Saturday, October 27, 2012

Autumn Leaves!

October is progressing. Autumn is here, winter is coming. I'm somewhat startled to see how few photos I've taken lately, but also thinking about it October has been pretty mad with my work, and Bob has been commuting to Brighton, so we've been a bit stuffed. Here. Have some random photos.

Coming into the light, out of the DLR tunnel under the Thames. I'm sitting in the front seat of the train, because there's no driver. That's right folks! No DRIVER! Robot TRAINS!

Waterloo station, half of Southern England comes through here each day.

And a close up of that poster in the middle. I'm impressed that the ENO chose as the URL as well...

Riley, The office dog.

We are going to Swordfish in Sweden next week. We both got some Axel Petterson jackets, but Bob's went weird - the zip was defective, so we took some photos to let the guys in Poland know. The zip has been fixed, and the jackets are awesome. Yes, I will take photos in Sweden.

Mmm. Cold cider at the local.

I don't know what was in the bottle, but the contents were even more sybaritic and delicious than the label. It was sort of an apple brandy, almost a calvados, from Normandy, but with floral flavours and a faint taste of cinnamon. And staggeringly alcholic.

I went to an industry dinner at the Grand Connaught Rooms, all black tie and fancy, then went back out into the cold to walk back to the office to change out of my (rented) dinner suit. Suffice to say that I was wondering if I'd manage to get lost between Covent Garden and Haymarket after a couple of cautious glasses of this.

The Grand Connaught Rooms being grand.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Oh dear

It really has been a long time since I've put anything up here. Let's see if I can splat up some photos to give some idea of what we have been up to. Also, since I can pop things quickly and easily, keep an eye on

 So. We went and spent a weekend in the 15th century, and fired cannons

we found the bouncy-castle stonehenge replica

Summer bloomed, and we found birds of prey at a 17th century merchant's house

 Bob's ads dominated Charing Cross Station, watched by tens of thousands each day.

We went to Tewkesbury,

and went to the Proms with Wallace and Gromit at the Royal Albert Hall. And we know how many holes it takes to fill it. By the way, the giant statue of Albert out the front is actually the only remains of the secret late 19th Century plan to put a man on the moon.

We visited Thibualt's book at an exhibit at the Wallace Collection, several times, and a couple of nights ago had a guided tour and intimate dinner with the curator, Tobias Capwell.

 There were tall ships parked near our front door for the Olympics, and we went for a sunset cruise on my birthday.

 We also went to the semi finals of the women's boxing, and saw really amazing feats of skill.

Two weeks ago we spent the weekend with lovely people in the 16th century, in an inn built in the 14th Century. Bob makes a good scullery maid.

And last weekend they unveiled the statue of Nike given to London by Olympia - and some lads from the Royal Artillery up the road popped down to add some colour.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Bolsover Castle

We've been slowly trying to tease out how re-enactment and living history work here, and making contacts with groups. I'm keen to get involved in some 15th C stuff, which here largely is labelled as 're-enactment', and tends to involve Battles, but we're also very keen to get involved in serious living history, and they take it very seriously here indeed.

As part of this exploration, and in order to reach out to some groups, we took ourselves up to Chesterfield to see a relatively low key event at Bolsover Castle. There were representatives from about half-a-dozen groups under the War Of The Roses Federation, mainly from up in the north, so there were perhaps 100 re-enactors wandering around.

 Most of the tents and equipment was small enough to pack into small cars or vans - the little bell-ended tents, and round pavilions, seem to be very popular.
 We were amused that the re-enactors thought it was horrifically hot, as conditions were much like Abbey, so blokes generally stripped down to their underclothes. It was nice to see a lot of straw hats though, something represented in 15th C art that seldom seems to show up on the heads of Australian re-enactors
 The castle itself is in various stages of disrepair, but is located in an incredibly dominating position in the landscape. It was knocked up well after the age of castles, but echoed the design of castles when they had a purpose, right down to having an inner bailey around a faux-norman keep.
 I can see your house from up here...
 The view was staggering, and lovely, the sky was blue, the air was warm. Perfection.
 Needless to say the fountain outside the keep caused every small child to fall around in paroxysms of laughter.
 Hmm. Bob can't be a female fighter because there's limited historical evidence for it, but a female blacksmith is ok?

These guys had a very nice setup, and were really engaging presenters.
 Dad trying to get his kid to interact with the Shining Knight. The kid didn't want any of it.
 There were four jousters, and they jousted twice a day. I was pretty impressed by the organisation of this, as they balanced out a presentation of the pomp and circumstance with the need to keep the event ticking over, but did not dumb it down for the audience too far.

The rider's kit was very nice, and we caught them doing the arming-of-the-knight in their camps with damned fine explanations for the public.

I spent the whole day feeling like I was wearing the wrong clothes, and was on the wrong side of the fourth wall.
 Another penny dropped while we were there: the musicians do not see themselves as re-enactors, nor do the re-enactors or organisers. Also, it looks like re-enactors here do not do music.
 Knights. They're shiny.
 And they're still shiny.
Oh look, he's shiny too.

I almost forgot - coming into Chesterfield we were distinctly puzzled by the church spire, and initially thought we were seeing it from a strange angle. No, it's bent. Even better, the bend, and twist, is not a recent failure of the structure  - the church and spire date back to the last part of the 14th Century, and it's been bent and twisted since it was built. In all likelihood it's spectacularly dodgy workmanship, but remarkably it's not yet fallen over.