Reviewed by Peregrine Fairchylde
For the Pennsic Independent
To merely hold in your hands The Thorned Rose, the book of sonnets by Master Michael McPhe (called Alewright), is a delight. Hand-bound on fine paper, printed in a typeface that recalls its 16th century counterparts and decorated with bold block prints, the small volume of some 70 pages is a pleasure to behold.
Yet what lies within its covers is the truest treat, as Alewright’s poetry stands as testament to the wisdom of the Crown of Æthelmearc in elevating him to the Order of the Laurel.
Subtitled “A Booke of Sonnetes,” The Thorned Rose is dedicated primarily to the Shakespearean form (let’s review: 14 lines, rhymed ABAB CDCD EFEF GG), but departs from it occasionally to indulge the reader with variations on that style, as well as “sundrie pleasing posie and songs.” And these works are truly an indulgence for the reader, displaying a breadth of talent that ranges from formal sonnets to sparkling wit, humor and whimsy, and gratifying examples of applying the art to the spirit of the Society’s recreation of the Middle Ages with odes and memorial works reflecting the poet’s perception of significant events and persons.
Love, naturally, is the common thread among many of the poems, and Alewright approaches this universal virtue from many angles, sneaking up behind it at times, so the reader doesn’t have to suffer through Yet Another Sonnet About My Love. (That said, his own paean to his lady, Katherine Sinclaire, is unabashedly sentimental, yet sublime and not at all saccharine.)
Take, for example, “A lover complains of the coldnesse of his beloved.” Here Alewright, after a dozen lines of the narrator repudiating his lover, subtly lays his finger on the complexity of true affection when he resolves in the final couplet, “And yet, I know I cannot wander far/I am your slave, and you, my shining star.”
Alewright’s wit is perhaps best appreciated in the innuendo-laced poem, “In celebration of a marriage.” Here he simultaneously celebrates and satirizes marriage in verse; every line, taken at face value, would seem an essential truth of wedlock: “This pair, a sight to glorify the sun,/Become much more together than apart.” However, such lofty observations are rendered comic by the collective first letters of each line of the poem, which spell out, “A pregnant bride” – and are compounded by the new meanings that revelation applies to his choice of words like “berths,” “great labor,” “swells” and “deliver.” Even after several readings, the poem remains fresh and delightful.
Returning momentarily to the construction of the book itself, it is modeled after a type of volume that could be purchased in the late 16th century – and we know this because Alewright himself tells us, courtesy of a very informative pamphlet included with the book. The binding method uses a laced-in limp paper structure, with a strip of soft goatskin serving to hold the signatures (individual sections) together. The interior paper is a laid imprint, similar to what would have been used in the period, and the text and illustrations, as mentioned, selected to closely mimic what would have been used at the time, as well. For anyone who has ever wondered what good someone’s A&S project would ever lead to, here’s your answer: A handsome and desirable volume that serves to reinforce the illusion of the Middle Ages being recreated here at War and in our home groups.
The Thorned Rose is available in two forms: The hand-bound edition, which costs $35 for the first copy and $25 for the second, and an unbound version for $10. They may be purchased at the stave church of Master John the Artificer. Alewright has also brought his binding equipment to War and is willing to discuss the binding process with those who are interested; he may be found at his camp, the Black Legion, on Fosse Way between Brewers and Battle roads (N17).
Magistra Nicolaa de Bracton
Editor for the Pennsic Independent
Since its debut as a coffeehouse at Pennsic XXXIII, Your Inner Vagabond has quickly become a highlight for many visitors, with its Middle Eastern ambiance, friendly atmosphere, and late hours. According to AJ and Andrew, the world-travelling couple behind YIV, the idea first emerged while they were merchanting during Pennsic XXXII in one of the bazaar spaces. They were set up as a lounge with their pillows and cushions, where they would brew mint tea for their guests. From that came the idea to expand into a full-service coffeehouse. Last year, they had to double in size because of popular demand.
Then the unexpected happened. On Mother’s Day of this year, the garage behind Andrew’s mother’s house where all the coffeehouse equipment and décor was stored was engulfed in flames when a tenant’s motorcycle caught fire.
Interestingly enough, according to AJ and Andrew, “it actually was a few days before we seriously considered not doing Pennsic. The thought just didn’t occur to us at first.” However, when they were unable to get into the garage to assess the damage for several days, they realized that it might not even be possible to replace everything in under three months. Luckily, when they were able to get into the ruins of the garage, they discovered that while only a few benches and some kitchen utensils survived from the coffeehouse itself, most of YIV’s online merchandise (cushions and pillows) was on the other side of the garage and was salvageable.
When news of the fire was posted on AJ and Andrew’s blog, the response was immediate. Over 1000 people visited their website the day after the news was posted, and the helpful and supportive e-mails flooded in. “Right away people wanted to help, and we quickly realized that, much as we hated to admit it, we needed the help,” said AJ and Andrew.
They decided to offer gift certificates to help raise money, and the local SCAdian community donated replacement equipement and helped out during a mid-June building weekend. And last year’s employees have helped them hire staff for this year. “Really, it’s the emotional support that meant more to us than anything. Buying a Gift Certificate didn’t just mean an influx of cash, it really showed us just how much people like YIV and that they believed in us enough to support our return,” said the couple. They added that they did not feel that rebuilding only enough to “make do” was fair to their customers, so they have “bit the bullet” and invested in upgraded equipment where possible to last the Coffeehouse for many years. “We tried to be judicious and realistic, but also do it right.”
If you’ve had a chance to stop by YIV at Pennsic this year, you’ve seen the results of several months of hard work. The atmosphere has returned, and the friendly service and good company seem to be there in abundance as well. Andrew noted on Friday that they had been quite pleased with the business, as well as the continuing expressions of support from the SCA community.
So, you can expect YIV to be a Pennsic fixture in years to come. As for AJ and Andrew, they hope to continue their vagabond lifestyle, perhaps with a visit to India. “Your Inner Vagabond doesn’t really want to settle down just yet. There’s still too big a world out there to not want to see more of it.”
Lost & Found
Reward if Found: Fabric Dragon is not in the merchant booklet this year, but is here somewhere! If found the rewards are special pricing on silk, linen, and wool threads, and other embroidery and beading supplies. Report finding immediately to: everyone
Lost - Kodak digital camera. Please return to L&F. We would really like the pictures of our kids back.
Will the gentle who bought a Pennsic DVD at Poison Pen Press on Friday please return it. We think it is defective.
Andrew MacRobb and his lady Damaris invite all friends to their handfasting on Tuesday, 8/16/06 at 5:00pm at Club Aed on Bye The Way. Dinner Afterwards!
To all Østrgardrians past, present, and future! Come to the 2nd Annual Østgardr Pancake Breakfast 8am-11am Monday, 8/14/06, in E04 Østgardr. Free pancakes for all, donations graciously accepted but not necessary.
Brendoken Citizens and Friends; join us at an Open House and Revel on 8/15 at Brendoken Baronial Camp N03. 7pm until whever. Bring chairs, please!
SILK VEILING, 3.5 & 5mm, 26” wide DRAGON’S MAGIC #25
SCA Road Signs - “Fighter Practice Area,” “ Danger Viking Territory” and many others. Some new andvery silly. Claus the Toymaker, #24
EMBROIDERY SUPPLIES AND MORE: Silk, Wool, and Linen Embroidery threads, Real Gold Spangles and threads, scissors, needles, Frames and Hoops, Kits, and much more...Also pearls and other beads. FABRIC DRAGON, probably in space 191B, Keep looking, we are worth finding!!
MAIDEN MONGOLIA’S Last Pennsic!!! Stop by #72 to say goodbye, tell a story, hear a joke.
Evil Abra’s empire has expanded! New items include sale book selection, the garb annex & 1/2 price clearance corner! Visit the Gypsy Caravan, #107, Street of Gold. Open ‘til 11 pm nightly!
Meet your maker! Buy from your local crafter before they vanish.
Glass jewels with settings, silver jewelry, sculpture, masks, silks, portraits, and custom wood burning. - Cabochons #19
Evil Abra has budget amber! Amber rings from $9.95, amber bracelets from $9.95, amber necklaces from $14.95, amber pendants from $9.95, amber earrings from $7.00! Check out our 1/2 price amber boards! Buy $100 worth & get an extra 10% off if you mention this ad! Visit the Gypsy Caravan, #107 Street of Gold, open ‘til 11:00 pm nightly!
Benefit the chirurgeons - - buy an original Pennsic XXXV T- shirt. $10. Available from Claus of Burzee, #24 Merchants Row.
FOR SALE! 2001 Avenger Utility Trailer, 6’W X 12’ L X 6’H. Great condition! $3000.00. If interested or for more info, contact Lady Marion ferch Llewellyn at Barony of Bhakail. Trailer can be seen on site.
Smoke & Fire Co. Space 78 offers a fine selection of Dutch Oven Cookbooks.
Evil Abra says, “Check your silver prices!” We bought last year when silver was $4 an ounce, folk who restocked before Pennsic paid $12 per ounce - guess whose prices are going to rock!!! Mention this ad for an extra 10% off any purchase of $100 or more! (Bring friends & shop together for the discount!) Visit The Gypsy Caravan, #107 Street of Gold, open ‘til 11:00 pm nightly.
BAD GARB I and BAD GARB II - Now AVAILABLE From Claus the Toymaker - How do you know you are not in them unless you read them?
Custom built elaborate pavillion with matching take down floor. Pavillion and interior custom walls made by Tentsmiths. 16 X 26 round-end, slant-wall marquis with four doors and roof striping. Floor has joist in hauger ribs on a frame held by industrial hinges and 3/4 inch decking. Minimum bid considered $7000.00. Furniture and storage unit not included. See Shauna of Shauna’s Lamp W11
Mention this ad 10% off Silversmith Fine Jewellery custom orders & repairs Cornelius’ Pick Bazaar Z13
Evil Abra has a new garb annex! Someone has to dress the peasants! Garb, pants, skirts, dresses & shirrts in silk, linen and cotton. Very comfy and most is $15 to $20! Mention this ad for an extra 10% off! Visist The Gypsy Caravan, #107 Street of Gold! Open ‘til 11:00 pm nightly!
Need cooler garb? Try a chiton! Costumes by Loren has cloaks, garb, jewellery, gemstones and much more. Home of Materia Alchemia 166 Fleet Street
How much have you spent on your armor? How much have you spent on your garb? How much have you spent on your children? This has been a public service announcement from Claus of Burzee, Toymaker.
Evil Abra says, “You can do research at home - read something fun at Pennsic!” See our vast selection of novels, magickal books & fun subjects. All the books are buy 2 get 1 free all war! Most are 1/2 off cover price as well! Visit the Gypsy Caravan, #107 Street of Gold, open ‘til 11:00 pm nightly.
Bad garb, bad garb, what’cha gonna do? What’ca gonna do when the punchline’s you?
Glass muller & burnishers from England, also nibs, vellum, parchment, and hand bound leather books - The Guild of Limners, #24
HAIR CANVAS! 72” wide. $12/yd at DRAGON’S MAGIC #25
Bad Garb Old Maid cardgame- Yes we have ‘em! - from Claus the Toymaker (Who else?)
ATTENTION WOAD WARRIORS! Feeling a little blue? I have the real thing! Genuine woad imported from Scotland. $4 Limited supply, buy early. Guild of limnes #24
Prithee touch the goat’s coat at Forba’s Yarns, Z-14
12’ Yurt for sale, spot 104, Street of Gold - Armlann.
Panther Regent Pavilion, 16’x16’, excellent condition, sod cloth, hemp ropes and custom features (no poles). $800 or best offer.
Chateau Merdecheval @ Long Way and Chicane Lane (Block N33). Ask for Harley. Pay and take it immediately!
Ink - Oakgall, walnut walnuthull, absolutely perfectly opaque. $4 per bottle Guild of Limners #24
Take My Fabric! Antique satins, solids, some prints. $1/yd. See Moire at the Pennsic Independent.
Panther Pavilion 9’x16’ oval with 6’ walls & fly. See Padraig at Shire of Caer Adamant, N24.
ATTENTION ALL AT PENNSIC! Claus the Toymaker would like to suggest that next year at Pennsic XXXVI that we choose one day and on that day everyone must dress in his medieval clothes and treat Pennsic as if it were an SCA event. Please stop by his toyshop and let him know what you think of his idea.
Looking for luscious linen and scrumptous silk? Barjavel Historic Fabrics at the Silver Dragon Company, #11 Bow street. www.barjaveldesign.com
Sharpening, cleaning, polishing, sheaths made. Cloak & Dagger, space 15, by the showers.
FINE WOOL, SILK, LINEN & notions! Dragon’s Magic 25
THE GUILD OF LIMNERS in the little white house on Merchants Row sells ink, quill pens, books, pigments, various colors, madder, woad, all kinds of paint and tools necessar for scribes and artists.
Vellum - opaline vellum ( sheepskin) direct from England. Finest quality sale price $25 per sheet. The Guild of Limners #24, across from the barn.
CORSET STAYS at excellent prices. DRAGON’S MAGIC #25
Blank Books - hand bound in leather, handmade paper, thick & chunky. $10 - $32 limited supply - Guild of Limners. #24
Youth Fighter Program Daily starting at 8am. Learn how to fight like a knight, loaner gear available, parents must be present for registration. All Kingdoms welcome. Meet on the battlefield.
The 11th Annual Bardic sponsored by House De Londres will be on Tuesday, August 14th at 10pm. Invitations available at De Londres Encampment X05. See Aluric.
Live journal fighter practice on Monday, August 14th, 2:30pm. Sir Ix-Aztecknight invites all those from livejournal.com to join him at the Gold list to meet all.
Weight loss surgery support group meeting. If you have had WLS or are thinking of WLS or wish to support those who have had WLS, come to Budgardr Camp in Block W09 (behind Enchanted Ground), Sunday 4pm.
Sign of the Black Rose Invites the Populace to Join Us In Offering Congratulations to their Artist-In-Residence the Lady S’Avant-Garde, for Her Recent Induction Into the OMICRON DELTA KAPPA National Leadership Honor Society for her work in a landmark program providing Mental Health Counseling to the Deaf. PooBah!
Slavic interest group meeting Aug. 16 2 - 4 pm at Æthelmearc Royal! Come have a lot of Slavic fun!
Bard’s Haven will not hold sing for your supper this year but we be having Celtic bardic on Tues with all the usual gifts, prizes and a special feast.
LIBRARIANS! If you are looking for a position and have a sci/tech background, see Fiadnata or Phillip in Flaming Gryphon camp W07
12 Step Meeting daily 4:00 pm E07 off Great Eastern Highway. Denys the Decadent’s Camp AA NA OA SA all welcome
To all Æthelmearc Chatelaine who are attending Pennsic, we will be having a Chatelaine’s meeting in Æthelmearc Royal on Thursday 8/17/06 at 2-3pm. See you there! Gillian Llywellyn
PNZ LOO ZLQ WKH ZDU EUB QHB QLL
Hail House Nuin, St. Joan’s & Camp Rubber Ducky! War greetings to all! Wish we could be there with you but we ran into some delays on the town run. With much love. Rabhairt & Marja
Bhakail Baronial Court - Tuesday, 7:30pm - Bhakail, N11
Tahtib-Nahboot-Asa-Asaya! If you want these words to mean something to you, come to Mistress Su’ad & Baron Dinsdale’s Egyptian stick dance for men and women! Sunday, 2:30 to 5pm. Middle-eastern A&S tent.
Attention: Swamp Watch for X09, W18, W19, W20, W21, E24, E25, E27, E28, E29, E30 and E31. All camps in these areas are asked to offer support for this initiative. We will be ofering services including road lighting and an assistant service (Nauga Watch). We are seeking donations or loans of oil, manpower, torches, water, batteries, radios and other useful items. Please bring donations and volunteers to Three Swans at the corner of the Causeway and Myfan Way. Let’s keep Pennsic safe!
Michael Z. Williamson signing copies of his novels at Cloak & Dagger, space 15.
Tirnewydd & friends! Wish we were there! Have fun, be safe! Marco & Michelina
TO Everyone: Go Tell Auntie Arwen (Auntie Arwen’s Spices) to drink more WATER. From Fabric Dragon
Evil Abra says, “A good lord is hard to find!” Abra thanks Marius for 24 + years of Love, Support, Hard work and putting up with a madwoman. “you’re the best!” Here’s to 24 more! All my love. ™ Abra
Pink Fuzzy Bunny: We have two hostages 133 Plunder.
Footloose & Fancy Free? A lady is looking for a gentleman with 45-60 years of life’s experiences to help her polish the brass. If interested contact: 330-347-6407.
Gentle Lady of a ceretain age ISO gentle man for conversation/friendship. See Anya of Clan Kyle, Kurdson Way.
Attention Known World - We would like to announce the marriage of Lord David de Londres and Lady Morgain of Lynn. I love you rivers and streams! David
Beware the yurt yakker! Protect your yurt! Evict drunks!
Lady Kiltigern MacClibarn
Hound coursing returned again to Pennsic as a demo on Saturday morning. The coursing began with the Queens in attendance, Morgan of Rye, HRH Æthelmearc; Caia Snowdon, HRH An Tir, and Mary Rose of Burgandy, HRM Atenveldt leading the hounds to the coursing field. The hounds in attendance were three wolfhounds owned by local veterinarian Rozen Maureen O’Cu, a veteran courser and agility contestant and newcomer to the SCA; and two Greyhounds owned by the Æthelmearc Hound Mistress Katla Ulfhedinn. The power of the Irish Wolfhounds was confirmed by the two Queens trying to control one three legged Wolfhound, Erin.
The first dog to course was Valkyrie, a brindle greyhound. Released by Anna Ophelia Tarragon, HRM East, Valkyrie overran the course at the far end as her momentum carried her past the turn and she lost sight of the lure in the grass. The lure was rerouted past her so she could catch sight of it and chase it to the end.
Next up was Erin, a six year old Wolfhound who lost her front right leg to bone cancer in March; now that the cancer is in remission she is back to coursing. She was eager to run but was a bit slower than the greyhound. She was slipped by Tessa the Huntress, HRM Æthelmearc. At the end of her run Erin grabbed the lure happily to make sure it was “dead.” This is the hound’s reward for a job well done and gives them a reason to chase it each time.
Dublin was up next. He is the son of Erin, and was also the largest of the Irish Wolfhounds on site at approximately 40 inches and 135 pounds. Slipped by Moira O’Morchoe, he bounded happily around the course, never reaching his full stride. The 125 yard octagon course was too short for him to reach his top speed. He usually needs 100 yards straight to reach full stride, then room to keep running. So the Irish Wolfhounds were loping along in a bit of a silly manner that was a lot of fun to watch.
The last of the coursers was an Irish Wolfhound puppy, Liadhain – “Lia,” who is still in training. She was allowed to play with the lure before it was moved. At “Tally Ho” she ran immediately to play with Dublin. She was caught and led along the course by Asa Beiskalda, HRM Lochac, following the lure before being released. This time Lia followed it to the end without a problem to the cheers of the crowd.
Lia and Erin were put away to rest for the day as Valkyrie and Dublin took turns coursing a few more times. Claudia Lisabetta Senatori deFirenze, HRM Outlands, Caillin MacKenzie, HRH Calontir, and Mary Grace of Gatland, HRM Gleann Abhann each took a turn at releasing Valkyrie. Dublin was slipped by Xorazne Artzruni, HRM Calontir.
However Erin was so eager to run that her owner gave in and let her course one more time. Mary of Carrigant, HRM Northshield slipped Erin, who ran along smoothly and bit the bag at the end to the laughter and cheers of the crowd.
Also in attendance was the greyhound Txikurra (pronounced Secoura) who is a retired SCA courser at age eight because of a pulled hamstring and some old age related ailments. She still enjoys the attention and atmosphere of events.
All dogs are welcome to join in SCA canine activities; however due to the limited access allowed to the dogs at Pennsic, only local dogs were in attendance and these happened to all be hounds. All dogs are checked before and after coursing for injuries. Dewclaw injuries and rope burns caused by the lure rope are the most common injuries incurred. Taping a dog’s leg can help protect them from injury.
Æthelmearc has included in their canine activites tunnel work for terriers using portable tunnels and would like to start agility coursing using natural-looking obstacles. They are also offering dog classes this year: Viking dogs, Then and Now, taught by Katla Ulfhedinn; Pooffy Dogs: Lap dogs in History, by Ashraf, and a Known World Canine Meeting led by Katla Ulfhedinn.