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tisdag 9 december 2008

The poet

Speaking of Haggis - next year it is 250 years since Robert Burns was born. I think I shall celebrate that with a genuine Burns' Night supper, which means more haggis, more whiskey and more bagpipes!

söndag 7 december 2008

I am a wrongdoer

- Strawberrys doesn't come to Europe until the 18th century, which mean you can't use them in medieval recipes
- Currants should in this case probably be interpreted as raisins

Let this be a lesson to you! Check up on your sources!

tisdag 2 december 2008

Sweets

This weekend I tested out a handful of 14th century recipes for sweets. It came down to a pie, two kinds of deep fried pastries, an early form of gingerbread biscuits, Lebkuchen, a warm drink called Caudel (I'm not sure this one is 14th century though...) and two kinds of hypocras. It took the better part of the day to fix it all.

Thanks to Astrid and Daniel Serra, I had access to grains of paradise (oh, sweet, rare grains!), and some tips on how to make the best of the hypocras. A lesson learnt is that the original recipes certainly must be divided into three or four - to use all that spice makes a porridge out of it all, and it is mortally expensive. Although I noticed this from the beginning and divided the amounts, it was still too much, and as the cinnamon powder started to react with the alochol, it became slimy like I don't know what. Hence, it was nigh impossible to sieve. Therefore: Second lesson learned is to not use powdered spice, but rather to grind the spice yourself, and make it kind of coarse. Earlier experiences tell me the same, but I guess I looked into the recipes a little bit to anxiously. As a cook, I should have trusted my instincts... Well. Better luck next time, I suppose.

If you don't know what Hypocras is, it is sweetened wine, spiced with a lot of different spices. I used a recipe from Le Menagier de Paris and a recipe from Curye on Inglish, a French and an English cook book from the latter 14th century. The recipe contains, among other things, cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, cloves, ginger, long pepper and so on. These recipes can easily be found online. Just google Le menagier de Paris hypocras (or click this link. When looking through the book, note that hypocras is spelled hippocras), or click this link to download the Forme of Curye, which is a part of the Curye on Inglish, if I'm not mistaken. Watch out for strange interpretations though. Try to use the original recipe if possible, though weights and volumes might differ quite a lot from our modern ones.

When it came to Lebkuchen (which is from first quarter of the 15th century), I learned that I probably should boil the honey a bit longer, to make the cookies a bit stiffer. Furthermore, I should have ground the dried bread a little bit better. Last but not least, I shall be a little bit more careful with the white pepper. It is quite easy to make - boil honey for five or ten minutes (don't let it burn), skim it, and let it cool just a bit. Then mix in breadcrumbs enough to make the mixture stiff, saffron and ground white pepper. Grease up a baking plate with butter, pour the thick, hardly running mixture on to it, and let it cool in a dry place. Before it is completely settled, though, cut lines in it, so that you can easily divide it in cookie-sized portions.

When making Caudel (a hot drink), remember this: You must NOT let it boil. If you do, you are left with sweet, scrambled eggs... Caudel is made with sweet wine or sweet beer, depending on who you ask. I used a recipe that looks like this:

5 egg yolks
1,5 decilitres of sweet beer (I used Boddington this time - it was good enough)
Enough sugar
Enough saffron
An optional pinch of salt

I whipped the beer and the yolks together, put in the saffron and sugar, and started to heat it up. I was not paying attention when making the Caudel, and it started to boil. The result was a very runny batch of scrambled eggs. The mixture is supposed to thicken and get warm. It is not supposed to boil.

It was easy enough to make Crispels. Take pastry dough and go at it with a rolling pin. Deep fry it. Dip it in boiling honey (watch your fingers). Done.

Next one - tourteletes in fryture - wasn't hard, but craved some work. Chop up figs, 5-6 of them would make about ten tourteletes. Mix with saffron and powder forte (a medieval blend of spice, consisting of "hot" spice like ginger, black pepper and cloves - google it, and make up your own mind about what you like). Cut two circles of pastry dough (use a drinking glass as measure) per tourtelete, put the fig-mixture in the centre of one of the dough circles, and use the other circle to cover it up. Make a small package out of it, and make sure it is well closed - otherwise the filling will not stay put. Deep fry the packages, and when they are finished, swab them with molten honey.

The last one - Leche Frys in Lentoun - is a fruit pie made from almond milk (almond milk is roughly 1 part finely ground almonds and two parts of water boiled together for maybe five minutes).

Chop up apples and pears, along with dates, prunes and currants (I couldn't find currants, so I used strawberrys with good result). Mix it with enough sugar, with powder forte, with cinnamon, mace and cloves. Add the almond milk and perhaps some olive oil and a pinch of salt. Mix it all well together, and put it in a prebaked pie-shell. Bake until ready (it should be golden brown at the top, and not runny). Keep the oven kind of hot.

All together I was happy with the results, not least because I learned a lot from them. As I write this, it is not even two weeks left until the Feast of Saint Stefanus, an annual celebration held by Albrechts Bössor. You have probably already made out that I am supposed to make the sweets for that party...

måndag 17 november 2008

Haggis - a complicated person

Today I rinsed the stomach thoroughly, and left it in pure water.

Then I started on the filling.

150 grammes of oatmeal
is to be put in the oven until golden coloured. They should not be brown or black.
250 grammes of beef suet
is to be finely chopped. Suet is like, hard, hard fat/tallow that insulate the kidneys. It is easily available in Great Britain, although not in Sweden. I used lard, as an old recipe said it could be used instead.
The liver
should be grated or coarsely chopped.
The lungs and heart
should be minced.
3 onions
should be finely chopped.
The water you cooked the pluck in
is coming to use. Pour it over the other ingredients and make the mixture watery. I used about 6 decilitres, and it turned out really good, but this will vary depending on the size of the sheep's pluck.
Last step is to add
2 tablespoons of salt, along with a teaspoon of pepper and half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper and enough lemon juice to make the mixture tasty (I should have fried some of the mixture and tasted it, to know I got the proportions right, but I didn't. Still, the result was alright).

I will present the following steps with pictures. Commentary on the pics are found below it.


When everything is mixed into a paste, it is time to put it in the stomach. First of all, take a big pot and fill it halfways with water. Put it on a boil.

Fill the stomach about half full. I made the mistake of filling it all the way (Pic 1 - yes, it looks like...). Press out all air from the stomach, but leave a LOT of room (I didn't - see pic 2) - the stomach is shrinking by at least 50%, and the oatmeal swells a lot.

I looked at pictures of haggises on the web, and they seemed to be tied shut with a string (although it is a crappy pic, look at pic 3). I did the same, and lowered my happy haggis into the boiling water, and looked on as the stomach transformed (pic 4-5). I realised that it was going to burst in a matter of seconds, so I pierced it with a needle (pic 6). It was too late however, and the string fell off. The filling started to leak out in the pot, and my spirit sunk.

My clever wife however, took the situation under control, and took the pot of the heat. She put it all in a sieve, and in a matter of minutes we could refill the stomach. It had shrunk immensely. This time, we stitched it closely shut with whip stitches (pic 7-9). Also, we had cut off a bit of the stomach ("This is way too big. Lets cut the redundant material."), and we stitched the bottom together, filled it up, and left as much space as we could. Then we stitched it shut, and sunk both haggises into the water again.

This time, we had better luck. The original haggis had already shrunk, and was OK, but the other one shrunk considerably. We pricked it with a needle a couple of times, but eventually, it burst. This time it was not the stitching, but the stomach itself - I had scraped it too vigourously. I took it out of the water (it was only a small hole in it), and put it into a plastic bag, whereafter I put it back into the water again. I didn't want it all to go to waste, so I hope you forgive me if I cheated just a tad.

The Haggis is supposed to boil slowly for three hours. I boiled mine for about 2,5 hours, as they were kinda small. The finished Haggis was very good to the texture - as you don't eat it with sauce, I like mine a bit "juicy" (yes, I know it sounds disgusting). Every chef would of course have his Haggis different, but I like mine the way it turned out. During cooking, the water in the pot will evaporate. Keep hot water nearby to top up your pot as time passes, as the Haggis must always be covered with water.

Haggis is served with "neeps and nips" - mashed turnips and a dram of whisky. We found out that a glass of stout is an excellent companion to haggis and mashed turnips. It tasted a lot better than it looked, a real treat I must say, and it was certainly not disgusting as some of you probably think. You don't eat the stomach - it just acts like a vessel for cooking the other meats.

It had a buttery taste, not dissimilar to Bolognese. Salt was needed, maybe because of most of the filling leaked out in the boling water in the early process.

I had a couple of sceptic friends over, and they left like true believers.

My lessons learnt is to:

- Fry some of the mixture to make sure it tastes alright
- Leave lots and lots of room for shrinking and swelling, but make sure no air is left within the stomach
- Stitch the stomach together meticiously - just tiing it won't do the trick
- Be careful when you scrape the stomach - it can't be holed, and not even too thin
- Don't be afraid to prick the stomach with a small needle if it looks like bursting

Follow these advice - it is way too much effort put in to let the Haggis go wrong just because you are careless like I.

söndag 16 november 2008

Address To A Haggis

Fairfa' your honest, sonsie face,
Great chieftain o' the pudding-race!
Aboon them a' ye tak your place,
Painch, tripe, orthairm:
Weel are ye wordy o'a grace
As lang's my arm.

The groaning trencher there ye fill,
Your hurdies like a distant hill,
Your pin wad help to mend a mill
In time o'need,
While thro' your pores the dews distil
Like amber bead.

His knife see rustic Labour dight,
An' cut you up wi' ready sleight,
Trenching your gushing entrails bright,
Like ony ditch;
And then, O what a glorious sight,
Warm-reekin', rich!

Then, horn for horn , they stretch an' strive:
Deiltak the hindmost! on they drive,
Tilla' their weel-swall'dkytesbelyve
Are bent like drums;
Then auld Guidman, maist like to rive,
Bethankit! hums.

Is there that owre his French ragout
Or olio that wadstaw a sow,
Or fricassee wad make her spew
Wi' perfect sconne,
Looks down wi' sneering, scornfu' view
On sic a dinner?

Poor devil! see him owre his trash,
As feckless as wither'd rash,
His spindle shank, a guid whip-lash;
His nieve a nit;
Thro' bloody flood or field to dash,
O how unfit!

Butmark the Rustic, haggis-fed,
The trembling earth resounds his tread.
Clap in his walienieve a blade,
He'll mak it whissle;
An' legs an' arms, an' heads will sned,
Like tapso'thrissle.

Ye Pow'rs, whamak mankind your care,
And dish them out their billo' fare,
Auld Scotland wants naeskinkingware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer
Gie her a haggis!


By Robert "Rabbie" Burns, 1786

To use every single bit

A couple of months ago me, my wife and my daughter went to a couple of friends' place in the deep forests of Småland. We had a terrific time, had lots of apples from their plantation, had great meals and hung out with the sheep at the place. A couple of days ago, Katarina visited, kinda late. And she brought at body wrapped in black plastic bags. I put the blinds down, and started to cut the body in pieces with a saw. It was quite bizarre - a regular thursday evening I stood in my kitchen with an apron, hair pointing in all directions, with a saw put to a sheep's body.

Today, Sunday, my dad visited, to help me butcher the sheep into good, choice meat. And then I had an idea. I have never tried to cook Haggis, so I dug up an old recipe I had when I worked in Scotland. Magnus and Katarina (special thanks to Katarina's mother for being a relentless slaughterer - she emptied the sheep's stomach, and put heart, liver and lungs into bags for me).

First step when making haggis, is to soak the stomach of the sheep in really, really salt water over night. The same day, you can also cook the liver, the heart and the lungs. They are to boil slowly in nothing but pure water for 1,5 hours. Make sure that the windpipe of the lungs are always above water - impurities are ventilated through it, and, if possible, put the liver on top of the lungs. As the lungs are filled with air, they have a tendency to float to the surface, which means that only about 60% of the lungs are in the boiling water. If this happens, try to turn the lungs from time to time. In this picture, note the windpipe hanging over the edge of the pot. Top up with water if necessary.

When the boiling is finished, remove the pluck (lungs, liver and heart) from the pot, and pour the water into a container - it is going to be used later in the process.

The next step is the yuckiest one. Put your hand in the sheep's stomach, and use a table knife to scrape of the "fluff" on the outside of it. Make sure not to pierce it. I found that it is best to work in small circles, and to have lots of water nearby. This is a stiff work. I guess the experts have no problem doing this, but I am quite certain that i spent at least 1,5 hours scraping the surface completely clean. The lowermost picture show the difference between unscraped stomach and scraped.

When it is good and clean, turn it inside out and wash it thoroughly, scraping if necessary - this is the surface where the sheep's shit is produced (hey - it is a stomach!), so you would like to be really meticulous when cleaning this. It has been soaked in salt, and that would take care of most (hopefully all) harmful micro organisms, but that is no excuse to be sloppy about it - work-work, as the peon said.

A stomach is peculiar, by the way. Really stretchy. Really smelly. Really yucky. It is fascinating. And you find yourself amazed by what you are doing a regular evening, with your arm half way into a sheep's digestive system, scraping frantically with a table knife.

Great experience, despite of the smell and the "oh-so-gross-factor". I learn a lot these days, and I am pretty positive no one of my friends have ever done this.

Tomorrow's the big day, when the actual making of the Haggis is taking place. I will of course report on every disgusting detail. Stay tuned for next episode of "Chieftain o' the puddin' race"!
And by the way - the smell still hasn't gone of my hands...



tisdag 11 november 2008

Party pics






















Johan Looks grim. He always does, but this time - he is hungry.















All of a sudden - the pig arrives!



















Everyone is happy.

















Particularly Johan.





















What barbarism!












Don't look ladies! It is not a pretty sight! Poor animal...

måndag 10 november 2008

Party

Last weekend I attended a party held at the "medieval" pub Sjätte Tunnan in Stockholm. It was a five hour drive from home, but I was real excited to go. The party promised lots of old friends, and a handful of new ones. The setting: Our old friends of Fraternis Militia Carnis were having a 10-year-anniversary. At the same time, a new group dealing with the year 1412, a group of people called Stadsvakten ("The city guards") wanted to present themselves to the scene. This was of course welcome, as new late 14thC and early 15thC groups are always appreciated in Sweden, where reenactors are scarce and 14-15thC ones are even more scarce. This was a rare opportunity to have a look at new people and start interesting cooperations.

The people of Albrechts Bössor met up at Maria's place, where we had a couple of drinks. It was good to see them all, and to look at new stuff they had made since last time. It was particularly nice to meet Alex after a long summer without his burly company.

We went into central Stockholm, to Old Town, where we met other friends, ad had a change of clothes into our medieval gear. I had my new shoes and my new coat on (yes, yes, I will post pictures as soon as I can - I finished the damned shoes!). I re-used an old hat of mine - the so called blue-bell-hat - it is bright blue, and might remind you of a blue bell, if you really want it to.
In my new, fresh outfit I felt ready to tackle the evening - heck - even the world.

We went to the venue, and was welcomed by Sebastian, the head chef and an old friend - also member of Fraternis Militia Carnis (for short - Carnis, henceforth) - without any doubt one of the finest "medieval chefs" of the world.

We put our behinds down in a dark, cosy part of the pub, where the staff had made the table for us. First up was a guy, really interested and schooled in the theory of medieval music. I can't say I enjoyed it as much as I should have - he went deeply into the technical aspects of music and went on for a long time without catching my interest, so I was kinda relieved when he was done.

Then one of the guys from Stadsvakten presented the members of his group. They seemed decent enough, particularly for beginners.

Next step - the food. And the beer! I was hungry and thirsty, and when the plates were put down I was happy! The beer was served forth in big, big jugs, and it was not bad at all. I drank and chatted with people around the table and was quite content with life.

First course was pea soup with saffron, followed by a plate of assorted fish - smoked eel among other things. The other servings contained various meats with a grand finale - a whole piglet, painted in chequers, green and red. I had a back leg and ate until I nearly became sick.

Whilst eating I spoke with one of the guys from Stadsvakten, but sadly I can't say he impressed me much. He rather jeered at me, and tried to tell me off to show that he was better than me, and that he knew everything better than did I, even though I got the impression that he hadn't been reenacting at all before. Too bad. I was hoping for new comrades, but this guy more or less shamed the rest of them. Hopefully, other members will show that they indeed are good guys worth cooperating with in the future - I guess you can't blame the group for the individual.

This put me in kind of a bad mood (I was hoping for so much, and was disappointed), and one of our colleagues in Carnis had to pay for it. I over reacted to one of his jokes and slapped him before I really knew what was happening. It is really nothing I am proud of - on the contrary I feel a bit ashamed even as I write this. I begged his pardon of course, and as far as I know he accepted it; at least we hugged and sorted things out immediately. Sorry again, Ludde. It just happened.

On the good note, two German colleagues from More Majorum showed up, and brought me greetings from Fabse, an acquaintance from Morimondo, as well as from Roland, in charge of arranging the Bachritterburg event 2009.

All in all though, I thought the night was a bit too expensive in comparison to what I got, plus I forgot my "ordinary" jacket and had to go get it the morning after, still really hung over... I'll post some photos when I get around to it.

fredag 10 oktober 2008

New suede(?) shoes, part 4

It was time to make the other shoe. Djävulen was postponed into the future, so I didn't feel stressed anymore. I took my time making the other shoe while watching bad movies and drinking loads of tea. I started up by flesh-edge-stitching the two parts of the overleather together, placed like in the pic below.












When I was finished, it looked like the picture underneath (for clarification, please have a look at the previous post).














Next, I started to saddle-stitch the sole to the overleather, not forgetting the so called rand, a strip of leather placed between the sole and the overleather. The rand is used to make the shoe more stable as well as protecting the overleather from being worn out, as the wearer often treads on it, and to provide extra water proofing. In the pic below, the rand is marked by a red arrow. Don't forget to get the layers all right - the shoe is about to be turned inside out when you are finished! It is mind bending and tricky business, which requires quite a bit of thought.


















This time the overleather seemed to be a bit too small. I can't imagine how this is possible, as both sole and overleather on both shoes were cut from the exact same pattern. Still, it happened, and I had to really struggle, and bend the sole to get it together.













When the shoe was all put together, I tunnel-stitched strips of reinforcing leather to the edges, where the lace holes where to be put. Tunnel seam is similar to flesh-edge-seam, with the difference that you don't allow the awl to go out through the leather edge - you rather make sort of a tunnel in the leather, not going through to the outside of it. Bah. The pic will illustrate:
















When this all is finished, it is time to soak your shoe. This is done to soften the thick sole, and to make the overleather more pliable - otherwise we wouldn't be able to turn the shoe at all. Just let it soak over night.

















The next morning, hell awaited. I removed all children, cats and elderly people - the air was about to thicken by coarse language and burning curses. It is a true feat to turn a shoe, and it requires strength and patience.




















I worked it for maybe 45 minutes. My muscles ached, my hair was all over my face, I was sweating and my throat was sore from grunting and swearing. I used a broomstick and a shaft to a mace, but the leather would hardly budge. I thought I was getting somewhere. And then:






















The bastard broke! @£#¤$%%& - as they say in magazines...

torsdag 9 oktober 2008

New suede(?) shoes, part 4 - coming soon!

After a heap of trouble, I finally managed to finish my other shoe. A story about the making, and pics to illustrate it, along with artsy photos of the finished pair, will soon be posted!

måndag 22 september 2008

New suede(?) shoes, part 3

Lets try it again. I'll just post a lot of pics, and then I'll comment on them in the bottom.










The first picture shows the tools of the trade. There is a ruler for measuring and drawing straight lines (who would have thought that you could do that with a ruler?), harness needles (they are blunt - not sharp - for a closer look, check out the second picture), waxed linen/flax thread - the really sturdy type, a sharp, thin awl, a thimble ring and a sharp (really sharp) knife. I also use some type of material to protect the table from cutting and piercing - a chopping-board usually does the trick.

Next picture shows the harness needles. They are blunt, and they are two! They are blunt, because they are not used to pierce holes in the leather. The awl is used for that. The needles are used to guide the thread through the holes. They are two because you make turn-shoes by stitching them together with a so called saddler's seam, where two needles are used for the same thread - one needle in each end. The saddler's seam is presented further down this post.

Next picture shows the three different pieces of the shoe in question. There is a overleather (1), a gore (2) and a sole (3). The colour markings show where they fit together. The construction is a bit tricky, and it is easy to get lost when trying to figure it out. I stitched the gore in place at the overleather (green to green and red to red - yes - it takes a whole lot of folding and shaping to get it straight), before I did anything else.

Next two pictures show a piece of the sole. The awl goes in at the top, but it doesn't go the whole way through it - it changes direction, and goes out on the side - the sole is thick enough for this. The reason for this is that the thread would be worn out (off?) in less than a day if it were to be placed directly under the foot (between the foot and the ground).

Next two pictures show how the above is made in practice. This example shows awling technique for a so called flesh edge seam, which is the most common seam for stitching together pieces of the overleather. The thread is not seen on the outside when the seam is finished. The only difference between the flesh edge seam and the saddler's seam is that the flesh edge seam really only goes through the edges of the leather, when the saddler's seam can go straight through the leather, from top to bottom.

The next picture is a detail of the flesh edge/saddler's seam. Both needles go in (one at a time) the two holes made by the awl, one from each side. When each needle has been pulled through, you just tighten the thread, and go for the next set of holes. The last picture shows how the flesh edge seam looks.

When stitching the overleather to the sole, the saddler's seam is used.

fredag 19 september 2008

On the nature of Blogger

Blogger sucks. At first, when I published an article, one of the pics came out wrong. When I tried to edit it, only the first third of the article was visible, and when I posted the corrections, everything I had written, except for the first third, disappeared. So I took it all away. Maybe I'll re-write it next week.

torsdag 18 september 2008

And now for something completely different

I am no longer on trial employment! I am no longer on trial employment! I am no longer on trial employment! I am no longer on trial employment! Yaya! A real employment! That isn't depending on season or projects! With a real contract! I shall have me a good drink when I get home - because I am a working man now! I am not a kid anymore! I have a job! I am respectable and I can support myself and my family! Rawk-and-rowl!

New suede(?) shoes, part 2

As I promised, I'll post more on the making of these godly vessels of foot protection.

In the beginning, there was the foot. Plain, smelly and rough. Thereafter I put one of my hose on it, and after that, a real thick winter woollen sock. I finished with a tube sock over it all. I then had a very warm foot.

Next step in this footy ordeal, was to take 1o centimetre long strips of gaffer tape, and completely cover up my foot - not too tight though. I was trying to follow the structure of it all, not of the foot inside all the socks and tape. When I was finished with it, I looked up a nice shoe in the Shoes and Pattens book from London Museum (I recommend you do this beforehand), and used a marker to sketch the cutting/outline of that shoe on my gaffer taped, socked foot.

What I did next was to gently make some room between the tape/tube sock layer and the warm winter sock, and used a pair of scissors to cut the tape/tube sock away. When I did this, I cut along the lines I made with the marker, quite obviously.

When I was finished doing that, I had the pieces cut out for a gaffer tape shoe. Then it was time to trace my foot for the sole. I put my hose-clad, but otherwise liberated, foot on a piece of paper, and traced it down with a pen. Next time, I'll be sure to trace it further under my instep, so the sole gets that classic narrow cut in the middle of the foot. Anyway. When it was finished, I measured the whole thing, and compared it to the measurement of the overleather. They should of course be the same, otherwise they won't go together. It is easier to adjust the sole than the overleather.

When they fit together it is time to re-sketch the again. Make the toe a bit longer on both the sole and the overleather, and make the shoe as a whole bigger by maybe a centimetre on all sides.

Then re-sketch it on a big sheet made of gaffer tape, cut it out, and whip stitch it all together loosely with thick, durable thread. The gaffer tape works a bit similar to leather, and when you are finished, you have a good mock up shoe. Try it on, and adjust if too big or too small. Remember that the leather you will be using should be much thicker than your tape mock up, and that means it will also be closer to your foot. If the mock up is just a tiny bit too big, then it is probably OK. When you are happy, trace it all down on paper, and you have your personal shoe pattern!

I'll describe more of the making as soon as I start with it.

onsdag 17 september 2008

New suede (?) shoes - pics

And now: What you've all been waiting for! The lace holes haven't been made yet, and I'm currently adjusting to a new camera - i.e. focus on these pics might not be the best. I hope you can see it anyway.



tisdag 16 september 2008

New suede(?) shoes, part 1

As my old shoes, made in january 2004, have been stepping closer to death each event, I have often thought of making myself new ones, in thicker leather, in a different model and with more correct techniques. But I think a lot, and do a whole lot less. No new shoes have been made - I have rather turned them inside out and fixed the as good as I could. But on our last event in Seeth-Ekholt it was finally time to let them go to their final rest. I ripped the leather off the soles (its not the soles that are falling apart - I'll re-use them some other place), and buried them peacefully in a hole we dug in the ground (not for the shoes, though, but for our kitchen waste). There they await the archaeologists of the future, who will have a real hard time telling 21st century from 14th :-)

So I really, really need new shoes. I bought the leather some time ago, but I really haven't got around to it. You know how it is. The problem is, that Albrechts Bössor, our company, is arranging what we call En djävul i skogen, translated "A Devil in the forest" - for short we will call it Djävulen (The Devil) henceforth. Djävulen was originally put together to test out ourselves and our equipment. It consists of one or two days march through the forests, carrying every single piece of equipment the company would need on campaign - including armour, pavise shields, weapons, cooking equipment, tents - the lot. We use a couple of sumpter horses to carry the bulkiest stuff, but otherwise, we carry our shit ourselves. And we walk. And walk. And walk. Then you'll need a sturdy pair of boots, and as Djävulen is coming up in less than a month I thought I might have to fix me that pair of shoes.

So that's what I am doing at the moment. The shoes are based on a London find, with details lent from similar Swedish examples. I turned the first of them yesterday night, with the help of a hammer, a broom stick, coarse language and my wife. What remains is making lace holes - no big deal. I am really, really happy with the first one - it might be one of the best things I ever made (apart from the leather just being a tiny bit too small at the instep - it leaves a small hole just above the sole - excellent for letting in water, snow and muck. Yes, I have already cut the other leather - exactly like this one. I guess I'll just have to put a patch there). They fit better than I thought, but in spite of them being a bit small at the instep at the level of the sole, they are a bit too big farther up the shaft. I know what changes I will make when I cut my next pair, if I ever get around to it. I will post pics as soon as I get back from work, and I'll post comments on the making of the next one, so you in your turn can comment on all the mistakes I make.

onsdag 10 september 2008

Seeth-Ekholt, chapter 4

We set out on the Autobahn. Me and Eli had the maps and took the lead in our overpacked Volvo, with the other guys in the other car following us. We hadn't driven that far when we suddenly became part of a queue. I wasn't certain wether it was a queue for people exiting the Autobahn or just a general queue, so I drove past it. I realised Simon (who was driving the following car) didn't, and I wondered why. Me and Eli guessed they would catch up, but we couldn't figure out why he stopped. It turned out that Simon was right - it was a general queue, and I had to sneak into it with cheeks full of shame. Our two cars were connected via walkie-talkies, but they had very limited range, and we could figure out what had happened to the others. As we drove, we slowly closed in on our exit and hoped that the others would catch up. They didn't, so we drove of, and hoped that we could catch them when they were closing in. We called out on the radio time and time again that they were supposed to exit at our particular exit - they didn't have any maps and therefore they couldn't figure it out for themselves.

Me and Eli parked the car at the roadside and put the emergency lights on. We waited for about 30 minutes, but we couldn't make contact with the others. Suddenly I saw a cop car in the rear view mirror, driving by at the street connecting to ours, and I cursed.
"I hope they didn't see us!" but the siren told another story. The cop car backed up and I had a lump in my throat. And in my stomach. The cops stopped behind us and stepped out, as did I.
"Guten Abend!" I greeted them, and they replied with the same courtesy. As my German isn't very good, I'll take the rest of the conversation in English. Please enjoy, as I didn't...

"What seems to be the problem?" (or for you Swedish guys: "Hur var det här då?")
"I'll tell you." I said, knees shaking just a tad. "You see, my friends are going to Hamburg, even when they were not supposed to." I felt my heart sinking; this wasn't going well at all. It was quite clear that my German wasn't at its peak in a stressed situation. The officers glanced at our clearly over loaded car, filled with axes, handgonnes, blackpowder, spears and German booze. Then they looked at me, and I felt inclined to continue:
"Well, we are waiting for them. They are turning, to get back to the other way..." I stuttered. The officer looked concerned and puzzled at the same time.
"Do you speak any English?" I tried, as it was clear that my message wasn't clear. He shook his head, slowly. The buttons on his uniform shone in the blue lights from the cop car. I swallowed.
"This is a bad spot, you see." he said. "This is the Autobahn. Would you mind waiting somewhere else?" 'Autobahn?' I thought. 'I just exited the Autobahn. This is just at crap piece of road.'
"No sir! I wouldn't mind at all!" I replied. He pointed at a parking lot some 100 metres away.
"Is that a good spot?" I nodded. "Well, turn your car around and park over there."
"Yes sir!"

So I got in the car, started it up, and drove off to find a spot to turn the thing around. And suddenly - we were at the Autobahn again! We had been parked at a slip road connecting to the Autobahn - and I hadn't the slightest idea this was the case. I drove off into the beginning night, sweating like... like... myself in a tight spot, and hoping they wouldn't chase me when I didn't park where I was told to. We called the others by phone (the phone bill arrived some days ago - it cost me about 80 euros altogether) and decided we should meet up at a suitable spot. They were ahead of us by at least 30 minutes. I drove a bit faster to gain on them, and on some dark highway, well of the Autobahn I was flashed by a speed camera and cursed a bit. Again. Finally we caught up with our friends, and drove all the way to the ferry without any troubles. We handed the ticket collector the tickets, and drove slowly towards the awaiting ferry. This is where the troubles started again. The other guys couldn't find their tickets. And we unknowingly went on the ferry without them. And the ferry departed. And they were still on German soil.

Me and Eli waited on the Danish side, and together we drove the last hours through Denmark, until we crossed the bridge over Öresund, and were back in Sweden and Malmö. And that was the end of it.

torsdag 4 september 2008

Seeth-Ekholt, chapter 3

Sunday. The day of going back to Sweden again, but also another day of one of the finest events in years. Breakfast with sausage and bread (and - coffee - you can take a man out of the modern time, but you can't take the coffee out of the man).
The bagpipe maker arrived about an hour before opening time, and told us that he didn't mind at all that we used his bench and table. We started chatting, and I admired his pipes; I have always wanted one, even when I was little, and these were really, really nice. So I asked him:
"What di you charge for one of those little, simpler pipes?" He dodged the question and told us all about bagpipestuff, which was really interesting, but I wanted to know how much money I would have to save to get me a pipe. So I asked him again. He shifted, and said:
"Do you know Marianne, the woman over there?" I told him I did. "You know," he continued "I'd rather trade than have you buy. Marianne made a set of clothes for my wife. Do you think you can do the same for me?" For those of you not into reenactment I can tell you this is a common way to do business - a craftsman offers you some of his work, and you give him some of yours - and all are happy.

The observant reader, however, have remembered that I am not a craftsman. I am a reading man, a drinking, feasting, eating man. But I am not a craftsman. I can make stuff for myself, but not for others - my stuff isn't good enough to trade for a bagpipe (to trade for anything, really), so this wasn't what I wanted.
"I can't say that I can." I admitted, feeling my spirits sinking to the muddy ground. Dammit. Another bagpipe lost in fantasies. Suddenly I heard a familiar voice. It said:
"But I can." Maria had entered the conversation.
"Pardon?" I said.
"I can make stuff for you." she told the pipe maker. I turned to her.
"This is your game, and you better stand up to it if you make promises."
"I will." she promptly stated, with a shadow of a smile across her face. I gasped when I finally realised what was happening. Maria offered her supreme skills as a textile expert for my bagpipe to be. She continued:
"You'll have to pay me for the raw materials of course, and help me out when I make the cloth."
"You got it!" I told her, and turned to the pipe maker.
"Would you like a Herjolfsnes no. 63?"
"Why yes, that is exactly what I had in mind!" he answered happily.
"And a pair of hose, I guess." Maria said. The bagpipe maker nodded eagerly, and asked:
"Peter, would you like to have wood carvings on you pipe as well? It is common to have King's heads or animal heads carved where the chanter connects to the bag. You can design that pipe anyway you like it." He didn't have to ask me twice - I decided there and then that my pipe should have the face of King Albrecht carved on it. Me and Thorsten the bagpipe maker shook hands, and made a deal. I am looking forward to having my pipe this christmas, and I am looking forward to the making of a grand old Herjolfsnes 63 jacket. The bagpipe maker (or rather his pipes) can be seen here.

I was a bit dazed by the prospect of finally having my very own bagpipe. I slowly walked among the booths, looking at the artisans and their work. I was feeling like cotton inside, and my mouth were aching from the idiotic smile I had on it. It was hardly mid day yet, and I was in my best mood. For some reason (I suspect drinking water) I didn't have any hangover, and the weapons display went really well - even better than the day before. The girls all had their go at the gonnes, to everyones amusement; it is funny how people turn to drooling children when they get to fire the handgonnes. It is something very primitive about it, that connects to our inner savage, and makes you want to burn and pillage. Or something the like.

Finally it was time to pack up and leave. Our simple camp was as always very easy to pack up, and we were finished in a couple of hours. We took a fond farewell of our friends, and were a bit troubled by the news that another Seeth-Ekholt event will not be held until 2010. We had ourselves some burgers before setting out for home in the late summer afternoon, where the evening gloom were slowly beginning to fall.

onsdag 27 augusti 2008

Seeth-Ekholt, chapter 2

Next day we stood up kind of early. I didn't drink very much the day before, but in spite of that I had a noticeable hangover. I drank lots of water and had myself a couple of painkillers and started to cook porridge (or Brei, as it is called in German) from an old, local recipe from back home. Even though I really tried, it didn't turn out very well. I suspect that I use the wrong proportions, and shall try it again later, under different circumstances.

Today was the first of the market days, and we had already the day before spied out what pottery we should buy from the potter. He was there last year, and we totally renewed our sets of pottery. This year it was time to do it again. The company bought a cistern containing 4 litres of whatever liquid, and was planning to buy an oil lamp as well as another jug (these two will be ordered at a later date, as we would like to make them a bit special). Me and Elisabeth bought ourselves three different kinds of mugs, among other things a so called fyrpassbägare/vierpassbecher that kinda looks like a four leafed shamrock when you look at its mouth from above. Really neat.

We strolled along the different merchants and had a closer look at each and every one of them, discovering lots of stuff that was new to us. There was a woodworker, doing all kinds of small stuff, like spoons, rakes, turners for frying and so on. Also, there was a guy making crossbow bolts. He was really skilled, using only period materials and methods. I learned a lot from just watching him. Another guy was a silver smith, with some really nice silver bowls and some jewellry. Elvelüüt Hamborch was selling cloth, there was a spice merchant, a needle maker, a guy making points and laces, a bagpipemaker and - the coolest of them all - a guy making parchment by hand, with period materials and methods. He was tanning hides, scraping them, and doing all sorts of things. Then, when the parchment was finished, he and his wife were copying pictures and pages from original manuscripts, of course with period pigments and inks. It sure is special to watch real craftsmen at work. Also, we met several old friends during the day, and had lots of interesting conversations and catching up.

Then it was time for our grand moments. We geared up in our best armour, loaded up our handgonnes and looked plain grim. It was time for display. One of the guys from MiM was leading the display, and told the audience about different types of armour and weapons. As far as my German is concerned, I thought that he was a good tutor, that really could explain things in a good way. Then it was time to fire the handgonnes. We did a fine job firing and reloading, and shot four times in about a minute, to the audience's awe. We are getting better by the shot, and we steadily develop new ways to make our reloading more efficient. As soon as all the gunners kan get themselves powder containers and their own ramrods, we will be even better. To be honest, most of the guys don't have their own stuff, and that really is apalling. A good thing though, is that Alex has made a gonne for himself, and Anders has made two. Just a pity that Anders hardly ever comes along to events...

Afterwards it was time for a brief "shower" consisting of a bucket full of water thrown over ones head. It sure is hot and heavy to wear armour in the middle of the summer, but then again - such is life in the King's army. The we went shopping again. We needed stuff for the evnings banquette, where every group makes their own speciality and brings it along to the others. I made Swedish pickled herring from an old family recipe a week before the event, and Johan presented it nicely on one of the big plates we had brought with us. He even decorated it with flowers. Before we carried it to the table, however, we fetched Ronnie from the MiMs - he hade been looking forward to the herring since last year, and I had prepared a special treat for him - a real Scanian/Swedish "Äggåsillamacka" - a piece of coarse rye bread, with sour cream, chives, a slice of egg and topped with a couple of pieces of pickled herring. I offered him three variations, and served him genuine brännvin spiced according to Swedish tradition. At more festive dinners and celebration it is customary that you drink vodka flavoured with herbs and spice along with your food, especially when eating herring. Ronnie was very pleased, to say the least, and I felt (for once :-)) like a good man.

We borrowed a table and a couple of benches from the bagpipemaker, who wasn't there for the feast, and put our behinds down to enjoy the food. There was lots and lots of food, and I presume we were presented quite a few German treats. Be as it may, it was a fine feast! Historia Peregrini was providing beer and wine, we sang indecent songs, translated word by word by Johan, and our German friends laughed until tears came out their eyes.

The night was closing in, as did the mist. This evening also offered us a total (moon) eclipse, especially beautiful in the fog. Bit by bit, the full moon was being covered with a dark, round shape. Suddenly it was just plain dark, and the mood of the party was changing., maybe not for the worse, but in a special way, for sure. The grass was wet with dew, and I got my blanket to warm my frozen shoulders, as I listened to German jokes and sipped my weissbier. The ladies of our company were especially loud, as they were having a photo shoot with funny faces. I guess we were the last to go to bed that night, together with the Deventer Burgerscap-people, and we slept well until morning.

onsdag 20 augusti 2008

Seeth-Ekholt, chapter 1

On popular demand, I will try to write this blog in English, even though I'd rather not. Maybe I'll slip back to Swedish when I get tired of misspelling everything, but that is a different story, to tell on another blog.

Well, let me tell you about Seeth-Ekholt, and the trip to get there and back.

We started up Friday morning early (me and Eli sent thoughts of thanks to my mother-in-law for babysitting Isolde the whole weekend), and went over the bridge to Denmark. The trip to Rödby, Denmark, went smooth as a whistle, and we went by ferry to Puttgarden. On German soil we stopped to buy alcohol (that's an old Swedish tradition - all Swedes buy alcohol in Germany, as much as they can possibly carry), and then we were off towards Seeth-Ekholt again. After a couple of mishaps I was personally responsible for, we were finally able to roll up to the camp site, about 1600 hours. A few of the other groups had already arrived, and we started to make camp. Before long, we had a place for doing the dishes, along with a hole for waste. Our three tents went up, and were furnished with straw until we had made cozy beds. A pavise shield put on four stakes forced into the ground became our table, and a handful of chests were our benches. A great camp, in short.

People were becoming hungry, and even though the excellent people of Historia Peregrini were cooking as fast as they could, it was clear that the food shouldn't be ready for some time. We therefore decided to dispatch a foraging patrol. Me and Lunkan left camp and went to the nearby Elmshorn to shop groceries. We started by getting ourselves some bread. We bought a huge loaf weighing in at 2,7 kilos - by far the biggest hunk of bread I have ever seen. In addition we bought some lovely pasties with strawberries and vanilla cream. We loaded it all in the car, and went back to shop. We bought sausages (three different kinds), two kinds of cheese, a load of different weissbier, and some small stuff, like spice, sour cream and the like. In short, we loaded up for a feast.

As we came back, we fed the dogs the pasties - and there was much rejoyce! Somebody even took a photo of them. When spirits where higher, we started to cook a bit of food, and as the evening was rolling in on us, we could serve smoked mackerel, sausages (some of them were fresh - not cooked or spiced, but a raw meat product! I spiced them up with loads of thyme, salt, cardamom, black pepper and salt, boiled them half-ready and then fried them - and they were glorious!), cheese, bread, beer, sauerkraut, wine cooked cabbage, mead and wine.

By this time, some of our friends had started arriving. Kyra, from Bürgerliches Leben um 1400, came over to keep us company, along with Nijso, Bertus and Laurens from Deventer Burgerscap (we were a bit disappointed that none of the girls joined). Soon Lorentz from Elvelüüt Hamborch and some of the guys from MiM (Mensch im Mittelalter) also joined. Lorentz had his laptop with him, and we could watch his excellent film from Morimondo, Italy. It became a quite pleasant evening, with a couple of drinks, good friends, lots of laugh and enough food to go around.

The mist started to whirl and twirl around our legs and our shoulders, and finally it was time to go to bed. The moon shone eerily and beautiful when I went up to have myself a piss in the early morning hours. It was hauntingly hidden behind the almost solid barriers of heavy fog. I stood watching for a bit, until the chilly air drove me back to Elisabeth and the warmth of our bed. I felt very much alive as I closed my eyes and went back to sleep.

onsdag 13 augusti 2008

Knappast

Igår sydde jag på den sista knappen på livstycket till panzaret. 31 stycken, en mer än jag räknat med. Sakta men säkert börjar det ta form! Det känns tillfredställande att det äntligen börjar se ut som ett plagg och inte bara en massa tygstycken, men samtidigt känns det lite hånfullt - det är först nu - när jag gjort alla misstag - som jag kan påbörja mitt "riktiga" panzar. Och redan står det mig upp i halsen... Jag får nog jobba på lite andra grejer först, innan jag kan ta tag i det.

Jag läste häromdagen om ett panzar från Edward IIIs inventarier som skulle vara gjort i grön canvas. Allt jag vet om linne och hampa (och därmed om canvas) är att det är väldigt svårt att färga med någon reda, så att det inte bara bleknar. Hoppas att Maria har några färgaress i klänningsärmen - jag vill ha ett grönt canvaspanzar!

Annars funderar man ju på varför de panzar som avbildas alltid är så färgglada - jag menar; det är inte bara riddare som springer runt i grälla panzar, utan även soldater, så silke är det väl rimligen inte, i alla fall inte alla gånger. Och växtfärgad linne/hampa är som bekant notoriskt bleknande i väder och vind. Återstår bomull (men jag vet inte hur det beter sig i färgningen), läder eller ylle. Ingenstans talas det om att det yttre lagret är gjort av ylle. Det finns tveksamma belägg för att läder skulle använts i panzar/jacks, men frågan är om det användes ytterst. Och i så fall, om bomull beter sig bättre i växtfärgningssammanhang, borde det vara det som är ytterst, även om det fortfarande måste anses som ganska dyrt.

Så här säger

Armourers company of london, 1322:

"it was ordeyned for ye comon proffyt and assented that from henceforth all Armour made in ye Cytie to sell be good and concenable after ye forme that henceforth That is to saie that an Akton and Gambezon covered with sendall or of cloth of Silke be stuffed with new clothe of cotten and of cadar and of olde sendall and not otherwise. And that ye wyite acketonnes be stuffed of olde lynnen and of cottone and of new clothe wth in and wth out. It is ordeyned that all ye crafte of ye citie of London be truely ruled and governed every person in his nature in due maner so that no falsehood ne false workemanshipp nor Deceipt be founde in no maner wise in any of ye foresaid crafte for ye worship of ye good folke of all ye same crafte and for the common proffytt of ye people".

"Olde lynnen och olde cottone" står i motsats till "new clothe, wht in and wth out", så det skulle kunna vara så att man har gammalt bomullstyg/linnetyg som stoppning och nytt på utsidan och insidan - och kanske skulle det kunna vara så att det är enklare att färga än hampa och linne. Vad beträffar "wyite acketonnes" så känns det inte som om det är särskilt vanligt - av alla de bilder på tygrustningar jag sett från 1300-talet finns max fem bilder som avbildar vita dylika. Så många var nog färgade.

Jag borde använda någon annan stoppning i mitt kommande panzar - det finns mig veterligen inga belägg för att ylletyger i flera lager använts som stoppning. Jag får helt enkelt skaffa mig råbomull eller linblånor som jag får lägga i lager, eftersom jag mer är ute efter en vaddering än ett fullgott skydd a'la jack (med en massa, massa linnelager). Det verkar vid första anblicken bra mycket mer komplicerat att använda än lager av tyg, men kanske inte. Om man kardar det till stora sjok och lägger sjok på sjok, kan man på ett mycket enkelt sätt justera tjockleken på stoppningen på olika ställen, till exempel under armarna och i armvecken. Det är hur som helst värt att undersöka! Jag har förresten hört två olika saker om stoppningen i Svarte Prinsens panzar, och det ena är att den är stoppad med ull och det andra är att den är stoppad med råbomull. Undrar just vad det egentligen är...

Men. Canvas ytterst och ull (urk så varmt) som stoppning. Linne innerst. Då är man nog jävligt svensk... Och jävligt varm. Men kanske inte mycket varmare än om man stoppar panzaret med filtar. Linblånor! Där har vi det! Om fem år kommer ni att få se resultatet här. Stay tuned!

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English summary:

This is solely a discussion with myself on how to dye and construct a gambeson... What to stuff it with, which colors could be used, what the outer layer is made of, as the gambesons often are depicted in bright colors that are hard to get when dyeing linen and hemp (silk, wool, linen, hemp, cotton, leather?). Any suggestions?

måndag 11 augusti 2008

Tyskland kryper närmare

Idag hade vi en sista kontakt med arrangörerna för Seeth-Ekholt. Det visar sig att en av dem ligger på sjukhus, men det verkade inte vara något allvarligt. Vi åker på fredag morgon, tidigt, tidigt. När vi kommer på plats finns mat till oss, det har de ordnat, och sen är det bara korv, öl och schnaps för hela slanten. Jag ser mycket fram mot eventet, och hoppas att vädret blir fint. Och vi har fått barnvakt till Isolde! Det här blir det första barnfria eventet - någonsin. Känns det som. På ett och ett halvt år i alla fall. Tack, svärmor, för att du ställer upp! Det kan tänkas att det blir rätt bra med dricka och osedligheter, eftersom man inte behöver vara i stridbart skick dagen efter. Aaah! Livets väsentligheter i en hel helg - mat, dryck, avkoppling och samvaro. Det blir en kunglig fest! Trodde jag. Arrangörerna låter meddela att vi ska släpa med oss så mycket vapenbrak vi bara orkar. Adjö sötebrödsdagar - Goddag krigstrauma! Varför kunde de inte bara fortsätta med sitt mys och sitt hantverk? Varför ska de tvinga på mig panzar, muza ok plata? Allt jag ville var att leva Ferdinand - att ligga under nån ek, lukta på blommorna och dricka bärs. Men men. Sånt är livet.

Jag arbetar på med mitt panzar för fullt, och tycker att jag kommit långt med livstycket - jag räknar med att sy på alla knappar ikväll. Sen är det fållning och lite liknande krafs. Och så blir det förstås de där ärmarna... Jag tänkte arbeta med dem på eventet, och eftersom man inte har ett barn att hålla ordning på, kan man nog få gjort ett och annat. Kanske kan man räkna med sex timmars arbete om dagen? Eller i alla fall fyra - man vill ju inte slita ihjäl sig. Och på det viset har man bäddat för att kunna ha skiten färdig till nästa säsong. Jag tänkte göra dem tajta, med en "påse" runt armbågen för rörlighetens skull. Vi får väl se hur det blir; Maria får delge mig sina kunskaper och så gör jag som hon säger. Förhoppningsvis lär jag mig lite på kuppen.

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English summary

This is about the final preparations for the trip to Seeth-Ekholt, and about my plans for making the sleeves of the freaking gambeson during the event. Maria could help me, as she is way better than I am.

fredag 8 augusti 2008

Panzarknappar och Sigmund Ringeck

Kvällarna här i den nya, och väldigt temporära, lägenheten fylls av studier av Johannes Lichtenauers manuskript, med Sigmund Ringecks dito som tolkningshjälp. Bägge två är översatta till engelska, annars hade man varit rätt rökt; min medeltidstyska är lite krattig, trots mitt snokande i Preussischer Urkundenbuch. Oavsett vilket är den gode Lichtenauer lite svår att tolka då och då - "Hier ist ain andere styk" blir inte mer begripligt på engelska, eller för den delen på svenska - "Detta är en annan teknik". Och så inget mer. O-K. Det är minsann inte det lättaste att lära sig fäktas ur en bok, än mindre när författaren bara skriver att det rör sig om en annan teknik, utan att ens nämna något om den i övrigt. Då är Sigmund Ringeck bra att ha. Han beskriver saker och ting lite mer utförligt, men ändå inte så detaljerat som man skulle vilja - det är så gott som alltid ganska stort utrymme för tolkningar, och det innebär att det kan bli ganska galet i slutändan.

Nå. Det är hur som helst ganska vilsamt att sitta där och grunna, och det är ärligt talat inte mycket mer att ta sig för i en liten studentcell utan möbler. Utom att sitta och sy tygknappar till sitt hägrande panzar. Nu när knapparna är färdiga, så när som på fyra stycken, börjar det slutligen slå över mot "halvfärdigt" snarare än "näppeligen påbörjat". Igår sydde jag 16 stycken i ett grovt, repande linne/bomullstyg. Fingrarna förlamas av allt slitande, ryggen böjs i krum av min dåliga arbetsställning och jag har tusen andra saker att stå i, hellre än att sitta där med skiten. Men nu har jag 4 knappar kvar av de 70 jag ska sy. Det känns skönt. Nu ska jag bara konstruera ärmarna och klippa ut dem, kvilta dem och sy knapphål. Och sy fast knapparna. Och sy knapphål för livstycket. Och sy fast de knapparna. Och ordna fållarna överallt. Det är nog bara nån veckas arbetstid kvar på den, förutsatt att jag då jobbar 8 timmar om dan med skräpet. Och så vet jag redan nu att jag inte kommer att bli 100% nöjd med den, trots att Maria ska hjälpa mig med ärmkonstruktionen i Seeth-Ekholt.

Till skillnad från mina tidigare fungerar den att ha på sig. Den är inte för tung, och den passar mig. Däremot gjorde jag det klassiska misstaget - jag gjorde alla stycken lika stora, vilket innebär att det yttersta lagret är för litet. Således måste jag sy på remsor längs sidorna och längs ryggen för att inte stoppningen ska synas. Det känns inte riktigt bra, eller rättare sagt: Det irriterar mig som bara den. Och just därför måste jag sy mig en ny, men det är tamejfanken ett senare projekt. Just nu spyr jag nästan på skiten. Hoppas att någon kan ha glädje av den i alla fall - kanske för testhuggning, eller som bränsle :-)

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English summary

This post is about my gambeson, and how much I hate working on it, as I know even now it will not be as I planned. So I will make a new one, based on a German effigy. Furthermore I write about Sigmund Ringeck and Johannes Lichtenauer - manuscript fencing. But mostly it is about the never ending work with the gambeson.

torsdag 7 augusti 2008

Inför Seeth-Ekholt

Idag är det en vecka och en dag tills dess att vi i Bössorna drar iväg till Seeth-Ekholt, sommarens sista "externa" event. Det äger rum i norra Tyskland, en handfull mil norr om Hamburg. För fräschhetens skull är det ett arrangemang fokuserat på hantverk och handel, snarare än fajting. Jag gillar att härja med bössor och spjut, men det är rätt gott att bara sitta ner och äta korv och dricka tysk-öl (eller Trave-öl som det kallades under 1300-talets senare hälft och kanske tidigare/senare också, vad vet jag?) och peta lite med smågrejer, utan att behöva freda strupen från blodtörstiga polacker med svår attityd. Jag måste sy mig ett par nya skor, för mina gamla är verkligen oerhört trasiga. De har hängt med sen vårvintern 2004, och inte ens då var de mycket att hänga i granen. De är lagade och lappade åtminstone 3 gånger, men nu är ovanlädret så anfrätt att jag fruktar att de är bortom all räddning... Seeth-Ekholt verkar vara ett bra tillfälle för detta, men kanske borde jag sy färdigt mitt fjärde panzar där?

Jag har i stort sett ärmar och knapphål kvar, samt en del rent kosmetiska justeringar, men i övrigt kommer det att bli rätt fett. Jag har inspirerats av en fresk - italiensk (jag veeeeet - det är inte direkt 100% om man reenactar norra Europa, men fresken är från 1360-tal, och jag siktar på att ha utrustning från omkring 1380 - det är ändå 20 års skillnad, och man kan ju hoppas att modet hunnit hit på de 20 åren :-P). Jag kommer sannolikt att göra ett panzar till, och då i stort sett baserat på kopia av Peter Krieglingers TYSKA panzar från 1370-talet, med detaljer från bokillustrationer från 1380-1390. Och de är franska... Men vad fan gör man? Biblioteket brann ju ner, och redan innan det hände var vi ju helt enkelt back water här uppe i Norden, och det är vi än idag, med tanke på hur lite som egentligen publiceras/publicerats av den forskning som bedrivits. Titta bara på länken till Alsnöbloggen här till vänster - plötsligt finns det en bössa och ett förmodat fragment av ett panzar som dyker upp på scenen - och titta på Uvdalstextilierna från Norge sen! Hur länge har de legat i ett magasin, tro? Vad gör man? Kollar på tyska grejer, självklart, men även där finns regionala skillnader som gör att de i många fall inte är representativa för nordiska förhållanden under samma tidpunkt, och med tanke på hur få tyska sena 1300-talsmanuskript jag sprungit på är det kanske inte helt lätt.

Jag misstänker således att åtminstone 85% av de manuskriptbilder jag har är franska, och det kan bero på att fransmännen är bra på att publicera sina bevarade manuskript eller att det helt enkelt finns så oerhört mycket mer bevarat där. Eller en kombination av ovanstående förstås. Sannolikt. Det är klart att man arbetar mycket med Londonfynden, Herjolfsnesgrejerna och de få svenska skulpturer som går att använda - som inte avbildar helgon iklädda lakan, men för att få någon form av utfyllnad där pusselbitarna saknas måste man ju vända sig någonstans.
Så där kom den - min bekännelse. Mycket av min inspiration kommer av franska bilder. Men jag har bekänt, biktat och botat, så nu ska jag vara förlåten. Det hade för övrigt varit intressant att veta vad ni som eventuellt läser det här använder er av för källor. Posta kommentarer!

Nåja. Nu var det Seeth-Ekholt det egentligen gällde. På fredagen den 15 åker vi alltså till Wurst och Bier. Jag har lovat våra tyska kamrater inlagd sill, eftersom de av någon mycket märklig anledning är mycket förtjusta i det. "Utlänningar" (om uttrycket tillåts i dessa tider) brukar reagera precis tvärtom på konceptet inlagd sill, men i det här fallet älskar de det.

Eventet som sånt är som sagt ett hantverks-/handelsevent, med flertalet mycket duktiga hantverkare, bland annat en keramiker som gör förtjusande kopior av Rhenkeramik. Förra året handlade vi på oss en hel del, som synes här på bilden. Är inte kuk-kannan (eller KK som den kallas, eftersom vi ofta har barn med ute i fält) oerhört obscen?

Jag hoppas, trots mitt besvärliga ekonomiska läge, att kunna handla på mig lite mer keramik när jag är på plats. Det hade varit kul att få tag på lite nya grejer.

Förra året blev vi oerhört väl mottagna. Historia Peregrini (http://www.historia-peregrini.de/) som arrangerar kalaset, tog verkligen väl hand om oss. Jag tror knappt att det visste hur väl de ville. Vi fick mat, öl, vin, erbjudande om sovplats inomhus för barnens skull och ständigt beröm för vår utrustning och för hur coola alla tyckte att vi var. Man blev nästan lite förlägen; bra upplever jag inte att vi är, även om vi förstås är bra ;-)

Det var en härlig avrundning på en hektisk säsong 2007 och förhoppningsvis blir det så även i år, i synnerhet som vi inte har möjlighet att hälsa på våra vänner i Deventer Burgerscap (http://www.deventerburgerscap.nl/), Nijmegen. Gebroeders van Limburg-weekend är verkligen trivsamt, men på grund av bristande intresse blir det nog ingen av Bössorna som åker i år. Sorgligt men sant. Vi träffar i och för sig Deventer Burgerscap-gänget i Seeth-Ekholt, men jag är ärligt talat rätt sugen på öl, Advocaat och Genever! Jag får återkomma med kraft och bestämdhet nästa år!

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English summary

This post is about my woes regarding my gambeson, its buttons and various sources to gambesons, and by all means everything else. I'm more or less forced to use European sources, with emphasis on French stuff, because the Royal Castle of Sweden burned down in 1697. In the fire more or less all medieval books were lost, so Swedish sources are kind of scarce... So - which sources do you all use? Please tell me!

The post was supposed to be about the Seeth-Ekholt-event, and it is, sort of. I'm looking forward to going there, as we can meet our friends from the Netherlands, drink good beer, eat sausages and shop fine pottery!

Jag är ingen hantverkare

Det finns ganska många bloggar som beskriver historiska hantverk. Flera av dem är riktigt bra. Jag avser länka till några av dem när jag känner att jag har tid och ork, men tills dess vill jag poängtera att mina rostiga försök att återskapa materiell kultur mellan 1350-1400 inte kan jämföras med bättre hantverkare så som till exempel Isis Sturtewagen på Medieval Silkwork eller Anders Lindkvist på Kurage. Det jag lyckas prestera är som bäst bruksdugligt, och ibland inte ens det; jag håller för närvarande på med mitt fjärde panzar - tre andra har åkt på tippen efter färdigt arbete.

Kort sagt: Jag är ingen hantverkare. Jag är medeltidsarkeolog och museipedagog i grunden, jag gillar att rota i arkiv och magasin där jag kan söka upp information - särskilt stolt är jag för mina tusentals foton av 1300-tals artefakter och mina ännu fler tusentals manuskriptbilder. Nu för tiden arbetar jag som informatör - inte timmerman, smed, skräddare, skomakare, krukmakare eller för den delen någon annan makare.

Nu är det avklarat.

Jag tänker istället skriva mer om de sociala (och asociala) bitarna, så som lägerliv, upplevelser, mat, dryck, fyllegräl, manuskriptfäktning och reenactmentfajting inklusive pangande med tidiga handeldvapen. Det kan förstås hända att jag, sprickfärdig av stolthet, då och då postar bilder på mina verk, som läsaren kan skrocka förnöjt åt. Det bjuder jag på, men det händer nog inte vidare ofta, ensamarbetande småbarnsfar som man är.

Välkommen hit!

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English summary

I am not a craftsman. I am an archaeologist. I do books and artifacts - not woodturning, pottery or weaving. Even though I can make stuff to (barely) fill my own needs, I am really not as good as a lot of people blogging out there. That is why this blog will not be about crafting. It will be about the social (and unsocial) bits and pieces of 14th century reenactment with focus on the dealings of the Swedish living history group Albrechts Bössor. It will be about reenactment fights, fencing from manuscripts, good laughs, firing handgonnes, drinking too much or too little, food, even more drink, people I meet and stuff I come up with.

Welcome.