Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Catching up

It is time to catch up. It was almost a year between the time the challenge was issued and the time I learned of it and decided to join. In that time, I accomplished the following:

June – an article for Mead, Meat & More on the virtues of the dandelion.

August – an article on sage for Mead, Meat & More. This is the Kingdom of Northshield’s quarterly journal for cooks and brewers.

September – a book on the voyages of St Brendan. For Her coronation, Queen Eilis requested classes and A&S displays appropriate to early Irish culture, a time and place far removed from modern times (AD 1278). Wracking my brain, I could come up with only one thing old-fashioned enough to meet the Royal request. I wrote a version of the story of St Brendan’s voyage to the edge of Paradise, bound it into a book, read the story to interested persons at the event, and then presented the book to Her Majesty. It was delightful to study history rather than the present for a change.

December – a presentation called “Medieval Songs You Already Know”. Many times I have wished to call the Period Police to arrest people who bring modern music to bardic circles. There is an abundance of period music sung during the month of December, so I worked to document those pieces which had become familiar through seasonal repetition so that more people could knowingly enjoy songs from our time.

February – taught two related classes at the Hromnice Day celebration in Shattered Oak. The first was a celebration of contrafacta, both in period and in SCA. I (Karyn) celebrated our roots in the world of fandom and fantasy, as well as our roots in the historical middle ages. The second was a hands-on how-to class in doing contrafacta. And yes, I unabashedly called it “Filk”.

Also February – an article on the properties of thyme for Mead, Meat & More.

March 29 – a class called “So you want to buy a psalter?” Kudrun explained some of the features one might wish to include if one commissions a psalter, and some of the pitfalls of purchasing one ready-made. Copious illustrations accompanied the lecture.

April 26 – Karyn and Kudrun had to collaborate on this one – a comparison of the use of numbers in each of our worlds. This was for Bardic Madness XVIII, Northshield’s performance arts event, which had the theme “numbers”. Since I’ve always been reluctant to do mathematics without mechanical aids, this was quite a challenge. I had a wonderful learning experience, though I still can’t multiply well. I must do more with this material!

Also April 26 – Since I had called a meeting of the Northshield Choir, and its director was bogged down in college studies, I taught the choir a song (Quem Pastores Laudavere from a 1410 manuscript), and we performed it in Wechselgesänge style. This is the first time I’d ever led a choir, so it was tremendously exciting and scary. The Cambridge Singers are NOT threatened in any way.

May 3 – I dusted off “An Alphabeticall Bestiary”, in which Kudrun sets out to describe one animal for each of the 24 letters of the alphabet. That I mention 55 animals and a tree is further proof that numbers and I don’t get along well. This was not brand new material, so I only give myself partial credit for it.

May 25 – The Shires of Silfren Mere and Heraldshill collaborated on an event called “Ages of War”, which took as its theme the Great Italian Wars of 1494-1559. Using the science of humors, Kudrun speculated that these dreadful wars were probably caused be great excesses of choleric humors in the Sforza household. The whole bloody mess could probably have been prevented if Ludovico Sforza’s cook had fed him lampreys and lettuce instead of barbecue. How Kudrun (living in 1279) might have heard of these future wars was unanswered, but Karyn would never have made such wild speculations. Maybe.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A challenge has been issued for artisans to create 50 new works or explore 50 new fields of endeavor before the 50th anniversary of the Society for Creative Anachronism. Since I have wanted to put together a summary of current scientific thought, I thought that this challenge would provide an opportunity to set things down in permanent form.

I do not fancy myself a crafter. Heaven knows, if I need something done I have People to do it. Singer sees to my wardrobe needs, and Hoover tries to keep things neat. Bette, the cook knows her job, though I do occasionally have consult with her. The Amana sisters who manage the laundry are quite competent. Though the stablemaster is not the neatest individual, my horses are well cared for, and the carriage and wagons are well greased. Neville is an excellent castellan, and Titivillus is learning to be a better steward, though I wonder if his fondness for salmon isn't rendering him less ambitious than he might be. His efforts to reduce the insect population of the manor have been slightly less than effective, and may be the subject for a separate post, once Hoover manages to repair the damage from his latest foray into catching flies.

My staff allows me to spend more time in researching material for this cyclopedia, and teaching it at various gatherings of interested folk. It is to that endeavor that I shall turn my attention in this forum.

It is my intention to present fifty classes or articles during this challenge. What shape this will take is uncertain. Mayhaps I can share a bit of information here about each subject. Since I have presented several classes already, before committing to the challenge, I will begin with those, and see how things go from there.

The next post must wait until I flog the gardener and bring in the current crop of hay.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The beginning

Since blogging is the thing to do in both my real life (SCA) and my job life (my libraries) it's about time for me to get started.
As soon as I have an opportunity, I'll tell you about my plans for the A&S 50 Challenge. Until then, just think great things about the 13th century.