Justin du Coeur (jducoeur) wrote,
Justin du Coeur
jducoeur

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Diary Update, including Coronation

I'm in the middle of one of those somewhat excessive stretches -- I'm out for 13 nights running. That, plus lack of sleep, is definitely eating into my good mood. Need to see if I can avoid this turning into a genuine relapse of the depression. In the meantime, though, a quick update of what's been going on.

In general, we've been rethinking assumptions. Having decided that we really need to move, going abroad is looking pretty foolish as a plan -- Australia is way more expensive than we can afford, and even Glasgow is far from cheap. So we're reconsidering Pennsic as an option for this year. Fortunately, we've done it enough times that we can do it with relatively modest planning and prep, so it shouldn't distract us *too* much from the more important stuff. Nothing definite yet, but we're exploring the idea.

Last Wednesday was dance practice. Mara was off somewhere sunny, so I ran things. That was a generally good time -- indeed, probably the best single day I've had all year. Once again, I'm reminded that, while running dance practice week in and week out tires me out after a while, doing it every now and then is a lot of fun. Along the way, I had lunch with ladysprite and dinner with Aaron, so it was a nicely social day as well. I need more of that.

Thursday was Lodge of Exemplification. This is one of those Masonic customs: once a year, the entire district gets together, and the various Lodges show that they have some clue as to the ritual. This year was the Third Degree (the complicated one) -- basically, we run all the way through the ritual once, with the Grand Lecturer assisting and correcting, and switching which Lodge is in charge every ten minutes or so.

The evening started badly for me. Traffic was miserable, and by the time I got there at 6:30 (dinner having started at 6pm), they had almost completely run out of food. So dinner for me consisted of plentiful but uninspiring rice pilaf.

We started out the exemplification -- for reasons beyond the ken of man, they put Hammatt Ocean on the opening of the Lodge. It was a real waste of talent: while I may complain from time to time, we're far and away the best ritualists in the district. So we got through our section with aplomb, and then sat through everyone else doing their bits. Well, mostly -- you have to stay in your seat until someone relieves you. As Senior Warden, I was only in for the one section -- most SW's show up -- but our Junior Deacon was in for half the night, since only two showed up. Fortunately, he's learning well, and handled himself with aplomb.

That was less painful than I expected, but still not exactly fun -- a lot of people really don't know their stuff. Which is particularly depressing, because most of the Lodges had a pretty good clue which sections they were going to be doing: that's officially against the rules, but it's a rule that is widely flouted. I have to say, when they hand you the answers to the test and you *still* can't deal with it, you need to rethink how you're doing things.

Friday was driving down to NJ for Coronation, so no real date. (Roy Rogers does *not* count.) We were crashing at Dad's house, so we got to chat with them for a few minutes, which was pleasant. I do have to remember to ask Dad if he can find a new mattress for my room, though -- the last time they replaced it, they got one of those fancy mattresses that is as hard as a rock. msmemory are partial to the soft and cushy, so I never sleep well on that bed.

Anyway, Saturday was Coronation. It was a generally good event, albeit with a few flaws. The biggest problem was the hall -- they held court in the gym, which had truly terrible acoustics, so it was one of those courts where we had to stop and shush everyone fairly frequently. Unless people were being very quiet, even those of us in the front row could barely hear what was going on.

That said, it was a good court. There were four Laurels and a Pelican made. The most notable for me was the Pelican for Lyle Fitzwilliam, who I've known for almost as long as I've been in the SCA and who has always been one of the models of quiet and competent service. (I've always thought of him as the face of Bergental.) Also, there was a Laurel for Duke Ronald, for his work in getting armoring going in the southern half of the Kingdom. msmemory got a King's Cypher, and alethea_eastrid a Queen's Cypher and a QoC, for their hard work for the reign. (Fergus and Eleanor also got Cyphers, but I don't know which flavor.)

The Peerage ceremonies did illustrate the tension between period and modern tastes. Duchess Roxane spoke for three of the candidates, and her speeches were exemplars of how such a speech probably would have worked in period: that is, each one started with 1-2 *pages* of sucking up to the King. Part of me really admired the experiment, because it really sounded right. But fairly predictably, it mostly provoked giggles in the SCA crowd. I'm glad to see it tried, but I don't think it really works in our context as currently constructed.

The transition itself was an unique mix of the sublime and silly. Kelson and Geneviere entered in truly fine pomp, positively ecclesiastical: with a procession of monks, complete with censer and hymn, all dressed in somber black and white robes. They came up to the thrones, unhooded, and dressed down "the kids" for playing King and Queen while their parents were away. Thorson and Svava proceeded to throw a truly magnificent temper tantrum (complete with Thorson jumping up and down), and were grounded and sent to their rooms. The new King and Queen took off their robes, showing off their really gorgeous new Coronation garb, including Kelson's short-short doublet -- it appears that, with his legs having become fairly legendary, he might as well revel in it.

Since jdulac was unable to be there, I dealt with the Charter and Rose. This is a stipulation of the Carolingian Charter: at Coronation, the King must be presented with a copy of the Charter, and a rose to give to his Queen. It's a very period type of tradition, known as a "jocular tenure" IIRC, and rather fun. jdulac, characteristically, wanted it done properly, so I came in bedecked in heraldic livery while Their Majesties were sitting in state. Heraldry may not be my calling, but it's a fun change of pace.

The site was thoroughly mundane -- an ordinary high school -- but they made good use of the space, with enough room for everything. The dayboard was excellent, even by our standards (comparable to msmemory's legendary dayboard for Rapier Champions). There was a very high quality arts display, in which people were encouraged to vote for their favorite item. (I voted for the really lovely Charter of the Narrowworker's Guild, but it was a hard decision.)

I got distracted for an hour or two into the dance class, which was where Arabella's car had of course wound up. This was a good time: the dancemaster of Settmour Swamp was teaching Newcastle, and we helped him work through some of the rough bits. Then I wound up dance-geeking with him and the dancemistress of Iron Bog for a while. Always good to get to know folks in the field.

Once First Court was done, we headed over to the hotel where Their Now-Excellencies were staying. We stopped in the mall next door and had dinner at Tuesday's, getting our weekly date in a day late, then went up to the party. This was actually pretty mellow, but very liquid -- they have accumulated a *lot* of alcohol over the course of the reign, and Fergus had a bottle of Michel Couvreur, the finest Scotch I know. So we sipped and sampled, listened to stories of the reign, and got sent away with a considerable amount of booze.

The core of today was spent driving home and getting settled in again.

Upcoming:

Tonight: a meeting of guild and activity heads, to prep for the demo.
Tomorrow: Council
Tuesday: Accademia
Wednesday: Dance practice
Thursday: Moons meeting
Friday: Date
Saturday: The Big Demo, and hfcougar's birthday party
Sunday: chaiya's wedding
Monday: Lodge
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