous and has an accent that can’t help but bring stories to life.
Then I met Richard, the Master Swordsmith and got a new found appreciation for why Kate is so good. Rich is not a PR person. He’s bellicose and booming and intensely protective of his craft. Shaking his hand was like meeting a mountain. I had an instant respect for him and by the end of the first day an absolute awe of smithing as a whole.
Long hot hours spent hammering on steel and being bellowed at for my incompetence were not in the brochure but they were appreciated. This wasn’t a simple task, it wasn’t fun. It was hard work and every criticism and moment spent watching as Rich, roll up in hand, inspected my work was draining.
At the end of the second day we got roaring drunk and smashed cans with a sledgehammer. I challenged Rich to hammer flat empty cans of Carling. The loser would have to down several full cans. Unsurprisingly, I failed and got even more intoxicated. We talked long into the night. Arguing and agreeing and giving me perspectives on my own life I hadn’t even considered.
At 5 am I walked back to my bed and breakfast through pitch darkness and decided to scale Glastonbury Tor with a gas lamp. There are llamas there and they scared the shit out of me. I was found passed out and babbling on the doorstep of the B&B and a few hours later I was back at the forge with a legal obligation not to use any machinery.
I sweated, I shuddered and I kept at it.
When all was done I was immensely proud and exhausted. There’s so much cheddar in what I’m about to write that mice all across Dublin are heading to my house but it’s so true. It wasn’t about forging the sword it was about breaking down myself.
I named the blade Trust because you can have faith in humanity. You can trust people to be good. You have to have belief that against our biases and weaknesses there is something brighter. Trust in people.
Kate and Richard are two exceptional people and forging Trust was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life.
It wasn’t fun and it wasn’t easy but it was time well spent and treasured. The most fulfilling things we do are sometimes crazy and ill advised and we can’t even really explain why we wanted to do them in the first place.
Go a little wild and seek an adventure. It’s worth it.