Several of us (see list below) recieved copies of a truly wonderful thank you note from Duchess Caitlin Stuart. Since she specifically said that it should be shared, I have the text below, and a pdf copy of the original in the files area so that the various highlights, one cross over and a few other things may be seen.
There was an amazing amount of work that went into Rose Tourney and Investiture, it is wonderful to see that work appreciated, and moreso to be able to share that appreciation!
Ayreton, You've done yourself proud!
[full text below--note, as this was ocr'ed I tried to make sure everything is correct as per orignal, but may have missed this. The pdf is essentially a photocopy, so if in doubt, refer to that]
Duchess Caitlin Stuart
Unto Their Excellencies Ayreton; Henry of Exeter and Nadezda ze Zastrizl, and
Lady Hilary of Langforde, Lord Richard de Scolay and Lord Gareth Ostwestly, co-stewards does Duchess Caitlin Stuart send greetings,
I would like to thank the Barony for your outstanding efforts hosting the Rose Tourney in conjunction with your Baronial Investiture and would be beholden if you could share this letter with your hard-working populace.
It was incredibly gracious of you to agree to host the Rose Tourney, especially since you had something so near and dear to your hearts already planned for the day. Few would willingly share their spotlight with another high-profile group and to do so was an unparalleled act of Largesse.
Having attended all of our Rose Tournaments as well as many hosted by other Kingdoms has provided me with a large frame of reference with which to make comparisons. I have to say that by FAR you were head & shoulders above the norm. Y'all sure know how to throw a party!
While I have come to expect a certain level of attention to amenities, NEVER have I been so impressed by absolutely EVERY facet of an event, and I'm truly at a loss to say what impressed me the most. Stewards of future Rose Tournaments will be cursing Ayreton's name as you have set the bar so high that anyone following in your footsteps will be hard-pressed to even come close.
If I had to summarize this event in one word, that word would be "suprizing". As the day progressed and different activities unfolded, every time I turned around I encountered something that had been done differently by your Barony than has been done by anybody else, and just when I thought it couldn't get any better, it DID!
However, I'd like to start off by saying that I was made to feel more special as a member of the "Old Dead Queen's Club" than I was at many of the events I attended when I served as Crown. Its more or less obligatory to accommodate the Crown, but you went out of your way to make me, a nobody, feel like a very special somebody, and for that you have my gratitude.
So how did I love this Tournament? Let me count the ways:
Let's start off with the most direct route to my heart.... my stomach!! Thus, my first segment of praise is for the Luncheons, which were as much of a feast for the eye as they were for the palate. Everything was so beautifully presented, tasty, and appropriate to the warm summer weather. Surprise #1 of the day: while it is customary for the Ladies of the Rose to enjoy a Luncheon, no one has ever thought to provide one for the Consorts of the combatants as well. What a considerate thing to do and a fine example to set. That was truly above and beyond.
In conjunction with this it was obvious that the group of people responsible for so tastefully decorating the Luncheon pavilions (among others) should be praised for the loving care taken to provide us with such beautiful surroundings. Indeed, you made the best use of a terrific site.
Then there were the Musicians with their incredible offerings. Surprise #2: to be trumpeted into the Processional was a totally amazing touch.... I felt like I was walking into a Book Of Hours! It sent shivers down my spine.
From what I have been given to understand, the following people were responsible and I would be indebted if you would thank them for me:
Master Robyyan: for organizing the musicians
Master Robyyan, Ladies Margrett & Margerethe for the Rose processional loud band
The members of Par Tre: Masters Robyyan & Philip and Lord Adam, for the soothing background music played during Luncheon.
The Pippens: Mistress Gianetta and members of the Barony, for their vocal music as well as
Court & Country : Ladies Teleri, Tabitha, Margrett and Margerethe
The members of The Baron's Noyes: Masters Robyyan & Philip, Lord Adam, Lady Margaret,
Mistress Amelie and Sir Fern, for the Instrumental music.
Of particular meaning to me on several levels was the piece of music written specifically for the Ladies of the Rose by Mistress Amelie. As a Lady of the Rose I was honored, touched and humbled to be both the subject & recipient of such an outstanding piece of work. It brought tears to my eyes. On an advanced level as a one-time professional musician (York Philharmonic Orchestra) and a student of both modern (Royal Conservatory Of Music) and medieval music (University of Toronto, Faculty of Music) I was able to appreciate it for its complex harmonies and construction.
Suprise #3: the gift baggies
Coming away from a Rose Tournament with a full stomach, fond memories and a sunburn is about par for the course, but to be provided with souvenirs of such a memorable day was the icing on an already delicious cake. This was totally unexpected, exceedingly generous and I . Was. Just. Floored! No one has ever done that. I like receiving gifts as much as the next person, but honestly it wasn't about the "stuff'; it was that you thought to do it.
Again, I would be in your debt if I could impose upon you to thank the following people for their generosity and thoughtfulness:
Goblets & Venetian fans: Mistress Serafina & household
Pewter cast buttons: Baron Etienne. I have been saving the kickin' buttons that His Excellency gifted us with at last year's Rose Tournament for a special piece of garb. I now have enough for a full garment and will use last year's buttons for the front of my cotehardie and this year's gift for the sleeves. And I do believe that I will put a little fox somewhere in the appliqué as a remembrance of my wonderful day in the lands of The Barony Of (Overachievers) Ayreton.
Gold Satin bags: Lady Alexandra & members of the Canton of Foxvale
Tapestry bags, hand cream & modern toiletries: Her Excellency Baroness Nadezda
Facial tissue covers with embroidered roses: Ladies Jadwiga and Arabella
Scented soap: Lady Aelfwyn
And of course let's not forget Her Honorable Ladyship Phebe who very capably administered to the List Table all day long.
I lacked for nothing during the day, and in fact your generosity and thoroughness extended to even before I arrived. Without Sir Fern's vigilance in, among other things, disseminating information to the Ladies of the Rose, answering questions and arranging crash space I would have missed out on a truly stellar event which I can honestly say was the highlight of my year, even surpassing Pennsic War!
It has been my honor to serve as Queen thrice across 2 Kingdoms, and in doing so I have traveled the length and breadth of the Known World, made the acquaintance of many fine people and attended some memorable events. But I don't think that I have ever felt as welcome and appreciated as I did this last weekend. Truly. I was overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit of your people.
The people of the Barony of Ayreton made me feel like Queen for another day, and brought back joyous memories of when my Beloved and I enjoyed tournaments together.
Aside from the personal benefits to me as the recipient of such a gracious welcome, my observation is that the tremendous amount of work and attention to detail that made this event a spectacular success stands as testimony and incontrovertible proof that if any group deserves to be a Barony, it's you folks. I count myself fortunate to have borne witness to the Investiture.
I'm afraid that this has become much more of an essay than I had originally intended. It would have been easier to just say "thanks everybody', but you put forth so much effort individually & collectively that it would be less than courteous were I to take a shortcut. Even as thorough as I think that I have been, I fear that I have inadvertently left somebody out, so please extend a big "thank you" to anyone I have missed; truly this was an outstanding example of teamwork, and you have certainly accounted yourselves as a gem in the MidRealm Crown.
I am honored to have been a guest in your lands and should my coffers permit it I would love to come back to visit sometime soon.
Duchess Caitlin Stuart,
by the strong arms of Osis, Duchess of the Middle Kingdom & Lady of the Rose