Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Blog break.

I will be away from home this week, looking at a nice old bit o' textile as well as visiting a friend, and then there's Easter to be celebrated - always a lovely excuse to meet with family and have a few lazy days.

So regular blogging will resume on Tuesday next week.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Oh my goodness.

Languages can be a lot of fun, and so can translation. Especially when you translate into a direction not very common - such as from modern German into Middle High German. Or from modern English into Middle English.

Enter Chaucer, stage center. Well, probably not the original one, but the one that blogs. I stumbled across that blog ages ago, but I will freely confess I never followed it - my modern English reading skills are fine, but old English in longer texts... it exhausts me.

However, Chaucer also doth tweet. Which is nice, because what he posts is both short (so quite easy to read) and also totally hilarious. If you have twitter, go follow him. And yesterday when I checked the feed, I found this gem:

Bye, bye, English Jakke of Dover. Which is the text of Bye, bye, Miss American Pie translated into Middle English. This. This is what knowledge of Middle English is for. Right?

Friday, 22 March 2013


A few nice, new and exciting things have come to my attention, internet-wise, during the last days - so it's time for a link list.

A find of a smelting oven, not too far from here, has been radiocarbon-dated. It's from the 13th century, making it one of the quite late ovens of that type. Read more about it (and see pics) in the Schauhuette blog.

If you are more into graphics design, you might be interested in having a look at the Elephants of Typography.

There's something new out regarding the finds of Lengberg - parts of the find are presented in the book "The Tudor Child". Beatrix Nutz has also made a website about this in German and in English, including some additional information about the pieces that will not be in the book.

There will be a conference about children's garments in Krefeld in May; the German language info page is here.

And finally, something not so nice: A 15 year old girl on the Maledives was raped by her stepfather - and was then sentenced to public flogging because she had sex while not married. I won't go into that further, because it's obviously so, so wrong on so, so many levels. The only positive thing about it is that word got out, and now there is a public outcry about it, and a petition running to get the Maledives government to abolish that law and institute better protection for rape victims (and actual prosecution for the criminals!). It's run by Avaaz, and signing is easy the first time and even easier once you have registered in their network.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

My desk is fuller again.

This time, it's not because I cluttered it with stuff (though yes, that has also happened) but because I am now working with a second screen in addition to the (not overly large) one that my laptop has. And what can I say? It's lovely. Really, really lovely - I can have several texts open at once, glance over, get my information and write something in another open window.

It feels like total, complete, utter luxury. I remember that time when 17" was a huge monitor, and when flatscreens were a sensational new thing that took up so much less space. I remember seeing a spread of more than one monitor, with the extended desktop, and being told that while that was cool it was only necessary for graphic designers or folks working a lot with AutoCAD.

I have sort of worked with two screens before, only that one of them was on my computer and the other on a second one, that having internet access, and I'd use the one for writing and the other for online dictionary searches and looking up stuff. Which meant that all kinds of weird using-the-wrong-mouse-or-keyboard moments did happen. But somehow, until recently, I did not really think about getting a second screen all for myself. Total luxury of virtual real estate.

I'll probably get used to that luxury very soon and be bewildered whenever I do not have my second screen. It's still a little weird, I'm adjusting angles, and the colours of the two screeens don't match exactly but oh, I do not mind. Finally I do not need to switch windows again, and again, and again for a simple piece of work. Hooray!

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Ah. The Internet is full of Things. Even healthy ones.

The Internet is a lovely thing, and a great time-sink, and a great help plus sometimes a hindrance - but you know all that.

The Internet has also provided me, during the last two or so weeks, with means to soften my chronically tense shoulders. I have the tendency to hunch my shoulders and tense up shoulder and neck muscles when things are taxing, and unfortunately forget to relax when it gets better again until it's way, way too late. So I have decided to do something about that and keep doing it, and searched Youtube for stuff to relax.

That, in turn, brought me to yoga videos - and they really helped to relax my shoulders. Should you feel inclined to try some shoulder relaxing stuff too, you can check out doyogawithme.com - there's quite a few different stretches for office yoga, a longer and a shorter shoulder sequence, and even full yoga classes. And it's all free as well, so there's a good opportunity to try out whether this works for you or not. Enjoy!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013


I am amazed that I can sniffle and sneeze (due to hay fever) when the day before there was snowy sleet coming down.

I am amazed that simple (or seemingly simple) tasks can take up so much time, and energy, and nerves.

I am amazed that time is rushing by so quickly. (It's not getting better either! Why can't time slow down for a change?)

I am amazed that so much stuff is accumulating, for example on my workdesk, and here I am trying hard to get it sorted out to make some more space.

I am amazed by the number of (work-related) books that I have, and that I still have not sorted them all (which is partly due to the lack of some shelf space, but mostly to my strategy of working on it just a very little at a time).

I am amazed on how much time one can sink into personalising and installing and adjusting stuff onto a smartphone which is not even going to be used as a phone - just as a media centre and small, lightweight, serves-in-a-pinch internet access thingie.

Maybe I should work on being less amaze-able? And on writing more amazing blog posts, not those about me being amazed?

(Clearly, the word of the week: amazed. And I promise that tomorrow I will get some coffee before posting here.)

Monday, 18 March 2013

More cooking stuff.

Remember that I said food is a tricky thing for archaeologists? It has gotten even tricker very recently, since a group of archaeologists discovered, per experiment, that cooking fish can screw up radiocarbon dating. (They write about dating pots in the article; technically it's dating the organic residue trapped in the pot that is dated.) The article has links for more info in Danish.

Speaking of cooking: Daniel Serra and Hanna Tunberg are working on publishing their collaborate research about Viking food and cooking in a book, called "An early meal". There is an info page on facebook (you do not need to have an account for that) if you want to read more.

And now... coffee.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Feeling peckish?

Food is a difficult topic for archaeologists. Not because we are notoriously picky about our food or because we don't appreciate it. In fact, archaeologists are more like locusts only with an even wider spectrum of what they eat, a rather larger belly than your average locust has and an additional penchant to swipe bits of the buffet decoration if it is properly archaeology-themed.

Food is a difficult topic because it's so perishable. It's a very rare thing to find food residue in an archaeological excavation; a bit similar to textiles: you can find tools (spindle whorls or pots), sometimes you find tiny little bits of evidence pointing roughly in a direction (like a small bit of fabric that allows you to determine fibre type and weave, or charred and thus preserved grains that allow you to determine the species), and very very rarely, in a very lucky situation, you find something that really allows you to reconstruct a tiny part of daily life back in history (such as an almost complete garment, or the residues of a meal that can be analysed completely).

In some cases, we know what was eaten - charred grains, animal bones and fish bones can give a hint as well as the pits and stones of fruit. But we still don't know how stuff was combined, and much of the evidence is not collected at all, because the small bits (fishbone? grape pit? both really small) can only be found if the soil is put through fine sieves or even sluiced to recover small bits. That's a lot of work, needs the appropriate equipment, and is usually only done for a very small part of the excavation where there is a high probability of a good yield of small stuff, if at all.

All that said, here is a link to a blog/webpage where someone has collected the archaeological evidence for food finds in Britain, making it available via web and a database. Go foodies!

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Thursday Links.

First of all, here's a funny one for all of you pushing pictures around for a hobby, or for a living: 8 ways to drive a graphic designer mad.

If you want some different kind of madness, possibly with a little more relation to medieval times, you can try this: Cooking with quicklime instead of fire, the 13th century way.  (I'd prefer a fire, though. I think it's safer.)

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Ah. Something colourful has been done.

There's a (small, but existent) stack of colourfully printed paper on my desk. Most of the sheets are obsolete now, though - and I will dump them, with a little bit of ceremony, into my wastepaper basket later on.

These last days, I've been working on a new information leaflet for the workshop programme that Sabine, David and myself are offering, for joint venture information in the future. The leaflet evolved from incorporating a few nice ideas but being unfortunately quite ugly (in retrospective) to looking really, really nice and offering plenty of information - largely to mostly due to the help of a friend.

I have learned several things during the course of making this, among them why layouting programmes make it possible to snap items to a grid; that more reference lines are better than fewer reference lines until you pass that point where it's too many reference lines and you do not know which one was for which purpose; that the first idea is not always the best one when doing layout work; and that someone who has actually learned the craft sees the problems, and the possible solutions, much faster than someone just dabbling (yes, I know, that's a thank-you-Captain-Obvious).

Now I only have to wrap it all up and get it to the printer. Yay! And then? On to the next adventures.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Boat and papers (not paper boats, though).

The maiden voyage of the Bronze Age boat has taken place, and you can watch a video of very happy people paddling right here:

Apparently, they named her Morgawr. There's also a summary video including a few scenes from the launch and maiden voyage, called "We Made a Boat", on their playlist.

And now we will hop to the far future (to be precise, to post-medievalism) because Palgrave is offering one issue of Postmedieval, the journal, for free. They sound... interesting. Go have a look.

Monday, 11 March 2013


Spring is finally here in force. How do I know? Easy. Hayfever has struck, with a vengeance, over the weekend.

Now, fortunately, my share of this astonishingly frequent ailment is not too bad, but I can feel it when I overdo exertion outside in pollinated air, and since I enjoy being outside in the early spring... well, that happens. Which results in sneezing, an itchy nose and itchy eyes as well as the feeling that I am not functioning at full power. Depending on how bad this is, I can shrug it off as "well, happens" or get seriously annoyed by it. (The symptoms also seem to get me more tired faster, resulting in me needing even more sleep. I should have been born a cat, probably.)

Since I've had this affliction, I have regularly managed to find out that while there are gazillions of pollen forecasts, I would much rather have a source for yesterday's forecast (or even better yesterday's actual data). I don't even know yet which pollen are the evil ones for me; I know which ones I do react to in general, but that does not tell me how much each of the three candidates is to blame. Because of too little data.

It was the same this weekend. On Sunday, I tried to find out what was in the air mostly on Friday and Saturday - no luck. But this morning, I found something even better: An online pollen/hayfever diary. You record the region where you have been, your symptoms (type and severity), can add additional remarks - and the symptoms are then correlated with the actual measured amount of pollen in that area. Yay! I'll be testing this to see if it works. After all, knowledge is power...

Friday, 8 March 2013

Has that week really gone by already?

It's Friday, I have a heap of work (among them several things that need to be dealt with soon, sooner, soonest) and no idea where all that time of all that week went to.

In addition, I am fresh out of a glorious idea of what to post today - so instead you get a gratuitous cat picture.

Of a relaxed cat.

Because cats are always something postable on the IntarWebz, right?

Thursday, 7 March 2013


It's finally spring! Though it's still cool outside, the winter garden gets warm enough during the day to sit there, in a T-shirt, and enjoy the sunshine while working. The first crocuses are in bloom, most of our pruning work has been done, and it's really nice to be out in the garden and get the hands dirty again. Even though the garden is small, there is plenty of opportunity to get dirty hands...

And yesterday I put the first tomato and chili seeds into soil for this year. Much of them was seeds that I took from plants myself last year, so I will have an even harder time waiting for them to sprout than usually - since I cannot be sure that they will sprout. (Due to this, I might have put a few more seeds into the ground. Like usual... good thing we have friends and neighbours and family who do not mind a tomato plant or two in case they all grow!)

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The joy of dealing with pictures.

It's time to revisit (and re-vamp, or rather re-make) my info leaflet, and add a new one with info about workshops. Which means that I get to spend quality time with my camera, all kinds of picture-prettying programmes, my trusty layouting programme... and of course with all the little arghs and oh-noes connected with that.

One of the two pages of the workshop thingie is about finished now (at least I hope so) - there's still a few tweaks and stuff to be done, but I think the general layout and direction is like it will stay. Much of this progress is due to the book that I was sent teaching graphic design to non-graphic-designers...

The other page, however, is still much more uncooperative. I had this idea, you see? That touches on picture shape and alignment? That, together with a limited selection of piccies that can not all be re-done has turned out to be much more of a pain in the brain than I had expected. Well, never mind - I'm not ready yet to give up regarding that one, and I think I might be able to get it to a reviewable stage today.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Spring cleaning the bookshelf.

I have been spring cleaning the bookshelf - there are quite a few journal issues that I have two copies of, plus a handful of other books just taking up shelf space since I do not use or need them.

It's mostly Exar Bilanz books and GHWK journal items, but a few other things are on the list as well. The list is German (since most of the books are as well). If you are interested, please download the list in .pdf format and have a look. I'd be happy for these things to find a new home where they will be appreciated!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Bronze Age Boat Launch! Day after tomorrow!

Well, not a launch in the Bronze Ages, nor the launch of an actual old boat, but that of the replica made in the NMMC in Cornwall during the last eleven months.

A friend of mine was very much involved in this project, and I heard about it when they were preparing to get it started, more than a year ago. I'm really happy to see how nice the boat turned out. It's large, it's impressive, it's on Facebook (with lots of pics), it was sewn together out of planks and yew withies, and it will go out to sea for its first voyage on March 6.

That's the day after tomorrow!

In preparation to this event, you can watch the last stitch being made right here:

and day after tomorrow at 11 o'clock UK time (that's Greenwich time) you can hop over to this page where there will be a live webcam showing the boat launch. The actual launch is scheduled to be at 12 noon. Isn't it nice how modern technology makes it possible to see an old boat type being launched?

Edit note: Of course it's not tomorrow like first posted, but the day after tomorrow, since it's Monday today, not Tuesday. You can have some webcam time tomorrow too, though: 07:30 - 10:00 UK time, the cam will be on as well.

Friday, 1 March 2013

The cat peed on it!

Cats are known for many things, and among these things is the fact that sometimes they pee on things. Now there's a whole lot of reasons for why a cat might pee on something - it smelled like pee before, the cat is stressed, the cat is in pain... but whatever the reason - the result is cat piss on something.

And that something might even be a manuscript. Which they might also not use as a perfect place to piss, but just walk over it.

Go follow this link to see for yourself. Me? I'll be checking on the cat now. Maybe she wants a book.