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We Live to Fight Another Day.  It is not over.  The world is changing and it’s changing fast.  A fire has been lit and it’s spreading across the border to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Who knows what opportunities will present themselves?  At least now we are aware enough, politically engaged enough, to see the opportunities when they arise and exploit them to their fullest.  
Previous to the Scottish referendum I was clueless about politics and government.  Now I’m all fired up, fully engaged and ravenous for change.  I stayed up all night watching every declaration with an ever sinking heart.  If this article is somewhat incoherent then I blame it entirely on the fact that I haven’t slept yet.  There is no way that I’m the only one who has been gripped by the political process like this.  It’s a movement with no allegiance to parties or personalities.  The people are waking up, some more slowly than others, but eyes are opening.
I voted Yes.  I am disappointed but I see no reason why I should be ashamed to sing Flower of Scotland or disown the people of Scotland.  For us to be independent we have to be ready en masse.  Not enough of us were ready this time.  That’s democracy.  You live by it or you create your own little kingdom and disengage (not necessarily a bad idea).  
So we find other ways to make the constitutional changes that so many of us crave.  We research, we learn, we engage.  If we want social justice and a more democratic form of government then we need to come up with the framework that allows others to see the way forward.  Not everybody can let go of the immediate concerns of their individual financial worries, not everybody can see that social change ultimately brings greater rewards.  We have to find a way to make people feel safer on our path than they do on the old, overgrown but well trodden one.  We just have to be think outside the box, there is more than one way to govern a nation, many ways to affect change and there are enough of us with the resourcefulness to figure it out.
A record number of Scots voted in last night’s referendum.  People who had never voted before registered for the first time and made their voice heard.  Almost half of us declared for independence. 1,617,989 Scots marked a cross in a box and said, Yes.  We were never meant to get even that close, but we did.  Granted, we were not quite bold enough this time but, even with the weight of our media and our elected UK representatives against us, we almost crossed the finish line.  That is not something to be ashamed of and it is not something to walk away from.  Democracy and social justice matter, we keep the momentum going and we grasp the opportunities when they arise.  We are savvy enough now to know them when we see them.
For Scotland and for the rest of the United Kingdom, who we have democratically chosen to share our fate with, we march forward.
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Samsung GT-I9300
ISO
50
Aperture
f/2.6
Exposure
1/509th
Focal Length
3mm

We Live to Fight Another Day.  It is not over.  The world is changing and it’s changing fast.  A fire has been lit and it’s spreading across the border to England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Who knows what opportunities will present themselves?  At least now we are aware enough, politically engaged enough, to see the opportunities when they arise and exploit them to their fullest.  

Previous to the Scottish referendum I was clueless about politics and government.  Now I’m all fired up, fully engaged and ravenous for change.  I stayed up all night watching every declaration with an ever sinking heart.  If this article is somewhat incoherent then I blame it entirely on the fact that I haven’t slept yet.  There is no way that I’m the only one who has been gripped by the political process like this.  It’s a movement with no allegiance to parties or personalities.  The people are waking up, some more slowly than others, but eyes are opening.

I voted Yes.  I am disappointed but I see no reason why I should be ashamed to sing Flower of Scotland or disown the people of Scotland.  For us to be independent we have to be ready en masse.  Not enough of us were ready this time.  That’s democracy.  You live by it or you create your own little kingdom and disengage (not necessarily a bad idea).  

So we find other ways to make the constitutional changes that so many of us crave.  We research, we learn, we engage.  If we want social justice and a more democratic form of government then we need to come up with the framework that allows others to see the way forward.  Not everybody can let go of the immediate concerns of their individual financial worries, not everybody can see that social change ultimately brings greater rewards.  We have to find a way to make people feel safer on our path than they do on the old, overgrown but well trodden one.  We just have to be think outside the box, there is more than one way to govern a nation, many ways to affect change and there are enough of us with the resourcefulness to figure it out.

A record number of Scots voted in last night’s referendum.  People who had never voted before registered for the first time and made their voice heard.  Almost half of us declared for independence. 1,617,989 Scots marked a cross in a box and said, Yes.  We were never meant to get even that close, but we did.  Granted, we were not quite bold enough this time but, even with the weight of our media and our elected UK representatives against us, we almost crossed the finish line.  That is not something to be ashamed of and it is not something to walk away from.  Democracy and social justice matter, we keep the momentum going and we grasp the opportunities when they arise.  We are savvy enough now to know them when we see them.

For Scotland and for the rest of the United Kingdom, who we have democratically chosen to share our fate with, we march forward.

Pride.  A fine example of what can be accomplished when we open our hearts and minds and refuse to believe in the impossible.  Such a disparate cast of wonderful characters who come to realise that we are not really as different from one another as we might like to think.  I learnt quite a bit too about a time in my own history, under my own government, that I was shamefully oblivious too.  I was 11 or 12 and busy wishing for a pony at that particular time.

This movie is heart-wrenching, heart-warming and heart-jumping.  There are times when you will want to throw things at the screen and times when you will want to get up and dance.  You will laugh, you will cry.  I sat in the cinema sobbing my heart out at the end for a complex multitude of emotions.  It took until the end of the credits before I could compose myself enough to walk out into daylight under the scrutiny of baffled eyes.

Go watch it now.  You will feel anger, joy, misery, nostalgia, shame, excitement, hope, love and, yes, you will feel Pride.

Indyref.  It’s everywhere, there’s no escaping it.  This Thursday, the 18th of September, Scotland decides.  ”Should Scotland be an independent country?”  One question.  Yes or No answer.  The question and the answer matters to so many of us and passions are high.

Many people say that voting No is the path to greater powers for Scotland without the risk but there have been no concrete promises from Westminster of new, meaningful powers.  The risk is there in the steady march towards more right wing politics.  All the promises have come from members of the Scottish parliament or notorious ex politicians who do not have the power to bring in the change that people are hoping for.  New powers can only come from Westminster and it is not their policy to make any agreement on this issue.  Read between the lines, they have not promised because they know that they will not have the backing of the majority of their electorate to agree these new powers.  That’s right, the majority of their electorate do not live in Scotland.

Which brings us to the key reason for voting Yes.  Voting Yes is about democracy, it’s about how we are governed.  I do not expect it to be an easy path, in fact I expect it to be hard work.  We will all have to get involved in politics for a very long time in order to bring our fledgling nation to its full potential.  We will have to be vigilant, we will have to scrutinise every decision, every bit of legislation.  I am not voting for the SNP or for Alex Salmond, I am voting for the right to vote in the politicians who put forward the best case for a new Scotland in 2016 and then at every election after that.  For too long, I have stood in the voting booth and put a cross in the box for somebody who does not represent me.  I can fully understand why many people do not bother to vote but I have always voted because I know how hard fought my right to vote was.  Democracy matters, that cross in the box should matter.  Independence for Scotland is the first step in bringing us back to that, not just within our nation on the northern edge of a small island between the Atlantic and the North Sea, but for people who feel disenfranchised everywhere.  Breaking away takes courage, it won’t be easy but nothing worth having ever was.

I don’t believe any of the promises from either side on what will happen if they win the vote.  Governments and key figures change, the world changes.  Negotiations won’t even begin until they have to.  Nothing they say is certain about what will happen after September 18th.  Stop asking for the answers.  Stop saying that you can’t make a decision without a definitive answer to a particular question.  There are only two answers.  If Scotland votes No then we will continue to vote for those who don’t represent us, we will put a cross in a box and watch it fly away on the breeze.  If Scotland votes Yes then we will vote for those who live here, for those who rise or fall with us.  Our votes, our needs, our wishes will matter to them, all of our resources will be in their hands.  It’s a hard road but we would be leading the way for many others who feel that the shining jewel of democracy has lost its lustre.

Passions are high.  Be sure that you know what you’re really voting for and be bold.

MPS. Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum, the largest travelling medieval festival in the world.  It’s in Germany and it’s amazing.  Whether you like living history, alternative music (pirate, medieval rock, folk), cosplay, medieval fighting, fire shows, great food and drink or all of the above this is the place to go for a weekend to remember.
There are a minimum of three music stages, large medieval camps ranging from the early to late periods, a huge array of trader’s tents selling at great prices, fight arenas, taverns, bath houses, food stalls and costumes everywhere.  Costumes of all kinds ranging from historically authentic to steampunk to full on fantasy.  The atmosphere is positive and friendly.  It’s a real family event.  On the Saturday night you can watch the most incredible fire show that I have ever seen.  It’s huge, it’s spectacular and it’s coming to Duncarron this Halloween if you want to get a small taste of what MPS has to offer.
We were there mainly to shop and to see our Clanranald friends in Saor Patrol but we were made so welcome by everybody that we met that it really felt like home from home.  I will be going back and hope to see more bands next time but the performances by Saor Patrol (celtic rock with pipes, electric guitar and the thunder of the drums, raising funds and awareness for Duncarron Medieval Village), The Dolmen (pirate musicians from Weymouth) and Rapalje (Irish / Scottish folk music played by Dutchmen in kilts) were uplifting, entertaining and a whole lot of fun.
Dates and information about MPS can be found at their website: www.spectaculum.de  Maybe I’ll see you there next year!
Zoom Info
MPS. Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum, the largest travelling medieval festival in the world.  It’s in Germany and it’s amazing.  Whether you like living history, alternative music (pirate, medieval rock, folk), cosplay, medieval fighting, fire shows, great food and drink or all of the above this is the place to go for a weekend to remember.
There are a minimum of three music stages, large medieval camps ranging from the early to late periods, a huge array of trader’s tents selling at great prices, fight arenas, taverns, bath houses, food stalls and costumes everywhere.  Costumes of all kinds ranging from historically authentic to steampunk to full on fantasy.  The atmosphere is positive and friendly.  It’s a real family event.  On the Saturday night you can watch the most incredible fire show that I have ever seen.  It’s huge, it’s spectacular and it’s coming to Duncarron this Halloween if you want to get a small taste of what MPS has to offer.
We were there mainly to shop and to see our Clanranald friends in Saor Patrol but we were made so welcome by everybody that we met that it really felt like home from home.  I will be going back and hope to see more bands next time but the performances by Saor Patrol (celtic rock with pipes, electric guitar and the thunder of the drums, raising funds and awareness for Duncarron Medieval Village), The Dolmen (pirate musicians from Weymouth) and Rapalje (Irish / Scottish folk music played by Dutchmen in kilts) were uplifting, entertaining and a whole lot of fun.
Dates and information about MPS can be found at their website: www.spectaculum.de  Maybe I’ll see you there next year!
Zoom Info
MPS. Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum, the largest travelling medieval festival in the world.  It’s in Germany and it’s amazing.  Whether you like living history, alternative music (pirate, medieval rock, folk), cosplay, medieval fighting, fire shows, great food and drink or all of the above this is the place to go for a weekend to remember.
There are a minimum of three music stages, large medieval camps ranging from the early to late periods, a huge array of trader’s tents selling at great prices, fight arenas, taverns, bath houses, food stalls and costumes everywhere.  Costumes of all kinds ranging from historically authentic to steampunk to full on fantasy.  The atmosphere is positive and friendly.  It’s a real family event.  On the Saturday night you can watch the most incredible fire show that I have ever seen.  It’s huge, it’s spectacular and it’s coming to Duncarron this Halloween if you want to get a small taste of what MPS has to offer.
We were there mainly to shop and to see our Clanranald friends in Saor Patrol but we were made so welcome by everybody that we met that it really felt like home from home.  I will be going back and hope to see more bands next time but the performances by Saor Patrol (celtic rock with pipes, electric guitar and the thunder of the drums, raising funds and awareness for Duncarron Medieval Village), The Dolmen (pirate musicians from Weymouth) and Rapalje (Irish / Scottish folk music played by Dutchmen in kilts) were uplifting, entertaining and a whole lot of fun.
Dates and information about MPS can be found at their website: www.spectaculum.de  Maybe I’ll see you there next year!
Zoom Info
MPS. Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum, the largest travelling medieval festival in the world.  It’s in Germany and it’s amazing.  Whether you like living history, alternative music (pirate, medieval rock, folk), cosplay, medieval fighting, fire shows, great food and drink or all of the above this is the place to go for a weekend to remember.
There are a minimum of three music stages, large medieval camps ranging from the early to late periods, a huge array of trader’s tents selling at great prices, fight arenas, taverns, bath houses, food stalls and costumes everywhere.  Costumes of all kinds ranging from historically authentic to steampunk to full on fantasy.  The atmosphere is positive and friendly.  It’s a real family event.  On the Saturday night you can watch the most incredible fire show that I have ever seen.  It’s huge, it’s spectacular and it’s coming to Duncarron this Halloween if you want to get a small taste of what MPS has to offer.
We were there mainly to shop and to see our Clanranald friends in Saor Patrol but we were made so welcome by everybody that we met that it really felt like home from home.  I will be going back and hope to see more bands next time but the performances by Saor Patrol (celtic rock with pipes, electric guitar and the thunder of the drums, raising funds and awareness for Duncarron Medieval Village), The Dolmen (pirate musicians from Weymouth) and Rapalje (Irish / Scottish folk music played by Dutchmen in kilts) were uplifting, entertaining and a whole lot of fun.
Dates and information about MPS can be found at their website: www.spectaculum.de  Maybe I’ll see you there next year!
Zoom Info
MPS. Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum, the largest travelling medieval festival in the world.  It’s in Germany and it’s amazing.  Whether you like living history, alternative music (pirate, medieval rock, folk), cosplay, medieval fighting, fire shows, great food and drink or all of the above this is the place to go for a weekend to remember.
There are a minimum of three music stages, large medieval camps ranging from the early to late periods, a huge array of trader’s tents selling at great prices, fight arenas, taverns, bath houses, food stalls and costumes everywhere.  Costumes of all kinds ranging from historically authentic to steampunk to full on fantasy.  The atmosphere is positive and friendly.  It’s a real family event.  On the Saturday night you can watch the most incredible fire show that I have ever seen.  It’s huge, it’s spectacular and it’s coming to Duncarron this Halloween if you want to get a small taste of what MPS has to offer.
We were there mainly to shop and to see our Clanranald friends in Saor Patrol but we were made so welcome by everybody that we met that it really felt like home from home.  I will be going back and hope to see more bands next time but the performances by Saor Patrol (celtic rock with pipes, electric guitar and the thunder of the drums, raising funds and awareness for Duncarron Medieval Village), The Dolmen (pirate musicians from Weymouth) and Rapalje (Irish / Scottish folk music played by Dutchmen in kilts) were uplifting, entertaining and a whole lot of fun.
Dates and information about MPS can be found at their website: www.spectaculum.de  Maybe I’ll see you there next year!
Zoom Info
MPS. Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum, the largest travelling medieval festival in the world.  It’s in Germany and it’s amazing.  Whether you like living history, alternative music (pirate, medieval rock, folk), cosplay, medieval fighting, fire shows, great food and drink or all of the above this is the place to go for a weekend to remember.
There are a minimum of three music stages, large medieval camps ranging from the early to late periods, a huge array of trader’s tents selling at great prices, fight arenas, taverns, bath houses, food stalls and costumes everywhere.  Costumes of all kinds ranging from historically authentic to steampunk to full on fantasy.  The atmosphere is positive and friendly.  It’s a real family event.  On the Saturday night you can watch the most incredible fire show that I have ever seen.  It’s huge, it’s spectacular and it’s coming to Duncarron this Halloween if you want to get a small taste of what MPS has to offer.
We were there mainly to shop and to see our Clanranald friends in Saor Patrol but we were made so welcome by everybody that we met that it really felt like home from home.  I will be going back and hope to see more bands next time but the performances by Saor Patrol (celtic rock with pipes, electric guitar and the thunder of the drums, raising funds and awareness for Duncarron Medieval Village), The Dolmen (pirate musicians from Weymouth) and Rapalje (Irish / Scottish folk music played by Dutchmen in kilts) were uplifting, entertaining and a whole lot of fun.
Dates and information about MPS can be found at their website: www.spectaculum.de  Maybe I’ll see you there next year!
Zoom Info
MPS. Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum, the largest travelling medieval festival in the world.  It’s in Germany and it’s amazing.  Whether you like living history, alternative music (pirate, medieval rock, folk), cosplay, medieval fighting, fire shows, great food and drink or all of the above this is the place to go for a weekend to remember.
There are a minimum of three music stages, large medieval camps ranging from the early to late periods, a huge array of trader’s tents selling at great prices, fight arenas, taverns, bath houses, food stalls and costumes everywhere.  Costumes of all kinds ranging from historically authentic to steampunk to full on fantasy.  The atmosphere is positive and friendly.  It’s a real family event.  On the Saturday night you can watch the most incredible fire show that I have ever seen.  It’s huge, it’s spectacular and it’s coming to Duncarron this Halloween if you want to get a small taste of what MPS has to offer.
We were there mainly to shop and to see our Clanranald friends in Saor Patrol but we were made so welcome by everybody that we met that it really felt like home from home.  I will be going back and hope to see more bands next time but the performances by Saor Patrol (celtic rock with pipes, electric guitar and the thunder of the drums, raising funds and awareness for Duncarron Medieval Village), The Dolmen (pirate musicians from Weymouth) and Rapalje (Irish / Scottish folk music played by Dutchmen in kilts) were uplifting, entertaining and a whole lot of fun.
Dates and information about MPS can be found at their website: www.spectaculum.de  Maybe I’ll see you there next year!
Zoom Info
MPS. Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum, the largest travelling medieval festival in the world.  It’s in Germany and it’s amazing.  Whether you like living history, alternative music (pirate, medieval rock, folk), cosplay, medieval fighting, fire shows, great food and drink or all of the above this is the place to go for a weekend to remember.
There are a minimum of three music stages, large medieval camps ranging from the early to late periods, a huge array of trader’s tents selling at great prices, fight arenas, taverns, bath houses, food stalls and costumes everywhere.  Costumes of all kinds ranging from historically authentic to steampunk to full on fantasy.  The atmosphere is positive and friendly.  It’s a real family event.  On the Saturday night you can watch the most incredible fire show that I have ever seen.  It’s huge, it’s spectacular and it’s coming to Duncarron this Halloween if you want to get a small taste of what MPS has to offer.
We were there mainly to shop and to see our Clanranald friends in Saor Patrol but we were made so welcome by everybody that we met that it really felt like home from home.  I will be going back and hope to see more bands next time but the performances by Saor Patrol (celtic rock with pipes, electric guitar and the thunder of the drums, raising funds and awareness for Duncarron Medieval Village), The Dolmen (pirate musicians from Weymouth) and Rapalje (Irish / Scottish folk music played by Dutchmen in kilts) were uplifting, entertaining and a whole lot of fun.
Dates and information about MPS can be found at their website: www.spectaculum.de  Maybe I’ll see you there next year!
Zoom Info

MPS. Mittelalterlich Phantasie Spectaculum, the largest travelling medieval festival in the world.  It’s in Germany and it’s amazing.  Whether you like living history, alternative music (pirate, medieval rock, folk), cosplay, medieval fighting, fire shows, great food and drink or all of the above this is the place to go for a weekend to remember.

There are a minimum of three music stages, large medieval camps ranging from the early to late periods, a huge array of trader’s tents selling at great prices, fight arenas, taverns, bath houses, food stalls and costumes everywhere.  Costumes of all kinds ranging from historically authentic to steampunk to full on fantasy.  The atmosphere is positive and friendly.  It’s a real family event.  On the Saturday night you can watch the most incredible fire show that I have ever seen.  It’s huge, it’s spectacular and it’s coming to Duncarron this Halloween if you want to get a small taste of what MPS has to offer.

We were there mainly to shop and to see our Clanranald friends in Saor Patrol but we were made so welcome by everybody that we met that it really felt like home from home.  I will be going back and hope to see more bands next time but the performances by Saor Patrol (celtic rock with pipes, electric guitar and the thunder of the drums, raising funds and awareness for Duncarron Medieval Village), The Dolmen (pirate musicians from Weymouth) and Rapalje (Irish / Scottish folk music played by Dutchmen in kilts) were uplifting, entertaining and a whole lot of fun.

Dates and information about MPS can be found at their website: www.spectaculum.de  Maybe I’ll see you there next year!

Lucy.  Too many ideas, not enough cohesion.  Even somebody like me who can let plot flaws slide by unnoticed for the sake of a good ride couldn’t suspend my disbelief enough.  Right from the start my internal dialogue was set to repeat, ‘What?’ ‘Why?’ ‘That makes no sense!’, over and over right to the end.

There are some good ideas smothered by the nonsense, the special effects have moments of brilliance and the flashes of stock footage make for a soothing distraction.  The actors are wasted amongst the overly busy and muddled plot and Scarlett Johansson, who I love, just looks vague and confused all of the time - not that anyone watching could blame her!

I want to find more good things to say about this movie because I like the basic idea and it’s Scarlett Johansson.  I did watch it to the end and I know that I would happily watch it again on dvd in company but mainly so that we could dissect it at our leisure and giggle at some of the more outrageously bad bits.  It has the potential to become one of those cult ‘it’s so bad, it’s good’ films.  I’m really trying to find the positives… honest.

Nonsense, non sense. 

Vikings at Duncarron Medieval Village.  The last weekend in August brought the Vikings to Duncarron.  It was a period in history that we hadn’t covered in depth before so there was much to learn and many shields to be made.  Fortunately we love to to learn about history and we have lots of Viking friends who came along to help us out so the event was a lot of fun and a huge success.
Across the Carron Valley, the clash of the shield wall could be heard as our Vikings fought off the Britons who tried to take back the land that had been settled.  The Vikings fought well and claimed victory in the end after some spectacular battles.  Prisoners were taken, slaves were sold to the visitors and we honoured our dead.
I stepped away from my usual archery niche and took on the role of a seer.  Armed with the basics of rune lore and my homemade hawthorn wand I spent the weekend assisting my friend Tania in the pagan services of thanks and victory that we conducted for the public.  Seer Tania did an amazing job of calling on Odin, Frigg and Thor to bless our village, as well as bringing in the valkyries to escort our brave dead to Odin’s side in Valhalla.  The visitors were treated to blessings in the form of ‘mead’ spray from soaked twigs and the battle tales of our warriors.  We were also lucky enough to have a priestess amongst the visiting Magnus Vikings from Ireland.  Alison McGrenaghan taught us a great deal about the runes that we couldn’t have learnt from books.
The temple was also used for the Thing (pronounced ting) - a form of Viking court where grievances were brought before the Jarl (earl) for him to rule on the solution.  There were several marriage matches made including a rather dubious joining of a man with a hairy coo, slaves were allocated and we were treated to two ladies discussing the finer points of what makes a good husband in Norse - we didn’t need subtitles to understand this particular discussion!
Away from the temple there were stalls selling beautiful jewelry, leather, shields and other Viking goods.  Visitors had the chance to play the Viking game, kubb, as well as learn to fight like a Viking.  Our children’s battle was a huge success with our big brave warriors running for their lives from a horde of bloodthirsty kids.  There was story telling and weaving in the longhouse with a beautiful interactive tapestry from the Magnus Vikings taking pride of place.  Have-a-go archery was extremely popular as always and the Viking kitchen conjured up some culinary delights.  We had a chef in charge of the bbq so the food being sold to our visitors was a cut above the usual burgers and hotdogs.  On the Sunday, our friend Stuart Milne brought his beautiful birds of prey along and gave demonstrations of their hunting prowess.
We all had so much fun and made so many new friends that we will definitely be bringing the Vikings back to Duncarron.  Hail Odin!
Zoom Info
Vikings at Duncarron Medieval Village.  The last weekend in August brought the Vikings to Duncarron.  It was a period in history that we hadn’t covered in depth before so there was much to learn and many shields to be made.  Fortunately we love to to learn about history and we have lots of Viking friends who came along to help us out so the event was a lot of fun and a huge success.
Across the Carron Valley, the clash of the shield wall could be heard as our Vikings fought off the Britons who tried to take back the land that had been settled.  The Vikings fought well and claimed victory in the end after some spectacular battles.  Prisoners were taken, slaves were sold to the visitors and we honoured our dead.
I stepped away from my usual archery niche and took on the role of a seer.  Armed with the basics of rune lore and my homemade hawthorn wand I spent the weekend assisting my friend Tania in the pagan services of thanks and victory that we conducted for the public.  Seer Tania did an amazing job of calling on Odin, Frigg and Thor to bless our village, as well as bringing in the valkyries to escort our brave dead to Odin’s side in Valhalla.  The visitors were treated to blessings in the form of ‘mead’ spray from soaked twigs and the battle tales of our warriors.  We were also lucky enough to have a priestess amongst the visiting Magnus Vikings from Ireland.  Alison McGrenaghan taught us a great deal about the runes that we couldn’t have learnt from books.
The temple was also used for the Thing (pronounced ting) - a form of Viking court where grievances were brought before the Jarl (earl) for him to rule on the solution.  There were several marriage matches made including a rather dubious joining of a man with a hairy coo, slaves were allocated and we were treated to two ladies discussing the finer points of what makes a good husband in Norse - we didn’t need subtitles to understand this particular discussion!
Away from the temple there were stalls selling beautiful jewelry, leather, shields and other Viking goods.  Visitors had the chance to play the Viking game, kubb, as well as learn to fight like a Viking.  Our children’s battle was a huge success with our big brave warriors running for their lives from a horde of bloodthirsty kids.  There was story telling and weaving in the longhouse with a beautiful interactive tapestry from the Magnus Vikings taking pride of place.  Have-a-go archery was extremely popular as always and the Viking kitchen conjured up some culinary delights.  We had a chef in charge of the bbq so the food being sold to our visitors was a cut above the usual burgers and hotdogs.  On the Sunday, our friend Stuart Milne brought his beautiful birds of prey along and gave demonstrations of their hunting prowess.
We all had so much fun and made so many new friends that we will definitely be bringing the Vikings back to Duncarron.  Hail Odin!
Zoom Info
Vikings at Duncarron Medieval Village.  The last weekend in August brought the Vikings to Duncarron.  It was a period in history that we hadn’t covered in depth before so there was much to learn and many shields to be made.  Fortunately we love to to learn about history and we have lots of Viking friends who came along to help us out so the event was a lot of fun and a huge success.
Across the Carron Valley, the clash of the shield wall could be heard as our Vikings fought off the Britons who tried to take back the land that had been settled.  The Vikings fought well and claimed victory in the end after some spectacular battles.  Prisoners were taken, slaves were sold to the visitors and we honoured our dead.
I stepped away from my usual archery niche and took on the role of a seer.  Armed with the basics of rune lore and my homemade hawthorn wand I spent the weekend assisting my friend Tania in the pagan services of thanks and victory that we conducted for the public.  Seer Tania did an amazing job of calling on Odin, Frigg and Thor to bless our village, as well as bringing in the valkyries to escort our brave dead to Odin’s side in Valhalla.  The visitors were treated to blessings in the form of ‘mead’ spray from soaked twigs and the battle tales of our warriors.  We were also lucky enough to have a priestess amongst the visiting Magnus Vikings from Ireland.  Alison McGrenaghan taught us a great deal about the runes that we couldn’t have learnt from books.
The temple was also used for the Thing (pronounced ting) - a form of Viking court where grievances were brought before the Jarl (earl) for him to rule on the solution.  There were several marriage matches made including a rather dubious joining of a man with a hairy coo, slaves were allocated and we were treated to two ladies discussing the finer points of what makes a good husband in Norse - we didn’t need subtitles to understand this particular discussion!
Away from the temple there were stalls selling beautiful jewelry, leather, shields and other Viking goods.  Visitors had the chance to play the Viking game, kubb, as well as learn to fight like a Viking.  Our children’s battle was a huge success with our big brave warriors running for their lives from a horde of bloodthirsty kids.  There was story telling and weaving in the longhouse with a beautiful interactive tapestry from the Magnus Vikings taking pride of place.  Have-a-go archery was extremely popular as always and the Viking kitchen conjured up some culinary delights.  We had a chef in charge of the bbq so the food being sold to our visitors was a cut above the usual burgers and hotdogs.  On the Sunday, our friend Stuart Milne brought his beautiful birds of prey along and gave demonstrations of their hunting prowess.
We all had so much fun and made so many new friends that we will definitely be bringing the Vikings back to Duncarron.  Hail Odin!
Zoom Info
Vikings at Duncarron Medieval Village.  The last weekend in August brought the Vikings to Duncarron.  It was a period in history that we hadn’t covered in depth before so there was much to learn and many shields to be made.  Fortunately we love to to learn about history and we have lots of Viking friends who came along to help us out so the event was a lot of fun and a huge success.
Across the Carron Valley, the clash of the shield wall could be heard as our Vikings fought off the Britons who tried to take back the land that had been settled.  The Vikings fought well and claimed victory in the end after some spectacular battles.  Prisoners were taken, slaves were sold to the visitors and we honoured our dead.
I stepped away from my usual archery niche and took on the role of a seer.  Armed with the basics of rune lore and my homemade hawthorn wand I spent the weekend assisting my friend Tania in the pagan services of thanks and victory that we conducted for the public.  Seer Tania did an amazing job of calling on Odin, Frigg and Thor to bless our village, as well as bringing in the valkyries to escort our brave dead to Odin’s side in Valhalla.  The visitors were treated to blessings in the form of ‘mead’ spray from soaked twigs and the battle tales of our warriors.  We were also lucky enough to have a priestess amongst the visiting Magnus Vikings from Ireland.  Alison McGrenaghan taught us a great deal about the runes that we couldn’t have learnt from books.
The temple was also used for the Thing (pronounced ting) - a form of Viking court where grievances were brought before the Jarl (earl) for him to rule on the solution.  There were several marriage matches made including a rather dubious joining of a man with a hairy coo, slaves were allocated and we were treated to two ladies discussing the finer points of what makes a good husband in Norse - we didn’t need subtitles to understand this particular discussion!
Away from the temple there were stalls selling beautiful jewelry, leather, shields and other Viking goods.  Visitors had the chance to play the Viking game, kubb, as well as learn to fight like a Viking.  Our children’s battle was a huge success with our big brave warriors running for their lives from a horde of bloodthirsty kids.  There was story telling and weaving in the longhouse with a beautiful interactive tapestry from the Magnus Vikings taking pride of place.  Have-a-go archery was extremely popular as always and the Viking kitchen conjured up some culinary delights.  We had a chef in charge of the bbq so the food being sold to our visitors was a cut above the usual burgers and hotdogs.  On the Sunday, our friend Stuart Milne brought his beautiful birds of prey along and gave demonstrations of their hunting prowess.
We all had so much fun and made so many new friends that we will definitely be bringing the Vikings back to Duncarron.  Hail Odin!
Zoom Info
Vikings at Duncarron Medieval Village.  The last weekend in August brought the Vikings to Duncarron.  It was a period in history that we hadn’t covered in depth before so there was much to learn and many shields to be made.  Fortunately we love to to learn about history and we have lots of Viking friends who came along to help us out so the event was a lot of fun and a huge success.
Across the Carron Valley, the clash of the shield wall could be heard as our Vikings fought off the Britons who tried to take back the land that had been settled.  The Vikings fought well and claimed victory in the end after some spectacular battles.  Prisoners were taken, slaves were sold to the visitors and we honoured our dead.
I stepped away from my usual archery niche and took on the role of a seer.  Armed with the basics of rune lore and my homemade hawthorn wand I spent the weekend assisting my friend Tania in the pagan services of thanks and victory that we conducted for the public.  Seer Tania did an amazing job of calling on Odin, Frigg and Thor to bless our village, as well as bringing in the valkyries to escort our brave dead to Odin’s side in Valhalla.  The visitors were treated to blessings in the form of ‘mead’ spray from soaked twigs and the battle tales of our warriors.  We were also lucky enough to have a priestess amongst the visiting Magnus Vikings from Ireland.  Alison McGrenaghan taught us a great deal about the runes that we couldn’t have learnt from books.
The temple was also used for the Thing (pronounced ting) - a form of Viking court where grievances were brought before the Jarl (earl) for him to rule on the solution.  There were several marriage matches made including a rather dubious joining of a man with a hairy coo, slaves were allocated and we were treated to two ladies discussing the finer points of what makes a good husband in Norse - we didn’t need subtitles to understand this particular discussion!
Away from the temple there were stalls selling beautiful jewelry, leather, shields and other Viking goods.  Visitors had the chance to play the Viking game, kubb, as well as learn to fight like a Viking.  Our children’s battle was a huge success with our big brave warriors running for their lives from a horde of bloodthirsty kids.  There was story telling and weaving in the longhouse with a beautiful interactive tapestry from the Magnus Vikings taking pride of place.  Have-a-go archery was extremely popular as always and the Viking kitchen conjured up some culinary delights.  We had a chef in charge of the bbq so the food being sold to our visitors was a cut above the usual burgers and hotdogs.  On the Sunday, our friend Stuart Milne brought his beautiful birds of prey along and gave demonstrations of their hunting prowess.
We all had so much fun and made so many new friends that we will definitely be bringing the Vikings back to Duncarron.  Hail Odin!
Zoom Info

Vikings at Duncarron Medieval Village.  The last weekend in August brought the Vikings to Duncarron.  It was a period in history that we hadn’t covered in depth before so there was much to learn and many shields to be made.  Fortunately we love to to learn about history and we have lots of Viking friends who came along to help us out so the event was a lot of fun and a huge success.

Across the Carron Valley, the clash of the shield wall could be heard as our Vikings fought off the Britons who tried to take back the land that had been settled.  The Vikings fought well and claimed victory in the end after some spectacular battles.  Prisoners were taken, slaves were sold to the visitors and we honoured our dead.

I stepped away from my usual archery niche and took on the role of a seer.  Armed with the basics of rune lore and my homemade hawthorn wand I spent the weekend assisting my friend Tania in the pagan services of thanks and victory that we conducted for the public.  Seer Tania did an amazing job of calling on Odin, Frigg and Thor to bless our village, as well as bringing in the valkyries to escort our brave dead to Odin’s side in Valhalla.  The visitors were treated to blessings in the form of ‘mead’ spray from soaked twigs and the battle tales of our warriors.  We were also lucky enough to have a priestess amongst the visiting Magnus Vikings from Ireland.  Alison McGrenaghan taught us a great deal about the runes that we couldn’t have learnt from books.

The temple was also used for the Thing (pronounced ting) - a form of Viking court where grievances were brought before the Jarl (earl) for him to rule on the solution.  There were several marriage matches made including a rather dubious joining of a man with a hairy coo, slaves were allocated and we were treated to two ladies discussing the finer points of what makes a good husband in Norse - we didn’t need subtitles to understand this particular discussion!

Away from the temple there were stalls selling beautiful jewelry, leather, shields and other Viking goods.  Visitors had the chance to play the Viking game, kubb, as well as learn to fight like a Viking.  Our children’s battle was a huge success with our big brave warriors running for their lives from a horde of bloodthirsty kids.  There was story telling and weaving in the longhouse with a beautiful interactive tapestry from the Magnus Vikings taking pride of place.  Have-a-go archery was extremely popular as always and the Viking kitchen conjured up some culinary delights.  We had a chef in charge of the bbq so the food being sold to our visitors was a cut above the usual burgers and hotdogs.  On the Sunday, our friend Stuart Milne brought his beautiful birds of prey along and gave demonstrations of their hunting prowess.

We all had so much fun and made so many new friends that we will definitely be bringing the Vikings back to Duncarron.  Hail Odin!

Back in the game: dating in your 50s

I haven’t quite made it to 50 and I’m not really into the concept of “The One” but the following quote applies to all of us:

There is no such thing as being “too fussy” about finding The One. All the great things about being single – autonomy, privacy, independence – are too precious to give up for The Not Quite One.”

The Honourable Woman.  For an excellent thriller with an outstanding performance from Maggie Gyllenhaal and real, complex female roles watch this.  The women really steal the show and rightfully so.  Strong, flawed and captivating characters; we need more writing like this.

I’ll leave you with a quote from the indomitable Dame Julia Walsh, “Perhaps it comes down to the fact that in a room full of pussies, I’m the only one with a vagina.”  Sublime.

Loncon3: 72nd World Science Fiction Convention. Day 1 (Proper).
This is my second Worldcon.  My first was 5 years ago in Montreal.  Whilst I am attending as a fan of science fiction and fantasy, I am also here as part of the indomitable Brotherhood Without Banners - the A Song of Ice and Fire fan group (Game of Thrones to those who know it only by its screen adaptation).  So, lots to see and do but also much socialising and catching up with friends from all over the world.  Conventions are great for combining your interests with some of your favourite people.
A wee taster of Loncon3 Day 1 from a personal perspective:
I had arrived and registered the day before so I did not have to suffer the huge registration queue.  My day began with a leisurely breakfast in the hotel (more about that will follow).  Once I’d gathered all the stuff that I wanted to have with me for the day I headed off for a wee explore around the giant ExCel.  
First stop was a local Nisa convenience store to stock up on food and water to cover me until the evening.  Eating in restaurants twice a day for five days gets pricey so this is a good way to keep the costs down.  From there is was a long walk down the ‘boulevard’ (the central corridor of the Excel) to the opposite end where Loncon3 was taking place.  it was the first day and it was also a Thursday so it was pretty quiet.  Most people tend to arrive for the weekend so it’s a good day for getting your bearings and taking things nice and easy in the relatively chilled out crowds.
I took a few moments to look at the Con schedule and saw that I was in time for a talk about Astrobiology - The Hunt for Alien Life, given by Dr Lewis Dartnell from the University of Leicester.  Get your geek on.  This guy is an alien hunter… mostly on the microscopic level but, still, those microbes could lead him to ET… eventually!  Next stop was a panel entitled, ‘Not With a Bang but with a Metaphor,’ where we discussed apocalyptic story writing and why that side of science fiction seems to have found so much success in the mainstream.  The general conclusion was that the apocalypse story is probably the oldest story ever told and there seems to be something within us all that wants to see everything wiped out so that we can be the heroes who rise from the ashes and build the world in our own image… or we simply like to sit back and watch destruction from the safety of our own armchairs.  I got a little lost along the way!
Taking a break from talks and panels, I went for a wander round the Dealer’s room and bumped into my lovely friend and published author, Francesca T Barbini.  She writes the YA science fiction books, The Tjaran Tales, that my son is such a huge fan of; she is also a fellow Clan lady which makes her doubly awesome.  Onward from the Dealer’s Room, I found my way to the Fan Village where all of the evening parties will be held.  It’s a huge room full of tents with a bar along one wall and The Tardis standing nonchalantly in the middle. 
Exploration done, I went back up the stairs and ate my lunch before beating the crowds to a seat for ‘A Conversation with George R R Martin, Connie Willis and Paul Cornell’.  This was where I could be sure of meeting up with all of the available BWB posse.  The conversation was great.  Connie and George bounced off one another with wit and verve.  Two quotes that stand out: “Orlando Bloom should have decked Justin Bieber”, Connie Willis, and “I’m not fucking Corn Flakes,” George RR Martin.
With the end of the Conversation, the BWB gathering began.  I had found my people.  Coffee and cake was had and dinner plans were made.  I headed back to the hotel to drop off some stuff and then met up with Anna and Suzie for dinner at the Bollywood Grill (buffet Indian with on screen Bollywood dance numbers).  An all-you-can eat buffet isn’t always the best idea when you’re planning on an evening of drinking but we managed to rally ourselves and met up with the other BWB people in the Fan Village.  I got my gorgeous t-shirt from Mr X.  The beautiful artwork is the creation of Hugo nominee, Raya Golden.  I absolutely love this year’s BWB t-shirt (wearing it as I type).  I found Ms Barbini in the Tolkien Society tent where she forced me to drink mead.  Our BWB published author, Peadar O’Guilin of The Inferior, The Deserter and The Volunteer fame told a scary story at midnight and that was the cue to stumble back to my hotel.
Just a wee snapshot of the fun that can be had on a concation.  If you haven’t tried it, now’s the time to get booking.  The combination of holiday, people on your wavelength and the things that get you most excited - what’s not to love?
Zoom Info
Loncon3: 72nd World Science Fiction Convention. Day 1 (Proper).
This is my second Worldcon.  My first was 5 years ago in Montreal.  Whilst I am attending as a fan of science fiction and fantasy, I am also here as part of the indomitable Brotherhood Without Banners - the A Song of Ice and Fire fan group (Game of Thrones to those who know it only by its screen adaptation).  So, lots to see and do but also much socialising and catching up with friends from all over the world.  Conventions are great for combining your interests with some of your favourite people.
A wee taster of Loncon3 Day 1 from a personal perspective:
I had arrived and registered the day before so I did not have to suffer the huge registration queue.  My day began with a leisurely breakfast in the hotel (more about that will follow).  Once I’d gathered all the stuff that I wanted to have with me for the day I headed off for a wee explore around the giant ExCel.  
First stop was a local Nisa convenience store to stock up on food and water to cover me until the evening.  Eating in restaurants twice a day for five days gets pricey so this is a good way to keep the costs down.  From there is was a long walk down the ‘boulevard’ (the central corridor of the Excel) to the opposite end where Loncon3 was taking place.  it was the first day and it was also a Thursday so it was pretty quiet.  Most people tend to arrive for the weekend so it’s a good day for getting your bearings and taking things nice and easy in the relatively chilled out crowds.
I took a few moments to look at the Con schedule and saw that I was in time for a talk about Astrobiology - The Hunt for Alien Life, given by Dr Lewis Dartnell from the University of Leicester.  Get your geek on.  This guy is an alien hunter… mostly on the microscopic level but, still, those microbes could lead him to ET… eventually!  Next stop was a panel entitled, ‘Not With a Bang but with a Metaphor,’ where we discussed apocalyptic story writing and why that side of science fiction seems to have found so much success in the mainstream.  The general conclusion was that the apocalypse story is probably the oldest story ever told and there seems to be something within us all that wants to see everything wiped out so that we can be the heroes who rise from the ashes and build the world in our own image… or we simply like to sit back and watch destruction from the safety of our own armchairs.  I got a little lost along the way!
Taking a break from talks and panels, I went for a wander round the Dealer’s room and bumped into my lovely friend and published author, Francesca T Barbini.  She writes the YA science fiction books, The Tjaran Tales, that my son is such a huge fan of; she is also a fellow Clan lady which makes her doubly awesome.  Onward from the Dealer’s Room, I found my way to the Fan Village where all of the evening parties will be held.  It’s a huge room full of tents with a bar along one wall and The Tardis standing nonchalantly in the middle. 
Exploration done, I went back up the stairs and ate my lunch before beating the crowds to a seat for ‘A Conversation with George R R Martin, Connie Willis and Paul Cornell’.  This was where I could be sure of meeting up with all of the available BWB posse.  The conversation was great.  Connie and George bounced off one another with wit and verve.  Two quotes that stand out: “Orlando Bloom should have decked Justin Bieber”, Connie Willis, and “I’m not fucking Corn Flakes,” George RR Martin.
With the end of the Conversation, the BWB gathering began.  I had found my people.  Coffee and cake was had and dinner plans were made.  I headed back to the hotel to drop off some stuff and then met up with Anna and Suzie for dinner at the Bollywood Grill (buffet Indian with on screen Bollywood dance numbers).  An all-you-can eat buffet isn’t always the best idea when you’re planning on an evening of drinking but we managed to rally ourselves and met up with the other BWB people in the Fan Village.  I got my gorgeous t-shirt from Mr X.  The beautiful artwork is the creation of Hugo nominee, Raya Golden.  I absolutely love this year’s BWB t-shirt (wearing it as I type).  I found Ms Barbini in the Tolkien Society tent where she forced me to drink mead.  Our BWB published author, Peadar O’Guilin of The Inferior, The Deserter and The Volunteer fame told a scary story at midnight and that was the cue to stumble back to my hotel.
Just a wee snapshot of the fun that can be had on a concation.  If you haven’t tried it, now’s the time to get booking.  The combination of holiday, people on your wavelength and the things that get you most excited - what’s not to love?
Zoom Info
Loncon3: 72nd World Science Fiction Convention. Day 1 (Proper).
This is my second Worldcon.  My first was 5 years ago in Montreal.  Whilst I am attending as a fan of science fiction and fantasy, I am also here as part of the indomitable Brotherhood Without Banners - the A Song of Ice and Fire fan group (Game of Thrones to those who know it only by its screen adaptation).  So, lots to see and do but also much socialising and catching up with friends from all over the world.  Conventions are great for combining your interests with some of your favourite people.
A wee taster of Loncon3 Day 1 from a personal perspective:
I had arrived and registered the day before so I did not have to suffer the huge registration queue.  My day began with a leisurely breakfast in the hotel (more about that will follow).  Once I’d gathered all the stuff that I wanted to have with me for the day I headed off for a wee explore around the giant ExCel.  
First stop was a local Nisa convenience store to stock up on food and water to cover me until the evening.  Eating in restaurants twice a day for five days gets pricey so this is a good way to keep the costs down.  From there is was a long walk down the ‘boulevard’ (the central corridor of the Excel) to the opposite end where Loncon3 was taking place.  it was the first day and it was also a Thursday so it was pretty quiet.  Most people tend to arrive for the weekend so it’s a good day for getting your bearings and taking things nice and easy in the relatively chilled out crowds.
I took a few moments to look at the Con schedule and saw that I was in time for a talk about Astrobiology - The Hunt for Alien Life, given by Dr Lewis Dartnell from the University of Leicester.  Get your geek on.  This guy is an alien hunter… mostly on the microscopic level but, still, those microbes could lead him to ET… eventually!  Next stop was a panel entitled, ‘Not With a Bang but with a Metaphor,’ where we discussed apocalyptic story writing and why that side of science fiction seems to have found so much success in the mainstream.  The general conclusion was that the apocalypse story is probably the oldest story ever told and there seems to be something within us all that wants to see everything wiped out so that we can be the heroes who rise from the ashes and build the world in our own image… or we simply like to sit back and watch destruction from the safety of our own armchairs.  I got a little lost along the way!
Taking a break from talks and panels, I went for a wander round the Dealer’s room and bumped into my lovely friend and published author, Francesca T Barbini.  She writes the YA science fiction books, The Tjaran Tales, that my son is such a huge fan of; she is also a fellow Clan lady which makes her doubly awesome.  Onward from the Dealer’s Room, I found my way to the Fan Village where all of the evening parties will be held.  It’s a huge room full of tents with a bar along one wall and The Tardis standing nonchalantly in the middle. 
Exploration done, I went back up the stairs and ate my lunch before beating the crowds to a seat for ‘A Conversation with George R R Martin, Connie Willis and Paul Cornell’.  This was where I could be sure of meeting up with all of the available BWB posse.  The conversation was great.  Connie and George bounced off one another with wit and verve.  Two quotes that stand out: “Orlando Bloom should have decked Justin Bieber”, Connie Willis, and “I’m not fucking Corn Flakes,” George RR Martin.
With the end of the Conversation, the BWB gathering began.  I had found my people.  Coffee and cake was had and dinner plans were made.  I headed back to the hotel to drop off some stuff and then met up with Anna and Suzie for dinner at the Bollywood Grill (buffet Indian with on screen Bollywood dance numbers).  An all-you-can eat buffet isn’t always the best idea when you’re planning on an evening of drinking but we managed to rally ourselves and met up with the other BWB people in the Fan Village.  I got my gorgeous t-shirt from Mr X.  The beautiful artwork is the creation of Hugo nominee, Raya Golden.  I absolutely love this year’s BWB t-shirt (wearing it as I type).  I found Ms Barbini in the Tolkien Society tent where she forced me to drink mead.  Our BWB published author, Peadar O’Guilin of The Inferior, The Deserter and The Volunteer fame told a scary story at midnight and that was the cue to stumble back to my hotel.
Just a wee snapshot of the fun that can be had on a concation.  If you haven’t tried it, now’s the time to get booking.  The combination of holiday, people on your wavelength and the things that get you most excited - what’s not to love?
Zoom Info
Loncon3: 72nd World Science Fiction Convention. Day 1 (Proper).
This is my second Worldcon.  My first was 5 years ago in Montreal.  Whilst I am attending as a fan of science fiction and fantasy, I am also here as part of the indomitable Brotherhood Without Banners - the A Song of Ice and Fire fan group (Game of Thrones to those who know it only by its screen adaptation).  So, lots to see and do but also much socialising and catching up with friends from all over the world.  Conventions are great for combining your interests with some of your favourite people.
A wee taster of Loncon3 Day 1 from a personal perspective:
I had arrived and registered the day before so I did not have to suffer the huge registration queue.  My day began with a leisurely breakfast in the hotel (more about that will follow).  Once I’d gathered all the stuff that I wanted to have with me for the day I headed off for a wee explore around the giant ExCel.  
First stop was a local Nisa convenience store to stock up on food and water to cover me until the evening.  Eating in restaurants twice a day for five days gets pricey so this is a good way to keep the costs down.  From there is was a long walk down the ‘boulevard’ (the central corridor of the Excel) to the opposite end where Loncon3 was taking place.  it was the first day and it was also a Thursday so it was pretty quiet.  Most people tend to arrive for the weekend so it’s a good day for getting your bearings and taking things nice and easy in the relatively chilled out crowds.
I took a few moments to look at the Con schedule and saw that I was in time for a talk about Astrobiology - The Hunt for Alien Life, given by Dr Lewis Dartnell from the University of Leicester.  Get your geek on.  This guy is an alien hunter… mostly on the microscopic level but, still, those microbes could lead him to ET… eventually!  Next stop was a panel entitled, ‘Not With a Bang but with a Metaphor,’ where we discussed apocalyptic story writing and why that side of science fiction seems to have found so much success in the mainstream.  The general conclusion was that the apocalypse story is probably the oldest story ever told and there seems to be something within us all that wants to see everything wiped out so that we can be the heroes who rise from the ashes and build the world in our own image… or we simply like to sit back and watch destruction from the safety of our own armchairs.  I got a little lost along the way!
Taking a break from talks and panels, I went for a wander round the Dealer’s room and bumped into my lovely friend and published author, Francesca T Barbini.  She writes the YA science fiction books, The Tjaran Tales, that my son is such a huge fan of; she is also a fellow Clan lady which makes her doubly awesome.  Onward from the Dealer’s Room, I found my way to the Fan Village where all of the evening parties will be held.  It’s a huge room full of tents with a bar along one wall and The Tardis standing nonchalantly in the middle. 
Exploration done, I went back up the stairs and ate my lunch before beating the crowds to a seat for ‘A Conversation with George R R Martin, Connie Willis and Paul Cornell’.  This was where I could be sure of meeting up with all of the available BWB posse.  The conversation was great.  Connie and George bounced off one another with wit and verve.  Two quotes that stand out: “Orlando Bloom should have decked Justin Bieber”, Connie Willis, and “I’m not fucking Corn Flakes,” George RR Martin.
With the end of the Conversation, the BWB gathering began.  I had found my people.  Coffee and cake was had and dinner plans were made.  I headed back to the hotel to drop off some stuff and then met up with Anna and Suzie for dinner at the Bollywood Grill (buffet Indian with on screen Bollywood dance numbers).  An all-you-can eat buffet isn’t always the best idea when you’re planning on an evening of drinking but we managed to rally ourselves and met up with the other BWB people in the Fan Village.  I got my gorgeous t-shirt from Mr X.  The beautiful artwork is the creation of Hugo nominee, Raya Golden.  I absolutely love this year’s BWB t-shirt (wearing it as I type).  I found Ms Barbini in the Tolkien Society tent where she forced me to drink mead.  Our BWB published author, Peadar O’Guilin of The Inferior, The Deserter and The Volunteer fame told a scary story at midnight and that was the cue to stumble back to my hotel.
Just a wee snapshot of the fun that can be had on a concation.  If you haven’t tried it, now’s the time to get booking.  The combination of holiday, people on your wavelength and the things that get you most excited - what’s not to love?
Zoom Info
Loncon3: 72nd World Science Fiction Convention. Day 1 (Proper).
This is my second Worldcon.  My first was 5 years ago in Montreal.  Whilst I am attending as a fan of science fiction and fantasy, I am also here as part of the indomitable Brotherhood Without Banners - the A Song of Ice and Fire fan group (Game of Thrones to those who know it only by its screen adaptation).  So, lots to see and do but also much socialising and catching up with friends from all over the world.  Conventions are great for combining your interests with some of your favourite people.
A wee taster of Loncon3 Day 1 from a personal perspective:
I had arrived and registered the day before so I did not have to suffer the huge registration queue.  My day began with a leisurely breakfast in the hotel (more about that will follow).  Once I’d gathered all the stuff that I wanted to have with me for the day I headed off for a wee explore around the giant ExCel.  
First stop was a local Nisa convenience store to stock up on food and water to cover me until the evening.  Eating in restaurants twice a day for five days gets pricey so this is a good way to keep the costs down.  From there is was a long walk down the ‘boulevard’ (the central corridor of the Excel) to the opposite end where Loncon3 was taking place.  it was the first day and it was also a Thursday so it was pretty quiet.  Most people tend to arrive for the weekend so it’s a good day for getting your bearings and taking things nice and easy in the relatively chilled out crowds.
I took a few moments to look at the Con schedule and saw that I was in time for a talk about Astrobiology - The Hunt for Alien Life, given by Dr Lewis Dartnell from the University of Leicester.  Get your geek on.  This guy is an alien hunter… mostly on the microscopic level but, still, those microbes could lead him to ET… eventually!  Next stop was a panel entitled, ‘Not With a Bang but with a Metaphor,’ where we discussed apocalyptic story writing and why that side of science fiction seems to have found so much success in the mainstream.  The general conclusion was that the apocalypse story is probably the oldest story ever told and there seems to be something within us all that wants to see everything wiped out so that we can be the heroes who rise from the ashes and build the world in our own image… or we simply like to sit back and watch destruction from the safety of our own armchairs.  I got a little lost along the way!
Taking a break from talks and panels, I went for a wander round the Dealer’s room and bumped into my lovely friend and published author, Francesca T Barbini.  She writes the YA science fiction books, The Tjaran Tales, that my son is such a huge fan of; she is also a fellow Clan lady which makes her doubly awesome.  Onward from the Dealer’s Room, I found my way to the Fan Village where all of the evening parties will be held.  It’s a huge room full of tents with a bar along one wall and The Tardis standing nonchalantly in the middle. 
Exploration done, I went back up the stairs and ate my lunch before beating the crowds to a seat for ‘A Conversation with George R R Martin, Connie Willis and Paul Cornell’.  This was where I could be sure of meeting up with all of the available BWB posse.  The conversation was great.  Connie and George bounced off one another with wit and verve.  Two quotes that stand out: “Orlando Bloom should have decked Justin Bieber”, Connie Willis, and “I’m not fucking Corn Flakes,” George RR Martin.
With the end of the Conversation, the BWB gathering began.  I had found my people.  Coffee and cake was had and dinner plans were made.  I headed back to the hotel to drop off some stuff and then met up with Anna and Suzie for dinner at the Bollywood Grill (buffet Indian with on screen Bollywood dance numbers).  An all-you-can eat buffet isn’t always the best idea when you’re planning on an evening of drinking but we managed to rally ourselves and met up with the other BWB people in the Fan Village.  I got my gorgeous t-shirt from Mr X.  The beautiful artwork is the creation of Hugo nominee, Raya Golden.  I absolutely love this year’s BWB t-shirt (wearing it as I type).  I found Ms Barbini in the Tolkien Society tent where she forced me to drink mead.  Our BWB published author, Peadar O’Guilin of The Inferior, The Deserter and The Volunteer fame told a scary story at midnight and that was the cue to stumble back to my hotel.
Just a wee snapshot of the fun that can be had on a concation.  If you haven’t tried it, now’s the time to get booking.  The combination of holiday, people on your wavelength and the things that get you most excited - what’s not to love?
Zoom Info
Loncon3: 72nd World Science Fiction Convention. Day 1 (Proper).
This is my second Worldcon.  My first was 5 years ago in Montreal.  Whilst I am attending as a fan of science fiction and fantasy, I am also here as part of the indomitable Brotherhood Without Banners - the A Song of Ice and Fire fan group (Game of Thrones to those who know it only by its screen adaptation).  So, lots to see and do but also much socialising and catching up with friends from all over the world.  Conventions are great for combining your interests with some of your favourite people.
A wee taster of Loncon3 Day 1 from a personal perspective:
I had arrived and registered the day before so I did not have to suffer the huge registration queue.  My day began with a leisurely breakfast in the hotel (more about that will follow).  Once I’d gathered all the stuff that I wanted to have with me for the day I headed off for a wee explore around the giant ExCel.  
First stop was a local Nisa convenience store to stock up on food and water to cover me until the evening.  Eating in restaurants twice a day for five days gets pricey so this is a good way to keep the costs down.  From there is was a long walk down the ‘boulevard’ (the central corridor of the Excel) to the opposite end where Loncon3 was taking place.  it was the first day and it was also a Thursday so it was pretty quiet.  Most people tend to arrive for the weekend so it’s a good day for getting your bearings and taking things nice and easy in the relatively chilled out crowds.
I took a few moments to look at the Con schedule and saw that I was in time for a talk about Astrobiology - The Hunt for Alien Life, given by Dr Lewis Dartnell from the University of Leicester.  Get your geek on.  This guy is an alien hunter… mostly on the microscopic level but, still, those microbes could lead him to ET… eventually!  Next stop was a panel entitled, ‘Not With a Bang but with a Metaphor,’ where we discussed apocalyptic story writing and why that side of science fiction seems to have found so much success in the mainstream.  The general conclusion was that the apocalypse story is probably the oldest story ever told and there seems to be something within us all that wants to see everything wiped out so that we can be the heroes who rise from the ashes and build the world in our own image… or we simply like to sit back and watch destruction from the safety of our own armchairs.  I got a little lost along the way!
Taking a break from talks and panels, I went for a wander round the Dealer’s room and bumped into my lovely friend and published author, Francesca T Barbini.  She writes the YA science fiction books, The Tjaran Tales, that my son is such a huge fan of; she is also a fellow Clan lady which makes her doubly awesome.  Onward from the Dealer’s Room, I found my way to the Fan Village where all of the evening parties will be held.  It’s a huge room full of tents with a bar along one wall and The Tardis standing nonchalantly in the middle. 
Exploration done, I went back up the stairs and ate my lunch before beating the crowds to a seat for ‘A Conversation with George R R Martin, Connie Willis and Paul Cornell’.  This was where I could be sure of meeting up with all of the available BWB posse.  The conversation was great.  Connie and George bounced off one another with wit and verve.  Two quotes that stand out: “Orlando Bloom should have decked Justin Bieber”, Connie Willis, and “I’m not fucking Corn Flakes,” George RR Martin.
With the end of the Conversation, the BWB gathering began.  I had found my people.  Coffee and cake was had and dinner plans were made.  I headed back to the hotel to drop off some stuff and then met up with Anna and Suzie for dinner at the Bollywood Grill (buffet Indian with on screen Bollywood dance numbers).  An all-you-can eat buffet isn’t always the best idea when you’re planning on an evening of drinking but we managed to rally ourselves and met up with the other BWB people in the Fan Village.  I got my gorgeous t-shirt from Mr X.  The beautiful artwork is the creation of Hugo nominee, Raya Golden.  I absolutely love this year’s BWB t-shirt (wearing it as I type).  I found Ms Barbini in the Tolkien Society tent where she forced me to drink mead.  Our BWB published author, Peadar O’Guilin of The Inferior, The Deserter and The Volunteer fame told a scary story at midnight and that was the cue to stumble back to my hotel.
Just a wee snapshot of the fun that can be had on a concation.  If you haven’t tried it, now’s the time to get booking.  The combination of holiday, people on your wavelength and the things that get you most excited - what’s not to love?
Zoom Info
Loncon3: 72nd World Science Fiction Convention. Day 1 (Proper).
This is my second Worldcon.  My first was 5 years ago in Montreal.  Whilst I am attending as a fan of science fiction and fantasy, I am also here as part of the indomitable Brotherhood Without Banners - the A Song of Ice and Fire fan group (Game of Thrones to those who know it only by its screen adaptation).  So, lots to see and do but also much socialising and catching up with friends from all over the world.  Conventions are great for combining your interests with some of your favourite people.
A wee taster of Loncon3 Day 1 from a personal perspective:
I had arrived and registered the day before so I did not have to suffer the huge registration queue.  My day began with a leisurely breakfast in the hotel (more about that will follow).  Once I’d gathered all the stuff that I wanted to have with me for the day I headed off for a wee explore around the giant ExCel.  
First stop was a local Nisa convenience store to stock up on food and water to cover me until the evening.  Eating in restaurants twice a day for five days gets pricey so this is a good way to keep the costs down.  From there is was a long walk down the ‘boulevard’ (the central corridor of the Excel) to the opposite end where Loncon3 was taking place.  it was the first day and it was also a Thursday so it was pretty quiet.  Most people tend to arrive for the weekend so it’s a good day for getting your bearings and taking things nice and easy in the relatively chilled out crowds.
I took a few moments to look at the Con schedule and saw that I was in time for a talk about Astrobiology - The Hunt for Alien Life, given by Dr Lewis Dartnell from the University of Leicester.  Get your geek on.  This guy is an alien hunter… mostly on the microscopic level but, still, those microbes could lead him to ET… eventually!  Next stop was a panel entitled, ‘Not With a Bang but with a Metaphor,’ where we discussed apocalyptic story writing and why that side of science fiction seems to have found so much success in the mainstream.  The general conclusion was that the apocalypse story is probably the oldest story ever told and there seems to be something within us all that wants to see everything wiped out so that we can be the heroes who rise from the ashes and build the world in our own image… or we simply like to sit back and watch destruction from the safety of our own armchairs.  I got a little lost along the way!
Taking a break from talks and panels, I went for a wander round the Dealer’s room and bumped into my lovely friend and published author, Francesca T Barbini.  She writes the YA science fiction books, The Tjaran Tales, that my son is such a huge fan of; she is also a fellow Clan lady which makes her doubly awesome.  Onward from the Dealer’s Room, I found my way to the Fan Village where all of the evening parties will be held.  It’s a huge room full of tents with a bar along one wall and The Tardis standing nonchalantly in the middle. 
Exploration done, I went back up the stairs and ate my lunch before beating the crowds to a seat for ‘A Conversation with George R R Martin, Connie Willis and Paul Cornell’.  This was where I could be sure of meeting up with all of the available BWB posse.  The conversation was great.  Connie and George bounced off one another with wit and verve.  Two quotes that stand out: “Orlando Bloom should have decked Justin Bieber”, Connie Willis, and “I’m not fucking Corn Flakes,” George RR Martin.
With the end of the Conversation, the BWB gathering began.  I had found my people.  Coffee and cake was had and dinner plans were made.  I headed back to the hotel to drop off some stuff and then met up with Anna and Suzie for dinner at the Bollywood Grill (buffet Indian with on screen Bollywood dance numbers).  An all-you-can eat buffet isn’t always the best idea when you’re planning on an evening of drinking but we managed to rally ourselves and met up with the other BWB people in the Fan Village.  I got my gorgeous t-shirt from Mr X.  The beautiful artwork is the creation of Hugo nominee, Raya Golden.  I absolutely love this year’s BWB t-shirt (wearing it as I type).  I found Ms Barbini in the Tolkien Society tent where she forced me to drink mead.  Our BWB published author, Peadar O’Guilin of The Inferior, The Deserter and The Volunteer fame told a scary story at midnight and that was the cue to stumble back to my hotel.
Just a wee snapshot of the fun that can be had on a concation.  If you haven’t tried it, now’s the time to get booking.  The combination of holiday, people on your wavelength and the things that get you most excited - what’s not to love?
Zoom Info
Loncon3: 72nd World Science Fiction Convention. Day 1 (Proper).
This is my second Worldcon.  My first was 5 years ago in Montreal.  Whilst I am attending as a fan of science fiction and fantasy, I am also here as part of the indomitable Brotherhood Without Banners - the A Song of Ice and Fire fan group (Game of Thrones to those who know it only by its screen adaptation).  So, lots to see and do but also much socialising and catching up with friends from all over the world.  Conventions are great for combining your interests with some of your favourite people.
A wee taster of Loncon3 Day 1 from a personal perspective:
I had arrived and registered the day before so I did not have to suffer the huge registration queue.  My day began with a leisurely breakfast in the hotel (more about that will follow).  Once I’d gathered all the stuff that I wanted to have with me for the day I headed off for a wee explore around the giant ExCel.  
First stop was a local Nisa convenience store to stock up on food and water to cover me until the evening.  Eating in restaurants twice a day for five days gets pricey so this is a good way to keep the costs down.  From there is was a long walk down the ‘boulevard’ (the central corridor of the Excel) to the opposite end where Loncon3 was taking place.  it was the first day and it was also a Thursday so it was pretty quiet.  Most people tend to arrive for the weekend so it’s a good day for getting your bearings and taking things nice and easy in the relatively chilled out crowds.
I took a few moments to look at the Con schedule and saw that I was in time for a talk about Astrobiology - The Hunt for Alien Life, given by Dr Lewis Dartnell from the University of Leicester.  Get your geek on.  This guy is an alien hunter… mostly on the microscopic level but, still, those microbes could lead him to ET… eventually!  Next stop was a panel entitled, ‘Not With a Bang but with a Metaphor,’ where we discussed apocalyptic story writing and why that side of science fiction seems to have found so much success in the mainstream.  The general conclusion was that the apocalypse story is probably the oldest story ever told and there seems to be something within us all that wants to see everything wiped out so that we can be the heroes who rise from the ashes and build the world in our own image… or we simply like to sit back and watch destruction from the safety of our own armchairs.  I got a little lost along the way!
Taking a break from talks and panels, I went for a wander round the Dealer’s room and bumped into my lovely friend and published author, Francesca T Barbini.  She writes the YA science fiction books, The Tjaran Tales, that my son is such a huge fan of; she is also a fellow Clan lady which makes her doubly awesome.  Onward from the Dealer’s Room, I found my way to the Fan Village where all of the evening parties will be held.  It’s a huge room full of tents with a bar along one wall and The Tardis standing nonchalantly in the middle. 
Exploration done, I went back up the stairs and ate my lunch before beating the crowds to a seat for ‘A Conversation with George R R Martin, Connie Willis and Paul Cornell’.  This was where I could be sure of meeting up with all of the available BWB posse.  The conversation was great.  Connie and George bounced off one another with wit and verve.  Two quotes that stand out: “Orlando Bloom should have decked Justin Bieber”, Connie Willis, and “I’m not fucking Corn Flakes,” George RR Martin.
With the end of the Conversation, the BWB gathering began.  I had found my people.  Coffee and cake was had and dinner plans were made.  I headed back to the hotel to drop off some stuff and then met up with Anna and Suzie for dinner at the Bollywood Grill (buffet Indian with on screen Bollywood dance numbers).  An all-you-can eat buffet isn’t always the best idea when you’re planning on an evening of drinking but we managed to rally ourselves and met up with the other BWB people in the Fan Village.  I got my gorgeous t-shirt from Mr X.  The beautiful artwork is the creation of Hugo nominee, Raya Golden.  I absolutely love this year’s BWB t-shirt (wearing it as I type).  I found Ms Barbini in the Tolkien Society tent where she forced me to drink mead.  Our BWB published author, Peadar O’Guilin of The Inferior, The Deserter and The Volunteer fame told a scary story at midnight and that was the cue to stumble back to my hotel.
Just a wee snapshot of the fun that can be had on a concation.  If you haven’t tried it, now’s the time to get booking.  The combination of holiday, people on your wavelength and the things that get you most excited - what’s not to love?
Zoom Info

Loncon3: 72nd World Science Fiction Convention. Day 1 (Proper).

This is my second Worldcon.  My first was 5 years ago in Montreal.  Whilst I am attending as a fan of science fiction and fantasy, I am also here as part of the indomitable Brotherhood Without Banners - the A Song of Ice and Fire fan group (Game of Thrones to those who know it only by its screen adaptation).  So, lots to see and do but also much socialising and catching up with friends from all over the world.  Conventions are great for combining your interests with some of your favourite people.

A wee taster of Loncon3 Day 1 from a personal perspective:

I had arrived and registered the day before so I did not have to suffer the huge registration queue.  My day began with a leisurely breakfast in the hotel (more about that will follow).  Once I’d gathered all the stuff that I wanted to have with me for the day I headed off for a wee explore around the giant ExCel.  

First stop was a local Nisa convenience store to stock up on food and water to cover me until the evening.  Eating in restaurants twice a day for five days gets pricey so this is a good way to keep the costs down.  From there is was a long walk down the ‘boulevard’ (the central corridor of the Excel) to the opposite end where Loncon3 was taking place.  it was the first day and it was also a Thursday so it was pretty quiet.  Most people tend to arrive for the weekend so it’s a good day for getting your bearings and taking things nice and easy in the relatively chilled out crowds.

I took a few moments to look at the Con schedule and saw that I was in time for a talk about Astrobiology - The Hunt for Alien Life, given by Dr Lewis Dartnell from the University of Leicester.  Get your geek on.  This guy is an alien hunter… mostly on the microscopic level but, still, those microbes could lead him to ET… eventually!  Next stop was a panel entitled, ‘Not With a Bang but with a Metaphor,’ where we discussed apocalyptic story writing and why that side of science fiction seems to have found so much success in the mainstream.  The general conclusion was that the apocalypse story is probably the oldest story ever told and there seems to be something within us all that wants to see everything wiped out so that we can be the heroes who rise from the ashes and build the world in our own image… or we simply like to sit back and watch destruction from the safety of our own armchairs.  I got a little lost along the way!

Taking a break from talks and panels, I went for a wander round the Dealer’s room and bumped into my lovely friend and published author, Francesca T Barbini.  She writes the YA science fiction books, The Tjaran Tales, that my son is such a huge fan of; she is also a fellow Clan lady which makes her doubly awesome.  Onward from the Dealer’s Room, I found my way to the Fan Village where all of the evening parties will be held.  It’s a huge room full of tents with a bar along one wall and The Tardis standing nonchalantly in the middle. 

Exploration done, I went back up the stairs and ate my lunch before beating the crowds to a seat for ‘A Conversation with George R R Martin, Connie Willis and Paul Cornell’.  This was where I could be sure of meeting up with all of the available BWB posse.  The conversation was great.  Connie and George bounced off one another with wit and verve.  Two quotes that stand out: “Orlando Bloom should have decked Justin Bieber”, Connie Willis, and “I’m not fucking Corn Flakes,” George RR Martin.

With the end of the Conversation, the BWB gathering began.  I had found my people.  Coffee and cake was had and dinner plans were made.  I headed back to the hotel to drop off some stuff and then met up with Anna and Suzie for dinner at the Bollywood Grill (buffet Indian with on screen Bollywood dance numbers).  An all-you-can eat buffet isn’t always the best idea when you’re planning on an evening of drinking but we managed to rally ourselves and met up with the other BWB people in the Fan Village.  I got my gorgeous t-shirt from Mr X.  The beautiful artwork is the creation of Hugo nominee, Raya Golden.  I absolutely love this year’s BWB t-shirt (wearing it as I type).  I found Ms Barbini in the Tolkien Society tent where she forced me to drink mead.  Our BWB published author, Peadar O’Guilin of The Inferior, The Deserter and The Volunteer fame told a scary story at midnight and that was the cue to stumble back to my hotel.

Just a wee snapshot of the fun that can be had on a concation.  If you haven’t tried it, now’s the time to get booking.  The combination of holiday, people on your wavelength and the things that get you most excited - what’s not to love?

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