Wednesday, December 31, 2008

16 Days of Christmas - 12th Day

(the 16 days refer to my long holiday leave)

On the 12th day of Christmas,
my chores list sent to me...
Nothing to do today
Except to celebrate the New Year

I've been thinking about resolutions.....but with me it's a bit difficult. I have given up smoking, drinking (mostly), biting my nails, gambling - there's nothing left to give up!

Oh, I do need to lose weight and start cycling again - once I have the hoped-for all-clear from the hospital.

So, perhaps I need to add to my life......but how......?

I could, to quote my re-enactment friend Master Simon Atford, '...spend a good chunk of 2009 pretending it's 1370.' Now that sounds like a superb resolution!


Tuesday, December 30, 2008

16 Days of Christmas - 11th Day

(the 16 days refer to my long holiday leave)

On the 11th day of Christmas,
my chores list sent to me...
Some repairs to my tent,
Using an old pair of shoes!

Well, as I had the tent out anyway and MB is away at his parents, it seemed a perfect opportunity to have a crack at repairing the small tears and holes in the canvas. It has had a mouse hole in the roof for ages, so that was my first try, and a couple of the door ties had frayed through. I found an old pair of canvas shoes that could be cannibalised for patches. As Naomi points out (below) it is a big tent and sewing it was handful and a half. But here is my patched mouse hole.

Not too bad for someone who is still not brilliant at sewing. Now that with new waterproofing should mean my tentmate Kate should be able to sleep without her raincoat next season...

And, of course, lay anything out on our floor and it becomes an instant playground for certain people......

Also, I am working my way through my Christmas present DVDs - so far today I have watched Forbidden Kingdom (ooh, fun!), Amazing Grace (marvellous film of a true story) and Demolition Man (one of my all-time faves!). I also got Equilibrium, which I will watch another time. I also got music (Katie Melua, Seal and the Hoosiers) and books (Alan Bennett, Dawn French, some cat stories and Life in a Medieval City).

Tomorrow cyberkitten, bionicdwarf and sleepypete and me are off to see Twilight at the cinema - nothing like a vampire movie for Christmas!! :-)


Monday, December 29, 2008

The 16 Days of Christmas - 10th Day

(the 16 days refer to my long holiday leave)

On the 10th day of Christmas,
my chores list sent to me...
A cold sunny day to air my tent
And a warm empty house to dry it!

As regular readers of this blog will know I am a medieval re-enactor. It's an addiction and today I got out my tent to check its condition and see what repairs are needed. I was relieved to see its condition hadn't deteriorated during the time it has been stored in the shed and the repair tally stands at one mouse hole to be darned and three broken door ties to be repaired. I must also fashion leather flanges for the poles to stop the rain coming in!
Today I emailed two local firms to see if they could clean and reproof the tent at a reasonable price. At least a dirty tent looks authentic!

This picture of the trial by combat shows the size of the tent - big isn't it? It sleeps three of us women with room to spare and even medieval women have a lot of 'stuff'!

It also provides a playground for mischevious felines :-)

Update: I spent the last hour watching a programme on the 15 century Gutenberg printing press and reading the 14 century Forme of Cury (first ever cookery book!) - definitely a medieval re-enactor!!


Sunday, December 28, 2008

16 Days of Christmas - 9th Day

(the 16 days refer to my long holiday leave)

On the 9th day of Christmas,
my chores list sent to me...
A trip to the supermarket.

Today is the Crazie Christmas - a day when the whole gang get together for the evening. I still pinch myself to remind me that I actually have a gang! We're a strange but loveable bunch of humans.

We all even have internet personas - Craziequeen, Aginoth, Mrs Aginoth, Cyberkitten, SleepyPete, Bionic Dwarf, RCA and KatGirl. Even the children have nicknames; Master Aginoth (aka Jnr), LMB and LMD.

Anyway, today's message is a British Christmas tradition. The comedians are, sadly, no longer with us, but the treasures they left us are priceless :-)

Thank you to Eric Morecambe and Ernie Wise - you are legends and we still love you.


Saturday, December 27, 2008

16 Days of Christmas - 8th Day

(the 16 days refer to my long holiday leave)

On the 8th day of Christmas,
my chores list sent to me...
some items to return to the store.

I was going to post something sparkling and very funny today, but as I was logging on I had the news on the TV in the background and I saw this story...

I sat with my jaw dropped as the news replayed the 911 phone call from a distraught woman, who had just seen an eight year old girl shot in the face by 'Santa' (her own father) and then 8 more members of her family shot or burned to death.

OK, so I know we're all used to seeing bad news at Christmas, life and death doesn't stop for the holiday season, and we have the usual battles around the globe but somehow, this news makes the celebrations seem hollow and the lights on my tree are a little dimmer now.

So no jokes today. Good luck and prayers to the survivors of the ultimate betrayal.


Friday, December 26, 2008

16 Days of Christmas - 7th Day

(the 16 days refer to my extended holiday leave - to rest my knee and nurse my depression)

I don't like the Christmas hoopla, which is why MB and I lock ourselves away for a couple of days. I don't do big family do's and I don't do parties - except the Crazies; but they are special, like me :-)

Christmas was weird this year, I started the day in tears and pretty much ended it in tears. I was inconsolable and have been periodically weeping through the last couple of days.
So, today I am tired. I am very grateful for my wonderful gifts but I am very tired.

My picture today is William, discovering the delights of wrapping paper!

Oh, and there is video too - after I hastily grabbed my mobile phone!

More tomorrow, dear readers.


ps - for those of you who have followed the trials of my tree, it stayed up and decorated this year - although William is deadset on chewing the lights.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

16 Days of Christmas - 6th Day

Merry Christmas to everyone!!

from all at the Palace :-)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

16 Days of Christmas - 5th Day

(the 16 days refer to the long break I have taken to rest my knee and nurse my current depression)

On the fifth day of Christmas
My chores list sent to me..
A tree to decorate.

Pretty picture - ok, obviously not the real thing.
This is our tree and decorating a small tree is not a challenge...

In this house - KEEPING a tree decorated is the challenge! Actually, just keeping the tree erect is a challenge.

Here's to Charlie not wrecking the tree this year - and that new boy William is not a destroyer of Christmas trees.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

16 Days of Christmas - 4th Day

(The 16 days are the long holiday I have given myself to rest my knee and get over my increasing depression)

On the fourth day of Christmas,
my chores list sent to me...
changing the bed linen.

This is the bedspread I bought for a song in Victoria, BC earlier this year, pretty isn't it?

Thought for today; as I visit your blogs and spend time on Facebook and see everyone turning their lives upside down for the huge get-togethers being planned for Christmas I feel the spirit through you all. For all of you opening your homes and spreading the love to your families and friends, I offer you a simple wish - Have a Wombling Merry Christmas!

Wombles are pointy-nosed furry creatures that live in burrows, where they help the environment by collecting and recycling rubbish in useful and ingenious ways. Their motto is 'Make Good Use of Bad Rubbish'. This "green" message was a reflection of the ecology movement of the 1970s. Although Wombles live in every country in the world, the stories focus on the life of the burrow in Wimbledon Common in London, England.

As a child in the seventies, I believed in Wombles - much like a child believing in Santa. When life is hard a child will cling to any good thing they see. My hero was Orinoco, singing the lead, and I also adored Wellington (cap and spectacles) because he reminded me of me a little bit.

Every Christmas I dig out the old Christmas pop songs and sit in reverie, feeling the joy and energy they infused into their audience, or sing along with gusto not felt for years. YouTube is an added bonus as I can watch the old footage and revisit old 'friends'.


Monday, December 22, 2008

16 Days of Christmas - 3rd Day

On the third day of Christmas,
my chores list sent to me....
a trip to the supermarket.

And what a challenge that was! After two days of rest I was surprised to find my knee is still very weak and painful - which meant I still needed crutches for long periods. We went to the big supermarket thinking we could get everything in one go - and found that a lot of the stuff wasn't available in the big store, so MB has now trucked off with another list to the little store to get the leftovers.

Anyway, to today's subject - Bojangles. Nope, not the singer, the dog :-) And he is in charge of guarding the gifts...........

This is our first Christmas without the much adored Pandora, who went to the Rainbow Bridge in March after sharing our lives for 18yrs. Bojangles was the stuffed dog which she adopted and slept with every day as she grew older.Pandora (Pandy to her friends) enjoyed Christmas; the long days with Mum and Dad staying at home and making a fuss of her. Turkey trimmings, toys and snuggles made Christmas her favourite time of the year - sometimes she took things a little far!This is her waiting for Christmas breakfast - I think she fancied bacon and eggs! We have our hooligans this year, Charlie and William, but we still miss our grande dame Pandora.

(NetChick is hosting the 'Holiday Meet and Greet' this week, so if you have five minutes this holiday season pop on over and say hello - you never know who you'll meet!)


Sunday, December 21, 2008

16 Days of Christmas

On the second day of Christmas,
My chores list gave to me...
laundry to dry and shirts to iron.

It's Sunday and a day of rest. MB has vacuumed and I will be doing the ironing while watching my soap opera - which will, no doubt, be building to the ludicrous annual Christmas drama/tragedy. We have strung up all our Christmas cards and the presents are piled in the corner. The cards for our immediate neighbours are ready for thrusting through their letterboxes.

Recently I had a lovely evening out with my darling Bobkat and we went to see Inkheart. The credit crunch was reflected in the half-empty restaurant (normally full to bursting the week run-up to Christmas) and the almost empty cinema screen. Bad luck to those who decided to save their money for another bottle of wine or the latest computer craze - Inkheart was wonderful! The story was cleverly crafted and the characters were magically brought to life by some inspired acting - best performances were Helen Mirren and Andy Serkis, but the whole film was stolen by the maturing genius that is Paul Bettany!


Saturday, December 20, 2008

16 Days of Christmas

On the first day of Christmas,
my chores list gave to me...
one, two, three, four loads of laundry.

Day One of my magnificent two week break over Christmas. It is eating up all my holiday time, but will be worth it in the end. Obviously, I have stuff to do - Christmas food shopping, put the tree up (every day if Charlie lives up to his reputation), cleaning, cooking etc - but I am ordering my body and brain to slow down............

Lots of rest, junk TV, Christmas food, Christmas Day with MB and the Crazie Kittehs, the Crazie Christmas Party, some time alone with mah kittehs - and lots of time to rest my knee and get over the endless stream of colds and flu. And imagine my delight at getting a modest parcel all the way from the beautiful Hollywood Hills and our magical friend Naomi :-) It will be placed under the tree for the Day. (Other modest parcels will be distributed)


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Not Enjoying This Life

Some days you wonder if there is any point....?

Today I was nearly hit by a double decker bus while crossing a zebra crossing. I looked before stepping out, saw a decent gap in traffic, and as I got about a 1/4 way across I heard squealing tyres and looked up to see a bus about ten feet from me - brakes on hard, burning rubber. There was someone standing by the driver, so he was obviously chatting and not paying attention.
I feel sick.
I had my MRIs on my knee yesterday and the only clue the nurse gave me was that it was 'very swollen' - nah, you think?????
Now it's a waiting game until end of January, unless my orthopaedic chappie takes sympathy on me.
Update - the staff would not tell me if there was anything on the MRI or not - they refused to give out information and just said the MRIs would be sent to the originator. I have had several people (including the nurse at the MRI) tell me of torn ligaments and cartilage not diagnosed for months.
I am not a happy blogger.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ready for Christmas? er - no...!

So - how are things at the Palace....?

I have an appointment for an MRI scan on Tuesday - hopefully that'll be the step in the right direction to sort my knee out. Currently I am hearing all sorts of horror stories about people who it took months or years to diagnose torn ligaments/cartilage. I'm hoping this won't be me!
I can tentatively totter about the house, but anything more ambitious than that still requires crutches - and after two months I have just worn out my first pair!

I have had my second bout of flu in 6 weeks - which resulted in a touch of bronchitis. So I have been rather poorly lately and felt quite sorry for myself what with temperature and sickness and crutches!

I have managed some gentle Christmas shopping, and started wrapping gifts. I am meeting Bobkat on Monday for an evening out and her gifts are all ready to go. Follow the link in bold, go visit, say hello - she'll love the company!
My parents' gifts are almost ready, except the online orders. I just need to get the rest of MB's gift and I'm set.

The Christmas decorations are down from the loft, but we're not decorating just yet. It'll be a disaster with the hooligan cats we currently have; Charlie is infamous for wrecking the tree every year and William attacks everything. We will decorate, but are leaving it til Christmas Week.

I am tired. I am unhappy. I am disillusioned. I am worn out from being 'cheerful' at work and not letting people see how desperately low I really am.
This weekend I intend to chill with some movies - between doing the laundry, cooking and housework, of course!

Update - no movies today, MB has discovered a M*A*S*H Day on Paramount TV, so it's Hawkeye and Radar all the way...!
2nd update - the great Michele has retired from blogging! No more Meet and Greet!
3rd update - And just when things are at their darkest I find out the Meet & Greet is being continued by NetChick, a blogging legend - an excellent way to spend the weekend!


Thursday, November 27, 2008

Medieval Banquet

Master Caunsfield (my friend Matt) has given permission for me to use his photos here, so you can all see a cool medieval banquet...

We all came together one by one in a local parish hall in a small Somerset village. We laid tables, hung flags and then got into kit...

Once the candles were lit and the lights went off, it magically transformed into a medieval banqueting hall...

The villeins (filthy peasants!) waiting for their dinner - our Lord Hungerford is a kind, magnanimous lord...inviting the general villeinage.....

The other end of the class structure - the table laid ready for Lord Hungerford and his guests...

who included his son, Thomas Hungerford the Younger and Lord Berkeley (in red)...

The banquet is an opportunity to petition for training as a Knight - such as the potential Lord Burley here (aka John)

It's a time to promote villeins to yeoman (to offer them their freedom) such as my friend 'Maud'...

and my 'husband' Billy Brambles...

Mrs Aginoth gained promotion to Retainer (step up from Yeoman) and gained the keys to her own domicile....

Much was made of the fact that Lord Hungerford promoted Mrs Aginoth before Aginoth - so she technically outranks him...(she got to keep the keys to the new home!)..

After the ceremonies and the banquet proper, things some cases a little too much! This is my other 'husband' spark out after a few brews while his friends bury him in bread....


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Bad to Worse - with some Good thrown in...

Hi diminished readery,

I know, I'm a bad blogger but my trick knee and trials with the hospital, not to mention still working, is making me sink deeper into my depression.

I finally got hold of Hospital Two to find they haven't even had my referral letter from Hospital One, so I offered to fax my copy to them.
I couldn't get them again for another two days when they cheerfully told me the letter was useless without the referral 'form' which would have been attached to their copy of the letter - if they had had it!
So now I have to go back to Hospital One to get them to fax a copy of the whole paperwork to Hospital Two before the radiologist will even look at my case. But Hospital One only takes phone calls between 10am and 12 midday - which is my busiest time of day!

The words 'who is running the asylum?' spring to mind.....

Is there any good news? Well, I am still working, with an occasional working from home day to rest my leg. This week has been exhausting with two days teaching - which meant being on my feet for most of them.
Day One was basic training, with 30 staff being trained to use defibrillators in the workplace and to perform basic life support (CPR).
Day Two was a skills day for qualified First Aiders with a lecture on Anaphylaxis, Asthma, Diabetes and Epilepsy (the hidden conditions), a forum for them to talk, and an afternoon of playing with bandages and CPR dummies.
Both went well and I got good feedback from the participants.

And tonight I leave all my troubles (if not my crutches) behind and toddle off to the Company of Chvalry Banquet. It's officially the last event of the year and a biggie this year to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Company! :-)
[packs camera]


Sunday, November 16, 2008

My Week

What a week!

I am still discovering things I can and can't do on crutches.

Still no word from the hospital - I will be phoning them tomorrow to tell them it's been three weeks without any information.

This week I hosted the planned Road Safety Day at work with the Ministry of Defence Police. They brought speed cameras, breathalysers, number plate recognition system and even sniffer dogs. My stall was of the information type, with dozens of leaflets and posters for staff to take away.
Best bit of the day was when the drug dog decided my crutch was a threat and bit it, taking the end of the handle in his mouth while I had my arm in it. Me and the handler struggled to open the dog's jaws then I took my arm out and passed over the crutch (with dog attached) to the handler. He lifted the crutch, with dog attached, and continued to try and get the dog to let go with the rest of the officers screaming with laughter and the visitors giggling and chuckling. Finally the dog relinquished his deathgrip and I got my crutch back - and a legend of the workplace was born........amazing how quickly news travels on that site!

Yesterday I got restless and hobbled off to catch a bus to the local shopping mall to start my Christmas shopping. A big step for someone who needs help with grocery shopping!
I managed to buy my mother's present sneaking into the queue in front of an understanding woman. The Mall was heaving - mostly with people who didn't look where they were going.
While there I decided to have lunch as I wasn't going to be cooking dinner, so I decided to treat myself to a pizza. Pizza Hut was heaving - literally! Customers were queued down the stairs. I hobbled in from the elevator and begged a chair to sit down while waiting for my 'table for one'. They treated me very well finding me chair to wait, even putting me on a table for four all to myself. When I saw a little table come free I suggested I move - to make room for a bigger group. Another solo woman turned up and we agreed to share a two-person table, and it turned out we were both of the 'read while we eat' type so a pleasant peaceful lunch was had by both. I was pleased to see my big table went to a frazzled mum and two small kids - gratifying!
And, because I forwent my big table for the little one, I got a superb deal on my lunch!! Good old Pizza Hut! :-)

More later - laundry beckons.....


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Never Forget

They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

'Sorry' 'Thank You'

The word I have used the most over the last three weeks is 'Sorry'...

'Sorry' because it takes a while to negotiate the unfriendly steps on the bus...
'Sorry' in shops as I try to stow stuff in my rucksack and pay and stop my crutches falling to the floor....
'Sorry' everywhere as I attempt to negotiate swing doors...
'Sorry' as I struggle to get in the car as whoever is volunteering to drive me waits patiently....
'Sorry' as I try to shop solo and fail miserably....
'Sorry' as other staff at work help me to move things, set up stuff or pack it away....
'Sorry' as I had to deliver a presentation sitting down...

The second most used words in the last three weeks have been 'Thank you'...

In Marks and Spencers today I found out how difficult it really is to buy one pair of jeans and one pair of slippers - normally a task that takes about five minutes.
Slippers - easy; little hook thing to carry them with in one hand with crutches.
Jeans - not easy; I struggled to check sizes with crutches as I would have to take them off to look towards the the back. I found a couple of possibles and then realised I couldn't carry them, the slippers and use the crutches all at the same time. As I detached the hangers caught in the adjusters on my crutches for the second time a woman staff member passed by and I grabbed her 'I don't suppose you could help me, could you?'
She carried my stuff to the fitting rooms, got my room (the disabled one with the grab bars), took my stuff in and left me to it.
When I came out I grabbed another passing female who then carried my stuff to the desk and sorted it all out for me.
When I arrived at the till with my chosen jeans thrown over one shoulder, slippers and an impulse purchase top, the original lady helper was on the till and she came out to help with 'all' the stuff, and even packed them into the smallest possible bag for me. Total time - 1 hour.

What I have found as a person with a temporary disability is that the current disability law seems to have confused people.
On the one hand they don't help - because, after all, I should be treated equally like anyone else, even though I am armed with two extra metal legs and no spare hands, and I find that means ignoring me.
On the other hand - they offer help with some measure of guilt, thinking perhaps they are patronising me....
PLEASE help....or at least offer....


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Big Bad World

It's a big bad world out there - here..........this may help.....


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

My Week, My Day

Today is my birthday...

Happy burfday to me
Happy burfday to me
Happy burfday to cq
Happy burfday to me....

I have the day off work - I make it a point never to work on my birthday! I had a modest pile of parcels and envelopes to open in bed this morning which was nice :-)
On Friday all the Crazies are getting together - even Katgirl and RCA are coming up from London to help celebrate a threeway birthday; me sleepypete and bionicdwarf. Should be a good night!

I got a copy of the hospital letter to the next hospital in the chain. The physio's suggested diagnoses are torn anterior cruciate ligament or meniscal tear - but I am still thinking torn cartilage. I met a woman last week who had had all the same symptoms and pain and she had a torn cartilage. Now we wait for an appointment for the MRI scan.

Meanwhile, I spread my currently clipped wings on Sunday and went out to watch my Company of Chivalry re-enactment friends take part in our annual archery competition.
I braved my car and swore every time I changed gear - which involved flexing my bad knee!
It was worth it to see the guys and gals - even though they teased me unmercifully about my temporary disability, which was only to be expected :-)
I had a wonderful afternoon out and enjoyed every minute - except the driving!

Work is going all right, I am getting about ok thanks to the crutches given to me by Southmead Hospital. I'm not driving (see above!), and the local bus service is getting my commuter business at the moment.
But I do work at home the occasional day when my knee is bad - like yesterday, after my exploits on Sunday!


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Big Day

Today I'm off to one of my least favourite places in the entire world -I hate hospitals - I hate the smells and the sounds. I hate being dependent, half naked and exposed. I hate being asked where it hurts and 'what kind of pain is it?'.

But today I have to go and get my knee checked out. It's called a clinical assessment and treatment dept and will carry out all the required tests to, hopefully, diagnose my injury and put me on the road to recovery.

To add to the stress, MB has left for Scotland this morning. He usually comes to hospital with me when I need to go. We have both had hospital stays and we know how horrible it is.

I've filled out my attendance questionnaire. We joke about the NHS, but I worried about the question 'What do YOU think is wrong?' - I couldn't help thinking that perhaps that was their job....

More later

Update: well, I have been poked and prodded and the answer is 'we don't know'. There are some clues that lead to femoral nerve damage and/or the cruciate ligaments being pulled. The physio said that pain is a really bad measurement, and the swollen knee is a giveaway there is a problem.

So, now it's a letter to the hospital and a waiting list - of 5-6 weeks for an orthopaedic appointment. And keep on with the crutches and painkillers.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Clockin' On....

Long time no what have I been up to?

Work - well, d'uh! I've been teaching (and learning) and doing the day to day grind. My teaching is still popular and going from strength to strength.

My two year anniversary of stopping smoking has passed and, even with the odd brief temptation, I have not broken my vow.

Struggling with my usual autumn depression.....same old, same old...

I had a bout of the flu, there's a nasty bug going around at the moment. Cyberkitten got it too - not from me, I hasten to add! I blame public transport - all those unhealthy people coughing and sneezing on the bus! Ended up in bed with a temperature and a cough that would shatter glass.

And for the last week and a half I have had a new fashion accessory.....
I hurt my knee at Pembroke (see here) and it was still not healing properly two months later so I went to the doctor and asked for some advice. His advice was exercise and we agreed some nice low impact cardio-vascular swimming would be a good start.
A week later I was back in his surgery with my knee twice the size and four times the pain and the doc admitted maybe exercise was not the best option......
X-rays have shown nothing but there is still pain and swelling so it's off to the hospital for a scan this week - and I have powerful pain-killers and crutches to take the strain off the damaged knee.


Friday, September 19, 2008

Blog Block

Sorry guys, I have Blog Block - just checking in and checking out again...........
Bear with me while I sort my head out.

If you want to leave your mark, sign my guest book (comment) and leave a meaningful sentence.....

Meanwhile: Look what I saw today - this is the coolest flight of the bumblebee ever! Nick Lachey rules!


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Does Your Mother Know...?

So, where was I tonight?

Celebrating Bobkat's birthday - a little late 'cos she's been soooo sick lately...... :-(

We went for a meal and a film - and LOVED this bit........

Christine Baranski ROCKS :-)

And young Philip Michael isn't too shabby either...... [wink]


Thursday, September 04, 2008

Heartbreaking Addiction

My new addiction is causing me heartbreak.....

When I took up re-enactment in August 2006, at the constant exhortations of my dear Aginoth and Mrs Aginoth, my first event was a stunningly sunny warm weekend at the deliciously romantic Caerphilly Castle.

One weekend roaming around in a long dress and barefeet and I was hooked.
The next event was at the end of season event at Caldicot Castle and I had a bad case of the norovirus, and some people felt I had been put off by throwing up every ten minutes in a field.....
But in January 2007, I tipped up for the Focus meeting, went to the markets and stocked up on reproduction medieval kit.
At the beginning of last year's season, while watching the activities around me, I thought that hammering coins looked simple and interesting, so I learned to do that.
I came home and routed through the internet, finding out about 14C coins and their production.
From then on I was the Company Moneyer, hammering coins every other weekend in the Summer, come rain or shine.
Well, more rain than shine........Last year was the now infamous flooding of Berkeley Castle on the biggest event weekend of the year.
But we soldiered on. At the end of the season I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome due to the hammering, and spent Christmas in a wrist brace.

At the 2008 Focus Meeting early this year I volunteered to be Membership Officer, which meant I was on the Company Council. I inherited the old Company tent and plans were made to share it with two other women of the same age.
It was decided that hammering was difficult for me, due to an elbow injury and so I spent this year training my new apprentice and picking up the spiel for the spinner/dyer.
I took up a part in the Crime and Punishment show, which was a blast, and the 'marital violence' inflamed my old knee injury.
And the weather..........oh, the weather this year has been Easter it snowed and froze at the formerly delicious Caerphilly and it rained at some point at almost every event. It even lashed it down in Italy - where it was 40 and sunny last year! Evening fires were few and far between. We either spent our days and evenings inside halls or huddled under the market tent, talking to the members of public who braved the weather.
Even on the weekend of our dear friends' wedding, a magical medieval wedding, it rained about 2 inches and turned the field into a quagmire.

And the final nail in the coffin - we heard today that our last event of the season has been cancelled due to flooding.......echoes of Berkeley Castle!
So, given the terrible weather, the leaky old tent, the carpal tunnel syndrome, the sore elbow, the painful knee, the suffering suspension in my car from lugging heavy 14C kit around the area, the constant smell of mildew -
why am I still doing this?
Why am I planning to learn basket weaving to use next year?
Why am I an active part of getting an off-season skills event together?
Why am I sewing a new dress for the Company Banquet?
Why am I already looking forward to next Spring and the new season?
And why am I so inexplicably depressed (reduced to tears to be honest) at the cancellation of this weekend's event?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hugs is good...

I am a firm believer in hugs. I have lots of people to hug me and I value every single one I am lucky enough to receive.
As an aside, with bad stuff in my past, I prefer to initiate the first hug but once someone is huggable in my estimation they are welcome to hug me anytime.
Amongst the people that 'give good hug' are:
MB - who has always enveloped me in a safe and caring hug, shielding me from the mad bad world.
Bobkat - she was the first woman in many years I have voluntarily hugged and she gives loving hugs.
cyberkitten - like MB, his hugs are a safety zone.
sleepypete - as my pseudo-adopted son, Pete's hugs are like that of a loving son.

Most everyone in the Company of Chivalry are hugging people. Some are perfunctory; a brief show of affection, some are fun and energetic; a result of an irrepressible nature, and some are just perfect.
Our Sergeant at Arms - being a big chap is an enveloping hugger, one of the people whose arms I just walk into.
My 'husband' Brambles - another big man who gives comforting hugs.
George (Brambles' real life wife) - another woman who gives warm loving hugs.
My friend and 'apprentice' 'Maud' - we enjoy sisterly hugs.
Lord Hungerford Jnr ('Maud's' real life son) - we have perfected the three-way hug; him, his mum and his 'auntie cq'.
Kate - my best girlfriend in the company; I can just walk into her motherly arms.
My friend Matt - little brother hugs; starting off comforting and safe, ending in a chest-crushing bear hug.
Finally, when things are quiet and I am in bed with my book, I get the best hugs of all - my big nervous floofy cat Charlie burrows in beside me and hugs me for as long as he can.


Saturday, August 23, 2008

Off again...

This weekend I am back off to the 14 century, in Caerphilly Castle. We like Caerphilly Castle, it's good to stay in, nice washroom facilities and a big Great Hall for if (when!) it rains.This weekend is a big deal in two ways, it's the 20th anniversary of the Company of Chivalry, the birthday of one of the longest serving members - and my second anniversary with the Company.

It's funny to think the Aginoths [particularly Mr A] spent five years persuading me to take part, telling me I'd love it.
I hate how well my friend knows me......... :-)
[Mrs Aginoth and LMD talking to the public]

I have been asked in the below post comments which century I prefer.

Well, our approximation of the 14C is probably my favourite place. Given the small luxuries we have sneaked in from the 21C (bathrooms, sleeping bags, airbeds - coffee [out of hours, of course!]) I have grown to love the 14C. The time I spend with the Company has given me a whole new set of friends, people I love and admire. It is a place where I can let go of many of the issues I drag around with me during my normal life. Although Ugly Monster has managed to creep in occasionally, being with the Company is somewhere he is not normally found. I sleep better, I eat better, I laugh more. I am less ego-centric and I am more outgoing. I have learnt new stuff and it is (I hope) making me a better person. I admit, occasionally I curse my long dresses, am infuriated with the tent and feel sad in the rain, but I look forward so much to it each week.I'm so glad to be going back under canvas this weekend, but it is tinged with sadness that the season is nearly over, only two more events to go. Then it will all go quiet over the Winter, allowing for the Banquet, meeting up for market days and the Company meeting in the New Year, until Battle Practice and the new season kicks off next Spring.