Don and I had opted to stay home Friday evening. It promised to be chilly, and rain had been forecast (downgraded to a tropical depression, Ivan was moving up the east coast). Glad we did! It was a wild night, indeed. In my snug bed, nestled up to my husband and two kitties, I could barely sleep. The wind kept shifting, flinging sheets of rain against the windows. The sound of the rain itself was astounding, slamming against the earth and shuddering the trees. My heart went out to those braving the elements in flimsy nylon tents.
Long entry ahead. How long? Tolstoy would tell me to trim it back a bit.
Saturday morning continued stormy. As we drove over the two mountains to the Faire site, we passed two huge downed trees (fortunately we were able to make our way around them) and countless smaller ones, as well as branches and other storm debris. In addition, the rain was falling so hard it was nigh on impossible to see. Standing water was everywhere. It was not the most pleasant of drives.
We made it to the site at last, and were, as usual, some of the first folk there. I waited a bit before finally deciding to set my weapons, as well as those of kelleymck - because I’m a nice person. So, I trundled down with a rapier, two small swords, two daggers, a quarterstaff, two hand-and-a-half broadswords and a heater shield. Backstage Roselawn was at the very least ankle-deep in water; I sloshed through it to the weapons rack, and then to the joust closet, resigned to soaked boots and socks. When I got back up to the costume shop, I received the news that the Faire had been called. Conditions were just too hazardous. Even if it stopped raining on the instant (and not bloody likely that was; it rained on and off the entire day), the water and the mud were miserable. There was a chill wind blowing as well – a perfect recipe for making all of your performers and vendors ill. Too, there was no way the horses would be used; not in the parade, and certainly not on the sloppy stew of mud and sand that was the joust field. So, strange as it was to not open at all, it was the smart, safe choice for people and animals.
Anyway, it was back down into the muck and mire to retrieve the weapons I’d so cleverly (ha!) set. Ann had set her own small sword, so she helped me cart my arsenal back to the costume shop – where we then had to dry and oil said weapons. Sometimes, I am just an utter asshat.
Then, the fun began. Contingents began to form. There were the Mall people and the Bowling folk. The Drink and Watch Movies movement set up camp in the tack house. The smaller but highly exclusive (read, just wanted to be warm and dry and have a relaxed day) Kelly/ey Cadre (which included the lovely Cara) returned to Chez Kilcoyne. Activities included coffee (or tisane, on my part) and bagels, a viewing of ‘Sky Captain…’ (I’ll have to devote a separate entry to the joy that is that film) and the much anticipated Veggie Chili. Y’all know that I’m a pretty modest person, but I will say this: I make some damned fine chili.
The cast party was still on, though it was down to the wire as to where it would be held (the Rusty Knyfe won out). It was cold enough that I said “Frell that !” to the formal wear. I was a little sad; it actually was a chance to try to look pretty, gone. It was jeans and a grey sweater for me, though I put on dangly earrings and some eyeshadow, mascara and lipstick. Missed the hell out of Kel, as I was the five-year-old playing in Mommy’s makeup. Guess I didn’t fudge it too badly, though. I was beyond gratified (and how pathetic does this make me?) that one of the actors said “Y’know, Kilcoyne – you always look fine without makeup, but I have to say you look terrific.” Yeah. Just that made me happy. Stoopid girlness.
So, the cast party was chilly but mostly fun. Chatted with many folk, and then during the talent show I sat between Jon and Drew. The show was fine; it went long as always (though, to my sweetie’s credit, he really kept it clipping AND tried to start it earlier than last year, but was overruled). The awards were nice. Previously, the only award I had won was ‘Best Camper,’ and to my knowledge had never been nominated for anything else. I won two awards (well, tied for both of them). Again, does it make me beyond pathetic that I was happy about that?
Since our tarp had tried to make a run for it, and our tent took on water as a result, we headed home once more.
Sunday dawned as glorious as Saturday had gloomy. Not a cloud was to be seen; the air held a rain-washed crispness. Autumn is upon us!
Strange to be so weary when we’d done so little the day before, but there it is. I was not the only performer to feel this way. Still, this was perfect performance weather. That boosted me a bit. REC was there, scoping shots for the following weekend. They’re going to be using footage of our Faire in the commercials for ALL of their shows. How frelling cool is that? The red-headed stepchild makes good! In addition, there has been a crew working on a documentary film about Ren Faires, and they asked if they could mike me and follow me around for the first part of the day. “Ummmm… “ said I, “yes?” I explained that I do, on occasion, sprint between scenes. And that I’m not very interesting. They didn’t seem to mind all that much, and so I was miked for a few things, until the battery died and that was that. Time enough for several actors to say vile things near me, of a purpose. I’m sure that they’ll be able to find a use for them, should they need a reference to… y’know, I can’t even bear to repeat it here.
As to the day itself, might I say “yay!” Decent gate and fantastic weather, if a bit chilly. There was an early moment of panic as word came to us that Dante’s front left shoe was loose. We ended up nixing both him and Oso from the morning procession; he was able to do the first joust sans said shoe (Oso, you could learn from that, you diva!) and our stellar farrier came midday to shoe him, so that he was ready to go for Joust 2. (a little side note: Kevin really is a spectacular farrier; we found him this year through chance (and no little bit of frenzy). The Fates smiled upon us. Nice guy, fantastic farrier, amazing with our horses, ready to come help us as quickly as he may.)
In the happy-joyness department, nimue9 came bearing brownies! And she wore the loveliest ensemble; I want it. Only it would never fit me, ‘cause she’s all elfin and petite while I am towering and burly. Or something like. I hear tell she had a good time. Yay, indeed!
Scenes were good -really good. I’m still finding little moments, having discoveries and revelations. I’ll chalk this up to the writing, the direction and the cast I am privileged to work with. There had been a loosely scheduled ‘Band Walkabout.’ It was mentioned to me last Sunday, and so I raced out of my armour after the Tournament Joust, back into the bodice. And I waited. And waited. And waited some more. But no Hood was to be found. At last, someone said they had seen him by the Bridge. So, off I stomped. There he was, with Little John, and as I approached he smiled winningly. “Ah, I forgot! Just remembered a minute or two ago!” No worries, actually. The three of us hung about the Bridge. It was photo-op heaven, and we were able to interact with a great many people. There’s not a lot of Band time, nor indeed of RH/MM time during the day. I had a blast. I adored working with Hood. Must do again, and soon. Screw ‘breathing time’ after the Joust. This was FUN!!!!!
Chess Games went well enough; though my fight with Hood had a couple of glitches, they were not noticeable to a most discerning eye (yes, Kel, that would be you!), and the moving phrases, again, sang. Have I mentioned I may well weep over this fight when the Faire is done? I will miss it so.
Wench sets – fine. My verses were all right. Seeing as I had a day off to come up with something, you’d think I could have been a bit more clever, but… no. I repeat my mantra: “It’s lame, but it’s new!”
Jousts. Ah, yes, the jousts. I was still carrying that baggage from last week, like it or no. In Joust 1, I missed the first two hits. On the third pass (Nick’s fall), his horse was far out from the rail. A keen observer would have noticed me sliding my hand back almost to the butt end of the lance, leaning over, and tagging him as we passed. As he and the Sheriff rode their bout, I went back to my horse, who proceeded to rub his head against me. “This is Oso,” I announced to the nearby crowd. “He loves me!” As he continued to rub harder, and more extensively, I was pushed nearly to the ground. “Sometimes, he loves me too much.” My passes against the Sheriff were fine. No inadvertent helmet hits (thank all the Gods and Goddesses!), hit when I had to. I’m once again shy of solid hits, but I can and will work past that. Won’t let my teammates down, dammitall.
Joust 2 was really quite wonderful. Oso and I had a talk before we rode out. “Os, when I ride out after the show, Lewis only pretends to hurt me. If you move away, he might hurt accidentally hurt me for real. I know you want to help me, but you need to stand still.” Laugh if you will; this is Oso. He’s a singular animal, and I would not be surprised if he understood every word.* Of course, as soon as I was done with my little speech, he licked my hand and rubbed his nose against my chain-mailed leg, so… Back to the show. Despite an early problem with the microphones, it went well. I had a couple of double hits with Lewis that were, I am told, gorgeous. Again, no helm hits. YAY! Oooo… there was someone in the Sheriff’s crowd who kept yelling things whenever I was in that pocket: “hey, Marian – go home and brush your hair!” “Marian, go knit a blanket!” and the like. So, after I’d unhorsed Justin, I was in that pocket. I ripped off my helm, tossed my shield to the ground, and turned to the crowd. “Knit a blanket!” I said, all indignance. “Really! Who said that?” Then I tossed my hair and rode off to receive the Queen’s absolution.
Then – Oso and I went to the center. As Lewis approached with the CB, Oso trembled with wanting to bolt. He was so heavy against my right leg, I thought he might tip over. *But he stayed, my lovely horse did, and so I got hit off and the audience went nuts and all was well.
And there you have it, save all the great bits I inevitably forgot. Which reminds me… if you came to the show, and I forgot to mention it, just remember that 1. I’m mad busy during the day and 2. I’m old and forgetful. I specifically refer to a most delightful visit from uberlibra that I did not remark upon, and in general to all who have brought me joy with their presence.