So Friday afternoon I did an about-face and called Mistress Halla of Mugmort to see if I could still go to Urbana, Illinois with her for the SCA Middle Kingdom’s Fall Crown Tourney.  Being the kind and generous person she is, she said of course! 🙂

She picked me up a couple of hours later and then we went to get Baron Vorlin up in Dublin and filled the tank with gasoline.  By this time it was rush hour and the traffic was pretty much a nightmare.  Nonetheless we finally made it to I-70 West and we were on our way!

A stop de rigeur at Cracker Barrel in Richmond, Indiana marked the only punctuation in the forward rush of events.  When we got to Urbana, we dropped Vorlin off at Motel 6 and went across the street to the Eastland Suites, where Halle had stayed last year in just a room. But this time she was given a suite without even requesting one!

Which was great since we were sharing with those lovely Michigan ladies, Finnguala Ingen Ui HAirt (Finn for short) and Kestrel, mka Nancy LaMonica-Barton, whose titles, if any, I don’t know, so please forgive their omission.  In fact, from here on out I’m not using anyone’s title!!  So sue me!!

The way things shook out in the suite, I got dibs on the fold-out couch in the living room, so I had a room to myself.  Talk about living it up…

We went down to the bar to see what other SCA folks had rolled in, and I got to meet Pat Savelli, a member of the band Bardic Storm, which Finn and Halla are also in.  Actually, I met so many folks over the weekend that you’ll have to forgive me for forgetting the names of almost all of them.  But there is a specific reason that I remember Pat’s:  because he won the Tournament! 🙂

This means that he and his lovely consort Isolde are now Prince and Princess of the Kingdom and will become King and Queen next spring.  [Any errors about SCA stuff are due to my being a newbie–having just joined in September– and thus forgivably ignorant, to be remedied in time, one does hope!]  Here they are in the after-combat procession waiting to be recognized by King Edmund and Queen Kateryn, with the glow of success on their faces:

Prince William of Fairhaven and Princess Isolde, October 15, 2016, photo: Finnguala Ingen Ui HAirt

Saturday passed in a blur of excitement and over-stimulation.  Memorable moments:  the processional, during which the combatants boasted to the reigning King Edmund and Queen Kateryn of the wonderful qualities of their consorts–delightful!.  The Arts & Sciences display and Derby Competition–it was hard to decide who to vote for! Hanging out in the back of the huge wood-paneled room at the Illini Union in leather padded chairs and couches with the other musicians, especially the harpist Michael Breddelwyn Peterson, who also entertained us at Feast.  Having a wonderful time at Feast with Feast gear provided to me, once again, by Slany Bean Uillic, whose parents live in Urbana and who I got to meet there.

More memories:  Bardic Circle with John of Inchingham, during which a number of folks sang songs, made jests, and told tales–I contributed an a capella version of “Cruel Sister,” in a bad key for my voice, unfortunately (right at the break, which other singers will understand)–some of the others noted that they knew the song by the title “Two Sisters” and also in different variants either of tune or of words, which I found interesting.  Buying a length of fabric to make a new carry-all bag from Lucretia, who also braided Halla’s hair, which is longer than waist-length, in an ingenious pattern of braids woven together with thread.  Which threads I had to track down and nip apart without cutting any of Halla’s hair in the process, on Sunday morning. 🙂

And of course, the feting of the new Prince and Princess, both at Court and then afterwards at the hotel.  I brought my psaltery down to the bar and played a bit.  It was made for me when I was 17 and studying lute with the New York Pro Musica by a 12-year-old girl named Liz (last name forgotten, sadly) and which still bears the original strings, still sounding enchanting almost 50 years later!  Finn brought her bodhran down and played and sang several songs, including “Raggle-Taggle Gypsies,” a song I used to play and sing with my Celtic harp.  But we were pretty much drowned-out in the hub-bub and cheerfully desisted from playing, in order to imbibe. 🙂

Speaking of harps, though, I gave mine to my niece Kaleigh this summer because it had gotten too painful to play due to my arthritic hands and fingers.  But I found one on the Sylvia Woods Harp Center site (I love Sylvia Woods!) that is strung with lightweight tension and has a delightful name:  the Harpsicle. 🙂  And I ordered one, in purple!!

Purple Harpsicle, 26-string lap harp

[Non-harp players please ignore the following paragraph.  LOL.]  I got the least expensive one with no sharping levers, which Lady Amelia Hawkins Penner, the most excellent harpist and longtime RenFest performing friend of mine, who is also a pedal harpist, thinks is a mistake, that I should get levers at least on the F’s and the B’s.  But I spoke with Sylvia Woods about this, and she said that the tuning pegs would withstand lots of re-tuning, so I will simply re-tune for different keys.

Back to my general public–hahahaha!  Don’t you just LOVE the purple?!?!?

So here are a few photos from Midrealm’s 2016 Fall Crown Tourney.  I invite the photographers of same to let me know who I should be crediting, because I only know the photos taken by Finnguala Ingen Ui HAirt, affectionately known as Finn.

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As you can tell, I didn’t watch too much of the actual fighting!  But I did watch a couple of bouts in which my Shire-mate Robert Gratton aka Alric of the Mists took part and also, of course, the Finals which Patrick Savelli won, to become Prince.  I had hoped to see the lovely and martial Vukasin of Lozengia fight, but didn’t manage to catch her, although I did see her afterwards all sweaty (her, not me) in the hallway.  There was just so much going on that it was impossible to figure out who was doing what and when….  But here are some photos of Vukasin and her real-life husband Jesse Weber, aka Cellach MacChormach:

They are two of my favorite people in our shire, the Marche of Tirnewydd.  But there are so many great SCA people:  I just keep getting to know more and more of them! 🙂  And many of them, in the days since Fall Crown Tourney 2016, have said that it was the best one ever.

Let’s hear it for Living the Dream!