Friday, October 30, 2009

It's a dead man's party...

"Who could ask for more?
Everybody's comin', leave your body at the door
Leave your body and soul at the door . . ."

Tom's 8th birthday party in fact, he asked for a Halloween themed party and wanted a cake in the shape of Gachnar the fear demon from Buffy. It's nice to know he has such faith in my decorating skills (last year 2 years ago he asked for a Balrog). Yeah, no Gachnar I'm afraid. Instead he's getting this:

Tom's 8th birthday cake

Skeletal arm

The scale is all wrong but I can't imagine anyone is going to care. It's in the fridge at the moment, because when I took it outside to take photos the chocolate arm bones started to melt and sag - had to prop them up with toothpicks and scramble to make room in the fridge. Fortunately they survived the experience - these photos are post melt and re-setting. Phew!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Time to edit my "About Me" blurb

At the moment it reads:
Hi, I'm Mim, a 38 year old mother of three (David 12 yrs, Caitlin 10 yrs and Thomas 7 yrs). I spend my time doing mum stuff, volunteering at the kids' school, making jewellery and occasionally pretending to be a viking and I also work part-time for a small magazine publisher. I'm a book addict and I'm always in need of new bookshelves. I have a dog, 2 cats and a 4 foot fish tank with one lonely fish in it.
To begin with, 3 of the numbers in the first sentence changed in the last 2 weeks, and then today there was a dramatic change to a couple of the numbers in the last sentence.

Don't go getting too excited though - it's the fish numbers that changed, the mammal population of the house remains the same.

It's been quite some time since I did any actual maintenance on the big fishtank, when people asked if there were any fish in there I'd say "possibly." Turns out the answer should have been "no." I think I've been feeding fish food to the plants for a while.

Anyway, today was Tom's eighth birthday and he'd been asking for a Siamese fighting fish for weeks. Problem is, I hate looking at those tiny little tanks with one slightly pathetic looking fish, so we asked about keeping them in a community tank and were assured it's possible as long as none of the other fish are nippy types. Tom, therefore, is now the proud owner of a 40L tropical fish tank and Simo the Siamese fighting fish is hanging out temporarily in one of my flower vases while we wait for the tank to be ready for him to live there.

Meanwhile, seeing as I was on a bit of a roll with the whole setting up of fishtanks thing, I cleaned out the big tank that sits in our front hall, rinsed the very dusty small tank that has been sitting unused in the kitchen and set it up in the lounge room, sorted through the accumulated crap in the cupboard under the big tank, took the kids shopping at Reef River Reptile up at Hornsby, came home with 6 silver tip tetras for the big tank, a bunch of plants and the afforementioned Simo, spent a good couple of hours fiddling around with tank layout and then collapsed in exhaustion. (Ten litre buckets of water are kind of heavy and there's an awful lot of them involved in setting up 280L worth of aquarium even when the 200L tank only needs half refilling.)

They look so pretty when they're all clean and tidy.

The big tank with the 6 silver tip tetras.

4ft fishtank

The small tank in our lounge room.

Our 20-inch tank

Tom's fishtank.

Tom's new fishtank

And last but not least, Simo the Siamese fighting fish.

Simo the siamese fighting fish

Now, to edit that blurb...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Beorgwic was...wet

We left home rather later than we had intended for our trip to Beorgwic, the annual event hosted by the Ancient Arts Fellowship at the Danelaw property in the Southern Highlands. As we drove south I tweeted my fear that we would be putting the tent up in the rain, what I didn't quite anticipate was that it would also be be dark. Pitch black dark. We put the tent up in the rain and freezing cold by torchlight. I am so very glad that putting up a geteld is incredibly quick. (Many thanks to Talisien of Blue Draco for making us such a beautiful tent - it was perfect!)

Our tent

New geteld

You'd think that with a start like that I'd have been feeling utterly miserable but the truth is I was having fun. I scare myself sometimes. Unfortunately going to bed very cold with wet hair and wearing my furry hat left me with an ear infection that got slowly worse over the course of the weekend, the agony peaked on the drive home so it didn't really spoil my weekend but it did leave me feeling not my best. (Turned out in the end to be a combination of external and middle ear infection, I've had that once before and I suspected it was heading that way. That part not so much fun.)

The kids were great dealing with the wet and cold and went to bed without any complaints being very careful not to let their sleeping bags soak up the puddles on the ground under their airbeds (does this sound like fun yet?). I was so very glad we'd decided to grab dinner of sorts when we'd stopped for petrol about 90 minutes before arriving at the camp.

We woke to drizzle and mist 1000 years in the past. It took Adam a very long time to get the fire going so we had cold breakfast - bread, cheese and fruit - before heading off to do crafting workshops. Adam did blacksmithing and made a cloak broach and I learned how to do Viking wire-weaving (more on that in a later post). Then we had porridge for lunch.

Our fireplace became a favoured gathering place during the day for many of the camp's kids who had a great time alternately poking at the fire with sticks and at each other with rubber weapons. It was...noisy, but at least our fire didn't go out!

Tom and Odin

Tom at the fireplace

Caitlin, Emily and David

Caitlin playing with fire

Dinner for the kids was served early in the tavern, a huge improvement on last year when the kids ate at the same time as everyone else, whinged about the food and generally made dinner time rather stressful.

The kids at dinner

Kids dinner in the tavern

Dinner for the rest of us on Saturday and Sunday nights consisted of a four course feast of deliciousness provided by our hosts. Saturday was meatballs in a creamy sauce, then red wine beef and honey roasted vegetables followed by lamb cider stew and topped off with saffron custard and ginger biscuits. Sunday was lombard chicken pasties, then pork and honey roasted veg, lamb stew again and pears poached in red wine with cream for dessert. Top that off with a drinking horn or two full of beer and mead and all is well with the world!

I got a little bit of tablet weaving done, loosed a few arrows at some targets and generally hung around talking to people and not caring what the kids were up to. That particular approach came a little unstuck when Caitlin almost managed to get herself lost in the bush en route back from the Danelaw fort 700m up the road - she was set on the right path by others who were heading to the fort through the bush and came hurtling down the path to the village with tears streaming down her cheeks having given herself a huge fright and a useful lesson in the do not separate from your companions rule. The kids had all gone up to the fort together via the road and then some had headed off into the bush while the others had gone back via the road and then somehow Caitlin had ended up ahead of the bush bashing contingent who had then retraced their steps leaving her on her own. Or something, I never did quite work it out.

Me tablet weaving

Inside our tent

The archery range

Archery range

The village green

Village green

The tavern, complete with beer garden out the back


View from our tent looking towards the village

Path to village

When it came to pack up time on Monday the kids did not want to leave, I on the other hand was well and truly ready for a shower and clean dry clothes, it seems a long weekend is about my limit for living in the dark ages! We capped the weekend off by packing the tent away in the rain and crossing our fingers that we wouldn't get bogged on the way out of the forest and then drove home through a hail storm. The tent is currently up in our backyard slowly drying out and I'm already looking forward to next year.