Sometimes we forget…

This is a post about two ”trends” in the SCA that worries me. Perhaps trends is not the right word…
Perhaps tendencies is a better word.
All societies evolve and change over the years and to do that we do go through some difficult times.
And sometimes I have a feeling we forget that this is something we do for fun and on our spare time.
One of the things I have noted lately is how some people – they are not many but they do exist – that attend events seem to think they have booked an all inclusive charter weekend to a luxury hotel.
And to clarify – here in Drachnwald almost all our events are weekend evenst that include sleeping arrangements of some sort and usually 2 breakfasts, one lunch and one feast. We do provide food at most our events for all attendees that sign up for it and pay for it.
Many of us have health issues and allergies. Myself included.
For instance I have a hard time getting up to the top bed in bunk beds due to my fibromyalgia. So when I know that a site has bunk beds I inform the autocrats that if only possible – I would need a bottom bunk.
If they can’t provide me with that – I have to decide if I think the event is worth it for me. It is not harder than that in my world.
I can not expect that the autocrats create special arrangements for me – or build me a special bed!
My health issues and allergies can not become the main problem that has to be solved for the event organizers.

And when it comes to food allergies it is actually even simpler.
Some food allergies are deadly. I myself live with a man that suffers from nut allergy.
At some events we have brought him his own food. And that is nothing strange.
The people that cook the food at our events are not proffessional chefs. They are not people that daily handle food for people with severe allergies.
If there are nuts in many of the dishes served, they can not guarrantee that the nuts won’t contaminate some of the other food.
We can not expect the kitchen staff to cook special food for all people with dietry restrictions!
If we would expect the cooks at all events to cook food one to one for all allergies and diets (what I mean is that they would replace each dish someone can’t eat with something else) it would be an impossible task.
I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect that people with serious dietry restrictions are prepared for the fact that they might not be able to eat all the food at an event and that they might have to bring some food of their own to not go hungry.
It is about safety! Safety for the allergic person, safety for the people in the kitchen and about taking responsibility for your own allergies and diet – not making them someone elses problem.
Someone else that has given up a weekend of spare time to cook for a whole event.
Unreasonable would be if you had to pay for the food but couldn’t eat it.
With ANY food allergies you should be prepared for the fact that you might not be able to eat EVERY SINGLE dish during feast.
Feastocrats aren’t stupid – they will make sure you won’t go hungry – but you might not be able to eat everything.
I am sorry if I make anyone upset with my rant, but honestly – the SCA is a hobby and all autocrating, feastocrating, marshalling and other things is something that people do on their spare time.
Don’t forget that we rely on volounteers – if we expect the unreasonable there won’t be any volounteers in the end!

Now to a different rant and a different problem…
In the Nordic countries there is a norm in society that no one should think they are better than anyone else – this is called the Jante Law and you can read about it here.
This causes problems in many hobbies since honestly – there is always someone that is a bit better, a bit faster, a bit stronger etc.
Lately I have heard comments like: ”Some people only do things to get awards”. And I have heard it in many regions of the Kingdom.
Or people say they think that the SCA has become a competition and it is all about who has a new dress, a new tent, new shoes or a new recipie.
And it is sad that people feel like that.
Especially since the people that make new things all the time do it because they are passionate about their hobby.
Perhaps there are people that do things only to get awards – honestly, all people want affirmation and want to get a pat on the shoulder and hear that they are doing good, and in the SCA our pat on the shoulder is awards – but I don’t think that people spend heaps of money and time on something that they are completely uninterested in!
I would not spend HOURS flipping through pictures in the Bildindex and doing wide obscure searches on a topic I am completely uninterested in just to get an award in the SCA.
What I see has happened lately in the SCA, is that people GENUINLEY are interested in doing reaserch and to learn new things and to share their knowledge.
Sure, this raises the bar and sometimes unreasonably high – but is it really all bad?
We have access to so much more information theese days with everything that can be found online – museums have picture databases online – we can easily buy books from anywhere in the world through the internet! Ofcourse the bar will be raised with an increase in access to information!
And we also have so much greater means to share – now we can do it in a blog online and those who are interested can read about it. And those who might not have the money to spend on the book still get access to the information!
The blogs are not there to brag. (Well, most of them are not at least.) They are there so that we can share our finds, increase knowledge, discuss theories, ask questions and also to push ourselves to actually do the projects we set out to do.
To use myself as an example once again – I feel a lot more preassure to finnish a project if I have promised to write about it on my blog. I have a responsibility to my readers.
That is MY way of kicking myself in the butt.
And it does feel good when you see that you get many hits or reads on your blog. That becomes a pat on the shoulder. ”I must be doing something right – people want to read what I write!”
Before I saw tendencies for people to withhold information that they had managed to dig up. Sources were scarce all new knowledge was like finding a gold mine and who wants to share a gold find?
Theese days people want to share what they have learnt for the benefit of all. Actually – theese days it is better to put the information out there as soon as possible – that way you get to be first! 😉

Another reason that things have changed and that people get new things is because many of todays scadians started as poor students many many years ago.
Now many of us are done studying, most of us are working and we finally have the possibilities to do all the investments into our hobby that we have always dreamed about.
Ofcourse there are members in the SCA that don’t have the same possibilities – but it is not a competition! We do it for fun and everyone has to adapt how they can play to their current situation.
And the situation can change – for all of us. Those that have to day might not have tomorrow and the other way arround.
Should I not get a new tent when I finally can afford it just because I have to think about all the others that can’t afford it?
Should I not make a new dress completely out of silk and research it really really well, now that I have found my area of interest, invested in books and have enough money to get the correct materials – because I  have to consider the fact that someone will be stressed by me showing up in a new dress?
Remember – this is a hobby, we do it for fun and we all have different means to practice our hobby.
Some are good at brewing, some are good at textile arts, some are good at metalwork – the people that are good at EVERYTHING are rare!
Find YOUR thing – that you like and that works with your current life situation. All of us have had to cut corners – all of us have had dresses out of sheet cotton at one point or another…
And put things in perspective.
What if we played golf?
Would we sit and complain that ”NN” always win the competitions because he has made himself a new fantatsic club.
”NN” just goes to the drivning range and practices to win competitions.
Damn that ”NN” he, just wrote on his blog how he has figured out how to play hole number 9 on that impossible golf course in Spain – what a prick to share that information!
Doesn’t it suddenly sound pretty silly?
If what others do annoys you – look the other way and play as YOU want to play. Not everyone has to play the same way.
So now some might say – this is easy for you to say! You have awards, you have a camp!
Well, I have not always had it.
I have worked hard for it.
And I know I might not have all of it one day.
Who knows – my fibro might prevent me from sewing in a few years.
Or be so bad that I can’t work or go to events.

This is a hobby. We do it for fun. We rely on volounteers.
Find the benefits instead of looking for things that annoy you!
Just imagine what sources you can get access to if you reach out!
Play the game the way YOU want and the way YOU can and stop looking so much to what others do.
That way I think one ends up a lot happier and a lot more content with ones hobby.

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62 thoughts on “Sometimes we forget…

  1. Absolutely wonderful post. It truly spoke to me. I started my blog to be able to network. We live in Kingdom Lands, (no local group) and it can be tough to stay motivated! A blog has helped me stay motivated, find good links, come up with topics I want to know more about and help me see the whole world from my little backyard.

    I could just go on about how much I loved this post. Thank you very much!

  2. Libby

    I read the whole thing and I find a lot of truth in what you say. For the most part I think people are like you and are willing to fend for themselves because they understand their own personal difficulties shouldn’t be the problems facing the autocrats. I know many who day trip to avoid camping and box up their own food to eat at events. It just makes sense. But I’ve also been the beneficiary of my fellow SCAdians who went out of their way to help me through a rough summer with back issues. They carried my tent, set it up, packed it up and made sure I was able to participate as best I could. It’s those people who make the SCA such a special place. When others get me down, I remember that 🙂

    But could I comment on your sharing of information. I’m a Librarian by trade and have made the offer on several occasions to help people with their research. I’ve not had one person take me up on the offer. The Internet has made us (and I do include myself in this) lazy. If it’s not easily found in a few google searches it doesn’t exist. I find that sad 😦

    1. I also admit to using mostly the internet, but I have also purchased dozens of books since joining SCA a few years ago. As I’m single and in my 70s, I never camp (I’m also responsible for my companion parrot who is now a little Timneh Gray, but my soulmate of 23 years was an Umbrella Cockatoo); neither of us can tolerate the extreme temperatures. My major research is on the care of parrots and other companion birds in period and especially at the court of Emperor Frederich II. One of the books I have is his very large tome on Falconry and I also have a book of a symposium on the culture at his court (each chapter written is the language of the author, so I could only try to understand the gist of most). I also have bought others on parrot culture which were helpful and covered a large portion of history. Fredrich’s detail about the care and training of the falcons confirmed my belief that there may have been someone like myself who would direct the training of those birds and also make sure that they had a healthy diet and proper hygene. I have also posted on every related site that I am searching for this information and I appreciate any book suggestions. I see that most posters here are in Drachnwald so I may be reaching a new audience. I am in Atenveldt (Arizona, USA) and never heard of SCA before moving here from Middle Kingdom (Illinois, USA)

  3. Thank you for your response Libby!
    And your comment is very true too! The SCA is special in the way that some will go out of their way to help someone. And I am happy to hear you got that help during that awful summer!
    The people I write about are however not the ones that have a summer of bad back aches. They are the ones with chronic issues (like my fibro for instance) that think they hvae the right to get everything set to their needs on sites that don’t always cater to their needs. One summer of helping someone out is one thing – it is a completely different thing to get DEMANDS of that kind of help year in and year out.
    My friends went out of their way to help me with as simple things as making my bed and getting me into my clothes when I went to a big event 2 months after my big shoulder surgery last year. But if I had expected them to wait on me like that every single event I would soon run out of friends. 🙂

    When it comes to the research I find it sad that no one has taken you up on your offer. I don’t know if things are that different here in Drachenwald, but we do have a community of artisans that are very dedicated to their research and that would happily take you up on your offer!
    Most of us here do a lot of searches in several languages and find books from all over Europe to help in our endevours to find out more.
    Then we also have members that just want to play and don’t care if their dress is researched or if the belt is of the correct timeperiod for the rest of their outfit. And that is ok too!
    What I don’t like is that people who don’t do research and don’t do things try to put those that do down. That is not ok.
    And if you only figure out the library system and long distance loans and such things – you can actually do a lot of reaserch to a very very low cost!

  4. Tanja

    So true

    I’m not a member of SCA, yet, but I love this hobby.
    But there are few things I’d like to say.

    Q: “What I see has happened lately in the SCA, is that people GENUINLEY are interested in doing research and to learn new things and to share their knowledge.
    Sure, this raises the bar and sometimes unreasonably high – but is it really all bad?”

    No it’s not bad. But sometimes it feels that some people are not even interested to look information their selves. If I’ve spent hours and days to find something and then there is folk that doesn’t care to look, but just ask it me. I don’t have much money, so I can’t buy all the books that I like, so I have to lean on an internet and those few books that I have (I try to save some money to buy more). I really try to get the knowledge and when wall builds up in front of me, then I go ask around. I do respect people who have a lot of knowledge and feel a bit embarrassed when I have to ask, I feel stupid. Maybe because there are few people in every re-enactor-group, who look down to those, who have nerve to ask. Difficult situation, do this or that, there’s always some people giving the “who are you to ask from me, you worm, try to cope and do it yourself”-look. And I can hear their inner laughter in my head.
    But luckily there are also people who share their knowledge, love them, when you find them first.

    I’m also allergic to few things and it’s more than ok that I take my own food or antihistamine. My allergies are not so bad. Luckily. I feel for those who can’t eat everything, and they should be able to compensated in fees. It is only fare.

    Then there is this thing called “welcoming environment.” If you are new member or just interested in this hobby and try to participate without knowing anybody beforehand, sadly you are put to your place very quickly. Nobody (maybe one or two) wants to talk with you or they give that “what on earth are you wearing”-look. Many of these newbies are shy and don’t have the nerve to participate in anything even to begin with. How could we, in all re-enactor-societies, give that warm welcoming feeling to everybody?

    I have a dream. The dream is to gather all re-enactors (from our country, but every re-enactor is warmly welcome) in one big feast once a year. But there are maybe too many differences of opinion or some other things, so that I believe my dream is never going to be fulfilled. Probably. One can always keep on dreaming.

    1. I am so sorry that you hvae encoutered that kind of people!
      Whenever someone asks me about anything I try to help out as much as I can.
      To me it is a HUGE compliment that someone wants to pick my brain for a few pieces of information.
      No matter who it is.
      However, I am a peer in the SCA and I have noticed that some people find that intimidating. Especially new people.
      I remember how it was when I started out in the SCA – I was absolutley terrified of the people with laurels, pelicans and knighthoods!
      But over time some of them came to be my best and closest friends.
      And I am happy I dared to finally aproach them!
      Actually – it might be really good to go to the peers first – they don’t have anything to proove anymore. Well yes, they want to keep a good reputation – but they have already been recognized for their research – they don’t have to show off any new research as some others might feel they have to…
      I don’t know how to fix this – I just wanted to start the discussion. And it looks like I have succeeded. 🙂
      If you ever come to an SCA event in Aarnimetsä (Finland) Tanja – please come and find me!
      I will do my very best to make you feel welcome!

    2. Tanja,
      I wanted to address your point about a ‘welcoming environment.’ I believe your observations are spot on in too many instances and I believe this to be a chronic problem throughout the SCA. I have my own thoughts as to why this might be, but I will tell you that in the 20+ years I’ve been at this, I’ve tried my best to make those who are new feel welcome and needed. We welcome all under our pavilion at the list and provide as much support as we are able to get folks started. I still remember how I felt at my first event and I hope to never lose that feeling; it keeps me humble and hopeful, and I don’t want to lose that part of myself. 🙂

      Should you ever find yourself in the Kingdom of Meridies, Tanja, you will have a place with me and mine. You have my word on that. 🙂

  5. Couldn’t agree more. Well written!

    I remember the first feast I cooked, the combination of allergies meant that if I had left out all the things people where allergic to from every dish we could’t have used any spices and we could probably have served beef. In stead we managed to make sure everyone, well except one family who I had so many restrictions it was impossible, could eat at least one protein dish and a number of other dishes and made space for people to heat up their own food if necessary. I still got a few complaints that people could’t eat everything!

    So yes well expressed.

  6. Thank you for this post. You shared thoughts that I could not put to writing and things that I had not noticed before.

    As one who works often in the kitchen I know the demands of some people well. The worst part is, when you have done your best to give them their special dish and they complain that it is not as good as the original dish they can’t or choose not to eat. What did they expect?! A five star restaurant? I have difficult food restrictions too, but I definitely won’t expect all of them to be taken care of by the cooks. I eat what I can and I always take some food with me just in case. After years in the SCA I have never really needed it.

    I confess to having a “bragging blog”. I would love it to be something more, but as I don’t enjoy writing too much I don’t want it to become a cumbersome responsibility to fullfill. I haven’t noticed too much of the second problem you mentioned. Perhaps I’ve been lucky to be innocent enough not to see it around me.

  7. FiannaRuaNicMhathuna

    We do our best in our shire to accommodate people with anything, and they’re almost always grateful (99.5% I’d say). I usually share a bunk room with Sue so I nab the top bunk (me that’s young and agile/stupid, as my biological mother says :P), and I have a lovely whole salmon in the freezer that I won’t bring to an event because we have a few severe fish allergies (the smell alone can make them nauseous). An ex-student has neophobia so brought all her own food and even shared it! But there will always be those who expect to be waited on hand and foot even though events are a communal affair and everyone should muck in somehow. These are the people who may just be unaware of the true workings of running an event and soon learn, or in some cases are just annoying gits who don’t last long (another ex-student who I’d be happy to never see again– in mundane life as well).

    As for the “showing off”, we have A&S show-and-tell sessions and displays for a reason! If you’ve spent hours learning a new craft or hand-sewing a hundred and fifty buttonholes into a gown, of course you’re gonna want to show others! There probably are a few new kit snobs out there, but in my area at least we’re all happy to ooh and aah over new kit with no malice, because we know people are excited to have something they’ve worked hard on/for. I still have no idea why I’m the current A&S Champion of Lough Devnaree and I.D. A&S Protector, there were some far better- made and better-documented entries, but hey, the judges liked it and I liked their entries.

    The SCA is a passion. Not a priviledge or a pompous excuse to look down on someone for being deservedly proud of their best attempt. I’ve been a member for three years now and am glad to say that I’ve had wonderful experiences and met some of the best people in the world. It’s my passion and something I want to share because if I don’t then how will it grow, and how will other once-awkward and friendless teens find out their real interests?

  8. Kristina

    I will generally try to replace every dish that someone can’t eat with something else, but I have the experience to be able to do that. I can’t guarantee non-contamination unless I have more than one kitchen – at some point, someone on the litchen staff will forget to wash cutting boards in between every single thing cut up on them…

    What always amazes me are the different responses. I have had people intensely grateful that I catered to their allergies (and often I had fun doing so, in fact, as it is a challenge, and sometimes allows me to do dishes I don’t want to make for 150 people) but I’ve also had grumbling that one side dish wasn’t replaced by something else for someone allergic. It’s not that they had to leave the table hungry, it’s that not every single dish could be replaced by an alternative. As Petronilla said, I’m not running a five-star restaurant where you can order to your pleasure.

    I think feastocrats should aim at cooking for everyone, and it does have perks (making cabbage-leaf wrapped nut and parmesan loaves, for example – for the four vegetarians, because I’m not doing that for 100 people), but we who eat should receive the results graciously. Most SCA cooks are not professionals, most of them spent the weekend sweating in the kitchen (an average event banquet means about 12-15 hours of cooking), and most of them are doing their very best to make sure everyone’s fed and happy. Provided the food is edible and plentiful, I sometimes wish the guests would just shut up and eat… 😉

  9. James O'Brien (Aylwin de Renham)

    Excellent topic and really nicely expressed. I see an awful lot of truth in that and it’s sad to see it happening. As regards the feasts, I see that issue at a lot of events I go to in Insulae Draconis. The feast stewards pull out all the stops and do amazing work. They try their absolutely hardest to cater for everyone’s needs and yet people still make complaints over the smallest of things.
    I’ve even seen people put down food dislikes as allergies – they can eat it fine, they just don’t want to. It’s disgraceful.
    You’re absolutely right in that a small minority expect massive things from events; far above and beyond what is reasonable. And unfortunately these are often the people who will do the least possible to make the event great and yet will complain the loudest.
    I’ve always felt that the more we put into the Society, the more we get out of it.

    As regards the second topic- I see a very similar trait in Irish society – that of begrudgery. If someone does well, makes something of themselves, is seen to be achieving, then they are put down; people complain, they make snide comments and look for the worst. And there is elements of that in the SCA too which is a real shame.
    Surely one of the goals of the Society should be to be the best we can be – to aim for perfection, even if we never reach it. That is something that should be lauded, not belittled and scorned.

    Again, a lovely, eloquent post with VERY sound advice! Thank you!!

    Aylwin

  10. This was such a good post! I agree with all of that! Now, I’m not part of SCA but I do think the same issues are found among the 18th century reenactors… Like you said, it’s a hobby and it SHOULD be fun.

    1. Yes, I’ve gotton busy and have not checked Chris’s “Gathering” in a while 😉 I always take a little bite along (an apple and some chedder cheese both sliced in my cooler) which is sufficient for me if I eat nothing else. I partake of the feast if it does not require me to drive in the dark (dangerous at my age). This interchange is similar to “Fools”. I try to eat only healthy and whole grains at home but as I have no actual allergy to any foods, I’d never expect special treatment and when I take dishes for pot luck I just list ingredients and expect others to use their judgement. It seems to me that no one should expect dishes made to their needs unless they have not even a main and side that they are ABLE to eat without harm. They should not expect a large number of dishes to each have an alternate for special diets (in period food allergies were not even known ;-D)

  11. Maria

    “Det var fan i min det finaste jag hört sedan jag komfirmerades”

    Sorry for the Swedish sentences. But take my word for it, it’s a compliment!

    As the others already said: Well spoken. When going to an event you pay, how much? 300-450 Skr? That is rent for the place and food costs. Try to get the same amount of food and crash space anywhere else, you won’t!

    In reenactment camp the only things you get are straw ( for mattresses), wood ( for fires) and water. Outdoor toilets and often no showers. Anyone from SCA are more than welcome to stay with us for a weekend. SCA is like heaven to me. Even thou I have food restrictions.

    / Maria

  12. Arpad

    My biggest problem is how we are getting increasingly more middle class in DW. it is getting less and less affordable for students – and these are our traditional recruits. When I started in AS 29 a weekend event cost me 10 DM = 5 €. Now we are looking at 50 £. What happened? Yes sleeping in nice beds is nicer that a gym floor, but still. I can afford that, a lot of people, especially with children cannot. The same goes for our garb. More elaborate, more expensive.

    1. Teadoir

      I agree things have gotten a little out of hand at times in regards to fees. But then again, a lot of the places we hold events charge us a lot more than they used to as well.

      As far as more elaborate and expensive garb goes, is that really a bad thing? I for one love seeing something high quality that some one has lavished time and attention on. I for one have no desire to go back to broad cloth t-tunics and freon can helms. The simple fact is, as stated in the original post, we have access to so much more information than we had back in the day. People have developed skill sets to go with that knowledge base. This is a GOOD thing. And elaborate does not necessarily equate to more expensive. I use 100% wool and linen exclusively now. A lot a people tell me, ‘oh, I can’t afford that’. And I tell them that my period stuff probably cost LESS than their ‘inexpensive’ cotton. Because I use period patterning that minimizes waste and find a lot of stuff on sale, or buy direct through the web. With a little effort, you can have the best of both worlds.

  13. sweetheart one day I would love to finally meet you. You have a way of telling it how it is. and my make very valid points. Thank you for you consistent support of “play it as you want and leave everyone else alone” stand. I too have trouble listening to those who complain about others instead of working on themselves. It heartens me to know that I am not the only one who thinks the way I do.

    Thanks
    Raithnat

    1. I would love to meet you too! Unfortunately I won’t make it to Estrella this year (I assume that would be a possible place to meet you?) and it doesn’t look like i will make it to Pennsic either… 😦 I really do want to come back to Estrella one year though – I miss my household friends from there and all the Atenvelders that I hold so dear!

  14. Debbie

    Hey,

    I’ve noticed some of the same. As someone who has to be very careful around food – celiac disease here – I have off boarded the last four events I went to totally. And my major concern is that I dont want to offend the cooks as I really would like to eat their food, it smells so good. (I cook as well – and i’m usually ok on catering for allergies but i never expect mine to be – its too encompassing).

    The only thing I resent deeply is when I’m told by the organisers i’m not allowed to sit with my friends because i’m off boarding. Usually out of the entire feast there might be one dish I’d feel safe eating, on a good day, yet I am made to feel a leper because I’m not allowed to sit at the same table as my friends…for fear of what exactly? Stealing food that will poison me anyway? We’re a society based on honour and chivalry. I’m not talking about taking someone’s place and messing with the organisation of the serving per six, four, eight, whatever. I’m talking about after everyone’s sat, adding an extra chair and discreetly eating my own food.

    Regarding the competition thing, I see this as a non-issue as long as people don’t give people who can’t afford the new everything every time stuff no grief, which I’ve only seen someone do once. WE play to the level of our ability.

  15. Well Said! I completely agree with you! and I mean all of it. I am so tired of the bias and boot licking, all the “head hunting” and “clicks” that seem to run much of the diverse groups in some parts of the SCA. I joined it because it gave me avenues of research and fellow compatriots that enjoyed this as well, but the minute one of them gets any recognition, it’s “meet my new friend Baron or Duchess so and so, I’ll be hanging with them now”…or my favorite, a girlfriend of mine actually walked around with a photo “brag book” of her work in order to get someone to get her noticed and awarded.Talk about hounding!!!
    While I cannot say why i do not do the same, I only wanted to join to SCA to learn and share, but it’s these award mongers that make it hard to actually enjoy it.

  16. I have been playing in the SCA for 5 years now. I don’t have a lot of money to spend on my garb/feastgear/tent, etc. That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate seeing what those that can afford it make/have. Am I envious? Hell yes! Am I jealous? No way! There are always people who have more, that’s life, get over it. There are some incredibly talented artisans in the SCA and I am thrilled that I get to see what they have created, and yes, take inspiration from it. Even if someone can afford to buy the silk and the pearls etc, they still put a LOT of work into creating that Tudor gown, or whatever. I can appreciate the labor of love that went into it, and since I can’t afford to do the same myself, at least I can admire theirs.
    As to food allergies, I have none. I am diabetic. I have never been to a kingdom or baronial event that offered sugar-free desserts. It also never occurred to me to complain about it. I wonder why people feel such a sense of entitlement, that the rest of the world must revolve around them? If you have allergies or don’t like ther fare, bring your own food, it is so much easier than expecting everyone else to cater to your needs and then you can be assured the food is prepared in a way that won’t make you ill. In the barony I play in, there are feast events that to me are quite expensive, but there have also been feasts where one could just pay a small site fee and bring their own food. After all, it is about the fellowship and the atmosphere, not entirely about the menu.

    1. FiannaRuaNicMhathuna

      Wendy, I’m in a similar position. I for one LOVE to see shiny new stuff that my more affluent/lucky friends have acquired. My best SCA friend is a college lecturer and on a good wage, I’m unemployed. She gets silk from her son who lives in Korea and we both drool over it equally (while it’s still in the cellophane…). My cotton-wool blend t-tunic and polycotton under-dress have had as much hard-work put into it as her silk Houppelande (I can’t sew for toffee!), and a lot of it was under her instruction and modelled on her earlier-Period garb.

      If people are so worried about what they can’t do because they’re so narrow-minded that they think everyone else’s success is a dig at them, maybe their time would be better spent doing research and practicing on what’s available so when they can afford pure wool and linen they’ll be able to do better? Maybe they should say “That looks great! I wish I had an outfit in that style.” so the “offending” noble will offer to send them a copy of the pattern?

      Or they could continue making a rod for their own back…

    2. Well said! I can’t afford tents and such and would not like to prevail on others to help and I am too sensitive to temperatures and bugs for camping but when I have the money I’ll take a hotel room (especially if it is close enough so I can get back safely after closing court). After my beloved cockatoo died, I finished my heraldic surcoat with over 600 pearls on the cockatoo charge and I have also used a small number of pearls on my turned shoes because that was little bother compared to the total labor of them. I like to buy into the feast if I can be sure that it will be served early enough that I can safely drive home or to lodgings with daylight, or if it is a location to which I have become sufficiently accustomed to find my way back in the dark (if I can just follow a single freeway as my house is just off of one).

  17. I am absolutely stunned over the attention that this blog post got!
    Thank you all – it is nice to see that a discussion has started!
    I wrote the post because I was sad over the problems created by unreasonable people.
    I would like to point out that there ARE reasonable requests one can make when it comes to making special arrangements for food or sleeping at events for people that have disabilities or dietry restrictions.
    And for the jealousy part – we are all envious or jealous at some point – what makes me angry is when those feelings show in a nasty and non constructive way.
    Sure there are people that only do things for awards but lately I seen people that don’t have a lot of means, that work hard and that spend lots of hours on research and spend many precious hours of their spare time working extra to be able to get the materials they want for a project – only to hear that they only do it for attention or to get awards.
    That is not ok.

    It is also NOT ok to look down on anyone that has chosen a different way to play. I always say that the higher standards and demands you have yourself on your own kit – the more understanding you have to have that others choose to play differently.
    I handstitch all my clothing. I don’t expect others to do that.
    I will help someone to start doing it and encourage them if they show an interest to do so, but it would be wrong to say that they HAVE to hand stitch.
    People have their reasons for choosing their level of involvement in the SCA, the amount of money they spend on it and how much time they put on research etc. And we all have to accept that people play differently.
    That is the wonderful thing about the SCA! That we have room for reanactors, for people that visit one event per year, for people that just like to hang out at the battlefield and don’t really care about what they wear or how they camp.
    There is room for all of us and the reanactor types have no right to look down on those that don’t want to play at that level. But it goes both ways. Those who are more relaxed about their way of play should not badmouth those who push themselves harder.

  18. Padraig (Anders Nordstrom)

    Let’s just assume for a moment that someone actually DO stuff just to get awards. So what? Our awards are supposed to go to people that deserve them, if someone did enough A&S related stuff to be considered for a laurel they would have contributed to our society a great deal regardless of their motives. We’ve talked about the jante law before, and as you know I really hate it. Your posting is a great countermeasure to this stupid mindset, and I hope many people read and ponder. My hat is off to anyone that is more ambitious than me (more or less everyone that is…), they fill our world with content, texture and meaning.

  19. Puma

    This was wonderful- thank you for writing it!

    If those who excel and are rewarded for it would remember the Jante Law when they meet those who do not, it would be beneficial to everyone.

    Those who excel and *are* rewarded ought to be sure to identify and help reward those who are just as deserving as they were.

    Exclusionary and elitist behavior ( at any level of experience, for any reason) turns people away.

  20. David M. Auslander (SKA Thailyn Mac Auslander, Canton of Northpass)

    Come to The Kingdom of the East.
    Our cooks print what is in each dish (in my canton) and go out of their way to allow for vegetarians. When you come to our feast and read a feast menu, you will know what you can eat! We recently had a visit from “Observant Kosher Jews” who did not eat any of our food. Our Autocrat gave them a partial refund on the event fee. We have a member of our group who just had a stroke; We had a hard time “Keeping him down” and he never expected other people to help him, but was happy to accept help. He never demanded help; we gave help. The SCA is a hobby, and people get out of it, what they bring to it. People are there to have fun; and the experiences of fun, is shared not matter what your area of specialized interest is. If attitude is a problem where you are, come to The Kingdom of the East. We get together to have fun! come have fun with us.

  21. Donna Mallabone

    As an SCA cook, I can say one of the biggest issues that I have when cooking a feast is knowledge of local food issues. I know a few people who have Celiac disease, and I make sure there is food for them, there are mushroom allergies, onion allergies, nut allergies etc. If I am informed in advance, I can accommodate all of the above. That is why my name, phone number and email are in the event announcement. If you walk into my kitchen on the day of the feast and announce that you are allergic to something and can’t eat it, don’t expect me to accommodate you, you had plenty of time, and ways to contact me. The last feast I cooked, a 20 plus year member of the SCA attempted to do this. I was polite, but firm, and told her that I was unable to help her out, if she would have called me, even the night before, I might have been able to help her. Otherwise, here’s the dishes you can’t eat.

    Mistress Lenora (Aethelmearc)

  22. I’ve been part of the SCA for a few years now – can’t always make it to all the events I’d like to attend due to work schedules, tight budget, or other travel constraints. I’m sure in a lot of ways I’m still a newbie, but I really do enjoy building my garb wardrobe and discussing what I’ve learned along the way, getting helpful advice from costuming laurels, and, on occasion, observing a complete stranger having to stop themselves from zooming in for a closer look at some detail on the outfit I’m wearing without making the proper acknowledgments first. In my experience, most people will happily discuss their research. I sure as heck love getting blog hits and comments on my photo albums when I find myself in one of those dry periods between events.

  23. fudgewart

    Great post, and I totally agree. Just adding one thought–as the bar rises higher, we are left with little to encourage and reward people who are relative beginners in their craft. Other organizations solve this issue by having classes of competitors from novice to expert. The SCA may want to consider implementing something like this, so every person who comes in does not have to compete against the best. More awards make happier people!

    1. FiannaRuaNicMhathuna

      Fudgewart, it *is* true that the prospect of competing against Laurels is daunting for us newbies (I’m still a young’un despite being an ex-seneschal…), but in my experiences in Insulae Draconis we do try to encourage people who haven’t been crafting for long. At my shire’s next event we have asked people to give personal tokens to their favourite entrants, and if any newbies are persuaded to enter then as event steward I will definitely be encouraging them to keep it up!

      Ps. thanks for giving me another idea for A&S competitions and displays for events. We have some younger kids who are just starting out and eager to get stuck into things that they *are* old enough to do, so it may be worthwhile giving them their own category… 🙂

      1. Teadoir

        A neat idea that I’ve seen here in An Tir is ‘Most Improved’ in A&S events. You bring two items, one from when you were starting out, one current. So even if you’re not able to compete with that laurel, you can still shine. And just as we have ‘Never Won a Tourney’ tourneys, at larger events, there’s no reason not to have skill level categories. I’m only getting into this aspect of the hobby (my first 20 years were mostly about fighting) but I seem to recall seeing that here as well.

  24. Misty (Formerly of Aethelmearc)

    I do believe you have a point. I also have heard a lot of people comment that someone is doing something “just for the award” and it never bothered me until I realized who they were talking about and it pissed me off. Granted I am just barely into adult hood but even i can see that it is unfair. Just because someone is good at something is not a reason to bring them down, you should celebrate that difference instead of bring it down. What pushes me to find a talent I enjoy is watching my dad try EVERYTHING and do his best to stay under the notice of people who give out awards. He does everything he can to make sure no one really notices how good he is at things so no one will give him an award (though he has quite a few so obviously someone has noticed) and seeing him try new stuff pushes me to try too and see if there is something I like doing so much I want to teach others about it.

    On the subject of autocrating and feastcrafting, many of the people I love and know have done both. The one i remember was my dad autocrating and watching his blood pressure go through the roof trying to make sure that was enough different foods for everyone and enough to do, to make sure everyone who volunteered was going to show, to make sure all the events went off without a hitch. Seeing this I don’t think I could ever do it just because my nerves couldn’t deal with it. I admire anyone who could do it. Good job and I have never been to an event in the almost 20 years I have been in the SCA that I didn’t enjoy.

  25. Queniva

    Thank you for this post. You wrote many thoughts that I have had. I hope I can express myself in somewhat coherent manner now.

    About the first thing, this couldn’t be more true. People should also remember that when they pay the event fee they don’t pay for service they pay their part of the expenses of the event and they should all do their part of the work as well. The money doesn’t buy them off. The work effort doesn’t have to be more than taking out the trash one time during the event (and somewhat cleaning the place where they sleep). When everyone does a small thing, there’s a lot less work load for the organizers.

    The second thing… even If there are those people who do things to get awards, then who cares? If they want think about this hobby as some kind of computer game where the point is completing levels, it’s not my problem. In some cases the problem with the people accused of this is that they at least seem condescending. I’m not the only one who has felt this.

  26. Branwen Scholastica

    I’ve been in the Society since 1976 (yes, really!). Jealousy is for those who admire but don’t try; inspiration is for those who admire and then work. I hadn’t done much tabletweaving during my first decade or so in the SCA, but in the early 90s I attended a Drachenwald crown tourney not far from Leeds, England, and was stunned by the display of Guntram’s work. Soon after I returned home, I dusted off my inkle loom and have been weaving happily ever since (in addition to lots of fiber play). Why I have been active for so many years? Because there are always more crafts to be inspired by, try, and in turn inspire others.

    As for feasts, I have been increasingly concerned at the number of enormous feasts lasting 2-3 hours, with a LOT of uneaten food. I know cooks like or seem to like staging these gargantuan meals, but more and more people leave early because they have to drive several hours or just can’t take that much food. Entertainment at feats has usually been a disaster because of the room noise. At least, good news, most feasts have ingredient information for people with allergies or dislikes.

    1. The feast thing is something that is less of a problem in Drachenwald I guess since basically all our events are weekend events. Feast is served Saturday evening and there might only be a few locals that choose to daytrip. We travel to other countries for events so one day events are extremely rare.

      1. FiannaRuaNicMhathuna

        In smaller areas (Ireland and mainland U.K. in particular), one-day events are becoming increasingly popular– they cost less, take less effort to run successfully, can attract attendance from neighbouring shires who can’t afford to book much time off to travel, and for fledgling/struggling groups they’re the best way to find out how to run bigger things. I was seneschal of the College of Kings Lake, based in Athlone Institute of Technology, and we’re having our third one-day event for our birthday in March and have another planned for November (We had the first Prince of ID at our first, and a couple who day-tripped over from Germany last year). Being in the dead-centre of Ireland has helped us as all major bus routes pass through the town (Dublin-Galway[E-W] and Belfast-Cork[N-S]) so people can find us easily and get home in time for supper if they really want to. If not, we’ve got plenty of space to crash at home!

        It’s also a cool way to hang out with your SCA buddies in a more mundane world too if you’re not obliged to be in garb after 8pm and they’re not rushing back home. When you have time to relax and talk about non-period stuff you learn just how awesome some of these people are.

  27. Baron Geoffrey Rufus D'Alton

    The trend that bothered me most were the people that became well versed in a craft and then thought they were experts in anything else just because they were an expert in something. It was pure snobbery. It turned off my wife (who was an accomplished calligrapher/illuminator/costumer/cook) immensely to the point that she was tired of hearing how her craft was good enough but her documentation wasn’t. Well, with a spouse who was no longer as passionate about the SCA as I was there was little incentive to continue on my own. Arrogance lost the SCA two members who had been active for almost 30 years. Honestly, I miss the camaraderie of the squire brothers and the fighting but little else. Even if I did go back it wouldn’t be the same with most of my brotherhood having also moved on.

  28. Gwenllian

    Interesting blog. And I completely agree. Thankfully I haven’t found in the small feasts I have done too much demand for meals of their own but as someone who has a very sensitive digestive system I usually pack my own food and hope that I can eat most things. But then I have only done tiny feasts so far and I am certainly not brave even to cope with more yet!

    I’ve had problems in the past where I have been given negative attitude because I can’t afford everything completely period and make do where I can and try my best. When I was a fledgling Scadian, it was probably very lucky a friend dragged me in to it and told me not to worry or I might have been put off. I do hope I have never made anyone feel bad because they do have ‘all the best’ for want of a better phrase. But I found for every bad there is good. Let go of the bad and look for the good. Much easier to enjoy things then. 🙂

  29. Lady Runa

    I agree! The few times I’ve cooked I’ve tried to make sure the serious allergies never went anywhere close to the person with the allergy. If using fruit, it is kept separate (who knew someone could be allergic to watermelon) and mixed in serving bowl with extra in reserve in separate containers.

    I do know a few people that do A&S strictly for the awards. But that is their problem and their karma. I do things that interest me, some I’m half-way decent doing others would make a 2 year old laugh. But I’m having fun and that’s what counts.

    I have medical issues (so understand the shoulder surgery-finally have mine back to my normal). Sometimes I do the hotel thing, other times I camp. I have to decide if I want to pay the penalty my body inflicts on me for camping or just go to the hotel and be able to drive home without assistance. I’m 64 and still think I should be able to do everything By My Self… it doesn’t always work out that way. By the way, our groups’s home site is is very primative. No running water, no toilets, and if you’re not careful you may wake up with a feral hog or a cow in your tent.

    I did not see your posting as a rant. I read it as this is what and how I do things and if you don’t like it… don’t look.

  30. Beverly Curry

    Thank you. This has been a nice vitamin B shot to an old tired peer. 😉

    Maybe I will drag out my sewing machine and see what nifty thing I can come up with next!

  31. Delphia (Beverly FitzAlan de Stirkelaunde)

    I, too, have fibromyalgia. I’m on disability for it, too (though fighting with SSA to keep it). I cannot make it to MOST events — in fact, I only make it to one or two fighter practices a month, even. My friends and family in SunDragon (Kingdom of Atenveldt) are aware of my health issues and keep an eye on me to make sure I’m okay, and are always willing to help me out. They know I will probably have to take a nap in the afternoon on camping events, or might have to just sit and not do anything for a while. I certainly pay for long camping events like Estrella War, but being with 3000 of my closest friends is very good for my soul and mental health

    Speaking to your comment about those people who are doing things simply for the reward: setting, working toward, and achieving a goal to better oneself is an admirable thing. Doing it to make oneself better than others is not. There are a couple of people whom I’ve heard say they want to get this award or that award simply because they want the public accolade and medal/crown/etc that goes with it….but most do it, as many have also said here, because the whole point of our hobby is to educate ourselves about history.

    I started playing when I was 16, in Caerthe (Kingdom Outlands), then played in Unser Hafen in college (also Outlands); I moved to Arizona in 1996, and played for about a year but didn’t feel like I belonged here. After about 10 years or so, I decided to try again. When I told people that I’d been in and out of the SCA for 22 years, they assumed I had received an Award of Arms by then, and were surprised that I hadn’t yet. They quickly remedied that, and I was granted my AoA by then-King Phelan and Queen Amirah (aside: she’s soooo pretty, like a little doll!).

    When people were surprised to learn that I hadn’t gotten it before then, I made sure to point out that I hadn’t done anything to deserve one yet! I jumped in when I rejoined a few years ago, and now I’m Deputy Reeve and Deputy Chronicler, I’m making the gatebook for our Mixed Weapons War in February, and I’ve done a lot of little things here and there to help out the Barony….because I finally felt like I belonged, that this was MY community, and I felt I could and should contribute to its overall function and well-being. SunDragon is my home, my village, my friends and family. Anything I do, I do for all of us; if I get awarded along the way, I am very appreciative and proud, but it isn’t why I do anything.

    I recently became Apprentice to a long-time SCA member, because I truly want to learn more about SOMETHING and he can teach me. I haven’t decided yet what, but I’ll get there….one day. 🙂

    1. I am sorry to hear that your fibro is giving you such a hard time. I am lucky enough to mostly live like I did pre fibro, but sometimes it really kicks my ass – like at Pennsic this last year. 16 days of travel and camping is NOT good for my fibro and the last few weeks before I flew home to Europe I could hardly walk. But my friends are aswesome and they helped me as much as they could. 🙂
      (Oh and Phelan and Amirah happen to be some of my friends from Atenveldt – I do know a bunch of Atenveldters and I have made it to 2 Estrellas and hope I will make it to a few more!)

      When it comes to the doing things for awards I think that you would understand what I ment if you read that wiki I linked to about teh Jante Law that exists here in Finland and Sweden. Taken out of that context it might not really mke sense to someone who is NOT from Scandinavia.
      The culture here is different. According to the Jante Law (not an actualy law but more something that is a basic norm in society) it is BAD to want awards, you should NOT try to make yourself look better than anyone else and you should NOT think you are special in any way shape or form.

      I do hope you find your area within the crafts! It is pretty awesome once you find it – I have been doing landsknecht and German 16:th century for about 12 years now!

  32. Bella

    One thing I try keep in mind when creating anything for my persona is, that while we have documentation as to the construction of many things and we have extant examples of some of the most beautiful and well done pieces of the time. And most of what exists are the remains of the wealthy and of Nobility.
    My persona is neither.
    We have to remember that back in the day the common people suffered from lack of funds and the same common aliments of today, poor vision, arthritis and the like.
    They did not have the comforts of glasses, pain medication and knowledge to heal or treat these conditions as well as we do today.
    Nor did they have credit cards to fund extravagance.
    Nor did they have computer monitored systems to accurately determine if a bolt of fabric was consistent in color and hue.
    Nor did they have widely published books on cooking, metal work, embroidery or clothing design and construction to refer to.
    I can only conclude that they ” winged it” and taught others and were taught by others.
    I assume they did the best with what they had. Took pride in what they could do and loved to hear how well they did.
    Just as I try to do.

    Live the dream and try not to make it in to a nightmare.

  33. Teadoir

    To echo others, an interesting post. After some 23 years or so in the Society, I definitely know what you’re talking about. (Although as an aside I have to say I was flabbergasted by the concept of the Jante Law, being as it’s almost the opposite of what we understand of Viking age society in these countries, what a turn around…) I’ve over heard people talking about having ‘awards necklaces’ made, you know, with spots for all their ‘cookies’ as they receive them? That is of course a poor attitude. Like wise the people that want to ignore anyone who doesn’t have a peerage because they can do nothing for them. Those people DO exist, but I choose to think that the majority of folks are NOT like that. As you say, the effort that most put into their craft, be it fighting, A&S, or service, is disproportionate to the accolades received. Belt/Hat chasing is the other charge that goes hand in hand with the ‘Oh, they’re only doing *x* to get an award’. Recently I’ve been had friends ‘jokingly’ call me a sycophant for hanging with the local prince and princess. “Uh, guys, you DO remember that they brought my WIFE into the SCA right? They’re our FRIENDS?” And there’s the simple fact that peers and such tend to be fun to hang out with, BECAUSE THEY GOT TO BE PEERS BY DOING INTERESTING STUFF. I spent 10 years after I moved from Caid to Antir hanging out with fringy households. They can be fun, and that’s who I knew. But by the end of that time, I was loosing interest in the SCA. Even though our household had an incredible period encampment (we won an award or two) we never got involved in anything outside of our group, and it got DULL. My wife and I have since felt (on good terms) and have gotten really involved. I joined the Tourney Circuit (a tourney a month, Jan through Dec), we did a stint on retinue, I’m looking for a laurel to apprentice to, talking to our seneschal about teaching classes on garb making, all kinds of stuff, and having a BLAST again! And I know some of my old friends think we’re ‘hat chasing’ and never congratulated my wife on her AoA or me for my GoA. This while they are loosing steam and went to only one event last year. At least one friend in a drunken fit admitted that he was jealous. I wish that rather than being sour, people would just step up and have FUN. Get involved, you might like it! Learn something, push yourself! Who knows, YOU might be the next person to get tapped on the shoulder for an award.

    On the topic of people and their sense of entitlement, we had an event this past season where there was no potable water on site. The county was being jerky, and were imposing a ridiculous tax on the water truck. Rather than charge an exorbitant gate fee, the autocrats simply decided to have no water. They explained the fact and the reasons for it well in advance. And lordy, but people started to WHINE on the kingdom list. Myself, I consider this an AMENITY. Haveing water on site is lovely. But I remember back in the day, you rarely had water on site, and always had to bring your own. I still do it as a mater of course. I mean, we’re CAMPING. I’m not willing to autocrat myself, so when the autocrats say this is all we can provide, we tried our best, I generally nod my head and say thank you, I’ll take responsibility for the rest myself. I get it, this isn’t a 5 star cruse package I bought. Relax! Have fun! I know I’m going to… 🙂

    1. I am so happy to hear that you have found the fun in the SCA again!
      And it is completely as you say – it is by doing that you also recieve.
      I have also been yelled at by a friend that thought I was just ass kissing. But while this friend was out of the SCA – my SCA life changed. I started traveling to Pennsic, I made new friends (who happened to be peers), I was made a Pelican, I did a lot of retaining… Also, those that think that becoming a peer means you’re done and can quit working are terribly wrong. Becoming a peer quite often means lots more work!
      Sometimes those that take a break also forget that those who stayed made progress and moved on.
      Me and my friend are ok now.
      And since then I have also been made a Laurel.
      And I hope that I am aproachable and welcoming.
      And I hope that no one gets scolded for talking to me!
      Peers are (usually) not stupid. It is pretty obvious when someone is only fishing for elevation…. 😉

    2. FiannaRuaNicMhathuna

      Your point about peers is quite valid. We had the first prince of ID at our first ever event (I’m ex-seneschal of a college branch), and I looked over the hall to see one of our fencers talking to him like an old friend. I nearly died… But my first and only other experiences of Royalty were rather frigid and strict about using titles and bowing and all the stuff that a lot of others didn’t mind about at all. So I mistakenly believed that all peers were like that, and was overjoyed to discover how wrong I was.

      And not congratulating you on well-deserved awards? Jealousy is a terrible thing to have in a hobby like this. You sound like you’re really throwing yourself into everything, which is only to be admired and rightfully awarded. I would love to cross your path at an event someday and learn a few things from you– like where you get your energy!

      As for the no water days, Ffair Rhaglen at Raglan Castle in Wales is one of the flagship events of the Principality. Yet if you want a shower you have to stay (or know someone staying) in the motel down the road. Nobody whines about that, but we would like to have better access to water if it extends to more than a week (when it’s this damp even in Summer, driving to get a shower isn’t fun…). Even so, a lot of people bring camping stoves and can access large buckets, and there is a tap/faucet on site. And baby wipes are a great invention and close ally to the mucky student!

  34. I finally have time to comment this post….

    I 99% agree with your thoughts and others have wrote down pretty interesting and concuring comments. It’s good to see I have not been the only one, who have been less active because of the folks’ behavior.
    Personally I still slightly fear talking to my ‘superiors’, witch is a bit funny, as I have been in society 14 years now. I guess I am bit envous too, as I can not do anything (aka crafts) as well as I’d like to. I seem to talk to my laurels etc better gifted folk only when I have something to ask about their area of expertice. Oh well, maybe I am just shy or something… I can imagine how scared ‘newbies’ can sometimes be, If I get dreads after 14 years, they must be really scared…
    I have too many allergies myself, and I have figured out one way to make sure I have something to eat at events, I simply slave myself at the kitchen whole weekend. I like cooking a lot (and I am pretty good at it too) within last 3 years I have attended only one event where I have not been working at all, and that time I hardly got my tummy full. Most of the cooks do take care of us ‘demanding customers’ pretty well, but I have seen some, who only caters for her/his own allergies and ‘give a shit’ to others. (note: these persons are not SCAdians) I can understand, if feastocrats don’t always make, for example, versions of non-carb dishes etc, but forgetting lifetreathening allergies is something different totally.
    Actually I don’t have anything new to say about ‘making things for awards’. I have seen some people ‘always’ getting new awards etc, but most of them are well-earned. There might be a ‘slightly blind eye’ for new talents, but I guess that’s mostly due Scandinavian mentality about ‘showing off’ (or lack of it). People who whine about there ‘award-collectors’ should start to make something themselfs and they might have change to get shiny rewards themself. (For me it took 13 years to get any award xD and I only have Green virvaliekki and AoA. Althou apparently there was years of delay…)
    I hope my babble is somewhat understanable. It’s a bit hard to put down all the things I feel/think atm.

    1. Thank you Amal for your response!
      In Aarnimetsä we are blessed to have a bunch of people with allergies that often offer to cook the food for people with allergies since they themselves know what hassle it is in the main kitchen to cater to ALL allergies.
      For instance, at the last Aarnimetsä Academy we had decided to cater to people with lactose intolerance, to have very few courses with almonds/nuts or replace them and something else that I don’t remember.
      Then a bunch of ladies contacted me and said: hey – we are allergic to some more stuff – what if WE take responsibility for cooking for those with allergies and replace the courses they can’t eat?
      This was a fantastic offer! And we were blessed with having a small extra kitchen on the site we used so it turned out brilliantly!
      And you Amal, set an example by doing this – you go to the kitchen, help out and also make sure that you and some of your fellow allergic participants get some more dishes to eat!

  35. A huge Vivat for this article, you hit alot of points I have notice within society. Many of which happen in my local and kingdom groups in the USA. So its not just your area of the world, its a attitude issue. I think there will always be those “Keeping up with the Jones” feelings in the SCA. As long as there are people there will be someone putting another down for their accomplishments. Its unfortunate but true.

    Though a trick is to challenge the “naysayers” head on: I try to engage those folks to learn more about my hobby and willing to teach them more. Some are receptive and some folks just want to pick on someone for one thing or another. My theory if you are not having fun you may want to look at yourself and ask why and fix it. Its not fun to ruin everyone elses time with gossip.

    The SCA is one melding pot of personalities, interests and time periods. When you have this many influences things will be interesting. The SCA is like stone soup, you never know what someone is going to throw in the cook pot next.

    Speaking of cooking, its only common sense to bring extra food in case you can’t eat what is served for any reason. Its impossible to plan for every situation and allergy, would never expect the feastocrat to do so. Its ridiculous to expect this burden to be solved by the event staff. As far as food costs, my shire has cost for feast listed separate and menu at troll in case someone has a question, so that does help with those who may not be able to eat certain things. Also can plan to go get food later when feast is happening and planning costs of food and such. I don’t have food allergies but I have friends that do and I try to take that into consideration but sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Packing for a SCA event I bring more than I need, my poor car. Though its best to be prepared, you never know and doesnt hurts to plan ahead.

    I agree alot of us work really hard at our passions within the SCA. I am that person who is always making new renaissance garb. Yeah my wardrobe is huge but I have been participating since 2004, so yeah I got trunks of garb. Though lots of it has short cuts from when I started, though as everything I learned more about period sewing and pattern making. They still it look fantastic and were done with the materials I could afford at the time. Just because my newer gowns are more period correct doesn’t make the old ones worthless.

    They are each a wearable learning experience, some I have sold other I keep for various reasons. Either way our journey in the SCA will always be marked with triumphs or defeats, and it all comes down to personality outlook. Do you learn from your mistakes? What can you do better next time? And is all the investment really worth the toil and outcome? Whenever I evaluate my time in the SCA, so far the answer for most things is yes its worth it.

    Thank you again for posting this, very informative and accurate challenges we all face from one time to another in or out of society.

  36. Kellie (Hrefna Gunnars dottir)

    Your post is definitely well written. We have made adjustments for folks in a feast due to allergies and it was both time consuming and a tad aggitating. We had complaints as well… but you can’t please everyone. There is no way.

    I start my research on the internet, but I end up with books. The internet is a great place to get a list of the books that will help in your research…. whether from a bibliography or being able to buy. I still prefer books over the internet though.

    I wanted to comment on the competition aspect. I have seen the other side of the coin, unfortunately. I was a single mother with two young boys when I first came into the wonderful fold of the SCA. I was constantly reminded by the occasional “Period Police” that my material of my dress or the boys’ garments was not period. That some of the items I used for feast were not period. I even heard the comment about how my tent was not period. At the time, that was all I could afford. I have been playing for 10 years now… and we are just starting to work on a period tent. Slow process.

    I think, no matter what, (whether you have elaborate items or just a few basics)in the end people need to remember… 1. It is a Hobby. 2. We do it for fun. 3. Most of us do not have jobs that provide the money to play to the extent we may want, because no matter what we Scadians always find something more that we want to try. and 4. Again, it is a HOBBY. =)

    Touching on the feeling of welcome into the SCA. It is unfortunate, but I have heard about and seen where a newcomer is ignored. I think some Scadians forget that not everyone is outgoing and that sometimes people just don’t know how to approach strangers. We have a newcomers night in our meetings (Our Barony meets weekly) and we celebrate our newcomers. People in the Barony donate items and the newcomers are put into a drawing to pick from the items. We also have Socials and Movie nights. It gives some time to just… have fun.

    Currently, my family is working toward a period encampment. That is our goal. It is a slow process, but some day.

    Thank you for your post and those of the others. (sorry about rambling)

  37. Malin Tjerngren

    Thank You Kat for putting written words to what a lot of us think but do not take the time to write down. I agree with you fully – but you already know that I think 😉 love you / Malin Tjerngren aka Willhelmina Weydehartz, Nordmark

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