Yesterday, on the way in from voting, I stopped and brought in the stevia plant. It might have been better harvested earlier, but I didn’t think of it until then. I also brought in a sage plant still in its pot- I think I got it for the war. After the conference I hope to put it in a nice pot, and try to keep it alive through the winter.
Just about everything is divided into “before the con” and “after the con”. Before the con I have to get out a quick letter, get the books back to the library, get more OJ and chicken soup for Willow, fix the schedule boards, make door signs, check the batteries in the walkie talkies, pack the van, and a dozen other things, after which is when everything from lining up next guests for the New Normal, to deciding whether or not to keep doing it, getting Dad’s house on Davis Street empty, and maybe getting the house clean and some artwork done, can be “put off”.
Foremost in my mind right now is that poor Willow has come down with something- it looks like flu. Last Saturday was cold and rainy (we’d had warnings of snow!) so she decided to stay home and not get sick. I drove Kat over to the Crown Tournament, so she could run the Gold Key, and given the weather, although I’d decided not to sell, I grabbed one bin of stockings and Willow’s fleece head-warmer wreaths because I knew people would be cold. I was apparently right because I think we sold about twenty pairs of socks. (Let’s face it, when your feet get cold, the dry socks begin to look really good!) Oddly, only one wreath. I think it’s because most people were out watching the fighting.
The selling was in a building (sadly with screen windows), on the other end of the field from Gold Key which was beside the Gate, so I was a long way from Kat. Since I was inside, I gave her the heater and fleece covered chairs we’d brought. I put up my single table next to Julia (Sarah O’Conner) so we could chat. Ekke came down and brought some grilled beaver meat- he’s started trapping season. I was eager to try it and pleasantly surprised. It tastes a lot like beef or venison with a VERY slight aquatic under taste- probably because of their diet. I brought and distributed a lot of the fat I got from Shema but hadn’t gotten around to processing (we are STILL getting fat off things from around the kitchen I wouldn’t have thought had been near it!). The balance went into the freezer for “after the con”.
I also brought Soul Cakes- someone had suggested that children who came would enjoy “trick or treating” and people could use it as a way of getting rid of their leftover halloween candy. I, being a stuffy purist, decided to make the soul cakes so people would see what the medieval origins of this particular acceptable begging were. Soul Cakes are simply small sweet buns, characterized by alspice and cinnamon and currents. They were usually made on All Hallows Eve (as I did), and distributed on All Hallows Day. In exchange for the Soul Cake, the recipient was supposed to pray for whoever the giver asked them to. As I recall, each soul cake consumed (with prayer) was supposed to win a day out of purgatory for the beloved dead, so people had a huge motivation to distribute as many of these as they could afford to for the sake of their beloved dead. To the modern taste, they are certainly not as exciting as a candy bar, and if any kids HAD come by, they might have been vaguely interested, but disappointed. I DID have some leftover candy (also not distributed). I’d picked up some white chocolate M&Ms in what I thought were “candy corn colors”. Sadly, for some reason they had made the “white chocolate” candy corn FLAVORED, and because chocolate is essentially oily, it made that stick to the inside of your mouth for far too long if you don’t care for candy corn. [I don’t.] But no children came by. Oh well.
I checked on Kat once, and chatted briefly with Kenric and Avelina, saw a bit of the fighting. They have a REALLY cool set of “list trees” that hold up and display shields with the arms of each combattant. They are on a pivot (around shoulder high) and raise and lower with ropes, and the List crew hangs on the shields to show who’s fighting in each list; because they’re raised and lowered, you can see them above the crowd- VERY cool! Sadly, the bit of the fighting I saw was different than usual. The grass was very slippery because of the light rain, and because of the forces involved in throwing these very fast blows, the fighters had to work hard to keep on their feet. Luckily SCA fighters tend to be VERY coordinated. On the other hand, mid-day the heralds announced that the King had decided to move the lists off the grass and onto the gravel surfaced parking lot (so cars had to be moved). I’m sure that was a better surface.
I didn’t get to see much of the fighting, because of the cold and rain far more people crowded into every available tent, making the Gold Key (and New Comers Point) quite crowded, and that made it hard on Kat. I went through the lines in the tent where they were serving a very nice day-board (lunch buffet for non SCAdians). It even had hot soups, and hot drinks. But there was just too much noise and confusion and press, and around 2 Kat couldn’t deal with it any more. Julia and Ekke offered to watch my table, and we left Brian watching the Gold Key, and I drove Kat home. Luckily, Winchester NH is only a bit more than an hour away, and I was able to be back a bit after four. By that time the tourney was almost over, but it was also time to pack up the goods. As every other time I’ve been on my own, I was appalled by how long it takes me to break down by myself! Also, apparently not having done enough exercise lately meant that when I got up on my chair to hang the banner, I pulled a muscle in my thigh that hadn’t minded that amount of pull the last time I did that (at Pennsic?). I am VERY pleased to report that it wasn’t serious and the pain was gone in a few days, leaving me just feeling like I really need to get more regular exercise!
By the time I’d gotten the merchant area packed, it was about six, the sun was set, and most people were either quickly packing their stuff, or over at the feast hall. Anjuli and Svoi, bless them helped me get the Gold Key clothes into the bins, and the bins in the van before they had to leave, but it took me an hour to get the rack disassembled, and the other bits (chairs, heater, etc.) into the car, in the dark, in the rain, in the mud, with a limp. It was very dramatic, luckily didn’t last too long. But I did decide to head home at that point rather than go over to the hall and see the court. So I missed seeing Tom/Frostulf, Shannon/Estefania, and Kevin/Corwin get their Awards of Arms, which I would liked to have seen. I tend to think of Tom as the “kid” Kat knew in high school, but now he’s the head of his household, brought a bunch of new members to the event, and rain and cold or not, they had a great time and want to come back. He’s “the old man” to them, and I’m so thrilled about their awards. It always makes me happy when people get their awards at the right time. I also missed seeing the end of the Crown Tournament; the new Prince and Princess are Omega and Eteldreda, [except that they are the people who used to be called Darius and Roxane] who’s been king three times before- weird. I wish I’d caught it, there’s been a great deal of “vague-booking” on facebook, and that’s always frustrating.
As you might imagine, things are hectic around here. Tonight I actually forgot my show, but luckily it was with Cathy Kane and she called about 10 minutes in and reminded me. Ouch! Scrambling to get all the last minute things done, and today I’ve been getting the occasional symptom. While we were out Saturday, Willow looked up her symptoms on the internet and came to the conclusion she either had ebola or the flu. The human mind is quite capable of generating any symptom one can think of, and if there’s any time more inconvenient for becoming contagious I can’t think of it just now. Unless Willow makes a miraculous recovery, she and Kat will be staying home. On the way out I will probably by a packet of masks and gloves, in case I’m catching it. Swell.
We did have sausage and mash, and parkin for Guy Fawkes Day, and set off two fountains (not up for more). And John watched V for Vendetta. Kat pointed out that in todays world he would be called a terrorist from a “minority religion”. One has to wonder how many holidays started out as badly and became as benign as this one. (Basically, James was oppressing the Catholics, Fawkes & Co. tried to get him, and when he got caught a national holiday was declared so all the protestants could have bonfires where they were as likely to burn images of the Pope as the Guy. Glad that seems pretty unthinkable today.)
Oh yes, Tuesday we voted. Puts a bit of perspective on getting upset over SCA problems. I can’t help thinking that either the doomsayers complaining about the corporations buying elections are right, or the people have to be REALLY scared to think that the Republican agenda is a good idea. I hope things get better, but I am not very optimistic just now. Things are going to be very bad for women, minorities, the land, and the poor.
What else happened this week? No one came by for Halloween, as usual, but Kat went out with some other Dr. Who fans, but wait, did I say that last week?
Must sleep, try not to get sick. Tomorrow must pack and leave, with or without the girls. I am not looking forward to trying to do everything without them.
“The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it.”
― Terry Pratchett, Diggers