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.......

28 June 2009

Jun 2009 b

Mon 15 Jun 2009
The weather in London has been truly glorious of late! This is a big deal, because mostly, there's been nothing but grey skies and drizzle for months and months on end! Winter seems to last about 10 months of the year here.

We've commissioned our friend Dan to create some tokens for friends in Australia.... and what a lovely job he's done of it too!

Tue 16 Jun 2009
As it turns out, there was some confusion over the timing for Steve to be visiting and helping Kiriel with cooking for her friends' wedding feast. It's in July not June, and since Steve is already booked to cook for someone else during the weekend in question, it's just not possible after all. *Sigh*

Wed 17 Jun 2009
Jen has been doing some last minute embroidery to complete her experimental "viking" style dress in time for the weekend.

Thu 18 Jun 2009
Jen has finished the dress, and gives it a test run:

Fri 19 Jun 2009
Jen gets dropped off at the local tube station, kisses Steve bye, meets with Jenny (Edith) at Heathrow, and we fly off to Stockholm in Sweden. We're then picked up at the airport and taken north to site - a Viking style re-enactor site / open air museum.
Here's the first "sign" on-site

Above: the site entrance.
Below: the main feast hall.

In the evening, the laurelling of Helwig was a touching and well planned ceremony.

Sat 20 Jun 2009
Hurrah, here's Kiriel and she's wearing butterfly brooches, as one would expect!

Today, somehow Jenny (Edith) ended up a candle-bearer and almost at the front of the royal procession! Jen helped carry Judith's robe with Fiona, and robed Judith as part of the crowning ceremony. (thanks to Erik for posting these 2 lovely photos)

Above: the royal couple plus herald (Thomas Flamanc)
Below: a shot of the markets

In the evening at Feast, we encountered some strange Swedish customs for celebrating Midsummer, such as drinking, drinking and more drinking of what they called "warm", and loudly challenging the neighbouring tables of fellow partiers to some kind of boisterous sing-off.

Above: Elffin playing up at feast.
Below: Jen playing along.

More Coronation photos:

Above: Carefree ladies (newly single) Edith and Jahanara.
Later in the evening, after dessert was but a memory, the aforementioned carefree ladies headed to the sauna, and Jen had to see this to believe it. Let's just say the sauna was boisterous with singing and drinking, and the lake was frickin cold!

Sun 21 Jun 2009
Journey back home and unpack. Steve very happy to have his Jen home again.
With no Jen to hassle him all weekend, Steve played computer games until his eyes bled or passed out on the keyboard. ;-)

Mon 22 Jun 2009
The new camera has arrived - hurrah! It looks like this but in silver.

..and the first photo taken... has come out quite yellow actually!

Wed 24 Jun 2009
Just spent an absolute fortune on flights for a USA summer holiday (visiting Slippery Rock and Washington).

Thu 25 Jun 2009

The roses have been going berserk! Here's a posy put together and there's still as many blooms left on the plant.

Fri 26 Jun 2009
Tonight we had Berengar stay (traveller from Sydney). Soph cooked a very tasty dinner of roast chicken, potatoes and salad. Pictured below is dessert of vanilla ice-cream, hot chocolate sauce and fresh strawberries. Nice one Soph!

Sat 27 Jun 2009
Today was really balmy. Jen spent half the day finishing off the brick stabilising in the loft. Steve went to work today (poor bugger) and came home quite tired. So we didn't end up going to Julia's birthday party after all. Tonight's just like a tropical thunderstorm, but here in London?

Tomorrow we're doing a walking tour in London city. More on this next blog entry, so stay tuned....

14 June 2009

Jun 2009 a

Mon 01 Jun 2009
Jen has very sore thigh muscles, from varnishing diagonal timbers yesterday (having previously sanded them free of their pigeon-poo coating). Crouching and bending around obstacles to paint these beams for 3 hours = great low impact exercise!

Above left: freshly varnished timbers. Above right: part way done "stabilising" the powdery mortar and bricks with a watered-down PVA solution. It's like brushing teeth - having to scrub at the wall to get in between the bricks.

Wed 03 Jun 2009
Jen has been working through her "to do" list, mainly doing 'laurel secretary' paperwork stuff. Other things on the list are: finish Steve's new purpoint (padded fighting jacket for under armour); and get the loft dust-free and presentable, so as to be able to use the space for portrait painting (oils).

Thu 04 Jun 2009
This morning on the way to work, Jen voted in the EU elections.
After work, we had Elizabeth and Dan around for dinner. Steve cooked up at tasty dinner of Duck in cherry sauce with some help from Soph. Dessert was choc pudd and icecream - all quite tasty!

Sat 06 Jun 2009
Nick visited for what was planned as an afternoon of boys-own-adventure pre-wedding relaxation. However he let loose a bombshell - that he and Jenny have split up, over whether to have children. So after chatting with him about it, we continued on with our visit to the cinemas and watched Terminator salvation, lots of stuff blowing up, and a reasonable amount of plot to keep it interesting.

Sun 07 Jun 2009
A rainy day. Jen spent the day indoors, costuming - making an experimental "viking" style dress somewhat along the lines of this one:

It's a 'new' idea on how viking lasses wore their dresses, published by researcher Annika Larsson, Uppsala University late last year.

Mon 8 Jun 2009
Over the next few nights we watch some "classic" Star Trek (the original series) from several DVD collections Steve bought. Lots of fun! Like reliving our childhoods.

Thu 11 Jun 2009
Ordered a s3xy new camera today for about £200, should arrive in a week.

Review on the new camera: click here
The rear garden has been flowering nicely....

Fri 12 Jun 2009
Last night Edith (Jenny) came and stayed overnight. Lots of wine was drunk and two classic Star Trek episodes enjoyed!

Sat 13 Jun 2009
Jenny stayed overnight and did some cooking for this evening's SCA revel (she and Steve planned a chicken dish together). Meanwhile Steve and Jen got the Tube into town and started a 2 hour walking tour "City Gardens". The vast majority of walkers were over 60s, so the walk was far from taxing.

Above: The garden and London wall ruins alongside the Museum of London. In the background there's the Barbers & Surgeons' herb garden at the rear of their Guildhall.
Below: The Salters guild have this lovely formal garden with several fountains - what a civilised retreat in the heart of the city.

Above: behind the Brewers' guildhall are these vines. :-)
Below: Not part of the tour exactly, but - this is how the square mile of London used to have over 500 city churches - this is one surviving example! They disappeared as the city became more and more industrial and less residential. (fewer churchgoers)

Above: the pretty sunken garden in front of Lloyds Bank head office. They have about a dozen blue tit (birds) nesting in the birdhouses built into the garden walls.
Below: On the site of Greyfriars church, these pillars of climbing roses and vines mark where the church columns once were.

After the tour we got back home, packed, and headed north to Archway for the Revel. Peregrine ran a great workshop on leatherworking, Jen did some hemming, Steve chatted and socialised. At about 6pm everyone set up the tables for dining, put out the food and got changed into various historically inspired ensembles. Generally had a pleasant evening. Jen played the lap harp as background noise during dinner, then offered to all present, to have a play at their leisure. There was plenty of dancing, and actually the dinner spread was very tasty and varied.
On the downside, Jen came down with a headache which showed signs of turning into a migraine, and we left a little earlier than we'd have liked.

Sun 14 Jun 2009
Enjoying the weather - it actually feels like Brisvegas on a nice spring day!
Loads of laundry, dish washing and such-like today. An easy, relaxing Sunday.
Next weekend we'll be heading off to separate events. Jen will be at Summer Coronation in Sweden, and Steve will be helping Kiriel run a gourmet wedding feast in Geneva!

03 June 2009

May 2009 b

Tue 19 May 2009
Steve picked up the car from the mechanic. Turns out the hand brake had been somehow "sticky" and caused damage to the rear brakes, and caused these to overheat and damage the bearings as well. Thankfully our mechanic does great work and doesn't charge anywhere near as much as others do.
Tonight Steve and Soph went and watched some friends sing/play/perform live to raise money for a charity.

Fri 22 May 2009
After work: HOORAY for long weekends! And the weather all weekend- basically sunny and pleasant. Yay!

Sat 23 May 2009
Jen picked up a package from the local post depot, and unwrapped... a lap harp! It was ordered in January. The workmanship isn't great, but what do you expect for £150? The sound is perfectly acceptable though.

We went to the Natural History Museum and wandered through a third of it for the whole afternoon. Estimate we'll need a further two days to do the rest of the Museum.

Sun 24 May 2009
Spent these next two days home (long weekend) as Steve was under the weather, and Jen had design work to do for Stanzi (in Lochac).

Wed 27 May 2009
Jen had her "1 to 1" (end of financial year) pay review today and was convincing enough to earn a tidy pay rise. Hoorah.

Thu 28 May 2009
My word! The weather has been FABULOUS! Reminding us very much of Brisvegas.

Sat 30 May 2009
Jen went fabric shopping, and then did some design work all day for Stanzi (in Lochac).
Here's a nice little double portrait of Gabs n Stanzi, which will be appearing on the AoA awards during the next 6 months.

Steve went to work today. Boo hiss! Got home and flaked out. After dinner we watched the DVD Hellboy II.

Sun 31 May 2009
Today Jen went to B&Q (DIY supplies warehouse) and bought varnish and a large tub of PVA glue. In the loft Jen varnished all the major timbers - they're now a lovely golden wood colour. With the PVA, diluted with water and painted on to the brickwork. Discovered this is like brushing teeth - trying to get into the nooks and crannies of the mortar and rough bricks. The PVA is a preparatory treatment (reccomended by the dude at the shop) good for not being bad for our health, and good for sealing our extremely flaky bricks and mortar.

This afternoon Steve ably assisted Jen for an hour long photoshoot of Jen's work's residents (work is a big "social landlord") while the sun was shining. :-)

The next day, Jen's thighs are aching from the obstacle course of varnishing those diagonal beams in the loft for 3 hours.