Monday, July 28, 2008

Weekend in 14C

I got off my miserable butt on Friday and piled my kit in my car, picked up my friend goodwife Maud of Keynsham and took the horseless cart to Caerphilly Castle in response to a call from My Lord Hungerford.

The company arrived at the Castle and tents were put up, cars hidden off site, fires were lit and alcohol was pulled out of bags.

Some thoughts about my weekend in the 14C......

I arrived very unhappy - got out of the car and walked straight into Goodwife Kate's arms for a hug.


Finally - a hot sunny good we were complaining it was too hot!

(Sergeant at Arms Little is grateful for the little shade afforded by his jaunty headgear!)

I learnt the hard way how to put up the tent......thank you Courtney!

The public were, mostly, nice and spent a lot of money at the coin die, where we hammer coins.

Now I am a Yeoman and I have two coin dies; a silver penny and a half groat. I also have two peasants to hammer coins - so I am a chief moneyer.

I finished sewing up my adjusted dress - nothing shrieks 'medieval' like a woman sitting on a stool sewing a dress.........There must be a million photos on the interweb of a middle-aged medieval woman sewing a dress....

The displays were well received and we fielded a lot of questions from the public.
(from the left; Mistress Beatrice in the kitchen, Goodwife Maud, Goodwife Quene (me), Goodwife Beryl and Goodwife Kate)

With the nice weather we were able to have our evening fires and come together as a company over a few beers.

I got to bicker, fight, argue and wrestle with my friend Master Caunsfield - we play well together! He doesn't hold back, but he doesn't hurt me. Nice lad.

(Master Matthew Caunsfied in Italy 2007)

Goodwife Kate and I had a laughathon last night - something kicked us off as we lay in bed and listened to the merriment still going on around the fire - and we screamed with laughter for a good twenty minutes. Master Caunsfield put his head through the door to see what was going on, which set us off again.

At one point I lay on my bed and looked at the roof of my tent - dreamy.....

I was so happy to see this and then I turned over and looked out of the door.........

Evocative or what?


[Additional photos from Dawn Davies - pictures added as they arrive...]

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Empty Vase

Regulars will know that I suffer from depression, and have struggled with it for over ten years now. I don't blog about this very often, and I don't talk about it very much - not wanting to bring others down.

I was a sombre child and my family have psychological issues. I was always quiet and easily victimised.
I don't remember most of my childhood - whether purposely or inadvertently blanked out.

My severe depression was triggered by surgery over a decade ago with very emotional overtones combined with finding out I could never have children.

It has resulted in terrible mood swings, from abject misery to total euphoria in minutes - and, sadly, the other way!
The drugs I am on have had an effect on my memory, causing me to forget all sorts of things, from dates/birthdays to words and names.
The depression has caused me to have eating issues - veering from compulsive eating to compulsively not eating. For ten years I have found it difficult to eat in front of others.

I have developed mild agoraphobia and a fear of being around strangers. Going out is usually a huge effort and I have often cancelled plans at the last minute because I just couldn't make myself go.

The uncertain summer this year has deepened my depression and I am aware that I am very miserable lately.
I do have moments of pleasure, although they are short and quickly forgotten.
I drift - losing myself for minutes at a time thinking of nothing very much. I have no memory of journeys I have driven.
I concentrate on functioning for eight hours a day to do my job and then collapse at home.

My insomnia is bad, and I am routinely awake and up at 4am, often waking as early as 1am.

I am constantly aware that, although I do sometimes have emotional storms, I am cold inside. I feel nothing, my body feels empty. I am an empty vase.


Thursday, July 17, 2008


Today we had a Very Important Visitor.

The Visitor had dedicated security staff to ensure no one got too close or touched it.

The Visitor sat in glory while the adoring masses gathered for a souvenir photo.

The Visitor helped us to raise hundreds of pounds for charity.

The Visitor was aloof and did not so much as make a sound.

The Visitor was unmoved by all the people desperate to be seen next to it.

Our Visitor was..........The Premiership Trophy - um, this thing......

To put it into perspective for my US readers - this is the British equivalent of the Super Bowl trophy.

I didn't get this excitement - it's just a cup.

The security man tried to explain the wonderfulness that is the Premiership Trophy - solid silver yadda yadda, solid malachite base blah blah....but it didn't make much impact on me.

On the plus side, there were enough football fans who wanted their photo taken with this piece of metal to raise hundreds of pounds for the Help for Heroes charity (see here).

So, I don't get the whole 'trophy' thing - but I do get the wonderful fundraising for our injured troops.


Friday, July 11, 2008

More Thoughts - Sundry and Otherwise

Lots of thinking lately.......nothing else to do with all the rain. The rotten weather we've had has led to lots of icky bugs going around and my depression has settled in again.
I'm sitting at home with my stuff piled up waiting to hear what is happening about Tewkesbury Medieval Festival - a challenge as it hasn't stopped raining pretty much for a week here.
We're all a bit upset as it would appear we are not going to be camping (an integral part of the experience) but are welcome during the day for the events.
My first Berkeley joust was cancelled due to the weather, and this is my first Tewkesbury Battle....not cancelled, but still - not the experience I was hoping for.
On the plus side, the sun is doing it's best to shine this morning - so perhaps the grounds will dry out enough by tonight for us to go for the weekend.
I did some training last week and came away with these brilliant quotes....
One individual was steadfastly checking his casualty, determined the condition and yelled 'Call the emergency sandwich!' and which point I shouted 'Stop! Call the what??' and we all collapsed with laughter.
Another student was giving the Resusci-Anne (the CPR manikin) rescue breaths and he said 'Reminds me of my first kiss!' his partner said 'Oh? Mine was breathing.....!'
And I was getting punch drunk after teaching the same thing all day to lots of pairings that, when the last pair were practising and one of them yelled 'Call me an ambulance!' I yelled back 'You're an ambulance!'......a momentary pause and we all shrieked with laughter.
I was told they love my teaching technique, lots of hands on, interaction and banter which facilitates the learning process.
My first big teaching event is next month - when I am running a full day of learning for thirty First Aiders. It'll include a forum for discussing current issues, a lecture on heart conditions and lots of practice on each other to warm up cold skills. I'm very nervous.
Update: The sun has already been beaten into submission by big black clouds.....oh dear....
Five minutes later: The sun is back.......
Seven minutes later: Nope, the clouds are taking the upper hand......
Eight minutes: The sun is not beaten yet....

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Sundry Thoughts

It's raining - again......another wet summer. Apparently this is global warming. I don't think much of it.

[update: this was filmed this morning.... gee look! More rain!]

[and still more rain - this afternoon.....]

I must be a moron. Not only do I get addicted to a pastime that involves one of my least favourite chores, sewing, but it's an outdoor pastime!

We haven't had an event for a few weeks now, and I am looking longingly at wooden stools, fleeces, knives and my jug.

Did I mention the rain?

When you manage a coffee shop and play music full volume, it's to be expected that your staff will get orders wrong and annoy customers. 'No! Not a latte, A-MER-I-CAN-O!'

Why does the cinema only have one coffee machine - when they have at least two of everything else?

Sod's Law states that cq will queue for ten minutes for a Fanta Freeze, only to be told when ordering that the machine is broken - so, no one can write 'Out of Order' on a piece of paper?

Sod's Law states that out of the four automated ticket machine cq will pick the one that eats cards - again, can no one write three little words?

It's still raining.....

William is settling in, although I am not overly won on him yet. He and Charlie love playing Thundering Herd of Elephants - especially on the bed at 4am.

[Naomi asked for a photo - so here he is.......]

MB says fondly that that's what cats do - he can afford to be fond.......I am the insomniac who gets up with the restless cats to keep them company while he sleeps on.

I am beginning to think cyberkitten is Sheldon's twin brother (Big Bang Theory).

Last week the phrase 'details on my blog' was said in one of UK's top soaps - Blogger has arrived!

My boss has approved my request to attend the City and Guilds 7303 training - the first step to a teaching qualification.

I have been told I have a good intructing technique - fun, but factual. Time will tell.


Friday, July 04, 2008

Yankee Doodle Day!

Happy Fourth July, America!