mrsbrown: (Default)
My equilibrium seems to have returned and I can contemplate Festival without crying or getting angry (they may be the same thing). Thanks to all my good friends who contributed to my recovery.

Here's the stuff I want to contemplate in the next year and in particular for my medieval fun;

Organise the permanent oven and structure at Festival.
oven on stone base with post and beam roof
From my email to the Festival organiser last year:

The floor area would be approximately 1.8m x 2.5m and the materials used would be selected based on the fire and termite considerations of the area.

We'll need to sort out a location and logistics of building something so far away. I imagine we can make the timber frame here in Melbourne and transport the pieces to site for construction.

We'll also need to source the stones for the base and probably soak some lime (or take some from the farm) for the lime render.

I think we'll need two weekends of travel and several more weekends for the timber construction. That's one weekend to build the base, and another weekend to build the oven and put together the timber frame. I'm probably being optimistic.

Also money. Maybe we could hit the FAT funds?

I wonder if the "we" I keep referring to are up for this? OTOH, maybe I can also get some local workforce?

Here's a thought...Maybe we could make the cover a bit bigger and include a rocket stove and boiling setup?


I'm feeling quite inspired by the kitchen chests and I'd like to replace the chests that we've used for our clothes for the past 8 years. They look quite nice, but they're made of plywood and don't operate like period chests. I like the basic pattern of the kitchen chests, but I'll make these ones smaller. I quite like this one, the dimensions are great - Height: 53 cm, Width: 111 cm, Depth: 49.5 cm. Thanks sjkasabi. More details here.
13th C chest


As usual, I want more/new clothes. I still haven't found my flemish dress, but I need a woollen one anyway. Also sleeves, a jacket and black wool partlet.

I'd like to make mr-bassman some hose and doublets, maybe from an earlier time period than the ones I made for MsNotaGoth last year.


By observation, at Festival we kept needing another cast iron pot. I think we should buy a second saxburger - it's a good size to feed a lot of people in feast quantities and is a good size for stews that we just keep re-heating.

Given our re-heating practices for the past few festivals, maybe our menu planning should include both stock and stew reheating? That would reduce the work involved in dinners!

I also think that we shouldn't have left so much equipment at home. It was a worthy thought, but the kitchen chests don't need careful packing so more stuff doesn't mean a longer pack up time. We need the flexibility we get from having lots of stuff.

Since finding out that the bowls we've bought from Alex are Anglo-saxon cooking pots, I think we should stop using them and try harder to find 15thC large bowls. We could just get Alex to make us some.


Since Festival I've had a couple of conversations about singing in the SCA;
  • I've been told off for telling someone that singing filk (to a modern tune) at a feast was not OK,
  • I've heard that people won't bring a tablet into Abbotsford and even when I commented that I didn't mind, they still wouldn't do it.
  • I've had conversations about bardic circles and how I miss the period songs sung as performance rather than participatory choir type singing.

I think I'm going to organise a bardic circle in Abbotsford next year. If they feel that they can't bring their tablets, I'm pretty sure it won't be too hard to keep out modern songs. :-)


The Barn tent is saggy and sad.  We need to make a new kitchen tent.


The composting toilets were good, but we didn't have enough storage, we overfilled one so I needed to reduce the liquid level before it could be transported and one of the barrels leaked a little in the truck on the way home.  Also, the barrels are too heavy to lift easily when full.  We really needed three 60L barrels as we had two people who didn't use them at all and had to avoid using during daytime for the last 3 days.

For next year, I would like to use 20L food buckets, without taps.  We could have a two holer, with one hole for liquids only, which could be easily emptied into a nearby porta loo.  And the other for solids, which wouldn't fill as quickly and can be carried home and left in a shed in the back paddock.  The buckets would mean that we wouldn't need a step so the tent would be more spacious.  Wow, we need 9 barrels, although if we're emptying wee we could probably use less.

OTOH, if we brought a trolley we could easily transport the 60L barrels and could just get new barrels that don't have taps.  That way we could use all the boxes etc that we already have.

mrsbrown: (Default)
This is what the Steward wrote today about the rules:

Line of sight was the one that I announced at Festival and I announced it for up to 10 years old. From 14 years old kids were able to roam around the site during the day but needed to be with a nominated carer at night. That didn't mean they couldn't
Line of site was also not necessarily of the parents it was of the nominated adult/ care giver. This was the advice that I received from the Office of the Children's Guardian as stated previously. As I have also stated previously not publishing this more prior to Festival was my oversight due to the number of unexpected other aspects of Festival that needed sudden and urgent responses right up to and including the DA requirements and the sudden rush to approve large sections of the site for camping due to the sudden need to have an arbourist check out the camp sites to find out if we could actually use them.
I am not totally happy with the line of sight requirement because I feel that for a 10 year old this is excessive. I do think that it is appropriate for a younger child. I will be double checking with the Office of the Children's Guardian on their requirements for this on Monday as I have to double check a number of things including our insurance requirements for children at events like Festival as well. All of these things come into play when we make any rules about who is allowed to do what. The majority of the rules that we followed this year for Festival for children are the same as those that have been followed in previous years.

and this is the line from yesterday;

"children had to be line of site(sic) from a nominated care giver when around the site. Over 10's did not have to be tagged, under 10's did have to be tagged. Over 14's could roam during the day but not at night. Over 14's could not look after younger children. Children could go to the nearest privy themselves. "

mrsbrown: (Default)
Normally, I come home from Festival full of ideas and enthusiasm. This year it's mostly outrage, determination to make sure it doesn't happen again and a bit of embarrassment.

Getting what happened written down will help.

When we signed in, we weren't reminded about an ID token for Rose and I forgot. There were several announcements about them and I made a note that I should do that but never got around to it. I was keeping a close eye on happenings at the children's fort because Rose can be crap with new children and I wanted to make sure she kept playing nicely. So I was there when a camp mate quietly walked up to R and asked to see his ID tag. She walked away with a purposeful stride and came back shortly with two constables (people who I normally respect the behaviour of). They stopped the joyous playing of the children, made them form lines and checked their ID tags and the presence of their supervising adult.

A brought Rose to me and asked me to get her an ID tag, we discussed the fact that troll hadn't provided one at signin but I agreed to go and get a tag for Rose while she kept playing. A told me, "you need to nominate a supervising adult", I replied that our camp was 30m away, Rose is 8 and I would be gone for only a short time. Rose was anxious to keep doing the awesome playing she'd been doing. A repeated, "you need to nominate a supervising adult" and I told her to "Fuck Off" and walked back to camp where I told mr-bassman to go and be a good parent because I was incapable of it. Rose tells me that she was told to go back to camp.

I'm embarrassed about losing my temper, but I'm also very angry that;
1. a person I consider R's close community didn't trust his mother to appropriately supervise him - in this case by making an arrangement for him to play at the fort with a large group of children
2. That the kid's happy playing was interrupted to apply a rule intended to be used when there is wrong-doing or a genuine emergency.
3. That the stewards/constables have judged my parenting to be inadequate.
4. That the power of the constables was misused and I wasn't able to do anything about it at the time

The similarity of the situation to apartheid or nazi like identity paper checks emphasised the power imbalance and made my emotional response much stronger than it should have been.

My inclination was to take the civil disobedience approach and keep supervising Rose at the fort from afar as I would normally do. But Aste is a better person than me (and had the resources to do it) and arranged for Tree to sit with the children at the fort, while we kept checking in with them.


On Monday there were fewer children at the fort and Tree was again sitting with them. A constable and the head steward raided the fort asking for supervising adults. Tree was deemed "too young" to be supervising them, and Aste was not quite in sight from camp at that moment (although Tree says she could see Aste, the Steward couldn't and didn't believe her) The kids were sent home again. When I arrived back at camp soon after, Rose greeted me angrily with, "they did it again!" and spent 5 minutes unable to do anything with her anger. I was impressed when she finally decided to go back to the fort - staging her own sit-in.

Finally, Aste was as annoyed as me and arranged to identify the constable involved and speak to her, and then we arranged to speak to the constable in charge. He arrived with the head steward and we had a thoroughly frustrating conversation based on our interpretations of civil law and what that meant we could do with our own children vs what the SCA thought we could do. It started being more fruitful when we focused on the behaviour of the constables and agreed that it was not OK to make children cry. During our conversation there was no way that the second supervision scenario, with Tree, was acceptable, but 5 min later, at court, the Steward appeared to have changed her mind and it was OK after all.

As this is my journal I get to lay blame on some early incidents - they're a bit gossip-y but indicate a bit of a culture around this stuff.

On Thursday night a Stormholder came to my camp and described an incident in which he found 3 young teenagers walking a track between the Tavern and their camp (although he didn't bother to find that out) at night (about 7pm). He came to discuss his outrage at this behaviour and I tried to suggest that there was really no problem. I found out later that he had told off these kids to the point where one was hysterical for the rest of the night and whose parents had referred the incident to the steward and asked for clarification of the site rules. I believe that's when the Steward came up with the 14year old supervision rules and requirement that under 14years olds stay in camp or with their parents. The teenagers in this incident were 13.

Last year after Festival there was a lot of gossip about some Stormhold children who were found in a campsite on their own during the day. The campsite belonged to friends of their parents, but the child free adults in this campsite were outraged and spent a lot of time decrying the supervision of these children and the abilities of their parents. I think these discussions have led to a bit of a culture of hyper vigilence about the supervision of these children which led directly to the "dobbing" that occurred at the children's fort on Sunday. This is an issue I need to stay alert for and say something when I see or hear it.

Since Festival, the Steward has posted 5 items as evidence for why the rules changed so much this year:

These three are all related to the changes for Working with Children Checks;$FILE/b2012-025-d15-House.pdf

and the last is the SCA policies;

Using those sources, I can't find any reference to children's ages, or a definition of what "supervision" is and, following the conversations online since, I'm a bit worried that everyone is going to focus on improving the communication of the rules - because that doesn't label someone wrong, and forget to make the rules work for the freedom of children.

The rules, as written by the Steward, with the benefit of hindsight were:
"children had to be line of site(sic)  from a nominated care giver when around the site. Over 10's did not have to be tagged, under 10's did have to be tagged. Over 14's could roam during the day but not at night. Over 14's could not look after younger children. Children could go to the nearest privy themselves. "

I don't want to maintain line of sight supervision of my 8 year old, let alone my 13.5 year old! 

My rules/guidelines would be:

All children to remain within the boundary of the main campsites, unless accompanied by an adult. 
Children under 14 (I would prefer 13, but 14 seems to be OK with people) are expected to be in their campsites after 8pm/dark, unless with an adult approved by their parents.
Tagging children with identifying information, such as name, campsite and parents, is strongly encouraged and tags are available at the troll tent.
Children found wandering alone, away from the village green will be asked their business and may be asked to return to their campsites or the village green.
Children are expected to comply with the Code of Conduct for the SCA, and hurting people, theft  or damaging equipment is not OK.
Children are expected to know where to find their caregivers and caregivers are expected to provide a level of supervision suitable for their child's age and maturity.

Now can I get on with the rest of the post Festival stuff?!!
mrsbrown: (Default)

someone talked about offering face painting at Festival.

I said I thought it was a bad idea  - I don't want to have an argument with Rose telling her she can't have her face painted because it's not medieval, and I don't want to see a bunch of face painted kids.

I've been stomped on and now I'm wondering if I did the right thing.   Other parents are saying the face painting IS period because people would have been painted for plays.

No, She's just posted pictures of the sorts of pictures she' s planning to paint and they don't invoke a medieval play.  They just look modern. 

So...should I just lighten up?

Hmm, I still don't think I'll be letting Rose get her face painted.
mrsbrown: (Default)
I've been quite bread obsessed this year and I've been trying to work out how to include it in my Festival experience.  Here are my thoughts;

I like the idea of a community bakery.  A place where people can come and have their baking done.  I imagine organising a group of subscribers before Festival, and then use the subscribers to make the oven and fire it each day.  I guess people wouldn't only use it for bread - pastry could also happen as the oven cools.

The oven would need to be big enough for the number of subscribers, but not too big.  It would be good to work out how many loaves can fit in a larger oven and how long it takes to heat up enough for a baking.  Also, how much fuel.  Maybe I could use tenbears oven as the basis for testing/ limits of subscribers.

Thinking a bit further, maybe it could be incorporated into the wine bar and get used in the evening too? No, I need it close to where I'm camping so I don't start hating it.

teehee!  Perhaps I could make dough forms so people can easily carry their loaves to the oven?  Need to check that they're period and in what form.  They're called Brotform or Banneton.  I think I like the fabric style best  - you can use any basket and wash the cloth.

If the fire were started at 8am, assuming a two hour firing time we could all have bread by 10.30.  I could put a table and sunshade over/next to the oven and people could drop off their bread dough in the morning and pick it up later.  Also, I wouldn't have to change my morning routine too much.   If someone got enthusiastic, the oven could be refired for a short time and buns produced at about 12.  People would need to make their bread the night before and leave it for the final rise overnight.

If there were enough subscribers, it could also be fired at 3pm, for bread at 5.30pm.  Bread for this firing could be made in the morning - first thing for sourdough, or lunchtime for yeast.

I also want to run some sourdough breadmaking workshops - including advice on how to fit bread into a Festival routine, period breadmaking equipment and how to use it.  Maybe that could happen first thing Friday morning - making bread and then how to fire the oven could happen at 3pm.  We could make more bread then too, for the next day.

mrsbrown: (sca baby)
I'm tired and busy and I have done almost nothing about Festival. We're planning to leave in less than two weeks, so I should probably make a list of stuff to get done, maybe then I'll do something?

Make sleeves for Rose
alter my fighting hose
make another pair of hose
finalise my menu/food plans
head to the Vic market for salami/sausage/bacon/cheese
clean up the family room so I can use it as a staging area
clean up my bedroom so I can find my medieval clothes
think about if I need any more clothes for the outfits I'd like to wear.

Can I go to bed now?
mrsbrown: (Default)
This is more than a recipe for some tasty camping food.  This is also how to store the food when you're camping for 6 days and trying to be as historically informed as possible. (without just killing a chicken)

Makes enough for 20 or so:

1.5kg Gourmet tortellini - the very dry sort that you can get from the Mediterranean Supermarket, and maybe from that pasta shop in the deli section of Queen Vic market.
500g Parmesan cheese
3 onions
enough boiling water to fill Tiny (the smallest cauldron Abbotsford uses)

Decant the tortellini from the plastic bags into a linen bag you've made and tie the top with string. Store in a wooden box with your other dry goods.
Put the Parmesan cheese into a linen bag that you don't mind getting greasy.  Ideally you can hang it. But on a plate in the Ambry cupboard works too.

On the day
Fry the onions until they're caramelised, add boiling water from the kettle.  When you're sure it's all boiling again add the tortellini and cook.  Take off the fire and add grated/cut small parmesan.  Serve.
mrsbrown: (Default)
There are 7 weekends until Festival.  One of those weekends is possibly filled with Border War.  What do I want to do before then?

Finish a gambeson :-)
2 fighting shirts
2 braies
more hose
Make a tent on commission
Check my handsewing pile for ufo's
New gorget

MsNotaGoth says I also need to make her a tent.  I will participate in this.

Hmmm, after this weekend's efforts I think that's achievable.

mrsbrown: (Default)

¼ of a cabbage is enough for cabbage pottage for 15 people.

1kg of tortellini is also enough for 15 people.

We need to bake two loaves of bread a day, over 5 days we will need about 2kg/day or 10kg flour (We had a scant 5kg).

My tent door needs work – cringles and hem.

I need to play with the dimensions of my tent to stop the puddle effect at the bottom of the walls – I might need a taller pole.

The groundsheet concept is great but can magnify minor leaks into giant puddles.

We need a groundsheet free door entry – that’s where the minor leaks happen, and it looks ugly too.

I need more boys clothes, including a “boyfriend” coat.

Tidying and medievalising the inside of my tent each day makes me anxious. This year I was calmer even though the tent was a mess.

Actually, girls clothes can make me anxious too, “giving up” and wearing medieval tracksuits helped me be calmer.

Going to war was as much fun as people have always told me, but next time I’ll wear incontinence pads and carry a pee-mate

Rose is old enough to be mostly sensible about telling us where she was going.

mrsbrown: (Default)
Although it can't be that different, I've used that title before.

It's packing day.  I should be up and at 'em, but I'm writing here instead.  I justified starting this post because I was drinking tea and eating toast, but I just couldn't get started until I had my hands free of both tea and crumbs.

I think we've decided that our car won't be repaired, although at this point it does need to be moved from the road outside the mechanics and I'm not sure we have the head space to make the final decision and just get it towed to a wrecking yard.  So maybe we'll pay the towing cost and move somewhere more sensible.  OTOH, maybe we can ......aaaargh!  I give up. 

going to shower and start packing.
mrsbrown: (Default)
I didn't get any sewing done, but I have audited Rose's Festival clothes and she has the following clothes to wear;

red flemish (cotton)
blue wool pin on sleeves
black wool partlet
black linen partlet
unfinished white linen partlet
black linen apron
green linen apron
green wool surcoat
purple/red tunic with embroidery around the neck (from celsa - was this a borrow or a hand me down?)
red wool hood that will fit until she's bigger than me
ugly blue wool cloak

Notice the lack of underwear?  Every chemise she owns will still fit, but her arms and legs are too long for her.  The hems are at knee height and the arms at the elbow.  Actually, almost all her dresses are in the same category - fit in the body but the skirts are too short.  The only one that doesn't "fit" has set in sleeves - I'll avoid them in future.

I've done really well.  Most of the dresses I discarded tonight have been worn since at least our trip to Canterbury Faire in 2009.

Tonight I patterned some underwear.  I guess I'll sew that sometime between now and Festival... I'm also thinking that some more aprons and partlets could be useful, so she can just change apron and partlet each day and keep her one dress clean enough.  Otherwise, maybe she's ready to just wear plain coloured linen/wool shifts with a belt.  I guess I could button them at the wrist so the sleeves can include growing room but not be annoying.  She could probably dress herself if I went that way...

Or maybe I could just make her another flemish in a lightweight wool with a bag lining - I made the last one in an hour, not including patterning.

mrsbrown: (tent)
I realised today that today is the first day of my year.  It's the day I arrive home from my easter holiday, the holiday that contributes to definining most of my year's goals. 

In January I've already started mentally preparing for my Easter holiday, so I just can't get sidetracked into a list of stuff I want to do this year - I already know!


This year I will;

- Finish my personal underwear project.  Especially since I broke through the anti sewing foo on thursday when I made an undertunic in an hour.
- It sounds like there is a lot of tent making in my future.  I have a new design I want to try, I expect sjkasabi and assassinus will want  a new tent, and tenbears and splodgenoodles are also a bit tentless.  Alliette was also asking about tent making.
- I want a new camping bed, without allen keys.  One for Rose would be good too.
- and some way to quickly put up our canopy.  It didn't happen again, even though I know it makes a huge difference to my comfort - warmer overnight and cooler for arvo naps during the day. 
- a ground sheet for the dining tent - canvas, painted with floor tiles?
- ground sheet for our tent with markings for where the wall pegs go.
- make some clothes for mr-bassman

-  I'll need to get working on finishing the kitchen too.  That'll be easier after ms kasabi is born.

mrsbrown: (Default)
They're out in the backyard, trying to light a fire in my oven.

With their new flint and steel.
mrsbrown: (sca baby)
This will be added to, I'm sure.

Organise an heraldic melee team, complete with Spiffy Stormhold stuff.
Actually see the spiffy tents and campsites that Stormholders have made (I'm a bad Baroness)
Get to Festival early enough that I don't need to waste Festival time resting/acclimatising.
Make Real shoes for me (and maybe [ profile] mr_bassman, unless he makes his own)
Two more linen under tunics
Find a more interesting veil/head covering option, that's just as easy and quick.
A sturdy table/surface in my tent. Maybe something like

this or this which are probably the same piece of furniture btw.
(click the pictures for the bigger version)

Hand-washing facilities in my tent.
Procure a small jug for said hand-washing, and wine during the rest of the year.
Collect/make linen bags and containers for kitchen equipment, so I don't feel guilty.
Arrange bricks in Sydney for oven making
mrsbrown: (Default)
I think I'm glum. I'm snappy and miserable and I can't be bothered.

OTOH, Can you be glum when your brain is bouncing with the list of all the things you want to do? Unfortunately, many of them require more funding than is or will be available in the short to medium term.

In the interests of getting it out of my brain and into the public domain;

- get an electrician to finish off the laundry (finances constrain this)
- buy a new washing machine to replace the dead one. This is now urgent, despite our lack of finances those nappies keep coming. Should we get a front loader, for those virtuous environmental reasons, or a top loader that is mechanically simpler and I can dye fabric in?
- buy a drier. This is not so urgent but probably a good idea when buying a washing machine.
- start invest costuming for me and ladies in waiting. This might have to wait until after our trip to Canberra in two weeks, aaargh!
- motivate other invest types to get stuff done and planned. Mostly to make me feel better.
- make a pouch for Z to replace the one I talked him into, that he didn't like. Maybe I can do this tonight, if we have appropriate leather and I'm not out shopping for a washing machine and I'm not feeling so glum that I just sit on the couch.
- revamp the storage in my bathroom. This is a good project for Saturday, when I don't currently have a social engagement.
- I'm also inclined to move the renovation plan further along, but I'm sure I'll get better soon.
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