Monday, June 16, 2008

King's College

Well, this was a little break from my usual SCA traditions. Not that going to king's college was unuusal, I went last year and loved it. But how I went about it this year was a little out of the ordinary for me, but not to say that it wasn't fun all the way.

My wife decided weeks ago that she wasn't going to this one, between the fact that it was outdoors and that that we would have to take our son along, it was just decided that it was better if I go alone. So, I cleaned out my car and found someone to ride with me and split gas for the trip down there.

The other half of my trip down there was Aonghas, from Namron. I've known the man for some time, though never really gotten to know him very well. So, I knew the trip would solve that deficiency, for better for for worse, pretty quickly.

I got started off pretty early on Saturday morning, and was on the road my about five thirty in the morning. It was a little scary at first, a rain storm had moved in the night before, and left behind the making for a perfectly opaque fog bank its its wake. Well, guess what Mooneschadowe was looking at for the early morning...

Yep, I had trouble seeing the front of my own car for about the first forty minutes of the trip.

Anyway, the sun came out and cooked most of the worse of it off before I cleared Wiesenfuer, and by the time to got to Namron the sky was clear. Aonghas met me not far off the main highway, so it was a time efficient pickup and then we were off to the event.

I must say, its always fun to get to meet people, and Aonghas was no exception. It turns out we're both pretty well read in matters military, history, and some politics. We both like good SCA stories and both have more than a few to offer any conversation, and we both seem to not want to kill each other... no small accomplishment when you consider that we were crammed into my Pontiac Grand Am for 4 hours.

We got to sight about nine thirty as I recall, and I knew instantly that the weather was going to be an issue. I knew weeks ago that it was going to be an out door event, and being in Texas and in June, I knew better than to expect anything 'cool' from the situation. But that Saturday was a clear sky with the sun beating down like a furnish. I wound up trying to take a coin making class that morning, but it turned out to be about a dozen people crammed under a small pavilion in one of the dead areas with no breeze. This, combined with my medical situation of late, the medications their with, and my own dislike of the sun finally made me duck out of the class at the half way point. I hated doing it, it was exactly the type of thing that I always swore I would never to to an instructor myself... But it was either that or have me pass out from heat exhaustion or worse.

I spent the next hour or so seated next to troll (one of the open front buildings that had shade but no breeze) parked in front of a fan, trying to cool down. It took time, lots of it, but I finally go to a point where I didn't feel like a balloon filled with boiling water.

When I got myself back to a working frame of mind, I decided to go and scout out my 'classroom' before the lunchtime hour wrapped out.

Interesting what I found. It turns out that my pavilion lost an earlier argument with the wind, so their wasn't even that when I got there.

However... their was this huge tree less than twenty feet away, with wide branches and thick leaves. The shadow this thing cast was as large of small small college classrooms I had been in, and the breeze at that point was just heavenly, taking the air temp down to the high seventies where I was sure it was pushing ninety in the open sun. So, it didn't take me long to figure out where my class was going to be held. Before coming, I had run out and purchased lemonade (three two-letter bottles), summer sausage and some apples. Honestly, most of it was for me in the event I got hot of hungry, but my plan was offer it to any of my students who wanted it as well.

So I set myself up under the tree, using one of the tables provided by Steppes (It literally had "Steppes" written across the face) I set up my drinks, some ceramic mugs, the apples and the summer sausage. Then, I sat down and waited while I ate my lunch (Wal-mart roast beef sandwich).

Now, here I feel justified in pointing out a few things. When I arrived on site that morning, each of my two classes had five or more people signed up to take the, and I noted that only two names were repeated between the two lists. Well, two o'clock rolled around, and low and behind, one person showed up. More to the point, she was from Namron (less than two hours of my house).

So, yes, I am just a little sore about that aspect of my trip down. I don't mind the travel, but the time and effort only to teach someone who lives a few hours from my home... I think you can probably understand my frustration.

Now, that being said, I started my class and went through the whole thing for her, answering any questions she asked, and explaining where my opinions differed from some of the more widely held thoughts on Site heraldry.

Attendance issues aside, the first class went wonderfully , and I felt that she really took away a lot of useful information.

The second class saw my existing student say and be joined by another, so my list heralding class, at least had that much more going for it. Its not that their was a lot of stuff to cover, List heraldry is pretty straight forward on its face, but I really wanted them to discover the background and history of what they were doing, and I feel like I managed to do that with a good measure of success.

When it was all done, I was happy with what I had accomplished, and glad for the chance to teach.

Still having lemonade and summer sausage left, I made sure to flag down the classes on either side of me (Belly dancing/ Drumming and side-sword). Its amazing how popular you can be when you have cold drinks.

Per chance, I wound up in an hour long conversation with the Baroness of Bryn Gwlad, though I didn't realize it until about half way though because she wasn't waring her cornet. It was an interesting chat, and I think we both walked away from it having learned as much as we had to tell the other.

The afternoon court was actually fairly short, and even though the room was air conditioned, even the AC was fighting against the sun and the number of people packed in their. A good number of awards were given out, Including a Sable Crane to Lord Miles, who's hard work across the north I have seen crop up time and time again, so a definite well-done to the man.

Afterwords, Aonghas and I stayed and helped break down the site with everyone. I have to admit, the heat of the day and my medical situation slowed me down terribly, and I really felt like a slacker about ten minutes into the cleanup because I was sweating so hard and feeling so tired.

But, it wasn't a fruitless endeavor. I wound up talked at length with Lord Sebastian, who had taught archery class during the day. After some small talk about mundane items and firearms, Sebastian pulled out one of his smaller bows and gave me an ad hoc class in how to draw and shoot a longbow. Now I know their are plenty of different methods, but his actually seemed to click for me. It just made sense and seemed intuitive for me once he showed me all the little tricks and such. Im looking forward to pulling out my bow now and seeing how well I can shoot it once I get a decent set of arrows made up.

Afterwords, we decided to run south a but (a long bit) and have dinner in Arlington with some newly founds friends. For the record, Arlington was like an hour and ten minutes south of us... and we walked into this Sushi restaurant dressed in the same hot and sweaty clothing that we had on all day.

But hay, it was fun and I really enjoyed the chance to meet even more people. Between the dinner and the barking lot conversation we didn't leave Arlington until nearly eleven thirty that night.

God bless the family that was putting us up for the night, Aonghas and I each had guest bedrooms, with our own showers waiting for us when we got there. I showered, dress for bed and barely remimber hitting the mattress before I was out like a lite. The next morning breakfast was fresh fruit and cerial, as well as pleasant conversation. All said and done, Duncan and his lady were wonderful hosts, and I look forward to seeing them again when and if they make it north.

The trip back wasn't quite as smooth as I would have linked. My car has AC, but it wasn't up to the thermal punishment of a June, noontime sun, and I was cooking my the time I made it to Norman. I wound up crashing at the Denney's there for a while just to cool down for a while.

All in all, I'm glad I made it. I'm glad I went out on the 2 hours dinner run I did, and I'm glad I got to talk with all the people i did. It was all worth it... even if Gas is 3.79 a gallon.

Lord Ivo Blackhawk
Province of Mooneschadowe
Kingdom of Ansteorra
"God Save the King!"

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