abendgules: (Confesse)
TL,DR: good event, missed some friends, fencing fencing fencing.

10 days of near perfect sunny hot weather. In Wales. The 4 horsemen and their mate Ronnie Soak must be saddling up. There were a couple of very windy days, making Lynette's [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher tent billow like unto a sail before the wind, and proving the value of storm guys, especially when your pavilion is perched on the outer edge of a bowling green on a hill.

Robert and I travelled together w/ Man-and-van (though not our charming Lithuanian driver of 2 years ago, sadly). We put up the big pavilion, and R partitioned the inside so I had a space to change and dump my stuff. I stayed in a Burgundian bell, which was *just* big enough for 1 person and a small amount of kit, but not for hanging gowns or airing sweaty clothing. One of the reasons R always wanted a pavilion was so he could stand upright, to dress and arm himself.

One resolution post-Raglan - invest in a better camp bed. The £10 stretchers aren't sufficient for a good night's sleep.

Our encampment included the usual suspects: [livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer, [livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham, [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy and family, Paul (with Anne for first weekend), [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher, and usually some guests for a meal. For the first weekend Edith's brother visited, and took part in the joint cooking effort (putting a professionally trained chef in the mix means you have very speedily diced veg, but some differences of opinion about How Things are Done over the fire); we had [livejournal.com profile] maryf and Rick at dinner one day, [livejournal.com profile] goncalves and J and baby J another, Cornelia from Austria another day.

Good weather meant camping was relatively easy; wet things dried easily, for ex, and we could sprawl in our usual space.  We ate gloriously well, again, as ever. It sounds mad to keep saying how well we ate at Raglan, but honestly it's hard to put into words how terrific the food is.

Gracie the hound proved a welcome fixture in camp, and very popular, as ever, w/ little girls.  Delia camped further along the castle wall w/ Tilly, alongside several Thamesreach ladies.

I mostly-finished a heraldic surcoat for Gracie, though didn't get the closure finished, so to model it she had the belly strap pinned in place only. L says that the coat slides to one side on Gracie the same way all her coats do, so perhaps G has a hitch in her stride that shifts her clothing. She looked great though and drew many admirers.


The under-7 yr set were spoiled for canine choice in our camp area, though once Tilly decides she's had enough, nothing can stir her little bulldog heart and she simply stops wherever she is. Gracie is more biddable in that way.

Thomas F brought his prototype pole lathe to play with to keep himself entertained after cooking, and it was fascinating to see it in action, even if it was a work in progress.

I spent most of my own time on fencing: marshalling, teaching and entering tourneys, though once again I avoided melee settings.

I had a very crappy incident where I injured another fencer, and my own analysis is much harder on me than his was. Not happy about it.

It was one of 2 significant injuries on the field (the other one to Lynette during her Academy challenge, which bruised her face) and both required reports.

I ended up teaching my 'stick the pointy end in the other guy' a couple of times, once on the schedule and once ad-hoc, when we had some 'free play' time one afternoon.  We got a lot done in free play time, so I'm going to suggest more of it in the schedule.

One of the most effective practice times was 2nd Sunday morning when people were beginning to break down, but still had a bit of time to spare, and once you nudged a few people, they found their kit faster than you might think.

Some familiar faces were missing from the event, because of schedules, I think, and there were fewer pavilions on the bowling green. We were warned that next year camping space may be at a great premium b/c of construction on the permanent toilets; we'll definitely lose some space, the Q is just how much.

OTOH This year I got to know some folks from Lough Devnaree better: Gytha, Orlaith, Thora, Micheal, some of the kids. That was excellent and worthwhile and I might not have spent as much time w/ them if the 'regulars' had been there.

Gytha made a name for herself by training and authorising in combat in less than a week, thanks to Robert and Yannick's efforts to work with her. It was a delight to see someone launch herself into the deep end, thrash about but really enjoy it and come out authorised and fighting-ready.

My peer-populace talk had mixed results - the bits I thought were interesting weren't of interest to others, and I didnt' answer some questions well, though I'm trying to follow up w/ them. It did prompt some discussion round campfires afterward though.

The open party on Friday with Thomas and Edith was excellent and well-attended, and they had an embarrassment of amazing food, almost all of it historic.

[livejournal.com profile] nz_bookwyrm gave an excellent talk on spiced wine - he's moved from just offering to get your flavourfully drunk, to researching recipes, translating them, and offering tastings for comparison. I came away w/ a spice mix for one of the recipes (dated 1525) and am hoping to try it myself.

The biggest barrier to making a medieval spiced wine is a common one for re-creation: we don't really know what medieval or renaissance wine tasted like....just like it's hard to recreate medieval clothing w/out medieval sheep and flax to start the process.

But Esbiorn had documented the limitations and identified where he'd made some comprimises to get as good a result as he could. I was impressed all to heck.

Our trip back was a bit fraught. Our man-with-van didn't show for 3 hrs, and when phoned said things like, 'on my way' and 'just leaving' and other similar remarks. His van had failed, he needed to get another from a rental agency, and he kept putting us off instead of explaining the situation, and of course we had no recourse.

It was infuriating, and meant we arrived in Ldn at rush hour on a Monday. Not a great end.

All kit stowed, R and I stared at each other and I suggested takeaway - it seemed the solution for almost everyone post-event, judging by comments In Another Place. One of my knapsacks is still not quite empty, and now as I'm getting ready for another event, seems no point. 

The best pics are In Another Place, mainly by Delia of Ely, but a few others as well. Once again, I took almost no pics.   
abendgules: (self-portrait)
Since I've started reading news in Another Place, I post less. Sigh.

I had an excellent Double Wars: it's the big spring-early summer Drachenwald event in southern Nordmark, where you catch up with so many friends and get to play with people from outside your own region.

This year the event moved sites, to a 'new' location (in quotes because it was one of the early venues, but has much improved since then), and this site is very promising.

There's fewer indoor spaces at this site, but much, much more camping space, with lots of room to grow for a bigger event, while still offering catered food all event, loads of activity space, and a sauna and hot tub.

The biggest 'complaint' was lack of hot showers. The water heaters were a bit underpowered for the demand (guessing that boy scouts don't shower as often?) so most showers after about 8am were free//// brisk and refreshing.

Having a hot tub sat outside the sauna, where you could gaze up at the stars of southern Nordmark, compensated pretty well for me, though.

It was also blessed with almost perfect weather for 10 days straight; warm, sunny early 20s during the day, cool and brisk clear nights. This, after snow squalls and rain and hail the week before, both in England and in Sweden. I'd packed to be wet and grumpy for a week, and found myself shedding layers and begging sunscreen from better-prepared friends.

It'll be 'the really excellent weather year', I think, in peoples' memories.

We flew in to KPN via a real airline that allows baggage, and took the train rest of the way with the last stretch being extended by a few hours, from not knowing local train times or taxi habits. We compensated with a fine pizza in the small town nearest the site while waiting for an available cab.

On site, we stayed in one of the rooms, and were welcomed by friends old and new.

Best bits:
- introducing people who'd not attended Double Wars before round to my friends, and seeing them enjoy the event for themselves

- seeing a friend who has recovered from a stroke last year attend: she's quit smoking, lost weight and looks amazingly well considering her recent health history.

- smooth running courts with well-received awards - happy acknowledgement for recognitions well deserved. The hard work was done by Lady Agnes, TRM's herald, but I got in enough scroll reading and heralding to keep my heart happy and feel connected to the business of the event. And of course got to oogle scrolls up close.

- running a class where at least 1/2 attendees were new scribes: I passed around samples of heavy paper, perg and samples of parchment so everyone could write on them and 'feel' the difference between them. I also talked through different qualities of parchment (passing round samples), how to use pounce, what's in it. It was no contest really - the parchment won out hands-down. :-)

- taking part in the Laurels prize tourney: this event was basically a display where artisans brought their current works, and everyone else gets to ask them about it. I bought the 2 Arabic scrolls (promissory and finished work) to explain what was special about them and the process, and got lots of kind comments on the work. The one Arabic reader in the crowd even said nice things too.

- fencing went well this year: the new Masters of Defense offered to 'rent' themselves out for training for cash and gifts towards their order, for regalia and 'stuff'. I booked Master Fardang, who is also left-handed, for advice on how to make the most of my stature and leftie-ness, and had an excellent hour discussion, working through skills, and sparring. I gave him cash, plus 3pcs of real parchment as donation.
Over the next couple of days, I shared this advice with others when we were sparring to explain what I was working on, and had a lot of fun 'just' sparring, with people who were of all skill levels.

As it worked out, I didn't open my C&T bag this trip.

I had one hard hit, that hurt my neck on impact. I called it, the fencer acknowledged it at end of the scenario, apologised, and I advised the fencer how to avoid hitting too hard (lifting the elbow straight up, as if you were backed against a wall - point stays level). After that scenario (one of the melees, for Knakkebrod war) I marshalled.

It's occurred to me that I could fence single, and skip melee, for the duration, til I'm more comfortable with my fencing and my own abilities. Most (but not all) excessive hits I got at Raglan last year were in melee; I think we just don't get enough practice to have the control to manage our own calibration.

- catching up with friends like P&E and their kids, A&Sk and kids, getting to know others more.

As ever the week sped by, and I was shocked when I had to pack up again. I carried in 14.5 and 19.5 kg bags, and went home w/ 2 bags at 19.5kg, with the difference made almost entirely of squeeze cheese and 1 piece of fabric. :-)
abendgules: (winter arabesque)
I'm in the colonies, visiting Mum in her new retirement home. She moved to this location in Barrie in October, and I wanted to see it in winter, when Barrie is at its least charming.

It's a lovely part of Ontario 3 seasons of the year - but mid-winter is heavy going. You have to love snow, and winter driving...or just put up with 2-3 months spent indoors.

Anyway: what I'm noticing this trip is friendliness.

It's a sign, I think, of how accustomed I've grown to the surly and inconsiderate London tone, that I'm noticing how pleasant the interactions are with ordinary people, in shops, restaurants, in the hotel, in the hew retirement home.

I honestly don't remember this tone, being this friendly before. Either I've really changed in expectation, or Canadians have done another surge in nice-ness.

Possibly, I'm doing more interactions: airport, car rental, hotel, lots of food places. It's a series of small transactions, maybe more than on previous trips - and noticing the tone and attitude.

What made me laugh out loud today is the weather report.

There's been a freezing-rain-snowstorm blow through Ontario and into Quebec and the Maritimes - only about 5cm of snow but temps right around 0 so it's turning to freezing rain and then freezing on the ground and all surfaces. It's like a very mild version of the ice storm of 1998, downing power lines and trees.

I actually opted not to drive back to Orillia (where I was staying w/ relatives) from Barrie, because the stretch of highway between them is particularly bad; it's only about 40min but very windy and unpredictable.

So CBC reporter goes to the weather guy who says:

'Hey, what can you say? It's February in Canada! Winter, it's what we do!'

There was no moaning, no apologies and now whining about the weather, just a clear description of the really varied and difficult conditions across the provinces. God I loved it.
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.

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 [livejournal.com profile] gothwalk manage a two-list tournament smoothly. We had only minor hiccups as we got rolling. [livejournal.com 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 [livejournal.com 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. [livejournal.com 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.
abendgules: (Confesse)
I regularly notice things either en route to work, or in my day, that are terribly witty and worth sharing.

But I don't seem to get the time to put them in writing.

Real-world recap:

I really enjoyed hearing the Canadian election outcome, though felt sorry for NDP which now has a few years of rebuilding to do.

It's been a pretty good fall in London for weather and fall colours; reasonably dry for most of September and October, which meant I've done more running than before.

I've been diligently getting out at lunch hours, and alternating w/ lunch hours in the gym, doing both physio-recommended stretches and some strength moves.

As a partial result of running, I now have my R foot strapped up, to manage plantar fasciitis. Have to freeze a bottle of water to roll under my foot this evening. Oooops.

Apparently ignoring the dull ache in your foot til it becomes a sharp pain in your foot is not the appropriate response.

Still going to physio regularly to try to manage lower back pain. I can feel that I've gained more mobility in my lower back and pelvis, and I walk more carefully and consciously than before.

Weekends where I'm wearing flat medieval shoes on hard surfaces really show themselves up at the physio.

I'm already on 2 weeks sabbatical from running, to see if I can shake the referred pain down 1 leg. So this week I'm walking not running at lunch. Fortunately the break coincides with weekends away when I couldn't get to a parkrun anyway.

It's halfterm in London so the constant commuting pressure eases off by about 20% as all the parents take time out while their kids get a week off. I treasure this week for travel, but you're always covering for someone in the office who's away this week.

Next week I hope to take 1 day off, to see the current Celts exhibit at the British Museum.
abendgules: (tea in winter)
Jesus, can't these people stay home with their freaking infections?? of course not. Bloody martyrs.

I'm prone to respiratory infections as is Robert. Really, really not impressed.
abendgules: (womaninmotion)
Continuing to chug along at parkruns. New PB, though my legs ached ferociously on Sunday.

I may change my 'home' base to the run I've done the most, as it's a much nicer park to run around than the first one I attended.

North London is hilly; there's nowhere in a park that's going to offer 5k flat running. I might as well choose the one that's most attractive.

Yesterday and today a heron visited the pond in my workplace's courtyard.

You have to look closely, for the one on the left; the one on the right is a plastic decoy...but to attract or deter more herons isn't clear.

And yes, we have a cheesy gnome with a fishing line. So sue us.

A guest in the courtyard

On my lunchtime run I saw a heron in the stream in the park, and since it's just a short flap for a heron from courtyard to stream I'm guessing it's the same one.

Is is avian-ist to say that all herons look alike to me?

In the 'Drachenwald first-world problems' category:

I'm finally making myself new veils, to replace the ones I felt terribly under-dressed in at Double Wars. I've wanted both new flat veils and ruffled ones for ages, plus a Birgitta cap (minus the fiddly-but-functional midline needlework).

My barrier to improving my veils wasn't materials, it was instructions.

Only in Drachenwald can all the instructions on making ruffled veils I can find be in languages I don't speak...til I asked Mistress Lia for her top source, and she pointed me at this lady's excellent photos (sorry they're in FB).

So I have new flat veils for the weekend, plus several miles of ruffle for sewing in the vehicle...plus knitting.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
I can totally see how some 'hakas' rip off the NZ sentiment. I can only see the fun in this one though.
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: (rearview_runner)
I found out about parkrun this year after 3+ mentions of it in a copy of Runner's World - there was a cover article about 5k running, which is why I picked it up. I wondered if parkrun had sponsored the mentions, there were so many.

I've been thinking about going for months, but just before Double Wars wasn't the time to start. At that point I couldn't even picture getting out of bed before 9am on a Saturday.

Don't know why exactly today was the day - possibly watching the world championship athletics this week put it in mind - I loved watching it through lunchtime while I was in the gym. Beats the hell out of news and crappy music videos. Puts your own efforts into perspective, but in a good way, not a depressing way.

So today I ran the one closest to me - one I could find on the bus route - in Harrow.

I figure it was my running that inspired Mo Farah - he's just won the 5,000m in Beijing. :-)

Don't yet know my time. I was so shattered as I crossed the finish I didn't hear the time. I wasn't absolutely last, but I think I was the last runner - the rest were run-walkers.

I did walk 3x - there is a gentle slope on the course in this park, and I found on the laps that it was a good point to walk for 30 paces.

The run director was very kind - asked my name, how I'd found parkrun, then how I did afterward, my impressions, would I do it again.

I suggested setting one up in the local county park - he said he'd run x-country there, but it was potentially muddy - guess they have to choose routes that will be reliable and predictable, even w/ poor weather.
abendgules: (knitting)
It's just as well I work in the sticks. I'd never survive the temptation of regular exposure to good shops.

I had 1 day to attend meetings in S. London near Waterloo. Waterloo stn, as every London knitter knows, is dangerously close to I knit London.

And so it came to pass that I entered the shop in search of a single needle, tripped, and fell into their bargain bin, dislodging my wallet in the process.

Tripped & fell into I Knit London

The thick yarn is blue faced leicester roving, 100g. The pink and purple is silk 4ply (actually counted 7plies, but never mind), 100g each. The Addi needles, nuff said.

The DPNs are the smallest I now own, 2mm and 1.5, for trying fine stockings.

Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] zmiya_san's loan of a yarn winder and a ball winder, I've been skeining and winding a lot of yarn lately.

Here's A jersey project in process my 4kg of yarn now skeined, washed and wound, towards a major jumper project.

Thanks to my recent guest Gwendolyn, I now know how to wind silk successfully - on a toilet roll. Here's a couple I prepared earlier.

Lady Gwen is the EK visitor at DW last year, who did silk weaving, starting with growing the silkworms from scratch. When I first heard about her through Lia's posts and pictures I thought 'that's right off the scale' for craftiness. But Gwendolyn isn't mad...just really, really thorough. :-)

Today is hot for London, around 29 dec C apparently. Glorious, excellent for drying still more skeined and washed yarn.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
The ceremony to welcome Lord Aodh O Siadhall [livejournal.com profile] gothwalk into the greater house Sylveaston went very well, with advice from [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher on some important details. This rounded out the ceremony in a way that I really appreciated and I would not have known of, without her help.

I was amused that when I brought the belt of obnoxious brightness over for sizing, it was a knight, Sir Jonathan, who instantly saw significance in the colours. I know that Dame Oriane still wears her green belt with yellow borders as her connection to Sir Richard Gilchrist and thus her connection to the house. Aodh will find many Sylveaston descendants to meet yet.

The tone was dignified and pleased, which is what I wanted.

Aodh's role in the house is as 'dalta', which apparently in old Irish is 'student of the bard' - someone who might, or might not, be a bard in his own right, but even if not, gets a fine education and benefits from the support of the bard. I liked this title; it seemed very apt for him, and avoided the 'protege' which is a bit loaded in Society terms.

Photos are courtesy of Lady Agnes, Aodh's lady, who got Lord Aidan to record the occasion.

We're sitting within the castle, in the fountain court, shortly after principality 'thing' (Parliament) to talk about principality business.

Me introducing the ceremony, and managing to recite the lineage from Sir Merowald (as it applies to us) correctly. (Lyonette told us later of 'Merowaldry', Sir Merowald's offer to paint up arms people wanted, no registration required. Now Robert has a name for his guerilla heraldry...)

The intenture (read by Robert), belt (continuity with the greater house) and livery (as promised n the writ) all went as I had hoped.

Having cut the signed indenture in 2, I show the 2 pieces indented to witnesses.

I wanted to incorporate some statements that originally came from Sir Menken [livejournal.com profile] chequey and Dame Eleanor [livejournal.com profile] kes_zone, about dependents being neither slaves nor servants, but nobles in their own right.

This is important to me, as Lord Aodh has his own household, with his lady Agnes, that they care about a lot, and I wanted to make clear I wasn't taking it over.

A completely unplanned and unforseen effect was me commenting, as I held Aodh's hands as a vassal, that he was paterfamilias of his house, with his own duties and obligations; that in that role, he remained responsible for his house,

...but that I was available to advise him on dependants, suitable placements for children or orphans, or places in convents for those who were unsuited to marriage.

This raised a small laugh, but apparently struck shock and terror in the Catholic hearts of the ladies of House Green - particularly single ladies, or whose other halves don't play - who all assumed I was referring to them directly.

I found this out later, as Lady Agnes passed it on, and it now has common currency that at least one lady of House Green is destined to a nunnery...

I had warned Aodh of the Belt of obnoxious brightness...I'm hoping he'll wear it fighting.

Aodh's livery: 3 ells of good cloth and 3 more of linen, to outfit himself suitably.

Aodh complains of being a mammal and having warm blood and thus not liking wool clothing, so I dug up the lightest wool blend I could find - it may even be linsey-woolsey, I'm not certain. It's for him and his tailor to sort.

I'm kicking myself because I can't find a picture of the uncut indenture. I nicked the text wholesale from a previous contract Robert wrote for Sir Vitus for one of his dependents, with only small changes.

I like the line about protecting from unjust harm - if the harm is justified, apparently you're on your own. :-)

This indenture being made between Genevieve la flechiere, Viscountess and peer of Drachenwald by letters patent on the one part and Lord Aodh O Siadhail on the other part, testifies that the said Lord Aodh stall stand in service to the said viscountess for peace and for war for the term of one year and one day following the date of this document
The lord Aodh having the estate of dalta, and being retained with the said viscountess of the ancient house of Sylveaston for the said term by indenture without fraud or evil device, shall be accorded all the customary rights and privileges, vis of livery, maintenance, counsel, instruction, advancement and defense against unjust harm.
The lord Aodh shall in turn accord the said visountess with service in matters of charity and hospitality at such occasions and tourneys as they shall be mutually conveniently present therat.
The lord Aodh shall also afford the viscountess Genevieve support in matters touching court, law and custom, and the management of her estate as are within his normal competence.
He is bound not to be a maintainor, instigator, barrator, procuror or embraceor of quarrels and inquests in the country in any manner, and shall not know or understand of any manner thing to be attempted, done or spoken against Viscountess Genevieve's person or honour but he shall let and withstand the same to the uttermost of his power.
Should the lord Aodh be in any error or found in any detestable crime, as soon as Viscountess Genevieve knows it she must admonish the lord Aodh charitably that he may gain from it.
Done before noble witnesses this nones of August AS 50, at ffair Raglan.

After this ceremony I started the discussion about 'peers, what have they done for us anyway?' which ran for about an hour, or til we ran out of daylight.

We had a keen discussion overall, with nusbacher enjoying her role as devil's advocate. We heard some stories from peers that I'd not heard of before - like how Sir Elffin came to be knighted in the West, and how Sir Clancy turned down knighthood in his first homeland.

The only drawback I've observed from these talks is that peers like to talk, when in fact I want to get more newcomers to talk. :-) But I hope that if we keep holding the time and place to chat, it'll become the place to ask questions and come to be known as a feature at Raglan.
abendgules: (home sweet canvas home)
I've trailed off keeping LJ up to date - the insidious effect of other social media, and Having Life (tm), and being more busy at work.

However, Raglan, as always, merits a post or three.

Good stuff

Camping for 10 days with my sweetie and friends: this alone is worth celebrating.

This year we travelled once more with the Vitus-wagon, which is turning into the Vitus wagon-train, really, with multiple vehicles.

I've never seen the trailer so full, so that 2 grown men are braced against it as it's re-opened on site. However, the goodwill on site for unloading and schlepping was excellent, and our stuff was sorted and unloaded in very short order.

We had the luxury of setting up in broad daylight, rather than dusk, and looked at each other somewhat bemused when we had the entire tent, mini-kitchen (courtesy jpgsawyer and edith_hedingham) and seating arranged, and still had time before dinner.

The Pologrinus encampment took much longer, and their site suffered more in extremely high winds over the week.

Due to enforcement of 4" tent stake rules, many pavilions were not fit to stay up in the high winds especially on the bowling green. We adjusted our centre pole, but once more the pavalino design came through for us and while it creaked and shifted, our tent stayed put.

The 4" rule is hard to enforce in the face of high winds; if you use 'medieval' stakes, then they are fat and tend to be short, and thus pull out easily, and you cause more damage pounding them back in in a new hole. If you use 'modern' steel stakes, they are skinny and go deeper, but actually do less damage to the ground (which is what you want to avoid on historic sites). A week after we've left, you'll be hard pressed to see where the steel stakes went in.

For the first half of the week we dined 'lightly' (meaning typically 2 dishes per meal) but well together with Mrs Katherne of Lochac and [livejournal.com profile] nusbacher, and made a merry gathering.

We managed one bowl of syllabub, which was the usual spectacle and was as delicious as ever.

For the second half of the week Master Paul, [livejournal.com profile] jpgsawyer and [livejournal.com profile] edith_hedingham plus [livejournal.com profile] aryanhwy and J and G rolled up and our meals doubled to tripled in dishes, ambition and splendour. Here's their menu. The chickens planned for Sunday went off, so were replaced w/ omelettes and refried smoked meats and amazing liver pate, made by edith_hedingham.

Wednesday evening
pre-cook pottage & a stew for the evening

Breakfast - standard fare!
Dinner - Lamb roast
Home made sausages!
Pottage (hopefully with home grown broadbeans)
Fruit patties or similar desert

Supper - cold meats, breads and cheese

We will be 9.5 people!

Breakfast - standard
Dinner - ember day
fried fish
Veggie dish or 2
tart on ember day
green omlette
norwegian pasties
custard / fruit

We will hopefully be welcome Master Alexandre & his lady

Supper - cold meats, breads and cheese

Breakfast - standard
Dinner - a Grand feast!
Roast Beef
Great Pie
Grand sallat
Cheese Gnoochi
Berry fool

We will be welcome the Prince and Princess, the Prince's lady, Mary and Rick and Lady Moria
15 people

Supper - cold beef!

Breakfast - standard

Dinner -
Refried smoked meat

Supper - cold meats

The sausages were a splendid success; or as I called them, 'Innuendoes with Edith'. It was hard to handle or even watch the sausage-stuffing process without dscending to medieval levels of humour.

jpgsawyer's innovation this year was a portable shelter based on a model by Scappi (late Italian cook, I think) that helped keep the rain and sun off the cooks' backs while working, and made working around the firebox more comfortable. It also stood up in light-to-moderate winds well, but dodged the serious winds early in the week.

Thamesreach on tour

The shire's presence was sizeable this year, with both new attendees and old friends. Thamesreach folk were much in evidence in running Raglan, tourneying, challenging, teaching and generally having a splendid time.

[livejournal.com profile] zmiya_san was hip-deep in the Raglan organisation this year, along w/ her mum lady Tamara. She even managed to squeeze in authorising to fence in the week, which is pretty impressive.

The Thamesreach forces triumphed in the Oxford Roll - the regular shire-vs-shire tournament that is a feature of Raglan.

Individuals held their own in the protectors tourney and in the torchlight pas d'armes, and Pan Vitus was once more named protector, after a 45 minute bearpit tourney.

Lord Guy de Dinan and Pan Vitus succeeded in their challenges into the Drachenwald academy of defense, as free scholar and provost respectively. Milady Cicely survived her first storming of the castle and pitched in on the prefect challenges, so when someone asks 'who died and made you provost?' she can say, 'I did!'.

My sweetie served as the prince's champion, fighting a destructive bye in the coronet tourney, when the prince himself had to withdraw. He lost just 1 bout in the process, thus being very destructive indeed.

This week, as we all collectively recover, the happy noises and pictures coming from assorted Thamesreach members shows that the event was as full and fulfilling as in past years, which I love to hear.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
I came back from the colonies with a lot on my mind.


Ageing sucks. Avoid at all costs.

If you cannot avoid, start now to strengthen your body so you're not as vulnerable to falls, fragile bones, collapsing vertebra, and loss of muscle tone. Just keep at it.

Nurses (and other medic types) remain the worst patients. They know it all and are lousy at taking advice from their own GPs.

If you insist on getting old, start downsizing now. Do not leave emotional cluster-bomb crap for your relatives to deal with.

My mum's house is thick with photographs and it feels physically oppressive to me, this celebration of the past; no photos less than 10 years old, most of them much older. Cannot imagine inheriting a stately home, if just a bunch of pictures make me feel loaded down with expectation.

Do it now, whatever it is.

I attended the funeral of a man 2 years younger than me: son to my parents' longtime friends K&A. I grew up w/ Tom and his brothers, though as a teen you stop going to dinner at your parents' friends' homes, so I'd not seen him since late teens.

Tom lost control of his motorbike on a dry straight road on Father's Day. Of the 4 brothers he was the only one with a wife and 2 small kids of his own.

The funeral service was packed with people who, I suspect, were not used to mourning; adults who have not yet seen elderly parents and ageing friends die, who had little experience with death.

I'm not an expert, but it felt to me like there were a lot of people not certain how to mourn; men, in particular, used to being happy, angry, outgoing, but not grieving. It was really breaking them.

Once again I had a chance to observe a good 'court herald' in the funeral home staff - setting the tone and pace, directing people and providing cues without appearing to push - and an experienced minister who was excellent at keeping it brief, and focusing on the joyful life rather than the sudden death.

There's real skill in making people welcome when they're not at their best, when emotions run high, and to make them as comfortable as possible. I was impressed by the funeral home's professionalism.

One slightly eerie aspect: Tom had recently started playing guitar again, after giving up his teen dreams of stardom. Just this week he'd recorded himself playing and singing one song, about 3 minutes, on his phone. His wife found it after he'd died, and she played the clip at the funeral. It was peculiar, but very apt, for Tom to sing a song at his own funeral.

The takeaway message though was - live today like it's your last. Don't put off plans, dreams, goals. Do them now.

My extended family remain a pretty remarkable and cool bunch of people. I caught up with several cousins and 2nd cousins, and am grateful that they are still really awesome folks.

I was deeply, profoundly grateful for old friends in Canada who were untroubled by my phoning them out of the blue, to ask for help. My friend Julia and her household made me welcome and I stayed more than a week, mostly just overnights, as a place to unwind, close to Mum's house.

I didn't manage to reach everyone I wanted to, which was disappointing. Will have to follow up online.

Am finishing this post and going to bed. Hoping to get to sleep sometime before 3.30am this time...
abendgules: (well dang)
Canadians take their summer weather for granted. They have no idea how blessed they are to not have to feel like the weather is out to get you on a daily basis.

I haven't worn sunglasses this often possibly since my last visit - there's almost no point in the UK.

My demographic matches Q107 radio exactly.

Or rather...Q107 has changed to match my demographic, and stay abreast of it. When I listened to it in the 1980s it was relentlessly and exclusively hard-rock. I have no idea what that would mean now to a teenager, if it even exists now.

Today I listened to a Journey song from 1982, which makes it 30+ yrs old. If they'd played 30+ yr old music in 1983 it would have dated to early 1950s, and except for Elvis I don't think there's anyone who would have qualified for their playlist. So the target audience has definitely aged.

It's somewhat dismaying, how nostalgic and happy listening to it makes me.

White, and magnolia ('cream' or 'ecru' to the Canadians) are the new black in cars.

My mum's old car and my loaner car are both white. Everyone and their dog has a white car now, with a handful of distinctly creamy-white cars standing out in the parking lots. Wonder how they're described in the marketing bumf?

Canadians are more wired and online than when I was here last; I don't think Timmy's had wifi, for instance (though maybe it did and I just didn't need it). Even my mother has wifi, much to my surprise.

However, the options available for pay as you go phones are crap. I am pouring money upon the Canadian telecomm economy like water.

For a country with such excellent telecomms skills and services, it's mad that 50c/minute is the best I can get outside the GTA. With a phone 'based' in Oshawa, everyone I want to reach is long distance.

Tim Horton's looks more and more like McDonald's and less and less like a coffeeshop; 'breakfast sandwiches', 'lunch menus' hardly a mention of bagels on the board. Sugar syrups, coffee drinks, and smoothies, whipped *things* everywhere.

Humph, mutter mutter mutter... at least the coffee is intact, so long as you ask for a small.
abendgules: (knitting)
Last weekend, I dropped a wad of money on yarn for a long-term knitting project.

I've ordered 4kg of Shetland yarn; it will require hours of processing even before knitting.

It's 'yarn in oil' so you *can* knit it as-is, and wash it after knitting, but honestly it's not very nice to knit with as is, and much nicer after washing the skeins.

Said yarn is probably going to sit at Robert's office, while I'm in the colonies, yarnless and unable to reach it.

I can take another project, but with all the glitter of the new, it was the *new* project I wanted to take with me to the colonies.

First world problems.
abendgules: (womaninmotion)
I've held off running while The Stupid Cough(tm) was lingering.

Today I walked, and ran veeeeeeerrrrry sloooooowly, round the park at lunchtime.

Somehow, somehow, I have to remember how much better I feel after even a very few minutes of running.

I feel cheerier within a very short time (which leads to rather unrealistic goals of running for miles and miles, that somehow haven't yet come about) but it's a noticeable effect.

It doesn't matter to me if it's adrenalin or dopamine or any of the simplistic body-chemistry reasons people throw around (not convinced these explanations hold up under scrutiny).

I just feel better; I care less about worrying things; the afternoon that follows feels manageable.

I spent much of Sunday wearing clothes for running (thinking it would motivate me) without succeeding in actually getting out the door.

On Sunday, my clothes lost out against inertia and sloth. To get through I need to get out the door even for just a few minutes.

One book on running I have suggested (paraphrased):

If you're feeling tired and unmotivated, tell yourself you'll just go out for 10 minutes.

If, in 10 minutes, you still feel tired and unmotivated, then turn round and go home.

...for me, it's the getting out the door to the first 10 minutes that is really, really hard.
abendgules: (hunh?)
Last week I bought 2 blouses that, I discovered at home, gape at the bust (I know, you're surprised...). They fit well aside from that.

So on the weekend I diligently stitched a snap between buttons on both blouses, carefully lining it up w/ the grain of the fabric and the existing buttons.

I was really smug: small fixes tend to get neglected for ages before actually happening, so here I was ahead of the curve for once.

Today I put on blouse 2 and discover I've meticulously stitched the snap in the wrong place.

I now have a blouse with a very modest neckline, that still gapes.

And if I did it wrong on one, I've done it wrong on both.

Blouse 1 (my means of discovering the gape) was laundered and pressed...and now proves to be about 3/4 " shorter than blouse 2 (not yet washed), because I didn't read the washing instructions.

There are other signs of my complete gormlessness today, but they're not fit for company. Sigh.
abendgules: (self-portrait)
I think there's been a Hindu festival recently as there are more folks with tikkas on the high street than I usually see of a weekend, and more ladies in really pretty salwar kamises: bright, sparkly, sequined. Maybe they're just celebrating the start of summer, don't know.

Asian ladies really have the best selection of beautiful fabrics and colours. The one time I went to India it was striking how boldly and beautifully coloured the womens' clothing was even just in the office. Even smartly dressed English people wear a lot of black in comparison.

It's odd that with all the beautiful design and designer options available to Asian ladies, there's still no garment to wear over a sari or salwar kamis to keep warm, that goes with the outfit.

Three quarters of the year, ladies in saris and salwar kamis wear these beautiful gowns and shirts and leggings, and then put a polyster cardigan on top... then a winter jacket.

To my mind there should be a sweeping 3/4 length shawl-coat, or kaftan, or beautiful flowing something-or-other for warmth, that continues the lines of traditional Asian clothing.

So far, I've not seen it in our neighbourhood.


abendgules: (Default)

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