Current mood: happy
So we left at 2 am Saturday morning (on about 3 hours of sleep) to make the 5 1/2 hour drive to Mississippi. It passed quickly and uneventfully-- yea!!
We trolled in, found the Southern Consortium without any hitches and I can tell you now it is in an EXCELLENT location! Across the ravine from the merchants and fighting field, down the street from the green dragon, with water for washing dishes and hands right next to the VERY conveniently located porta johns!
We got our camp set up so smoothly! And the boys were great--either helping or playing when they needed to be out of the way (: And we had help from friends, both old and new in getting things set up.
As Mark went to park the truck, I was settling up the inside and the wind started to blow. One of the side walls ’shivered’ at me and I thought "Uh oh! Better stake this bugger down!" And rushed outside to do just that. No sooner had I gotten it done, then another lusty gust came along--and flipped over one of our neighbor’s pavilions that was similar construction to ours, but not staked down! No one was hurt, and it was actually pretty awesome to see all the grownups from the surrounding camps (ours included) come over to help fix it and get it upright again (:
Then we put up our dayshade in a configuration we hadn’t built it for, but hoped would work-- and it DID! It not only served it’s purpose better than could have been anticipated, it stayed up through the winds!!! (: I’m very proud of Mark’s design ideas. They panned out -perfectly-.
Then we headed out to see if we could track down our friends-- the ones we’d COME to Gulf Wars to see! First stop, Herald’s Point. On the walk, I began to hear drums-- the kind of drums you can’t ignore. The kind of drums you want to know where they’re coming from. And I got to watch Glenn Abhainn take the field-- I even got a picture of the woman playing the HUGE drum that announced them! It was an -amazing- processional! And as I was watching them, my ’Sarah’ senses were tingling, but I couldn’t find her, so I dismissed it as a general "Well yeah, they’re here at Gulf Wars!" kind of thing.
Okay, right now, I want to say that there were STREETS of merchants! I have never seen any SCA event with that many merchants before- EVER! It was much like shopping at a Renaissance Faire (: But on to Herald’s Point (;
As I came to the tent, I looked up, and what should I see but MY guys walking towards me from the other side of the merchants area (: I was so glad to see them all dressed up in their garb (Really, two little boys in all white with a man in a very white shirt can be seen and recognized from great distances, and for this, I thank the Romanians! (: ) and it gave me hope that if I could spot my guys in a crowd of thousands, then we would surely find the people we were looking for (:
And sure enough, inside the tent, was my friend Finnian! (Okay, so I’ve always known him as Stefhen, but we’re playing in the SCA, so people have two names (: ) The poor man had lost his voice working at Herald’s Point all week, and they were still dilligently working on submissions. We visited just long enough to say hello and to get directions to finding Sarah. We were told to look to the fighting field, she has black leather armor (though she’d be wearing a tabard in the colors), an ugly helm, silver elbow protection (he used the proper wording, which escapes me this morning) and black leather bracers, and would be carrying a HUGE rectangle shield with a ram on it.
So we headed out to the fighting field-- we circled the whole thing and couldn’t find her. But we DID find Mike and Renee and Mike knew Glenn Abhainn’s colors (: Red and Black. And you couldn’t miss THAT pavilion if you tried! So we headed over there to see--and came across John Dunn (: Man it was great to see him! And called out for Melicent (I am completely sure I’ve misspelled that) and there she was! She screamed as she saw me (: It’s been 6 years since the last time we saw them! Our oldest was just 3 months old when we drove down to Louisiana from Virginia for Cat and Cline’s wedding.
Sarah knows -everyone-! I’d forgotten that about her (: And the three of them are so very much involved in their kingdom! And to everyone she introduced me to, they learned how we’d met-- we were roommate in college and moved into the blue that house is now hers together-- I’d driven down the street it was on and saw the for rent sign all those years ago (: and that we’d gone to our first SCA event together back in ’97-- Mask of the Red Death...and didn’t know what the SCA -WAS- (: LOL. I can still remember Sarah came home and told me there was an event much like a Ren Faire but that we’d need garb of our own--as we’d made our own to go to the Texas Renaissance festival, we were all ready for it (: It was great when we bleach painted the fabric--and we got really lucky with that because we didn’t dillute it! It -could- have eaten right through the fabric, but it didn’t. It was perfect (: I still have that first skirt! And that it was years later before either of us actually got involved in the SCA (: They’ve been playing off and on for about 5 years-- and we’ve only really gotten involved since last April (:
Then, she showed me Glenn Abhainn’s drum-- you remember, the one I was so impressed with when their procession headed out to the field?-- it was SARAH playing it!!! LOL. The picture I took? Was of Sarah playing it (:
Mark took the boys back to camp for a nap-- the kids had decided to stay up and keep my company on the drive to War--so they’d pretty much been up since 2 that morning! And were starting to show signs of being seriously tired! And Sarah, John and I headed back to their camp to pick up some very important paperwork and visit (:
Then I brought them back to our camp and we visited-- Mark and our youngest came out to join us, and just as I started to pull out provisions for making lunch, who should walk up through the gates of the Southern Consortium than Cat and Cline with their little boys!!! It was -perfect-! They didn’t have any trouble at all finding us (: It was so good to see them! Like I said, the last time we saw any of them, was 6 years ago! So we all settled down and tucked in for a bit to eat under the shade of our dayshade (: Which reminds me that I seriously need to get cracking ..ing the poles properly!!!...and might well consider investing in canvas to recover our easy up (; We’ll see. That’s a future project anyway!
And our boys played together. Ben fit right into the garb I’d brought for him (: It was the second outfit I ever made for Sam, but he’d outgrown it and my sewing skill had grown enough that when Kael was the same age, I just made him his own garb instead of using it. Well, with all 3 boys in the same garb, they looked like brothers! Cline and Mark look a lot alike, and no one expects ME to have fair children (because no one knows my mother is blonde with blue eyes and of German, English and Irish decent!) As a matter of fact, when we were walking Merchant’s Row later, more than one person thought Cat and Mark were the parents of a large brood (LOL)...and question that was QUICKLY answered with a negative and that it was two families (: The boys got a LOT of compliments on their very basic garb, and more than one merchant thanked me for dressing them comfortably, ESPECIALLY considering how hot it was! All I can say is that I have a wonderful sewing machine! It comes will all these fancy stitches--about 20 of them (: And I like to play with them!
Although I LOVED seeing all of the stuff-- and the music and fabric, leather and trim were -excellently- priced, most of the things I saw were -grossly- overpriced. But when we started talking about it-- that they have to pay to reserve their space (as an example for me to merchant with MY tent, it would cost me $40 if I wanted to include my dayshade, or $25 if I didn’t want to), and if it’s like Pennsic, they also have to pay site insurace...which runs around $125! so they’d have to adjust their fees accordingly...but even still, there was a LOT of that stuff that I’ve been looking at on-line, that, including shipping charges were less than half, and SOMEtimes less than 1/4 of the price! As I intend to start merchanting, I also checked out the two merchants that were selling some toys/ games... I’ve already got a larger selection...and lower prices. As the real goal of my merchanting venture is to teach people that there are lots of entertainments available to them in period, and to make a SMALL profit (enough to not be operating at a loss and able to purchase more stock), I think I’ll do just fine (: And Sarah and John have invited me to merchant at their shire event in June! But enough about me!
After wandering the stall for about an hour, we had spent a grand total of $1. I bought a much needed SCA sticker for our vehicle window (: And Cat and Cline got us an oriental umbrella. I was worried that Mark and our youngest were going to cook in the sun! After another hour, we still had yet to make it all the way through the merchants! But I was -wore out-! So I took the boys and the umbrella and headed back to the camp for a much needed drink of water while Mark went and got the sunscreen. We hung around camp with our friends, the kids playing, my oldest climbing trees and entertaining both of the 2 year olds (: My youngest and Cat’s oldest look like they could be fraturnal twins-- and they’re only about two months apart-- hers is slightly older than mine (: They wouldn’t stay still for me to take a picture of them, but Mark managed to catch them. It was getting late and Cat, Cline and their youngun’s were only daytripping and it was starting to get dark, so we said good-bye after a wonderful day with them.
Then, I headed to court to see my first Grand court, with all of the royals and Mark got the boys ready for the evening (since court wasn’t scheduled to start until 7). I got to hear John play his trumpet. It was AWESOME and added SO much to the feel of the court... I did mention how very much involved they are in thier kingdom earlier, right?
It was almost 9 before court was over. And one of my favorite parts was when a representative from Estrella brought for the king tribute from all of the knights he slew at Estrella-- two (stick) horses, swords (light up, bubble, and other toy), and for those who could not afford horses or swords, gold (chocolate gold coins!)... the king distributed it to his royal cousins, and amongst all of them, they threw them out to the populace. LOL. I got beaned right between the eyes with a chocolate. The part that truly surprised me was when the royals decided they didn’t want to know the results of the war points--so they were torn up without being read! Wow! (:
After court, I stopped back at camp to check on my guys and get dressed for the seven deadly sins party-- I ADDED a skirt, vest and jewelry to my outfit, as I’d been wearing my pants and shirt by themselves all day to compensate for the heat (:
Then I went to see the knighting at Glenn Abhainn’s court. It was amazing. And I got to be with Sarah and Stefhen for it. Then when it was over, I got to meet the royals (: I did mention that Sarah knows -everyone- right? LOL Then we went and got ready for the party. It took me a while to figure out why they put a 7 on my hand. LOL... ’7 deadly sins party’.
I got to drum in a real drum circle!!!! I even got to drum on the big drum!! I set the rhythm on it and the rest of the drummers followed (: It was GREAT!!! And there were so many dancers dancing! I knew most of the rhythms--all except the one they play for a drum race game they call ’Shocka War’...and it was just unusual enough, I couldn’t pick it up! I’m going to have to ask Sarah or John to write the notes down for me so I’ll be ready for next year (; There were even a couple of occassions where EVERYONE was playing the base rhythm...and I was the only drummer playing the embellishment (: It gave the drum leader a chance to take a break from playing the embellishments and he looked back at me and smiled and gave me a thumbs up (: I even got to bellydance with Sarah, and from what I understand, she doesn’t do that much (: We had a BLAST!!! But come 1:30, I was exhausted and couldn’t stay awake any longer, so I headed back to camp to sleep with my guys at our FIRST family camping event!!!
Our youngest slept with us because he couldn’t stay under his covers by himself, but our oldest slept nice and warm all night long. The drumming continued for HOURS--and I slept poorly between the music, the crowded bedding at the cold, but I know I finally slept because I remember waking up around 4 needing to visit the portajohn (LOL), and as the sun came up, it was accompanied by the sound of camp mates packing. We got up around 7 and I started breakfast. We had bacon, eggs, crossants and cheese with hot cocoa. I LOVE having a portable stove! And while I made breakfast after getting us all dressed under the bedding (LOL-- the kids thought THAT was a great adventure) Mark got the camp ready to be taken down around us (: Before we left, we stopped to say good-bye to John, Sarah and Stefhen and headed out around 10:30.
We stopped for lunch in Mobile around 2 at a place called Romano’s Macaronni Grill. The food was AMAZING! I -definitely- encourage you to eat there should you ever be passing through Mobile (:
And we got home at 8pm last night. LOL. This MIGHT be the part where you remember this was a 5 1/2 hour drive on the way TO war (; It was a 9 1/2 hour drive on the way home (; Part of that was frequent potty breaks. Part of it was taking 1 1/2 hours for a wonderful lunch...and part of it was driving 40 minutes out of the way...and driving another 40 to get back on track. LOL. I consider it our token "short cut"-- a legacy from my father in law who on every trip takes at least 1 short cut...that lengthens the trip by at least half an hour, even if the original trip was only 30 minutes to begin with (LOL).
My guys had a wonderful time at Gulf War, I had a wonderful time at Gulf War, my kids are addicted to camping (; and it was an AWESOME weekend vacation! We -definitely- going again!