The Captain isn’t allowed to have rum anymore. The whole crew agrees, and most especially his wife. And what she says is law in that household, so he meekly agreed that drinking for all the crew members who weren’t there wasn’t one of his best decisions.

The “Coffee Bar of SPLEN-dooooor” was an even bigger hit this morning than yesterday (because there were more people on hand), and there’s probably a comic book character in there somewhere. Yesterday I sat up with a start at 5:45 am, today it happened at 5:42 am. Something about sleeping outside, on a wool rug, on the ground, in a canvas tent, with the sun coming up—it’s hard to hit snooze.

My legs are exhausted today, and most notably I’ve developed a huge blister on the bottom of my left foot from yesterday’s shoes. But I’ve gotten to shower, dress, and have my own coffee before it was even warm out so I’ve enjoyed my mornings immensely.

Today I took even more time to just be on my own—not that I didn’t enjoy being with everyone all day yesterday, but there’s something lovely about browsing merchants along versus with a gaggle of friends you can hardly keep track of. Most notably, I really wanted to buy a chair, a NICE chair, a wooden, sturdy PRETTY chair, all for myself. And I found one, right back where we got the Turkish coat yesterday. It’s a solid teak, and does that folding-interlocking thing to make the seat. Rhieinwen has several, but I always feel like the seat is a little too small for my back-end. This one is really spacious, comfy, and easy to carry around. So even though I’d gone a little over budget yesterday, I couldn’t resist spoiling myself a little and getting the chair. It has, of course, been dubbed my “Chair of SPLEN-dooooor” and we’re all getting a little silly.

I ran into a friend at the showers around 6 am who said I really REALLY ought to be at court this afternoon, and so I decided I would definitely stay for the entire thing. The friend didn’t tell me who would be getting an award, but I am glad I stayed. I just wish I’d known how LATE it was going to go!

I got there early (with my lovely new chair and plenty of spinning to work on) and set up in the shade in the heat of the day. There’s this gal who was once the Princess of our Kingdom (well, before it was a Kingdom back when it was a Principality) when she was only 10 years old. [They changed the rules after her, because of her, although many agree she was a better Ruler than many after her] …and she happens to only be about one year older than me. In the past year, we’ve become fast friends, and she joined me in the audience for court. We had a blast, passing the hours together, which made some of it that much more bearable.

It was a LONG court, and it started REALLY late. It was supposed to start at 4 pm, the king postponed it until 5 pm, then it started late, and it went until about 8:15 pm. They even took a break for the Royalty to sneak off for a bathroom break, and at one point the visiting King and visiting Prince were handed sausages-on-a-stick for dinner. But worst of all, it got really cold and breezy, the later it got, and I was there in my sleeveless-over-dress-because-I-still-haven’t-finished-it-yet. Fortunately Larissa had a piece of cloth in her basket that I could use as a make-shift shawl and shiver and huddle until the very end.

But there was an amazing presentation in the beginning of court that had us nearly all in tears for nearly 15-20 minutes straight. Apparently our Queen has been having the names of all the active duty military personnel on deployment from our Kingdom read aloud in every court, at every event, for Her entire reign. She wants to make certain we never forget those who are away and at risk, in harms way, in service to our Country. In response, there were active, retired, and former military who made a presentation of recognition and thanks to the Queen for Her Service to them all reign. They gave Her tokens of their service, and did a detail salute to Her, in Her honor. She, of course, was sobbing through the entire presentation. Afterwards, She addressed the populace, and told them about her own family and household members who’ve been on deployment.

And then She had us participate in a little six-degress-of-separation experiment. For each of the following, She had people stand from the audience to be recognized: Those who were active duty who’d just done deployment. Those who were active duty in general. Those who were former military who’d done deployment. All retired military. All former military. All spouses who ever had to wait through deployment of their loved one. All children who’d waited through deployment of their parent(s). Anyone with a household member who’d ever been on deployment. At the end of this, I would estimate 80% of the audience was standing, and nearly 80% of them had tears running down their faces. It was so moving and so amazing.

And then to the rest of the court, presentations, and awards…. I was very glad I witnessed True Thomas getting his Award of Arms (so now he’s officially “Lord Thomas”) and then Alyce was given “A Harp in Harp.” There’s this award for excellence in artistic or scientific endeavors that is called a “Harp Argent” (the medal has a white harp on a blue background). When someone is given/awarded a Harp, they always mention what the artistic or scientific achievement is. Alyce really is a harp player, and has been an inspiration to aspiring new harp players for the past several years. She is well-deserving of this award, and I was glad my friend at the showers tipped me off to be there. There was much more, but that’s all my brain can remember at this point.

I staggered back to camp—sore, tired, freezing—and very VERY grateful that my camp saved me some dinner. Bless them! I’ve never enjoyed cold couscous and veggies more in my entire life! I couldn’t be bothered to fire up a stove and heat the dinner, which was fine with me. And tomorrow morning they’ll be needing my stove for any breakfast heating since apparently there was a mishap with their stove during dinner. All hail the fire extinguisher! There was a leak from the tubing and the propane bottle, and there was some kind of mini-explosion and/or fire or something. But they got the fire out quickly and easily, and we’ve got three stoves in camp so we’re fine for future meals. I was mildly sorry I missed all the “excitement.”

Finally we all retired around the campfire, where I got to be the “goddess of the hearth” and actually get the fire to catch and hold. [Thanks to Eichling for naming me that years and years ago when we would camp on the beaches near Big Sur. It’s a much nicer nickname than “Pyro.” All those years stoking the Franklin Stove in Ohio have really paid off.] We all sang songs around the fire for hours—including my roomie Mel/Mina, who apparently has *written* nearly half the songs I heard sung by the White Star. That was really impressive—I’d never seen that side of her. (In fact, she and I haven’t spent as much time together in ten months in the apartment as we did in three days camping. We liked it!)

But best of all, I got a chance to be innovative with percussion. The Capt. had the only drum in camp, and Lilya and Miryam were planning to do some Middle Eastern vocal improv for us, like they had done at Royals the night before. So I grabbed two pieces of lumber from the woodpile, probably 1 by 4’s each about 2 feet long, and created a drumming technique from them. I’d hold one flat in my lap, and smack it with the other piece. It worked amazingly well, and after a while I got 3 or 4 unique sounds from each stick (a full DUM, a strong Tek, a lighter tek, and some trills), and could even switch hands a little when I was tired. I had to play primarily right-handed (left flat, right striking) but several times I was able to switch to left-handed play, to give my right hand a short break. I couldn’t do the more complicated finesse notes left-handed, but I could do the DUM-Tek just fine. It was an absolutely blast, and I’ll have to remember that for future campfires.

All in all, a wonderful day.