With such a colossal event, I don't know where to start!
There was a great turn-out from Ildhafn this year for Canterbury Faire, with our numbers augmented by Don Gregory and Lady Edine Godin visiting from Innilgard. The event kicked off with the appointment of Lord Oswyn Carolus and Mistress Isabella Maria to the positions of Baron and Baroness (respectively) of Southron Gaard. This went smoothly, despite his soon-to-be excellency running around inappropriately dressed with distressingly little time till his appearance at Court.
Monday I have absolutely no memory of, in fact I doubt it even existed.
Tuesday definitely happened, as I was day steward, but that was too dull to write about. I did manage to sneak in a little fencing; the wind tried to blow the site away, but mostly failed.
Wednesday, I fought my Journeyman's Prize. A certain Duke who shall remain nameless gave me a hard time about my warm-up routine - practicing footwork, cuts and thrusts by myself - and told the camp I had gone mad and was fighting imaginary opponents. When Don Martuccio found me, he looked genuinely concerned. The sun came out just long enough to cook me as I stood in the list, then disappeared before I could get any laundry done. Anyway, prize completed (successfully!) my brain could one again process non fencing-related matters. It turned out to be a good time to take a break from fencing, as that afternoon the list was crammed with fencers marching stiffly and moaning, "brains, Brains!".
After music practice on Thursday morning I got a lesson in unarmed combat from Gordon of Darton. Being repeatedly thrown to the ground proved to be a surprisingly intellectual experience. That night was the feast. There was particular excitement as the Caidan King and Queen were visiting. I spent all afternoon in the kitchen as Lady Caterine de Vantier's kitchen-slave. Together with a large kitchen staff she produced a titanic feast, delivered (so I am told) with incredible aplomb by Mistress Katherina Weyssin, Master William de Cameron, and their staff. Phrases such as "best feast ever" were bandied about by persons of quality. I was dragged before the King by a rampaging mob of respectable knights, who told me off for not being in Court, then gave me an award for being too busy to attend Court.
Friday night there was the ball. The intense grilling that Anna de Wilde and Iuliana Morosini had given the musicians all week really paid off, as the band sounded great. The ball list went down well, with many dancers sticking it out to the end. Mistress Catherine de Arc's supper was delicious and beautifully presented. The competition in the tassel kick was unusually strong this year (congratulations to Wade -- but I'll be back!) and I had the intimidating honour of dancing Il Canario with Master Del (scary, but cool).
Saturday there was the Baroness' Rapier Tourney. It was a good field, but single kill, double elimination sorted us out pretty quickly. Half-time entertainment was Siegfried Zoder repeatedly landing on the spear-point of a mysterious, red-headed stranger. The final was an epic serious of bouts between Don Gregory and Lord Thomas Percy, which ended with Thomas yet again having to carry the Baroness' sword back to Darton. Afterwards, I squeezed in a lesson with Gregory (when I got home I immediately started on carpentry) and some fairly random hacking and slashing with Siegfried. Isabell Winter's meal was my pick of the meal-plan dinners for the event - every bit of it was yummy. I got into to some drinking while others did some dancing (Edine achieved her Silver Rondel), then we played Tarock. We made the mistake of playing in light good enough for Del to see his cards, so he won.
For me, at least, it was a long and cram-packed Faire. Our fair Barony's contributions of Feast and Ball were both triumphs. Our Baron and Baroness were stately and well-groomed (and bounced well). Even our laundry looked good.
Obviously the event revolved around me, and my brief account completely represents the week as experienced by the 300 people on site, but should you wish to flesh it out with minor details, please add a comment below.
Clearly Canterbury Faire actually revolved around me, and thus the central event was the loss of my apprentice, William de Wyke, as he became Master William de Wyke, shoemaker, of the Order of the Laurel, shortly after one of our hard-working stewards took a brief break from site-wrangling to become Sir Ratbot (huzzah!). It was lovely that Dame Alys and Sir Ulf (William's former laurel and knight) were able to fly down for the occasion, and the Master Llewellyn (affectionately known as the Stunt-Laurel) was also able to be there. Speaking for William in court was definitely the high point of the fair for me. A close second was of course Ludwig's prize (not to mention Ludwig being hauled into court by the Chivalry).
Other memorable moments:
- Anna, also my apprentice (yay! brilliant apprentices!), running the best ball Canterbury Faire has seen for some years (and I should know - I ran last year's); with Mistress Catherine de Arc supplying a truly astonishing supper - stunningly presented, really tasty, and just the right stuff for tired dancers.
- The feast. William de Cameron and I had the fun of seeing just how well it went down, since we were serving, with help from Martuccio, Gregory, Angel, Christine, Katherine and Emrys. The phrase "military precision" was used often, as was "best feast ever". Thanks again to Gregory for the fanfares, Callum for splendid heralding and Bartholomew, Silfren, and some oddly-dressed jumping people for entertainment.
- Alan's napkin-sculpture: a table-sized tower, a ship in full sail; dozens of tiny flowers, towers, boots and ships filled with confits to share with the populace, all folded out of starched linen napkins. What more do I need to say?
Things I'm sorry I missed: Teffania's class on tunics, Maheshti's class on medieval maths, many hours of sleep, more of the spiced wine, Bethan's later singing classes.