Nov 29, 2007

The Latest in Winter Sports

It just doesn't get much sillier than this.

Last evening found me working on setting up a few more things for the St. Andrew's Day Celebration....well....I only actually got the Caber Toss set up near the Loch after I put a haggis on to boil in the outdoor cook pot. And then I noticed that there was someone in the Loch - two someones actually. I went over to greet my guests. The first person I found was Lady Kate Nicholas, who was working on a manuscript of some sort while watching Nellie swim through the water and ice flows. I said hello, but did not disturb her for much longer than that, save to mention that the Royal Society has been called upon to discuss the Time Acceleration Theory of Second Life.

As I flew up to the mountain, I found Colonel Hotspur O'Toole skiing. We chatted for a little while about his new skis and that I have been looking for a ski vendor for Loch Avie, as my typist is an avid skier in RL. He seemed quite satisfied with the skis that he had found and was good enough to pass the designer information to me.

I went back down to work a little more, when I found that Kate had pulled the haggis out of the pot and was kicking it about in the snow.

Haggis Footie!!

This soon only got sillier when Hotspur slid down our side of the mountain and began to push the haggis while on skis. Well, being the gentleman that he is, he could not let two ladies attempt to play a game of Haggis Field Hockey without skis. He was good enough to request that SLExchange send us each a pair of skis. There was no stopping us now!

He did at one point make the mistake of going AFK.....

but that only gave us another sport: Chicken and Haggis Jumping - it's the latest in Caledonian Xtreme Sports.

The Tandom Chicken-Haggis Jump

After Lady Kate retired to her offices, Hotspur and I decided to put the haggis and the chickens away and head back up the mountain.

The view from the highest point in Loch Avie

Hotspur skis with my Will-O-Wisp

Then the call for FREE DRAGONS came along....and poof....we were there. I have not yet tried mine on, but I think I am gonna like this.

I think St. Andrew would approve of our new winter sports...perhaps there may be a game of Haggis Footie or Field Hockey in our future at the revelry tomorrow night.

Nov 27, 2007

Making Improvements Thanks to My Fencing Instructors and a Little Exercise

I came in world last night fully intending to get the Loch more prepared for the St. Andrew's Day festivities. And I accomplished many of the tasks: the small Victorian Skating Rink is installed and fully operational, the ground has been covered with more snow and the snow fall continues, several more trees were planted, and the sky arena is made ready for the Tournament. There are still things on the list, of course, but it will all get done by Friday morning so that our guests will be able to fully enjoy the celebration.

Speaking of the Tournament, we now have eight (8) entrants, which is very exciting. I spoke with Sir Telemachus briefly last evening (more on that in a bit) and he will be creating the matches very soon. We have entrants from 5 of the Duchys thus far. If others contact us with fighters to send forward, then we may need to do a little adjustment on the schedule...or set time limits for each round. Clan bragging rights are at stake here - all in the name of good fun - so we want to make sure all Duchys who wish to be represented are able to send forward a champion. Sir Tele will take good care with this as he works on the schedule.
As I was watching the snow fall, I received a call on my private line letting me know that there were plenty of opportunities for some fencing practice Upstairs. I quickly headed over to find several members of our fencing team practicing. Miss Bryndal Ellison, Miss Hermoine Pennyfeather, Sir Amplebeak Tinlegs, and Colonel Hotspur O'Toole.
Miss Ellison was gracious enough to send me the team uniform upon my arrival, and after she finished her close match with Sir Amplebeak, she allowed me to practice with her.

Here I am (in the black boots) making an attack on Miss Ellison. Following the cards closely as I have been taught by my mentors and coaches, Exrex Somme and Hotspur O'Toole (seen here sitting on the sidelines providing pointers).

En Garde, Miss Ellison!

Coach Somme and Coach O'Toole!! This one's for you!

(I'm sure it won't stand for long....but at least I have it now for posterity's sake.)

Soon we heard from Lord Greystoke that Lady Middlesea was celebrating her Rez Day, so we changed into something less..erm...white...and headed to Greystoke for the celebration and much ice skating. Lord Primbroke provided the lovely music.

Here I am stretching those sore muscles as I skate about the pond with my fellow revelers.

Ah - relaxation.

Just as I was bidding farewell to everyone at the party, I had an IM from Sir Telemachus that he was in world, and that we needed to discuss the tournament. Once I got home to the Loch we discussed this (as mentioned above) as we skated around my own little rink. (Oh by the way, we have ice in Nellie's Cove which will likely see some skating as well.) As we flew up to the arena - skating on air I might add - Tele said off the cuff, "We should really try fighting with the Claymores while we skate."

It was too silly to pass up! I immediately pulled out my Claymore, skated around the sands of the arena (only in SL!) and we battled! I wish I had the wherewithall to take some snapshots, but I was laughing too hard. I highly recommend this diversion to all who would take it up.

What a great night in Caledon!

Who is Saint Andrew Anyway??

A little information about St. Andrew
Saint Andrew is the Patron Saint of Scotland, and St. Andrew's Day is celebrated by Scots around the world on the 30th November. The flag of Scotland is the Cross of St. Andrew, and this is widely displayed as a symbol of national identity.

The "Order of Saint Andrew" or the "Most Ancient Order of the Thistle" is an order of Knighthood which is restricted to the King or Queen and sixteen others. It was established by James VII of Scotland in 1687.

Very little is really known about St. Andrew himself. He was thought to have been a fisherman in Galilee (now part of Israel), along with his elder brother Simon Peter (Saint Peter). Both became followers (apostles) of Jesus Christ, founder of the Christian religion.

St. Andrew is said to have been responsible for spreading the tenets of the Christian religion though Asia Minor and Greece. Tradition suggests that St. Andrew was put to death by the Romans in Patras, Southern Greece by being pinned to a cross (crucified). The diagonal shape of this cross is said to be the basis for the Cross of St. Andrew which appears on the Scottish Flag.

St. Andrews bones were entombed, and around 300 years later were moved by Emperor Constantine (the Great) to his new capital Constantinople (now Istambul in Turkey). Legend suggests that a Greek Monk (although others describe him as an Irish assistant of St. Columba) called St. Rule (or St. Regulus) was warned in a dream that St. Andrews remains were to be moved and was directed by an angel to take those of the remains which he could to the "ends of the earth" for safe-keeping. St. Rule dutifully followed these directions, removing a tooth, an arm bone, a kneecap and some fingers from St. Andrew's tomb and transporting these as far away as he could. Scotland was close to the extremities of the know world at that time and it was here that St. Rule was shipwrecked with his precious cargo.

St. Rule is said to have come ashore at a Pictish settlement on the East Coast of Scotland and this later became St. Andrews. Thus the association of St. Andrew with Scotland was said to have begun.

Perhaps more likely than the tale of St. Rule's journey is that Acca, the Bishop of Hexham, who was a reknown collector of relics, brought the relics of St. Andrew to St. Andrews in 733. There certainly seems to have been a religious centre at St. Andrews at that time, either founded by St. Rule in the 6th century or by a Pictish King, Ungus, who reigned from 731 - 761.

Whichever tale is true, the relics were placed in a specially constructed chapel. This chapel was replaced by the Cathedral of St. Andrews in 1160, and St. Andrews became the religious capital of Scotland and a great centre for Medieval pilgrims who came to view the relics.

There are other legends of how St. Andrew and his remains became associated with Scotland, but there is little evidence for any of these, including the legend of St. Rule. The names still exist in Scotland today, including St. Rules Tower, which remains today amongst the ruins of St. Andrews Cathedral.

It is not known what happened to the relics of St. Andrew which were stored in St. Andrews Cathedral, although it is most likely that these were destroyed during the Scottish Reformation. The Protestant cause, propounded by Knox, Wishart and others, won out over Roman Catholism during the Reformation and the "idolatry of catholism", that is the Saints, relics, decoration of churches, were expunged during the process of converting the Roman Catholic churches of Scotland to the harsh simplicity of Knox's brand of Calvanism.

The place where these relics were kept within the Cathedral at St. Andrews is now marked by a plaque, amongst the ruins, for visitors to see.

The larger part of St. Andrew's remains were stolen from Constantinople in 1210 and are now to be found in Amalfi in Southern Italy. In 1879 the Archbishop of Amalfi sent a small piece of the Saint's shoulder blade to the re-established Roman Catholic community in Scotland.

In 1969, Gordon Gray, leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland was in Rome to be appointed the first Scottish Cardinal since the Reformation. Pope Paul VI gave him further relics of St. Andrew with the words "Saint Peter gives you his brother". These are now displayed in a reliquary in St. Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Edinburgh.

This will be a full day of festivities in Loch Avie.

The sim will be filled with the sounds of Celtic music for your enjoyment, and will be decorated for the occasion.
Come learn about St. Andrew and his connections to Scotland and see his Eastern and Western Icons
Please feel free to come at your own time and pace to try the haggis, scotch eggs, Uisge Beatha, and other Scottish delicacies.
You may also try your hand at the Caber Toss, Hammer Throw, or Academy of Arms Weapons System (Claymore, Battle Axe, Short Sword) at your leisure during the day.
Enjoy the sim with it's water and ice (including skating areas), scenic views, water horse, and snow.

  • Caber tossing contest at 1pm SLT (near the pub)
  • Hammer throwing contest at 3pm SLT (near Nellie's inlet)
  • Academy of Arms Tournament for Ducal Champions 6pm SLT (sky arena)
  • Ceilidh 7:30pm SLT (Near the Keep)

  • If you are a piper and would care to join in a piping contest please IM, Duchess Loch Avie directly. With enough interest we will hold a Bagpipe concert/contest during the day.

Nov 22, 2007

I have many reasons to be thankful...

I am very blessed!

Beautiful and safe land to call my own.

Very silly friends.
(Exrex Somme's second RezDay party in Polymath Upstairs:
left to right - Hotspur O'Toole, Eladrianne Laval, Hermoine Pennyfeather, me, Exrex Somme)

And good friends

Lady Kate Nicholas, Grafinya Inbhir Abigh
My first friend in SL

My dear friend, bodyguard and protector
Sir Telemachus Dean

The Loch Avie Academy of Arms
(Sir Tele training me in the use of the battle axe)

Taigh Róis
Gathering of friends and neighbors in the Loch

Dear friend and member of my court
Lord Zealot Benmergui, Baron of Bardhaven

My closest cousin,
Her Grace Gabrielle Riel, Duchess of Carntaigh

Good friends and members of the court of Loch Avie
Lord Edward Pearse, Earl of Primbroke
Lady Christine McAllister Pearse, Countess of Primbroke

Partner in crime
Lady Kirawill Collingwood, Baroness of Bardhaven

(Right to left) Sir ZenMondo Wormser, Mr JJ Drinkwater, Hotspur O'Toole, Exrex Somme

Loch Avie's Own
Lt Colonel, Hotspur O'Toole
Caledon First Lancers

Two of my first friends in SL
Callipygian Christensen and Colonel Exrex Somme

Another of my first friends in SL
Sir Adso Krogstad

It would be a lengthy post indeed were I to attempt to name all of my friends here in SL and all of Caledon. Please know that I am thankful for all of you, though I could only celebrate some of you here by name.

Nov 21, 2007

Medieval Performance of Beowulf

For a very fine article on Beowulf and the Old English Language, please head over to Lady Kate Nicholas' fine journal. She is as ever the language expert at the Royal Society.

Thank you, Grafinya!

Nov 19, 2007

Life Imitates Art

Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.
~Oscar Wilde

These photographs were found in a lovely box sent from my human. It seems that she would like to remind me that I am not the only one who enjoys dressing in silk and brocade, pearls and laces. Nor do I hold the corner on the market for enjoying being with Celtic men in their finest kilts.

My typist and her spouse at the PA Ren Faire

The Tartan Terrors perform their last act of the PA Ren Faire Season.

The Tartan Terrors, North America’s Premiere Celtic Comedy Event, are known for taking traditional Celtic music and dance, mixing it with rock and roll & blending in their own unique Scottish Comedy.

More information on The Tartan Terrors can be found here.

After many good Scottish Ales at the pub, she attended the final show for the Terrors at the Ren Faire this year. Here my Human poses with (left to right) Todd Loughry, Peter J. Corneil, and two-time World Piping Champion, Sean McKeown

Thanksgiving Formal Ball - Another in the Caledon Social Season Series

What a grand success in my estimation!

Lady Kirawill Collingwood, Baroness Bardhaven, Marquessa East Speirling, was gracious enough to accept my invitation to co-host this event on rather short notice last week. Over the course of three days or so, she helped me plan for the event and prepare the Loch for the ball. My sincere thanks go to her. Now, Lady Kirawill--imagine what we could do if we had a whole week to plan something together! *smiles widely*

I also must send my thanks to Edwina Heron, His Grace Murdann, and to Mitsu Figaro for assisting with the group announcements, making the music happen on such short notice, and for advice and assistance with a few other technical issues.

This being an official event of the Social Season, it was formal, and dancing was planned with notecards. The movement between partners seemed to happen quite smoothly and I was pleased.

I did not, however, bring Taigh Róis out of the mist for the event. Instead we created a dancing venue under the stars, and the effect was quite lovely.

Comments were heard about this dance feeling much as the balls of the early days in Caledon. I took that as a very high compliment indeed. All comers were gracious, beautifully attired, and of course, the debutantes were as lovely as could be. The conversations were most interesting and varied. And surprisingly, though the sim hosted over 40 people throughout most of the event, there was not a griefer to be found. We did have a few visitors fly over out of curiosity, but no problems at all. And the sim held very well.

Our beautiful setting in Loch Avie. A view of the ball at the mid-point in the evening.

Newlyweds, Lady Kintyre and Sir ZenMondo Wormser enjoying the dance floor together.

Colonel Hotspur O'Toole, and Miss Frequency Picnic trip the light fantastic.

Here I dance with Mr. Iason Hassanov, who quite literally swept me off my feet.

Lancer, Mr Gryffin Hax, and Miss Messmer enjoy a slow dance together.

Mr. Expedition Offcourse and Miss Diamanda Gustafson

Dancing with Mr. O'Toole as the revelers continue to arrive.

I was thrilled that Mr. TotalLunar Eclipse arrived from Steelhead and joined us for part of the ball.

The now famous Waltz-Jig with Lady Darkling. We kicked off our shoes under all those skirts and felt the cool marble on our toes as we thoroughly enjoyed the bagpipes playing.

View from 1500 meters. (OK - so I took a little liberty there with the distance - but you get the point.)

Lord Primbroke - I think he must have been pining for his Lady. She should return soon, sir. Chin up.

A lovely tango with Sir ZenMondo. His wife can be seen dancing with Miss Lane (one of our debutantes this season) in the background.

Dancing with my cousin, Her Grace Carntaigh (foreground). We are happy that she has returned to us from that strange place called Hollywood.

And finally - My dear friend and co-host for the evening, Lady Kirawill, and I waltzed in our Caledonian colors as we plotted future grand events together.