I found Aiobheann carving turnip lanterns this afternoon. For all her struggles in the botanical arts and in the kitchen, she is more adept at this than I am. My attempts were pitifully crude next to hers. We debated briefly about moving the party yet again. Consulting with their Majesties was not an option, since they are presumed to be still engaged in hunting the missing princess. I deferred the decision to her on the grounds that she knew these royals better than I. Eventually; we decided to go ahead anyway, as it seemed too long to wait for Yule. Aoibheann said that it didn’t matter as the king could always command a celebration whenever he wished. This made me laugh and I told her about the queen of my homeland, and her retreat into mourning, with very few celebrations save for her jubilee. Then I told her about the royals I knew in London, and how they were much more accessible. This prompted her to suggest I should write about my life instead of a fictional one, as mine seemed interesting enough. It was an intriguing idea. I wonder if I could reconstruct an autobiography from my journals. I told her that I already did write about myself; that I had kept a diary since I was 12 years old, and showed her a random page. It happened to be one where I was missing Catt, shortly before she managed to contact me through the portal. She read it, albeit slowly. Poor girl does struggle so, though she said her reading had improved. I offered to give her additional lessons if she wished. She seemed a little reluctant, but eventually agreed. Then I left her to her carving, while I went and made sure that all the supplies for the party would be delivered on time.
I returned later in the evening. There was a stranger in the bar, whose name I later learned to be Zebediah. He asked if he could sing for his supper, having only recently arrived and being short on currency. I bore in mind the kindnesses that had been shown me when I arrived and paid for him. Nevertheless, he produced a guitar and treated us to a couple of interesting songs. We were impressed enough to suggest he come to the party and entertain us there. To my surprise, he knew the festival of Samhain well, leading to a brief discussion of comparative religion. I introduced myself and we did the usual little dance about using Nate instead of Nathaniel. He was surprisingly cooperative, so I told him about the family tradition of passing middle names down to the sons. It turns out he has a similar tradition, in that there is always a Zebediah or similar. He plans to call his son Zebulon.
During this conversation, the mysterious Gwyn appeared, telling us she had made soup. Despite Aoibheann’s description, she did not appear to be wearing pants, so much as something approximating to medieval. This, she explained as being something they do where she comes from, going to medieval fairs. This led to an unfortunate misunderstanding when she said that some girls used these fairs as an excuse to display their baps. When I asked why they felt compelled to display their baked goods, she laughed and told me she meant their breasts. This I then understood, having seen some rather fanciful illustrations of what some people imagined a medieval wench would wear. So, today I have learned a new word for breasts. For all the time I had spent in the company of sailors, who are most inventive in their use of slang, particularly when it comes to matters sexual, I had never heard them called baps. There was some further confusion because Gwyn made some comment about witch trials being part of these medieval fairs, leading Aoibheann to wonder how you could tell a witch from her bosom. Gwyn and I briefly explained about witch trials in history. Aoibheann’s reaction suggested that where she came from, witches did not get trials. Some day, perhaps, I will find out more of her history. She seemed surprised that we knew so much, but disappointed that knowing so much involved schooling and reading. Perhaps a little history might be in order, to supplement the reading and writing lessons. I must confess; I do not entirely know how one might teach history to somebody who hasn’t experienced as much of it as I have.
Gwyn asked how long I had been here in Jasper Cove, and I had to get my journal out for the second time today, in order to check. Only six weeks, it seems, even if it feels like I have been here forever. Gwyn liked the idea of keeping a diary, but thought she lacked the discipline to write it every day. I told her that I didn’t always write something every day, feeling no need to record that I got up, had breakfast etc. She laughed and recounted briefly some of the things she felt worthy of recording, and wondered if she should start a novel. I told her I already had. By now, everybody seemed ready to retire, so after the others left, I closed up the bar and retreated to a quiet space, there to continue with Edmund’s adventures. The idea of an autobiography intrigues me though, even if I doubt I have time for both.