Wednesday 25 September 2019

Amersham 2019


I usually do an English Heritage event at Hever castle with the Paladins, but, unfortunately, this year it was on the weekend after I came back from the Dublin Worldcon and  not only was I still very tired, but I had also picked up a rather nasty cold bug at the con, so I decided that it would be better not to attend.

The next event I went to was at Amersham on 8 September. This is a nice one day show that I have done several times before.

I gave my friend Sandy a lift and took my awning, my standard and my new gonfalon of St Michael  ( which I been planning to unveil at Hever).

We had a slightly better part of the site this year and a far flatter tourney field. Also, as a few members of the Medieval Combat Society had joined us, we were able to do one fight each and then the melee. It was not very hot, but this still made it easier in six stone of plate. All in all the show went very well and we had quite a lot of interest and a very reasonable quality of punter.

Here is an old photo of me in combat against Sir John Chandos ( my friend Tony)

Until next time


Thursday 19 September 2019

Worldcon Story Part 4


Life got a little busy, so I'm posting this now.

We left the story with our return, exhausted, to our digs at midnight on Saturday after the masquerade.

We continue now with Sunday... but first, here is a drawing of Judge Lust, from my alternate dimension Bright Judges:

Now, back to the story...

We were in charge of getting the time portal back to England and I had decided that it would be too complicated to try to do that on Monday morning, as I would also have to collect any unsold art work then. We were going home on Tuesday morning, but I had already checked that there was no possibility of my art being stored till then.

Consequently most of Sunday morning was taken up arranging to meet Maggie at the car park of her digs,collecting the time portal and getting the car parked at the car park near our digs again.

We had to attend an 'after Masquerade' programme event in the afternoon, but hat also meant we could collect our certificates and pick up the paperwork we had put in for workmanship.

Monday morning was dedicated to getting my artwork back to our digs. We decided to use the tram for this and got all the unsold work off the wall, wrapped in bubblewrap and into the appropriate bags.

As I have previously posted, I sold this cartoon:

I was hoping to sell more ( As at Loncon in 2014 I sold two cartoons and a painting), as, allowing for the hanging fee and 10% commission, I will still be out of pocket.

Anyway, by the time we had got everything back to the flat, it was lunchtime, so we spent the afternoon going to a few programme items and in the Dealers' Room.

We were going home on Tuesday and had to be out of the flat by 10.30, so we got up earlyish,packed, cleaned the flat and put all our stuff in the hall ( as we were two flights up), before paying for parking and getting the car. We had checked with the lady we were renting from that it was OK to park right outside, as long as someone stayed with the car, so getting the car packed was a lot easier and we just about made the deadline.

We realised that we would be very early for our 2PM ferry, but, as I wouldn't be relaxed leaving the car parked anywhere with all our stuff in it, we elected to go straight to the ferry port anyway.

This time we could see a terminal building( and how to get to it) and as we were very early, decided to go and get a coffee. We didn't stay away very long and waited with the car till the gates opened.

This time our car was parked right by the doors at the front of the ferry. I remembered to turn off the alarm again and we went up to our seats( this was a fast ferry, so there was no lounge). I had promised myself some good Irish whiskey, so I went to the shop and bought a bottle of Conemara ( peated single malt) and a bottle of Teeling small batch ( rum cask). The crossing was wet, and the ship rolled more, but I was still alright.

Teddy could not remember if he had booked the Wednesday off and I wanted to be sure to refill Dad's pill box, so we decided that we would try to get home in one run. The ferry was running a bit slow and arrive about an hour late at 5.30 ish

We drove off the ferry, across to Anglesea, across to Wales, then the Sat Nav directed us off the
road we had come in on and onto one the took us through the mountains.

Now, I knew that it had taken just over half a tank of petrol to get to Dublin and I had had no opportunity to fill up the tank again. The road through the mountains was wonderfully scenic, but it was tipping down with rain, the road was all curves, there was a lot of down right next to it and the road signs warned us of falling rocks, skidding cars and ( obviously dangerous) black sheep.

Most of the sheep were white ( thank god) but the road was still quite difficult in those conditions and there were NO petrol stations.

We were down to a quarter tank when we got out of the mountains. Then there were a few petrol stations, but this was rural Wales after 6PM and they were all closed.

Luckily, before the needle hit the last red section, we came to a town with an open Texaco petrol station and ( once I'd worked out that the pump didn't turn to zero until I put it in the car, unlike every other pump I have ever used) I filled the tank and we set out again.

We got out of Wales and across Shropshire and stopped for supper at a services on the M42 . As we had forgotten to buy the essential shopping for Wednesday morning we realised we would have to stop again, but I wanted to put on a bit of distance before we did. We did a brief shop at Oxford services on the M40.

Soon after that our Sat Nav threw a bit of a wobbly. A few times that day we had been directed off on windey roads to avoid traffic problems, so when it directed us off on the A40, we assumed we would be rejoining the M40, or end up on the the M25.

The Sat Nav had other ideas and took us a convoluted route via Uxbridge. Most of the route was through town and often thorough 20 MPH zones littered with speed cameras. I would have much preferred to stay on motorway even if it was a longer route, as I find that kind of driving easier, especially when I am tired.

Anyway, once it got us to Brentford, I turned the bugger off, as I knew where I was. We crossed Kew Bridge, got onto the South Circular ,I took us home via Putney AND I BEAT the Sat Nav's estimated arrival time by ten minutes.

We got home at midnight, emptied the car, Teddy checked his emails and found he had booked the Wednesday off and we got to be a 20 mins past midnight.

I rang Dad on Wednesday morning to tell him I was back and coming round and he said I would find things had changed. This rang alarm bells and I hurried round.

I discovered that there was one thing I hadn't thought of before going away( There's always something...)

The batteries of the pill box had chosen the day I went away to run down, so my Dad had missed week's worth of pills.

Now, I had taken my mobile phone with  me and left him the number for emergencies such as this. If he had called me I might have been able to talk him through changing the batteries.

 Luckily, he was mostly alright. He had no batteries in the house, so I went out, bought some, put new ones in the machine, checked all the settings and made sure he took the right pills for that time of day.

It only took a couple of days before he was fully back on track

If there is a next time, I'll try to remember to put in new batteries before I go, just in case.

Here endeth the Dublin Worldcon Story.

Until next time


Wednesday 11 September 2019

Worldcon Story Part 3


When last we met it was Thursday at the Worldcon in Dublin and my art works were safely on display in  the art show...

We now continue with the story...

But first, here is a cute Glider Elf for your enjoyment:

Now, back to the story:

There was still a bit of running round due to the masquerade, but we did spend a bit of time on Thursday afternoon at the convention.

Friday was the day before the masquerade, so we spent quite a lot of time waiting about, being told how the show would work, telling people what we needed, waiting etc. We then had to come back in the afternoon for a technical rehearsal, which had to be re-scheduled twice, as nobody on the committee had thought to check into the work hours regulations for the conference centre staff.

Once we had established when our rehearsal actually was ( and I had had to buy an emergency sandwich for lunch) we were then kept waiting for over an hour, whilst the tech people and the centre staff got side tracked about recording rights. We then did one walk through, which didn't result in us getting the lighting  and , particularly, the blackout we wanted.

Maggie was unhappy and wanted to do it again, but they said there was no time. The compromise was that Mike was dispatched  to the lighting desk with our script and the threat of Maggie if they didn't do it right on the night

The other thing that happened was that, suffering a mild contact with the floor, the resin spearhead decided to break close to the milliput base. We spent lots of time trying to glue it back together and supported it with a kind of wire frame, but it was still fragile, so I suggested we take the other clear resin spear head with us to the show,then, it the head broke, Teddy could sigh dramatically and pull out the spare.

The only programme item I made it to that day was a version of Just A Minute, which had our friend Seanan McGuire as on e of the contestants. It was quite funny , they got most of the rules right and I saw most of it before I had to leave for the tech rehearsal...

Saturday was Masquerade day. We managed to get to a few things in the morning, but we had to report to backstage by 5.30 PM.

One of the programme items I did get to go to ( I think it was on this day, but my memory is.... Where was I...)  was a Phil Foglio Girl Genius Radio Play. I have read Phil's work for many years and have followed Girl Genius from the beginning. I have also attended live performances of the Radio Plays before, but THIS TIME,,,, When Phil asked for people in the audience to give an audition to play a role I spoke up as.. Krosp, King of Cats.

I was appointed to the post and took the opportunity given by the other roles being assigned to caste my eye over the script. It rapidly became apparent that ONLY PHIL had ever seen this before. Even Kajia (His wife), who co-writes the comic and was playing the lead ( Agatha Heteradyn) had not seen it before he handed it out.

Anyway, despite it being the blindest of blind readings, it all went extremely well, was very funny and very enjoyable to do. There were only two or three stumbles and only ONE occasion where someone had to go back and read something again.

The audience obviously enjoyed it and I clearly brought something to the role I had been assigned, because for the rest of the con people kept coming up to me and saying "Hail, Krosp!"

Right, back to masquerade. It's 5.30; I in part of my costume;I have my supper sandwich (which I have been told I have to eat in the Green Room) and we are waiting to go to a desk, sign in and then go back out so we can be called in again and lined up in the right order.

Two of us are guarding all boxes of helmets etc, when I realise some of the group have signed in and not come back. I sign in and am told they're not coming back now, so I have to dash off and get them to come back to help carry all the stuff in.

With all this faff and further waiting around and having passed our paperwork for workmanship to the judges and and having been workmanship judged it is now well  after 6.00 and I feel the signs of going Hypo, so I inform our Den Mother ( who is in charge of us) that I am going to the Green Room to eat.

I get to the Green Room and a staff member tries to stop me going in ( Why was unclear) , which is the point that I come close to losing my temper and tell him that he'll have a medical emergency if I didn't go in and eat my sandwich NOW. I wasn't very clear whether it would be a medical emergency for me..or for him. Anyway, he let me in.

I had a false moustache glued to my lip for the performance and, whilst eating, discovered that not only does my sweat polish silver and clean old coins, it also dissolves spirit gum. I finished my sandwich , picked up the fallen moustache and returned to the den to find...

... the spear had been knocked and the spear head had fallen to the floor and shattered.

Luckily, the milliput I had used to make the base had never set properly ( still can't work out why, I mixed it half and half as usual) but this meant were able to dig it out of the socket it was glued into and fit the spare spear head. I, however, took charge of the spear and wouldn't let anyone else touch it till it was time for us to line up and go on ( if I broke it, then it was MY fault, but if someone else had broken it....)

Anyway,we were the first entry, we lined up in time and our entry went without a hitch, we then were led off and were allowed into the audience, so  we saw entry 13 onwards.

There were over twenty entries and the standard of both costumes and presentation was very high.

When we came back for the result of the Judging, we were awarded Master Class Workmanship.

Once we have been sent a link to the photos, I will post again purely about the set.

The masquerade winner was a Kelpie costume that I hope to be able to share with you once we have the link.

We finally got back to our digs after midnight and collapsed.

I shall, dear reader, tell you of Sunday in the soon to be released PART FOUR...

Wednesday 4 September 2019

Worldcon Story Part 2


We rejoin the story on Wednesday morning leaving the Halfway House to get to Holyhead Ferry Port.

But first , to sustain you, here is a kinky Dalek cartoon...

Now back to the story...

We had been provided with instructions on the route by Mine Host and, despite taking (probably) a wrong turn, got onto the right road and made our way past Shrewsbury and into Wales.

We crossed onto Anglesea, avoided complications due to the Anglesea Agricultural show and arrived on Holy Island. We got to the Ferry Port earlier than we needed to.

I was expecting to end up in a car park from whence we would be directed to the appropriate gate for the ferry. I had hoped we could go and find lunch while we waited, but it was not to be.

 We found ourselves in an already formed queue, with the additional wrinkle that several cars ahead of us were empty of passengers and drivers.

We waited, we could do no other. It was not clear when the gate would open and , with our car full of our stuff, I was unhappy heaving it in a vain search for a terminal building( to which there were no signs).

As it was, when the gate opened several people had not come back to their cars. Other cars had to manoeuvre round the empty ones and we were about to do the same when the owners arrived back at a run, shouting at US, as if WE were responsible for THEIR absence.

Anyway, idiots aside, we presented our tickets, got our priority sign for the car and moved on into the port. It was lunchtime and I was worried about going Hypo.

We also read on the priority notice that we had to turn the car  alarm off , so Teddy had to look up how to do this in the manual and I located the right button. We were directed on to the ferry , parked , turned off the alarm and found our way to the lounge.

My priority then was food. There was snack food in the lounge( which I later found out was free), but my mind was on substantial food, so I found my way to an open outlet and got some. I bumped into Mike Percival on the way to food, so was unsurprised to he and Maggie had joined us when I got back.

We also found the two more friends  had been switched to this ferry. I was still worried about feeling seasick, as I hadn't been on a ferry for at least fifteen years, but the swell was moderate and the conversation also helped distract me, so I was fine.

We got to Dublin and ,as we had agreed on the boat, drove to Mike and Maggie's Air B &B to leave the Time Portal and my paintings ( as their digs were closer to the convention centre). We then drove to our digs, with me carefully keeping out of bus lanes,as I didn't know local laws.

I had to stop in a loading bay when we got there and Teddy went to alert Alice and Paul, who had flown out and arrived earler that day,and should already be in the flat. Then he came back and said that the intercom was broken and he couldn't let them know he was outside.

Luckily, when he went back again, Alice happened to look out the window and saw him. We then hastily emptied the car, with me staying with it, anxiously watching in case we were told we had to move on. Car emptied and our set of keys collected we put the postcode of the car park into the sat nav and drove the car there.

The turning space for the ramps was very tight for my car,as were the space, but we got it parked eventually, pressed buttons again to set the alarm and made our way back to the flat, where I collapsed gratefully and let the other organise supper.

The next day(Thursday), the priority was getting my art up in the art show. We arranged to pick up the four bags of framed  pictures and one bag of  fimo figures and carried them across the bride over the Liffy, past the conference centre and back halfway to the ferry port, to the expansion space assigned to the artshow.

I had paid for a space eleven foot wide and four foot high. I had to fit in nineteen framed painting of various sizes and ten wooden plaques with fimo figures on them ( this is the highest number of artworks that I have ever had in a show). I had also been given a space right next to Jim Burns ( a well known professional SF artist of may years standing).

It took me quite some time to get all the pictures up and the display balanced. Then I had to add the bid sheets. This resulted in a further hour and a half of picture shuffling, but I managed it. I got all the pictures and figures up with their bid sheets placed without the need for arrows indicating which bid sheet related to which picture.

Jim  Burns said he did his displays the same way. Get as many pictures on the wall as possible and them furkle where to put the bid sheets.

A bit more of the day was taken up with rehearsal for our masquerade entry and making last minute decisions, such as which of three spearheads to  glue on to the spearshaft. we went with the first clear resin head, which had a milliput base painted to look like bronze. This turned out to be a mistake, but more of that  in the much anticipated PART THREE...