Monday, 28 July 2008

I didn't do, it was the butler.

This weekend I was at Skipton castle in Yorkshire involved in 15th Century murder mystery at the request of my friend Samantha, I played the Chaplin. We were all given our parts Saturday morning mine basically said a local good honest well educated man, make sure nobody is wrongly accused look after Skipton's townsfolk, the castle staff, and your noble relatives that are visiting their former home. So I basically protected the weak, speaking up for them as the Lord William Stanley the most high ranking noble present tried to beat the truth out of them and find the murderer, I also offered advice and having helped Lord Stanley's wife in the past I did a bit of investigation on her behalf. On Sunday I discovered I was the murderer so my survival instinct had me running around trying make sure everyone else got in trouble, I spent a lot of time with Lord Stanley and his wife suggesting various culprits, telling a little lies, so by the time of the reveal I had everyone confused and no body in our group or the public had got anywhere near suspecting me as the murderer, so only the plot writer Sam new who-don-it.

The site itself was full of insects being next to river and trees, so I got bitten several times as usual, Sam also got bitten. We also had a noise problem, that of being on hill in our tent level with the bell tower of church, it was is quite deafening once they started ringing at 8am Sunday morning, yes I was awake but not that awake. I joined in the groups authentic medieval food, that's authentic discounting fighting for the ketchup bacon and sausages at breakfast. I can't remember what I ate, ginger bread, cherries in wine, various pies and vegetables in strange sauces, lots of cheese melting in the sun, all very nice apart from wind the following morning, I was not the only one something we all ate had created a symphony of flatulence.

Unlike LRP you don't get to finish until the public leave at 6pm at which point you get out of costume as quickly as possible, run to the small shop as it closes and buy a ice cream to cool down after being steamed in the humid heat.
I was glad my character was not noble at least I could wear a straw hat and get away without woolen hose because of the long robe I was wearing, being a Chaplin I also avoided weapons demonstrations and bill drill, but them cobbles did the bottom of my feet no good.

Doing the odd reenactment reminds how much I miss people in the buckingham's group and how fun a murder mystery can be, especially if your the murderer or the plot writer, but it also reminds me its a long boring day if your not and I as wasn't Saturday, with nothing to do at night once the public have left bar a bit bow practise, chat and drink, the pain of packing and putting up, taking down group kit, queuing for food and trying to avoid a mountain of thirty odd peoples washing up.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Medieval kit

I just been sorting out my 15th C medieval kit having not worn it for over two years, last year I did Tudor a totally different set of kit with me dressing as Henry VIII with my ducks feet shoes, although mostly I do LRP (Live Action Roleplay) nowadays.

Most of my 15th C kit was easily found but I could not find any shoe's and I have 3 pairs, and an hour after starting looking I eventually found them all buried in box below pile of fabric offcuts inside a chest, below another heavy chest, I must have thought when I packed them away I would not need them again.

Anyway looking at the items I was getting ready I realised how different my Medieval kit was to my LRP kit, some obvious difference, weapons are metal, knives are sharp, you don't have elastic waist bands, but some not so. For instance the quill pen in my LRP kit would be feather complete with plumage, but in my medieval kit the same pen has been stripped so its just the shaft, the practical bit, in fact the medieval quill pen looks far more like a modern pen, where the larp pen fulfils the fantasy of quill pen and keeps the plumage so you know its feather.
(picture of kit I'm getting ready below - click on image for larger picture)

Medieval kit tries its hardest to copy authentic designs, fabrics and colours, where LRP as no need, so practicality wins the day. I may wear garments made of wool for both hobbies since wool is tough breathing water repellent practical and good looking fabric, but footwear is always a pain, in LRP I can wear practical walking boots with cushioned soles, none slip rubber tread, in my medieval kit I will be wearing leather boots or shoes with no heal or grip on grass and not much on other surfaces or with hob nails which give you grip on grass, but are decidedly dangerous on the stone floors of a castle, not only that the 5mm of leather between me and the hard ground will mean my feet will ache very quickly and the stone stairs will feel jarring without a heal.

I will soon be at Skipton Castle playing two parts in Medieval Murder mystery, a merchant and a Chaplin in plot written by Sam.
Unlike larp the hobby is aimed not so much at entertaining yourself but entertaining the public since the Castle pay you to turn up, sometimes its a fight or battle, sometime living history, for murder mysteries the public are encourage to guess the murderer and why.

(Picture below of Sam taking part in a murder mystery I wrote for Mulchaney Abbey, which worked a treat and me as a Monk at the same event)

Sunday, 20 July 2008

A berry weekend.

Saturday morning at the supermarket I spied and punnet of 'whoops' cheap gusgogs (Gooseberries) and bought them, not something I normally buy but when I lived with my parents they had about 10 thorny gusgog bushes that me and brothers raided before they were ripe and I grew to love the crunchy sourness. The punnet I bought were nicely ripened and mostly sweet so I consumed them very quickly.

Later that day I went to friends for dinner and desert consisted of creme brulee with the biggest cultivated blackberries I had ever seen, again I was used to taste of wild picked blackberries that have a lovely sour taste and enough fruity flesh for a small fly at best, these blackberries were two bites big and well nice, moreish and blackberry flavoured as well, I think I've been missing out ignoring them on the supermarket shelves.

Just to top off my berry weekend I also raided my mothers rasberry canes when I visited Sunday afternoon, they needed ice cream to go with them, which was found in my mothers fridge.

I didn't get any strawberries though.

Monday, 14 July 2008

Promise of rain

After packing the car in a thunderstorm which included forked lightning I was a little concerned about camping this weekend, this was then followed by a journey down where the rain bursts got so so bad people on the motorway slowed down to 20mph, however once past Birmingham the rain had mostly cleared and turned a lot lighter, and by the time the event finished it was sunny and bright having only drizzled once for few minutes Friday night.

We had a reasonable turn out and despite being eaten to death by midges in deep dark woods I was relatively unscathed, and while I seem to react badly to insect bites, I was not the only one to be bitten, Julie had her ears attacked and AndyL has a rash around his waist from something. I must remind myself to take some Antihistamines before the event, to stop my histamine making the bites swell and redden.

Another good event, a interesting plot with lots of possible solutions and outcomes, we had a few new players who made the sounds of people who may attend again, we also had our first fatality of the year, which I may be wrong but sounded like the result of player bravery crossing over into the realm of stupidity, but I wasn't there so like I say I may be wrong.

I was hoping my new car being more fuel efficient would save me money even though diesel is more expensive and it did, not quite as much as hoped, saving around ten pounds on the round trip against my old car, but the fuel bill for the trip overall is still significantly more than last year.

My new car is now run in having completed its 1st 500 miles, and I'm very happy with it although I was nearly involved in a accident with a motorbike on the way home, seeing a motorbike in the distance I did no appreciate he was trying break the light speed barrier so I pulled out on him, and as I straightened my car on the main road he was swerving past me, and in the blink of eye passed half a dozen other cars on the wrong side of the road on a blind bend.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Tea review

Updated tea review - 5/10 and better means I will buy it again

5/10 Cranberry & Pomegranate - I would put this in the same bracket Echinacea & Raspberry infusions a little too sweet, but OK
7/10 Cranberry and Sanguinello orange infusion: works for me a orange is the predominant flavour, perhaps a bit like warm orange squash, then again perhaps not.
5/10 Sweet Fennel - Liquorice flavour very mild and pleasant, meant to digestion
4/10 Lemon & lime with orange blossom infusion - Very citrusey, nicer I think than lemon tea
1/10 Pure Rooibos - All I can is yuck, only had one cup and I don't like it at all.
1/10 Gunpowder - A very strong pure green tea not to my tastes
6/10 Blackcurrant, Ginseng & Vanilla infusions : I scored this before but have made it higher since its grown on me.

I also found a Twinings blueberry and apple tea on the Internet, not seen any in the shops yet though.

See here for my earlier tea review

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

The Wushi Finger hold

I've been to see two films at the cinema this weekend and nearly went to see a third.

I went with Andy, Heather and children to see 'Kung Fu Panda' which was a lot of fun even if Andy did have to leave 20 minutes from the end suffering from naughty child syndrome. The film aimed at young kids made be laugh a lot which is good and since our next event is set in the Thunders it will no doubt involve someone doing the Wu-shi Finger Hold which the Po the hero.... (spoiler so can't say)

Also I went to see 'Hancock' which is sold by its trailers as being light hearted comedy, its not..well it tries to mix slap stick and vulgar comedy with a very serious side and they have failed to mix them sucessfuly for me, and I also can't see the funny side of serious nasty drunk which the character started out at. Sounding a bit negative about a film which was entertaining in way, but not on my recommended list, its promise and content left me unfulfilled much like the Jumpers a DVD I watched recently.

The film I missed going to was 'Wanted' based on a comic, Andy & Heather went to see it yesterday so I will wait to see what they thought before I attend, although we have the new 'Batman' and 'Hell boy' films coming up soon so it may get missed for one the them.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

A few days away

I've just been on 4 day health and safety course which is basically a overview of the laws and responsibilities of people in the workplace to scare you to death. It was heavy going and full of acronyms and stuff you have no hope of remembering, followed by a test which meant revising up in your hotel room. The test sent back to teacher head office for marking and then she hands out a project which you must complete within 2 weeks, so that's part of my weekend gone.

The course run at Telford was 12 of my fellow employees, of whom all but me and one other where managers, all put up by our company in swanky hotel, well swanky by my standards.

I think I may have put on a stone with food since I had a big bowl of chopped melon and strawberries followed by toast, and full English breakfast, we then had a 3 course evening meals every night which meant I had to try all the posh deserts Pear brulee with raspberries and red currents, White chocolate fondant and Amaretto ice cream, mixture of 3 home made ice creams and cheese board the size of car wheel. Just to round my belly off, we had a ten pound a night wine and beer allowance, enough snacks and sandwiches at lunch for 30 people and tubs of sweets on each of the tables in the lecture room.

What I want to know is why they changed the bar of soap I used every morning for totally new one when I had barely used it, why one tap turned anticlockwise and the other clockwise and why you needed a degree in pipework to operate the shower controls.