Oh my actual gosh we love Maryland Ren Fayre so much. We got there early and in time for a little wander about the stalls, and then we met the amazing Diane Gabaldon, the author of the ‘Outlander’ series. Now I, as a member of the ‘off grid’ community, floating about in my boat with no access to television, let alone what they like to call the ‘Ethernet’ (imagine my uncontrollable excitement when I get to to come to the States and experience wifi at regular intervals) don’t often get to see what is trending in the world of the ‘television series’ and so I am unfamiliar with this – as it would so happen – extraordinarily popular TV series available on The Netflicks/Netflix? (Call me old fashioned/mediaeval). Anyway we met with the lovely authoress Diane and, of course had pictures etc the. she went on stage to helm a very popular question and answer session, and happily we were honoured to open this by singing our version of ‘The Skye Boat song’ as well as our beloved ‘Auld Lang Syne’. There were so many people there and we were so thrilled to see everyone and hoped that we would see them at our shows over the course of the rest of the day.
Set number one arrived and we were ready to go, we were greeted by so many new and so many familiar faces, it’s like we were here just last week, not two years ago! And now at our stage ‘The Blackfriars Stage’ we have two exciting new neighbours, firstly we have the ponies who are our immediate neigggghhhhhbours (see what I did there) and secondly we are close enough, JUST close enough to ‘The Wheel of Death’. I can’t really explain this enormous contraption but it’s like a man running about inside and outside of a full size human scale hamster wheel which is on the end of a long counterbalanced arm. I shall insrt photograph here to save anyone misinterpreting this particular image.
Not the best pic but he moves SO FAST!
Anyway this happened betwixt our sets which was a regular treat indeed.
As usual after each set we take our seats and do the signings and meet all of our lovely fans old and new, we love meeting everyone and after getting to have a we sit down after getting a little warm and glowy. This weather is quite amazing for Autumn! We met a trio of fans who had driven all the way from Canada, we saw many of our dear friends that we see each time we come here. The lovely Steve showered us once again with beautiful metal coloured roses, and Katharine was given a gorgeous hand drawn picture by a lovely lady fan (who had to be coerced into ha img it to her by her equally lovely sister) gifts galore and many reunions with all of you wonderful people. Thank you.
As part of being here we undertook our oft awaited obligatory search for mediaeval goodies. Obviously I was keen to get out from backstage and purchase something sweet and delicious On a stick, this year I opted for the Key Lime Pie on a stick which was extremely satisfying and Clarey, (after seeing a fan in the signing queue eating a very tempting brownie sundae) went in search for the brownie sundae joy. She was not disappointed. And of course, we did the usual search for headdresses. How we love to get ourselves new and exciting headdresses, and so Anna and Sophie were the first to purchase said item. This then sent me into a turmoil of headdress envy and so after the fifth set of the weekend Clarey and I went off to find Rosies Posies and thus a new look was born. On day one we did, after devouring sweet sugary goodnesses on a stick, head to the hat shop and tried on many a varying look. Emily was convinced that we should adopt a new ‘Queen of hearts’ style headpiece each but this was fleeting and was good for a photo opportunity only.
We sang and danced and enjoyed every second of each set, we had monks a prancing and ladies at the front jigging away and on the last and final set (which we were very sad to end this weekend of shows) something new and exciting happened, the knob of my hurry gurdy came off, in my hand. Now this was especially unnerving because just the day before, as we were signing, a gentlemen, a fellow gurdy gurdy player approached me and said I shouldn’t hold said knob with my fingertips because it looks like I don’t know how to play it. I mean, I’ve been playing this little beast for some years now , but I politely listened and thus was told to Hold it in the palm of my hand. Now there is a reason I hold it like I do, and it is too complicated to explain, but I will say if I don’t hold it like that then the arm gets caught on the little nuts at the end of the strings and the it won’t turn, yes fascinating stuff I hear you cry. Anyway after doing as he suggested the entire thing, DURING Ecce Mundi Gaudium came off in my hand and that was that for the hurdy gurdy. She’s all good now you’ll be pleased to hear but that happened and I feel a bit like I might’ve been doing it ok in the first place perhaps?
Each day of the Fayre was ended by being scooped up by our gallant and trusty friends Keith and Don, and we were swiftly taken to the bar and made to drink beer and ales, we found ourselves a table (well I say table, what they spare are planks of wood designed only for the resting of a pint of beer, NO FOOD) – insert photo off thin table.
On day one we were also treated to the lovely company of Matthew and his lovely lady wife, who after hearing various woes, Matthew purchased a bottle of wishes. It was something to do with a dragon and its lucky wishing scales and was bought from a young chap with a questionable accent, but was doing his bit for the touting of such wares. The bottle has old snakes skin inside and if you rip off a scale and rub it on your temples and make a wish then overnight it apparently comes true. So Matthew purchased the item and gave it to Clarey. What a super gentleman. We shall see if it worked in due course!
Keith and Don as usual our fantastic Maryland treasures guided us down to the slides on day two and much hilarity was had on the actually quite scary slides. We managed to get ourselves a free ride by singing Love Me Broughte to the slide guardian lady and off we zoomed down the wobbly wooden dragon spine on our respective magic carpets. Once at the bottom we looked up to find our princess Sophie all harnessed up and ready to climb up the climbing castle. As she is rather familiar with such turreted structures she zoomed up there like a little rocket, but alas, after much clinging on – the man dressed as spider man said it was the longest grip hold he’d seen all weekend, Go Sophie – she did alas succumb to the harness and swung her way to the ground, this happened twice, so very very close! Anna then had a secret go that she wouldn’t let us watch, but I just say, wearing a dress and popping on a harness is not a bad look for nappy-chic. Go girls.
And here we are on our Sunday night. We found ourselves in Annapolos, outside on the harbour eating Caribbean food and drinking Caribbean drinks and we witnessed the lunar eclipse from our stunning outdoor viewing platform. What a very very special thing indeed and we were so happy to be there looking at that big old moon having a little holiday from us for a little while. When she came back she was all red and it was exquisite. On she trucks, that good old nature. And we were delighted to be there, and here and together in Annapolis.
Thank you once again Maryland and Carolyn and Chris for looking after us, we had a blast and we can’t wait to come back againxxxx
Oh and during the eclipse, Clarey, clearly affected by the moon, whipped out her Patrick Moore impression, which sound man Joe still – 12 hours later – cannot erase from his mind.