Dec. 2nd, 2015

abendgules: (self-portrait)
Highlights of October (not previously mentioned) and November:

Attended Crown tourney to see my friends in Polderslot (mka NL), one of my favourite shires ever, and see Vitus and Isabel win the tourney. They'll be crowned at 12th night and step down in early July this year (Coronation bumped so as not to clash with SCA 50th year celebration).

The event organisation was near-flawless as I'd expect from the well-oiled machine that is the free republic of Polderslot, with a joyous feast, a smooth running tourney, a well appointed site (totally modern but very comfy) and a happy vigil and elevation for Mistress Ailitha.

On our trip down, I'd put forward my internal candidates for elevation at this event and my first guess was right, which is always satisfying. :-)

It was fun to be on the field again as herald - sorting the procession, working with new heralds to cry the tourney, and help [ profile] gothwalk manage a two-list tournament smoothly. We had only minor hiccups as we got rolling. [ profile] gothwalk managed the one withdrawl from the field 3/4 of the way through the tourney well.

It was a solid challenging effort to get through all the entrants; good mix of novices, midrange fighters but new to tourneys, old hands, and seriously dangerous folks. V&I have earned their victory.

I kept getting compliments on how well it ran, when I was only the public face of the tourney - it was the Polderslot folks plus [ profile] gothwalk and heralds who did the heavy lifting. I was pleased and proud to be involved again, after not taking on this kind of role for awhile.

Part of SCA life is travelling with groups of people. This was both a pleasure and sometimes challenging, as the youngest member of the travel party (toddler Xander) had to feed, change and generally be kept entertained in a timely fashion. Most of this fell to his mum Isabel, who does wonders. A car with a built in DVD player is not to be sniffed at either.

On our way back we stopped in Ghent, managing to find the only cafe in the centre of town that only took cash (surprise!) when none of us has 2 euro to rub together... then walked into town, caught the tail end of an honest to god religious procession out of a church, then stopped for moules and frites in the town square. Overpriced, but you're in Belgium, you're supporting the economy.

I puzzled the waiter by asking for a takeaway container for my mussel shells, for paint pots.

I can totally recommend the Eurotunnel (where you drive your vehicle onto a cargo train for a very speedy trip). It's way faster than you expect Dover/Folkstone to Calais, it's cheap for a full car, and you can get up and walk around. It's about as glamourous as touring a long skinny parking lot but you can stretch your legs and the service on and off is speedy and courteous and runs regularly.

I got to catch up with my favourite folks in Polderslot, mostly, though it's never really long enough.

A great aspect of Polderslot is their love of the arts; one of the stewards had invited 2 blacksmiths to demonstrate and give people a chance to test their metalworking skills, very popular, and a leatherworker who did waxed leather demo and helped people make leather mugs. They love making stuff in Polderslot - no sitting around idle!

Since then the main SCA activity has been a local revel and prepping for Yule Ball this coming weekend. The revel proved a surprise; we have 4 guests who spoke mostly French, and I was on the hook to teach dancing, mainly silly dancing. I girded up and launched into enthusiastic but probably painful explanations cutting back and forth from French to English to get people moving.

I was impressed that most people kept up, and those who knew the dances supported me, and our guests were lovely. I hope I didn't scare them off.

Sunday, after that...I snoozed most of the day!

At Yule this weekend, I'll be teaching a class on ink-making, which is mostly the hard work of Lady Órlaith, a splendid lady from Ireland, who has done the research and prep. [ profile] thorngrove and I spent a weekend testing recipes, which was an excellent prep for me, so I have done the process, but it's Órlaith's work that's the basis of the class.

I'm being pushed by better artists than me to step up - which frankly is a good thing. I've had ink-making on my 'round tuit' list for years, but Órlaith made it possible.

Also hoping to dance at Yule Ball. :-)

On the less-fun side, my lower back is still giving me grief, so I've not run in a few weeks. I have to go 2 weeks without pain before physio recommends returning fully to high-impact activities like running and fencing. I'd almost, almost made it through 2 weeks, but then danced and led dance at the revel in my hard 16th c shoes, which blew my streak.

OTOH, physio doesn't want me losing condition entirely. We're trying to work out the combination of factors that trigger the back pain. My back prefers movement - walking is good, and running doesn't actually hurt. It's sitting on my butt all day and all evening that is damaging.

So I can do a *very little* running, so I don't lose heart entirely. I am missing it.

I probably dislike this time of year most - the shortest days of the year, when the daylight ends at 4pm. I have to get out of the office at lunch or else barely see daylight, whether there's sun or not.

I'd planned an entry titled, we went all the way to IKEA and all we got was these lousy candles.

After much putting-off, we bought a new sofa, because the old one was part of the cause of my back pain - poor support while seated doing crafts. This required a foray into that commercial vortex that is IKEA on a weekend - awash with families, people walking waaaaaay too slowly, people doing all the annoying things that you are doing while trying to decide on a capital expenditure.

The proposed title was because after all our careful shopping the sofa, and patient waiting at the picking-out poit in the warehouse, we wanted wasn't in stock. So we spent 2 hours shopping for £20 worth of candles and a tin of Swedish biscuits.

Robert ended up calling the next week, ordering and getting delivery.

We settled on something dull gray and quite firm, that still folds out into a bed, and apparently weighs a ton (says Robert who helped carry it in round the back way). Also, has great all-graphic instructions, that aren't anywhere to be found before you actually start putting it together from first principles...

Robert also invested in an extra sofa cushion bought separately, so I can sit upright on this fairly wide sofa without slumping.

We now have a knackered sofa waiting 3 weeks for large-item pickup from the council.

Haggis has no particular opinion on the sofa. Her dead mouse did fall out of the old sofa ('that's where I left it!') when it was moved. She's brought the mouse in on my birthday to play with, let it go, and it promptly shot under the sofa.

While icky, this is preferable to having a smell develop from behind the quarter round or wainscotting.

For my birthday last month I treated myself to a haircut at my favourite salon (2x a year whether needed or not) and a trip to the British Museum to see the Celts exhibit.

This was a bit disappointing - strong on metalwork, weak on textiles and a whole quarter of it about modern perceptions of Celts that interest me not at all. I expect more of the BM than a rugby t-shirt as an exhibit.

But it was a day to myself, with a dinner with Robert to follow at Chang's noodles, which was excellent. Chang's has expanded so the old premises is now a hot-pot centre, with electric 'burners' built right into the table. You get a pot of broth (plain or spicy) to cook a selection of meat, veg or seafood in. Fab.

Entertained through dinner by a large loud group at another table, with a couple of Europeans loudly telling their Chinese friends what China is really like, from their year abroad. Hilarity ensues.

That's it for the mo.


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