Thursday, October 17, 2013


Staying the Course, and Reenacting News

So it's been about two weeks since I got back into the full swing of things, and I've been pretty good about it. Not quite 100% compliance, but close!

Tonight I return to CAPD for not only early practice (which I've intermittently made for the last two years), but for the warm-up portion of late practice for the first time since I took a leave of absence from the band.

I'd like to elaborate on my previous post's comments regarding my activity in the Appins, and reenacting in general, in the last couple of years. I've refined my impression of the clan piper of the 18th century over the last few years - in addition to my period Highland pipes, fiddle, German flute, recorder, fife, and pochette, I can now turn out with a small wire-strung harp (which there's documentary evidence that it was still played in the 18th century, by a gentleman amateur), a stock-and-horn, and a set of reel-pipes. I recently purchased the stock-and-horn (stoc) from a maker, and it looks great, fitting in with the pewter-and-horn mounted aesthetic of my Highland pipes. Unfortunately the high g is very sharp, so I'll probably have that fixed by a friendly pipe maker. The reel pipes are the copy of a mid-18th century set in sycamore, brass, and ivory that EJ Jones made me I've discussed previously, though he recently added the ivory ferrule to the chanter stock and drone stock to complete the look. The small harp is the Ardival Kilcoy clàrsach, currently undecorated, that I'm learning from Cynthia on. Sadly, the pegbox of my pochette has a crack in it, preventing me from tuning the low strings, so I'll have to take that in to be repaired.

I redid the front piece of my waistcoat a couple years back, making it longer in front, and doing the pockets right the first time, and it looks much better! I also finally got a nice sporran, from Circle of Gentlemen, though it's not the hinged cantle variety I had originally ordered from the Mad Piper before he canceled that part of my order. Speaking of which, The Mad Piper (after a series of setbacks on his part) finally got me the basket hilt sword I ordered years ago, and it's gorgeous. It may be the last sword he ever makes, and I plan to cherish it. In addition, I have a nice backup basket-hilt broadsword from Paul Chen, and the turceil Kevin Riley fashioned for me from an old basket and the blade from a Windlass "pirate cutlass". I've now retired the gigantically oversized Discriminating General basket hilt, though I am keeping the blade and scabbard in hopes of having a Medieval Scottish hilt and pommel made for it eventually.

I finally bought the jacket I'd been borrowing from Gerry Orvis all these years, but it's still a jacket designed to be worn with trews, and it's a bit heavy, so I  bought a second one from him, that comes with matching trews. So now, in addition to the great kilt outfit, I could do a trews outfit, either with a matching suit, or a contrasting (as was commonly seen). I do need to make a couple new pair of hose, and will likely soon order some new shirts from Druid's Oak, but I'd say my overall '45 Jacobite kit is complete. Here are several pictures of the trews and jacket, in a color scheme I call "Highland Hideous".

I've also been slowly putting together a 16th century Gael impression as well. I've almost finished the lèine, having only the hems and some decorative contrasting silk thread to put in. I was all set to start the inar when I realized I had the wrong sort of fabric for it - a thick felted wool instead of a twill. I may keep the felted wool to make a green version of the slashed-sleeve jacket in Waitt's portrait of the Piper to the Laird of Grant, to give me a 1715 outfit (otherwise, most of my 1745 kit works equally well for the previous generation).

Hopefully, I'll have pictures of the new outfits soon (my wife has a lovely new SLR to try out!), but here's the link to the video of me demonstrating the stock-and-horn I made:

In addition to instruments and clothing, last year we did a lot of foodstuff impression at the Central Virginia Scottish Games (which the Appins are not likely to attend this year, because too many of us are not available). To this end, I took a plain willow bodhran and burned holes in the skin with a hot nail to make a grain tray. We turned out with the grain tray, unhulled and hulled oats, kale, neeps, potatoes, salmon, and little bit of haggis, and the foodstuff display was very popular. I also purchased a quern from Depeeka, and when it arrives, I'll be modifying it with some extra grooves to improve its accuracy and function.

So, fun stuff.

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