July 8-July 15

Tuesday, 8 July

We walked quite a long way to the shoot Ron had. We stopped at the costume shop—which has three floors right now—kitschy stuff, a floor for dancewear and a seamstress creating bespoke costumes, and the bottom floor for costumes.

Ron purchased a female police hat and some fake blood.

Then we walked on to the shoot. We were on the wrong side of the road and getting across the middle of a 5-lane very busy road was a trick, but we managed it. We to the flat at 10:59—right on time. Then, however, it turned out to have several flats. Ron looked up the number and we were supposed to be at 6. So I started off. Then he hollered (I’d actually managed to make it quite a ways) and said that the first was right. It was number 26 and flat 6.

The model buzzed us in and we went up three very steep flights of stairs. We knocked on the door and went up another very steep flight of stairs.

Ron and her partner chatted about computer stuff. Then they started the shoot. Ron sent me back to the costume shop to get the Russian KGB outfit. They shot that. Then, even though he’d paid for half day, after an hour and a half, they stopped.

We all four went to a pub and chatted for three hours.

Then we went back to their flat to get our bags and walked home.

Wednesday, 9 July
I went off with the bicycle map to go shopping. I wanted to go by one of the charity shops we saw on our walk.

However, the names of the streets weren’t always listed and I ended up doing about six miles out of my way—and out of town—to get to the High Street area. Even when I got to the area, I went the wrong direction and ended up another mile or so of excess walking going away from town center.

Once I finally got there the shop I’d seen didn’t seem as interesting as it did yesterday. Then I went around and saw a bunch of others. I found an absolutely stunning top—didn’t come close to fitting. I found a beautiful fancy silver dress which would work for the Retro Hugos, didn’t fit.

I bought seven or eight hand-painted silk shawl/scarf/table runner things. I think they are beautiful. I hope they can be worn as scarves, because that’s really what I bought them for. They’re my gifts from the UK: Melanie, Karen C, Nancy… We’ll see about the others. None really seemed perfect for MD—and she’s been here herself. They certainly aren’t “typical” English things, but they are gorgeous. They were for sale at the Blue Cross for Pets shop; they were created by a volunteer at that center.

I found a gold and see-through black outfit that I thought might work for the Retros, if I could find a black one-piece underwear thing. Looked at several department stores, went in the Beechwood Shopping Centre and the Regent Arcade. Finally found one, quite a bit cheaper than the others I’d been looking at (that didn’t fit) and bought it.

Then I went home.

Ron wasn’t impressed with the gold and black thing.

One oddity about being in the UK is that I see myself here (unlike at home—where I feel like I’m much smaller than I really am) as very fat and overweight. I felt like I was my mother’s size when I put the black and gold thing on. I love my mother dearly—she was an amazing woman. She was about 100 pounds heavier than I am, however, so that is an odd view to have.

Tonight we watched Michael McIntyre, the comedian the Duncans had recommended. He is funny.

Thursday, 10 July
Today we just stayed in, ate our food, slept late, watched videos, and generally vegged.

We watched the Michael McIntyre Road Show. It’s not as funny and in the Edinburgh version, which we watched first, he dissed Scots throughout his opening shtick.

Friday, 11 July
We went shopping some today. I got Ron to go back to the costume shop we went to for the photo shoot and he ended up purchasing the space man costume that was for sale. The pants will have to be altered, but it shouldn’t be a difficult alteration.

I guess that means I will definitely be going in the silver and purple space girl costume, although I still need shoes. (Ron can wear his black tennies he hasn’t worn yet on this trip.)

We met the Duncans, Moray and Lauren, at the Wine Bar. We were there about 1.5 hours. Her dad came (from the north) about the time we were supposed to be breaking up. Ron and Moray talked and Lauren and I talked. It was an enjoyable time.

They had told us to eat at The Daffodil and we thought about going there for supper. However, by the time I called for reservations, we couldn’t get in till 9:30.

So we went to Sainsbury’s, bought some to-cook meals, and went home and ate. We also watched a couple of episodes of Castle.

Saturday, 12 July
We went to the Tewkesbury Festival today. It’s a re-enactment of the battle of 1471 between the forces of Edward IV and Margaret of Anjou (wife of Henry VI and mother of a prince). Edward IV (York) beat the Lancastrians, killed the prince, and secured his own seat on the throne. He’s the one who put Richard III and his own brother in the tower—the famous “Princes in the Tower” captivity thing.

The bus ride to Tewkesbury was £5.50 for a return trip ticket for one. We each got one, of course. Four people sitting next to us, who got on when we did, were in costume. I asked if they had been to the Festival before. They said no. The folks in front of them also said they were going and had not been before.

When we got near Tewkesbury, it was obvious that lots of people were going. The bus slowed to an occasional crawl. A few people who I think were going to the fair got off early and just hiked in. They may have made it before us, but it wasn’t that big of a deal.

We got off at the bus stop near the festival. It was just around the corner and down the road—maybe a quarter of a mile—to the entrance.

There’s no charge for these things. Folks volunteer to be re-enactors. People bring their tents and sell things. It does cost £60,000 to put on, so the money comes from somewhere I suppose. When I was getting my lunch, the guy told me it was an English Heritage thing. In that way, at least, we were doing our bit to support them, as we joined English Heritage when we were at Whitby Abbey. Ron also put money in the bucket—all the “change” he had, which should have been at least £4.50, as he paid his ticket with a £10 note.

We walked down the first row of tents and it was crazy crowded. You couldn’t really get in and look at anything without waiting. Then we skipped the next row and went over to the food tents. Ron got a burger and we both got drinks. We went a bit farther and I got a ham and cheese crepe. It was hot, which should be good, but it was also very hot outside. I ate about half the crepe and two bites of Ron’s burger. I also drank every drop of my Classic Lemonade in a can and more than 2/3s of my water bottle.

Several people said it was cooler than last year, even though it was hot. And obviously last year was a significant issue because they came on the loud speakers and announced that you needed to keep drinking and stay hydrated.

I was looking at the program and someone asked if he could look at it. He was dressed in costume and said, “Someone told me the script is in there. May I look at it? They didn’t give us the script.” I handed it over.

He told me he has been Sir William of York, maybe Hastings? for 24 years. Last year, he said, they ended up having 4 different Duke of Somersets. The first was so dehydrated he couldn’t go onto the field. Two others dropped out upon the field. The fourth just barely made it through. Apparently last year it was 100 degrees out there!!! (The year before it had flooded horribly.) 100 degrees in England. Whoa! That is HOT.

Sir William also told me that in an earlier historical battle someone of significance had died of heat exhaustion, during a blizzard! Those 5 stone of armor, not including all the necessary clothing, had him overheated and dead, despite the intense cold outside.

We went down the second line of shops, then back up when I told Ron there was a steampunk shop and he hadn’t seen it. Then it was 1 and there was nothing to do until 3 and the falconery exhibition.

I suggested we go to town and come back, so we headed to the path and Ron said, “Before we go, let’s go check out the battlefield.” I’m glad he did.

Turns out that they also have tents pitched all around the battlefield and these tents are filled with people in costume living out Living History. They are doing things that folks would have done in that day, cooking, sewing, harping, herb drying, and giving instruction. I listened to one man give a talk on who went hunting with what types of bows when.

I took some pictures. I don’t know how they came out as I haven’t looked at them yet.

Someone, who won’t be there because she is graduating next weekend, said there is a Living History weekend on the English Heritage events calendar about an hour from Tewkesbury and that it has folks dressed in all eras of costumes. I talked to the two folks in her tent and said that we had Ren Fairs but they were different. The guy said that the Living History was more like that.

We, of course, will be in London, so we won’t be going.

Eventually we sat on hay bales that had been set up and then Ron went to take pictures. Eventually people started coming along and asking if the place was taken. I said yes to at least three people. Finally an older woman sat there anyway, with her grandchild on her lap. I didn’t say anything. Her husband or son had said that there would be room for three on the bale—not quite. Only room for us when we sat next to each other. The woman on the bale next to mine offered the granny her bale.

I probably should have. But I’d been sitting on that prickly hay for two hours holding our place and then people just came along and sat on it after asking if it was taken. Wow. Quite a bit of cheek.

Saw more of that as people came to sit down. People sitting in places where people already had been (though one had gone to the bathroom) and taking up space with their blanket that could have been filled with three or four more people…

By the time the battle was on two kids were standing/sitting on our bale with us. I ended up with a scratch and about 25 little bites that were very itchy (but healed up by the next day).

The battle was… different. First off, you could only see one side, since we were at the end of the battle area. Also, the commentator was telling you what was happening, but sometimes he said it before it happened and sometimes after. No one died until the end, when they had to have some bodies on the field. People behind me were talking about resurrection and miracles. Three people left the field with injuries, but at least one of those came back on.

The weirdest thing to me about the battle was that there were about 8 musketeers on both sides. Folks had guns in 1471? Why weren’t there more? According to Wikipedia, muskets were available at that time period—and used—in China and in their wars (from 1300s on). It says that muskets weren’t used (in the West) till the 16th century. So does a Humanities 369 website. But
Britain Explorer
says they had muskets, as well as cannon.

By the way, cannon are very loud. They were shooting them off about 12 feet from us.

It started raining towards the end of the battle and we left before the battle actually got to where we were. Ron had his disposable raincoat over his computer and I had put my camera in my purse and covered it up.

I was in a lot of pain by the time we got back to the bus stop.

There looked to be a sort of queu and we got in and then it turned out not to have been as queu-ed up and 4 people who were there ahead of us ended up several people behind us.

When we got on the bus, we went towards the back and set by ourselves, since the seats were taken. For a while the bus was jam packed, with two little girls sitting on the two stairs next to me.

We got off at the Boston Tea Party and ate dinner. I had a ham and cheese with béchamel (and mustard, it turns out) and a Bakewell for dessert. We were both exhausted.

Then we came home, watched two or three more Castle videos and went to bed.

Sunday, July 13
We were going to sleep late.

Ron was up about 8, but I stayed in bed till 10.

When I got up I made spaghetti chicken, using the cooked chicken I had purchased. It was quite good. I ate all of it and only afterwards realized that I had overeaten.

Around 2 we headed into Town Center and we ended up eating lunch at KFC. It took us a while to figure out the menu and the folks behind the counter were Asian and French, so the language/accent barriers were tricky.

Then we looked for hydrogen peroxide, came home, and hung out here.

We watched a few more episodes of Castle. Ron started getting ready to go to bed and so did I. I wasn’t actually falling asleep but I refused to get up. Ron, on the other hand, hopped out of bed and went into the living room. My brain thought it was being very productive; it ran through all the things I have to do and gave me ideas about how to do them and what to do with them. I still didn’t get up. Eventually I fell asleep.

Monday, July 14
This morning we got up around 8 and started preparing to leave. We were packed and the house re-organized by about 11. We ate leftovers for lunch. I took out the trash.

One of the things my brain told me last night was to send Mikee a CFP about teaching rape in medieval Brit lit classes. So today I wrote Mikee about the CFP I thought she might be interested in. I was writing her with ideas for non-Chaucer works and decided that I wouldn’t send those. If she had the ideas, well and good. If not, and if I had time, then I might end up writing that.

One of the things my brain said last night was that I should not waste time re-organizing my dissertation (even though it needs it) because Edwin Mellen didn’t ask for it and there’s no reason to do it. Do I think anyone is going to read that book? No. So why spend time fixing it? I need to get it sent in, so I should just finish the edits, give it to someone to edit for me (check on number of sentences in paragraphs and general sense), and then send it in. Now my brain is arguing with itself, but I still think it’s a good idea.

I was re-reading some Weber stuff and found a person for Reading British… It’s Scott MacDallan, though the novella is written by Linda Evans. I know I wrote that down at some point, somewhere, but I don’t know where. I hope I find enough other works to make this a good presentation. But, anyway, I’ve got two more paragraphs to work on.

Ron arranged for Uber to pick us up at London Paddington. I would have just taken a taxi. However, it may be quite different, which is what he wanted.

The cabbie parked two houses down from us and carried three of the bags down there. The trip to the station is much faster when you are driving as opposed to waking.

Ron gave me some interesting advice from Neil Strauss. Write books 4 times. The first time is for you, put everything in. No one reads this version. Then you take out what doesn’t need to be included. He said he’s taken out 100+ pages for this next book (whatever book that was/is).

If I did that, maybe I’d finish the Ceeley BBB book. Or maybe not. Sentences are very long and the main characters aren’t the viewpoint character, which is odd.

We got here safely, brought our stuff in (got something black on the carpet bringing in our suitcases), and settled in. There are not a lot of hangers nor is there much hanging space. However, since we don’t use many of our clothes, we were able to just leave them in the suitcases.

Ron went through the whole kitchen. It is very well set up. I mean, you could not wash dishes for a week, they have so many plates and silverware. (You would still need to wash cups and glasses.) The plates have actual gold trim and the silverware looks like it is old silver, though it is marked stainless. I wonder if the person/people who own the flat like old stuff or if they think it is fitting with the Victorian age of the flat.

He also got online and started ordering food. We have a delivery from Tesco coming tomorrow at 2. Right as he was finishing I remembered how little space we have in the fridge and had to think through whether what I ordered would fit. I got 1.25 kg of chicken, some veggies, some fruit, cheese, crackers, chips, rice, and spaghetti. Should fit.

Tuesday, 15 July
We got up quite late, almost 10. Just the whole stress of moving thing, I think. That and the sun doesn’t set till 10.

We went for a walk in our neighborhood. The park catty corner to us has a rock climbing wall, a baby slide, a big circle (about the width of a tractor tire) for sitting on, and some plants and shade.

We also found that Islington has a walking path set up, but it doesn’t say how far it is, just how long it should take to get from one place to the next.

We came home from our walk and had toast and tea. Then Ron got out one of the chocolate chip muffins and I had one and a glass of milk. I think that will keep me till supper. I do need to go get some teriyaki or soy sauce or something for dinner tonight. I decided to try to do the Japanese hibachi type meal.

We will be here in Islington for a month. Then we are moving to a hotel near ExCeL–the place where the World Science Fiction Convention is taking place.

We brought two 26-inch suitcases, our backpacks for computer gear, a carry-on with all the photography gear, and my purse.

Both of us have about 1/3-1/2 of a suitcase that we haven’t used at all–wrong things (shoes, clothes).

We’ve also bought some stuff here–four books, a jacket, etc. So we are probably going to have to buy a suitcase to get the stuff home.

Ron has been working on the LonCon3 projects today. He went to the Maker space this evening. He came back quite late and enthusiastic, even though he said the Maker space at home is way better.

I’ve been working on my tenure and promotion portfolio and my classes for the fall.