Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Sound of Singing and Utensils Ringing (Known World Bardic Congress and Cooks Collegium II, 2002)

Lady Ivanna the Oblivious

I arrived at Everton Cub Camp with the cry, "There it is!" My traveling companions, Lady Emma and Lady Elspeth, had not been to the last one and, so, did not recognise the building when it loomed up in the darkness. Although that was my only contribution to the trip that found us looking for a "Hwy. 6/7". It turned out to mean that 6 or 7 would do and that we had to turn around. Once we were settled in, Friday night was relatively quiet. There was much talk and laughter as old friends hugged and introduced one another to new friends. Many stories were told and the talking went late into the night (note: the beginning of a pattern).
Saturday started bright and early, but it started without us (with some exceptions). Once word of breakfast (and the aroma) got around people started to rise. Soon after coffee was poured, voices rose in praise of the Honourable Lord Aneas Oakhammer and his pancakes and bacon.
The classes were fun and informative and, while I did learn a lot, I cannot, just now, remember which I took when. I know that Lord Micheal Alewright and Lady Anne le Gris taught intro and advanced classes on Sonnets. In Micheal's class we wrote the first four lines as a committee and then each took them away to finish alone. Anne also taught two more I attended; "Square Notation" and "Modal Music". I joined three of His Excellency, Master Hector of the Black Height's classes; "Storytelling", "Building a Bardic Toolbox" and "My Grey Hairs: The Care and Feeding of Bardic Apprentices" And also "Is This on the Exam?: The Uses of Period Poetry Forms" by Lady Gwerydd verch Rhys, "Adapting Myths" by Lady Emer nic Aidan and "Bardic Arts: A Look Back" by Mistress Morgana bro Morganwg. (For a complete list of the available classes contact me. I am also willing to share my notes and have a copy of the compendium on disc for consultation. I am willing to loan. However, if you want a copy for yourself, I suggest you contact either Lady Bronwyn, Master Garraed or Mistress Marian of Heatherdale. I can help you with contacts, if needed.) 
At lunch we were treated to the first two of the Bardic Madness challenges and were entertained and enlightened by the participants all through the lunch break. It was at one of these challenges that I gave a token. The token, passed on to me at Berus' Bar Room Brawl back in the spring by Her Excellency of Ramshaven, Martya Lapusneanu, has now moved on to Lord Dahrien Cordell of Northshield. For the inspiration of a tale well-told which taught me something more about the value of a ring given. The name of that particular challenge was "Rings and Things", the other challenge was called "Mazacroca" and involved a fake language text to be "translated". Needless to say, it was an entertaining lunch break.
There was a visit from Their Majesties, Roak and Arlette for the evening and, so, a court was held before dinner. At court representatives of the Midrealm and the Kingdom of the East were well received after which those who would swear fealty to our new King and Queen were called. Announcements were made that Wassail was to be rescheduled and, so, the moot would now be held in the spring. The date is yet to be decided upon, and will be announced.  Lady Kestra was inducted into the Order of Orion and Lady Bronwyn der Welfengau and myself were both given the award of the Maiden's Heart. (It was a great surprise to me when I was called into Their court and I was still shaking when I sat down again.)
Dinner was a wonderful meal provided by Mistress Aibhilin kennari fra Skye and Aneas which included some of the results of the cooking classes that day. As the meal wound down, the Symposium on the works of the Boreal Master began.
The work of the Boreal Master is best explained at the website: (http://ece.uwaterloo.ca/~arnora/arnora/boreal.htm). It is an irreverant and hilarious spoof of academic research papers based primarily on a work known as "The Lay of the Rowing Bench" written by Master Hector and expanded upon with "The Frilly Pink Dress Section (Lars' Sea Chest)", two years ago at the last Bards and Cooks, by Mistress Morgana. This year, it seems, much more of the Boreal Master's work has come to light and the ensuing research resulted in some outrageously funny theses being presented at the symposium. This was all followed by Act I of a play by Master Hector (the title of which escapes me as much because of it's length as my memory). I'm told that the play will be shown, in its entirety at next Pennsic. Suffice to say that we were kept in stitches for two solid hours before the Symposium was closed and the Bardic Circle began.
In fact, it looked like it might not happen when, spontaneously, people began to gather upstairs after stretching their legs and wandering about talking with one another. The drummers were first to play, along with Lord William Fairhaven on his guitar and soon we had moved back down to the dining hall for a full-fledged bardic circle. We went around the room in turn, every one taking a turn and told stories, sang songs, recited poetry and had a grand time well unto midnight.
At midnight began the Bardic Madness challenge "Things That Go Bump in the Night" in which people took turns presenting stories, songs, and poems concerning events not of this world. It was an enchanting and magical evening and went into the wee hours of the morning (the pattern continues). In fact when it was down to but three left, Aibhilin came from her pallet in the kitchen to tell us to "go to bed!"
Sunday was, to my perception at least, somewhat more subdued as many of us were now going on less sleep than we needed. The classes went on, with our tireless teachers entertaining and educating us and I found myself needing a short nap after lunch. After lunch I spoke with Lady Anne le Gris who has been teaching me about period poetry, and was now teaching me something about period music as well. She and I agreed to become teacher and student. At dinner (which was largely the result of the cooking classes and a wonderful feast) we finished the last of the Bardic Madness challenges which had been left unfinished at lunch  ("Argue For or Against", and "The Gift") and a quick game circulated the room wherein one would make up a haiku with the first line being the last line of the previous haiku. We then moved on to the music and entertainment for the evening. There were stories of our history told by Mistress Morgana and Dame Tsivia bas Tamara v’Amberview. Tsivia also showed us her "Stupid Laurel Trick"—juggling a spear—and did the first re-telling in some time of "The Camel Story", a short story of her own work that had a few Ladies on the floor laughing fit to burst. Then our tales and poems took a more somber mood for a time. A story told by Lady Myva (the short-form of he rname, for her name was too long and too hard to spell, she told me) told a tale of the year Ealdormere went to war without a king. She said that those two gentles lost to us that year, His Majesty King Thorbjorn Osis Brandsson and Lady Laureen of Welfengeu were, in fact, still with us and that, as long as there was one person from Ealdormere, that person would not be alone. She told us of how her belief in that fact changed the lives of two knights and three squires who learned a great lesson that night and whose lives were changed by that lesson. I was moved to tears and so inspired that I passed along my second token to her that night. It was the token given me by Laird Colyne Wordsmith at EWP and she, too, was charged to pass it along to one who inspired her. It was also at this time that I recited one of my poems was given a ring for it by Mistress Aibhilin. As the evening went on, and we took our turns, I was encouraged to tell a tale I had not yet presented to an audience. I was pleased with my own performance and with the reception it received.
As the night grew darker and we approached morning (see how the pattern haunts us?) the circle descended into silliness and we heard tales that made the hall ring with laughter. Lord Martin Bildner, then still the Kingdom A&S minister, performed the "Grover Song" with the addition of three new verses, Master Garraed sang Master Hector's "The Apprentice's Lament" and I sang my "The Fighter's Lament" (the Janis Joplin filk). Still many other performers had us laughing till we cried. Master Cerian Cantwr sang several songs which caused uproarious glee; Mistress Morgana, upon many a request, regaled us with the tale of "The Vaguely-Square Man in Early Tudor Garb Who Wasn't Good Enough to be a Tuchuck" and three lovely Ladies performed a song written by Lady Gwerydd (to the tune of "Maria" from the Sound of Music) concerning the charms of that "roguish Cavalier, Dahrien Cordell" much to his (and our) delight. He responded with his charming and roguish filk "I am Your Mother's Worst Nightmare" (sung to the tune of "Savage Daughter"). I crawled off to bed somewhat earlier than I had the night before.
There was so much more I wish I could share, repeat, and pass on that is now a muddle in my brain. So much passed and was learned that it will take me time to sift through it all and put it in order. The Second Known Worlde Bardic Congress and Cooks Collegium was, not only a resounding success, but a weekend that shall remain with me, always.

With breakfast on Monday came many hugs and good wishes as we said goodbye over more stories and jokes, and helped our hosts clean up the site. The weather was clear and warming again after Sunday's rain, and the sun was shining on us as we wished each other, "Safe home." I would like to extend my expression of gratitude to all the teachers, to the students, and, most especially, to Master Garraed Galbraith and Mistress Aibhilin kennari fra Skye, the co-autocrats, the Honourable Lord Aneas Oakhammer the feast-ocrat, and to Lady Bronwyn, at troll, for an effort well made and appreciated by many. 

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