Originally I was going to go to Manchester last Saturday to take part in the Famelab competition run by Channel 4. They are looking for a few new science presenters for TV. I quite fancied the idea when it came up, but the closer it came to the day, the less I felt up to it. Being ill for pretty much two weeks did nothing to help this. Berry was also going to go, but when we spoke about it just before I got ill she sounded about as ready for it as I felt. Upshot, we both were rather happy to chicken out.
This left me with the opportunity to accompany the_marquis, Third and Niggle to the Re-enactors' Fair. I hadn't been to one of these fairs for more than two years, and I really wanted to go. Especially, because this time we would actually be able to spend a fair amount of money. Which, of course, we promptly did.
The fair was interesting as usually, with a number of stalls with cloths (wool, silks, linens) and historical clothes. There were books, 'stuff' from various periods in history, musical instruments, Roman glass, jewellery, leather skins, historical shoes, weaponry and much, much more.
The main purchase for this trip was a small folk harp. I'd wanted one for a while and the Marquis suddenly expressed a desire to learn to play the harp as well. So we decided to be insane and actuall get one. It has a pretty maple frame with a couple of small celtic-knot decorations on the sound box, and it spans four octaves (E-e'', I think). Usefully it has toggles so you can sharp c's and f's with just a flick of the wrist, rather than having to retune for a sharp every time. It should be fun for both of us to learn to play this little harp.
I also went looking for some fabric for a medieval gown that I want to make as part of a new costume I am working on. With the Marquis' assistance I found a splendid green-yellow shot silk with a wonderful papery texture and a rich natural lustre in sunlight. (It was even reduced in price!) This silk, it turns out, was woven in England by a small family run business who only weave to order. The salespeople at the stall by remainders from these people and then sell it on to re-enactors and folks like myself. The guy who sold me the fabric (and was kind enough to take it outside for me to look at in natural lighting before I bought it) also asked me to send him a photo of the gown when it is finished: apparently the ladies who weave the fabrics love to see the things created from their cloths, and until the re-enactors showed them some pictures of the costumes, they had had no idea about what kind of stuff was made from these gorgeous silks.
Apart from those two major purchases, we also acquired a Roman mosaic-glass pendant for Nix, and a Roman mouth-blown glass cup with a pattern of leaves on its sides (the pattern is a replica of one found in an archeological dig). The Marquis got himself a few books, and I got a pretty belt with a solid brass buckle and a magnetic bracelet small enough to fit my wrists, and a dozen mother of pearl buttons for costuming purposes. We also found a nice renaissance-type shirt for the Marquis as a spare for his hobbit-dance workshopping outfit -- dancing being sweaty work and all.
In between wandering the market, Niggle, Third, the Marquis and I also spent a lot of time chatting and had some surprisingly affordable and delicious chips and scampi for lunch. 'Twas a nice day out.
Back home, Third and Niggle stayed overnight and we had jambalaya with prawns and swordfish for dinner accompanied by a delicious Chilean Chardonnay. For dessert, we had forest-fruit strudel and watched the DVD of A Knight's Tale which I enjoyed again. It's got some really nice resonances for me, that movie.
Anyway... enough for the moment. I am technically working from home today and so want to get some more stuff done before I call it a day and start pottering around the house. :-)