Steve n Jen's UK adventures

UK and European adventures. Read on my pretties, and discover what two stray Aussies can get up to on their travels.......

19 December 2007

Dec 2007 a

Sat 1 Dec 2007
Steve, Clancy and Wulfgar had stayed up to 5am chatting and drinking (except Clancy who was dragged to bed at 4) The boys are feeling really seedy this morning!!!

Arrived at Yule Ball (Cambridge group) about 11am. Steve wins the non-shielded tournament (fight with any weapon combo so long as no shield is used) and because of this Jen got a sash to wear for the next year! Lots of food and dancing. The food started rolling out at 5pm. The final remove (dessert) served about 8:30pm. The dancing was fun and lively. Stayed overnight with Deb and Clancy.

Sun 2 Dec 2007
After a big sleep-in and hearty breakfast, we went shopping "on base" (US military base). This is just like visiting USA! Checked out the prices for various things. Steve bought more Magic cards and some Starbucks double-shot expresso's in cans!

Driving home, unfortunately we broke down :-(
Thankfully we weren't in a hurry to be anywhere :-)
We have top breakdown cover and were happy to find it was a split radiator pipe that was repairable on the spot (we'll need to get the hose replaced later). Got home about 3 hours later than we had planned to.

Steve orders a new computer, courtesy of Deb and Clancy and the weaker American dollar.

Thu 6 Dec 2007
Terry stays overnight and we have a late night together watching movies.

Fri 7 Dec 2007
Finally an early night!

Sat 8 Dec 2007
Sleep in. Yay!!!
Buy Christmas tree, decorations, and stock up on food since the fridge has been basically bare with all the recent, consecutive, weekends away from home.
Here's a bit of time-lapse photography of the tree going up....

(Actually no, it didn't take a whole 3 hours)
In the evening we enjoyed a really lovely dinner at Jenny and Nick's. Their DVD player was playing up, and to our good fortune, Nick got our his guitar and sung us some songs. It was just lovely - what with the miserably cold weather outside and the warmth of their Christmas lights + mellow pub atmosphere in the living room.

Sun 9 Dec 2007
Another nice long lie-in. Out of bed after 9.
Steve helps his line manager move house all day, and Jen plays catch up doing the housework and Blog (Nov b).

Wed 12

It looks almost like it's snowed - everything is covered in half an inch of Frost. Pot holes in the road appear to be rimmed in thick broken glass but it's just shattered ice.

Thu 13
Received our first of many Christmas cards ... from Australia! Thanks Hilary and Robyn.

Fri 14
Steve has his work Christmas party, and Jen's team have their Christmas lunch with afternoon off work, ending up in a bar.

Above: Some of Jen's work mates at the lunch.
Below: In the bar

Steve got home at the respectable time of 7:30 after a pint. Jen got home somewhat sloshed at about 10pm.

Sat 15
Wrecked but not hung over, Jen slept in to 10am. She was still tipsy when she awoke at 4am though. Together we went to Oxford Street, and found Steve some new clothes at M&S. Then we nipped in to Liberty's to check out the fabric floor.

Above: Liberty's is an amazing tudor-style complex.
Below: Inside Liberty's.

Finally, to top off a wonderful shopping experience, we went and collected our latest ebay purchase, and Xmas present for Jen - a new A2 drafting table.

09 December 2007

Nov 2007 b

Mon 12 Nov 2007
London burning.

Everyone in the office is buzzing. Is it another terrorist attack? And is the Tube still going - will everyone have a hard time getting home?
As it turns out, an old warehouse, on the nearby 2012 Olympic site, went up in flames accidentally.

Wed 14 Nov 2007
The coming weekend is Kingdom University in Germany.
It was decided a month ago, that a lady named Anya will be sent to vigil on 16th Nov and offered elevation to the new rank of Laurel (equivalent to Knighthood in the SCA). The plan is to keep it all a surprise for Anya, since Aramantha (Anya is apprenticed to this Laurel) is coming all the way from USA.
Unfortunately, train strikes in the region means Anya has put out a call for a lift to site. Panic all round from the conspirators! How to get her there? It is sorted out within 24 hours.
Further to this trouble, we'd hoped the Crown Prince or local Baron might do the 'send to vigil' part for us, but we discovered that both of them also will be arriving about midnight.
Jen begs her manager for Friday off work (and is lucky to have the time off approved) and ends up re-scheduling her Friday flight to an earlier one.

Thu 15 Nov 2007
Wystan, one of Alaric's four squires, arrives and stays overnight. He's working in Cardiff for a couple of months. Since Angel and Gavin (squire living in Cork) are visiting London this weekend, and we'll be in Germany, we told them be our guests and have the place to themselves. Once we heard Wystan would be around too, it only made sense for the household to have fun together, albeit without us!

Here's a photo of Steve and Wystan getting up to mischief for the camera.

Fri 16 Nov 2007
Jen flies out of London City Airport about 9am and arrives on-site at 4pm. Thanks to Judith and Gerhardt for the pick-up and drop off! The countryside was gloomy and wet, but as we rounded the bend to our final destination, a brilliance of snow-topped forest and hills dazzled us.
Here's the courtyard of the site:

And here is the view (through a fly screen) from our room:

Later in the evening, Nerissa (Jen) held court, and sent a very astonished Anya on vigil. Steve arrived around midnight and joined in the merry atmosphere.

Sat 17 Nov 2007
Kingdom University.
We held a Curia in the morning, which generated lots of good discussion.
Loads of classes were run throughout the day. We each held one - Steve's was on cooking and Jen's was about 'inspiring your consort'.

We were astonished at the labour of the scriptorium throughout the day, and these scribes managed to ensure everyone being given awards at this event also received scrolls. Obviously we ought to have given the scribes more notice (our bad) but Jen had stuffed up the recommendations spreadsheet, and just finished re-constructing it only a few days before this event (and the excel file is properly backed up now!!!)
We had lots of scrolls to sign, and here's the biggie - Anya's Laurelling scroll done by Emma Dandelion. Here's the nervous King signing it:

In the evening we held Court and gave out various awards including half a dozen PCS's - this award is given to people leaving Kingdom (Europe/UK) who've made a difference and will be missed. No, it's not the happiest award to give out.

We were relieved to hear that Anya would like to be Laurelled, and here are some photos:

Above: lots of merry feasting.
Below: here we are enjoying the fab food and atmosphere.

A bit later on, Nerissa was invited to draw out the numbers for a lottery. There were about 20 or so prizes, and the final, big prize was a flat pack Throne. Fiona Wiggins was the lucky winner, and she loved it! How many of her friends can all sit in the throne at the same time? (Just as well it's sturdy!)
Here she is revelling in her triumph!

Thanks to the people who took photos for us, and also those whose pics we've used for this blog. Here are some more photos others have taken at the event....

Sun 18 Nov 2007
Made it home safely, and got to hang out with Gavin and Angela at our place before they headed back to Cork.

Tue 20 Nov 2007
Today we voted in the Australian federal election.... in London.
We queued outside Australia House for about half an hour in the drizzle (with a brolly of course) then the bag search in these little tents and finally inside the building. It was really grandiose but no photography was allowed. When we left the queue was four times longer stretching across the front of the building and around the corner (right in the photo below)

Fri 23 Nov 2007
We hopped on a plane and flew to Belfast.

Sat 24 Nov 2007
This event in Belfast is called Yuletide University. Another bunch of classes, but on a smaller scale compared to last weekend. The feast was a cosy 25-30 people strong. It's always a pleasure to make more friends, and we were happy to have Gavin and Angela sit at high table with us. Unfortunately Jen forgot to pack the camera - ooops!

Sun 25 Nov 2007
In the afternoon we caught up with several locals in town and enjoyed the European Food market. YUM! We brought all manner of sweets home with us.

Fri 30 Nov 2007
Jen took this photo of terraced houses in Stratford, from the 4th floor of an office block near her workplace. This was during a meeting/debriefing. This gives you a good idea of what your typical suburb looks like, in London. It's so much prettier when it snows!

This evening we pack for another event and drive up to Deb and Clancy's.....