Sunday, July 8, 2007

A jaunt to Bristol Renaissance Faire

If last weekend was perfect, this one aims to be hellish. By 11:00 a.m. the temperature was over 90ºF, with a high of 96ºF predicted.

I slept through any cool part of the morning, waking up at 8:15 a.m. This was late for me, even on a weekend, because yesterday J. and I went to the Bristol Renaissance Faire, arriving at about 5:30 p.m., then to Apple Holler.

This was the opening day of the faire, which didn't seem to be that crowded, at least at that time. It did not feel unbearably hot, and I enjoyed the illusion of being in a village in the woods on a sunny day, with light filtering through the trees.

When we crossed the bridge not far from the entrance, with the help of a child we spotted a turtle in the water, eating what appeared to be soggy bread. J. pointed it out to some others who came along. Is it a sign of our alienation from nature that adults and children alike become excited at the sight of a turtle in a pond?

I include myself in this observation. I lingered to watch the turtle; I searched the trees for the birds whose unfamiliar calls I could hear. I was delighted when two red admirals used me for a landing pad in the Flamingo's garden. I was thrilled when two baby rabbits at the Flamingo approached me Friday evening and sat almost under my table, only a few feet away. Then one lay down in the "loaf" position under the other chair, looking at me and seeming to be utterly relaxed, even when I collected my things as darkness descended, got up, and walked away. The most common wild animals have the power to enchant most of us.

(I do not see them now, at midday, when I suspect the heat has driven them into shade of the bushes and flowers.)

At BRF, we walked around, and J. shopped and took photos (including one of three male vendors who said something like, "Hey, aren't you going to take our photo?"). A wench tried to tempt J. into knife throwing. "Show your wife what you can do with your knife!" Not having heard the last part, he was bemused by his "promotion to husband," while I pointed out the usual innuendo about weaponry.

I still enjoy the BRF, as much for the location as anything else. The first time I attended was on a perfect day, sunny yet comfortable, and then the setting and the scene were new to me.

At Apple Holler, I had to drag J. away from feeding the goats. He claims they are hungry, although their healthy looks and bellies belie that idea. We had a good time; it amused both of us to observe that the cooks behind the "Welcome to our country kitchen" sign did not evoke images and memories of Aunt Bee.

As we headed to the car, J. told me he was going to say good-bye to the goats but that he wasn't going to feed them. After 10 minutes, he came back and told me which ones he'd fed. Boys and their petting zoos . . . the last image I have is of two goats high up on their bridge silhouetted the fading light of sunset.

On the tollway, we came to a plaza where traffic was backed up; it took us 20 minutes or more to get through, yet it was clear on the other side. Two lanes through the plaza were closed, with a bright red "X" visible over each of them for probably 1/4 mile. Dozens of drivers slyly came down the right-hand closed lane, which of course wasn't backed up, and insistently cut in front of those of us who were patiently waiting in the queue (and making our wait even longer). The lesson was: Drive legally and respectfully, and wait more than 20 minutes for your turn; drive illegally, arrogantly, and dangerously, and wait no more than 5 minutes (and undoubtedly cause/add to the long wait in line).

And now I'm hot and drowsy and amazed by the European sparrow's capture of an insect mid-air that I just witnessed . . .


  1. Soundslike a darn good day!

  2. Slywy, I find it interesting that you only talk about the turtles and feeding the goats at Bristol. I'm wondering if you saw any of the music acts and were they not worth mentioning?

  3. Hello, Alan.

    Not at all (by the way, the goats are not at the Faire, but at Apple Holler in Kenosha). We tend to get to the Faire late, this time an hour and a half before closing, so we miss most of the acts. We have caught the Mud Show and a few musicians a few times in the past, and I have some CDs from previous years, but not this time, alas.