ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
We were asked to dance at a firework display last night, down on the seafront in Sandown. I don't think I've been to a Bonfire Night firework display since I was... ooh, 9 or 10 years old, when, armed with bags of Bonfire Toffee (which meant black treacle toffee in my house, although to others it's cinder toffee) we headed out to a Field of Mystery. I say Field of Mystery because, chasing down my vague memories the other day, the only conclusion I could come to was that the display had taken place on a recreation ground not far from my parents' current house, where no such rec exists. I asked my parents, who also had a think, and concluded that it had been on a farmer's field not far from their current house, but they had no idea which field, or how on earth any of the audience got in or out.

More on fireworks, including a whole series of absolutely rubbish photographs )

And a few pictures from a death-defying walk )
ladyofastolat: (Vectis)
Pellinor's away LARPing all weekend, so the house held no Morris man who was duty bound to get up before dawn to dance in the summer. I decided to head out and watch the dancing, anyway. The plan was that I would join them for their post-dancing cooked breakfast, then go on a nice long walk out in West Wight, and be home by lunch. Most of this plan went very well. For once, the sun actually put in an appearance, and the sunrise was glorious. Breakfast was lovely. On my walk, the early morning sunshine was so perfect that everyone I met for the first hour, instead of just saying the usual "Good morning," said "What a glorious day!" and passed me, beaming. (Well, except for the man who was busy cleaning up after his dog, who gave me a big rant about whoever it was who hadn't cleaned up after their dog a few hundred yards back, but when he'd finished ranting, even HE said "glorious weather, isn't it?") The sea was dark blue, the cliffs were gleaming, the bluebells were like oceans, and everything was rather wonderful...

Except for the whole "and be home by lunch" part of it. I'd planned my walk in a sort of modular fashion, and although I knew the rough milage of each module, I never bothered to add them up. After I'd walked non-stop for 3 hours, I suddenly thought, "hang on. There's 14 miles of coastal path between here and the car!" I had to buy food on the way home, so didn't get home until 15.30, having left home at 04.15. So much for having a nap in the afternoon.

But the walk itself - and the sunrise - was rather wonderful.

Many pictures of May Day on the Wight )
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
We've spent the weekend in unexpectedly bright sunshine in Arundel, on the sort of "dancing weekend" that our mixed team favours: i.e. one in which we occasionally fit in a dance or two in between the meals. I've go no time to say much about it, since I've been writing like mad these last few weeks, trying to finish an epic fanfic before going away on Friday. This hasn't been helped by being away for the last 3 weekends. But have some pictures, anyway, and a few bullet points of Stuff Seen.

Pictures of Arundel )


Jun. 30th, 2014 06:14 pm
ladyofastolat: (sneezing lion)
Okay. Imagine that you've been told to wave a hankie above your head in a circular motion - i.e. a bit like the way you'd mime using a lasso, minus the need to throw it at the end. Have a go now, using your right hand. (The hankie can be imaginary.) Don't think about it, just do it however feels natural.

Question under the cut )

May morning

May. 1st, 2014 04:04 am
ladyofastolat: (unbowed)
This is my traditional "we were up long before the day-oh, to welcome in the summer, the summer and the May-oh!" post. Judging from the number of black raindrops on the weather map, the summer isn't going to bother turning up at the party, even though we're getting up extra specially early to welcome it, too. Oh well. English traditions feels all the more traditional when standing there getting cold and wet, telling yourself doggedly that you are having fun, aren't you? And there's an excellent Full English breakfast afterwards, and good bacon makes everything worthwhile.
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
We were actually only away for half a weekend: a day trip with added Friday night. The ferries are very messed up at the moment, since someone crashed one of the boats into a buoy ("with a U," I belatedly added, when I was telling someone about this and could see by their face that they were wondering) at the same time as another was off on annual service. So the avoid a very crack of dawny start on Saturday, we stayed over on the mainland on Friday night, and had a second attempt to scale the enormous mountain that is the meze feast in a local Greek restaurant.

Last time we went, I was almost in tears at the end. ("They just won't stop bringing us food! Make them stop!") But the food was good, so I wanted to try again, but on a day when we didn't have a ferry to catch so could take things slowly and linger. It was still an unfeasibly large amount of food, but I am glad to report that I didn't end up in tears. I did have to opt out of two complete dishes, though, but fortunately Pellinor was able to do the honours.

Yesterday we headed to Lewes to dance at the folk festival. ("What? Lewis in Scotland?" said someone at work. "For the day?") It was all very enjoyable - especially when Pellinor volunteered to do another side's joiny-in dance, and found himself tied up on the floor with his legs spread, while men (dressed as women) wearing hob-nailed boots stomped over him. But then I had an allergic reaction to the most over-priced sandwich in the history of sandwiches.

I've always avoided all nuts, to be on the safe side, although the only one I've had a definite reaction to is walnuts. (Oh, and I had a mild reaction to coconut milk at Easter, too, but admittedly that was in one of Philmophelgm's Unwise Cocktails, which can bring down the strongest of men.) I love pesto, but have always been careful only to have nut-free varieties. However, I was fairly sure that I'd accidentally eaten pesto with pine nuts a while ago and been okay, so I blithely ordered a sandwich with pesto in, without checking. Within minutes, my lips looked as if I'd had a disastrous bout of cosmetic surgery. After an hour, my palms started itching unbearably. (Why my palms, I wonder?) On the journey home, I gradually turned red all over, with yellow weals wherever my clothes touched my skin. I felt quite ill and dopey when we were walking up to the ferry, but a lot better by the time we got home, and demanded comfort in the form of ice cream.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
We returned from the festival at 12.30 last night, having decided to demolish the tent before our bar shift, in order to avoid another night sleeping an entire Field of Squelch away from the toilets. Although the tent was dry, the weather was very windy, which was... interesting. The tent decided that its aim in life was to be a sail or maybe a balloon, rather than anything small enough to fit into a bag or even a car.

Pellinor hurled himself on the enormous billowing sphere, arms and legs splayed, and tried to beat it into submission by wallowing on it. Unfortunately, for all the parts of tent that decided to play good beneath his arms and torso, there was even more of it that rose up in great mushrooming growths between his legs, cackling in a billowy sort of fashion at his failure to notice it. Another camper wandered over to help, and proceeded to pummel all the billowing balloons that were emerging in Pellinor's wake, much to Pellinor's consternation. I suggested that we round up all the children on the site and charge them £1 for this exciting billowing bouncy castle experience, but Pellinor (while protecting sensitive parts from pounding fists and occasionally disappearing from sight completely beneath acres of bulging tent) claimed that he could wrestle it into submission alone.

Totally unrelated, I read this morning in the English Heritage magazine that Victoria and Albert liked to enjoy seaside trips when they were living at Osborne House, though without the "traditional kiss-me-quick accoutrements" that accompany British seaside holidays, such as ice cream stalls and warming cups of tea. I never realised that a warming cup of tea was a "kiss-me-quick" sort of thing. I feel quite faily now, having clearly spent my entire tea-drinking life entire missing the point.


May. 1st, 2012 04:08 am
ladyofastolat: (unbowed)
We're about to head out into the rain, gales, cold, floods and thick squelchy mud to welcome in the summer. There's something wrong with this picture, but I can't quite put my finger on what it is.
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
Just got back from a short trip away - two days staying with my parents in the north of the Cotswolds, then hopping a mere 11 miles or so into Worcestershire for the Evesham Morris weekend. Although it was so close to where I was brought up, Evesham didn't feel at all like home. Home means rolling hills and Cotswold stone, not flat plains full of asparagus, and red brick houses.

Still, it was all very enjoyable. With my parents, the theme of the trip was apparently historic houses that remain largely as they were in the 16th century, due to having impoverished Catholic owners. We did Chastleton House on Thursday, and Coughton Court on Friday, both of which were pretty and interesting. However, Coughton Court lied to us, since it promised us free strawberries and cream, and then merely gave us a free strawberry mousse.

My parents had been going to give me the old VIC-20, complete with the dazzling array of intricate games that its massive 3K of memory allow it to run, but there wasn't room for it in the car, because of all the camping stuff. We did play a few games while there, though, and will get it one day.

Friday night involved more drink than it ought to have done, so I spent most of yesterday feeling very weary - not ill, just tired. We had a boat trip on the Avon, then a coach tour around various pubs. I perked up a bit in the evening, and enjoyed a ceilidh that was enlivened by some very enthusiastic 10 year old boys, who danced together with more energy than accuracy, and caused havoc wherever they went. Today started with a duck race, but sadly my duck failed to do my proud, even though I was up all night tenderly feeding it oats and grooming its feather. Then there were various processions, dance performances and the like, then home.

Things that amused me:
- The advertising banners for "supernatural ice cream."
- The house that every tour group of Morris dancers had to walk past. Its name? Mock Morris. If it did, though, it was not in a language I could understand.
- The field of sheep with a notice proclaiming "BAA access to river."

A few pics )

May Morning

May. 1st, 2010 03:49 am
ladyofastolat: (unbowed)
Perhaps the traditional songs require a little tweaking today:

Hal-an-tog! Jolly rumble-og!
In comes cat! What a soggy moggy!
I guess this means it's raining
And we will get quite soggy!
Hail the British summer -
Chill and damp and foggy.

Happy May Morning, anyway. Happy summer! Now to clad myself in that traditional garb for welcoming in the May: hat, gloves, scarf and waterproof coat.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
What I've been doing lately:

- Having a migraine. I'm a total newbie to the joys of migraines, and I get them pathetically mildly, but all the strange visual disturbance stuff is present and correct, so they still count. Each one has been a little worse than the previous one, so perhaps I should start looking into triggers. Not that anything comes to mind.

- Reading. I've just finished book 4 of Dorothy Dunnett's House of Niccolo series, so am exactly half way through. Quite apart from the story it tells, I'm finding it really interesting historically. It's wandering into much less familiar territory than the Lymond series, covering (so far) Trebizond, Cyprus and various routes to Timbuktu, as well as the more familiar Flanders and Italy. I've also been reading The Age of Wonder by Richard Holmes, about science in the Romantic era.

- Writing up Minutes. It's AGM season in our Morris sides, and I always get the task of writing minutes, since I always reflect the mood of the meetings by recording the jokes and asides and tangents as well as the boring stuff. It requires constant writing during the meeting to record all these things, though, and takes a good few hours to write them up afterwards.

- Games: Pellinor and I are still playing quite a bit of Left 4 Dead together. A new official campaign came out, with lots of new achievements to earn in Versus mode, so we've been playing on opposing sides, trying desperately to wipe each other out. Alone, I'm still half-heartedly playing Icewind Dale 2 - although it turned obsessive a few days ago when I started playing Battle Square, a game within the game that calls for one of your party to kill 250 monsters in single combat. Luckily, you get prizes along the way that help with the really hard ones later. While I was playing, officially the Best Things in All the World were:
- A Club of Disruption
- A narrow door that really big bads couldn't get through
- The reload button

And tomorrow we're off to see Bellowhead. Yay!
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
Dartmoor Folk Festival is a very nice festival indeed. Unfortunately, a cold, even a fairly mild one, made it hard for me to properly enjoy it. I went to bed at 9 yesterday, and missed over four hours of singing, chatting and drinking around the camp-fire. Today was boily hot, too, which was the last straw in terms of my ability to get through day without wanting to fall over and whimper.

Festival )
ladyofastolat: (Vectis)
This year's Walk the Wight was what my Mum would call, through gritted teeth, "character developing." We had periods of lovely sunshine. Unfortunately, if the intervals were sunny, the play itself was full of rain, all served up with a howling gale. Walking along the top of the downs, you kept finding yourself unexpectedly three feet further to the right than you expected to be, in imminent danger of disappearing across the Solent. I took no pictures, since I didn't think I'd be able to hold onto the camera and keep it from blowing into the New Forest.

And the wind, of course, turned the rain into daggers of ice, strong enough that I seriously wondered if they would draw blood. Everyone ended up sodden on one side, but dry on the other, looking like those parti-coloured aliens from some episode or other of the original series of Star Trek. Pellinor, just to keep my spirits up, spent the wildest part of the walk merrily singing folk songs about people who came to hideous doom in storms.

Pellinor did the full 27-ish miles, starting before 6.30. (The alarm went at 5.15 this morning, so I could drive him to the start.) I walked the full second half - about 14 miles - plus, of course, a few dances at each checkpoint. (Since this is the last 3 of the 5 legs, I probably have to say that I only did Walk the ght. I'd rather do Walk the Wig, though, since I like the image of a hairy wig scurrying eagerly along on the end of a lead.) I did the same amount last year, but ended up so broken that I'm afraid to say that I was crying for the last mile and just slumped down shaking at the end. It wasn't until October that my knees stopped hurting. However, this year I had much better footwear with ankle support, and have been doing rather more walking in the lead-up, so I was okay - hurty by the end, but still able to walk and join in the final dances. I did flag very suddenly on Tennyson Down, when fighting gravity and the howling gale that was straight in my face, but that was probably my own fault, since I'd done the previous ten miles at a rate of knots (an hour and a half to do the 5.5 mile leg, complete with hills.)

About 12,000 people do Walk the Wight (either the main walk, or the shorter flat walk that they added last year.) Last year, I went to a meeting the next morning, and half the people there were hobbling around, groaning. I suspect that Walk the Wight was instituted by some hostile power, which is even now watching as it goes from strength to strength each year, waiting for the time to strike. The morning after 20,000 of the strongest, fittest islanders have been reduced to hobbling wrecks, the invading fleet will land...

No pictures this year, but last year's pictures are here (imagine it looking much the same, but covered with driving rain, and full of people unexpectedly veering in the direction of the Solent) and the previous year's adventures with waterlogged cloaks are here.
ladyofastolat: (unbowed)
It's quite unusual for the sun to rise on May Morning. Well, actually, I suspect that it's actually fairly common for the sun to rise on May Morning, and that May Mornings when the sun doesn't rise at all have probably been few and far between over the years, but it is, however, fairly unusual for us to see the sun rising. It seemed very slow coming this year, and I began to suspect that it was deliberately lurking just below the horizon, sniggering into its hand as it listened to us launch into yet another song while waiting. (Or maybe it just doesn't like Morris dancing.) However, come it did... for all of 3 minutes, until it was eaten by a low cloud and the encroaching sea fog.

Photographic evidence )
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
Um... Well, normally I post a triumphant little bit of verse about Hal-an-tows, and how we were up long before the day-oh, to welcome in the summer, the summer and the May-Oh, but, really, the gist is probably just showing off, saying, "Look at me! I'm up! You're (probably) not! (Unless you're American, in which case it Doesn't Count) Ha ha!" So maybe this year I'll just leave it at that. ;-)

(Besides, from the amount of rain we had yesterday, I doubt that winter's gone away-oh. I suspect that winter's actually just taken refuge in the steep, muddy path that we will have to climb to get to the place in which we'll welcome in the summer, the summer and the May-oh, and that seriously muddy feet and slippy-slideyness will result. But, afterwards, so will a cooked breakfast in a pub, and, after that, so will a day off work and the start of a four day weekend. Yay!)


Jan. 12th, 2009 01:42 pm
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
We went Wassailing on Saturday. As dusk fell on a frosty orchard, a full moon slowly took shape through hazy clouds, and a flock of rook circled overhead, heading for the trees. The grass was thick with frost, and the air was biting, with all the branches thick with white.

The keyword was cold. All the men immediately started prodding fires, trying to get them to burn well, and then prodding some more, because they were men and man bring fire. A miscommunication about time meant that we arrived an hour before we were needed, so the women slowly froze, feet turning into blocks of ice within the inadequate insulation of wooden clogs.

The Wassail itself involved some song and some chanting, before the apple trees were decked with cider-soaked toast, and cider was sprinkled around its roots. Quite why apple trees will be encouraged by being smeared in the crushed, fermented corpses of their relatives, I do not know, but it's Tradition, so who are we to question the psychology of apple trees? Much noise was made with pots and pans and sticks, and perhaps the evil spirits were driven away, or perhaps they weren't; I was too cold to stick around and watch, and retreated to the fireside for beef and ale stew.
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Sorry I've been silent lately. I've been very busy editing up and posting one chapter a day of a long fanfic, which is taking up most of my mind, and the rest of it has been full of worrying about Pellinor driving a van on the Big Scary Mainland, and with dealing with the news of the cancellation of Stargate Atlantis.

Oh, and Monday, which I had off work, rather accidentally for dominated by playing Guitar Hero Rocks the 80s, one of the games we accidentally bought when killing time while locked out of the house. It's a lot easier than the others, I think - or maybe I'm just getting better. I got five stars on every song on medium first time round, and five stars on about half the hard songs, too. I've not finished expert yet. I say "yet" with rather unwise optimism, since I've not finished expert on any of the games yet.

On Wednesday I danced at a rainy carnival, before wandering over to a nearby pub for our second spot... only to find it absolutely heaving. Someone who worked there had died, and she was obviously hugely popular, because there were hundreds of people packed into a marquee, all celebrating her life in a way that involved a lot of booze. Dancing there was... interesting.

Pellinor went on Wednesday and won't be back until Tuesday. (He and [ profile] chainmailmaiden are feeding the five thousand at a LARPing event. Their food and drink plans sound scarily ambitious.) I always worry when he goes off alone on Big Scary Mainland roads, but was particularly worried this time because he was in a manual van, and he's not driven a manual for many, many years, and has never driven a van. "Phone me whenever you can to say you're still alive," I said, which he chose to take literally. "Pellinor phoned," someone told me at work, when I returned from a trip out to a library. "He says to tell you he's alive."

Anyway, I have a couple more new games to try this weekend, and a couple of new books, and I have a few months of fanfic reading to catch up on, so it'll be a relaxing weekend alone, if not an exciting one.

Too Hot

Jul. 28th, 2008 05:13 pm
ladyofastolat: (unbowed)
Life is Too Hot.

Yesterday was Too Hot to spend an hour Morris dancing. Yesterday was definitely Too Hot to spend a few hours doing four-in-a-sack races, welly wanging, five-on-a-plank races, egg and spoon races etc. with a bunch of Morris dancers. It also Too Hot to stand and watch such things (and Kind Of Embarrassing when a Certain Person wanged a welly very fast in totally the wrong direction, scattering innocent sunbathers and squashing their picnic.

Today was Too Hot to work.

This evening, I suspect, will be Too Hot to spend the time on the computer, but is that going to stop me? Doubt it. Not until 7.30, at least, when it's time to leave for more Morris dancing, which takes us back of paragraph 2.

(icon chosen because it has a sun in it. Remove all the uns.)
ladyofastolat: (Default)

More after hot bath

More, including pictures )
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
We spent the long weekend at Hastings Jack in the Green Festival, which involved:
- much cider, much ice cream and some slightly fatal carafes of wine
- sneaky spaghetti which had conned me into ordering it by masquerading as mere "pasta", then proceeded to sit there cackling as I failed utterly to persuade it onto a fork
- accidentally walking in on a man in the toilet. Oops.
- spectacularly inept application of sun cream
- Pellinor (there as an other half / pack animal, not as a dancer) running away with some wraggle taggle pink Morris people for hours and hours and HOURS, and probably doing more dancing than I did
- some people who clearly thought that green body paint is an acceptable alternative to clothing
- green, green, GREEN, everywhere green
- witnessing an arrest. Really, Being Bad when there are 12 police men within 20 yards, all ready to marshal the start of a long procession, is not clever
- the buying of lots of second hand books and a swirly skirt
- an underground car park with the best echo in the world. Chicken on a Raft works particularly well in it. I'm not sure what the humans and bikers thought, though.
- a sea gull with a very accurate aim. Also, fortunately, a sun hat that was heroically willing to take the bullet meant for me
- Pellinor being mistaken for a pirate, Dick Turpin, a fop, Lord Nelson, Amadeus, a Venetian assassin etc etc., and being stopped for more photographs than us bona fide dancers. Show off!
- Pellinor having a Late Night Adventure which he's promised to blog about

Some pictures )
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
"Hal-an-tow! Jolly rumbelow!
We were up long before the day-oh,
To welcome in the summer, the summer and the May-oh!
For summer is a-coming in, and winter's gone away, oh!"

Pauses. Goes to window. Looks outside.

"Winter's gone away, oh!"

Turns up central heating.

"Winter's. Gone. AWAY. OH!"

*glares at Outside. Thinks happily of Bed, which, despite feeling really uncomfortable at 11 when failing to get to sleep, has suddenly transmuted by the magic of the May into the most warm and comfortable thing in the world come 3.45 a.m.*

EDIT (7.10): We even saw the sun! Well, we saw about 15 percent of it, plus a few shattered shards, but it's better than nothing. We also had a very nice cooked breakfast in the local pub, which had heroically got up at 6 in order to cater for us. Pellinor's now off to London for the day, while I struggle to stay awake all day at my desk.
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
We spent all of yesterday dancing on The Mainland, for our annual Christmas jaunt to Lymington. Going without a coat, and trusting in raggy jackets and layers, was a very stupid thing to do, since it was freezing, but someone came to my rescue with a spare body warmer (presumably brought along for their spare body), and various market stalls provided cheap fluffy gloves, warm socks etc. 'Twas icy cold.

At the end of the day, we extracted ourselves from the pub, paid for our very nice dinner (certain people who shall be nameless had two puddings, and tried hard to get a whole extra pint of custard), and headed to the station. Disappearing guards, trains and drivers )


Sep. 9th, 2007 04:53 pm
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
Just got back from a day dancing at the Bestival, the smaller of the two local pop festivals. It bills itself as being quirky and different (hence inviting Morris dancers), so I have no idea how representative it is of its kind, but that didn't stop me making some nice, sweeping generalisations on the differences between folk festivals and pop festivals.

Festivals - a spotter's guide )
ladyofastolat: (Are we the baddies?)
(This is a spoiler-free Harry Potter-related post)

From the Bookseller, re. the Harry Potter launch: "The Sheffield branch [of Waterstone's] will have a troupe of Morris dancers dressed as Death Eaters entertaining the queue."

Interesting... I can see the thought process now. "I know! Let's have some people dressed up as Death Eaters! Children love to be scared. What can they do to show how evil they are? Eat children? Nah. We'd never get away with it. Slaughter toads? No. The RSPCA would come down on us like a tonne of bricks. Let's see. Ultimate evil... Ultimate evil... Yes! Morris dancing!"

Or maybe this is something internal that I missed from the book. Maybe, at some point, Dumbledore said something along the lines of: "Harry, we must stop Voldemort. If we don't, the whole world will be caught in his fell grip, and all will be darkness, cruelty, distrust, and... No, no, I cannot say it." He looked away sharply, before whispering into his hand the dread words that a lesser man would not have been able to speak aloud: "Morris dancing."

"No!" gasped Harry. "I had been faltering before now, but this is an evil I cannot allow to come to pass. I will fight Voldemort with everything I have. I will save the world from the cruel grip of Morris Dancing, the Darkest of Dark Arts." He gasped with suddenly realisation. "So that's why we learnt Avoidus Stickus in our Defence against Dark Arts lessons."
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
Back from a weekend in Weymouth. Although I have talking about the weekend as "The Weymouth Folk Festival", apparently it was called "The Wessex Folk Festival." This is important. It almost resulted in us turning up in Weymouth at the start of the weekend, with no idea where we were going, when we were dancing, or anything at all. At some point in the past, I had been rather foolishly over-zealous when I was setting up email rejection rules...

Weymouth bullet points, with pics. )
ladyofastolat: (Vectis)
Well, the Wight has been Walked. Pellinor did the full 27 miles (not 28 as I said yesterday), though he was an idiot to do so, since he could barely put his feet on the ground at the 18 mile checkpoint. I did the 8 miles I'd planned to do, and can also barely walk, due to hip pain. It rained horribly for the first 16 miles or so, then got sunny and nice, but is raining again now.

Next year, I think I'm going to run away and Walk the Fens, or something. The island has far too many Downs. (For the benefit of stray Americans, Downs mean ups. It's rather like the way that Public schools are private.) The trouble is, all the Downs have downs in between them, so we're up and down like yo-yos. At one point, we were teetering down a very muddy path, and it struck me that it just needed one person at the top to slip, and 200 people would go down like dominos. I'm not sure whether I was disappointed or relieved that this didn't happen.

We did do the walk in Mummers' costume, after all. For me, this meant a cloak. This has given me a unique insight into the lack of realism endemic in fantasy novels today. Here is my shocking expose.

Adventures with a cloak )

EDIT: I should just add that it fills me with a warm, fuzzy glow that so many people on my Friends list are able to share cloak-wearing tales, rather than going, "What? A cloak? Are you some sort of weirdo?" (Feeling really quite unwell now. I think it's the after-effects of getting out of breath while still having the tail-end of a chesty cold. I'm now going to curl up somewhere and whimper.)
ladyofastolat: (unbowed)
Happy summer!

The plan was to post a happy May Day song at 4 a.m. ("We were up long before the day-o!"), then post pictures of the sun a-rising when I got back at 7. However, since I'm ill, I tossed and turned sleeplessly until 2, got up and pottered on the computer for a bit, then went back to bed. I'd just begun to feel dozy, when a suspicious noise led me to an Adventure with a Mouse (that had an as-yet-unresolved cliffhanger ending.) Still awake at 4, when Pellinor went out. Still awake at 5. Still awake at 5.45. But 6.45 came quickly, and I clearly remember being at Kentwell and then at a folk festival on a canal, so I must have finally slept. Can't skive off work; got to give a lecture to a group of childcare students. Wish I could. Skive, that is.

It's particularly vexing because the sun really did rise today, after years of rain, mist, fog or haze. And there was more singing than normal. Pellinor skipped the group breakfast since he has to get to work early, so at least he couldn't do bacon-related gloating. The sun-related gloating would be bad enough, except that he's also adding in moon-related gloating, too.

I'm too tired to do a proper folklore post. Suffice it to say that there's a lot of it around. Folklore, that is.

Pellinor's scant two pictures taken on the last dying breath of the camera battery )

Happy summer, all! (Although, this year, we feel that some imposters have been plying their wares round these here parts. As everyone knows, the summer only happens because the noble Morris men get up at dawn and heroically dance to bring in the sunshine. If they didn't dance, then where would be be? However, since it's been summer for around six weeks, we can only conclude that some pretend Morris dancers came along and conned the sunshine into thinking that March 21st was the traditional start of summer, did a dance, and fled.)
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
The scene: 400 yards away from the Cowes St George's Day Fair. Pellinor and I were walking towards it, Pellinor wearing mail, a helmet, a sword, and a gurt big white tabard with a red St George's Cross on it. A family is coming the other way, clearly having just been to the fair.

Small boy: "Look, Daddy! It's St Peter!"
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
Well, I bet no-one else watched the lunar eclipse while dancing the Virginia Reel and Circassian Circle in a pub car-park with hordes of drunken Morris dancers and a ceilidh band. People kept sneaking outside the watch the progress of the eclipse, so Pellinor just moved the entire Feast outside until totality. I'm not quite sure what the passing drivers thought we were up to, especially as the Circassian Circle ended up non-circular, and snaking down the road in a farandole sort of fashion.

I've told Pellinor that he needs to lay on a solar eclipse next year, to surpass this year. I'm not sure how he's going to manage a solar eclipse at 11 at night, but he's the Squire, so... well, actually, I suppose he'll just delegate to the Bagman and get him to do it all, like Morris Squires always do.

A little bit more on the Feast, then a small bit, without spoilers, about Hot Fuzz )

Straw Bear

Jan. 15th, 2007 09:09 am
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
This weekend, we went to the Straw Bear in Whittlesey (or Whittlesea), near Peterborough. Straw Bear - long account, with digressions on folklore and fens )

All in all, it was a good weekend. I knew I'd enjoy it in the end, even though, beforehand, all I wanted was a quiet weekend in. I'm back at work this afternoon, but have the morning off.
ladyofastolat: (fathom the bowl)
Fog, dancing, carol-singing gang wars, and work )

Finally, Happy Christmas to you all! Last year, I wrote a personalised version of the Gloucestershire Wassail, but I've been racking my brains for days to come up with another song that so lends itself to personalised greetings, and can't find one. Also, my Friends list has grown during the year, so the song would demand more verses than I can cope with. So no song this year, just Christmas greetings. Happy Christmas!


Dec. 5th, 2006 12:27 pm
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
Last night's stage performance went very well. We did two spots at a concert that mostly consisted of gentle carols sung by choirs of sedate ladies. With our bright costume, clogs, bells and very loud drum we certainly woke them up. A lot of people came up and said how good we were.

However... Carols: Why on why does everyone sing them so high? I love singing carols, but every single carol concert or carol service I go to pitches them so high I can't join in. Grr!!!!!


Dec. 4th, 2006 09:43 am
ladyofastolat: (Honey looking squashed)
We've got to dance on a stage tonight, in front of a large audience - two 20 minute spots. I always get very, very nervous about stage performances, especially since I have to do all the announcing, speaking into a microphone. (Microphones confuse me. I keep wanting to shout into them.) I slept very badly last night for worrying about it, and can't settle today.

But two emails have amused me:

"I am sending out 07 slugs. Let me know if you want any more."

"Chain mail emails will be automatically stopped by the filter."
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
We spent all of today in Lymington, on our annual pre-Christmas jaunt to dance around the town on market day. It felt different this year. Normally we're all decked in tinsel, and sing carols while waiting for the ferry, and on the train. Today just didn't feel Christmassy at all. Admittedly, we normally go on the second Saturday in December, rather than the first, and this year the weekend falls very early in the month, so it's quite a bit earlier than normal. But, still, I'm sure it normally feel more Christmassy than this at the start of December. We sang carols over lunch, since we always do, but it felt too early. Normally we put up our tree after we get back from the Lymington trip, but this year we don't be doing that for a week or even two. I've not bought any cards, any presents, or started doing anything remotely Christmassy.

I've heard that the shops are reporting exceptionally low pre-Christmas spending, so it seems as if other people feel the same. I wonder if it's just the very mild weather.
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
LJ down for an entire day! I felt so bereft. However, it did mean that I was able to clean the whole house from top to bottom. Had LJ been around, it would have lurked here alluringly, like an importunate lover, whispering, "I am far more exciting than cleaning. Come away with me and I will show you wonders unimaginable."

On Friday night, we went to the 25th birthday party of my ladies' Morris dance side, which was fun. We walked the three miles there, and got a lift back. I never like phoning someone up and saying, "I'm not prepared to drive there tonight, so can you give me a lift?" but if I've walked there myself, and someone who's already made the decision to drive there chooses to offer me a lift home, then that's a different thing entirely. It was a nice evening for a walk. I love these clear winter days, and cold, crisp, starry winter nights. (Not so fond of the constant "wheee... BANG!" of said nights, though, especially when they happen after I've gone to bed.)

The buffet was so huge that everyone filled a second plate and took it home with them. However, I'd had quite a lot wine by the time I assembled my second plate of food, so lunch yesterday was a strange and interesting medley of cold buffet food. Ham and tuna featured, much to the delight and frenzy of my cats, who resorted to incredible feats of trickery and double bluff in order to get a bite.

At the party, there was a competition to identify people from their baby photos. Almost every picture was deemed "impossible" to identify, except for mine, which everyone in the room got. I think I ought to be mortified. Apparently I've not changed a bit since I was one. )

Pellinor's off LARPing today. He got up early and fed the cats, but they are currently stomping around me, telling me in no uncertain terms that that horrid, cruel nasty man completely failed to feed them, and they're starving to death, poor things. I don't think cats have any moral qualms.

Black nag

Oct. 31st, 2006 08:32 am
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Any Oxford folk remember how we used to dance "Black nag"? We learnt it last night, from the original 17th century instructions, and parts of it felt familiar, but parts of it didn't. I definitely remember the "GALLopy gallopy gallopy gallopy; GALLopy gallopy gallopy gallopy; GALLopy gallopy gallopy gallopy; All. Turn. Round" bit, and the "CORners cross (3, 4), CORners cross (3, 4), SIDES cross (3, 4), All. Turn. Round" bit, but I don't remember the siding, and I can't remember any heys, though Pellinor thinks he can.

(You can tell that I used to teach these dances in my Oxford days, since I can't dance any of them without chanting the moves out loud.)


Oct. 20th, 2006 06:21 pm
ladyofastolat: (Default)
Pellinor scored the "quote of the week" in this week's local paper - singled out and printed on the front page. One day, he might actually update his own LJ and tell people about this...

I am now off to start a very erudite and productive evening doing cultural and worthy things. (Okay, we're going to play Lego Star Wars 2 on the Xbox.)


Sep. 11th, 2006 08:12 am
ladyofastolat: (In comes I)
Too much to drink on Friday night. For future reference, it is not a good thing to say, "So what if I'm working tomorrow morning. Let's open up some Pimms."

Saturday, I worked. I was supposed to have a quiet day at my desk, catching up on work, but staff shortages meant I had to spend the day on the counter in a library. At least there were no floods, power cuts or other disasters this time. Things normally go wrong on my Saturdays on duty.

Sunday, we danced at the Bestival. The Bestival )

Today I have off, because I worked Saturday. Woo-hoo!


ladyofastolat: (Default)

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