Thursday, 31 May 2012

Museum Night!

From time to time, museums in Germany have an open night, a so-called "Lange Nacht" (long night) or "Museumsnacht" (link goes to list of museum nights in Germany and beyond). In addition to museums, galleries often open their doors during those events, and there's usually some extra programme and special events for the visitors. Plus it's usually a pay-once-visit-all-of-them event, for a ridiculously low price. I have been to those nights a few times, partly as a visitor and partly as a participant, and it's always been a load of fun, so I can very much recommend those events.

And there's one coming up: Mainz will have a "Lange Nacht" on June 16, and the full programme is due to come out on June 4. The entrance fee is already set at 10 Euros, which is about nothing for the possibility to visit 52 participating institutions - and even though the official programme is not out yet, I can tell you that the RGZM will participate and also offer special programme - including my tent with demonstrations of spinning and tablet weaving. And I'm already looking forward very much to being in that lovely venue again!

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

This year, it's eating me alive.

Or at least it feels like it. The taxes, I mean.

About everybody (or almost everybody) in Germany is currently doing the taxes stuff, and these last years I always moaned and whined the usual amount when doing it. But this time around, due to my now paying VAT and a half dozen other small things that turn out to be complications for tax work, it's all a bit more complicated. So I'm still at it - but, good news, I'm making progress.

And I will march to the bakery and get myself a really nice treat once it's all done!

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

It's Summer!

It's summer, and we have summer temperatures outside - though luckily we also had at least a little rain earlier this morning. It's by far not as bad as the drought in England, but it's been much too dry for the season here since about March, and by yesterday our water vat for the rainwater was almost empty. (This even though we have been using hose water for the times when we were watering the lawn to return it from "Extra Crispy Summer Edition" back to "Merely Really Very Dry Summer Edition").

Anyways - the flowers are blooming, most of the beds are more or less weeded (I leave in the things I like, since weeds are only unwanted plants), all the tomatoes are set outside, we did a little walking tour with friends through Franconian Switzerland, and yesterday afternoon we went crazy and used a few of our leftover willow rods from the fedge to plant a chair. It's going to take at least two or three years before it's a proper, useable chair (and whether it will be comfy or not is totally unclear), but it was a lot of instantaneous fun to plant it.
The cat, meanwhile, has also settled in well. She now knows all our living space, but she'll have to wait another two to three weeks before she's allowed into the garden, due to the vaccination shots she still needed. Her favourite pastimes: sleeping (naturally) and hoping for something to eat.

And now I'm sitting here with a coffee before me - the week can start. Today's agenda: send off the taxes - the Most Patient Of All Husbands has filled in his part, so I'm out of reasons for procrastinating with the sending-off. And after that... on to organising work for the Textile Forum!

Friday, 25 May 2012

Back to reading...

I spent yesterday (most of it, at least) fixing numbers, finding final small errors (including one that had bugged me for a while) and phoning people, mostly due to the tax stuff. And now I am enlightened, my questions are answered, and I'm looking forward to do some reading and non-tax stuff today for a change.

Regarding non-tax stuff, I may also have the possibility to sell whole Rhoen sheep fleeces this year - anyone interested?

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Ah, the joy of taxes.

Every year, it's the same game with the taxes here. I get my stuff together... then I wait a few days. Then I check it again. Then I start filling out the forms. Then I check again.

Somehow, I have the feeling that checking again (and waiting a day or two inbetween) might lead to me catching all the glitches and stuff. Occasionally, this is true - but I could probably do with much less checking and re-checking. And thinking.

While last year's tax stuff was extra-interesting because of our wedding in 2010 (which in Germany can change how the whole year's taxes are calculated, and also how the paperwork looks that is getting handed in), this time it's extra-interesting because of the GbR that I founded together with Sabine Ringenberg - a common firm in addition to our own ones, for being able to better support each other. The good news: I've figured out what I need to hand in (I think so, at least). The bad news: I'm not quite finished with filling out the forms and checking them again. But soon...

And just in case you are not at all interested in hearing about my paperwork woes and much more interesting in hearing about the cat: She is well (and currently sleeping on a sheepskin in the study) and it looks as if she's really feeling at home here now. Catsitting by our upstairs neighbours has already worked very nicely as well, and we now know that she likes catnip. (Catnip-smelling hands get nibbled, as do catnip-smelling toys.)
This evening, we'll take her to the vet for a check-up and the final vaccinations she'll need to go outside, and then we can soon open the doors to the garden again and offer her the world. I'm a bit sorry to drag her into the car and to the vet, but it has to be done if she is to roam the garden (and probably the gardens beyond ours)...

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

EAC date is fixed!

The date for the 7th Experimental Archaeology Conference has now been set - it will take place on Friday 11th-Saturday 12th January 2013.
The 7th Conference will be hosted jointly by Cardiff University and St Fagans National History Museum, Wales. This year’s conference is also supported by EXARC.
The first day of this conference will be held at Cardiff University and will focus on papers and discussion. The second day will be hosted by St Fagans, and will offer more papers as well as the chance to explore one of Britain’s oldest open-air museums.

This sounds lovely - Cardiff! St Fagan's! (Cardiff, especially - I've been hooked to Dr Who for quite some time now, and Torchwood. Though the conference also sounds really nice.)

The call for papers will probably come out in July, and the conference especially welcomes papers regarding the connection between experiential and experimental archaeology. Hmmm... now I should maybe do some scheming...

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Bronze Age Sewn Plank Boat

At the Uni of Exeter, a project to build a Bronze Age boat is under way - and they now have a time-lapse video of the first four weeks:

They're planning to publish another video in a few weeks' time - so everybody can sort of keep up with the process.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Back from the long weekend.

We're back from the weekend, and we now know that our cat is of the "happy you are back" sort, not of the "you left me so I will ignore you for at least a week as retaliation" sort.

For ten years now, I have gone off to do some book-binding over the Ascension day weekend, and it's usually also a little work-related. This time, I managed to bind three slim copies of book parts for my own library. The biggest bit of work-related binding, though, was something else.

Since I started to carry slate embroidery frames this spring, I have a demonstration frame that is all set up with a small bit of embroidery started on it. This, naturally, means that I am stuffing it into the car together with all the rest of my gear and wares - but a large frame with a fully installed embroidery on it is not something you can just toss anywhere; it sort of needs some kind of protection. So I made a box for my demo frame. It took several sheets of paper and two sheets of cardboard and all the (large) rest piece of extra-sturdy plastified fabric that I had, and a whooping amount of time, but it turned out really nice and is now drying on the living room floor... and I won't have to fear for the embroidery's safety again in the future.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Long weekend!

It's a long weekend - and I will enjoy it with friends, doing fun stuff.

I hope you have a nice weekend, too - regular blogging resumes on Monday!

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Who needs more books?

Boydell & Brewer is having a promotion and special offer - there's a discount for the Medieval Clothing and Textiles series (including pre-orders of the next volume).

And even more spectacular: They offer free shipping for online orders at the moment, globally (which is really nice for those of us not from the UK) and there's a special list for reenactors with 25% off (remember to enter the promo code when ordering online during the checkout - code's to be found at the very end of the .pdf).

Now please excuse me while I look at those books...

Monday, 14 May 2012


This is the 700th post in my blog!

I started the blog in December 2008 - now I have a hard time to believe that I actually kept doing this, Monday to Friday, for more than three years. (And I'm even more surprised that I managed to remember that today would be post 700 - and not forget all about it, as I tend to do on blogiversaries.)

This means I've blogged for, realistically counted, about 3.5 years now (even though the calendar says it's the fifth year that the blog is running) - since I started in December and it's May now. This means about 200 posts per year, easily explained by the amount of weekends, conferences and other away-times like long weekends.
The blog has 151 followers (thanks, guys!) and Feed Stats say it's 306 subscribers on average who get it per RSS feed (thanks, folks!). And in the year 2011, the blog saw more than 36 000 page loads!

I'm still enjoying my blogging life very much, and I'm happy to see that so many people like my blog. Thank you all for reading!

Friday, 11 May 2012

Everything is better with a cat.

The cat is getting more accustomed to her new life here - slowly getting used to the new feeding times (as we are), and occasionally doing something to figure out if it's ok or forbidden. She's also starting to play more, and without looking totally uninvolved when she thinks someone has seen her pawing against a ball. Now she's chasing them through the whole living room sometimes, and she's obviously enjoying it. Paper balls, by the way, seem to be the favourite toy for the moment - smallish, lightweight, they scoot over the laminated floors very nicely, and - bonus for the humans - they are really, really easy to replace with the reams of packing paper that I have here for the mail order stuff.

Meanwhile, my tax works preparation is almost finished, and it looks like I'll be able to start filling out the forms via the programme soon. Yay!

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Safety at archaeological digs...

As anyone who was at a typical archaeological dig knows, work safety is not always easy to achive. To be really safe, for example, it would be necessary to bank the sides of any trench after about 1.5 m of depth. Now this is unfortunately not possible if you want to document and analyse an archaeological profile... and there are many other conflicts between archaeology and perfect work safety like this.

Most archaeologists know about the risks. But since it's often a choice between take the risk or do not dig and document at all... the risks usually get taken, and most of the time luck is with them who wield the trowel and the showel. That said... situations like the one that you can see here (provided the link works - their server seems to be a little iffy) make me gulp.

So should you consider studying archaeology, or should you be one of the many folks who think they would love to be an archaeologist... it's not only hard and dirty work with not so much pay, standing in the exhaust fumes of big excavator machines sometimes, know that it often also means that you take quite a lot of risks - since you don't know what is behind a wall, or a trench wall, and you still go there and you still do the work.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Links, dates and other such stuff.

If you are interested in learning more about the linen bras and underwear from Schloß Lengberg in Austria, you might consider to attend the Autumn MeDaTS meeting in London on October 27, where Beatrix Nutz will be speaking.

Another conference at the British Museum takes place on November 1 and 2 and is called "Craft and People: Agents of Skilled Labour in the Archaeological Record". Here's a snippet from their call for papers:
In this conference we want to explore ways in which we can approach craftspeople behind objects and find complexes in the archaeological record. How have craftspeople left marks on things, places, and times? What roles did they play within their communities, and can we trace their social status through the archaeological record? What methodologies are available to identify people behind material remains? How are craftspeople linked across geographical and temporal planes, how is knowledge and skill reproduced and transformed?
To this end, we aim to bring together a diverse group of scholars to discuss the nexus craft – people – archaeology across a range of materials (such as lithics, ceramics, metal, textiles, etc.), periods, and regions, incorporating evidence from prehistoric and early historic societies across Europe and the Mediterranean.
You can read more about the conference on their blog; CfP is also still open with a deadline of June 15. 

And finally, don't forget about our own Textile Forum in September - we still have some places left. A conference programme will come out shortly, but I can already promise interesting things like a sprang workshop.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

As promised... pictures.

 As promised, some pictures. First of all, a tulip from our garden - most of them are done with their blooming now, but a few last ones - the black ones, mostly - are still holding their own.

And this is the current market stall setup, with the new banner in place. This is how the stall looked at Freienfels, and I'm very happy with it!

And finally... Madonna, hanging out on the living room carpet...

Monday, 7 May 2012

Does it have to be Monday today?

I'm more in the mood for another Saturday or Sunday than a Monday, but I guess it can't be helped. It was a really nice weekend, though - we did a lot of grocery shopping and baking on Saturday and a little cooking on Sunday morning, and then spent time with a heap of friends eating and drinking and having fun.

Since Thursday, we also own a cat - or perhaps I should say, as usual, a cat has determined that we will be her staff now. She was found and brought to an animal shelter, and she's still getting used to her new life and surroundings, and we are getting used to our new flatmate... but she's a sweet and gentle cat, a little shy to try new things, and totally addicted to getting petted by humans. Any humans.

(And yes, I know that the Law of the Intarwebz requires me to post cat photos soon. Because I wrote about a cat living with us. They will follow.)

Friday, 4 May 2012

The Season has begun.

Summer season always starts with Freienfels for me, and probably always will - even if events like the IRM come before it. May 1 has been a fixture in my yearly planning for so long now.

This year, Freienfels was wonderful again. We had a terriffic time in our "WG" (that's short for "Wohngemeinschaft", people that share a flat) with relaxed but funny evenings and I got to know a few more wonderfully nice people. There was a lot of lovely and yummy food, among it plenty of Harry's Schokokringel from the Feldbeckerey - not authentically medieval with all the chocolate in them, but totally addictive - and Lotte in our WG went on a baking spree and made strawberry buns to die for.
The weather was also playing along, it was nice and sunny with only a few little showers - including one with impeccably bad timing on the last morning, just before packing the tents back into the car. So my free day yesterday contained a little work after all - spreading the tent fabric in the sun to let it dry and then pack up the two tents.

And today I have to finish unpacking and rearranging my stuff into the new, bigger basket for my goods that I bought at Freienfels. The old basket was getting too small, so it was high time for an upgrade. But first coffee and breakfast and paying of bills that came in during the last week...