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.......

16 March 2012

Mar 2012a

Fri 17 Feb 2012
There's been lots of little street improvement works going on around the Olympic site now that the main stadia are completed. For instance the main Stratford traffic circuit is now having these massive steel "tree" sculptures put in place, which, when finished, will have huge abstract cymbals suspended on them. (see photo at right)

This evening Jen dropped Steve off at our local City airport, and he arrived in Edinburgh, for the SCA Coronet event. 

Sat 18 Feb 2012
Steve put his new carvery skills to good use in the kitchen, and during the tourney he was acting Seneschal (since Deb's usually seneschal but was being a consort in the tourney). Everyone endured "horizontal sleet and snow". Because the heating on-site didn't work, Steve slept in sub zero temp's for two nights in a row. When asked why Jen wasn't there, he said her honest answer is "because it's too F***ing cold!"  
Robert and Geneveive received their viscounties, yay!
The winners of today's tournament were our buddies Deb and Clancy, who're now the new Prince and Princess. Hurrah! So, now Steve is the new group Seneschal for 6 months - boo hiss.   :-P

Ironically, after Steve came home to London, he gave Jen the nasty cold that she'd hoped to avoid having not attended the so-called 'freezing wasteland' event.

Wed 22 Feb 2012
Tonight our pals Bridget and Marcus came to stay and see the sights of London over the next 4-5 days. Bridget's a Scotland-born Canadian, with her German husband Marcus, and together they're quite the lovely couple. Bridget shares a love of medieval and renaissance scribal arts with Jen.

Sat 25 Feb 2012
Here we are (at right) with Bridget and Marcus, viewing the British Library's special exhibition on the Royal Manuscripts. They really were just too too many of these amazing books to look at in one session. A very worthwhile experience. 

Mon 27 Feb 2012
Last night we said our goodbyes to Bridget and Marcus, as they'd be leaving to return back to their home in Germany this afternoon.
Also, this morning, Jen got up super early and hopped on a Eurostar train and day-tripped to Brussells (as one does when one lives in London). She took this one day off work just to see whatever genuine renaissance portative organs the MIM might have.

The MIM is the Musical Instrument Museum, housing well over 9,000 musical instruments across about 5 floors, and only about 20% of their collection is ever on display at any one time!  
Below: the view from across the street from the MIM.

Above: The Musicual Insturment Museum, Brussells.

So Jen had a special behind the scenes appointment to photograph the portative she'd seen in a book (which said dated to 1608). After several questions via an interpreter, and the staff phoning up a retired curator who'd studied this instrument, it turns out the decorative ivory plaque on the front which says 1608 and all the internals of the instrument actually date to the 19th century. The keyboard on this thing looked to be the only authentic part! Dratt it!

While there however, she decided to look about at some of the other keyboards, which apparently have a double layer of vellum cut and stuck to the front ends of the ivory-topped keys - funky! Some still have a little of the reds and blues they were also painted with.

It seemed that various other organs at the MIM, were also deceptive. Another one had "1632" written across the front of it but apparently dated to the late 18th century. This beauty above is full of fakery as the pipe screen across the front of it is purely for show since the internals mean its a reed organ not a pipe organ. *Sigh*

Thu 01 Mar 2012
This afternoon Jen and a work colleague visited an artists' consultation event a 15 minute walk from home. Meanwhile, Steve caught a train after work up to Deb and Clancy's. The next day Steve and Clancy went to Belfast for a long weekend of SCA fighter practice / training.

Fri 02 Mar 2012
Jen took today off work to recover from the nasty head-cold Steve gave her! And also enjoy a long weekend of leisurely spring cleaning and get a good start on doing some artwork. She's hoping to start publishing some classic / old-style greetings cards -- so watch this space. Meanhwile, in Ireland, Steve and Clancy drive about looking at tourist stuff such as:
Dunluce Castle....

... the Giant's Causeway....

and the Bushmills Distillery....

Mon 05 Mar 2012
Steve's home, big hurrah!!!

Wed 07 Mar 2012
Tonight after work, Steve and his boss picked up a huge Mirror that Jen bought on ebay (for only a third the retail price). pictured at right. This did mean Steve missed out on hanging out with a East Kingdom duke visiting the local fighter practice - but Steve got so many brownie points he didn't care. (plus his armour was still in Cambridge anyway).

Fri 09 Mar 2012
After work we finally did some travelling together, and got the train up to Lancaster to hang out with Richard and Lena, as well as Deb and Clancy, and Melisende. 
This weekend involved giving some arty scribal tips to Lena, and the boys having some biff on the side. Steve cooked up a tasty venison dinner. We also saw the 'John Carter' film, which turned out to be better than expected (the expectations were low to begin with).
Unfortunately, although Jen took some photos, she had a brain-fart and accidentally deleted all the photos on her camera and swore a lot about this!

Tue 13 Mar 2012
Gavin is one of Steve's squires, who lives in Cork, Ireland. Angela, who is Gavin's irish wife and mother of his baby boy, is in town and met up with us for lunch. Very good to catch up!  

Thu 15 Mar 2012
This morning we were surprised to discover outside --- a proper traditional London FOG!!!
It had all burned off and become a lovely sunny day by about 11am.

Tonight, as payment for Steve's boss (Paul) driving to collect the mirror (since it wouldn't even remotely fit inside our little Porsche, boohoo) so Jen's agreed to do the design for Paul's wife's new tattoo she wants to get done.
And speaking of Porchse sized things, Vitus is going to get Steve a Porsche sized shield. What this means in plain English is, Steve'll get a little bucklar shield which will actually fit in the car, unlike his current shield which only fits in the passenger seat. So now he won't have choose between travelling with armour or the wife!

Fri 16 Mar 2012
Hurrah for the weekend! A good time for more DIY and spring cleaning. (and buying ebay stuff!). On an aside, our Aussie friend of old, Finnian, should be relocating to bonny England as of this coming Tuesday - tres cool.