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.......

26 September 2011

Sep 2011 b

Thu 22 Sep 2011
After work we had a super quick early dinner then headed off to the airport. After some travel delays we were very lucky to catch our plane and were picked up in Nuremberg by our wonderful hosts Mark and Kathryn (aka Cadogan and Eufemia).

Fri 23 Sep 2011
This afternoon Mark took to the local castle to have a wander about...

Jen had packed and brought with us a lederhosen costume for Steve (gotta love ebay) and this afternoon Kathryn took Jen shopping to buy herself a Dirndl - the traditional dress to wear at Oktoberfest. Kathryn loaned her a blouse and necklace, so the look was complete! For dinner we caught up with a mutual friend Thorvaldr, enjoying hearty traditional Bavarian food. The evening was spent drinking and playing pool until very late.

Sat 24 Sep 2011
Our wondrous hosts had organised train tickets, and after two hours listening to cheering/chanting Italians (pumped up for Oktoberfest), we arrived in Munich!
From a Brissie perspective, Oktoberfest is like Ekka's sideshow alley on 'roids, but with loads of drinking, and dressing in costumes. It's mind boggling to realise all these enormous buildings and rides are all only temporary!

Above: This huge statue (a rare permanent feature, as is the building behind it), apparently looks over and protects the Oktoberfest fairground, which is empty most of the year.

Below: Some examples of the amazing and outrageous rides and amusements....

Amazing that this is all just temporary - even this huge waterfall, above.
The mouse circus was very cute - although essentially
a very large cabinet of a couple o' hundred mice running
around, climbing things, on the treadmill, etc.
Above: We went on this traditional very old rollercoaster ride which is mainly powered by gravity. Jen thought for a few seconds we'd seriously jetison off the tracks and die, but thankfully nothing like that happened.

Below: We did also go on this Original 1920's merry-go-round style ride complete with brass band (see the band in the photo). Here is a very short video showing the fun on the 1920's merry-go-round. Check out the cogs making this thing rotate: 

At the end of the day, Steve ticked off his list of things to get done at Oktoberfest: gingerbread acquired, sausage eaten, and fresh local brew downed. 

Nice wood carvings; nice costumes.

Sun 25 Sep 2011
And for our last day we had a lazy morning.
Steve cooked eggs benedict again for our hosts (for the 2nd day running). In the afternoon we enjoyed a visit to Nuremberg. 

We had an alfresco lunch (alfresco - not something we get to do much in rainy London) with Steve enjoying the locally made sausages, sauerkraut and brew. After lunch, Mark and Kathryn led us to the famous Durer's House, located opposite the city wall. The house is where Durer spent his later years and died. The interiors have been redecorated to a style reminiscent of how it might once have looked during Durer's time. 

Above: Durer's Haus
A simple water tap - no plumbing required  (removable sink)

Above: view from Durer's workshop, Nuremberg

Above: Next, our hosts led us up and around the castle walls with stunning views over the city.
Above: Now that's what I call a door! Nuremberg Castle's final gate.

Below: We wandered back down to the main square and onward home again.

Thanks to Mark and Kathryn for playing host for us!

17 September 2011

Sep 2011 a

Fri 02 Sep 2011
After work Steve was a trooper and got scrubbing to clean the rear decking.

Sat 03 Sep 2011
Steve continued his legendary scrubbing away at the back decking. Jen worked on the narrow walkway bit, using the little hand-held brush - ending up with large broken blisters on two knuckles. But the cleaning's all done now, yay us!

Wed 07 Sep 2011
So tonight Kiriel arrived and is staying with us, hurrah!

Thu 08 Sep 2011
After work, Steve picked up the hire car, since our own car is having reliability issues. Later in the afternoon, we helped Kiriel get a replacement for a laptop she'd bought earlier that day, as this one was faulty. Then onward to dinner at Frankie and Benny's.

Above: new couple Finn + Mary

Fri 09 Sep 2011
Up stupid-early this morning, and off to the nearby Billingsgate Market. This fish market has been going in London since 1327!  So we bought 2 x 3kg Salmon, then headed toward Chippenham where Edith and John's wedding would be taking place tomorrow. We handed over the fish, and the alcohol we had picked up at John's aunty's place on the way. Kiriel and Steve got to work helping out with wedding food preparations.
As agreed, Jen had 100m of bunting passed her way, as well as a couple of large rolls of blue gauze, and was set loose on making a very basic Village Hall look like a nice place to get married.
After some debate about table layout, Jen and helpers (such as Mary) got stuck in setting up the hall. We hid the noticeboards behind fabric, created a central isle for "walking down the aisle", hid the kitchen serving hatch, and added a central focus with swags of the bunting and gauze.
After the day's hard work, we all sat to dinner in the nearby pub with the bride and groom, who were happy to shout us all a drink.

Sat 10 Sep 2011
Kiriel showed us how to create and add nice gauze bows to the candelabras. She also suggested we fold the serviettes into decorative shapes since we had a couple of hours spare before guests would arrive... now that the hall was all nicely set up and ready to go. Various people pitched in throughout the day, with the food preparations. 

Above L-R: Steve, Kiriel, Paul and Soph - staunch workers all.
The groom had arrived 2 hours before Wedding Time, for a sound-check, then disappeared off-site to make himself presentable. Finally, running just a few minutes late, the Bride arrived!

And the rest of the day's festivities appeared to go ahead without a hitch. In the evening, the place was well and truly rocking, a very energetic party. The two of us were pretty exhausted and skipped off "home" (to Mary's place) early, at about 10.30pm.  


Above: John sang for his bride.

Our new hall table
Sun 11 Sep 2011
After a lovely breakfast of omelettes cooked up by Finnian, we packed our new 2nd-hand table into the back of the car, (thanks to Richard and Lena for picking it up for us, in the 1st place) then the two of us collected Kiriel from her B&B, and rendezvoused with Finn and Mary (and others) in Avebury. It was sunny but super-windy, as the remains of a hurricane headed toward the UK.  

Above: Kiriel at Avebury
Thu 15 Sep 2011
Steve's 44th birthday! Jen booked him a Carving course (food carvery, that is) which he'll attend late in November. After work we met up and saw the BP portrait prize at the National Portrait Gallery. Then we scoffed down succulent lamb kebabs at Leicester Square.

Above: the birthday boy!
Above: Jen let her hair down after it'd been scrunched up all day

Fri 16 Sep 2011
After work, Jen got busy putting the first coat on the remainder on the rear decking. The next morning she put a complete second coat on the whole lot. Job done and protected just in time for autumn and winter - the forecast is for a week or more of constant rain from tomorrow onwards. Boo hiss.

03 September 2011

Aug 2011 b

Sat 06 Aug 2011
Back home and relaxing after our 10 year wedding anniversary week in France.

Mon 08 Aug 2011
About 10 minutes before the rioting kicked off in Hackney (London), Steve went past 11 riot vehicles, enroute home from work. Jen's workplace closed early today after reports of the local Stratford shopping centre closing. We both got home safe & sound, although Steve did strategically place "sporting equipment" about the house in case he needed to use it on any possible intruders.

Tue 09 Aug 2011
Jen sent home early from work again, due to possible rioting. Actually, where she works in Stratford is extremely close to where the building works for the Olympics is taking place - so there's a very strong police presence in the area, no trouble broke out here. Steve was also sent home early, but no trouble near his work either.

Thu 11 Aug 2011
It finally seems the authorities have managed to halt the civil unrest and looting in London. So now things are basically business as usual.

Sat 13 Aug 2011

Shopping online trying to find somethings for us to wear to Oktoberfest...

Sun 14 Aug 2011
Today is Jen's birthday, and what she really really wants is to have a DIY problem finally fixed. The trellis has been broken for so long now, and finally we've spent a few hours together and fixed it.
Oh and Jen says thanks to everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes.

Fri 19 Aug 2011
So we both have the day off work, and we got up early and Steve drove us to Raglan Castle in Wales. Stayed at nearby hotel. Hooray for showers!
Steve run the Pas d'Armes early morning at the same time Jen ran a costume class. Steve fought throughout the castle in the afternoon in numerous scenarios, and thoroughly enjoyed himself.
SCA campsite at Raglan Castle, Wales

Steve looking his finest in his best armour pieces
SCA combat on the bridge
SCA fighters relaxing during court

Guillet pulls a face whilst faking a broken leg.
Actually he had injured his knee during the fort assault.
Relaxing with friends in the evening by the fire.

Sat 20 Aug 2011
Today was the big Coronet tournament, which Robert and Genevieve won and were invested as Prince and Princess in the late afternoon. Way to go guys!
Here's our youtube video of the Coronet Tournament:
In the afternoon, Steve finally got to fight with all the other trainees and fighters from the local Thamesreach group, in the "Oxford Rolls" tourney. Pick-ups later with Elffin were loads of fun for Alaric.
After court, Steve took on a new squire, Alex of Derlington, in a short ceremony on the bridge.
Alex of Derlington, new squire of House Bangor
Arnod and Sorscha - what a cute couple.
Spectators watching the tourney.
Floris and Robert (seated) between bouts
Ozbeg talking with Signy and Elffin
The consorts with the Princess during the Tournament's Final (best of 3)....
The victors proclaimed - Genevieve and Robert.
Mary and Elffin chatting after the tourney
Elffin, Racaire and others enjoying Alaric's
cooking from "Vesuvius" his craticula.
Robert and Genevieve being invested as
Prince and Princess of Insulae Draconis
The new Royals
Sun 21 Aug 2011
This morning, to celebrate 20 years since first authorising as a heavy fighter, Steve held the bridge against all comers for two hours.

Yep, Alaric's still holding the bridge
Alaric and Guillet pose on the bridge, Raglan Castle.
SCA combat in the Fountain Courtyard
After helping to pack down Deb and Clancy's tent (thanks guys for your stirling hospitality over the weekend), we headed off to pick up our latest ebay purchase, a stonky great sideboard from Mary's place; and then bedside tables from Elffin on the way home. Enjoyed a pleasant backyard dinner with Elffin, Signy, Tina and Deb & Clancy.
The sideboard, with dolphin motif carvings....

Thu 25 Aug 2011
Apples growing in the backyard!

So tonight we went and saw the new Conan movie. Jen was Not impressed - the old Arnie movies were better, and that's saying something!

Fri 26 Aug 2011
Tonight Jen farewelled colleague Lucy who's off to make a nice leap in her career and pay scale. Glad for her, but sad to see her go.

Sat 27 Aug 2011
Hurrah! Another long weekend - love it!