War came right when it was needed. I am referring to the SCA event War, not the variety that involves death and maiming and many other such unpleasantnesses.
The sunday before last, Matt and I went to Rennaissence Faire with John, who is officiating our Handfasting. I went despite waking up with a migraine that day, and though the day was enjoyable and my migraine didn't return in the middle of Faire, I spent the rest of the week paying for it. All week I was spaced out and mentally tired, physically achey and had trouble focusing my eyes. I felt, in short, like crap. Plus I had immense trouble sleeping. By the end of the week I was a tired whiny achey tense little bunny, enough that Matt wondered if I should skip War. Fortunately I knew that all I really needed was to recharge, and that War would enable me to quit worrying about a lot of trivial stuff, mostly switch off my brain, and wander about in garb looking at other people in garb. Especially now we have an air mattress so I can sleep without the ground leeching all the precious warmth from my body, that was the one remaining stress factor with camping.
I was really impressed that we managed to meet up with Bob and Laura after dark in a campground containing over a thousand people, even more impressed that we located a remenant of House Rittervald who recognised us and welcomed us to camp near them. We didn't get a spot in Sleepy Hollow, we were actually in an area known as Bedlam, which is supposedly one of the noisiest at night, but everyone from Bedlam went elsewhere to Party, so we weren't disturbed when we decided it was time for bed.
The first night we pitched our tent and Matt got into his new brecan feildhe. I was already wearing my new tunic, so I just kept that on: it was nice and warm. Before we were done setting up a drunk surfer dude dressed as a 12th century Finn came up and introduced himself and offered the four of us vodka. He was very proud of his costume, which he had made himself. He was also very drunk and knew a lot about spider venom. The rest of his group wandered over and all of a sudden we were having a little party. This is why War is so great, people wander, people chat, people share their booze and compliment each other's garb (and body parts, if they're feeling flirty).
On Saturday I got to see the work in progress on my Handfasting Dress, Peldyn had pinned it all together for a fitting and had some suggestions, such as making the skirt a little fuller, adding piping etc, she also offered me a damsk underskirt at cost. In the end I decided to add sleeves too, since the combination of a velvet gown with a damsk underskirt seems to call for something a little more dramatic than plain chemise-sleeves. The velvet is absolutely gorgeous, a lovely rich emerald green, and Peldyn had machine washed it with softener which made drape beautifully and feel more like silk velvet than cotton velvet. It's the shade of green I think of when people refer to Ireland as the "Emerald Isle", and that's exactly what I wanted. The sort of green you don't see often in California. Matt and I both grew up in green rolling hills, and it's something we both miss.
The rest of Saturday, the rest of War really, was spent alternating between hanging out at the campsite of some of our friends, and browsing the merchants. Matt and I spent far too much time at the booth of a particular swordmaker, drooling over a pair of handmade damascus short-swords with brass knotwork and Pictish beasties on the hilt and hand-tooled leather sheath. Something with that level of artistry and craftsmanship is the kind of sword I would be comfortable with displaying on my walls. A nice sword still isn't the most welcoming message if you ask me, but something that is clearly a work of art as well as a weapon is less of a statement of Nemo me impune lacessit, and more a statement of appreciation of the art of swordmaking.
I'm skipping over a lot, but it's all little details that sound pretty bland on their own. There was Mike wearing a jade green chiton with a cowboy hat (but the turquoise hat band co-ordinated perfectly with the chiton...). A philosophical discussion about comparitive religion in general and Buddhism in particular. Lori and Bob doing a Tang Soo Do blocking drill while drunk and managing not to break anything. Lots and lots of cold sake, too much cold sake for most of us in fact. A wonderful dutch-oven made chicken stew. More sake. A failed quest to find a satisfactory cold spiced tea (first they were out of chai mix, then they didn't know how to make it once they found some). A successful quest to find an athame for our handfasting, and a bonus find in the form of a solid silver rose pendant made by our favourite swordmaker. Another philosophical discusssion about child-rearding techniques, sparked by the repressive parenting techniques of the inhabitants of a neighboring tent.