This past week has been a bit of an adventure as my wife and I traveled to Atlanta, GA to visit friends that we consider more like family. Normally we only get to spend an over-booked and hard working week together, so this bonus week with Rhydderch and Peryn (Chris and Anne) was a real treat!
Tuesday evening, directly after work, we left for Minneapolis/St Paul to visit my sister. We had some good conversations over dinner but turned in early to bed.
Despite the delays on takeoff, all went well on the flight, and Chris was waiting at the baggage claim when we landed with a smile and hug. We snatched our bags, headed out to grab some lunch at Ruby Tuesdays, then on to their house to we dump our bags before going off to help setup things at Castle Wars, an SCA event. While there wasn’t much to do that afternoon, we roped off a few areas, and helped setup a couple of tents and met a few people. After dinner out at a nice Mexican restaurant we headed back to their home for the evening where we finally got to see Anne and get smiles and hugs from her.
Chris and I headed to the shop to make a few sandwich board signs from material he had on hand. They had OSB for the main panel. Two had a single 2×4 for a leg attached with a hinge on the back and the third, which was horizontal in design, had two 2×2 legs that attached to the main board with the same single leg on the hinge. Nothing complicated really, but they worked great and were quite stable.
Thursday morning we slept in a bit to help recoup from the flight – it’s amazing how much that takes out of a person! We load up the truck and off to the event site again. We stopped for breakfast at Bagel Meister, which is one of their favorite breakfast places. My wife was thankful they had several gluten free options. Immediately getting to site we rushed over to help a couple of ladies struggling with a shade fly in the wind. The wind was relentless for the bulk of the event, and it was freaking cold too! There were several other tents already up by the time we got there.
After some discussion with others we figured out where to setup tents. There was a couple of Easy Ups, a couple of day shades and a nice 14×14 canvas tent with walls. All were staked and roped well to accommodate for the gusty winds. Then we unloaded the bulk of the truck, tools & work bench for the woodworking tent, and a bunch of other things as well. When we left site, we met Anne at the barn and helped out with the horses so she could join us for dinner at Longhorn Steak House. We all had the prime rib, it was quite delicious.
Friday back to the event site and another stop for breakfast at Bagel Meister. I taught a class on sharpening chisels and plane irons on sandpaper. We setup at least one more tent and then dove into the woodworking tent. Nobody showed for my needle making class which no biggy as there were more tools to sharpen. I was also able to attend some classes taught by Thomas, the class organizer. One on carving and one on hand cut dovetails, both of which were well executed and interesting.
Mid afternoon we wandered down to the main camping area and helped Mike unload and setup his sleeping tent, a cooking tent and a larger canvas tent for dinning. Unloading the kitchen was an extra good thing as that is where we cooked and ate dinner. They have a very nice setup and were great people to hang out with. We headed back to Artisans Row for the evening to deep fry anything people brought in a delicious gluten free batter. We deep fried apples, Oreo cookies, candy bars, Moon pies and a few other things. They were all excellent! After cleaning up, we headed back to the house to get some sleep with a couple extra folks who didn’t want to camp in the freezing temps .
Saturday we stopped at Bagel Meister on our way to site again. On arrival Rhydderch went off to do some coursing with the dogs and I went to see what was going on in the woodworking tent. We had a few walk-ins and some good conversation. Nobody really new came for my sharpening class so we had an impromptu plane class. Thomas had been through one of my plane classes and one of Rhydderch’s in the past, but never got his to work. So I walked him through taking his Buck Brothers plane apart and making him put it back together. We discussed each of the pieces and how they adjust. Thomas had a rather large piece of poplar that he wanted to use as a bench top, that was heavily bowed so it made a great demonstration on how to use the tools you have to get it flat. While we didn’t get it completely flat as we had lots of distractions over the course of the day, we removed a serious portion of the bow. We joked that he may end up bringing it to Gulf Wars in March to complete it. Rhydderch finished the class day with rope making. We made two beautiful lengths of rope and had a lot of fun doing it. Its amazing how much walking one does when making rope!
We dropped and packed several tents before it got dark and loaded the vehicles before heading to dinner in the dining pavilion again. Mike cooked whatever meat people brought and we shared some real Wisconsin Cheese. There was a great selection of sides and desert goodies too. Back to the house for the evening, this time with three people not willing to sleep outside in the cold.
On Sunday morning we had another breakfast stop at Bagel Meister on the way back to site to help the stragglers to take down tents and load vehicles. We headed back to the house in the early afternoon to unload all our stuff, then to the storage area to help unload the Baronial stuff and have a wrap up session with one of the autocrats. We went back to the house to cleanup for dinner. Seven other people met at the house, all of which were part of the household. I finally had the chance to meet Porcha (grandma) and her husband John the Mad Celt. The eleven of us went out to a huge Chinese buffet, the largest I have been to. We had a great time getting to know everyone and finding our commonalities. A sub set wandered back to the house and continued conversations. Grandma is a hoot!!!
Monday was our vacation day of sorts. We slept in a bit, then Chris brought us downtown and ate at West Egg. Then we went to the Coke Museum, it ended up being a lot more fun than I had thought. It was interesting seeing the historical items, the commercials in particular were fun to watch and reminisce over. Then we got to taste many of their many different products. While we didn’t do all 100, we certainly did do well over half and there were a lot of fun ones I wish we had here in the states. I’m so glad we split the tasting into two sessions, and anyone else doing this I would suggest three sessions if you can. We spent over four hours there, so we never made it to the Aquarium. But we did get to stop at Highland Hardware for a half hour, I totally could have spent half a day there and not made it through everything – what a great store. Dinner out at a local pizza joint, gluten free crust for my wife and yummy calzones and stromboli for the rest of us!
Tuesday we packed our bags and Chris brought us back to the airport. We had a nice breakfast there and said our good byes. The flight back was uneventful. My sister picked us up at the airport and we had dinner with her before heading home.
As I mentioned earlier, I normally only get one week out of the year to spend with Rhydderch and Peryn, this year I got two, and I am so grateful for the extra time this year, thank you again for a great visit and all your hospitality!