abendgules: (hunh?)
...if I get much flatter I'll become 2D like the latest monsters on Dr. Who.

I kept this window open to update LJ all afternoon in 'idle minutes' but didn't get any. This just bites. Because Ebola.

Today I published the Genomics research unit and the Proteomics research unit pages. They're in the list.

I decided that Genomics and Proteomics are mates of Asterix and Obelix, on the R&D side of the village, who research Romans to decide what makes them so crazy. Maybe they hang out with Getafix.

Today's weather was brought to us by ex-hurricane Gonzalvo; wind, instead of just rain.

I blame [livejournal.com profile] goncalves.

Last weekend's revel went well: 20+ attendees, 2 of them our newcomers from WorldCon. For the second month in a row an SCA member has stepped off the plane from another kingdom and rolled into the shire revel the very next day. I approve of their priorities. :-)

I did much the same thing except it was the shire meeting, since there were no revels in my day...kids these days, don't know they're born...

One pleasure of the revel was dancing: I ran the better part of 90 minutes of dancing instruction (with breaks) and noone died.

My explanation of the piva was shaky but in my defense it's hard to explain til you get it anyway.

The very patient dancers soldiered on, and we still managed to dance Petit Riens at the end.

I've ordered two more Wolgemut CDs to round out my collection. Wolgemut is now old enough to have a greatest hits album, which always makes me think of BNL's New Box Set.

Also investigating getting the Jouissance CD of Inns of Court, which doesn't seem widely recorded or played.

According to the guy who runs Renaissance footsteps, it's because the music just isn't very good, so noone bothers. :-)

Also, because the splendid [livejournal.com profile] zmiya_san pointed it out on eBay, I ordered 20m of linen blend fabric that will make brilliant tablecloths. It's already got blue stripes in it!

I might share it with the shire, or maybe not.
abendgules: (Romanesque_Initial)
It's months away, but our neighbours in Anglia (shire of Flintheath) are hosting their annual Yule Ball in the Claret Centre, also called Buckden Towers.

We've already booked one of the apartments.

It's so cool to be excited about an event months away.
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
Worried about housing.
Don't know what will happen after end of March. See 'housing'.
Our favourite neighbours are moving - catsitting services lost. This neighbourhood is going to the dogs. Gotta move. See 'housing'.

Otherwise, some nice stuff happened in the past couple of weeks:

- 2 weekends ago: Dance workshop w/ Mary Collins: 16th c Italian. Hard work, totally awesome. Loved spending the weekend with HE Paul and Lady Anne.
- Last Friday: Afternoon lectures at MoL with curators about Cheapside Hoard. Very useful, very informative. Changed the way I saw the exhibit, literally. Have loads of notes and will try to post.
- Last Saturday: Taught calligraphy 'from scratch' for the first time, didn't fail completely, noone ran away. Still need to refine the teaching, but everyone successfully made letters. Very satisfying.

Sorely bummed I'm not attending Crown to see Margaret de May on vigil, at start of April. See 'housing'...
abendgules: (insulae draconis)
Robert and I have fitted, cut, pressed, stitched and laced almost continuously since the turn of the year, and with the help of the splendid clothiers of Thamesreach ([livejournal.com profile] armillary, Dagny, Kat, Nerissa, and Nesta) we wore new finery to suit our stations at Dance Moot.

The gold silk was a gift from Duchess Nerissa, and the rest of the wool and linen fabric was stash - the 2m piece for Robert's gown was a £5 find at a charity shop in Cardiff. :-) My green wool has a beautiful twill texture, but it's very fine - it nearly vanished into fulled fuzz the first wash, so I think it was intended for suits that were drycleaned.

We'll have to take more pics, to show off the lovingly stitched-on buttons. Robert made 2 sizes of round buttons, with set-in wire loops, for his own gown and sleeves. My buttons were a gift from Sir Sebastian, [livejournal.com profile] lacedwaist's other half, in the Crescent Isles.

I really like this length of gown on Robert - very elegant.

He's hung his hood with Green Man badges he made for Yule Ball the year previous.

Note our new belts, ornamented with demi-suns. £10 for six, suitable for belts or other accessories.

Robert says wearing my cute little hood over my veil makes me look like a Luttrell Psalter hybrid beastie. I love the hood because it means I can wear my Panache as intended, as a feather-holder for a hat.

Robert and Genevieve, January AS46

Our pics with coronets taken by [livejournal.com profile] nz_bookwyrm were marred by reflected light - we'll have to try again at Coronet. This was the best of them.

More about Dance Moot anon - an early night for me!
abendgules: (Mountjoy)
Lovely Master Bertrik sent me a CD of pics from the January event, including this one, which shows my refurbished gown best:

I'm really pleased with the way the fur trim turned out - it really changes the way the gown hangs, and draws the gown hem straight down - and the sleeves. They look a bit looser than I intended, but I'd prefer them loose to uncomfortably tight.

Also happy with the headdress - now just have to find the nicest example from the Luttrell Psalter or similar to support it!

Best of all, Robert likes the whole outfit - he hadn't seen it all assembled before I went to Dance Moot, so this is its unveiling all over again.
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
 Dance moot in Harplestane was once more a lovely occasion. For me, it was a hugely relaxing event: pusscat was in good hands, and I had three days to enjoy good company and do nothing more strenuous than invite people to join in the next dance in the hall. Read more... )
If you ever get a chance to attend this little gem of an event, do so - it's worth the trip to Edinburgh, to see how a small group can make the most of an elegant site and the remarkable depth of musical talent in their shire.

Pics are courtesy of Harplestane's flickr site, mostly taken by the Torkillsons
Action shot, full length of yours truly 

Panormamic view of the hall - Medieval priory church, refurbished and available for both sacred and secular use

Another full length view, concentrating like mad on a new dance called 'if men don't sleep, women listen' - wonderful dance but not intuitive, and would take a lot more practicing! That's why I'm looking down

Honorata instructing dancers - lovely Polish reenactor who instructs dance very well - loud and clear
abendgules: (downhill)

So Saturday morning, I was off away to my first Dolmetsch Historical Dance Society class with Hazel Dennison. I'd spotted this class in a leaflet flogged at the Big Dance event from the summer, and it was within walking distance of my home.

The topic was 'early Italian Renaissance' and the authors in question were dancing masters Domenico and Ebreo c.1450. We covered a dance I didn't know at all, called Lioncello, named for one of the Medici patrons; Rosti Bolli (nicknamed Roasted and Boiled, which is more polite than the Rusty Bollocks I know it as); and we filled a bit of time with Petit Riens, which many folks seemed to alread know.

The attendees were a bit like the MEDATS crowd; mostly ladies, with some gents, of a certain age, who are interested in all aspects of historic dance, and are not limited to any particular period (except that they divide up periods to concentrate on one at a time). There seemed several regulars who knew each other, and a couple of newcomers like me, and a couple of jobbing reenactors. I was amused to find that having doine practices with another group (the one that Master Paul and milady Anne practice and perform with) gave me some street cred.

I enjoyed the class; it was a chance to spend some time on getting the steps right, rather than rushing ahead to keep everyone moving. My one wish was that we could have spent more time moving; the instructor is clearly so knowledgeable, and so steeped in the the period from her research, that she wanted to cram all this information into her instruction, rather than getting us to go through it a few more times. Fortunately, some handouts outline a few of the dance terms she used about 'shading' your performance - using the upper body to express yourself more.

Hazel endeavoured, in this shading, to get the dancers to 'unlock their inner Italian noble', to stand tall and proud, confident of your role in court, and carrying yourself with dignity, and to express that nobility in your movements. But while I was willing to give this a go, almost everyone else could only do this tongue-in-cheek; middle-aged middleclass English people don't do nobility very well. It just embarrasses them to no end.

I was pleased to find that the best SCA dance research and performance is at least comperable to other high-end amateur (passionate, enthusiastic and largely unpaid) research and practice. DHDS prides itself on its research, and it certainly has a sizeable back catalogue of self-publications.

My favourite phrase from the day: 'use your dancing common sense'. This generally means: if you're about to crash into a corner, work your way out of it while continuing with the dance.

The lunchtime conversation sounded suspiciously familiar: the group is trying to resurrect regular classes, so that if new potential attendees express interest at an event, there's actually something to direct said newcomers to within a few weeks... that, and the rather frustrated speculating over who will take over when they themselves retired. Unlike SCA, though, these volunteers are often in their roles for decades, rather than 2 years at a time.

Also eerily familiar: being thrilled at finding a sympathetic and suitable site with the facilities they needed!

The class was certainly worth the money and time invested, and I will be keeping an eye open for future dates.

One downside of this day: very achy hips, knees, shinsplints, and feet all evening! This ageing thing bites, bigtime.
abendgules: (Confesse)
One of Polderslot's gifts is its integration of adult and child activities; there's no distinction between them. I've said it before, but it charms me every time I see it.
I've never seen a group that so thoughtfully plans its days so that kids can do everything (except fight and cook), and that shares its childcare so willingly. It's a benefit of a shire made up of a group of friends who have known each other a long time, that most of the parents feel free to pick up each other's kids, and to also rein them in as needed.

Shire styles:  Many Polderslotters also do reenactment at a historic village, aiming for a generic 13th-14th c peasant to prosperous villager look; sturdy tunics in wool and linen in plain browns and greys and dark colours and modest pattterns.

As a result, those of us from outside the shire stood out in our colours and different styles. I was in a madder-pink fitted 14th c gown, HE Judith in her splendid silk and brocade 15th c Italian gowns, her lady in waiting (whose name I've forgotten!) in a stunning ultramarine blue silk Bergundian gown in the evening, a newly arrived lady Caid in a beautiful bronze silk taffeta Italian gown, and [livejournal.com profile] armillary in a sharp green and black 16th c doublet and trunkhose, with gold trim.

Watching him and HE Judith lead a line of couples, they really did look like a pair of nobles followed by their servants and peasants. :-)

Some Society behaviour is universal, like the lure of good fabric. We arrived fairly late on Friday evening, and dressed to sit with a few folks who were up puttering on projects. [livejournal.com profile] armillary had brought a half-circle cloak to finish with a lining and some hemming and trim. As soon as he spread this lovely green velvet out on the table, three different people got up to look at it and ogle the trim; it was like a magnet.  

There's nothing so engaging about your own work that you can't stop to fondle someone else's fabric!
abendgules: (penwork E)
While their Celestial Magnificences Alaric and Nerissa have announced the three tourneys and A&S display to help the new prince and princess select champions, I thought I'd mention other activities taking place at Coronet:

1. Friday evening: Lady Trinite [livejournal.com profile] mbroidress   the kingdom Signet and Master Robert of Canterbury are planning a showcase of the many completed scrolls from the scribal backlog box.

Aside from enjoying the splendid display of Drachenwald scribal art, please take some time to look over the scrolls, and see if you recognise any recipients, and consider if you could help convey these finished works home.

The recipients deserve their honours, and the scribes deserve to have their works seen and enjoyed.

Many of these documents date back several years, so crusty old peers are especially welcome to drop by.

2. Scriptorium - the scribes have some space reserved by the large picture windows to putter on current projects during the day, and one room set aside for Sooper Seeekrit work.

No planned instruction, just working space and company, though novices and inquiries are welcome. Active scribes, please to bring your materials as travel and space allows.

3. A&S classes - these are scheduled in the afternoon after the tournament. More details TBA on site.

4. Dancing - I will bring music by Gaita and Wolgemut, and can direct some dancing in the evening. No formal instruction, just reminders ('it's the one that goes dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-hop-hop-dum-dum-dum...')

It is rumoured that Master Etienne may dance, in honour of the occasion. Get your tickets here!
abendgules: (brocade)

My break started on Thursday night, when Robert and I attended a small late opening of the refurbished Plague and Fire of London exhibit at the Museum of London. Our splendid Lady Ynes had contributed some new pieces so we dutifully admired the display, and listened as edith_hedingham leaked fascinating facts about the Great Fire, gathered in the process of training as a registered city guide.

There's a very handsome 'wealthy domestic home' display set up in one corner, where you can picture sitting in the chair, by the fire, and listening to someone play the virginal.

The Cheapside Hoard is unfortunately back under wraps until 2012, when it will *all* be available, every last piece, or so the sign promised.

Beer afterward was somewhat overtaken by discussing plans for the coming Coronet feast, but Ynes and I still got to natter about the role of bliauts in costume history.

Friday AM was relatively leisurely, before the 1pm train. I was very glad I'd booked a seat, as the train was packed, and I had to eject someone from my seat. I only told off one repeat offender for using her phone in the quiet carriage but generally I prefer to say something than sit and steam. (The return trip, by comparison, was very quiet, and not nearly as busy.)

Mistress Cait met me and we walked to her and Otto's very fine Georgian tenement near the centre of town. I learned the difference between a tenement and any other kind of flat or apartment: a tenement is a multi-story building with purpose-built flats on different floors, as opposed to a former large single dwelling home that has been subdivided.

Theirs dates from the end of the Georgian era, one of the last that was built in a particular round of planned building of New Town. Cait showed me their row of homes on a map dated 1827, that showed planned future buildings that never materialised.

I was amazed how well their home suits them: centrally located, with 18" thick stone walls, and similarly thick floors, with space between ceilings and floors apparently filled with wood ash as sound proofing. Indoors, hardwood floors and 12-foot ceilings provide splendid settings to practice even the loudest instruments like shawms and bagpipes.

Unsurprisingly, one large room is dedicated to music, with their many instruments on the walls, and a large open space for dancing. This is the heart of Harplestane's Friday evening dance practice, followed up with wine and cheap pizza and chat in the lounge, with the fire going.

Dance practice was delightful, giving me a chance to meet some of the local SCA/reenactor types, including the lovely Leonor Martin from Alcazar de Brioga who is currently living in Edinburgh. She's a splendid knowledgeable lady who helped found the Spanish shire, and I'd had no idea she was living abroad!

The one great drawback I observed of living in a vintage tenement is its vintage insulation and heat-retention qualities. Both Otto and Cait wear a lot of sweaters.

Saturday had a leisurely start - hurrah for local events (well, local to where you start from), with just a 20-min drive to Queensferry. Since I've learned most of my Scottish geography from reading Ian Rankin, this was a useful (they live close to the Gay Square police station).  Just as well - it takes 45 minutes to climb into the 16th c German gown layers.

The site is a lovely small priory church refurbished in the 19th century to support a neo-Gothic look. (I don't know how they got a Grade A listing, when they've added underfloor heating, and a glass interior wall to separate the tearoom from the rest of the site though.) The worship area has moveable seating, so the musicians set up near the altar, and everyone else stashed their goods in the tearoom.

I got to catch up with [livejournal.com profile] sismith42  and her husband JL, and meet their baby E. for the first time. I can honestly say that JL looked the happiest I'd ever seen him while caring for the baby, and it was a pleasure to see. Other folks like Torrkil and Estrid took a turn at bouncing the baby too - she's got lots of honorary family around the shire. 

I also got to meet several newcomers - students from St. Andrews particularly, who I think have been rustled up by Aylanna (sp?), Robert Torrkilson's lady - and I tried to make sure they'd met [livejournal.com profile] nz_bookwyrm  before they left, as he's the newest experienced SCA arrival at that school. It would be wonderful if that school once more became a source of newcomers and fresh and enthusiastic faces in Harplestane.  

Lady Estrid and her family organised a hearty potluck meal, mostly prepared in advance, or warmed in crockpots, because there was only a 'coffee kitchen' at the site. As their family members have a selection of food sensitivities between them, every thing was very carefully labelled as to its contents. I especially liked thebeef in red wine, but really everything was yummy.

For the evening's dancing, Otto and Cait asked me to take names from the registration list and ask folks at random to choose a partner and a dance they wanted to hear and dance - this way, everyone got a chance for a favourite (or at least something they recognised!). 

It also saved the musicians having to set the programme - they could simply be the amazing medieval dance band they are, playing the range of instruments and across varied styles of dance. We're spoiled rotten by them!

It also allowed a few 'performance' dances, that weren't taught but were on the playlist. So I spent most of the evening on my feet, going over my list, and talking to people. It made an excellent icebreaker.

I found that I knew more dances than I realised - teaching a few more brawles, and getting a firmer grip on some familiar tunes and pieces that I now want to teach at our revels. And I found that one of the very first dances I learned, the war brawle, had not left me, and I could still dance it with Leonor and a wonderful sweet lady named Caelin, a reenactor from Poland.

Bless Dame Sarra for teaching us all brawles in Greyfells all those years ago.

Sunday was spent in part on a walking tour of Edinburgh courtesy of my hosts - Otto says he prefers cities with hills, and by god, Edinburgh has them, having a great deep glacial groove cut around the hard rock peak that the castle sits on.

It seemed a long series of stairs and steps to reach Nelson's memorial, the exterior of Holyrood palace, the old Observatory, tourist-tat Princess Street (full of be-kilted rugby fans: Cait said, 'noone really walks around in kilts every day, honest'), the university grounds, including the medical school where Sir Arthur Conan Doyle studied.

I got a walking and talking run-down on the late-Georgian development of the city, with its distinctive style of housing; on one corner stood a 4-storey 19th c building right next to a 6-storey modern building. The exteriors were similar and the rooflines were the same...which means that where the Georgians enjoyed their high-ceilinged spaces, modern builders squeezed in two more storeys of offices.

Like London, Edinburgh has some small gems - hidden gardens, enclosed tenement yards, narrow walkways leading to open spaces. We decided against the tourist tour of the famously enclosed street, Mary King's Close. I think I could learn to love such a city, if I could find a place to live there.

Otto and I breezed through the city museum, but were a bit disappointed by the collection; it was thematic rather than by period, so for example, we found Bronze Age and medieval artifacts together, under 'burial goods', and early Celtic and later medieval church decor together under 'Christianity'. Something of the sequence of occupation of the Isles was lost in this approach.

[livejournal.com profile] nz_bookwyrm  sent me a pic of myself, showing off my excellent 16thc shoes. I have to pass this onto the shoemaker... you'll have to ask him for other pics, I forgot my camera completely again.


abendgules: (brocade)
Edinburgh is hilly. Great views (some very wild-looking bits, very close to the centre of the city), but very hilly. Lots of stairs. Go go glacial formations!

I'm not sure if my stiff legs and hips are thanks to a very full Saturday of dancing (all those saltarelli and galliards) or because I followed it up on Sunday with a walking tour of Edinburgh courtesy of Master Otto and Mistress Cait, the founders of Gaita.

It wasn't a fluke: The Outfit was judged to still be splendid and worthy of note in Harplestane as well as in Thamesreach. nz_bookwyrm has promised photos, since I went and forgot my camera again. Honestly, it does better work as a paperweight most of the time.

Head is full of dance tunes.
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
I was referring to Lady Cecilia's Allmande, or Sosilla's Allemande, or whatever form you know.
Apparently the original instructions are to 'embrace your partner' at the end of the dance, so the embrace can take whatever form you feel comfortable with.
With the dance mob that Master Paul and milady Anne run with, it's snogging. :-)

I think we should make it the official dance of the reign of Marcus and Cecilia, since it's clearly named after Her Majesty.


abendgules: (Default)

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