Thursday, May 25, 2017


When I interviewed for my current job, my boss saw on my resumé that I'm also self-employed, and she asked about it. I told her that, while I'm not doing window restoration anymore, I'm continuing as a merchant at medieval reenactment events. She thought that was terribly interesting and asked what kind of things I sell.

Trouble is, if you're not familiar with the reenactment world, my list of wares may make about as much sense as someone trying to explain a function in JavaScript. I make coifs, veil pins, stitch markers, belt bags, amulet pouches... they all fall into the "accessories" category, but an answer that vague only begets more curiosity from the asker. I sometimes try to modernize the descriptions, calling coifs "skullcaps," for example, but, being the pedantic sort, it's hard for me to say that without further explanation, because it's not really accurate. There's no modern equivalent of what I make, because life doesn't work the same way anymore. Keeping one's head covered at all times, and keeping skin oil and sweat from soaking into an expensive hat, is no longer something we think about, much less practice. So the coif, the easily-laundered, close-fitting head covering that kept one's hat from becoming soiled, doesn't translate.

I've always had slightly odd hobbies and interests, and I spent several years as a tour guide at an historic house museum, so I'm no stranger to explaining things to audiences that might not initially get it, but when the audience is someone who's just asking out of mild curiosity and to be polite, I sometimes wish I had an easier way of responding.

I'll be a little farther north in Vermont this weekend, selling my medieval wares at an event I've never done before. In previous years I've done an event in New York State this weekend, but that state's tax department is an inept, mercenary creature, and after they sent me a bill for an absurd amount that they pulled out of the air with no basis in reality, I refuse to do business there.

And anyway, the event I'm doing instead is much closer to home and has an equestrian focus, so the drive will be easier and there will be horses to admire. I can live with that.


  1. how was the event? what breed of horses and what discipline?
    curious minds want to know!

    1. I knew I was in the right place as I pulled in Friday evening because I was behind a big horse trailer that had "CAUTION: WARHORSES" across the back of it. I saw everything from compact quarterhorses to huge shires, and the tasks (which I didn't get to see, but hear about from friends who participate) try to replicate the basics of what a medieval knight might face, with the rider having to hit targets with lances or swords while on horseback, working their way around a set course.