Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Dear Mom (Snowed Inn, 2002)

Dear Mom,
I know you were wondering what on earth I was getting in to, when I mentioned the “S.C.A.” to you. My “Lachlan MacLean” brought me along to a 12th Night once for my first event - I was mesmerized by the language, the clothes and all the kindness around me - but I was told it was not typical event.
So, I will give you a description of my second (more typical) experience with this “Society for Creative Anachronism”. This event was called “Snowed Inn” and was held on February 16th, 2002 in Ajax, Ontario.
We arrived quite early to assist. Some discussions were held to finalize the set up. Chairs, tables, boxes, trays, banners put up - Everybody was organized and well prepared and knew exactly what to do.
Some girls were getting into costume (they call it Garb) and explained to me the different ways of tying the bodice. Jean-Margaret - also a “newbie” - told me about her first event, in which she was only supposed to count beans for a contest but was swept off to do all kinds of chores, and how she loved being involved.
Sashes with arrows were being handed out to those who were Archers - your grandson Daniel will love to participate in Archery - since he already loves it at his Archery club!

(Editorial note: The arrows on the sashes depict the canton’s heraldry and were given to those people that were part of the event staff.)

Wulfgang was setting up his “TROLL complaints department” ready to settle them with his pick-ax in hand. Families were arriving with babies, children and youths - all dressed for the event, where they paid their entrance fee and signed up for a dinner they call “feast”.
I thank you and Helmut for giving me those bear skins! They really came in handy, since we lent them to the Baron and Baroness to decorate the throne area - very perfect, since their emblem is the bear! The Baroness was asking me if some claws could be had, since they would make a beautiful token - I mentioned that I could always de-claw the rugs and offer some to her - but that would indeed take away from the ferocious effect of those skins!
In another corner, the tables were set up for a “Penny Auction” and an “Arts & Sciences” competition (to be judged later on in the evening). A corner with arts, crafts, games, play and storytelling was provided to entertain the children. Many tables set up with board games were attracting adults, youth and children to play.  Brian Goodheart and Ulvar - both Norse characters - were showing me games, one called Tablut - a strategic Norse board game.  I won my first token from Brian, who wanted the ladies to know they have chances with him. A gambling table with board games, dice, cards, etc. was set up by Raffe Scholemaystre, who handed out coins for all interested - any wager was a good one!

(Editor’s Note: both Brian and Raffe are members of the Games Guild of Ealdormere, which ran the games and gambling at Snowed Inn).

As the morning progressed, you could hear the noise level rise and feel the anticipation in the air. The fighters were arriving and Vlad the marshal was already inspecting the protective armor and weaponry of all kinds to make sure they were safe and suitable for combat later on.
The place was filling up and my stomach was growing - Lachlan must have known, since he came by to stuff a Timbit into my mouth. I was very happy to see the lunch counter open up, where a great lunch platter was to be had at a very reasonable price. We had a moment to sit down and eat and chat with other people, discussing knitting techniques of the period and wool qualities.
I had already learned a lot about garb, origin, period etc that morning, and there were so many ideas I wanted to remember for the next event I would go to. I took some pictures and will scan them for you to see how amazingly everybody was into the event. I was also happy that I met Freya a couple of weeks prior, who is a merchant in the Society and told me all about clothes and fabrics. I was wearing my latest outfit that day, which I had sewn from fabrics I purchased from her and was happy that I did not stick out too much - just yet - maybe when I gain confidence and courage - some day!
Then I heard a clashing! The fighting had commenced and Lachlan explained to me that Brandt das Lederwerker was being authorized in “great weapons” by a Knight, who was evaluating his ability in a practice combat. True combats were to follow later!

(Editorial Note: Brandt did indeed authorize, under the telling blows of Sir Evander, and later won a prize during the Pad d’armes Tournament for best with great weapons!)

I learned about all the different belt colors: White for Knights, Red for their Squires, Blue for the Masters and Green their Apprentices. I was also introduced to Master Hector in passing, who is a storyteller by rights! A small baby was crying in the background and being rocked to sleep in the children’s corner.
Next thing I was startled by was Lachlan’s heralding voice!  Never before had I heard it outside his gentle voice! The Penny raffle, silent auction and story time for children needed to be announced. Shortly afterwards I was taken up on my offer to help in the kitchen before feast, to assist with final preparations.
I was able to take a short break and enjoy the theater piece “12th Night” they were showing - which was not only entertainingly funny, but witty and amusing! Then back into the kitchen, tables were already being cleared to serve feast soon. Some of the volunteers for serving feast were instructed as to their tasks and I was one of them. We even had time to sit down and enjoy our meal, since everything was so well organized! It’s the first time I tried hot mulled cider and I loved it - together with a sumptuous feast Iolanda and Michaela had organized. I was stuffed! We helped clear the tables, and clean up the kitchen and put things away.
After “feast”, “Court” was held - many people were awarded for their accomplishments, honors pronounced, gifts, favors and thanks given and announcements made - then court was closed.

(Editorial Note: Congratulations to Mahault and Berend van der Eych on their AoA’s!)

This made way for the final leg of the evening: Those who had signed up for the chess tourney got together and those wanting to participate in belly dancing lessons were invited.  I was way too tired for either, still trying to take in all the experiences of the day.  It will take me a while to remember all the names of the kind people I had met.

(Editorial Note: There was also extensive boffer fighting after court. Wulfgang even fought with Baron Cynred.)

Although I was quite intimidated at first, I do thank my Lachlan for volunteering me to take up the task of writing about this event for the Society, in which I the “newbie” was to present my version of experiences of the day. It proved to be quite an eye-opening experience, encouraging me to seek out people, ask questions, get to know them and feel like I was not only a bystander in this event I was able to participate in.
So now you see mom, how much fun we are having and need not worry that I am lost to a cult - just a medieval society getting together in spare time to reenact the times as they should have been - without the Plague! All the good sides: Chivalry, kindness, courtesy, Etiquette, learning and “living” history at this event.
I am hoping to capture Daniel’s enthusiasm for this Society, since it is truly a great and safe form of family entertainment from which he will learn good values!

Love Petra

(with editorial comments by Lachlan MacLean and Colyne Stewart)

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