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 February 2010

Feb 2010 b

Wed 17 Feb 2010
After work, collected Ekaterina (who we met on our Iceland tour) from local Stratford tube station, and brought her home. Also arriving at our place were Duncan and Helen - NZ friends we've know for the better part of 2 decades, who now are living near Edinburgh. In the evening Ekaterina, Duncan and Steve went to fighter practice and looked over Ekaterina's armour for safety, in the lead up to her taking part in the coming weekend's tournament.

Fri 19 Feb 2010
Steve went to work, Jen hopped in the car and rendezvoused at the bulk-buy supermarket with the event cooks for this weekend and we loaded up our car (completely) with food to feed 150 people for a whole weekend. Took this to site in Epping Forest (north London) then drove home, picked up our 3 guests and their armour / stuff, quickly packed our stuff and headed back to site. More unloading. Meanwhile Steve got a ride with a colleague, dropped off at site and helped out with setting up the list field and prepared his kitchen for the Saturday breakfast. Eventually we were all settled in, unpacked and in garb. Alaric ran through the Q&A part of the authorisation process for Ekaterina. We held a short, final court as Viceroy and Vicereine, and then spent the rest of the night chatting and meeting & greeting.

Sat 20 Feb 2010
This morning, Steve got up at 6:15am to start on cooking breakfast, with help from Duncan, Helen and Ozbeg. Afterward, Steve did the authorisation fights for Ekaterina, so she was OK to officially enter the tournament.
Finally the day for the first Coronet tournament was here, and the official presentation of the competing couples, kicked off only about 15 minutes after schedule. The weather couldn't had been more perfectly arranged as there wer rare blue skies aplenty and the sun was even warming on the face!

The tournament was well fought, and the final was between two knights - Vitus (of our local group) and William (Sir Liam, from Edinburgh), with Liam winning the day. Here are some photos from the day...

A photo by Melisende:

Above, a photo of cunning local wildlife, by Arianwen.
Below: the royals watching the tournament, by Aylwin.

In the afternoon, after we'd stepped aside for the heirs apparent, Jen drove home for a final run on collecting the remaining regalia stuff and brought that all to site, while Steve got some pick-up fights and training in. After a shower, we caught up with each other just in time to attend an early afternoon Court, and see the investiture of William and Æringunnr as first Prince and Princess. We were pleased to be awarded court Baronies, and thanks to Deb n Clancy for lending us their baronial coronells for the evening.
Steve served and carved for high table for the duration of feast, while Jen got giggly on Smirnoff Ice.

Sun 21 Feb 2010
Steve got out of bed again at 6:15am, to cook breakfast with his crew again.
Jen packed our stuff, then after breakfast did 3 runs to the local tube station, so that's 11 people and their stuff taken off-site.
Steve helped out with kitchen clean up, then hall set down and clean up, then car packing once Jen's taxi runs were done (after 11am).
Finally, after some creative packing, we and our guests and all our stuff were finally home in time for a late lunch. After lunch, tea, biscuits, and a couple of hours of chatting, Steve dropped off Helen and Duncan at the local airport.

Left: Here's a massive bruise Steve got from Stefan from Basingstoke - Ouch! 

Here are some other First Coronet photos:
photos by Aylwin:
photos by Arianwen:

Mon 22 Feb 2010
While we were at work, Ekaterina did some final touristy stuff in town, and once Steve got home he dropped her at the local train station to make her way back home to Iceland.

Tue 23 Feb 2010
It snowed again today. Chucked it down for a good 15 mintues or so!

Wed 24 Feb 2010
Momentary panic - couldn't find our passports, but finally they surfaced .... Sitting in a pile with our Australia Day decorations in a neat pile under the bed - what a stupic place to have left them. Just relieved now!
After fighter practice, our friends Vicki and Peter (from NZ) came over and started their stay with us.

Thu 25 Feb 2010

This evening we finally caught up Matt and Helen, who put us up when we first came to the UK, nearly 4 years ago now. We have a wonderful meal at St John's on St John's Street. Jen had pigeon, and the others shared a shoulder of venison which defeated them - too much yummy food!

Fri 26 Feb 2010
Today Jen made an appointment to have our UK ancestry Visas extended - the appointment id just after Easter - hopefully it will go smoothly.

Sat 27 Feb 2010
We took Vicki and Peter with us, picked up Dan and Elizabeth, and drove up to the Living History Faire near Coventry. 

Loads of interesting things to buy, and here's the loot we came home with: bunny fur, long red gloves for Jen, recipes and fudge for Steve, new spoons, and a silver point and pen knife for Jen.

Sun 28 Feb 2010
This morning Steve cooked eggs Benedict for everyone (but pancakes for Jen) then dropped off Vicki and Peter off at Stratford tube station.
The weather has been so cold and miserable lately - we're both stuffed up with head colds!

14 February 2010

Feb 2010 a

Mon 01 Feb 2010
Tonight when Jen got home, her fingers smell like oil paint and thinners. After work, she got started on the portrait painting module at the local art centre. This will go for about 8-10 weeks and then finally Monday nights will be freed up for other things.

Thu 04 Feb 2010
We went to the Kinetica Art Fair tonight – well worth taking a sticky beak.
Here are the better photos we took...
Below: the glass gives away the 3D mirage created by the etched sheet (set on rotation).


Above: Jen's favourite at the show. The speed this thing danced at was phenomenal and the colour combinations mesmerising.

Really cool 3D "hurricane" created by lasers.

Above: This was simply fibre-optics, with invidiually placed beads set to create the figures within. These human figures were actually quite subtle at first - the photos really bring 'em up sharp.

Below: little screens with half a butterfly, and occasionally flapping its wing(s). Fun to watch.

Here’s promo on the Kinetica Fair - a nicely put together video segment:

Fri 05 Feb 2010
Steve had the day off work and enjoyed a relax morning until Jen came home at 1pm (she had a half day off) and we got a 10 minute taxi to the local London City Airport. We queued for 30 seconds, queued through security for about 4 minutes, and waited in the lounge a minute later, began waiting for when our gate would be announced. Gads we love our little local airport yay!

We flew up to Edinburgh for the weekend. Deb n Clancy picked us up at Edinburgh airport (they'd driven from the Cambridge area) and had a relaxing dinner with them. The hotel we all stayed at was only 5 mintues from the airport, and the event site only 10 minutes from there. All in all amazingly convenient!

OK okay - this must be the indicator of too much travel - when it is the time taken to get to and from places that is the most immediate thing to complain about!  *sigh*

Sat 06 Feb 2010
Here are some of the photos from Dance Moot, in Edinburgh. 

Left: Live music from Gaita (thanks again guys!) 

Right: friends we've not seen for awhile Duncan and Helen.


Mon 08 Feb 2010
Jen goes back to the oil painting again. This module is about portraiture. First part, take two portraits and swap the backgrounds, painting them using similar brush techniques. Jen has chosen portraits by Klimt and Manet for this. Here are the works still in progress.....

Wed 10 Feb 2010
Jen stayed back at work, to take photos of guests enjoying themselves for the latest gallery opening event in the reception/gallery area at work (commencing at 6pm). But at 5:20 the fire alarm went off! How ironic right at this time it was snowing .. heavily! So we all evacuated the building and out into the heavy snow. 

Thankfully the event wasn't too affected by any of this, except there was a lingering burnt toast smell hanging about the place.

Fri 12 Feb 2010
Steve grabbed a quick crumbed sausage after work, at a greasy food shop before heading to the pub for a drinking session with his workmates. Big mistake. Not very well, that sausage must have been a bit old or at least dodgy!

Sat 13 Feb 2010
Steve not well this morning, and spends the day at home taking it easy. Jen sticks with the plan and drives up to Cambridge to help Deb and Agatha with some last minute costuming. Next weekend loads of SCA people will be wearing their very best, as it will be the region's "unveiling" as a principality with a first ever Prince and Princess, as the heads of the region. The region in question being all of the UK, and Ireland and Iceland too. Very exciting and loads of preparation going into the event.

Sun 14 Feb 2010
Valentine's day. Steve gives Jen a hand made card with lots of gushy lovely words in it.
This afternoon we'll go see the film Avatar in 3D at the O2 (millenium dome) with Edith.


12 February 2010

Jan 2010

Thu 31 Dec 2009
We flew in to Dublin, were picked up by Hilde and arrived in the heart of Ireland to stay at an SCA sharehouse owned / occupied by Sigmundr, Sagadis and Etienne. Sigmundr is a genuine published novelist, but the three of them gain more from Etienne's jewellery expertise and they all work toward this business. Jen couldn't keep her eyes open to make it to midnight (yet again) but Steve thoroughly enjoyed the revelry into the small hours.

Fri 01 Jan 2010
New Years' Day, and its a glorious but literally freezing day. The garden wading pool is completely frozen over and strong enough to take a man's weight. The children walk about on the ice in the fountain. Here's the late rising sun over the frost - that is one heck of a serious frost!

And here is the lovely grand Georgian homestead we're staying in. 

Our hosts arranged for this weekend to be an SCA event as well. They have a permanently set up spare hall laying about for events! And a couple of other buildings for offices / horse stables and such-like. When these three aren't working on the business they're doggedly working on renovations across the property.... or restoring classic Jaguars, or exercising the horses, or tending the hundreds of herbs in the garden, or....

Sat 02 Jan 2010
So today Jen spent as much time indoors as possible, and Steve got into armour and got physical with the locals. Here's a shot by Jen (indoors) of the courtyard (outside, the white bits are frost yes it is dang cold!) The building you can see here, has a games and art area upstairs.

At right: Steve keeping warm with Cernac.

Below: The hall was heated. L-R: Steve, Hilde, Cernac, Sigmundr.  

Later on the feast was here in this hall.... loads of tasty dishes served up... unexpectedly Etienne came into the hall clothed as Death, and entertainingly harassed various unsuspecting folk. His scythe was made of kitchen foil and many jokes were swapped back and forth about its floppiness. Perhaps this inspired us all, and the evening degenerated into bawdy songs and fanciful tales.

Sun 03 Jan 2010
We squeezed the last out of the event, consulting with Etienne as our seneschal, and Jen taught him a couple of things about painting with fine gouache. Alas we left and headed back home to a new mountain of unpacking and laundry.

Mon 04 Jan 2010
Snow makes east London look so clean!
Loads of sporadic snowy days across the next fortnight or so......
This photo taken 6th (Wednesday morning)

Thu 07 Jan 2010
After work we picked up Judith and Gerhardt from Heathrow and brought them home.

Fri 08 Jan 2010
Had a leisurely breakfast together - Steve cooked eggs benny, and hopped in the car, drove toward Bournemouth (about 2-3 hour journey). Loads of very beautiful 2 to 3 inch thick blankets of snow everywhere. We did stop in to see the Mary Rose on the way but it was closed due to the snow. Darn it.

Sat 09 Jan 2010
So Judith and Gerhardt 'stepped down' from being King and Queen, and Fiona and Thorvaldr stepped up.  Our friend Mary is elevated to Pelican (very well deserved award), and Cernac was made a Laurel.

 Above: Steve speaks about Mary's virtues during her elevation / ceremony.Raphe took this photo, and the next also. This photo at right is as Judith is created a Lady of the Rose after her reign as Queen.

Next photo below is by Theodric, and is of Judith and Gerhardt as a newly made Duke and Countess. It was really lovely to see our pointy hats worn elegantly by our friends (borrowed for the night). Alaric's ermine also looked fab on Gerhardt!

Sun 10 Jan 2010
Unfortunately Jen left the camera and her watch at site, and wished it would have turned up during unpacking but it was not so.  On the way home we indulged our guests and drove to Bodiam Castle. It was closed, but we were allowed to wander about the grounds. This was really fun and very beautiful. It's the deepest snow we've ever seen - half way up the calves! Very very beautiful snow, darn not having the camera to hand!

Mon 11 Jan 2010
Our guests made their own way to the airport today while we were at work.
This week we watched loads of original series Star Trek episodes. Thanks to Sophie for getting us the DVD sets for Xmas.

Tue 12 Jan 2010
The London snow has turned to slush and black ice, and is now almost all gone. But its still stoopidly cold. Three jackets, beenie, scarf and gloves.... but the legs feel cold in the wind.

Wed 13 Jan 2010
Jen wakes to find she is very light sensitive, so back to bed. Steve cooks her a nice dinner - what a sweetie.

Thu 14 Jan 2010
Hooray for our missing camera (and Jen's watch) being declared found in the lost n found from the weekend. The bad news, it subsequently gets put into a safe place by the rescuers, who eventually do find these items but only after turning their flat upside-down (and returned at last in February).

Sat 16 Jan 2010
Today we both went to work. In the evening we had Edith come around and enjoy takeaway with us, and watched a DVD.

Wed 20 Jan 2010
Jen wakes up to strange heart palpitations! Its been more and more frequent over the past year, but today was insistent enough that she was worried. Gets blood tests and ECG at the hospital. The results 2 weeks later are normal, and the doctor doesn't need to see her. Since this day, hasn't been as bad, so hoping it will just continue diminishing. Taking it easy in the meanwhile.

Sat 23 Jan 2010
Today was the annual SCA London event, held in a little 14th century London city church called St Ethelburga's. Here is a nice photo taken by Theodric, a pic of us holding court as Viceroy and Vicereine.

Sun 24 Jan 2010
Scooped out itty bitty bits of glass from the car. Thieves smashed the passenger front window and raided the glovebox. Wasn't anything worth stealing, but the inconvenience (and unnecessary expenditure) of replacing the window was infuriating!

Sat 30 Jan 2010
A belated Aussie Day party. Us and about 10 guests watched "The Castle" a true Aussie classic. Everyone tried Vegemite, mint slice, Anzac biccies, Tim Tams and lamingtons. (but Jen passed on the Vegemite).