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Scottish Ramble
Glenn clann pike
After skipping it Saturday I spent most of Sunday with colgaffneyis at the St. Paul Scottish Ramble. This was a good time.

This was an indoor, non-camping, event. So I forgot to bring my dishes for eating in period style, which are packed with our camping gear. To deal with this I bought a mug from Patty's Pottery, which will be quite useful at home in any case. For food we had hard-boiled eggs, sandwiches, and baby carrots, so I did not really need a plate or bowl anyway.

I wore the hand spun & dyed & knitted & felted highland bonnet mia_mcdavid made for me. This is a fine example of her fiber arts, but not the most comfortable choice under the circumstances. It is perfectly suited for wearing outside in a Minnesota winter. However, the weekend's event was indoors, and like most public buildings in the state, considerably more than adequately heated.

One of the patrons complemented me on how well I had draped my belted plaid (great kilt). She said it look much neater than most of the others at the event. Looking at the conventional view of how a highlander dressed himself in the plaid (see any of the first four links here, you can see that doing it neatly is a very fussy business. So with this particular plaid I have been cheating. Years ago I carefully placed all the pleats exactly where I wanted them and sewed them in place. I also added belt loops, and ties so I can tie the inner apron at exactly the right place on my left side. So when I put it on I can be sure everything will fall into place at once.

Of course, this destroys the usefulness of the plaid as a blanket, so it is unlikely to be period for colgaffneyis. However, the alterations are well hidden when I am dressed. Only mia_mcdavid gets close enough to me to notice :-)>

BTW, I believe the highlanders of old must have some mechanism to simply the process. The conventional view seems just too fussy to be plausible for fast-moving Highlanders. I am not alone in this: See the last two links here. Possibilities include belt loops and drawstrings. However, there is no clear evidence and so I will not dispute the conventional view when I hear it presented at colgaffneyis events.

Ramble is an annual event. There is a book dealer I see there, and only there. I look forward to seeing him every year, and by now he remembers me: "You are looking for Gaelic books." Both last year and in 2006 I bought collections of 17th Gaelic poetry from him. No Gaelic this year, but I did buy The Silver Bough, Vol. 2 at considerably less than Amazon's price.

I saw Historical Maps of Ireland at the Clan MacDonald table (Historically the MacDonalds held lands in both Scotland and in Ireland). It was not for sale, but afterwards I found it can be purchased for a reasonable price.

colgaffneyis big official role on Sunday, as every year, was to be the honor guard at the Kirkin' of the Tartans. This is a completely bogus invented tradition. I grit my teeth through it every year.

We had a hall behind our presentation area for storing our coats and stuff. It was also convenient for cell phone calls, checking Blackberry's, and similar non 17th century tasks. At one point I was so engaged there when smuzikant walked in. She saw me and grinned. I looked up and said "Welcome to the Den of Anachronism!"

The local woodturners' association has an exhibit next to our space at the event. There is a fine foot operated treadle lathe there, far more sophisticated and better built than mine. I examined it quite closely, and saw some features I could add to my current lathe, and others that will have to wait
for the next major release.

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It was really nice to have the turning exhibit open during Ramble for a change. I really liked the treadle with the flywheel mounted parallel to the bed. A bit more complex for the belt/pulleys, but a nice conservation of space.

Johanna and I got a lot of attention, even though she wasn't cooperating the first day. However, I also got to try my new spindle for the first time, and it is sooooooo much lighter than my previous one (which J.V. of the Baldwin Boys now owns) and spins a thinner, more even single. I can let it drop and spin and it will keep spinning, and I discovered that I can now walk and spin, an authentic Highland activity.

Did it seem to you that there were fewer vendors this year? Or were they all just arranged differently? One that I noticed missing was Hobgoblin Music.

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