Today the thermometer is reading 68º, which is a great relief. Still, it’s muggy, so not as nice as the simple temperature would imply. The verge is full of flowers, the garden is full of lettuce, and even some peas, at least the pods, and it’s wonderful to be able to have the doors open during the day. It has been so hot it got up to 80º in the pantry, which usually stays cooler. Of course, due to the intermittent rain, and the proclivities of linen, I did have to finish most of the loads of laundry from GNEW in the dryer, and I’m sure that didn’t help. It’s been beastly hot, and I feel like a wrung out dishrag. Willow likes the heat and has NOT been as sympathetic to Kat and I as we would like.
It’s that time of year when we don’t cook. It’s the mini sandwich, potato salad, egg salad, tuna salad, and bean salad time of year. In truth we are hardly eating that, it’s so hot. Kat, who usually eats like a bird (all the time), has been getting hungry, but then taking the first bite and not being able to swallow it. Since I usually take the position of “feeder” I’m feeling like I’m falling down on my job, even though none of the rest of us want to eat much either. What I WANT is ice cream, and cold drinks.
On the way back from GNEW we stopped at a gas station where they gave you a nickel for each can and bottle, and we got over $3. This is not to mention the drinks we got from the cold drink merchant. (figure three of us, that’s only about 20 bottles each over 3 days.) It was hot.
It didn’t rain up at the Great Northeastern War, although the clouds were gathering as we pulled out on Sunday. They like to have the campground clear by early afternoon Sunday, so there are no classes, no combat or other events, so instead this year they opened the campground on Thursday, encouraging the merchants to be there by noon. Then on Friday and Saturday they scheduled activities. Sunday is a perfectly good weekend day, I don’t see why they don’t use it!
So Thursday morning, we tried to get out. We also added into this trip to go up to Farmington again and pick up the tables Liz had finished for me. I was going to do it, but we got late, and were moving really slowly. Since I don’t drive after dark, I figured I’d have to leave by 5 to get to Liz’s by 6 to load the tables and be back to Hebron by 7:30 or 8; but we didn’t finish unloading the van and trailer and get the tent up until about 6:30, so the girls went up after the tables, while I organized the tent. One of the nice things about GNEW is that they provide tables for you- sadly, we were expecting 6 footers and they were 8 feet long, so we shouldn’t have gotten six! We put the gems outside the tent wall where the sun hits them. Willow thinks it’s not nice because people have been known to burn themselves on the darker stones, but I put up a sign to warn them. If they ignore it (which they do) that’s their own fault! (I’ve heard their friends laugh at them).
We have plenty of room, and I wondered why we didn’t have all my booklets for the display. We finally worked out that that time we’d bought 10 each and had a huge collection of booklets was three years ago, and we’ve sold out of most of them. Oops. (Similarly, as I continue to try to get my computer back to where I want it, I have discovered that July 1st my three year extended warrantee ran out. I would have thought I bought this a year or so ago. My mind telescopes time I think. Still, I am NOT thrilled that Apple sees no reason to support “old” computers (more than three years). They last longer than that, why should we have to buy a new computer every year or two? That’s like assuming that people will buy a new car every year or two! Phooey on them! But I am having more trouble than I think appropriate getting the new stuff on the internet to work with some of my old programs. I suppose that makes sense with someone who likes to use 6th century technology to solve problems.
Our new tent is bigger- Ketil was 14×16, this is 16×18, and the theory was we’d hang a curtain across the back 6 feet and have a living space. Sadly, we were on the hilly side of the Merchants Row, and if we’d done that, we couldn’t have put chairs on the floor. The front 8 feet were OK, but in the back the slope was sufficiently steep that you had to brace yourself to stay in your chair, and certainly had to orient your bed with your feet down, not sideways. Kat tried that first, and rolled off her air mattress the first night and had to rearrange furniture. Willow, meanwhile found a folding cot. Julia had one that she’d tricked out to look very Roman-style, and Willow admitted that she really disliked the air mattresses, so when she spotted one, she got it. The next night we went out to get one for Kat. Then despite the heat of the day, and contrary to the prediction of the weather apps, the temperature went down to below sixty in the night. Luckily, I had brought my fleeces for decorative padding of chests and chairs, so we were warm enough. I love sheep skins! The second night the girls discovered that they work even better under you to make the beds very nice indeed, and they have the added benefit of creating storage space underneath. I will continue with the air mattress- for camping, it’s as close as I can get to my beloved water-bed. But I do trick it out with fleeces.
We didn’t pack too much food, lately they’ve had several bakers and sweet shops to get breads and snacks and drinks. If you bring all the food you’ll need, you can’t really buy any, or you’ll end up bringing stuff home. Also, sometimes we have to run out for something, and have been known to sneak over for a meal in air conditioning. So we just took some bread, cheese, & sandwich meat and figured we’d supplement. To my surprise and delight, right across from us Gillian of the Greenwoods was setting up Battlefield Bakery II (the original was a bakery her mother Marian, had run at Pennsic for some years. We used to love to send the kids down for scones for breakfast.) Gill also offered stew in bread bowls, and drinks, but rather than her mothers using the bakery as a way to explore what a middle class medieval life was like, Gill’s doing a gypsy style thing, and was often not there, so we only got one meal there. She also ran a workshop on puppetry, something I remember her doing as a kid in the SCA, and had an animatronic witch as a decoration. The last we saw it was it flying through the air as the wind lifted her pop-up straight off her set up- because it was secured to the pole. Gillian sat there laughing and laughing- probably a stress reaction. Lots of tents got blown away on Saturday and Sunday. If it hadn’t been for the breeze we’d have been in bigger trouble. (As I recall, a couple of years ago they moved all the battles to evenings, and things melted that should not have done.)
So I guess it wasn’t THAT hot this year, but we all wore linen and kept the copper bucket there to soak our veils in (and occasionally feet). Sadly, the bucket isn’t really big enough for feet. We’d have used the dishpan, but while unpacking, Willow tripped over one of the iron tent stakes and dropped it, and she ripped her foot open too, so soaking it would have been welcome. They also hung lines between the tent poles and hung the wet veils from them so that they could sit in the cooling air near the wet linen. That worked as well, and sometimes the wet veil was just too much to have on your head. In the heat it would dry in 30-60 minutes.
In the picture that’s why I’ve got what looks like a black shawl on- it’s wet, and keeping me alive! I finally did finish getting all that red couching on the gold gown. I also put trim on the purple and blue one. Meanwhile, on the way up I’d drawn motifs from the Osburg ship on Willow’s cuffs and she embroidered those, and started another on a gown for Kat. Kat found a pattern she liked in a book and started drawing it on, and I finished it for her so she could start embroidering.
We took the box of trim we’d decided we weren’t going to use, and the last box of cloth, and the oldest furs and put them out for people to take- and they’re gone. It’s really lovely to see people going away happy. We gave Dierdre first crack at the furs because last week Kiaya posted a picture of Gideon lying on the floor hugging “my friends fabric and trim”. I think he’ll enjoy having fur on his garb. Then a lady came by who’d seen a fur lined hood in the arts exhibit and wanted one, and took all the rest of them to make one for herself. Another lady took the last of the fabric even though she’d have to carry it on her lap on the way home, and told us on Sunday that she’d figured out something to do with every piece! Having something used is so much better than having it sit unused!
My old friend Deormund was there- he’d dropped out of the SCA for a while (he was the founding seneschal of Malagentia, and that’s always a lot of work), but he’s dropped back in, and now does archery. There was a small ceremony at the archery range that they invited me to join (I think they thought I’d been the originator of the award), and Deormund finally received the scroll for his Master Archer award. It wasn’t from us, but dated from the reign of Morghun and Rowen, a couple of years after us, but more than 20 years ago anyway. I had a brief chat with King Brennan, and liked him. He feels strongly that people should get the awards they have earned, and got a thinking look on his face at my suggestion that Court Barons could carry AoAs from the Crown to people who couldn’t make Royal progresses. I told him the story (as I’d heard it) of how Counts and Dukes got started. At some point I mentioned that I tended to skip courts and he said “I’ve noticed.” That took me back. I didn’t know that he’d know me well enough to notice my absence. I still skipped it again, and am glad because it took over three hours. There had been the usual rumors that “people should be there”, and I heard griping as the court broke up from those who’d expected to see their friends get something. The SCA is so full of people who do cool stuff, and work hard that it’s pretty much impossible to give everyone the awards that they deserve, and it’s a thankless job. Still, it’s nice to see people getting recognized.
Instead I sat and chatted with Julia (used to be Elinor Strangeways, but she is doing Roman now) at Heart of Oak which was right beside Cabochons. I caught her taking this “Roman Selfie” which actually came out very nicely. She’s the one who makes gorgeous glass beads. We’ll be taking them to the war for her, since she and Ekke are almost done with their boat and won’t be able to make Pennsic this year. How cool is that‽
Take trees and make a boat. Admittedly, people have been doing it throughout history, but not modern people. Not people we actually know! Ekke might have come, but Julia said that he’d have been chewing on the stall if he had they are that close to being done and he’d be wanting to work on it. I think she was right, but really, doing some embroidery, or calligraphy is cool, but will it ever be build-a-sailing-ship-with-your-own-hands cool? It’s called the Heron.
They have actually built a freaking boat, sewing the sails, twisting the rope, shaping and putting the wood together! I am so impressed I can hardly cope!
And while we’re at Pennsic, they’ll be sailing it. So we’ll take her beads and sell them on one of our tables. The thing I like about her display is that every bead is labeled to show where it was from, so not only does it make the right stuff available, it educates at the same time. Of course, along with the period beads, she also makes some not-quite-authentic beads that people want. She’s making some beads with cremains in them, or soil from sacred sites, she makes beads with Laurels and Pelicans on them (and other awards), and some from glow-in-the-dark-glass. Hence our taking them to the War for her. (she also sells on Etsy)
Aside from that the conversations at her shop as people passed through ran from the black Death, to trade routes and were marvelous. Much better than court! Friday evening she and some other Roman friends had a Roman buffet with lots of nibbles, three kinds of stuffed grape leaves, fried honeyed spelt and cheese balls, meatballs, and there was an incredible garlic paste of which I probably ate more than my fair share. Tiberius told us about a “high persona” event up in Runtallon (Nova Scotia) where there’d been a Roman feast and they hung cloths over the ceiling and built pillars and triclinia (dining couches). It was small but, oh! I want to go to one!. She has inspired me, I think I should have a Saxon buffet there next year!
I do worry that I am not socializing enough at SCA events. Friends drop by and I enjoy them, but at night, the market area is deserted, and I am not eager to run around looking for a campfire with folk music when so many of them seem to be more oriented toward belly dancing, fairly heavy drinking (in Stonemarche Kythe sets up a bar of homebrews!), fire spinning, over-the top eating (not just bacon pallosa, there was a baconalea as well), and I am more of a “how many old songs can you remember the words to” kind of “girl”. The closer to a reenactment of a period activity, the more I enjoy it. I suspect there are others of a similar mindset, but how to find them…?
When it got dark Willow went with her over to the Strangeways Piñata party. A few years ago when she got her Maunche, the girls of her household House Strangeways, made a piñata shaped and painted like her arms and filled it with chocolates and little liquor nips (a grown up piñata) and of course, they had to do it again. Just like the Bacon-paloosa, where the morning after a campsite had had a “bacon” party, the lady went through the trash and discovered that they’d gone through 48 pounds of bacon. Years later and I’ve heard that this year they had over 200 pounds of bacon! Anyway, House Strangeways had 7 piñatas this year. They’d decided to do a theme of the 7 Deadly Sins, and had one representing each- the first they did, before it got really dark, was for the kids and full of candy, but most of them had more
adult stuff in it. (I hear “Lust” had a lot of condoms. They were displayed along
the road outside their camp, greed was a money bags, but I liked Sarah/Julia’s best: she and Ekke had found a rather large, old, abandoned hornet nest in their woods and brought it home. She cut it open, hollowed it out, reinforced it, and filled it with treats. She got the Sin Wrath, and frankly, what would be better than a hornet’s nest for wrath? There was some speculation about whether the people swinging the stick would dare to hit a real hornet nest- but apparently they did. They’ve gotten really into doing the piñatas, Willow came home with a sparkly light-up ball, and lots of candy and other things. She had only one nip, and they called her a “lightweight”, so she told them about me. That’s OK, I’ll have the chocolate.
I did do classes, as usual. One on Anglo-Saxon Kings, and to go with it my Ladys & Queens (Hlafdiges 7 Cwens) one. I offered one for kids on herbalism and I was so impressed, all the kids who came already knew a lot of herbs! They identified the samples I’d picked. I hope I taught them something! The last one was on Rune Casting, and to my surprise, almost none of the people who came had any previous experience with the runes, so I spent most of the time talking about the meanings. When I got back home I posted the handouts on my website, (then yesterday the ad for tonights New Normal show).
Heavens! So much laundry! Linen, which keeps you cool because it doesn’t dry that quickly, shows the same property when on the line or in the dryer (it was so muggy I had to finish all the linen in the dryer even after line drying it!) and takes SO long. I also tried the new “Oxyclean” that’s supposed to “revive” your whites. But I didn’t read the small print and simply put a scoop of it into the load. Kat and I both noticed that it smelled very strongly, and when we checked it turns out they want you to use a half scoop for very soiled stuff, and a quarter scoop for normal loads. Why don’t they just put the right sized scoop into the container? (Probably so that you’ll use it four times as fast as you need to!) Feh.
Ah well, still lots to get ready for before we leave for Pennsic. Today Willow made more herbal remedies for Jane (who thank goodness is going to bottle them herself at the war due to the lateness of the order), we just got new cloth bags to put jewels in, I’ve made reservations for hotels on the trip to and from, I’m also working on my New Normal scheduling (trying to get ahead of it, also the holidays I still like to post), and scheduling my speaking for the fall. I’ve sent for more CTCW business cards to pass out and last night we had our planning committee meeting for the Changing Times-Changing Worlds conference- since it’s only about ten days until we leave for Pennsic, Jane and I were hoping to have most of the proposals in by now, but we’ve only got about a quarter of what we need. I’d write our traditional speakers, but if they aren’t on FB, I don’t have their addresses any more, yikes! More garb to finish, more projects to do (or blow off), got to try to find the masters for the booklets. I’m also trying to assemble a team for the Ladies of the Rose Tournament- but they are annoyingly ambiguous about what that means, and I am trying to track THAT down. The thing is, I like making garb and preparing classes, but what seems to take most of my time is the secretarial stuff and housework. Scurry scurry scurry!
Thank goodness it’s cooler! I hope it stays this way!
Small deeds done are better than great deeds planned.