Sunday, 31 August 2008

Chatsworth Picnic

This Saturday I invited Julie and Dave up to Derbyshire to have a day out at Chatsworth Country Fair, something I've been to several times before and always enjoyed, a good place to shop for some of the things you don't normally see.

The forecast was for a muggy but dry day, but even so its Britain so I packed my rain coat just in case, I also suggested we all take walking boots since with the rain over last month it had the potential to be muddy, however no mud, and reasonable amount of sun enough to leave my hat less bald head sun burnt.

The fair is quite big and if you went to see all the activities in all the corners of the fair you would need more than a day, we arrived late morning and left just before it got dark about 7.30pm with a picnic in between back at the car.

Julie bought a few Christmas presents, and so did I from the more crafty gift stalls, plus some nice bags, Dave bought some nuts and liquorice.

We looked around vintage vehicles, stopped to watch ferret racing, amateur retriever trial for dogs and also the dog agility relay photographs below, but didn't stop to watch many of the other activities such as the pony and trap dressage my friend sisters usually enters, or go have a go with black powder rifles.

Shopping was fun, Julie says she's never seen so much tweed, the fair is definitely aimed at the country activities with capital C, you can buy camouflaged hides for bird watching or pigeon shooting, wet weather gear for fishing in a typhoon, leather hats and wax jackets by the lorry load, their were several taxidermist stalls selling stuffed animals, the walking stick guild, and numerous stand selling walking sticks, I won't go on hopefully you get the picture.

We finished the day by spreading the picnic blanket out and watching the hot air balloons try to get out of the valley, at least half of these struggled to gain height for whatever reason one hitting a tree, and several coming down in the fields full of cars we were parked in, the burners went on full blast to ensure they found clear spot, luckily the car park in early evening was not that full, just a few like us staying until the traffic leaving had dropped off, some having barbeque's.

We talk about what looked like a folly a moated platform it turns out after a looking online to be a garden feature called Queen Mary's Bower. This is raised garden is now associated with Mary Queen of Scots, who was said to have used the garden on top of the platform during her enforced visits to Chatsworth.

Dave bought us all fish and chips on the way home, although each fish could have fed fifty, we ate these at my house before a very tired looking Julie left around 10pm to drive home to Coventry.

Ferret Racing

Dog Agility


Balloons coming back down

Pretty photos of Balloons

Thursday, 28 August 2008

I went to see the Big Red

In my still tired state I went to see Hellboy II (The Golden Army) last night.

If you liked the 1st movie I would highly recommend it, by the director that did Pan’s Labyrinth and you can see his style in the elves and other assorted creatures. Some of the scenes also reminded me of the last Cthulhu table top role play game I played; actually they reminded me of it quite lot.

Hellboy is not a cerebral superhero movie like the latest Batman offering, more an action movie with lots one line humour, but saying that it’s a good story that is consistent and makes sense not totally relying on the action, or re-writing the previous like some follow ups do.

I enjoyed it and it kept me awake which is more than I feel now.

I also came home with 4 cakes from Debbie, and half price entry because of a ticket cock up.

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Week Long Rain

I'm just back from a weeklong of Ascendancy adventures that I enjoyed as much for the rest from works as the events themselves, normally I feel tired after a event but at this moment I'm feeling fine.

The weeklong started as it finished with rain, in fact out of 11 days I can only recall 2 totally dry days, most days had enough breaks in weather to allow things to be done despite the cloud cover which made it gloomy. The rain made things difficult to dry and every thing that returned home with me while not necessarily wet from the rain feels damp, the rain also seemed to bring out a large quantity slugs, the slugs manage to deform themselves through the lids of storage boxes into our food and made me throw half peeled banana on the floor from one slug surprise. The rain did provide a few advantage the noise on the tent drowned out the late night revellers, it probably kept a few insects at bay and I also have far less black dust up nose than usual, still would have preferred it drier.

Camping with Julie and Dave we ate well, and were suitably equipped for weather, we set up in our usual spot and managed to keep the food and gas bill below sixty quid each which was similar if not less than last year, the Storm Kettle unfortunately didn't get used much, but probably only cost us a couple of extra gas canister.

The event went well, It had some good moments, I will have fond memories of the Library encounters, the Smith/Goodfellow battle of wills, dancing to the most out tune, unrhythmical band I've ever heard, talking to Merlin, I do wish it I didn't feel so rushed at the time, being laughed at after revealing an embarrassing incident, the Frond ventriloquist act, the tavern journey.

I also worked with Julie on running some plot aimed at small group of players, for the most part it went well and I enjoyed playing the Prof. character, but getting our ref'ing pleasure unfortunately ruined our playing pleasure for the last weekend, however I'm hoping that if some of Andy's plans come off we may get to be involved in them, fingers crossed.

After a week of camping, I was really surprised how quiet home was, traffic is far quieter than cows with loud speakers, other wildlife and the sound of rain drumming on your tent.

This morning I collected Jasmine from the cattery who is obviously clinging to me, and following me around, my mother made me a cheese & potato pie and a blackberry and apple pie (3 cheers for mums) so apart from nipping to local shop for a loaf of bread I have not left the house, instead I've been loading up the washing machine, and providing a seat for Jasmine.

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Blueberry & Apple

Last weekend I was at Ascendancy, Saturday was wet and very dull which seem to make everyone rather tired and the event seemed to be over in flash. We were well kitted for camping since between me and Julie we have a fair amount of camping kit, nothing excessive like a Winibago just enough to make life very comfortable even when it rains a lot, saying that we did have 3 tents all capable of sleeping at least 5 people each and that was between the 2 of us.
On the way back we plotted for a future event since its something I enjoy and like to do a bit of here and there since without my Medieval murder mysteries, Strangehaven and running table top roleplay I don't get chance to use that side of my brain. I had several ideas but Julie came up with very good story to hang it all from, based on something from the past which I had forgotten.

Having got back home and unloaded in the early hours of Monday morning, by the time I reached work at 8am the same morning I was shattered, a few cups of tea kept me going and I was fine until about 3pm when suddenly I just couldn't think anymore my head was wanting to do nothing and my body had decided my legs no longer worked and refused to get up and make a drink.

The rest of week I have been putting together a few props during my spare time, which I can't show here since they may be seen by people who read this and play Ascendancy and that would spoil things.

Today I did go down Bournemouth way for a work meeting, the journey was mostly sunny until I hit Warwick on the way home when the rain bucketed it down slowing most of the traffic to 20mph or less although a few idiots did drive past quite a bit faster, I can't work out how they could see, so they must have been using the blind faith driving technique, although it technique did fail for a BMW driver just outside Coventry who hit a small hatchback in the rear and spun all over the road.

On one last note I have last found the Twinnings Apple and blueberry tea, it was nice but unfortunately tasted like many of the other berry varieties, the blueberries overpowering the apple which I hoped to taste.

Wednesday, 6 August 2008


Last night I went to see the latest Batman movie, the Dark Knight, it a bit of epic and a very good film, I got cramp from sitting in one place too long.
While the films punch is from its special effects it does not need them, it as a excellent script and is well acted, definitely one for the adults although I went with my friend Ste and his kid 11 year old plus his mate and they enjoyed although the ending had to be explained, why the good guy was the bad guy etc. etc.

Next week the lastest Hellboy movie, the trailer looked good, can't wait.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Looks good and mostly taste good.

Some picture of the Medieval food the Buckingham's Retinue produces at some their events.

A lot of work that goes into it is as you can see and it draws a audience all of its own, but don't ask me for the recipes I only ate it and it was good.

After reading about purple cauliflowers I was interested to learn form Buckingham's Retinue that carrots are only orange thanks to Dutch horticulturist, they used to be red or purple, although they have been it seems many colours including green and black, apparently Roman carrots where yellow or white and the Flemish introduced black carrots to Britain in the 14th Century, the original vegetable came from the Middle East Five thousand years ago and was grown for its medicinal leaves not it root, so there you go the brief history of the carrot, the original text is many pages long.