So being this was the final weekend of Canterbury Renaissance Faire for the year, My Lovely Bride™ and I decided to attend both days. This decision was in part made due to our friends who had been planning to attend with us on Saturday not being available until Sunday, but also because we absolutely love Canterbury, and after foregoing the previous Sunday, could not miss a day of the final weekend!
My wallet would have preferred we stay at home on Saturday, but have I ever really cared what it thought, anyway? Of course not.
Our adventure on Saturday started out on a few bad notes. Karen’s chemise went wonky, as her drawstring at the neck came undone, and both sides got sucked up into the gathers. She tried for an hour to dig them back out, but eventually gave up and wore a white shirt and brown skirt instead, under her green Irish dress. I went full Buccaneer, although that didn’t last long once we got to Faire (I’ll get to that later), wearing my white poet’s shirt under a brown leather vest, black pants, black boots, and my tricorn hat. Although my black ring belt was not wishing to cooperate, I wore it as well, with a couple of pouches, cutlery set, tankard, and my cutlass on my left hip. All in all, I thought we looked fantastic. But once we got our garb sorted out (for the most part), we continued to have bad luck, as we ended up having to return home after dropping our puppy Abby off at the Kennel, due to a wardrobe malfunction Karen was having.
Despite all this, we still made it to Faire shortly after opening, and that included time to stop for coffee.
Our first stop at Canterbury was to say hello to Leah and Robert at Leather Mystics, then drop by The Bodice Goddess to acquire two new Chemises (one black, one white, both split-sleeve style), and a Navy-colored skirt for Karen. We then got Karen an appointment with the hair braiders, and made the first of what turned out to be many trips back to the Funwagon™ to drop off our loot, then picked up drinks from the food court. I left Karen at the braiders, and made my way over to Rose and Thorn Armory, who I had seen at Faire the previous week, and I wanted to learn more about their armor.
Now then, I should have known I was about to make my wallet start screaming in agony when I walked up to their shop. Had I been a saner, more frugal man, I probably would have walked away without opening my fool mouth. But I am neither a sane nor frugal man (ask anyone), so I stepped up and quickly found myself wearing a fine set of blue and brown leather armor, and being punched in the gut by the artisan who built it. Yes, it hurt, but mostly because I have the most sensitive stomach known to Man, and also because I am a Raging Wussie™ (ask anyone). But my frailties aside, the armor did its job, spreading out the impact quite nicely, and keeping it from dropping me to my knees in agony. The assault demonstration with the matching blue leather bracers went better, it barely stung getting Karate-chopped across the forearm.
So $1060 later, I had begun my transformation from Buccaneer to Fantasy Warrior for the day. Yes, this was only the beginning, friends. I asked the fine folk at Rose and Thorn Leather to help me out of the armor so I could take off my leather vest, and once I was situated properly I posed for a few photographs for their website. Once Karen was done with her hair-braiding, we took my tricorn hat and leather vest out to the Funwagon™, but if we’d been smart we would have stopped at Leather Mystics on the way out to get a new belt. You see, ring belts are fine for Renaissance Faires, being period accurate and generally doing a decent job of holding your pouches and whatnot with a minimum of fuss. But when you have leather armor pushing down on a belt that it already struggling to hold up what I was wearing on it without loosening, you end up with a serious problem. Anyway, we dropped off the vest, tricorn hat and my cutlass in the van, then headed back to Faire.
… and I promptly stepped into a hole and turned my left ankle. Well, to be more accurate, I decided for a brief second to fold my foot completely sideways underneath me and screech in pain like someone had just shot a buzzard! The good news was two-fold, in that while it hurt really bad (and still aches some hours later), it could have been much worse, and the community at Canterbury is really damn awesome. Within moments I was surrounded by fellow Rennies checking to see if I was okay, offering to get help, etc. Luckily My Lovely Bride™ had brought her Dragon staff (see Part 1) with her, so I had something to help me walk back to the village until I was able to make it on my own again.
Anyway, by the time we got back I was sick of struggling with the ring belt, and we stepped into Leather Mystics to get a belt with a proper buckle. I chose a black belt with silver buckle, and Robert had it measured out and ready to go within minutes. Transferred all my bags and stuff over to the new belt, then headed out yet again to Funwagon™ to drop off the ring belt (so I didn’t give in to temptation and just throw it in a trashcan instead). Once we got all that taken care of, the day went a whole lot smoother, actually. We got fresh drinks, listened to the Sherwood Singers for a while, then set about exploring the rest of the village again.
Somewhere in here a nice man clearly of the Queen’s Court took us aside and asked if we had presented ourselves to the Queen yet. We had not, and considering Karen’s anxiety issues, hadn’t really planned to, but suddenly, there we were. Kaitlin and Rory Wehavenotcomeupwithalastnameyet, bowing before Queen Elizabeth, and trying to remember what to say to royalty without looking completely like morons. We were presented with favors from the Queen, a really nice silver ribbon tied to our left arms, and we made our exit completely fumbling that as well (Turning your back on a Royal was my big mistake, Karen’s was calling her My Lady instead of Your Highness or Your Majesty). But all in all it was fun, and I think being forced into the roleplaying aspects of Faire is helping us improve… whether we want to or not.
Eventually we wandered by The Mongers camp, and Karen pointed out a beautiful axe they had for sale. Hawthorn handle, with a Swiss-style blade, all handcrafted by a local artisan. The price was remarkably low for such a piece, only $200, and I immediately knew I had to take it home with me. It took some work to talk the Monger into selling it, though, as he had grown quite attached to the piece (it’s truly beautiful), but eventually we struck a deal. He did ask me to name it, though, as he intended to make more of them in the future, albeit each quite individual from the rest, and wanted to have a name to go with the style of axe. I completely drew a blank, as did Karen. Sure, we could have thrown out some generic “D&D”-style name like Orc-cleaver, but that almost seemed disrespectful to the axe, and the artisan who made her. So I asked if we could have a night to think on it, then we would get back to him in the morning.
Well, after doing some research online, I believe I have found a name: “Barkith”, which is Khudzul (Tolkien Dwarvish) for “The Axe that is Young”. I think it fits quite nicely, and plan to offer that name to The Monger on the morrow! He may not wish to use it for the style, but that’s between him and his works. My axe has a name now.
Once we had purchased the axe soon to be called Barkith, Karen and I took a stroll over to Antler and Herb, whom I had learned from The Monger had made the blade-covers for my axe. I was hoping he could make me a leather strap I could sling over my shoulder to carry said axe with, and he agreed to do so. We discussed a style, took some measurements, and he should have it ready for me Sunday morning. Which is good, because the Village Constabulary were giving us the eye for carrying around a weapon that was not peace-tied, so perhaps tomorrow they won’t have to worry quite so much. I’m not sure I’ll wear Barkith all day on Sunday, but I do intend to show her off some. The sling design we agreed upon will make it easy to peace-tie her in place, I’ll need to take only one or two zip-ties with us, and once we pick up the sling, go out to the van and secure it all together.
Anyway, another trip out to Funwagon™ for me, to secure Barkith away. Let me tell you, while we parked pretty close to the gate, all these trips out of the forest to the van were getting mighty tedious! Especially on a sore ankle, which was swelling quite nicely, thank you very much!
Once I got back, My Lovely Bride™ and I made our way over to the Shakespeare Stage, hoping to catch Adam the Baudy Juggler’s 1:30 pm show. We figured we were ridiculously late, but in fact the show had not yet begun, and as luck would have it there was an open bale of straw in the back for us to sit on, even. We caught most of his show, but towards the end I was growing tired and not a little sore, so we decided now would be a good time to go home. On the way we picked me up a new leather-and-fur pouch from Wolf Den Leathers (their website isn’t up and running quite yet), to replace my aging fox-pouch, and stopped back by Rose and Thorn Leather so they could show Karen how to get me in and out of my armor.
Upon our return to Funwagon, off came the armor, which is when we discovered that dyed leather bleeds really badly, and my once-white poet’s shirt absorbs leather dye equally well. Oops. I will try to bleach the hell out of the shirt, but I think it’s a lost cause at this point. I’ll probably give it to Karen to see if she can dye it black or navy, something that will cover the stains, and if she can’t I guess I’ll just need to find a new shirt. No big deal. Luckily I have a black poet’s shirt I can wear on Sunday, under the armor. Oh, yes, I’ll be wearing the armor (which I am jokingly calling my “+5 Leather Armor of Heatstroke”, until I can find a more appropriate name) again tomorrow, and with any luck, Barkith as well! It’s going to be an epic last day at Canterbury for 2013!
So this day went a lot better than Saturday began. Got to Faire without any hassles on the way, even got there a bit early, and thus got an awesome parking space! My Lovely Bride™ wore the white split-sleeve chemise and navy skirt she got from Bodice Goddess the day before, in addition to a very nice blue and gold corset. This time she wore her boots as opposed to the slippers she wore the day before, giving her a lot better footing and ankle protection. I, on the other hand, wore pretty much all black. Black corsair hat with multicolored feathered plumage, black poet’s shirt, black pants, black buckle belt with regular accessories, black boots, and of course the new leather armor. Good thing we were in the forest, I would have baked in the sun were it not for the trees!
Upon arrival we stopped in at Flying Skwirl and Leather Mystics to say hello, then headed over to Antler and Herb to pick up the sling for my axe, Barkith. The sling wasn’t quite ready yet, so we took a walk around the village, picked up some drinks, and greeted a few vendors along the way. Eventually we made it back to Antler and Herb, who had just finished with the sling, so I went and retrieved Barkith from the Funwagon™. The staff at Canterbury were very understanding when I told them I would be bringing the axe in without being peace-tied (as I needed the sling to peace-tie the axe). In rather short order I had a really nice sling set-up for Barkith, which allows me to carry her on my left side, upside-down, basically strapped to my side with the weight all carried on the right shoulder. I wish I had a picture of me carrying the axe in the sling, alas, with so many others taking pictures of me, Karen and I totally forgot to get a few for our own use! (UPDATE: Floyd and Edith from Black Hart Leather/Antler and Herb sent me a couple of pictures they took of me in armor with my axe Barkith in her sling, these have been added to the Gallery.)
Once we got the sling all taken care of, Karen and I spent some time enjoying Adam the Baudy Juggler’s first performance of the day, skipped the jousting afterwards (it was way too crowded to have seen much, anyway), and instead dropped by Oberon’s Three Penny Tavern for an ale. Well I had an ale, anyway, Karen instead drank her water and people-watched. When we were done we spent some time at The Clay Goddess and Gaean Allusions Pottery, then headed to the front gate to find our friends Dominique, Mike and Anya arriving. Usually we bring a rather large crowd of friends and family with us to at least one day of Canterbury, but most of our group weren’t available. But it was still nice to have Dominique, Mike and Anya come today. We took another pass through the village with our friends, and after they picked up some food (Karen and I weren’t eating, being strapped into a corset and man-corset, so to speak), we all went over to watch Adam the Baudy Juggler’s second performance of the day.
Which brings to mind a question: Why do parents bring their kids to Adam’s show, let alone park them in the very front? He makes it clear the show is adult in nature, there is cursing, dirty jokes, etc, and yet every single show you have kids right up front. Worse yet, those kids won’t shut the hell up, and the parents do nothing to quiet their crotch-fruit. Why? I know they are probably used to parking their kids in front of the TV all day, rather than actually deal with their children, but a RenFaire isn’t the Boob-Tube. Moreover, Adam’s show isn’t the RenFaire equivalent of Spongebob Squarepants. So in the end at every show Adam ends up dealing with several pre-pubescent hecklers, and while he riffs on them fairly well, it gets old after a while. So don’t be that parent. If you are at a RenFaire and come across a “baudy” performer like Adam, take your children to the family-friendly entertainment instead. Seriously.
But I digress.
After the show we finished our pass through the village with our friends, picked up a few more doodads along the way, and then bid a fond farewell to our friends. It was 3pm at this point, they were looking to spend some cash, and at this point we just wanted to go home. After so many hours mostly on our feet, and completely strapped down in a corset or armor, it was time to leave Canterbury for the year. But on the way out we spoke with the lady who runs the Faire and offered our thanks for such a wonderful show.
Only 11.5 months until Canterbury 2014!