We went to Vermont for an SCA event called Panteria. I haven't missed this event in... umm... five years. It was Wolfie's first camping event, way back in 2001. It was at this event, over a bowl full of dirty dishes, that my h'hold-sister Eleanor invited me to join the household (pending approval from Duchess Anna and Duke Brion). It was there that I rode in my first tournament, there that I first told Wolfie that I love him. It's an important place to me.
Unfortunately, it's held on Memorial Day Weekend, and the traffic going north on Rte 93 on that weekend is beyond insane. It doesn't help that there's a two lane drop right at the New Hampshire border. Wolfie couldn't get out of work till 2, and then he went looking for a ladder rack, so he didn't get back till 3-ish. I had the garb and bedding nearly packed (the bedding box will be replaced this week, I can no longer cope with this travesty of a Rubbermaid chest, and I will build a box if I have to), and after that I just needed to run around like a nutball throwing last minute things into plastic bags and into a duffel bag. Wolfie loaded the truck (he has the knack, I just help lift stuff when necessary), and we were off like a herd of turtles. At 5pm. To start a 4 hour (minimum) drive. It gets dark around here at 8 or so. I'm just sayin'. (I'd also like to add that Wolfie's new car CD player sounds awesome, especially when you consider that he didn't upgrade the speakers.)
We ended up taking back roads until we were in Concord, well past the major delays. As we drove up through Franconia Notch, it was starting to get dark, and it was misty, and so moody and gorgeous. We went the wrong way on 91, which was totally my fault, but in my defense the directions are written really poorly. By the time we got to the site it was around 10pm and pitch dark. On the plus side, there were hot, freshly cooked sausages. On a further plus side, I think the tent went up more smoothly than ever, even though I had to hold the light so Wolfie could put up the rafters. Things I need to revisit in order to make set-up simpler:
- The ropes that we use to attach the door frame to the khana. Does it need to be one rope? Why not use shorter ropes, or even wire ties (making sure that we have nippers with us to cut them, of course)?
- The single long rope that we use to hold up the wall canvas. What a pain in the ass. Some alternative method must be found -- perhaps individual ropes and spring toggles.
- The notches of the roof ring need to be painted with luminescent paint, so that the holes into which the rafter pins fit can be seen properly.
- The leather lacing in several places has stretched quite a lot, and should probably be replaced. No one likes a saggy khana.
- We could probably use new belly band ropes; the sisal gives splinters and stains the canvas.
- I'd like to reorganize the camping box, that holds all the random stuff that goes with the tent and canvas.
- Packing lists would be choice.
We finally got to bed around 2:30am, and I was up again at 8 or so, for brekky. Yummy yummy, sausage and scrambled. It was cold and windy on Saturday; luckily I found a silk sarong thingy that I'd bought to use as a veil and never used, way back when I lived in Worcester, and wrapped it around my neck and down my front under my coat, popped on a hat, wool socks, and sweats under my skirts and was so toasty. I'm really unhappy with my coat though, and have been looking for some nice wool melton to make a new one. Freya was there, selling her gorgeous fabric, and I got 5 yards of 60" wide pale blue-grey wool melton for (IMO) a song. I'm not sure what to line it with, but I'm thinking linen. Silk crossed my mind, but it might be too warm at that point. One thing I do know -- folded in half across it's width, it makes an absolutely brilliant blanket. I think I need some wool blankets, too -- might have to buy some military surplus blankets and cover them with bed sheets, or else buy 2 yards of fabric at the store in Keene and finish the edges.
Saturday night, the kids put on a play for us. I thought I was going to pass out from laughing -- it was the funniest damn thing. They even jousted: Nigel carried Duncan and Jackie carried Brian piggyback. At the end they did the "outtakes," like in a Pixar animated movie, and that was totally priceless. It almost broke me, I swear. After the play, there was singing, and I think I must learn some songs, because I'd love to be able to participate more. I wish Wolfie would learn some, too; he has such a great voice.
Sunday had much nicer weather, though still breezy, and the equestrians were working through a demonstration and qualification of the new experimental full-contact jousting. There was quite a crowd; this is the sort of thing folks have been wanting to see from equestrian activities (though a fast, hard, quintain run is always a crowd pleaser). There's going to be a lot of interesting discussion about Da Rulez and training methods, not to mention sourcing equipment (they're using wooden lance handles, cardboard tubes, and styrofoam tips) and figuring out how to make it safe. I did lunch all by myself, because Her Grace was riding and my apprentice sister Eibhlin wasn't at the event and Wolfie was napping (he's been having issues with his sleep habits). I loved it. It's been a while (say, Pennsic 2002) since I was given orders and turned loose by myself, and it was fabulous -- I just really like taking care of people like that, and especially making sure that the riders were fed. Plus, I got to help cook dinner, too, with Lady Alise, and that was excellent. She's so much fun to hang out with, if a little obsessed with mashing potatoes.
Getting to sleep that night, though... ugh. Did NOT sleep well at all. It was so cold that night that there was frost on the ground. Going potty in the night was entertaining, too; my hands were freezing when I got back from the oubliette, but I was afraid I'd drop my mittens down the hole so I left them in the tent. It's a bit of a trip across the field, but usually not too bad. Neither Wolfie nor I could get comfy, either; we put more air in the mattress before we went to bed and I think it was a little too hard (odd, I know, but true). We have a waterbed, and it's very squishy, and we were both uncomfortable with the air mattress.
I think we need a new camping bed, too. The current one is an expandable thingy that we got at WalMart (though apparently they're available at Cabela's, too). There's nothing between the air mattress and the ground except a network of straps -- nothing prevents the cold air from coming up through the mattress. I'd like to build a platform bed with a plywood support. That'd prevent the cold air from penetrating the mattress and sucking the heat out of us.
And as long as I'm building beds, I'm thinking about building a mini-longhouse. I have it almost planned in my head, and I started drawing it tonight. What I really need is information about the dimensions and wall-heights, so I get the proportions right. Wolfie's a little lukewarm about it, but he can't envision it yet. He also thinks that the wood will fill up the bed of the truck and leave no room for anything else, but I'm confident that it won't be as bad as he fears. I have some research and pondering to do yet.
I also want to make a custom garb box, with lift-out trays for socks and underwear and accoutrements like my apprentice belt and household favor and my Viking jewelry. That's an easy one; I just have to do it. I can even buy the trays.
I should go take a shower and crawl into bed.