Sunday, October 25, 2009

Reformation Day Faire

Even though our Reformation Day celebration comes a week before the official anniversary this year, we celebrated with gusto again this year with over 400 participants.

I know this is last year's image, but the sign really hasn't changed, so the only difference might be the number of leaves on the ground.

One new feature this year was the temporary wall we built around the entrance to the church building. I think it would have been even better with sentries and archers behind the battlement. The knight with the cell phone in the doorway kinda spoils the effect in this shot. For that matter, this may be the only castle you'll see with handicapped parking so close to the door.

Charlie Zahm provided musical inspiration on Friday and Saturday. You can find Mr. Zahm in several videos on YouTube that demonstrate how powerful his voice is.

On to the Town Square on Saturday where the chessboards stayed busy with impromptu matches. Here, two generations of Degenharts take on the world. Rumor has it the elder Degenhart simply used the chess matches as a diversion while he stole his opponents' money bags from under the table.

Prince John, aka King Castle, demonstrates the time honored skill of candlemaking over a Coleman camping stove. John's costume was so impressive one naturally addressed him as "your majesty."

Not to be outdone, Princess Grace knights Sir Emil before the Battle of the Boffers. No, Sir Emil was not allowed to use that sword during the boffer war, and yes, he does have an earbud and microphone on his left ear (presumably so his comrades can warn him of a surprise attack behind him).

The checkerboards were just as busy as the chessboards as the young men sought to sharpen each other's critical thinking skills.

Never one to miss an opportunity to pick up some pocket change playing for tips, our lonely piper was back again this year. Unfortunately he was unable to bring the junior corps along, contrary to my expectations.

Karen appears to be delighted about something as she readys herself for her next customer at her wheat weaving booth.

Lily and I trying to stay in our "happy places" while we thread needles and tie knots at Bag End, our felt bag making booth.

Princess Elisabeth showing me her best courtesy. One is humbled to receive such an honor.

Gretel reluctantly modeling her new gown that Lily created for her. I say "reluctantly" because there were at least three people in the sanctuary that may have been watching while we took this photo. Sometimes a dad just has to be firm.

I'll close with this image of Sir David and Lady Annette from the kingdom of Bull Valley.

My photos are not representative of the entire celebration as we had several lectures by Douglas Bond, Marcus Serven, and James McDonald that composed the real meat of the weekend. You can purchase audio of the weekend at Resounding Voice, and watch videos on YouTube courtesy of Douglas Bond and others.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ancestors of mine?

Someone commented the other day that I look like one of the Smith Brothers of Cough Drop fame. A Google image search confirmed that the Smith Brothers have excellent taste in facial hair.

I've also been compared to Sam Elliott, but I haven't found a picture of him with a beard, only a bushy mustache. Soon, my bushiness will have served its purpose, and my face will take on a new form....

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Construction update #34

The weather forecast indicated that today may be the last good day for outside work for awhile, so I took the afternoon off work and crossed a few projects off my list. One project that didn't get finished, but saw some progress today, was the trim on the barn.

We're adding white cement board trim around the doors and windows and on the outside corners. Even though all the trim is not finished, everything visible from this angle is complete (minus caulk in nail holes and joints). The car doors are almost ready for judging, but not quite. Stay tuned, as I'll need everyone's help in making the door decision in the near future. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Stubble in the backyard, week 1

October 18

Even though the stalks looked pretty dry before harvest, you can see a faint tinge of green in what remains of this one. It should be exciting to see how the stalk stubble of this plant decomposes over the next seven months! Thanks for visiting!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Trip to England - Part 11

Our last day in England started off with Mom and me walking over to the rest of the group's B&B to wait for the private coach. Thankfully, this time the trip was downhill. ;-) After loading up the bags and saying goodbye to those staying on, we enjoyed a beautiful drive through Wiltshire (I have decided that Wiltshire is the loveliest county) to Lacock Village. Lacock is a village dating from the 13th c. and absolutely filled with adorable old houses! It has also served as a set for many movies including "Pride and Prejudice", "Emma", and "Cranford" and it's no wonder why! The whole village is so quaint and picturesque, it seems too perfect to be a real village. We were able to spend the entire morning there, and found plenty to keep the camera busy! I will refrain from commenting on each one as I think you'd get tired of hearing endless "cute"s, "adorable"s, and "charming"s! ;-)

The main street and the first glimpse of Highbury, er, I mean Lacock...

This cat looked almost exactly like our cat Bingley! Yes, this does officially make us weird cat people...

By far the most charming telephone booth we saw in England!

Is this the cutest store ever, or what?!?

Yet another street brimming with old houses!

*sigh* I want a doorway like that....

Even the gate to the church was charming...

This hilariously photogenic cat saw us get out our camera to take a picture of the building, and immediately went into the pose you see. Once Mom took the picture, he got down! I have a feeling that he's a little too used to getting his picture taken.... ;-)

The Village Hall- I want a village hall like that!!

The letter hole on this door (and all the others in the village) is very reminiscent of Cranford....

Our lunch spot: The Stables Tea Room

Look! It's a stile, just like in "Persuasion"!! :-)

While we were wandering around, a fellow tourist came up and asked me, "Why are you wearing that?". Ummm, because that's what I put on this morning? I can only guess she thought I was dressed in historical clothing!

The flowers matched my dress perfectly!

We like to call this "Bird in Flight"

We call this one "Charming Country Village Sans Giant Manic Birds"

Pity that parking is allowed! I'm sure the residents would beg to differ, though....

After tearing ourselves away, we got back in the coach, drove back to the airport, and boarded our planes. After the day that wouldn't end (literally! Our day was 30 hours long, and I was awake for at least 22), we arrived back in reality...

Sadly, I'm afraid that this is the end. I hope you enjoyed reading about it, I will say that I'm kind of sad to be done; that means that we really aren't there anymore! :-( As Mom half-jokingly described our time since we came back, "Three weeks very dull indeed". ;-) On a positive note, these posts have drawn the biggest crowds in the history of our blog! As I told Dad, that means we have to go back....

Trip to England - Part 10

Our day started out a viewing of 2 hot air balloons from our window!

Since we seem to be low on photos of Mom... This is in our lovely B&B waiting for our delicious breakfast!

Our first stop for the day was a tour of the Jane Austen Centre. We were waiting on the doorstep when they opened (much to their surprise! :-) ) and they let us tour the exhibits before they were officially open, due to our time constraint (we needed to make it to the Abbey for church at 11). I was not expecting much, since I already know a good bit about Jane and life in the early 1800s, but even I learned things from the exhibit!

Adorable children's clothing!

A very informative chart showing what different incomes supplied and meant socially. (I really hope this picture will be clickable, I don't know why some refuse to!)

Love this chemisette!

After the exhibit, we went upstairs for a short talk on the Austen family and Jane's visits to Bath. Since it was so early, there were only 2 other women in the talk besides the 2 of us. After her talk, our speaker asked if we had any questions. One of the women was an author who came to Bath so she could research her book. She wondered what drew people to the Jane Austen Festival and the speaker offered her opinion. The speaker also mentioned (with a tone of incredulity) that "there are even some people who have been preparing for their trip here for 6 months and have come from as far away as Illinois!!!"! LOL! I kid you not! Mom and I burst out laughing and explained that we must have been the people she was talking about, as that description was us to a "T"! Just when you begin to think that you're not the biggest weirdo out there, too....

After looking through the gift shop (well, and buying things too! you can't expect us to just look without making a purchase, can you?!?), we headed to Bath Abbey. The service was nice, although the theology was not in line with ours (imagine that!) and the Matins were not as good as Westminster's... Oh dear, I think I'm turning into a cathedral snob!

The front of Bath Abbey is well known for its unusual front depicting Jacob's ladder. Personally, I thought it looked kind of odd, so we didn't take a picture of it... ;-)

The Agnews also happened to be at Bath Abbey, and while we were talking, we found out that they were in Westminster Abbey for the same exact service we were! Weird! After planning to meet for tea later, we went back up to the Crescent to tour No. 1 Royal Crescent, a restored Georgian townhouse. They have 4 rooms on display (not counting the kitchen and lovely stairway!), each filled with antique furniture, paintings, and everyday items (books, hairbrushes, etc.). It was very nice, but unfortunately we didn't get any pictures except this one of the staircase:

You can just glimpse a corner of the sedan chair stored under the stairs.

For tea, Mom and I had been planning to go to the Pump Room, since it is such a lovely place and there's something about taking tea in a historical room (and where one of our favorite movies was filmed!) with live classical music that appealed to us. :-) Providentially, the Agnews had the same plans, since tea at the Pump Room comes dear!

L to R: me, Katy, Amber, Mrs. Agnew, Rob, and Jaclyn

We had a very delightful tea, with such wonderful company! We were very blessed to find such kindred spirits and can't wait to see them again in March! :-)

Of course, no trip to the Pump Room would be complete without "taking the waters"! As much as everyone complains about the horrid taste, it honestly wasn't that bad! In fact, it tasted about like our water here at home... When we told Dad that, he decided it was time to call a water expert.

Yes, there is an ugly sign in the middle of the picture.....

That's better!

The Pump Room - the atmosphere was lovely!

The entrance to the Roman Baths

Not too shabby!

The main bath and best surviving one. Yes, the water is green; that's caused by algae growth due to sunlight. In Roman times, there was a roof on the entire building, so they didn't have that problem.

The one thing I was most surprised by at the Roman Baths was the fact that in roman times, there was a huge complex of baths, not just this one. It was just like you read about in books about roman times. For some reason, I thought that since this was out in the middle of nowhere (as opposed to Rome), they would only have made a "mini-bath". Not so! There was even a temple on the site. Due to the records and artifacts found, it looks like Bath was a popular place and drew many visitors, even in the AD 60s! When we started on our tour, I thought the only thing to do would be to walk around the main bath and taste the water. Reality: walking under the Pump Room looking at amazingly well-preserved sculptures, tile floors, part of the temple site, and the remains of the "frigidarium", hot bath, and several other baths! The tour was very informative and interesting, well worth the time and money; I would recommend it to everyone going to Bath! The amount of roman history in a city that looks no older than 500 years was mind-boggling!

This is to show how close the Baths are to the Abbey. I was amazed at the little distance that separated them! Not surprisingly then, there is evidence that the Abbey was built on top of some of the buildings in the roman bath complex.

Roman mosaics

The head piece for a pediment on one of the buildings

A very neat display showing where the spring comes up and how the Romans channeled the water through the complex and into aqueducts.

This is where the spring comes up, the water bubbles on the surface are caused from gases trapped in the water. Yuck! Glad I didn't know that before I drank it!! The water line halfway up the walls shows where the water level was in medieval times. The monks would bring invalids to the baths for healing. In the Roman and Georgian times, the water was the same level it is now.

Just in case you forgot what I look like....

Outside the Pump Room. Lovely, isn't it?

Persuasion fans will also recognize this! :-)

This picture was really for the Pump Room sign, but I just noticed that there is another hot air balloon in it! The weather was delightful!

In the above picture, you can also see Aurora and some other costumed ladies coming out of the Pump Room. We all gathered for a group picture, but as we were taking our pictures we were suddenly surrounded by TONS of tourists wanting to get our picture, too. That was fine, except that there were so many of them! After a minute or two of constant pictures from our adoring mob, I decided that we needed a picture of them. So, I ran off to the side to snap a few pictures of all of them (well, and get out of the pictures, too... ;-) ).

This wasn't even close to half of them!

In this picture, you can see what happened to me next. Yes, that woman is taking a picture of me taking a picture of her...! Soon, I had tourists flocking over to take pictures with me. So much for getting out of the pictures....

Back in the main group, it was very common for one tourist to have his picture taken with the whole group. The only problem came in when another tourist tried to get in the picture too; tourist #1 would then resort to scolding and angrily motioning for #2 to leave!! LOL!

After 10 minutes, (I'm serious; this was the worst I have EVER seen!) we were finally able to extricate ourselves and all enjoyed a good long laugh. :-)

Next up: Lacock Village (the last post!)