This weekend was Spelmansstämman, the big gathering of folk musicians and dancers from all over northern Sweden and further away (including a buss of 20 from Norway, a couple of guys from Germany, one of whom comes every year). It is always a fun event, but this time it was even more fun than usual. A couple of our SCA friends from out of town came up for it and stayed with us. She arrived on Thursday evening early enough to join us for dinner and we spent a delightful evening hanging out with her.
Friday morning lord_kjar
had to work, but since I have finally finished my report and can't do more with the paper until my colleagues at the mine get back to me, I had Friday off, so she and I used the time to make her a pattern for a Viking apron dress for the Viking themed larp
we are doing in August (the one where I will be playing a (male) warrior chief). She will also be able to wear the dress for SCA events, of course, which is part of why the organizers, who are also SCA, decided to do one set in this time period.
Friday afternoon the other house guest arrived, with his violin. lord_kjar
picked him up at the bus stop and we all enjoyed lunch together, then spent the afternoon hanging out and doing lessons for them in Swedish Folk Dancing, since they had little experience with that (she had also had a lesson the night before). We also baked a pound cake, since the next day was his birthday. Then we went to the opening concert for Spelmansstämman, followed by the first night of folk dancing.
I have loved these dances since lord_kjar
brought me to my first one (this is my fourth year!), and this time was even more fun than the previous years. In part because we had a couple of friends with us, and also because I have gotten to know more people in the local Folk Dance group, so there were lots of people I was comfortable asking to dance, which also meant that I also asked people I didn't recognize to dance as well. Sure, some of those declined, but I managed to dance nearly every dance that happened between 20:00 and 22:00 (only missed the ones that happened when I needed to go use a toilet--the short breaks where they change musicians aren't long enough to accomplish that errand, especially as there is usually a line, since the old school house we dance in has only the two toilets).
Then it was our shift to go outside and work the hamburger stand (most people in the folk music and dance group wind up working a few shifts over the weekend to ensure the event happens), so I missed an hour of dancing, but we danced more from 23:00 to nearly midnight, when we went home, everyone did some yoga/stretching, then I took a hot shower and went to bed, since we had to get up in the morning to make it back in for the final rehearsal before our dance performance. I am glad they all joined me for the yoga, since the company meant that it was easier to do enough stretching to keep my legs from hurting after all the dancing.
Saturday morning we were back on site by 11:00, our rehearsal was at 11:15, and then we spread the ground cloth in the shade near the stage and settled in to enjoy the performances that happened before our dance performance (well, our guests did a fair bit of wandering around, since he had never been to Hängnan
before, but I mostly stayed at our spot with the musical instruments and lunch bag). The music was wonderful, as it always is, especially when the Luleå Hembygdsgillet (our folk music group) played, and our dance performance was fun. lord_kjar
got mid-dance applause when he did the flying trick with the smallest girl in our group
(he can, and has, done it with me, too, but it looks more impressive with the smaller girl, since she will float higher than I do). This trick involves the girl placing her hands on the man's hip bones as he wraps his hands around her upper back, then then start spinning around one another, and once they are going fast enough she picks her feet up and flies. It is lots of fun!
After the performance we enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on site listening to music, chatting with one another, and with a variety of other friends who made it to the event (including one of the exchange students from our choir), and passing out flyers for the Medieval days we have, at the same location, next month. We also found a birthday present for one of our guests: the booth that sells folk costumes and accessories happened to have one men's cap which was in exactly the correct size and the perfect colour to go with the beautiful blue-black herringbone twill wool vest he was wearing. The hat looked so good on him we bought it for him.
Then we went home, ate dinner and the pound cake with berries and cream to properly celebrate our guest's birthday, took a 20 minute nap, and then went back for the second night of folk dancing. This time I didn't have a shift at the hamburger stand, but lord_kjar
did, so I just kept dancing all night. I did not, however, manage to dance all morning too--around midnight (after about four hours of nearly non stop dancing) my legs were getting sore, and the others were also feeling like they could be done, so we went back to the house, enjoyed more yoga and conversation, followed by the boys playing violin and nyckleharpa for us (neither had touched their instruments during the dance and were both itching to play) and then I took another hot shower to finish making the legs feel better before going to sleep around 03:40 (note that this far north and this time of the year the sun is not just on the way back up, it has long since cleared the trees at that hour).
Sunday we went back to site on time to participate in the parade from the old stone church to the stage over at the open air museum, we girls just wearing our folk costumes, which we had been wearing all weekend (hers was her mother's wedding dress and is very pretty) and the boys playing their violins with the other musicians. Then we settled down in the same shady spot as Saturday to enjoy the day's "allspel" (everyone plays)
participated in, but our guest decided that the stage was too crowded and he would just as soon sit and listen with us). lord_kjar
had played his nyckleharpa for Saturday's "allspel"
, but had his violin on Sunday, and said that it was easier for one big reason: with the violin he could hear his own instrument over everyone else's playing (since it is so close to his ear) and so had the feedback to let him know he was playing correctly. However, the nyckleharpa is played holding it down at waist level, so is harder to hear one's own instrument.
After the "allspel"
it was 13:00, time for our last duty shift--sitting the gate this time. Since there were not so many people coming in our gate (which is over by the back parking lot that is used by those of us who are on duty, and we were all already on site) we took the opportunity to enjoy some lunch while we worked, and then at 14:00 we closed the gate for the weekend--anyone who wanted to show up for the final hour of the event needn't pay.
Then we walked back up to the church so that our guest could do some photography, and then we popped by the home of the other laurel in the shire, since he lives between the church and the open air museum. He had just finished taking a break from some yard work, and offered us Popsicles, which we happily accepted. Even me--yes, it is just sugar water, and I don't normally like or eat such things, but with all of the dancing and walking I had been doing all weekend, on short sleep, I think my body actually appreciated the energy boost. While there we asked him about the Viking themed larp, since I had asked him some weeks ago if he would be able to participate. It turns out he isn't available, but will happily loan me some of his costumes, armour, and accessories for that weekend, which will make it so much easier to appear to be a high-status warrior chief.
His wife got home just as we were about to leave, so we got to say hello to her too, and see how much their daughter has grown since I saw them last in December. That little girl has the biggest eyes! (Which will, no doubt, come in very handy many times in her life.)
We returned to the event, but the final act of the day had ended, and they had already closed down the fika stand, so we went home and enjoyed more cake, cream and berries there and a bit more relaxing and conversation (and copying some of lord_kjar
's anime collection onto a hard drive for our guest to take home with her for later viewing before she had to start driving. His bus was a bit later, so we took him into town and did a stroll there--he hadn't ever been to Luleå before, and then dropped him at his bus at 20:00.
After dropping him off we went home and spent some time snuggling with one another before concluding the evening hanging out on skype with linda_linsefors
. Yoga was done while we talked on skype, which meant that I got to bed before 02:00.
Today I spent the morning doing vacuuming, several loads of laundry (all of the guest bedding and our own bedding), tidying, and minor home improvement projects, followed by an afternoon on the computer, where I started putting together slides for the conference talk I am doing on the weekend (in Copenhagen) and replied to emails from a colleague at the mine (who will defer the decision as to if my paper is sufficiently vague about the details of the 3D model I created to be published as is, or if they are going to have to censor anything), and my Master's student (who returned the books he had borrowed from me by leaving them in the cabinet in the microscope room before he departed for his summer job, so I will need to go pick them up later and return them to my office).
This evening we had rehearsal for the Midsummer dance performance. lord_kjar
won't be joining us for that performance (he never does these days--for Midsummer instead of dancing he runs the sound equipment for the performances at the park over near the city center, as it is a fun change for him after so many years of doing that dance performance), but he came along tonight so that he could stand in for the people who couldn't make it tonight, but will be dancing with us on Friday. So he spent part of the night as a 12 year old boy, and the other part as the boy's mother.
That took only about 30 minutes, which gave him time to check some of the sound equipment he will need on Friday (yes, the item that had been broken last summer has, in fact, been repaired in the mean time) before we went home, where we finally got around to measuring the two sheds we have, and all of the items in them, so that I could then sit down and draw them up in CorelDraw. Now we have a better idea of where/how we would be able to fit in his dad's lathe, which we may be picking up later this week when we go get the tractor.