This weekend I traveled to the Canton of Kaarnemaa, in the Barony of Aarnimetsä along with E., my apprentice number two, and A., a friend from our choir. The SCA event was being held in conjunction with the Finnish Early Music Society, who were sponsoring a variety of classes and concerts. Back in November, when I first heard of the event, I sent an email to the contact person for the Early Music Society, asking if the classes included any at an appropriate level for someone like me, who is only a beginner musician, but I never got a reply, and didn't try again. My apprentice also sent an email, explaining that she plays clarinet in an orchestra, and has a medieval version of the instrument, and was coming over, and wanting to do music with people, but she didn't get a reply either, and was also busy enough not to bother trying again. Undaunted, we just drove over for the SCA event, and figured we would ask about the classes when we got there.
The event announcement said that the site would open at 16:00, and GoogleMaps said that it should take around 4.5 hours (and there is a one hour time change between here and there), so we decided to leave site at 10:00 on Friday. I managed to get up early enough Friday morning to pack the last minute things (pillows, doona, phone charger, food from fridge), and load up the car early enough to meet my friend S. at the gym for a workout before picking up A & E, and we were on the road by 10:20. E. did all the driving, so I could sew (and I payed for the petrol), and the roads were clear and dry, and temperatures were nice (around -18 C). We stopped only once for a toilet break, and happily talked the whole time.
We wound up pulling into the site parking lot at 15:59 (Finnish time), and the hall wasn't open yet. After double checking to be certain we were at the right place we called the autocrat, who was just leaving his house, less than 1 km away, so was there pretty much at the same time as we were.
The hall is a community youth center for the town, and has lots of different rooms scattered about in a nearly maze-like pattern. We three, having first choice, wound up taking the room on the far side of the kitchen that opened up on the feast hall, since it had dark blinds pulled down over the windows, and thus would be a good place for sleeping. My apprentice was quicker than I to notice the stack of pallets that had a mattress on it, so she claimed that. I took the the other corner of the room, and A. built his nest against the wall.
After we had our beds set up and costumes on we went out to the hall and enjoyed conversation first with the autocrat and his wife, and then with a few others who arrived not so long later. Friday evening people provided their own dinner, but they made an "experimental pie" that is kind of similar to the traditional Finnish Christmas cookie that involves cooked dates on a puff-pastry like base. However, the pie was more a blend of chopped dates and pears with sugar and spices on a puff pastry base. It was really yummy, and was the perfect desert after eating the fruit and oven pancakes I had brought along for road food.
The first concert of the weekend was scheduled for 19:00 at a nearby church, so about 10 minutes before we all put on our cloaks and hoods and walked over. Other than the medieval band
, the group of us were the only ones in Medieval costume. The music was great, and their instruments interesting. The hammer dulcimer they had with them is very, very unlike mine, but checking the instrument page on their web page, they don't seem to have a photo of the one they used this weekend--instead just one that isn't very different from my own.
After the concert we were introduced to the person coordinating the early music classes, who was embarrassed to hear that we had written but gotten no reply, but he confessed that he didn't know if he had seen the messages and intended to reply, or if they just didn't reach him. He introduced my apprentice to the teacher of the class she would be interested in, and I opted to just do the SCA event and attend concerts, rather than trying to join classes aimed at real musicians. Then we walked back to the hall and chatted for a while, but we were all a bit tired, so those who were sleeping off site went home, and the rest of us retired around 23:00, give or take a bit depending on the person's bedtime routines.
Saturday morning breakfast was scheduled for 08:00, but I didn't finish my morning situps till 08:20. I had considered going straight from there to the room down the hall that has a pull up bar upon which I could hang my jungle gym to do my workout for the day first, but when I came out into the hall a bunch of people were enjoying breakfast, so I opted to join them. After breakfast there were some classes, and I sat in for the start of them, before deciding that I should go do that workout, so I did.
After the workout I had an hour to get dressed, watch the tail end of a slide show of cool artifacts in museums the autocrat has visited, and visit with people before they served a yummy lunch of carrot soup, bread, cheese, and more of that yummy experimental pie.
Then my apprentice went off to her music class, and many of the others on site went to the sports center next door, where they had set up a temporary archery range for the event. I choose to stay on site working on my tunic in progress, and my friend A. stayed as well. He is studying English, and had along a copy of Pride and Prejudice that he needed to read for a class, so I suggested that he read aloud to keep me entertained while I stitched. Much to my delight, he did, and I found it quite amusing, even though I have never actually read that book, and I was coming in somewhere in the middle of the story.
However, after a while I got sleepy, despite having gotten plenty of sleep the night before, so I went a lay down for a 20 minute nap, and A. went out for a walk. When I woke up to an empty hall I decided that I should take a walk, too, and did so. When I returned half an hour later the hall was once again full (if you count a 14 person event "full"), and we settled into happy conversation till time for the feast, at 16:30 (such a wonderful time to eat--right when I am hungry!).
Even though it was a small, and informal, event, I still opted to put on my circlet and veil (I was wearing my pretty blue silk bliaut) for the feast itself. The food was yummy--he made a saffron rice, some eggplant pancakes, some wild hare cooked with warm spices and onion, some pork (that I didn't try), and some lingon berries cooked in honey. Not a huge variety of stuff, but about perfect for a small event like this one. There was also pears baked in sugar and spices for desert, some really yummy cookies, and, of course, more of that experimental pie (of which he had made rather a lot, and we happily kept eating it all weekend).
During the feast I recited the first bit of the Prologue to the Canterbury Tales, explaining that I had chosen it as my period piece for the Norrskensbard competition in November because it was "English". They laughed when I repeated after the recitation "English". Then my apprentice took out her period instrument and played for them. I got the impression that they enjoyed having a bit of entertainment at the feast, even though they hadn't planned any. After the feast we all walked back over to the church for the second concert of the weekend.
This one was a mixed concert--many (all???) of the performance were people who had been participating in the courses over the weekend, and they were all really good. I was very impressed with the hugely long neck on the one lute--I had never seen one like that before. I was also REALLY impressed with the choir who performed--there were only 13 people in it, which is about the same as our student choir on a good day, but we never achieve even the volume of the performing choir, let alone the shear richness of sound the got. At first they were just a beautifully balanced richness of sound, but then I realized that if I focused on the face of an individual singing I could actually pick their voice out of the crowd, and then, when I switched to a new face, I could hear that voice. I have no idea if this is normal or not, I don't recall ever trying that before.
After the concert we returned to the hall, and I noticed that they had listed "dancing" on the schedule for 21:00, so I asked about it, and they admitted that they hadn't actually brought any music, so I plugged my phone into the hall stereo system, and we danced for a good hour or so, followed by more pleasant conversation and sewing time. I eventually did my yoga a bit before midnight, and was in bed not too long after midnight.
This morning I slept till 09:00, and again joined people for breakfast after morning situps and before working out. However, since we had plenty of time before E. next music class at noon, I did, in fact, make time for a workout before packing up stuff and heading over the autocrat's house (the others finished the site cleaning while I exercised). Their house has a cute little medieval room downstairs, complete with tapestries, trestle tables, and iron candle holding chandlers. I want such a room! Sadly, I have no idea where I would fit one in this house.
While E. was in class the autocrat's wife cooked us lunch, and it was ready about the time the class ended, so we had a yummy meal (mostly event leftovers, with a few additions) before hitting the road. The weather had really warmed up (got to +2 C!), so the roads back were no were near as clear as on the trip down, but it all went smoothly. There were a couple of stressful seconds when a white reindeer was suddenly visible standing right on the side of the road, but there was room to go between it and the on coming traffic, so all was fine.
We stopped in Haparanda on the way home to stock up on my of the yummy juustoleipa one can buy there, since it is a border town, and were back in Luleå at 18:20. This gave me just time to drop them off, head home, unload the car, and head out to Folk Dancing, arriving only about 25 minutes late. It felt so good to MOVE after sitting in the car for much of the day, and, of course, the dancing was, as it always is, just plain fun.
Now it is after midnight, so I had better do my yoga and get some sleep before work in the morning. Tomorrow evening a friend (or two?) from Phire will be coming over for dinner, so I should also decide what I will be cooking.