This past Saturday, The Heather and I took our annual road trip to Carver, MA to engage in the frivolity and general silliness of the Ren Faire. For a while, The Heather wasn't sure she'd be able to make the trip. This, I will not lie, bummed me out a little. The Man selflessly volunteered to take her place should the need arise. He had only two conditions:
1. I buy him at least one yard o' beer upon our arrival.
2. He didn't have to wear any stupid tights.
And while I found his offer to be incredibly sweet, I told him that I would never make him go to the Ren Faire because, tights or no, it would be the absolute furthest thing away from his thing that one could possibly get.
(Quasi Related Side Note and Question: The Man asked me yesterday to go to a Queensrÿche concert with him at the end of October and I said no because me at a heavy metal concert would be like him at a ren faire. Not my thing. But am I obligated to go because he offered to go to the ren faire with me? What do you think?)
But the ren faire is my thing. And it is The Heather's thing. So we went. We arrived very early because I maybe drove a little too fast. Honestly, I didn't even realize my car was capable of doing ninety. I'm going to blame Joan. Joan is my new GPS unit. Yes, I know it's probably weird to have named one's GPS unit but there's a story behind that. Another much longer road trip involving me, The Heather and The Man and the somewhat bitchy GPS unit that came with our rental car. If my GPS's voice had been male, I would've named it Timmy. That last sentence is making The Heather laugh very hard somewhere. If The Man reads this, it'll make him roll his eyes and renew his vow to never take a road trip with The Heather and me ever again.
Oh hey look at that. I'm digressing again. Let's see if I can't get back on track, shall we?
However it happened (it certainly couldn't have had anything to do with my excessive speeding), we ended up arriving at the faire before the faire actually opened. This was a first for us because we're never there before the gates open. We stood outside with the diehards in costume. The Heather and I have never gone to the faire in costume. We've discussed it before but we've never actually done it. Last year, we went to the corset shop where the sales girl went out of her way to tell me what nice breasts I have. Then, when I refused to try any corsets on, she talked The Heather into it and then proceeded to stick her hand down The Heather's shirt to— you know what? I don't even know what. We decided this year that The Heather would demand a turkey leg and a yard o' beer before groping would be allowed.
We have standards, after all.
Our first stop this year was the first of the weaponry stalls because I have what is possibly an unhealthy obsession with medieval weaponry. I love swords and daggers and can't wait to have a double bladed battle axe to hang on my wall. We went to Sabersmith first because, as we discovered, one of the advantages of getting to the faire before it opens is that one can actually go into the Sabersmith shop and move around because there's no one else there. I love going there. They make such beautiful weapons. I want to buy a matching pair of short swords from them at some point. Maybe after I publish my first book I shall treat myself.
(But that, as we all know, is a long way off because I am, as ever, me and can't get out of my own way.)
So we touched the swords and axes and the war hammers because if you're over eighteen, you're encouraged to do that. Then we found the mace you see The Heather holding in the picture above and on the left. I thought about buying it and taking it to The Store with me. I could keep it on my work station. I bet the chicanery would come to a screeching halt then, wouldn't it?
After our first visit to Sabersmith, we decided to stalk Jacques Ze Whipper for a while. We first saw his show last year and his was the first show I looked for on the schedule this year. He's hot, good with whips and pretty damn funny to boot. A triple threat.
We watched the jugglers from Bristol, CT (Juggle This!). They're very funny, very sarcastic performers. The Heather and I laughed so hard that we were attracting stares from people sitting near us. They were the same kind of stares we always get from The Man whenever we go see funny movies together.
(funny quasi related side note: on a dinner date with The Heather and her soon-to-be husband, The Heather and I were amusing ourselves per usual, resulting in some hysterical laughter. The Fiancé looked at The Man and asked, "Are they always like this?" and, without missing a beat, The Man responded, "sometimes they're drunk.")
We hit the tourney field after that and watched the knights of the kingdom engage in a totally not at all rigged joust. We sat in Sir Joseph's section and cheered our knight on without fail. Even when he took a dive after a non hit. Sir James, the resident evil knight, won. He won again when we came back for the second tourney show of the day. I guess it pays to be evil.
After lunch, we stalked the faire employees, looking for the kilt wearing Brad Pitt lookalike who works in the Gaming Glen. When we found him (Huzzah!), we did our best not to look like creepy stalker chicks while watching him work the children's rides. I like to think we were rather successful. So successful, in fact, that he didn't even notice our ogling when he went over to the scantily clad belly dancer girl trying to test of strength game where you use a mallet to try and get a thingamajig to hit a bell.
Which explains why the next stop was the second weapons place where we tried to pick up a war hammer that was so heavy, I could barely pick it up with both hands. Neither could The Heather. We amused the Japanese tourists standing nearby and then guffawed at the big strong man who came along right after us and picked up said war hammer with one hand.
This did not make us feel inferior at all.
We went back to Sabersmith after that where I did something I have never done at any of my previous ren faire visits. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook or, hell, even Google+, you'll already know what I did.
That's right. A super shiny, super sharp, battle ready dagger. It's so pretty. I know it wasn't a double bladed battle axe but the axe (the one I could actually lift) cost $350. The dagger cost less.
Of course, they were out of scabbards so my dagger's blade came specially wrapped in bubble wrap and I had to store it in my backpack instead of wearing it on my hip. Still, it was damn cool and made me incredibly (and probably pathetically so) giddy.
After that, we went back to stalking Jacques Ze Whipper. In the afternoon, he does a show with another performer called the Torture Vs. Whip show. It's one of the few shows that actually comes with a PG-13 rating. At the ren faire, you often hear a lot of bawdy things followed by the employees saying, "Parents, if the kids get the jokes, it's not our fault!" and then see parents herding their youngsters in the opposite direction. We heard it so much, The Heather asked the Sabersmith guys if it was in the employee handbook or something. It isn't. They just like to say it.
They said it a lot at the Torture Vs. Whip show. But the show was hysterical and involved the torture guy doing some fire eating and then some fire breathing (Kids, definitely don't try this at home. Go to the neighbor's house instead...). It was all very impressive. It makes you wonder how one discovers a talent for such things.
We left the faire shortly after that and went into Boston for our now annual pilgrimage to Mike's Pastry. If you're ever in Boston's north end, find your way to Hanover street and go to this bakery. Sure, there's always a line that goes out the door and to the end of the block, but it moves fast and the wait is well worth it. I'm partial to the black and white cookie. The Heather loves the cannolis.
We took the train back to the car along with everyone who had gone to Fenway that night to watch the Red Sox lose (again) to the Tampa Bay Rays (this irritates me more than I can tell you). This means we were packed in like sardines. Really, really crowded sardines. The Heather and I talked to a couple on vacation from Myrtle Beach. The wife told me she thought New England was too cold. I told her The Man would agree with her.
Eventually we made it back to the car and back to New Hampshire. I ended up getting home a little after 11pm and found The Man in bed, right where I had left him that morning. I told him all about my new dagger. It turns out he already knew because he saw it on Google+. I told him how awesome it was. How beautifully crafted and shiny and sharp.
"It's battle ready!" I said. "Like, actually, battle ready. I could actually stab someone with it."
(Important note: I will most definitely NOT be doing this.)
"Fantastic," The Man said.