On Thursday morning last week Keldor was feeling recovered from the cold he’d had at the beginning of the week, and I was showing no symptoms, so we decided that yes, we can go to Crown. However, since he’d been sick and thus had had no energy to do the armour repairs that we had determined were needful when we armoured up the week before, we had Thursday during the day to do them, in addition to packing. We managed to get it all done, and got on the road by 17:00. First stop (after leaving the cat’s at his dad’s for the weekend) was in Luleå, to drop off the box of Halloween stuff my friend L had bought from someone who lives a five minute walk from me, so I picked them up for her (weeks ago), and this was the first chance to deliver them.
Then we drove over to the normal Thursday evening folk dance session (that I used to attend when I lived there), and I got in three quick dances before we continued on our way (total time elapsed from arriving there to departing: 20 minutes. Value in terms of joy from seeing old friends and getting to dance? Priceless!)
Then we went on to Oulu, arriving at my apprentices apartment around 23:00, where stayed up talking probably later than we should have, but we don’t get to see one another in person often.
Friday we were on the road again around 09:00, which got us to site at around 18:00. As we were checking in, we were summoned away from the table to feast our eyes on the beautiful “stained glass” windows they had made, showing all of the couples entering in the tournament:
Because I was fighting for Keldor, and he for me, and that brought the total number of couples to an even number, the artist drew us twice, once with me in armour, and he holding a rose, and once with he in armour and me holding a rose. I really, really love this! They used photos of the fighters in garb and in armour to make us all recognisable! The best part? The whole is made up of individual panels, so everyone who is featured in the art got to take their panel home with them. So we now have ours in the living room window.
I asked her how she did it, and it turns out that she used coloured silkespapper (tissue paper) and intarsia technique, and then laminated the result. Therefore, before I even finished that conversation I found a source for a packet of silkespapper, in all the colours. I am so going to use the technique for decorating events! Alas, I don’t think the paper will arrive on time to be useful for Oktoberfest, which is in one more week.
Friday evening I went to bed early (just after 22:00), so that I would be well rested for the tournament, and, even more importantly from my perspective, our boasts. After the tournament I noticed that there was a merchant table selling ceramic stuff, which made me realize that I had forgot to set up our box of stuff for sale (oops). But, of course, the first thing I did was go look at what she had. One quick glance was enough for me to hurry over to Keldor and summon him to the table. He has been actively looking for a “big enough” tea mug for a long time. This merchant, Savivompatti, had lots of “big enough” tea mugs to choose from! After looking at all the options, he bought one of the octopus ones, and he is very happy with it.
Then he returned to fight pickups and packed away his mug and my armour, took a shower, and then got permission from the autocrat to put Keldor’s axes and knives and other stuff for sale on a table, and made a quick announcement that they were there. We didn’t really expect any sales, but one woman really liked his unfinished knife with copper in the blade, and the unfinished knife where he had layered stainless steel and hardened steel (just to try it, as it isn’t easy to weld them together), but she thought that they would be out of her price range. I told her that he loves to barter, and introduced them, and they agreed to a trade–he will make her a new knife, with a copper layer in it, and do something nice for a handle, and she will do him a metal brocaded silk tablet woven band. He is pretty certain that he will win on this trade.
I even managed to join in the afternoon “group singing, mostly in Finnish” a bit before going to the Laurel meeting. They offered me a paper with the lyrics, but for me it is easier to read lips to sing along with a song I don’t know, in a language I don’t speak, and I enjoyed the session. I would have loved to have had more time for that, but it wasn’t an option. After the meeting Keldor and I looked at the Ferry schedule and cost, and decided that it wouldn’t cost any more to take the ferry home than it would to drive the full length of Finland and then over and south to Lövånger again, so we booked the Sunday evening Ferry. This turned out to be a very good thing.
Friday evening I was on retainer duty, so I served high tabel, and took my duties seriously enough that I even rinsed their bowls after the soup in the first course. During the feast there was more singing (mostly in Swedish, with some English), and there was a short session of dancing, so the event included at least a little of everything I love most about the SCA (my top four, in alphabetical order: company, crafts, dance, song, closely followed by “everything else!”).
Towards the end of the feast my energy suddenly vanished, so as soon as I had served the final course of food I returned to the cabin and got ready for bed (note that 4 others in the cabin, all of whom had participated in the tournament, were doing the same). My nose started running as I returned to the cabin, and I wondered if it was the temperature difference between the hall and outside, or if I was getting sick? So I took a hot shower and put tiger balm on my nose, which cleared things up beautifully, and went to sleep.
Sunday morning as I packed and loaded the car my nose was again runny every time I went outside. Temperature difference? Getting sick? I tried to keep a bit of a distance from others, and for those that got hugs, I kept my head turned well away, just in case. Keldor was still feeling healthy, having recovered from last week’s cold, but he mentioned that during the tournament he noticed that most of the sound in his right ear had gone away, which was a bit annoying.
By the time we started driving I was feeling really tired, so I was glad we only had the four hour drive to the ferry terminal, rather than needing to do 13 hours driving time all way way home. Around 14:30 I suddenly felt like I wanted ice cream. Normally I eat only homemade ice cream, but on some road trips I will make an exception, as one can’t really make ice cream whilst driving. Besides, sharing photos of road trip ice cream is a Drachenwald thing. So we pulled into the next supermarket we passed and had a look. They had the standard large plastic boxes of super sweet commercial ice cream (no thanks), and some tubs of Ben and Jerry’s (I know many people love that, but I don’t like chocolate, and all of their flavours included chocolate), and a few flavours of a locally produced ice cream from Närpes Glassfabrik (this is a Swedish speaking part of Finland, so while the company also has a Finnish name, the packaging was mostly in Swedish). The store we were in was small, but they had four flavours of Närpes ice cream to choose from: Banana toffee (nope, Keldor doesn’t care for banana flavoured things, even though he eats banana), raspberry licorice (nope, I don’t like licorice), white chocolate with strawberry sauce (nope, I don’t like chocolate), and old fashioned bourbon vanilla (we have a winner!)
On our way out of the store I bought a packet of roasted almond pieces, and we happily ate ice cream with almond sprinkels till the container was empty and I had completely licked the box clean. That was amazing. If you are ever in southern Finland, try Närpe’s ice cream–they make it by hand in small batches, and it is yummy!
We arrived at the Ferry terminal around 17:00, and I lay down on the bed in the back of the van and slept while Keldor started writing his event “berättelse“. I woke up when it was time to board the ferry, and we found the “comfort lounge” that we had paid for. comfort. Humph. Not so much. The chairs there recline a little, but so not enough! I am a side or belly sleeper, I can’t/won’t sleep on my back, nor sitting up. Also, the pairs of seats have armrests between them so one can’t even cuddle up and snooze on one’s partner. Luckily, the floor is carpeted, so I did my yoga, and then lay down on the floor at his feet and hugged his foot as I slept (he is happy to sleep in the chairs provided, mutant that he is).
We reached Umeå at 23:00, and he had the energy to drive us all the way to his dad’s house, where I took a hot shower, and was in bed by 01:30. Since he was still having problems hearing in his right ear he decided that rather than trying to work on Monday he would plan to sleep in till it was late enough to call our local health center and book an appointment to get it checked out. I was totally ok with sleeping in, especially as I was by then pretty certain that I was fighting off a cold (I have no idea if it was the same one he’d had the week before, which, according to the test he took then, wasn’t covid, or something else).
Once he’d done his call we drove the cats home, and I went straight back to bed for a nap, not getting up and having breakfast till after 13:00! I took it easy for the rest of Monday, and by Tuesday morning I was feeling better, and resumed working on my thesis. So whatever I had, it didn’t bother me long, and the only symptoms were being tired (which part could have been nothing more than doing a roadtrip, event, and tournament) and a a couple of hours with a slightly runny nose and a little bit of something that was almost, but not quite, a sore throat. Hopefully no one else got it.
His call to the health center got him an appointment for Thursday, during which the doc saw nothing wrong with his ear, and hypothesized that the cold he’d had caused some fluid to get backed up in the wrong area near his ear, partially blocking sound. So he’s been prescribed some nose spray to use once a day for the next several, and if that doesn’t clear it up make a new appointment.