The most enchanting time of day at Raglan was after the public had gone home, when the light was soft and we had the castle to ourselves (!). There’s nothing quite like wandering alone through the ruins of a six-hundred-year-old castle in the dark, or climbing out of your tent in the wee hours of the morning, to see the moon rising over the castle above you.
Over the course of college and grad school, I’ve found that the more important and intensive the research project, the more intensely I throw myself into other activities in the pauses. When I need a break, I need a really good break.
I read a truly unreasonable amount of fiction (granted, with all the practice, I read fast, but still.)
Sometimes I take up running. Briefly.
This week, I wrapped all my Christmas presents to take home, sewed most of my garb for Raglan 2016, and took up the production of sea glass sun catchers.
I keep scaring myself of blogging with images of trolling through the glut of photos we took in Iceland, or enumerating all the things that have been keeping me from blogging. Bugger that. If you can’t write ten pages every day, write a paragraph. So here are some right-sized snippets from my life. I’m pretty sure nobody reads this blog for the cogent explanations, anyway. No use setting yourself up for that much disappointment.
1. My new summer houppelande, for Raglan
2. A candle to lighten the darker hours of my research, as I enter the final phase of dissertating
3. And a little something for after
4. A great big basket of Christmas presents to take home this summer (in my signature Earth-friendly wrappings)
5. And a hobby to keep some summer in the house when winter rolls around again (and keep me sane in the meantime)
We’ve been away, indulging in a week medieval revels in the remains of Raglan Castle, Wales.
That’s right; American wars are held at campgrounds, British ones in castles. To be sure, this occasionally backfires, as when said castle has neither modern conveniences nor medieval ones (see: fires in February), but in the summer, it’s downright spectacular.
For now, we’re busy settling back in: doing 14 loads of laundry, draping tents on anything in sight, slowly excavating the living room… also, resuming regular posting on the blog. This was our last big trip of the summer, so watch this space; pictures of all three will appear here soon.
It was a glorious week of living outdoors. The constant exposure to fresh air, light, and actual sunsets did away with the insomnia that’s troubled me off and on (except the one night I got chilled and couldn’t sleep until I broke out the heat packs. Yes, in August. 2am in Wales is like that). In an effort to bring more than just souvenirs (and dirty laundry) home, I’ve decided to make a few changes around here.
Breakfast in the park around the corner. The morning is often the sunniest part of the day in Edinburgh, and it’s a shame to waste it. Exposure to 360-degree daylight helps the body realize that it really is day time. Throwing on my cloak in the morning is impractical with the wind, but I may have to go for polar fleece tomorrow! A willingness to do practical things outside regardless of weather was a major feature of the week-long campout.
Really, the question is, why isn’t yours?
Let me introduce you to 8 meters of olive green linen.
It came, with all of its other friends who are destined for Raglan (a week-long re-enactment at a castle in Wales), in these beautiful bags.
I had had some difficulty with the order, but these unexpected bags wiped it right out of my mind. I’m easy that way. I really dislike animosity, and I really like bags.
I also like moose. (But I am not collecting moose; let’s be very clear here.)
Naturally, I prewashed the linen before cutting, and naturally, I didn’t put it in the dryer. Partially because I don’t have a dryer, but partially because it’s really not good for linen. 8 meters of linen, meet 4.5 meters of living room.
Tent! And my scouting mug. It seemed to match the tent.
And here’s its cousin, 6 meters of grey herringbone, with which I have fallen madly in love.
This is hanging across the hallway–the hooks for the drying rack are on the left–and draped over the door to our bedroom. In a house this small, you do what you have to.
Since I’m leaving for the US in less than a week (!), I’ve been working on all of the small things that need to be done before a big trip. Buying summer clothes was the first item on the list. Since I moved here, I’ve worn out (dance class) or grown out of most of my summer clothes, but since I haven’t needed them since the last time I was home, they fell by the wayside. Until I remembered that it’s likely to be in the eighties in the Boston area in July. After the 50-odd-degree days that have characterized this summer in Scotland so far, I am so ready for some summer.
So to prepare, I did what comes naturally in the summer: I wrapped Christmas presents.
No, I have no idea where your penguin calendar went. Why do you ask?
You know, with this color scheme, penguin paper would be even better for Channukah. It’ll be the new big thing. Tell your friends.
Look, Ma, I’m Oscar Wilde!
I’m also too impatient to wait until my husband comes home to take pictures for me.
I didn’t deliberately set out to make a frock coat that looks like one worn by a particularly flamboyant Irish writer. I just happened to have warm blanket and a cold apartment. It was a match made in heaven.
The coat will probably have buttons at some point, once I’ve decided how I want them. For now, my cloak pin does the job. It may also develop darts, I haven’t decided. So far the shaping is done by the side seams and raglan sleeves. We shall see.
For now, I am a warm, fuzzy Oscar Wilde.
* If you say Barney the Dinosaur, I swear by my pretty floral bonnet, I will end you.