Sunday, 12 June 2011

"I have been to another world and come back. Listen to me"

It has been a busy two + weeks.  The last days of may saw me in a packing frenzy cursing and swearing a lot. The cause of all this swearing? Double Wars, Drachenwald's largest and longest event. I did not want to go. No really , I didn't. Our last DW was 7 years ago and it majorly sucked. It was bitterly cold, ( no I don't like to camp in weather where I have to break the ice of everything in the morning - yes I may be Canadian but even we have indoor heating) there was wind, mighty mighty wind, and a bunch of other things which were not good. ( Note to the world at large do not ever volunteer someone else's tent as shared space and guilt them into actually sharing it with people the do not know.) I have since then learned to say NO very firmly. I have also learned that I need my space, MY space. A place that's private to retreat to where I can relax which was what we did not have last time.So with that memory in my head I didn't want to go camping in Sweden for a week but the husband had other ideas.

So after what has been a very long time we tested the tent and the bed ( thanks Leo, Lennart and Corbin) then I started searching the house for all the stray SCA stuff. It took a while to locate everything because since we moved back from Switzerland we haven't used it so it was in its wooden storage boxes all over the place. And let's not talk about our garb which is all easily over 10 years old now. Still it got found, sorted and packed.

Our next problem was the car. The tent, the bed and the boxes were all planned and designed around an Opel Astra, we now have a bmw 3 series.  The two are NOT the same size. So we had to rethink our strategy a bit. This meant a roof rack which we had to buy but luckily for us the leasing company rented boxes so for 35- euros for the week we had a roof box into which fit the tent and the bed and solved a LOT of problems. With the car sorted out and packed we headed off on the Sunday with me all the way saying "Can we go home now?" It was raining the entire trip up.

We arrived on site at around sevenish. It was cold, wet and I was anything but happy. I loath camping in the wet. Luckily for me my husband knows this. So he dealt with the tent and we have astonishing friends who also helped put it up. It's a behemoth of a tent so it takes at least 3 strong guys to raise it sort of like raising a barn. Leo also helped with the bed and soon the worst was over. In between all of this I stood, cold wet and miserable. This is where my lovely and amazing apprentice walked up to me with a hot cup of tea. Thanks Gunhild. And she saved the day.

So the tent was up, the bed was strung and I nested as is my way. Once all of this was done people came by to say hi and it was good, well except the part where we had not brought along the under mattress for the stupid rope bed. Uncomfortable doesn't do it justice. We went to bed, tired listening to the sound of rain. It was cold, uncomfortable and I wanted to go home.The next day the sun decided to make an appearance.

The first two days I mostly stayed close to camp. I don't travel well any more. The upset in routine upsets my endo and my guts making things terribly painful all the way around. The having to get up several times a night to pee is bad enough having to deal with this in a tent, in the dark and the cold is not much fun. Still I decided to not let the suck get to me. It was our holiday and more importantly it was Marcus's down time. So I made the choice to try and have fun and when I needed to rest I retreated to the tent and lay on the bed relaxing.

We pitched the tent in a great place, close to the houses ( showers toilets) and in between the Royal encampment and Aventiure.  This was nice because we were not actually camping with the shire. We had not planned for shire meals and were pretty self sufficient. We have friends in both encampments but people in both encampments were not friends with each other. It made for some interesting moments as we divided our time between the two.

I found it sad that the shire has changed so much, it's divided and unpleasant these days. There are factions seemingly working against each other out of jealousy and resentment. A couple of people were rude and unpleasant to be around so I avoided them.  I didn't really understand the mess or the need to scatter all the mundane crap around the Aventiure tent and it was just gross so I stayed away from it a lot of the time. I must admit I never felt very welcome and I'm not a big fan of bossy people nagging me.

It was a lot more relaxed to hangout down at the Royal encampment. It was nice to sit and relax with people who were enjoying themselves.  And the up side was I got to meet new people and get to know more about long time SCA members I never had a chance to before. It was very nice. There were some rough moments and we weathered them. Tears from Ele solved with a voodoo doll, tears from me solved with hugs and Irish whiskey, resentment and anger discussed more openly and in between a lot of laughter.

The days got progressively warmer and I realised that our garb was very outdated and scruffy looking. So I am now on a mission to make better garb. Maybe even a persona at some point. In theory Bridget is an Irish gypsy. Early early persona actually but  no one does early Celt here and it was a time of my life where I was with a group of like minded people who all did the same style now that's no longer the case. I don't know who Bridget was but I know who she has become and I guess that is where I am headed. When I get it figured out I'll let you know.

There were highlights- oh so many highlights and I will try to list them here.

- I bought a fighter. ( an auction for the royal travel fund)  He rocked the world! Viscount Rok - thank you. You made my day and I will cherish the bone hair needle forever.

- Master Arenwald's Koala bear which vanished. He promised it as part of auction payment but he didn't win the auction so we went to his camp later to visit said creature only to discover much to our sadness it had escaped....dum dum dum... we reported the missing critter to the Crown and all manner of hilarity ensued thereafter.
The amazing Volker and Gunhild with master paul at the kitchen which rocked.

-The 1st court and the calling to vigil of Kathryn. I have never felt more like I belonged or more welcome to the laurel group than I did on this night. I experienced something magical. I experienced a sense of sisterhood and kinship and beauty. I felt like the ugly duckling amidst all these gorgeous and extraordinary women and then suddenly I was one of them in my own way. I know that this was not about me in any way shape or form but in a small way it was because in a small way suddenly I belonged and for the very first time ever understood that we all begin the same way. Full of doubt and worry we really are not good enough.  I have had a very hard time of it because I really think that a lot of my being elevated had more to do with politics than craft. My vigil felt more like an election campaign than a vigil. So this one was magical to watch and be a small small part of. 

I also got a chance to get to know Mistress Alienore a little better and discovered that this is a woman I could love dearly and maybe get to be friends with. That was a magical moment of sisteryness. I know it sounds all soppy but really it was great. And at the vigil tent the night got even better.

The Koala and the lesser Arnimetsä furry trouser snake. Robert and Master Arenwald.  and the laughter that ensued. It's too long to retell here but I day I will write a song about this.

After this days blended one into the other.

The laurel ceremony was gorgeous. The court was beautiful.

Evenings were spent visiting people and hanging out. I got to meet Duchess Vana and Master Sigmundr which was really awesome. The down point was talking about how I used to love the whole Newfoundland kitchen party bardics we used to have there and then we start an impromptu bardic and I totally forget every single word to every single song I ever knew and my voice no longer works.  It was a bit sad but also wonderful to hear so many nice songs and many of them in Swedish.  I swear next year I will have relearned some songs, gotten my voice back into some sort of singing shape. And I hope we can do it again.

I did a lot of combat dark side scroll stuff. I love working at the table by the king's tent doing event scrolls on the fly. I had many blanks with me so it was easy to do. The first two I asked not to be watched while doing them, sometimes I don't want an audience for stuff that's going to be given out.

Dark Side Scribe at it again...

One of the BIGGEST highlights was the impromptu telling of the Albion story. While I was scribing it came up that two of the ladies at the camp ( from Iceland) had never heard Albion. I had a copy with me and asked King Vitus if he would honour us with a reading since he was abed with an injury. He did and it was magical. I was sitting just outside the tent listening and working on a scroll but I had to stop because as usual the story made me cry.

the king in his chamber.
This story is not about Gustav the selfish prince but about Albion who gave everything in spite of the prince's selfishness. It was wonderful to sit in the shade and warmth listening to the story being told and the magic of that moment will stay with me for a very long time.

We had feast on Thursday and it was scrumptious. Probably the best food I had all week.

It's hard not to enjoy the time when one has such great friends as these.

The enjoyable and fun evening of fire and friendship with some of the best people it is my pleasure to know.

Then there was market day and the Knäckebröd war at the Hovdala Slot.

Great Court was held on Friday night and it was really something to see. Cecilia and I sat giggling and doing the paparazzi thing with our cameras, I'm sure we annoyed some, but pictures are vital so I didn't care. I don't use flash .She made this event so much fun as well. I was thrilled to get to spend so much time with her, and many other women I don't get to see all that often. When I am with Cecilia I laugh- a lot.

Leo the awesome.

Egil's astonishingly fantastic Elderberry liqueur.  OH MY GOD I want some more of that , no I want LOTS more of that seriously.

great court

Saturday with much help we tore down the camp and headed home because on Tuesday we flew out to Dublin to see a rock concert ( another blog post)  I got to meet still more people I had only known the names of, got some scroll information sorted out and question s that needed to be asked of the current signet. And said goodbyes to all the beloved people we met. This was our first double wars in seven years and despite my personal health issues which were annoying more than anything else it was a pretty amazing event.  I know I've left stuff out and I could fill ten pages with the things that happened to make it wonderful but this is just a few. Our trip home was uneventful, sunny and the roads were surprisingly clear.

So thank you to everyone.


  1. Oh, I wish I had stumbled upon that bardic! That was the one thing I felt the event was missing...

  2. yeah it was sweet, very small and very cool. Maybe we can do it again next year certainly Master Sigmundr was the driving force, wow.

    It was really cool but like I said I was sort of disgusted with myself of not remembering a single lyric. Luckily I didn't forget the ending to the story I told so that was okay.

    We tried for a while to have bardics here at the house but it only works when everyone contributes and learns not just a few. I stopped singing after being told to shut up. It wasn't meant like that I know but the moment stung all the same and I just walked away from that part of my life. It was something I did a lot of in the East Kingdom, was even given an award for it but I never got the feeling it was a welcome or desirable thing to do in Drachenwald.

    Bardics became some sort of competition and then the bardic guild took over for a while and you needed to be a member of that, and attain rank etc... I have no interest in that sort of stuff. I come from a place where music is the soul of all things, where storytelling is natural at gatherings and the word for a bardic is "session".

    So I was sad that we started this amazing round of entertaining and I couldn't contribute the way I would have liked to but all the same it was one of those amazing moments and perhaps if we are all very lucky it might happen again next year.


tales from the dark side...