Sunday, 26 October 2014

Robin Hood

Robin Hood. The renowned archer who robbed from the rich to feed the poor, the hero of Nottingham and the nemesis of the Sheriff. This weekend Nottingham castle celebrated this figure of legend in a pretty spectacular way with the Robin Hood Pageant, which me and 2 very good friends went to on Saturday.

Around the grounds of the event were loads of tents with shops, demonstrations and lots of reenactors in full kit. The first shop was amazing, full of hand crafted leather and metal goods, including jewellery, drinking and calling horns, tankards, bows and arrows, bracer's, all beautifully carved with amazing detail. If anyone is ever over Sherwood forest way I recommend checking out his shop (The Forest Archer ( Further on, we saw a woman spinning and dying wool in the traditional ways, which was really cool. Next we found a place that let you make your own candles, either by rolling them out of bees wax, or by dipping candles in coloured wax to make them pretty. H also got a hat.

Then came to my favourite parts. First they had an area to have a go at archery, which I jumped at. I got given an extra arrow or two, as the guy I was working with was lovely and seemed rather relieved to be working with someone who had some idea of how to shoot for once! (Ok, I'm not exactly great but I know the very basics of how to stand, hold and fire)

Robin hood in rainbow gloves
Then came the most beautiful part of the day. BIRDS OF PREY! Now, for those of you who don't know me, I absolutely adore any and all forms of birds of prey. They are the most beautiful creatures on this planet. My dream would be to work in falconry for a living, working with and hunting with these gorgeous birds. Its a bit of a strange dream for a very strict vegetarian who isn't keen on leather, but hey.

Lanner falcon cross, Harris hawk and Eagle owl

Yes that is my hand in the top left. That little guy was just gorgeous, and I got to hold him for a couple of minutes. I also got to fly the Harris Hawk twice to my hand which was just amazing! There was also a beautiful grumpy little barn owl, but I didn't manage to get a good picture of him.

There were a few more tents and things which had cool stuff in at the bottom, and then we headed up the hill. At the top were more shops, with hand carved wooden kitchen things, swords and daggers, gemstones, baskets, pouches, herbs, drink powders etc. It was all pretty cool.

We then had a pretty darn good afternoon of entertainment, with stories, sword fights, jousting and a falconry display. We got pretty darn cold sitting out watching for as long as we did, but it was so worth it. The characterisations were really well done too, with the Sheriff yelling evil things at us lowly peasants and Friar Tuck winning most of his battles with a tankard of ale in his hand, running away and falling over a lot.

The day show
We went out for dinner, and then we got to go back as they did a night time joust. It was incredible, with the knights charging down the green on horseback with flaming torches in hand, the incredible noises made by axe and sword meeting shields, sparks flying everywhere as metal met metal, and the final battle had the evil sheriff of Nottingham wielding a two handed flaming sword against Robin Hood carrying two single handed blades. All in all it was pretty darn spectacular, and we all had such a good day.

Night time jousting
I can highly recommend it to everyone for next year. Its brilliant fun, and I have to say I was surprised at the lack of LARPers.
Spending today chilling out as next week is going to be very long and very busy.
Have fun

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Lab times and leafy friends

Inductions. A necessary boredom, but such a dull one. Especially when it takes 2 full weeks! It's now week 3 of my return to uni land, and so far it's been 2 solid weeks of induction and courses, 2 days of reading and half a day in the lab waiting for other people to do things!

I have to say the courses we did were a big let down. Only a small group of us got to do the 2 day imaging course, and at first it looked to be really good. It ended up being really dull, going into a bunch of the physics behind microscopy which you don't particularly need to understand/know/remember when you actually use the machine. And we didn't get to do much hands on stuff which was disappointing. 
Anyways, courses aside we finally got our rotation placements through. My chosen phd topic I want to do I will get to do in my third rotation, which I'm very much looking forward to. The group are amazing, my soon to be supervisors lovely, and the work fascinating. Before then, I will be working on bacterial interaction with lipids in membranes (current project) and miRNA in neuroprotection and development (after New Years). The first project is much more chemistry and physics based than I was expecting, so it's kinda difficult and scary. I'm just hoping I don't screw up and let any of the labs down by failing. I kinda need to be good at this.
Very pretty, very fake neuroscience pic

In other news, my latest postcard collection has now grown to 3 thanks to my parents going on holiday. I'm hoping I get lots more soon :) I love postcards. I also now have two new friends in the form of mini evergreen shrubberies which have yet to be named (submissions are welcome). 
My sister and an old friend of mine from my first secondary school came to visit last weekend which was nice :) haven't seen them for an age. 
Can't really remember much else exciting. Games are afoot once again, with the return of Bens's Serilla on Thursdays which will be most fun :) also, someone else should own diablo 3 on ps3 so I can game with people more often. It's a very good game.

My new leafy friends

Ok, I'm out of news and tired.
Have fun