Wednesday, June 15, 2011

First Father's Day

I thought I had done grieving until the Father's Day stuff started to appear on the shelves. I had discovered, when going through my dad's stuff, that he had kept every Father's Day card I had sent him over the years.

So, what will I be doing on Father's Day?
Once I get back from our Fun Day event at Bishop Sutton, I will be heading here:
Why? Well, when I heard my dad was seriously ill I desperately needed to be alone, but not alone - if you see what I mean. So, for the first time, I nipped over to our local animal park to spend some time with the animals and walk alone with my thoughts and worries.
I fell in love with the goats, the cows, the sheep, the alpacas and llamas...and most of all with the horses, especially Woody the Clydesdale.

I bought a season ticket, thinking it would be a nice place to run away to in the difficult days to follow. When not at work or driving to and from the hospital and then the hospice, I spent many days strolling the parkland with tears in my eyes, enjoying the countryside while worrying about my dad dying.

The day we got The Call, I had just got in from another couple of hours at the park with my animals.

So, on this Father's Day I will be spending some quality time with 'My Animals' (including the new baby reindeer, here)...It's where he would want me to be...

To all my friends who are fathers and grandfathers, hold your children close and tell them you love them...


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Kidwelly in the Sun

It was a glorious sunny weekend in Kidwelly Castle, for the first foray into the middle ages.

Our new tent looked wonderful in the lea of a magnificent medieval tower.
This is one of my favourite pictures from the Castle - I found four windows in looks almost magical...
As the soldiers march off to perform their drill programme, the women sit around the fire, tending the fire and discussing the matters of the day.
Amongst other displays, our soldiers put on a show of drill, using the bill weapons - a 6' pole with an evil weapon attached to the end. This movement is called a schiltron, where the soldiers gather to protect the assets, the Lords, Knights, the Standard and (in this instance) the Sergeant at Arms. The schiltron has been known to comprise up to 2,000 soldiers.
Oh, speaking of Lords, here are Lords Hungerford Jnr (left) and Snr watching their soldierly detachment go through the drill to ensure they are effective in the battlefield. These Lords rely on the smelly soldiers to protect them and their households.

Yeah, I know...I'm a re-enactment bore...but I love it :-)


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Hi Ho Hi Ho...

It's off to the Middle Ages we go.... :-)

This weekend The Company of Chivalry are disappearing off to Kidwelly Castle. We are all bouncy this morning, swapping talk on Facebook, eager to see each other again and to time travel to the 14C....some have sent their apologies, and I won't see Nick, Marshall, Hannah, John, Georgi (either of them) or my medieval 'husband' Brambles this weekend. But we will all collide at some point in the season :-)

This is the first time we are using the new tent in anger - she so pretty!

and we are really looking forward to having a smaller tent which us ladies can put up without the help of the men.

The first event of the season is always a step into the unknown for me as I go around the house collecting all my medieval stuff I have stuffed here there and everywhere, and I always end up with LOADS in the car I won't use but pack just in case.

I have been making rosaries this week and have lots to sell, with loads more beads to make more as they go...trying out some brightly coloured wood beads this season, to supplement the plain wood and to attract the magpie in those members of the public!

The coin dies are packed and we are ready to explain the 14 century life to keen and eager (and hot!) holidaymakers...


Saturday, April 02, 2011

Here We Are Again

Every year this day rolls around. Now I know most of you enjoy parenthood and have had many years of childish crayon cards and paper flowers, maturing into expensive bouquets and designer cards but always with love and appreciation, but some of us aren't blessed thus. A little something for you to consider: Outsiders Happy Mother's Day for tomorrow to all the mothers, mums, mommies, mamas, mummies and moms out there. I have plans for tomorrow. Watch this space... cq (and I am really aggravated that the 'compose' tool is not acknowledging paragraphs!)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

2 + 2 = 46

I have been doing some reading lately. My depression has been very bad, my behaviour much more unpredictable (to the point people are commenting on it), hot flushes, memory failure, sleepless nights, loss of libido, cold sweats, upset stomach...

hmm, once I put my various symptoms together it all starts to look worrying familiar...

I think I may be officially 'getting old'. The start of the (hopefully!) long road to old age, loneliness, boredom and disability.
I have to go to the doctor and get a hormone test, I think.
Nothing like being optimistic about these things....[brave smile]

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Moving On and Staying Still

It's been four and a bit months since my dad died and I still see him dying last thing at night and first thing in the morning...that image and sound has stayed with me.
I am trying to see him like this - him in his heyday working overseas as a geologist when I was young...
but the recent memories are stronger.
I am so pleased my friend Sarah has scanned in some childhood photos for me and done me fabulous hard copies too.
'Ugly Monster' (my chronic depresssion) has been in resident since before Christmas. It has been my constant companion for the last few months and I have been making a tremendous effort to remember my meds. As a result I have been horrendously run down and have been ill for a month or so. I have missed weeks of work and am physically exhausted now.
But lately someone has lit the candle at the other end of the dark tunnel...
Battle practice has commenced for the new season, which involves advertising Company of Chivalry to the hoi polloi, and the Spring Markets are here, which involves shopping (yay!) and the antici.....pation of our new tent (due to be collected on the 19 March).
I also wetted my medieval appetite with Ironclad. It's a great film about the siege of Rochester Castle in the 13 century with the amazing James Purefoy. Admittedly, they have played fast and loose with costume and 'love interest' but the film was overall entertaining and, mostly, accurate.
More importantly, the Company of Chivalry provided soldiery for the movie and my boys can be seen handling the magnificent trebuchets and fighting in the ensemble scenes. I am so proud!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Regrets...Quite a few....

You never know what a can of worms a simple act will open...
When I was 17 I got a job working in a house with four beautiful children. The youngest, Katie (1), had clicky hips and was in hospital when I arrived (part of my duties was to visit with her regularly) and Ben (3), Emma (5) and Becca (7) filled my days until the littlest one came home with a custom made wheelchair. Then my life was centred on her and her siblings, through whooping cough, chicken pox, growing pains, broken bones and school uniforms.
The children helped me grow and taught me patience and unconditional love. I learnt to care for their pets (cats, dogs, goats, pony) and even scythed grass and painted buildings - a varied and enjoyable time in my life.
I have cherished sweet memories of these four children and of the wonderful four years I spent sharing their lives and their home, a run down farmhouse in the middle of nowhere - full of music and noise.
A few months ago, I happened across Ben's email address on the web and popped him a short email to say hi, how you doing. Well, it has only been 26 years....!
It was miraculous, he remembered me and those happy days and replied to me with a photo of his own children - who are the spit of their dad at that age! He caught me up with his sisters and their families, and even my little Katie is expecting her first baby in May.
But then he asked me what did I go on to do and what I was doing now...?
I don't know what to say to him and thinking about my life has plunged me into the abyss. Violent relationship, ran away, failed pregnancies, disowned siblings, major surgery, barren, chronic depression, weight and eating issues, now a childless Crazy Cat Lady...story of a failed life.
hmm - perhaps I'll just tell him I have amnesia... :-S

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

The Mighty Trebuchet - BBC One Show

The Company of Chivalry were recently featured on a BBC One Show segment showing off the trebuchet at Caerphilly Castle, one of our regular displays.

I see this show piece happen hourly through the day (usually standing guard to prevent the public entering the high risk area) over several weekends in the summer - but I never tire of seeing the majestic swing of the arm loosing the missile.

Good job, boys!!

cq aka Quene

Friday, January 28, 2011

Bye Bye

It's a big day in this medieval re-enactor's life - tonight I am handing my borrowed tent back to the company with a fond farewell.

The 'Old White Tent' was with me on my first day in the Company as a self-conscious newbie in borrowed kit in 2006 and my friend and I have been using it every year since. We were three old girls in the tent in the early days, then we went to just a couple of women. It had wonderful rafters where we could store fragile stuff and this is one of my favourite photos...

It was already very old when we got it, and had been through several hands and many, many years of camping out in all weathers.

I repaired the mouse holes, I darned the door loops, I fixed the poles and cleaned it. But as time wore on the old tent wore out - leaks springing everywhere and the both of us falling asleep to the sound of dripping water and waking to wet beds and kit. No amount of waterproofer could combat such venerated age.

It was too big for the two of us - but we were the only ones who ever used it, probably because everyone knew it leaked like a sieve! It was horrendously heavy, lugging it in and out of the car and around the old castles was a challenge every weekend.

But we loved that old tent. It was a medieval home from home for over four years and we are very grateful to every leaky seam, and snapped rope.

Thank you, 'Old White Tent' :-)