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.......

20 July 2008

Jul 2008 a

Fri 04 Jul 2008
Drove to Deb n Clancy's, north of Cambridge.

Sat 05 Jul 2008
Helped Greg and Michelle move house, from a pokey third floor flat to a spacious house with views over horse fields.
Afterwards we helped Clancy celebrate at his 40th birthday party.

If you thought Aussies were passionate about steak, we aint got nothin' on this Texan! Below: Clancy enjoying a juicy steak

Sun 06 Jul 2008
Worked on dismantling our bed and one wardrobe. Shuffled the upstairs furniture for the arrival of our niece Sophia.

Tue 08 Jul 2008
Singing practice. Both Edith and Julia turned up and we sung better together than ever before!

Wed 09 Jul 2008
Jen left work a little early and met up with Soph at Heathrow, to bring her home. Steve was at fighter practice but left a yummy planned-over (left-over) dinner for us both.

Upon hearing we were home safe and sound, Steve left fighter practice early to welcome Soph.

Thu 10 Jul 2008
Steve worked on edging his shield in preparation for the weekend.

Fri 11 Jul 2008
We madly packed for our weekend in Winchester. Steve picked up Nick and rendevous'ed with us at home. All five of us (Nick and Edith, Sophie and us two) arrived on-site at about 9:30pm and set to work setting up a bed for Soph and for ourselves. Soph was really feeling the jet lag the poor thing.

Sat 12 Jul 2008
Soph was up before all of us - darned jet lag.
We're on site at St Cross Hospital. Its a 'Hospital', because they've been providing hospitality to pilgrims for hundreds of years! Even today travellers may ask for the dole, and are given a small amount of bread and some beer for free. In the morning we set off on our Pilgrimage to Winchester Cathedral.

Above: Here we are at the last of three stops for being tested on our pilgrim's knowledge en-route to Winchester Cathedral. (Asbiorn's photo)
Here we are outside the cathedral

Above: Alaric and Lucia (Steve and Soph) in the cathedral
Below: Nerissa and Lucia (photo by Asbiorn)

After viewing the many beautiful things in the Cathedral (including the famous Winchester Bible, and coffins of the old Kings) we stopped in town for afternoon tea. Out front of the shop was this lovely monument, and here's Lucia (Soph) once more being her usual decorative self in her fab green velvet cotehardie.

In the afternoon we walked back to site and put on two fighting displays for the public. Here are several views of the tourney field.

In the evening we enjoyed dining in the medieval hall. Nerissa (Jen) couldn't resist and used the choir loft again this year.

Further excellent photos of SCAdians at the event (by Asbiorn) are here:
Please note there are two pages to view.

Sun 13 Jul 2008
Woke up, had breakfast, and packed the car. Once packed, we enjoyed a nice 15 minutes of tranquility in the medieval garden, before setting off.

Then Steve drove us to see the Mary Rose in Portsmouth.

Above: The ship, one of Henry VIII's favourite purpose-built battleships, is undergoing years of wax solution treatment to preserve her. Here we look down the length of the ship toward the prow.

The wax treatment will cease in another two years, and by 2012 (the Olympics) the new museum (architecturally, a mirror of the ship) will be able to house thousands more artifacts which were found with the wreckage. She was raised in 1982 from the harbour floor, having mysteriously sank trying to fend off an French invasion.
Below: a scale model of the Mary Rose.

Above: out front of the museum, we couldn't resist this comparison. If only there was a handy rock for Steve to stand on.

While at the harbour we were pleasantly surprised to discover this Viking longship berthed! The Sea Stallion is crewed by about 60 people at a time. The crew has changed at different points of the voyage, and consists of people from all over the world.

Above: the Sea Stallion.
Below: the crew had prepared small birch trees and soaked + twisted these over the side for a few days. This was being used to attach the rudder to the side of the ship. The modern type of rope they'd originally set off with was found to disintegrate very rapidly, so they tried the period method and have only needed to replace it every once in a while.

Above: the attention to detail was fantastic. This is the ship's wind vane.

Edith got talking with one of the crew who was all too happy to answer our many questions. For example, the bottom of the ship's only about 2 feet in the water. The ship feels like being on a giant cork apparently, bobbing on top of the waves.

For more about the ship and crew, visit

Mon 14 Jul 2008
This afternoon we took our ex-landlord to court and won.
We are expecting our rental deposit money to be returned to us within a fortnight. Hurrah!

01 July 2008

Jun 2008 b

Thu 26 Jun 2008
Steve went to work. Jen has the next three work days off work. Kiriel arrived today (she lives in Geneva) to do pre-prep cooking at our place, for the big Feast on Saturday night. Jen and Kiriel shopped, and shopped, for more food and ingredients. Kiriel cooked. Late into the evening Steve wrote up a final ingredients list (with quantities) and then Kiriel created price-comparisons for tomorrow's shopping to get us the best prices. Go Kiriel!

Fri 27 Jun 2008
We shopped some more. Kiriel cooked. Edith turned up and shopped and cooked too.
Here's what our living room looked like....

Above: Kiriel creating welsh-dragon shaped cookies.
Below: Edith and her Gooseberry dish being cooked.

In the afternoon, we packed all the food in the car and drove to site. We met up with Edith at site - she took a driving lesson for the hour drive to site - well done!
More cooking ensued (but not for our Jen). Steve gets some cooking going in the kitchen on-site - and drags Jen to some more shopping. Got to bed about 1am.

Sat 28 Jun 2008
We got up, did more shopping. Honestly, this was the last load of groceries! This time we got 25 loaves of freshly cooked bread, 14 chickens, 15 punnets of strawberries.... we got lots of funny looks. Of course it didn't help that we were in medieval clothing!

Got to site at about 8.30am. Jen ran off to be a lady in waiting to Fiona, preparing her final hours before being crowned Queen of Drachenwald. Steve spent basically the whole day in the kitchen cooking and co-ordinating the feast with his faithful cooks: Kiriel, Edith, Duncan and Helen, and others too!

Here are some photos...

Below: Jen hung out at the Roses party

Above: The new K&Q watching the tournament together.
Below: the populace enjoying the perfect (and rare) weather.

Above: lovely pavilions in the sunshine.
Below: the scriptorium attracted about a dozen curious souls.

Above: Geneveive (Elizabeth) receives the Order of the Ffraid, for services to the Crown Principality. Jen was surprised to receive the same award moments later.
Below: a happy award recipient in the K&Q's court.

Above: Julia, it's her birthday!
Below: the cooks being thanked and congratulated after the Feast is over.

There were 140 mouths successfuly fed.
The food was really good, with ample praise for the cooks.

Steve wants to say that Kiriel, Jen and Edith were all legends for taking their time off work to help him make the feast a success.

More photos (courtesy of Margaret) can also be seen here:

Sun 29 Jun 2008
Phew, all the medieval stuff is over. Sunday was all about sorting out the kitchen equipment and utensils from other groups' gear, and then packing our Shire gear up into our car. Got home, unpacked the car, and finally relaxed! Terry came around and hung out, we all enjoyed a nice curry dinner before driving Kiriel to the local airport ("London City"). Johanna stayed the night.

Mon 30 Jun 2008
Steve got up early and was off to work once more. Johanna repacked her bags and headed off into town. Jen stayed home (for her final day off work) waiting for a British Gas rep to perform a gas safety inspeciton, the appointment being 8am to 1pm. He turned up midday, after which Jen wandered off for some relaxed window shopping, and to buy block-out curtain lining for the spare bedroom. After all, we'll have a new housemate over the next 7 months, on and off......