Here there be dragons...

"I'm telling you stories. Trust me." - Winterson

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone - Walsch

So today I entered an alternate reality. It started with me driving through McDonald's for hot chocolate this am and finding a farmer's market. Seriously. In Oakville. For those who've not had the pleasure, Oakville is the epitome of suburban yuppie-ville. I can say that with the prerogative of one who grew up here >;-P Review my post about pilates class if you have any doubts *g*

So a farmer's market appearing was disconcerting to say the least. Not a bad thing, just a surprise.

Anyways - armed with hot chocolate, I set out on the highway daydreaming and rockin' out all the way.  Turns out I *never* take that particular highway and was enjoying it a whole lot more than my usual highway drives.  I particularly enjoyed the graffiti on the overpasses (no I'm actually not kidding - was friendly, cheerful, Canadian graffiti.  The first one said "Don't worry."  The next one?  You guessed it: "Be happy." :)

Classic Canadian Graffiti
When I got off the highway I was following directions and every time my lane disappeared and would've been really awkward, it turned out I was supposed to exit where my lane ended.  Happened three times.  Very cool.  Somewhat surreal, but very cool.

And then I found where ferris wheels go to die.  Seriously.  Let's have a moment of silence.

Hauntingly eerie
But eventually I made it where I was going.  So, ummmm what exactly was I up to?

Well you see, several weeks ago I saw a video on Facebook that one of my friends posted of her learning to fight with medieval-esque armour and weapons.  So I asked her about it.  Well she's actively involved with the Society for Creative Anachronism, and she invited me to come see what it was about.

Okay - stay with me here.  First - to put in perspective how welcoming this was of her -- this is a girl I went to high school with, that I haven't seen since then.  And yet she totally encouraged me to come and even offered me clothes :)  Since it's not the first time connecting with a high school friend via Facebook has led to good things, I was reasonably okay with that concept.  Pretty cool of her though -- she doesn't know me any more than I know her; I could've really ruined her day.  Although I hope I didn't! :)

Lend me a dress...  Hmmmm.  I both read and write copious amounts of fantasy, but in reality I'm pretty firmly grounded.  Even my XC colours are pretty tame.  And while I absolutely love getting dressed up for formal events; it almost never happens these days.  So I actually can't remember the last time I wore a dress and it's been even longer since I wore any sort of costume for anything.  And if I remembered correctly from high school, B was taller than I.  I'd feel really horrible if she loaned me a dress and it dragged on the ground all day!

I've heard of SCA before -- could hardly get through a degree in medieval lit without it. But I've never been to an event or had anything to do with it.  And I have to admit, it's far enough outside my comfort zone that I was somewhat nervous about going.  I have no problem galloping a four-year-old mostly unbroke TB at solid obstacles but dress up and socialize with a large group of people I don't know in an unfamiliar environment?  Yeah, not so high on my priority list.

But...  You're not new here :)   You see "I got up, went to work, came home" just doesn't make for entertaining blog posts.  Well, it my world sometimes it does, but you know what I mean *g*   Basically though, I approach most things with a general "it might be fun, try anything once" attitude.  And once I'd decided, the nerves balanced with excitement and tbh, a fair degree of disbelief.  Even *I* couldn't picture me doing this.

The time and place were set -- I had a cell number and we arranged where to meet.  Before I left that am, I even made an effort to do up my hair all medieval *g*   And by that I mean, two thin braids holding the rest of my hair back.  hahaha but it looked acceptable and didn't involve a scruchy or a headband so I figure it was a reasonable effort.

When I pulled into the parking lot I took a few minutes to check in with the girls covering for me at the barn (thanks Amy and Ashley!  You women are awesome!).  While I did, I saw numerous people coming and going -- all entirely decked out.  Oh dear.  Nerves returned in serious force.  But really, what can you do at that point?  Take a deep breath and walk in.

B was right at the entrance, so that was no problem.  She had two dresses I could pick from and one top that would be worn over jeans -- potentially I'm not the first nervous newbie she's introduced to her hobby :)  But go hard or go home right?  I picked a dress and with the aid of a strategically placed belt was able to keep it from dragging on the ground.  Looking around, I was glad I'd vanished the scrunchy -- all the other women either had their hair done up or covered.

Now most of the time fitting in is pretty low on my priority list, but when I'm completely out of my element, the chameleon factor can provide some false confidence *g*   It didn't help that I'd apparently randomly turned into a clutz too.  So uncoordinated.  Which is not particularly like me, so I wasn't thrilled at that development.  And even when I was dressed in a way that blended with the rest of the crowd, either it's a really close-knit group or my tension still showed because everybody knew I was new *g*

Have to add - I *want* a cape like this next winter.
Everybody was super welcoming though.  They patiently answered my million and eight questions and tolerated my camera-happy tendencies.  The tournament was intense -- I don't know what I was expecting, but the reality was stronger and faster than anything I'd expected.  Chatted with the unofficial official photographer, A, for a while and got an idea for where I could and couldn't go and how/where to be out of the way :)   Felt a lot more comfortable when I knew how not to disturb things *g*

My fav battle shot of the day

Midday we had lunch which was cheap, super tasty, and a huge portion.  Really worth the drive just for that *g*  Snagged it and sat out side watching the tournament while we ate.  Everybody brought their own wooden dishes and utensils.

So I'd been watching the archery on and off all day, but B hadn't brought her stuff and I didn't feel up to just going up to ask if I could play *g*  But then I was talking to another person who said they'd tried it for the first time ever today, which I was definitely jealous of, but it also led me to believe this might be a possibility :)  B had introduced me to somebody earlier and I was chatting with him when his wife mentioned she was going to do some shooting, so I put on my big girl panties and asked her if I could come watch :)

Fortunately for me, instead of being particularly repulsed by being stuck with an impudent visitor who just invited herself along, she seemed eager to share her hobby.  We chatted on the way to the range and then she introduced me to one of the men managing it, who set me up with a loaner bow and arrows, gave me the run down on the range rules, and a lesson on archery 101.

O.M.G. So. Much. Fun!  hahahaha oh dear.  I definitely spent most of the rest of the day shooting.  hahahha I wandered back to the tournament every so often -- especially when they switched weapons or when the only person I'd met who was competing was fighting (he made it to the 2nd-last round).  But I kept getting drawn back.  Ridiculously addictive.  It was crazy windy, but my arrows were almost always straight -- makes me wonder if I'm actually way crooked *g*   I had a hard time judging height -- over and undershot the target a lot *sigh*  Although have to admit I was always amused when it went past the target -- even though that's technically not the goal >;-P   But I was pretty good about steering -- they were almost always centered.  Just not always at the target.  hahaha minor detail.

Note the grin the first time I hit the target :)
But wow -- if I could *find* a bow and arrow, I could so see setting up a random hay bale target in a field somewhere.  It was the most frustrating and yet satisfying challenge.  But I can already feel my shoulders...  XC schooling a greenbean at nine am tomorrow may prove entertaining.  But that'll be it's own post :)

Huge thanks to B and all her SCA friends for a highly entertaining day :)   Greatly appreciated!


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