abendgules: (seneschal_cat)
In cheerier news than me martyring myself with quills: Thamesreach is an excellent shire.

On Friday, prompted by some visiting AnTiri, we went to the British Museum to see one of its occasional displays from the non-display collection - a fabulous Roman serving dish, part of the Mildenhall treasure. (There are some very promising daytime talks about the components of the treasure for thems that can reach them.)

We had a creditable turnout of locals and guests, and spent a goodly 20-30 minutes crawling around the edge of the dish's display cabinet, speculating about how it had been assembled. Other museum guests drifted in and seemed to drift off quickly in comparison.

On to the Holborn Whippet pub for a quick pint, and Robert and I wrapped up at Chang's Noodle (where we enjoyed such a great meal a few weeks ago sending [livejournal.com profile] pogbody on to her new home in The Middle of no-whEire). Yum.

We counted it a successful beer and museum: a brief stay at the museum, something learned/considered/admired, and off to the pub. Well done us!

On Saturday, Giovan and Margaret once more invited folks to their home to poke each other with swords and work on assembling clothes. Much happy poking and pinning apparently ensued, sufficient to prompt [livejournal.com profile] exmoor_cat to start planning for the next rapier revel in July, which is brilliant.

I'm so pleased: a healthy group is one that gathers on its own, not just at official functions, IMO.
abendgules: (15thc_worker)
This past weekend saw Thamesreach's nearly-annual fencing revel.

It marked the anniversary of my fencing authorisation (2 years now!) but with my complaining elbow, I didn't get nearly as much fencing in as I'd hoped. After some teaching, and a brief run through of melee engagements, my right elbow demanded time out. Sigh. I think I'm going to request some physio sessions from work.

However: we still had a fine turnout, and I ran an authorisation to allow a newly arrived Atlantian play in this land.

I was really happy to see the number of attendees; 17 adults at table, plus 3 kids, and three adults who'd dropped in during the day, and not stayed the whole evening.That's pretty respectable, really, with a mix of old hands and new faces both. We'd had a run of low attendance over the past few months, and it's great to see people coming back, and new folks turning out.

We also had live music! Our newly arrived Atlantian family is chock full of talent *and* instruments, so we had live music for brawles and petit riens.

We have some plans for the coming revels (music, Yule feast, tabletweaving...can't remember past that), which is encouraging. Having someone else running the revels is a relief to me. I'm happy to help (and Robert and I did lock up in the end) but am happier still not feeling on the hook each month. I feel free to contribute without the sense of obligation.
abendgules: (Confesse)
In Canada it's Thanksgiving weekend. I love this weekend, and miss it, and the beautiful season, here in England.

Things I am thankful for, and try to reflect on daily:

Good health: I don't have perfect health, but my body does what I ask of it most of the time, and I try to be thankful that it cooperates. It only takes one bout of poor health to put this in perspective.
Safe shelter: We don't own a home, but we have a safe, secure place to live in comfort. 
Food: We have access to plentiful, healthy, varied, food.
Civil society: For all that we complain about injustices, England is a civil society.
The institutions are not perfect, but the police come when you call. Same with fire dept, local council services, and transportation workers. We don't have to bribe them or pay backhanders to ensure any of these services work and they serve me as well (or badly)
as they do my neighbours. This is more than many, many people have in their cities.

I'm aware that the things I'm thankful for aren't true for everyone, even within the city, or the country I live in. So I'm thankful.
abendgules: (catching snowflakes)

(Ok, when I started, the snowy icon was appropriate...)

I'm thankful for the coming spring. The last few weeks it has felt stubbornly cold and damp in our flat in the evenings, to the point that I'm huddled on the sofa not wanting to move.
But I've seen the increasing light levels in the length of the day - now there's still light outside when I get out of the Tube at 6.15ish, close to my home.
This weekend it felt like a turned corner: could open windows for fresh air, woke up before my alarm in early-morning light. There are daffodils sprouting in the estate yards around us.
The equinox is next weekend, and British summer time doesn't start til Palm Sunday, 2 weeks from now. 
Even if I lose sleep to it, I'm going to try to appreciate the early morning sun after months and months of gray.
abendgules: (catching snowflakes)

Yes, colour printers.
Bane of SCA submitting heralds' lives, but awfully handy for running off enlargements of glorious penwork examples from the British Library. [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy  reminded the Drachenwald scribes this week about the search facility for finding 'puzzle initials' (the ones with the crazy doodling around them - here's a random example).

I've wanted to get to grips with these for some years, and have poked at them sporadically with only limited results; for some reason I felt blocked, and my doodles just didn't look right.
 
[livejournal.com profile] merlyn_gabriel  sent me a CD full of exemplars, and handouts, but I shied away from really pushing my abilities, and grew discouraged.
However, with a new scribal role in ID, I now really really want to be capable of finishing scrolls on demand; puzzle caps and penwork look like the way to go. Finding the right ink and nibs, and giving up mucking about with drawing inks, has also helped!

I'm starting to doodle them in my meetings (there's always meetings, and there's always doodling) - might as well take advantage of it.
abendgules: (downhill)
What could be better than a free laugh every morning?

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
abendgules: (catching snowflakes)

I seem to have fallen off the thankfulness wagon, in my excitement about St. Ethelburga's, The Outfit and a new SCA ossifer job (regional signet).

SO: today I'm thankful for having learned calligraphy.

I learned it because I'd started heralding courts, and I saw one exquisite piece of artwork after another going out from the hands of the crown and coronet. And I realised that just a handful of talented people were doing this work, mostly quietly and behind the scenes.

I'm not sure what made me think I could do it - my first thought was more, I wonder if I could help, so the scribes wouldn't have to work so hard. I was also amazed at the range of people who did scribing: from crusty peers to young children (Erick and Tesla's girl was quite young when she started, and she did really astonishing work), hefty fighters to needle jocks. It didn't seem to matter who you were.

As an early teen I'd given it a try, upon learning that my dad had done calligraphy in grammar school, and at 15 had been chosen of all the boys to do the lettering for a major school project. Unfortunately being taught by my dad was a big turnoff, and I promptly packed it in when my thin lines were thick and my thick ones thin. I also didn't like struggling with the workarounds often needed for lefties.

What made it totally possible, and fun in the bargain, was [livejournal.com profile] ethnowoman  and her introductory classes, and her weekly and bi-weekly scribing evenings. She has a gift for teaching, and she managed to calm my fears of making a mistake (no small feat for a perfectionist). In fact, one of her clever approaches to teaching was to make a mistake, and then fix it, and see how it works. That was a great great help.

Remembering my early leftie struggles, I decided to learn right handed from the start. When teaching archery, I'd always told other people that learning a new skill did not depend on handedness (I've since amended that to '...short of serious learning disabilities'); so you can be right handed and learn to shoot left-handed if you want.

So here was my chance to learn a new skill, and learn it the way that made the most sense - right handed. And it worked - worked far better than I expected.

I still draft, sketch initials and decoration and paint left handed, but all my lettering is righthanded.

It's been fascinating learning a new skill as an adult: I still have great frustrations when things don't work well, and I'm still not happy with many results. I've learned much about 'how to look' at art by doing calligraphy, and am gradually, very tentatively, dipping my toe in illumination.

There's something deeply satisfying about making things by hand, and that includes making documents.

 


abendgules: (catching snowflakes)
Today I'm thankful for Terry Pratchett.
I resisted reading his books for years, suspicious of anything that other folk insist I must read, are you mad? what do you mean you haven't read him? he's brilliant! and so on.  I'm just stubborn that way.
I caved a couple of years ago, after picking up one of Robert's copies, after hearing him laughing out loud while reading - re-reading even - some favourites. At the depths of a depressive period, I could see it was funny, and well-written, even if it didn't make me laugh. But I've laughed plenty since, and admired the tautness, and often the anger, of his best books (Thud! Going Postal and The Night Watch are my favourites, as well as the Tiffany Aching stories).
Knowing that his Alzheimer's must inevitably eventually affect his writing makes his new books all the more bittersweet.
abendgules: (catching snowflakes)
Today I'm thankful for knitting.

For years I felt a bit of a failure because I couldn't knit, especially since a couple of my cousins were brilliant at it - could design their own sweaters, knit Kaffe Fassett patterns (the 70% chocolate gateau of knitting designers). 

My early attempts as a kid left me frustrated - I got purling, but not knitting, and so thought I'd failed.

However, after learning several other crafts as an adult, I came back to knitting, after receiving (actually asking for) a pair of sockyarn skeins that I spotted in my mum's stash. They were so perfect: flecked multicoloured self-patterning colours, so beautiful! and instantly I wanted to know how to make socks.

So I went away and started learning, mostly with Elizabeth Zimmermann's help (after consulting HE Sagadis). And I think knowing how other crafts work helped: realising that each craft has arcane language, expressions, and conventions, that are all perfectly clear to the users.

EZ, and the Internet.

Now I knit, and can make really nifty things, which is very satisfying.
abendgules: (catching snowflakes)
I'm falling behind somewhat in the thankfulness count, but I figure I spend plenty of time online for a living, so I'm not obligated to do so in my leisure time.

Today I'm thankful for museums.

Because of museums, I've seen more historic artifacts than I ever expected to in a lifetime. Visits to museums have strengthened my desire to pursue historic re-creation, mostly in small domestic items, at home. They also fill me with a sense of wonder at the craftsmanship (and craftswomanship) of the artisans of the past.
abendgules: (catching snowflakes)
 Today I'm thankful for my sweetie Robert.

I'm thankful most days for him, but I'm especially thankful at Christmas, to live with someone who is entirely happy having a quiet Christmas, untroubled by travel, family commitments, shopping, baking, and generally living to excess.

My favourite kind of Christmas is one spent on a sofa thickly spread with books, the cat, and mince pies with sherry, and this suits Robert too. 

After many years of feeling trapped by obligations to family and gift-giving, this is a huge relief.
abendgules: (catching snowflakes)

Today I'm thankful for the BBC.

While I miss some aspects of CBC radio, BBC radio and TV produces some astonishing comedy, documentary and (awful phrase) 'current affairs' programs.

There's some dreck (Eastenders, the never-ending misery), and some derivative work (comedians running quiz shows are a sure bet - here are five more in the same mould!), but alongside is the brilliance, depth, wit and satire I've not seen or heard elsewhere.

And, of course, BBC brought back Dr. Who. I'm amused to find that in the BBC Shop, Dr. Who is his own category (DVD, Audio, Books Magazines, Children, Dr Who, Blu-ray, New Releases).

abendgules: (catching snowflakes)
I'm thankful that I can give blood.

I gave blood yesterday at work. The blood collection service headquarters is right next door to my workplace, and every quarter they drive a bloodmobile onto campus to draw on the local public service targets. They're also very quick to make you your next on-site appointment - even before you've donated this time.

Since my last donation, the staff now point you straight to the hand gel, and provide *large* cold drinks, both before and after you donate. A small cup of tea after donating seems to be going by the wayside.
abendgules: (catching snowflakes)

I'm thankful I have a body that works.  

It's not perfect. It's not as fit as I'd like, and there's one or two chronic ills I could do without.  

However: I'm healthy enough to walk half an hour to the Tube daily, to cycle to the grocery store, to dance with my sweetie at events, to resist most colds. I've had long-term illnesses, so I know what 'healthy' feels like.  

I see my dad's slow deterioration from COPD and long-term steroid use, and his vulnerability to even small bumps and bruises, and his anger and sense of betrayal that his body has let him down. And I think, it's not perfect, but it could be a lot worse.  

abendgules: (catching snowflakes)
...inspired by [livejournal.com profile] kes_zone , [livejournal.com profile] fineum , and [livejournal.com profile] larmer : trying to post one thing a day that I'm thankful for. Willing to give it a 30-day trial, after which we'll see about continuing...

Also decided that if I don't post daily, I'll have to keep picking up from where I left off, so if I miss a weekend after day 7, my next day is day 8, rather than day 10.

I'm using Linus as icon, because he's an optimist at heart.

Day 1: I am thankful for finding meaningful work in the UK. It's taken me a long time to get out of technical writing and into the field that I'd hoped to be working in when I left college in (ulp) 1997.  Starting this permanent role in the HPA gives me a chance to work in a field that I care about, human health and medicine, for a modest wage, with some prospect of growing into a bigger role in future.

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