Monday, 30 June 2008

Sewing, baking and battles are all in a days work

I took last Friday off work for no particular reason, other than it was a case of take the day off or lose it. I have similar days off coming up this week and next week, for the same reason.

During my day off, I did much housework and started working on repairs to my bell tent which has a dodgy door zip. The door has always been a bit tempermental and I guess I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did, but now it has gone, I really do need to do something about it... Or we sleep in a tent with a door flap that won't close.

So Friday morning saw me cutting canvas strips and then pre-sewing them into panels ready to attach to the tent. The canvas had already been washed and treated with Fabsil to waterproof it, reduce the chance of the dreaded mildew and give some UV protection - all of which are good things with cotton tents.

My plan is to add dutch lacing to the tent flap, which means adding an overflap to one side and a reinforcing panel to the other side of the door, to support eyelets or gromits. I'd taken measurements last year, so trusting that I'd got it right back then I pushed on with cutting and preparing the panels, making sure there were no exposed raw edges. It took me the best part of two hours (shockingly), to measure, cut, iron, sew, iron the canvas some more, then topstich the panels so they maintained the shape I was after... And this was before going anywhere near the tent itself!

More on this later as it started to rain before I could go any further and I needed an extra pair of hands to help manouvere the tent as I sewed.

That took care of the morning, in the afternoon I decided to bake the first cake since I moved to Coventry, which would be over nine years ago. The impetus for this was the rhubarb plant which is slowly trying to take over the patio, triffid style. while it provides an excellent climbing frame and shelter for the cats, that is a whole lot of very tasty rhubarb going to waste, so I decided to make a rhubarb cake, recipe courtesy of Heather.

I had much fun and discovered that I haven't forgotten how to bake. I upped the spices a little from Heather's recipe and decreased the amount of syrup because I'd added sugar to the rhubarb when stewing it. I don't normally stew rhubarb, preferring to bake it as it retains its shape and texture, but stewing sure is good for mushing it down so it blended into the cake mixture really well.

No photographic evidence of my baking efforts I'm afraid, as the cake is almost gone. It was indeed yummy.

Saturday I drove up to Ripley so that Dave could play in a tabletop wargame as part of the AscendancyLRP campaign. There were two boards running simultaneously and as the recording scribe, I had my work cut out trying to keep track of everything.

The game Dave was playing in was particularly tense as Dave opened with some really awful dice rolls, which meant he didn't have much chance of recovery. Uninvited assistants on his opposing side kept sticking their oar in, questioning the rules and demanding to see the rule book and arguing just about everything which meant the mood was ugly.

Considering they were wiping the floor with Dave, I thought their attitude was a bit over the top... But I'm no wargamer, so what do I know. Dave kept his cool and was remarkably patient and stoic in the face of everything. I'm not sure I'd have done so well.

I took lots of pictures which I sent to Richard so they can be retouched, resized and added to the website in due course, but a few of my favourites...

And this last one, which looks for all the world like Nightjar (the cat woman figure) is going to attack the Masked Rider (the guy on the horse), whereas in reality she's there as a bodyguard.

(As always, click on the images to see bigger versions...)

In the evening we all headed off to the pub for some food, but disaster struck in the form of an ill child. The small person in question is OK, just a bit of a tummy bug, but it was badly timed and meant that Andy and Heather had to abandon their one night off, which was a shame. I drove them home so they could pick up their car, then rejoined the rest for a pleasant evening before driving home via a brief stop at Richard's for a cuppa.

A good if long day methinks.


  1. and we were totally gutted at having to leave the pub, let me assure you, we nearly, nearly got a beer.....Glad you liked the Rhubarb cake recipe, tis a good old family one that :-)

  2. Thanks for the photos (and yours and Dave's help) I will post those soon.