Tuesday, June 9, 2015


Willie, Willie, Harry, Ste –
Harry, Dick, John, Harry Three,
One, two, three Neds, Richard Two,
Harries Four, Five, Six, then who?
Edwards Four, Five, Dick the Bad,
Harries Twain, Ned the Lad,
Mary, Bessie, James the Vain,
Charlie, Charlie, James again,
Bill and Mary, Anna Gloria,
Four Georges, William, then Victoria.
      - Nineteenth Century schoolboy mnemonic
         for the Kings & Queens of England

Be thinking about me tomorrow.  I’m going to try to buy two medieval English hammered silver pennies over the phone at an auction – and I’ve never done that before.  I have a coin for each reign between William the Conqueror and James I, and have decided to expand the collection so it covers 1,000 years.  That means I have to reach back to Cnut (sometimes spelled Canute, also Knut) who became king in 1016, and forward to Victoria.  There is a Cnut coin in the auction, and also an Edward the Confessor, who became king in 1042.  I can’t go to the auction, so they are going to call me from it.  I have submitted bids by mail, and have already been outbid on the Cnut.  I plan to raise my bid at least once  I keep telling myself to remain calm and do not get carried away and bid too high.  There will be another Cnut and Edward some day if I don’t get these.  (Though the Edward is a magnificent coin!)

This past Saturday Ellen and I drove down to Rochester (MN, not NY) to take part in a Society for Creative Anachronism event called Castle Fever.  The site was Gamehaven, a Boy Scout camp.  It’s a fairly small event, perhaps sixty people, and it consists mostly of fighting in medieval style armor.  The camp is beautiful, a collection of meadows and woods, with a brook running through it into a lake.  We were out to see if it would be suitable as a locale for a locally-made movie based on my first published novel, Murder at the War – Knight Fall in paperback.  I’m excited to report that it seems ideal.  In the SCA I am an Abbess named Margaret.  It was warm, so I wore my old summer garb.  Here’s a picture of me in it.  The staff in my hand is a crosier, a bishop’s crook, which as abbess I am entitled to carry.  Ellen carved it of walnut many years ago and it is gorgeous.  Just for fun, I am abbess of Deer Abbey.  But it’s “kidding on the square;” that is, the abbey’s real name is Abatia Cervi Albi, Abbey of the White Stag, from the deer in the vision of St. Eustace wihi had a cross rising between its antlers.  There is an actual monastery of that name in Scotland.


Anonymous said...

Deer Abbey -- very punny!

Monica Ferris said...

The SCA is full of puns. Many self-inflicted coats of arms are puns. This was true in the real Middle Ages, too.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Good luck with your auction bids, Monica!

Betty Hechtman said...

I hope you got the coin for your collection. Great that you found a good locale for your movie.