Sunday. The day of going back to Sweden again, but also another day of one of the finest events in years. Breakfast with sausage and bread (and – coffee – you can take a man out of the modern time, but you can’t take the coffee out of the man).
The bagpipe maker arrived about an hour before opening time, and told us that he didn’t mind at all that we used his bench and table. We started chatting, and I admired his pipes; I have always wanted one, even when I was little, and these were really, really nice. So I asked him:
”What di you charge for one of those little, simpler pipes?” He dodged the question and told us all about bagpipestuff, which was really interesting, but I wanted to know how much money I would have to save to get me a pipe. So I asked him again. He shifted, and said:
”Do you know Marianne, the woman over there?” I told him I did. ”You know,” he continued ”I’d rather trade than have you buy. Marianne made a set of clothes for my wife. Do you think you can do the same for me?” For those of you not into reenactment I can tell you this is a common way to do business – a craftsman offers you some of his work, and you give him some of yours – and all are happy.
The observant reader, however, have remembered that I am not a craftsman. I am a reading man, a drinking, feasting, eating man. But I am not a craftsman. I can make stuff for myself, but not for others – my stuff isn’t good enough to trade for a bagpipe (to trade for anything, really), so this wasn’t what I wanted.
”I can’t say that I can.” I admitted, feeling my spirits sinking to the muddy ground. Dammit. Another bagpipe lost in fantasies. Suddenly I heard a familiar voice. It said:
”But I can.” Maria had entered the conversation.
”Pardon?” I said.
”I can make stuff for you.” she told the pipe maker. I turned to her.
”This is your game, and you better stand up to it if you make promises.”
”I will.” she promptly stated, with a shadow of a smile across her face. I gasped when I finally realised what was happening. Maria offered her supreme skills as a textile expert for my bagpipe to be. She continued:
”You’ll have to pay me for the raw materials of course, and help me out when I make the cloth.”
”You got it!” I told her, and turned to the pipe maker.
”Would you like a Herjolfsnes no. 63?”
”Why yes, that is exactly what I had in mind!” he answered happily.
”And a pair of hose, I guess.” Maria said. The bagpipe maker nodded eagerly, and asked:
”Peter, would you like to have wood carvings on you pipe as well? It is common to have King’s heads or animal heads carved where the chanter connects to the bag. You can design that pipe anyway you like it.” He didn’t have to ask me twice – I decided there and then that my pipe should have the face of King Albrecht carved on it. Me and Thorsten the bagpipe maker shook hands, and made a deal. I am looking forward to having my pipe this christmas, and I am looking forward to the making of a grand old Herjolfsnes 63 jacket. The bagpipe maker (or rather his pipes) can be seen here.
I was a bit dazed by the prospect of finally having my very own bagpipe. I slowly walked among the booths, looking at the artisans and their work. I was feeling like cotton inside, and my mouth were aching from the idiotic smile I had on it. It was hardly mid day yet, and I was in my best mood. For some reason (I suspect drinking water) I didn’t have any hangover, and the weapons display went really well – even better than the day before. The girls all had their go at the gonnes, to everyones amusement; it is funny how people turn to drooling children when they get to fire the handgonnes. It is something very primitive about it, that connects to our inner savage, and makes you want to burn and pillage. Or something the like.
Finally it was time to pack up and leave. Our simple camp was as always very easy to pack up, and we were finished in a couple of hours. We took a fond farewell of our friends, and were a bit troubled by the news that another Seeth-Ekholt event will not be held until 2010. We had ourselves some burgers before setting out for home in the late summer afternoon, where the evening gloom were slowly beginning to fall.