abendgules: (self-portrait)
Sunday afternoon, and we've found Michael Palin's 'Around the world in 80 days' on one of the higher-number channels.

We found it partway through the episode in Hong Kong. He says, 'all anyone can talk about is 1997.'

He reaches Shanghai, and walks through a Victorian-looking customs office where his crew is allowed to film.

He comments on the purposeful movement of the Chinese, as the camera pans across the cyclists. 'Just imagine if everyone here traded in their bicycles for Hondas?'.

At the end of the credits, I see this programme was made in 1989.

Pre-1997, for Hong Kong.
Pre-September 11.
Pre-George W. Bush's wars.

It's like a historic document all on its own. He couldn't have known what he was recording in a travelogue, not for 100 years from now, but just 25 years later.

Amazing.
abendgules: (maciejowski)
Getting anywhere on a bank holiday weekend is a nightmare. How did I manage to forget? blocked out more like.

It took 3 hrs to reach House Pologrinus on the south side - more than 2x the usual journey time. I was very very close to turning round to go home from Farringdon stn (2 hrs into the trip) when the train arrived. I hate travel on long weekends.

However, upon arrival matters improved: I was visiting to take part in this year's apple pressing towards cider-making. After guzzling Vitus' cider last year I told him to sign me up for pressing next year.

Sure enough: 250kg of apples, just from friends' backyard trees. At least 3 different varieties, plus a selection of pears too.

Apple pressing is a lot of fun. Doing nearly 6 hrs straight of apple prep is less so.

Child labour: this didn't last, but was a help while it was there. Washing apples before quartering and checking for worms.


Ozbeg grinding apples (2x through) as Vitus adjusts the press.


Very, very glad of 2 burly men to crank the grinder and the press - possibly harder than it's typically worked, to squeeze every drop out.

Kat, Isabel, Ozbeg and I were fully occupied washing, quartering and (sometimes) grinding apples, loading crushed apple into the press, and unloading post-crush mush to the composters. The composter full, we just piled it in the yard. We got a lot of wasp attention, but it was benign compared to the wasps at Raglan this year.

The juice we got was a nice middle sweet flavour, not sugary sweet like my memory of fresh pressed sweet cider from Ontario. V judged it'll give a 6% cider, and we pressed out 100L of juice into 4 containers. He set it to ferment with champagne yeast, warmed and 'started' for a few hours first.

V doesn't do anything by halves...

He fed us with homemade scones w butter and jam, and then homemade pizza made on the BBQ (lacking a pizza oven).

This was also the weekend to say goodbye to HG Daille and the kids, while Sir Jonothan stays another few weeks til after Michaelmas.

Vitus & Isabel are planning on Estrella war next year and it sounds like a household push is on.

After the morning's mess of commuting I was very grateful of a list back to the city with Kat and Ozbeg.
abendgules: (knitting)
This week has been pretty rubbish, with a lot of worry about Mum burbling in the background of my self, prime example being the Friday night phonecalls and emails as Mum went to ER for the 3rd time in 2 weeks.

I'm not thrilled about finding out that I had a new manager the day she started work; my existing mgr had said nothing about it during our last round of objective setting and annual appraisal bumf.

I'm still waiting for my stupid cough to pack it in. I blame Nordmark and its determinedly egalitarian and democratic approach to life; everyone can share the misery.

Trying to exert control over what tiny areas I can, I cleaned out my clothing drawers and put 2 bags in the clothing and fabric charity box.

This tidying was to make room for some recent semi-impulse purchases - where you go in for 1 thing (running shoes on sale) and find yourself buying 2 shirts off the 'reduced' rack and 3 sets of socks at 3 for 2.

I now have more shortsleeve running shirts than there are days in the week, and either shorts or leggings to go with them.

I cannot justify any more running or fitness clothes til something hops out of the drawer and goes to the gym without me.

Yesterday I spent a chunk of money on yarn - lots of it - for a longterm knitting project. I'll have to hit [livejournal.com profile] zmiya_san up for use of her yarn swift, or else I'll get RSI skeining all this yarn.

Today I spent on household linens; it's been long enough since my last purchase that the linens shop has changed name and I couldn't find it online at first.

I don't tend to use retail therapy, not really. I think about buying something for a long time before actually finding the time or inclination to shell out.

When I do buy, I tend to buy lots, and then I'm done, finished.

I've been planning these purchases for ages. However, this weekend I think online shopping gave me something to do that was in my control.

Sometimes I do buy myself treats after a long day, or if I'm out of my usual routine.

Last week I was on training for work that brought me into the City. There are no longer any bookstores on Fleet Street; the Waterstones packed it in, and the legal publisher is gone too. So I had to trek to Waterloo station (a roundabout way home) to find the Foyles that is now there, and treat myself to some paperbacks, as well as Rev Richard Coles autobiography.

Control efforts have not reached my fabric stash, however, or my fencing bag.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
...at least for part of today.

So far: woke long enough to answer the wail of 'who wil think of the kitteh??', turn on Saturday Live on Radio4, then flopped to listen til noonish.

Coffee, News Quiz, Intawebs, and packing for revel, which is still TBC for me; having a gland-ey day. Another couple of hours to decide.

Long weekend, so long movies on TV, including Harry Potter 1, which is largely unspoiled, when the story and actors were both still young.

Patio door is open, so Haggis is enjoying perfect day; fed, watered, free access to Out, and human on tap.
abendgules: (rearview_runner)
Robert is away slaying orcs. I have 3 days to sprawl on the sofa, read books, be cat furniture, and call taco chips and instant noodles dinner.

I could clean the flat and put away all my fencing kit from Double Wars.

Or not.

More likely to try to get round the park again, even if it's not at running pace. The bigger part of the park is actually furthest from us.
abendgules: (Cut and thrust)
prev posted to assorted media:

Greetings from Genevieve, Thamesreach rapier marshal,

I'm writing to thank the many contributors who helped make the Thamesreach rapier revel one of the best yet.

Particular thanks to Master Alexandre, Dom Duarte [livejournal.com profile] goncalves and Lord Nicholas, the out of town marshals, for their time and expertise to help make this year's spring rapier revel successful through authorisations and support.

These marshals spent much of their time authorising the fencers of Thamesreach.

Every time I thought we were done and we could fence I turned around and more hopefuls had turned up.

I counted 6 fencers with new authorisations:

milord Bennet: single, rigid parry
milord Stas: single, rigid parry, dagger
milady Jane: rigid parry (began fencing in September)
Lord Guy de Dinan [livejournal.com profile] exmoor_cat: dagger
Lord Nicholas d'Estleche: cut and thrust single weapon and great weapon
HLady Lyonet de Covenham [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher: cut and thrust single weapon and great weapon (and finished paperwork for single blade, dagger and rigid parry)

...so 2 people newly armed to the defense of Insulae Draconis, plus 4 people developing their skills and building towards becoming a deadly force to reckon with, for a total of 14 authorisations. Not bad for a single revel's work.

It was a real delight to pause sometimes and consider the scene of a dozen fencers almost all drawn from southern England (plus 3 guests from Pont Alarch Ooop North) engaging in the arts of defense.

In the afternoon, Master Alexandre spoke knowledgeably of the skills most needed for novices to master first, and we rounded out the afternoon with 45 mins of melee, starting with 5 a side.

The most entertaining bout was probably when Duarte was entered as a 'swing' melee member. Every time someone died on either side (at this event the 'stairs' team battled with the 'shed' team, referring to their res points in the courtyard), Duarte changed sides as called by Master Robert, who was assisting the marshals.

Duarte ably managed to follow directions: 'Duarte, you're a shed!... Duarte, you're a stair!...' correctly, *almost* all the time.

Those committed to the arts of peace were ambitious in their works this day: as part of the great work to ornament the shire, the artisans laid out and traced 10 of 12 drawings of the labours of the year onto silk for a substantial silk painting project - substantial as the drawings are easily 150cm square or more for hanging in the hall.

HE Oriane, Lady Margrete [livejournal.com profile] m_nivalis, Lady Anilyne, milord Marx, milady Maude, and milord Patrick were people I saw working on this project though I may have missed someone.

We sat to feed about 20 people with splendid hot dishes (Byzantine lemon chicken, stewed lamb, lamb tagine) and cold (pork chacuterie, biltong and sausages, cheeses) 2 great compound salads, date lombards, with breads, nuts and fruit to round out the table.

We lingered over our meal and then some folks danced while Lady Contanza Albion [livejournal.com profile] zmiya_san spoke of heraldic matters to those interested in registering their names and arms.

Our hall was beautifully dressed with the long-missed per pale az and ar hangings of old, returned to the hall with thanksgiving, plus our fine diapered cloths, and the still-growing Thamesreach bunting.

Again: many hands contributed to an excellent day, whether hanging the hall, preparing food, instructing and guiding, or in the cleaning and tidying at the end.

HE Oriane arrived with me at the start of the day to open the hall, and with me was the last to leave: my thanks to her for her commitment to making this event a success.

I look forward to seeing many fencers on the field in the coming months, particularly at Raglan ffaire.

Your servant,


Genevieve la flechiere
Thamesreach rapier marshal
abendgules: (armory)
Crown tourney was Oooop North last weekend, about half an hour out of Manchester, at a scout camp site, where Paul and [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy won Crown.

It's a good site for the event, accepting the fact that it has no medieval anything, though the scout great hall is quite handsome with a nice fireplace.

But it's Oooop North, and it's early April. And sure enough, the wind blew, the rain blustered, and it was bloody freezing standing around.

And...Robert didn't make it. He came down w/ a cold a day before we were to leave, and was not in a fit state to travel. He certainly didn't want to sit wrapped in a cloak, watching the other kids play, having loving friends ask him why he wasn't fighting.

So he stayed home, and I went to the event on my own. I felt like I was missing something all weekend and of course I was, my sweetie. (And my circlet, because he usually packs them.)

With our withdrawing, and one other couple withdrawing with the fighter's faulty knee, the list was small at 5 couples, and even a round robin took just an hour. The outcome was what I expected: HG Sir Thorvaldr, fighting for HE Countess Tofa, and HE Pan Vitus, fighting for HE Visc Isabel, in a best of 5 which went to the full five bouts.

At the fifth, Vitus yielded the field and gave Thorvaldr the victory.

At court, the countess previously known as Tofa approached their Majesties in Japanese clothing, and was crowned princess Tomoe (To-mo-AY, I think). I believe she is the first Japanese princess in Drachenwald.

On other fronts:

Much fencing - [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher and others were keen to fence, and we had 2 guests from An Tir who were fencers, one of whom proved to be a don. So we fenced as much as time allowed, with [livejournal.com profile] hobbitomm, [livejournal.com profile] goncalves, Master Alexandre and me concentrating on authorisations.

The good outcomes were

- Alexandre and I are now fully authorised cut and thrust marshals
- we both now hold great weapon C&T authorisations

Also, my gauntlets work a treat: I used them for both single sword and two-hand sword C&T. The bell cuff helped take the edge off blows that would have otherwise hit my forearm pretty sharply, but I still take it that I need splints or hardened leather bazubands or similar.

[livejournal.com profile] hobbitomm insisted that with my gauntlets outshining the rest of my kit I should fence naked. I said wherever he led, others will follow. Oddly, he didn't take me up on the idea.

On the fencing kit front:

I had successfully 3R'ed my first fencing gown: that is, cut it up the sides, added large gores up to the armpit gusset, and sewn them up again, then enlarged the sleeves the same way.

If I'd planned it better I'd have cut open the gown from cuff to hem at the side seam and simply made a very long (pieced) gore that ran from cuff up arm through armpit and down the side. But I didn't plan that far ahead.

As it is, I've inadvertently ended up with something that looks very like the lesser known Greenland gowns that have wide-top gores that run right to the sleeve (rather than pointy ones that end at the waist or hip). So in all it's a good result.

Armed with the C&T marshalling card, I can now go to Double Wars and pester the senior fencers for field time so my experience can better match my warrant card.

On planning for DW front:
Their highnesses of Nordmark William and Isabetta attended Crown and were their usual lovely selves.

Isabetta is gatekeeper, and William is head of combat for this year's wars, positions they took on well before 'accidentally' winning the principality tourney in March.

I enquired about combat classes at Double wars- there's no shortage of arts classes but I've not seen any fighting or fencing teaching planned. So I'm going to pester for instruction. I can't go to Nordmark 10 days and not get something out of it.

Sir William said plainly, 'if someone came to me and said, I want to learn, can you take an hour to teach me, I'd be a fool to turn them down'. William is conventionally last man off the field, and I've never known him to knowingly refuse to help someone.

On the spreading bread on the waters:
I was really happy to see Lady Tamara, the founder of the Bulgarian shire St John of Rila. The shire she's built there is growing and thriving, and she looks very happy with it, though equally happy to no longer be seneshal.

I'd sent her a handout on heralding tournaments for one of the newer members, and she says it was just, just what he'd needed.

He'd read it through and written the tournament instructions out in a small book to refer to for tournaments and had put it to use at their recent spring event.

It's very charming to have stuff you do well received, even in small doses.

Unfortunately in the wind and busy day I dried out, and came down with a ferocious tension headache from dehydration, to the point of nausea. By the time I realised what had happened, my head was engulfed and my shoulders were rigid.

I packed up my kit at 8pm and left the feast hall and lay down, but basically didn't get up again except to change out of my gown. It took over night plus a lot of vitamin I to clear.

Sunday morning started well with [livejournal.com profile] nz_bookwyrm's coffee service: he brought his portable stove to make Turkish coffee a la Mangy Mongol.

We then had some time to fence: Asbiorn and I did a dagger authorisation for a new fencer, and he and I warmed up while Catlin trained someone new, and I did sword and dagger passes with Lucrezia, which was great fun. She's a very methodical student and wants to talk through moves, just the way I do, which I appreciate.

I was among the last to leave site with the event staff, and it felt like a long trip home to my sweetie who was getting far more attentive Haggis-care than he really wanted through the day.

By the time I got home she was in a mood for Out and Personal Time, thank you, no cuddles required.
abendgules: (Romanesque_Initial)
All shire fencing kit sent to Yule Ball by the Blessed Folks Who Own Vehicles (BFWOV).

This week I ran 2 mock authorisations for 2 fencers who wanted to attempt authorisation at Yule Ball.

This was helped by one occasional fencer rolling up - someone neither of the new fencers had tried to fight before.

We ran through the authorisation routine, and covered some things they would not have seen at all - melee conventions, rules of engagement, death from behind.

So out of that, one person decided she wants to practice more first before trying to authorise, which I think is really smart for her, and she can go and enjoy the rest of the event.

One person is going ahead with authorisation, marshals permitting.

All scribal bumf packed - light duty this time, as my class doesn't have a handout.

In fact relies heavily on other people showing up to take part. If noone shows up I'm bunking off to head to another class!

All scroll blanks packed, to hand off to [livejournal.com profile] badgersandjam.

Bestiary is packed, along with cover sheet and plain text. I'm curious to see peoples' reactions to a work in progress - I've never put one on display before.

Clothes packed. I waffled over what to pack and settled on my plum gown with fur border, because it hangs so well when dancing. :-)

Robert packed feastgear, including our shiny new treasures from TORM. Wait til you see them!

I'm really looking forward to this event. I love kingdom universities anyway, and it's been years since one was in the principality.

Hope we can pick up wine for the trip en route...though I don't know where I'll pack it.
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: (15thc_worker)
Robert is away this week on work travel, and I thought I'd be pining.

Instead I've been (you guessed it) flat out at work, and while I'm eating fewer hot cooked meals, I'm more than halfway through my spinsterhood almost before realising it.

I'm not as restless on my own (well, as the only human in the house) as I'd feared, though probably mostly from near exhaustion from the office.

Filled last weekend and will fill this coming one with sewing (for fun, new 1940s outfit for [livejournal.com profile] goncalves and J's wedding), knitting, painting a glass for a friend, and a scroll. Starting the scroll, sometime Real Soon Now.

Would love to get back to the spinning I started at Raglan but it will have to keep til the current projects are finished.

Also got my twice annual haircut. I opted for a 'middy' cut, which is a 'vintage' cut that takes well to pincurls and 1940s styling, to match the wedding outfit, but is perfectly passable simply combed and blown dry.

My first pincurl set (amazing what people put on YouTube! this lady's tutorial was excellent) worked beautifully; this is easy, why would anyone buy rollers or a curling iron?? geez this is a snap. Don't know what the fuss is about.

My second pincurl set: not so much. :-/

My third: pretty good, but doesn't cope well with damp. Good thing it's not very damp in London, right?...hmmm.

So I'm pleased I have new girly skills to add to my personal roster of eclectic bumf I know how to do, but unlikely to start sleeping in bobby-pinned curls nightly anytime soon.

All of a sudden now I know why wash 'n go hairstyles seemed so amazing when they became popular; women no longer had to plan their evenings and mornings, social lives, their activities, around their hair.

A lunchtime run or gym session, and high-maintenance hair, are pretty much mutually exclusive AFAICS.

'Staying home to wash my hair' doesn't sound as dumb, when you realise that was the convention, pre Vidal Sassoon.

One nifty aspect of London life: all the London hairdressers I can remember have been to Vidal Sassoon's school, and I haven't had a dud yet. They all have done lovely work, and each one has taught me something about how to style my hair myself, so I could keep the look up. It's a step up from most of the stylists I knew in my first homeland.

Haggis is making the most of the tail end of long mild days, that are rapidly drawing down. I open the patio door most evenings, so she can come and go more freely than through the cat flap.

If it's open for an hour or so it insprires the scatties, where Haggis goes racing OUT into the garden, and then racing IN again, only to race OUT once more, chasing, or chased by, unseen threats to feline life. She can wear herself out doing this.

Last weekend I went for the first long slow run in awhile, taking in the park behind our place. It's huge, a wild meadow space where, aside from road noise, you could think yourself in the country. I've mapped out 4k routes and plan longer ones for fall and winter weekends, when daylight is short and long runs only happen on Sat or Sun.

I came back to the building to an astonishing amount of magpie swearing, cursing, nagging and threatening. And sure enough, Haggis was most of the way up one of the trees in the front yard, playing it cool, as if there were not half a dozen magpies blowing her cover, and giving her serious s**t for encroaching on their airspace.

Oddly, when I called her most of them shut up, and she chatted to me; 'who, me? I'm just hangin' type remarks, not entirely accurate considering she was a) up quite a height and b) well into the neighbourhood tom's preferred space as well as the magpies'.

She's still being bullied by the local tom (former tom), but I thought her wander up the tree showed he's not in complete control of all the space on the site.
abendgules: (Haggis)
England has 2 long weekends in May - one of the best innovations in bank holidays ever. It means that English spring and early summer is full of breaks, because Easter rolls back and forth between late March and April, as well as these two long weekends.

(Unfortunately the English have no break from Labour Day to Christmas - they desperately need a Thanksgiving. OTOH, they don't have a glorious fall to enjoy, whereas English springs are very charming.)

This year, the second bank holiday followed the 'tradition' of 3 days of rain.

Robert was away slaying orcs in a field Somewhere in Northamptonshire. He came back muddy to the knees, and very glad of a shower.

On my own, I entertained myself with a weekend of shopping. My shopping goes in fits and starts; I spend weeks without buying anything more exciting than lunch, and then lash out one weekend and replace great chunks of wardrobe or entertainment supplies. This weekend, it was mostly about Stuff to make More Stuff.

  • Saturday: Cornelissens' for the next pack of pergamenata, plus my shop-visit treat of a new bottle of ink and new nibs.

  • Sunday: eBay for yarn suitable for baby projects, for the round of sprogs due between now and August. After a couple of weeks of scouring the intawebs for ethical yarns that are local, well-made and affordable, it's sort of fun to search for the 'junk food' of knitting, cotton-acrylic blends in baby colours. Feels sort of like eating the whole bag of taco chips by myself...

  • Monday: the fabric shop with the scariest, or silliest, looking website on the planet: Fabricland.co.uk

Canadians: this is not your kind of Fabricland. This is a special southern England Fabricland all of its own.

This is the kind of website that makes web professionals like [livejournal.com profile] ingaborg cringe; it breaks all the rules of accessibility, usability, readability. It uses frames, it uses garish colours, it uses crying baby gifs for pete's sake. It shouldn't work.

And yet...I find it compelling, and I'm delighted by how low-tech and totally homemade looking it is. It totally conveys the tone and style of the business. It looks just like the shops feel when you walk in - like a outdoor market stall on the internet, which is appropriate, because that's how the business started (in Reading, not London).

I think it's awesome, and it makes me laugh. It was totally worth the trip to Kingston-upon -Thames.

It's not much help on the medieval fabrics front - the linens are mixed in with all the other suitings; there are no wools to speak of; only a handful of silks. Berwick Street it is not.

But it was a great source of printed cottons, totally wrinkle-proof mystery suiting for another shot at making work clothes, plus some lovely crepe de chine for a dress, for a wedding later this year.

Again, it felt a bit naughty to be buying cotton and synthetics even, after decades of hunting for medieval-compatible fabric. That's me, naughtily buying viscose!... No, I don't go out much, why?

Late in the weekend [livejournal.com profile] m_nivalis dropped by for a visit to test nibs and ask opinions on sweaters and on fitting Birgitta caps.

I'm a confirmed veil wearer so I'm always glad to see and hear of new veil arrangements, though I think by itself, without the covering veil, it wouldn't be that flattering.

Some links about St Birgitta caps she recommended:

Catrijn's dressmaker diaries
Same Catrijn's photos of progress (clearly keen on embroidery!)

Splendidly clear tutorial on making a cap without the embroidery down the seam - this one I have a hope of doing.

Wow this Katafalk lady does beautiful work! Every time I think I'm getting a handle on this sewing thing, I find another Swedish or Finnish medieval dress blog, and realise I'm just a duffer.
abendgules: (fierce)
just how crap Star Wars II is.

Very, very glad that I saw the original canon in the theatres.
abendgules: (knitting)
My first big order from Shetland wool brokers arrived this week, necessitating finding the right post office for picking up oversize packages.

A half-kilo of yarn and half-kilo of unspun stuffing, plus a couple of sample skeins of different 'heritage' yarns don't fit throught he mailslot, no way, no how.

Cue a 'missing Hackney' moment, where our nearest depot was a 5 minute walk; the Hyde depot for NW London is either a treacherous 20 min cycle uphill, or a 5 min bus + 20 min walk, plus n mins standing in line behind people who are waiting anxiously on packages they have to collect before their flights...

The 2ply jumper weight is finer than I thought, but it's spun assuming you're making fair isle sweaters that carry 2 strands at a time, thus doubling the thickness of the sweater.

I'll be using most of it for Elizabethan or Tudor flat fulled hats, following [livejournal.com profile] xrian's pattern, though I may try one in the reverse direction, starting at the brim not the peak. There was a recent weekend session w/ a historic knitter who taught brim-to-peak method, based on MoL collections, and that's Sally Pointer's preference too, and she knits a lot.

These types are fulled, though I'll use the lazy modern method of washing machine and hot dryer rather than recreating the medieval washerwoman with lye-damaged hands, as charming as it sounds.

At the same time I'm browsing for potential yarns for multicolour jumpers that are not all-wool, that are blends that might be more washable. I now have a file on DK, 4ply and sport weight yarns that knit on 3mm needles to 25+ st/inch, that won't break either the planet or the bank.

I'm open to suggestions from knowledgable knitters and fibre folk for favourite yarns for multicolour jumper knitting, either washable or hand-wash only.

I'm fighting the temptation to abandon my current project which is getting dull (1/2 hour per row!) in favour of knitting swatches to test the newly arrived yarn for fulling...must not...must...nottttttt...no more than 2 projects at once, already at maxiumum...m-u-s-t-n-o-t-y-i-e-l-d...
abendgules: (Haggis)
Robert is at May Pageant (which sadly I've begged off, because I'm just not feeling up to being 'on' for SCA and the public, particularly as a fencer).

It's spitting rain and very windy in NW London, so I suspect the same conditions apply on the edge of Epping Forest. Sigh.

Haggis is shamelessly taking advantage of the door services.

Q: How many Pelicans does it take to get a catflap installed?

A: Two, apparently, plus a glazier who returns calls.

We now have all the components, and the glazier has visited to measure our window... nearly a week ago.

At this rate we could learn glassblowing and make our own window glass faster than it's taken to do the classic British 'have a man in' to do the work.
abendgules: (knitting)
I have knitting on the brain.

I can do it without having to find all my craft supplies in our new place - just go with what is at hand. It's mindless and soothing.

Of course I've now just received both Kaffe Fassett books and a book about traditional sweater patterns, so I have slightly obsessive knitting-brain, and my plans are running miles ahead of my actual capacity and stash.

Ah yes the stash. I'm still trying to stick to my resolve to work from my stash. It doesn't always work, and I've stumbled and bought myself treats here and there, but I try to keep it to enough for a pair of socks at a time...

except last week I ordered 1/2 a kilo of black Shetland yarn for making Tudor flat hats. Whoops. Well, it's a commission.

So is the Kaffe Fassett, as it happens; the books are inspiration to make silly sweaters for a friend. But he'd better give me an idea of what he wants or I may run amok. It's hard to sit still reading a knitting book, my fingers begin to twitch. And Robert's taste does not run to Kaffe Fassett...

------
Slowly, the flat is looking more homey. We manage to empty a box or so a day, and have invited friends to come unbox our books with us tomorrow.

They're the biggest bibliophiles I know outside the SCA (we still have friends outside the SCA, it's allowed - I checked) and the best people to ask for help in reshelving.

Til now we've simply reshelved at random - truly at random, as in 'take out books and put on nearest shelf' so right now it's genuinely weird - there are' books on shelves but no discernible order. Even my self-help books are out on display.

It's a symptom of just how wearing the move was that we're not busy fixing it all RIGHT NOW MUST FIX and that we're simply ignoring it. But tomorrow we gird loins and fix it.

Yesterday for a laugh I fired up LibraryThing which I haven't touched in several years. I was keen to record all our books but mostly stopped after 2008, when I had most of them recorded at that point - probably in anticipation of our next move, and influenced by Terafan the raging keen got-a-database-for-everything guy. Har har! They've run away again.

Now is a good time, because the LT interface has improved, a lot, since I last used it. And I can tag stuff better now. I can even delete stuff, because we've parted with a lot of books - otherwise we'd have no room for the new ones.

I know that weeding out books is a rare things for a lot of bibliophiles. But I genuinely want a working library, one that I use, not one that just causes L-space, a la Discworld. I don't want bad books; I want things I read, that I re-read even.

Someday, I'll have to pack and leave again. I only want to take what I absolutely need, for wherever that next trip takes me.

And on that trip I don't need still more cat books or schlock paperbacks. The cats know I am a cat person, and I know, and that doesn't need a book collection to illustrate it. And paperbacks I vet carefully for 'will I really read this again?' And a lot of them don't pass.

Books are for the things I can't keep in my Sherlockian mind-palace, and that keep stuff together (stories, ideas, instructions) so I can find them again...YMMV.

--------
Robert is on a mission to cross the city today to visit w/ Vitus, so I'm free to putter. So I think it's more exploring the neighbourhood - find the nearest Lidl, for one. Part of moving is finding the new 'local' stuff.

We've determined the local Aldi is crap; the local Sainsbury is ok, but not 'friendly' as a trip on the bike.

We don't visit Iceland, typically, b/c most of what they sell is not food as I know it. The Morrison's is ok but is on the other side of a tricky bike ride, or a tedious Tube+walking trip.

The truly local shops are excellent for food, so we're good there, but thin on some of our staples, that we used to get from Lidl in Hackney.

So today it's Lidl's turn, as it's listed as just over 1 mile away. And it's beautiful out.
abendgules: (Haggis)
Beautiful day on the first long weekend in May. Haggis is enjoying our new garden, particularly the birdwatching options.

This wall is probably a 7' jump from the patio - over my head anyway.

May2014

Enjoying outside

May2014_2

Realising I'm there

self_sourcing

Self-sourcing kitteh is self-sourcing: always tastes better if you catch it yourself. (From our old home, but scenario doesn't change.)
abendgules: (Mountjoy)
When it wasn't pouring down over Easter weekend, it was lovely.

And happily I spent one whole day, when it was beautiful out, in Wokingham with Earl Paul and Lady Anne. They'd made time for me in their weekend when I told them I was on my own at Easter while Robert was away slaying orcs.

I love visiting with them; we can putter together, browse through books, and they eat like kings (or like a lady and earl) all the time - it's not a special occasion, it's just how they choose to shop, cook and eat. I always feel spoiled when I'm at their house.

Their days are full of plans right now; they've found the perfect house, but in order to buy it they have to wait for the seller to find somewhere to move to - this is part of the Great English Tradition of House Buying: The Chain, whereby everyone is waiting for someone else's house buy to go through.

Their buyer is of course waiting on them in turn...

Oddly I never remember this happening in my first homeland. If you end up stuck with 2 houses because someone's deal falls through, tough - make an appointment with your bank. Sheesh.

So right now, the plans are still talk and paper ideas, for changes to the new place. But my goodness, if it goes through, it'll be glorious, glorious indeed.

At any rate - we breezed through Waitrose, their local library (a *really* nice one - a reflection of the neighbourhood I think) and then a cuppa before going for an Easter walk in what Anne called the bluebell wood.

I could see why: it was gloriously full of bluebells, just before their peak but still wonderfully blue-bell-ish, that not-quite-purple, not-quite-blue shade that defies paint chips.

We walked about for a couple of hours, chatting and taking the air. Other walkers and cyclists were out for the same reason.

Back to the house for a late lunch, and for Paul to put on a roast dinner while Anne and I sewed.

She's working full tilt on a new doublet for Paul - full Elizabethan with all the twiddles, with quilted lining and crazy trim plans. She was complaining she didn't have enough embroidery floss for the buttons because wood-core thread buttons just eat floss for breakfast.

I used the afternoon for UFOs.

I finished a couple of knitted 16th c hats - they're now fulled and their brims are as firm as they'll get.

Anne has asked me to make her one! so I'm pricing Shetland yarn towards making some 16th c flat caps and hats. I'll have to pay attention to the shrinkage and fulling, not just take my chances. You take pains for others you wouldn't bother with for yourself!

I also, rashly, offered to knit Paul a jumper; he complains he just can't find big colourful jumpers (aka sweaters) anymore. On the strength of this I've ordered a couple of (used) Kaffe Fassett books, for, ah, research purposes.

Ah, the 80s...

I don't expect to make one exactly as shown, but will bring them along and ask him if he has any preference, and exactly what his yarn budget is(!).

In the evening I also took apart one fabric hat that goes with my 16th c German gown, in the hopes of redoing it so it fits properly, with a brim that is firm but not rigid. I didn't have the heart to take it apart right after making it, even though it didn't fit, because I'd put so much work into it in the first place, and it's just sat there.

Frankly, knitting hats is waaaaaay easier - but I have to find the ideal Goldilocks brim solution for them. My cardboard seems either too soft or too hard.

Anne whipped up the gravy for the roast chicken, using some real verjuice we'd found in the market near our old place; real actual verjuice, from sour grapes, not crabapples. It made the most amazing gravy ever.

I slept like a rock. It was lovely.

The trip home was long - missed the right train, had to change, was delayed, people were jerks on the Tube. Fortunately I had a very attentive kitteh at the other end of the trip, or else I might not have left Wokingham.
abendgules: (ohnoes_omg)
Trotted down to S. London this weekend to look at a place. Wasn't a fraction the size suggested by the external photo, and interior was cramped and dingy.

Robert poked his head into the loft and *could see daylight through the slates*.   This gives you an idea of the calibre of rental house available to two professionals in London.

It's like living in the 19th century. Might as well burn money to heat the house. You'd think it was Grade II listed or something but no. It's just lazy.

Agent was desperate to get a deal, though, and offered to negotiate changes like insulating the roof, installing shelves, buying an outdoor shed. This would be thousands of pounds of work, and if the landlady can't be bothered to insulate it on principle, because that's what civilised people do, catch up FFS, why the heck would she agree to do it for us?

We thought about it, briefly, because we're feeling pressed too, but said no.

Walked to another house which looks very promising, but is just about as far from work as I dare consider commuting. If we take this, I either have to work from a different office, or really and truly find another job. Unfortunately even though it's on several agencies' listings we couldn't find anyone to show it to us. We retreated to a pub to regroup; the nearest one was very hospitable.

Because we've been in one place for several years, through several other peoples' moves, we've inherited A Lot of Stuff(tm) and frankly don't want to move it if we don't have to.  On Sunday we opened the house to guests to paw through our collection of fabric, leather, armour bits, scribal supplies, books, and yarn, in an effort to downsize. The actual haul leaving the house was small but I felt better for having tried to share our resources with the shire.

I'm really, *really* hoping Robert can redistribute his spare armour collection before moving day. We haven't seen the floor of one closet full of armour, shields and weapons, in a year.

Today I'm working from home. I woke up with my shins on fire, like I'd run a marathon uphill - I blame South London, which is clearly risky to my physical health. The length of Tooting high street is on a slope, and we went up and down it 4 times before walking to the second place, then trotting up and down Brixton Hill (clue is in the name) to the Tube.

Now scoping the options on today's search, and further confirming my view the estate agents are minions of evil...misleading descriptions, fisheye lens photos, no floorplans...and they charge you for the privilege of dealing with them. Unbelieveable.
abendgules: (Romanesque_Initial)
This weekend I fought the sloth - well, once I'd gotten out of bed, I did.

Saturday we went to see Elizabeth I and her people, exhibit at the National Portrait Gallery. Very worthwhile, even if you're not a 16th c mavin. Attended with Kat, who was a PS4 widow for the weekend.

I was very excited to find a portrait and works of a woman 'caligraphist' - a professional woman calligrapher, who lived in Edinburgh at end of 16th c. How cool.

Had a drink in the Coal Hole afterward, and then vietnamese for dinner with my sweetie. While we had a pleasant time, our frugal souls felt a bit hard done by.

exhibit: £12.50 x 2 = £25
drinks: £4 x 3 = £12
dinner: £35 (won't go there again, not worth it)
giftshop: £16

Total: £88 for an afternoon in London, and we haven't travelled 5 miles. I didn't count travel because we already have travelcards. I'll point this out next time someone moans about cost of events...

On Sunday I wrestled with my usual weekend blahs: have loads to do, can't settle on a task, sit and have a cup of tea til I figure it out, half the day disappears while I argue with myself. I sometimes wonder if anyone else loses days this way.

In the end, I settled for hauling out my perfumery supplies and looking at soapmaking again for Christmas. It's a slightly fiddly process, but an engaging one, and I now have the supplies for at least 2 batches of soap.

Ordered some supplies from Baldwins to this end.

I may try 'Spanish leather' this year, as described by S Pointer in her book about historic cosmetics, though I suspect it will be a very heavily scented process.

I did have a go at making scented bath bombs, but managed mostly to make a mess. Will double check the method for getting them to 'set' into a shape that is a little less chaotic - it worked well at the Make Lounge a couple of years ago, but I may have missed a step.

Late afternoon (took that long to pry myself out of the house) walked to Bangla City on Brick Lane, for more supplies - they're a good source for food-grade oils for creams and scrubs. Was reminded how much I hate crowds, especially oblivious ones. However, they also stock lye on the shelf, very cheaply.

Anyway: the upshot is, if you're on my giftlist, you're getting smellies.

Haggis entertained us on Sunday chasing her tail: apparently this tail is still giving her grief, and needs chasing, well into adulthood.

For added annoyance, her tail appears to send out 'I need chasing' signals in the most awkward of places: while she's perched on a windowsill, or on the top of the bedstead rail, or while she's exploring inside my large backpack, that was sitting on the landing. She only escaped her tail's clutches when the backpack started sliding down the stairs.

On the knitting front, am now experimenting with a TARDIS scarf to use up the 3/4 of a skein of TARDIS blue yarn leftover from the shawl. Am debating whether to add Daleks for variety.

I just finished the third book of Manda Scott's series about Boudica. I found the author in a Big Book of Historical Whodunnits recently, and was really impressed, and the series is just as good. 4th is on order at the library.

It's rare to find an author who incorporates a meaningful spiritual experience into the story - a bit like Pullman creating the daemons for his alternate world, the characters in this Britain have a vivid spiritual life, full of ghosts, gods and results from prayers,and they fully expect their actions affect their souls directly. These ghosts and gods are real, just as real as the physical, living people. Most (non-believing) authors can't set aside their modern selves enough to 'speak' as a believer from another period would.

Where her characters are speaking to ghosts of ancestors, friends and family, we as modern people would say, 'my mother's voice in my head says...' or 'that's my grandmother talking'.

It's akin to the different 'strains' of voices in your head; the ones that nag, the ones that tell you you're doing it wrong, you 'should' be doiong X, why aren't you doing Y, you're letting Z down. The gods, consistently, are neutral, avoid answering questions, but do ask a lot of probing, reflective questions of their believers.

I quite enjoyed this dimension in the story, but I know not everyone would.

Also interesting is that Scott is a reenactor, someone who has fought in battles, worn the clothes, eaten the food, camped under canvas.

Her characters still seem almost supernaturally physically fit and active (surviving swimming in winter streams), though perhaps I just don't expect anyone to be physically resilient, when I am so unfit. Only 100 years ago people living such an active life would not be so unusual.

Weekend TV

Sep. 29th, 2013 08:41 pm
abendgules: (catching snowflakes)
Noone else will ever be Christopher Reeve being Superman, with Margot Kidder as a non-glamourous and yet splendid Lois Lane. The special effects are nothing to write home about, but this still feels like the definitive version to me. Anything else is overkill.

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