#9: Eat a scotch egg, ride a slide . . . at the Renaissance Festival
Each fall the Maryland Renaissance Festival makes it way into my life—forcing visions of its awkwardly costumed, mead-filled, fake-English-accent-riddled activities into my brain as soon as the leaves start to turn. I’m happy to report that this year was no exception. I enjoyed another mild-weathered autumn day outside—this time complete with tankard, a vehicle full of friends, and a mission: to try something I haven’t tried in the five or so years I’ve been festival-ing.
Because so much of the festival involves eating things (fried, on a stick, or fried and on a stick), it seems only natural that one of my new things involved a new food. Before I go on I should disclose the first new facet of my visit: this year was the first time ever that I’ve gone to the RenFest with a real, live British person. New thing #1 for the day? Check.
It is she who introduced me to the scotch egg, a hard-boiled egg wrapped in a sausage meat mixture and deep fried. As she handed it to me to try she informed me that the proper way to serve them was not hot, as this one was served, but cold. (Yes, she said “proper,” and “meant to be” instead of “supposed to be” and also “Ren-AY-sanse” and “Bah-nah-nah,” phrasings and pronunciations which never cease to fill me with glee.) I bit into the crispy, chewy concoction and made an “ick” face. If that thing was so untasty hot I couldn’t imagine what it would be like to try to swallow it down cold. But to each his own, as my grandmother would say. (I would say “to each his/her own,” which is always a bit awkward.) New thing #2 for the day? Check.
When planning this event with friends earlier in the week, one pal who has made merry with me there in the past suggested that I attempt the wooden climbing wall that our male companions typically try to tackle each year. That would have been something new and different. But by the time we made our way around to the wall I was so full of ribbon fries, sausage on a stick, fried cheese cubes, roasted nuts, dill pickle, and that one unpleasant bite of scotch egg that I passed on the opportunity. New thing #3 for the day? No check!
In very close proximity to said wall, however, lies the oft-pondered but never attempted wooden slide through the woods. I’ve always wanted to ride it but the line is always so long and no one ever wants to wait around for me to do it. Plus, I think it is actually designed for kiddies and no grown person would risk riding it around the prying eyes of a friend’s camera lens. But I threw all appearances of maturity to the wind and got in line. And so did my properly-English-accented girlfriend. We jostled the kids in line this way and that in our plot to start the slide simultaneously, racing each other down the two-laned ride. I hopped on to the carpet-y blanket-y brown thing you tuck under your legs to help you glide along the course and pushed off.
Whee! (I thought.)
AAAAAHHHHHHH! (I screamed out loud.)
I coursed along the strategically placed humps in the slide, my stomach lurching this way and that. I let out a girly, shrill shriek not once, nor twice, but at least three times. My only comfort was that my race-mate had the same reaction and vocalized it as loud as I.
We disembarked giggling and proud. Another friend I had tasked with capturing the moment on film pointed out that no one else—not even the two year old who went before us—had made a peep. But I didn’t care. That thing was scaaaaary! New thing #4 of the day? CH-EEEECCCCKKKK!
Lesson learned? Stick to the fried stuff on a stick and leave the scotch eggs to the Brits. And if you feel like screaming your lungs out over a pathetically childish ride? Do it. And then go eat something else on a stick, if you can.