New event coming soon: investiture and medal ceremony at The Green Castle

Greetings from The Green Castle!

At long last there will be an investiture and medal ceremony the castle! It has been some decades since a major ceremony of this kind was held at the castle, so everyone here and many in the nearest large town and surrounding villages and hamlets are really looking forward to it.

Several young men in the realm have just completed their training and rites in the last stages of qualifying for full Knight status and a new Order of The Green Castle has been created for both military and civil classes. The knights will receive the Order in the Military class and various distinguished citizens have been elected as the inaugural members of the Order in the Civil class, and will receive their medals at the ceremony.

The actual medal representing the order is a disc with silver frame, a white inner background with an overlaid image of the castle’s front gates; the Military class is signified by a silver sword above the gate; there is a silver key for the Civil class. The medal’s silk ribbon is of a forest-green colour.

A feast and entertainments in the main courtyard of the castle will be provided for all attendees, after the official ceremony; new knights and civilians receiving a medal will also be given a pre-ceremony reception.

The ceremony will be held in the early Spring; more information will be posted closer to the event. I have been told that guests from distant provinces have already started preparations for their journey to the castle.

Warmest regards from The Resident Nobleman

Getting away from renovations and distant relatives

Greetings again from The Green Castle!

Good folk and kindly visitors, I confess I was once again waylaid from the blog : a sudden stream of travel commitments relating to business and then a call from relatives had me travelling the length and breadth of three principalities, two earldoms, various places within my own dominion and a couple of decidedly ramshackle provinces for week after week.  What a relief to return to a bedroom that does not move!

While it is true that the travels – with a very small party comprising only my Assistant Chamberlain, a tireless scribe, a few sturdy guards, a cook with some experience working in trading caravans and a few general ‘camp hands’ to help with packing etc – offered an escape from the noises and dusts of the last frenzied stages of renovation works, the long days on the road became very arduous. Sleet, hard rain, hail and some bitter winds (for this was no mid-Summer jaunt!) tested the horses and handlers quite badly and all were very glad of any and all towns we passed through, to make use of inns, a town mayor’s place and then at the spacious estate of my distant relatives. Fortunately, the weather improved from that day on.

The business was not as hard as I first expected, but nor was it exciting or even particularly profitable – merely necessary. The visit to the relatives was a more revealing experience, in that I had not seen or met or even written to them in some years and was most curious about the supposed importance of their call.

Their estate home was on the slopes of some picturesque foothills that supported many lush vineyards and orchards. Beyond the orchards lay sizeable lightly-wooded grasslands and a small lake.  The air was light, almost fizzy, and was blessedly free of that malingering odour of repeated visits by trolls – for which all in my travel party were exceedingly relieved!  My keen-eyed Assistant Chamberlain could see a farmers’ hamlet in the near-distance, which he took to be an encouraging sign we were close to our arrival place.

We were even closer than that, for soon after announcing the hamlet, a young man in a smart but well-worn riding suit and seated comfortably on a roan mare, came to meet us and assure himself I was one of the distant relatives. Then he turned the horse and rode ahead to show the final way to the Estate of the Family of Doringen-Masserhl.

At the Estate house, we were given a formal and distant sort of reception and shown to roomy guest quarters. Food and drink were set out for us, which was welcome after the outdoor travels. I was assured that at the evening meal everything about the request to visit  would be explained in full, and we were to feel at ease to rest for at least the next three days. (Why did that suddenly remind me of an old proverb involving fish? I was too tired to try remembering an answer)

The evening meal was a very substantial nine-course affair that included prize local produce from the vineyards and orchards we had seen, plus cheeses, meats, stews, game platters, fruits, hearty dark bread, a wide range of condiments; small decorated cakes and honey-glazed raisins provided the dessert, along with a potent almond-based spirit. Conversation covered general introductions, information (and a few good-natured boasts, once the wines had started to work their magic) about the surrounding area and the usual sorts of gossip at dinner parties involving relatives who had not met for many years.

Among all that activity, that lasted for many hours:  the Senior Man of the House, Honorary District Prefect Arjony Melridis Sefaxon Doringen-Masserhl  IV, kept his word about telling the reason for the call: it was to ask about my level of knowledge and understanding of the nature of certain old deeds that connected his estate to properties in my dominion, which I inherited from my father and uncles. He was not at all pleased that I could not quickly furnish a  detailed account, nor that I did not happen to have a ready history of the connections in question. For my part, I was not impressed by this set of haughty requests given without any notice in the call that had been delivered to me. For the sake of even distant familial links, I offered to have a search made at my castle as soon as I returned, and for scribes to prepare a comprehensive report, which would be delivered to the estate by fast mounted messengers.  I also extended an offer of return-of-hospitality at my castle and he seemed moderately willing to accept this, but while agreeing his eyes were making it clear an additional distancing process had started.

The remainder of the visit passed well enough, with visits to various parts of the estate and related towns and hamlets, fair weather, riverside picnics, an intriguing meeting with a herbalist who had a knack for story-telling, more dinner parties…and yet, on the last full day of the visit I had an uncomfortable feeling the District Prefect would be pleased to see my party and I leave and remain on noticeably distant terms afterwards. His family and friends would not miss us and  the household staff would soon forget anything particular about us (apart from those on the receiving end of the cook’s best informal efforts at diplomacy among estate staff…which nearly cost him an expulsion from guest quarters and I was not amused at how much advocating I had to do on his behalf!).  I mused on this strange family  experience for a large part of the ride home, but eventually found my disappointment evaporated the day before the Assistant Chamberlain called out that he had seen The Green Castle  in the distance.

Warmest regards from the Resident Nobleman!

Building/repair works and re-staffing at ‘The Green Castle’

Greetings from all of us at The Green Castle!

My apologies for the quietness and lack of recent activity on the castle’s blog, and do be assured, good readers and castle visitors, that your company has been missed.

A little over a month ago, when I last posted on this blog, it became clear that various parts of the castle itself need substantial repair works, or in some cases even complete replacement and new furnishings -and as often happens with big, complex structures like castles – you find one thing to repair then several more seem to magically show up just after that, all needing to be fixed and many of them in hard-to-get-at places. So, much coin flowed out of the castle’s coffers and into the -strong-boxes of various building-trades guildhalls, as well as into the coin pouches of assorted individual merchants and the messengers taking orders for business.  Not forgetting that tiresome monk from the abbey, the one who dragged on negotiations about which apprentices and journeymen would or could be hired at castle vs the abbey or in the town. He invited himself to the castle one day and the new Chamberlain –  ‘Alendorath’, from some distant seaport I can’t remember the name of for now- merely expressed token sympathy for what I had told him about the monk, then invited the …. to lunch. ?!! If he ever offers the monk some temporary work in the Scriptorium, I’ll be looking for another Chamberlain.

In addition to the building and repair works, and new furnishings, various castle staff were wanting a change of scene, or to visit family after  a long absence.  They kindly assured me that the castle itself was agreeable, and only a couple of staff cited any difficulties about other staff – mostly in the stables and kitchen areas. Not wishing them to feel imprisoned, I agreed to request for end of service, gave them strong references (which kept a few of the scribes in the Scriptorium quite busy for a few days), some extra coins of the realm and wished them well on their travels.

I look forward to resuming more regular social activities at the castle and more blog posts, in this brand-new month.

Good health and good blogging! 🙂

Resident Nobleman at The Green Castle

New foods and new services at The Green Castle

Salutations and blessings from everyone at The Green Castle!

Today I am happy to give you some news about new foods and new services at the castle, after many months of castle staff being busy with planning, gathering new wild ingredients, learning new recipes and – in the alchemist’s case, creating some new cures.

1. From the kitchens:

Hearty Traveller’s Lunch (needs to be ordered a day ahead, by messenger  – apply in the town for details) –for guests staying overnight at the castle: choice of roast boar or venison with mushroom sauce; served with pumpkin, beans and the new-season wine;

Pilgrim’s fare, for those travelling onwards for the day (available by early-morning request at castle gates): new-season wine, fresh-baked dark bread, slices of cold roast boar or venison, fruits of the season;

Stew and bread: generous one-person serve of vegetable stew, with a thick slice of fresh-baked dark bread (a regional specialty) –this can be made as either a lunch at the castle or packaged securely for travellers;

Apple-and-mead pudding with cream: the new dessert sensation at the castle! Highly recommended as a final complement to the new roast dinner options. Served warm in colder months and will be tried as a cold dessert in the next Summer.

Please note: the food for travellers will be put in suitable containers, flasks, skins etc, which do not need to be returned to the castle. A small saving on the meal cost can be achieved if travellers going to/through the nearest big town after leaving the castle are willing to leave their food containers with one of the tavern-keepers. The keepers regularly return containers to the castle via the same messengers taking advance meal orders.

2. New medicine:

Stronger cure for common insect bites and stings: a new bland-coloured soothing cream concocted earlier this year by the castles alchemist. I have personally had to test this preparation a few weeks ago and was delighted with the result!

3. Quick scribing service: the newest service of all- for regional and visiting merchants/ambassadors urgently needing additional copies of brief contracts (up to and including three pages), notices of sale/purchase/loading of goods and various letters of introduction. Please introduce yourself and state your business/a sponsoring business or guild -at the castle gates and ask for the Scriptorium Assistant. A room has been set aside for transcribing documents that need to be kept in confidence.

In most cases, all copies will be available – in a “standard business” form or with some illumination and a higher ‘aristrocratic’ grade of parchment, if that required for special state occasions – by end of the next day after the request is made, if that request is made before end of standard lunch services. If enough spare staff are available, this time can be decreased further.

The castle staff and I hope you will enjoy the new foods and/or benefit from the services if you need them.

Please feel welcome to visit us again,

‘timatgreencastle’



Thrashing it out with guild masters and a bad monk

Welcome again to The Green Castle!

My apologies for things being a bit quieter than expected in the past week, along with the limited food services and shortened visiting hours.

First we had a bunch of trolls trying their luck as an invading force, but thanks to some energetic defence work from the guard force on the battlements, combined with nifty trickery (including non-lethal smelly gases created in the castle alchemist’s rooms), we finally got rid of the problem. A ranger later told me that one of the trolls that had been badly injured by arrows and could only hobble back to its lair (so was left behind by the other less-injured retreating trolls) ended up being attacked and turned into lunch by a giant bear. Too bad, so sad. 🙂

The most time-consuming and mentally-taxing job, as it turned out, was when I became tied up in the nearest big town for days in a row: in haggling with and trying to stay on good terms with various guild masters, about service conditions and length of first main jobs at the castle vs what the town could or would offer for apprentices and journey men in various trades. We eventually reached an agreement based on ‘an apprentice for you, a journeyman for us, then the other way around next year/job’ basis. I made sure the scribe gave me a witnessed copy of that!

To complicate those talks, there was strong argument and devious logic being shamelessly used by a senior monk from a significant monastery.  His monastery was a fair walk from the town and on the opposite side of it from the castle,  but it was still close enough to compete against the castle for the town’s annual supply of promising apprentices and potential monks.  This monk, as it turned out, actually preferred to see the said apprentices unemployed for longer times and any monks-to-be kept out of the castle’s own small chapel or workshops,  rather than any of them earning ‘sinfully inflated’ wages and possibly being “moulded too much in the ‘worldly ways’ of the castle'” ??!! Since when did monks take anti-competition vows?! We both fumed a bit, protested our respective rights and innocence of any mean suspicion or bad faith, so of course couldn’t reach a civil agreement at any price. I turned to the leather-workers’ Guild Master (who I knew was a fair but shrewd haggler and was clearly running out of patience with the monk’s tactics) as an emergency deal broker. Luckily for all – as the outdoor light was fading by this time – he came up with a suitable compromise that included: neither the monastery or castle’s senior staff  will try recruiting anyone for certain times of each year (those times to be staggered) and neither of us being officially or even unofficially expected to issue the other one any more than the bare minimum of official invitations to significant ceremonies at castle or monastery in any one year. Just between you -dear visitors, me, and my  castle’s walls, this was and remains my favourite condition. Funnily enough, I just haven’t been able to schedule any ‘significant ceremonies’ yet. 🙂

Enough of all that saga, now. Great thanks for your forbearance. As a token of thanks, you are welcome to an extra mug of mead/goblet of wine or one bread&cheese lunch (if needing to keep travelling the same day), on your next visit to the castle.

Your host at the castle,

‘timatgreencastle’/resident nobleman