Tudor Christmas at the Old House

Ho, ho, ho!           

Long time no see! It’s been a while since we posted anything , but how busy we were! Christmas shopping, present hunting, going to parties – we barely had the time to sleep 🙂 With Christmas round the corner, everybody was a little bit panicked, trying to do several things at once. Mal and Rita were ready to celebrate early this year, so we would be taking things much slower than others and dedicate more time to the blog. Rita has enough materials and pictures to write at least 3 more entries for your entertainment, so let’s us begin. On the 28th of November, Rita has been invited to the Old House Museum in Hereford for the first Christmas party of the season. If you think it was yet another mince-pie and glass-of-red-wine party, you are seriously mistaken. The workers of the museum prepared something more interesting – a real recreation of true Tudor Christmas. And by true, we mean real fireplace going, real cooking and baking, hand prepared meal, hand sewn clothes and medieval entertainment.

Old House Christmas Evenings advert

Old House Christmas Evenings advert

If you ever visit Hereford city center, the first thing you see is a big, old, black and white house strangely positioned in the middle of the main square. This house, known to locals as the Butcher’s House or simply as The Old House, is one of the oldest, fully preserved timber buildings of this kind in the county and the only building from the Butcher’s Row, still remaining today. The Butcher’s Row was a tiny medieval market street demolished at the beginning of the 19th century when Hereford underwent drastic changes (so called “modernization”). Nobody is sure, why the Old House survived, while the other buildings were knocked down, but it was a lucky coincidence for the city. The Old House was built in 1621 by a very wealthy and influential merchant who was probably a member of the Butchers Guild of London.

You can learn more by clicking on the link or reading a scan from the official Herefordshire Council Museum brochure:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Old_House,_Hereford

Herefordshire Council brochure mentioning The Old House Museum

Herefordshire Council brochure mentioning The Old House Museum

The Christmas party started exactly at 5 pm with the arrival of two very distinctive ladies dressed in elaborate dresses. The guests were informed that they were on their way from London to visit their families living in the lovely Herefordian countryside, but because of the cold and snow, their carriage lost a wheel and they were forced to look for a shelter until it would be repaired. Luckily, the owners of the house were not complete strangers: the master butcher and his wife have been delivering meat and other delicacy to the royal court for years, so the ladies were very relived learning that they will eat the Christmas dinner in a respectable company. The ladies took residence on the third floor of the house and each was given a separate bedroom for her needs. The butcher’s family (parents, three children and the grandparents) would have to sleep in the lounge and in the children room, but they were still honoured and very happy to serve Queen Elizabeth’s relatives. Although the house was very small by the royal standards, the Duchess and the Countess were truly pleased with everything and after drinks or two, they danced and sang traditional Christmas carols.

It took seven years of research before this hand sewn costume could be made.

It took seven years of research before this hand sewn costume could be made

Costume details with a hand made fan and a little copy of  the Bible attached to the belt!

Costume details with a hand made fan and a little copy of the Bible attached to the belt!

Lynne Eaves and Lindsay Smith, two local enthusiasts of medieval dances and costumes, played the part of the Duchess and The Countess. They are members of “Courtesie” dance troupe specializing in medieval, Elizabethan, English and Burgundian court dances. The members of the group not only sew their own costumes, but spend a lot of their free time in libraries, studying medieval fashion and fabrics. Thanks to that, their outfits are as close to the real thing as possible.

Lynne and Lindsay entertaining guests with some royal dancing

Lynne and Lindsay entertaining guests with some royal dancing

Another shot of the dancing ladies

Another shot of the dancing ladies

Please visit Courtesie Early Dance group official website at: http://www.courtesie.co.uk/Home.html
You can also contact Lynne or Lindsay regarding events, lectures and educational talks.
Lynne Eaves – d.eaves167@btinternet.co.uk
Lindsay Smith – lindsay@zircon.freeserve.co.uk

The biggest attraction of the evening was the preparation of the Christmas meal. The visitors had a chance to decorate a cake in the shape of a tree with green colored marzipan leaves, bake a traditional mince pie or taste the Tudor delicacy- a salty cheese. All dishes were made with kitchen equipment available in the 17th century. Cooking was no fun back then, believe us. Nigella Lawson and Jamie Oliver would be very unhappy without their ovens, electric mixers and microwaves.

Dinner being prepared

Dinner being prepared

A traditional whisk made from birch twigs used  in Tudor times. Works better than the metal ones we use today!

A traditional whisk made from birch twigs used in Tudor times. Works better than the metal ones we use today!

Hard at work - the long table was quickly filled with delicious food

Hard at work – the long table was quickly filled with delicious food

Hereford Tudor Christmas wouldn't be complete without a cathedral cake. The Bishop of Hereford was supposed to come to the dinner as well, but he was unfortunately stuck in the traffic....

Hereford Tudor Christmas wouldn’t be complete without a cathedral cake. The Bishop of Hereford was supposed to come to the dinner as well, but he was unfortunately stuck in the traffic….

While adults and teenagers were busy cooking, the kids could take part in craft activities on the first floor of the museum. Presents wrapping, trying out medieval wooden toys (dolls with moving parts, toy soldiers and multi colour bricks that reminded Rita of primitive Lego’s) and making a pomanders were hugely successful. We tried to make our own pomander, also known as a refreshing sphere or perfume ball, a popular form of early aromatherapy at the Court of Elizabeth I. The modern pomanders are made by studding an orange or other fruit with whole dried cloves and letting it dry. We decorated our pomander with blue, golden and red ribbons, turning it into a Christmas ornament.

 

Kids and museum staff making a pomander

Kids and museum staff making a pomander

Rita's very interesting creation - she still has it!

Rita’s very interesting creation – she still has it!

We have also managed to take a picture of almost all volunteers and museum workers involved in preparation of the Tudor Christmas. We told them to stay still and say “Christmas”. Result can be seen below:

Volunteers and museum staff posing together for a picture.

Volunteers and museum staff posing together for a picture.

The Christmas Evenings at the Old House are recurring events. They are being organized each year at the end of November and run till the mid-December. If you have missed your chance this year, please come back in 2013 – we are sure, you’d have a time of your life.

Mal, Rita and Olympia would like to wish all our readers and accidental visitors, a very Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays.

Have fun, peace, love and understanding!

XXXX

R, M+O

The cat collector or Kat-a-log part 7

Heya all!

Welcome again to the newest edition of the Kat-a-log!  It’s been more than two weeks since we have posted last, but we were extremely busy with work and Christmas shopping. We are almost sure you will forgive us once we introduce you to the kittens that joined us recently! As usual, if you’d like to read more about Olympia Dabrowicz’s art project or see your favourites photographs again, please scroll down to the links section below.

We would also like to use this space to answer several questions we have received regarding Kat-a-log. All figurines you see here have been purchased by Rita, Mal or Olympia or by our friends, relatives and co-workers who acted on our behalf. We haven’t received them from makers, artists or toy stores. If we add links next to the pictures, it’s because we want to inform our readers where the cat came from or who made it. It is not an advert, just a valid piece of information. Some of the figurines were bought many years ago and given to us as a present; some were acquired just few days ago. They are not for sale!

All pictures were/are taken by Rita and Mal but were designed and chosen by Olympia. We edit them, think about them, brainstorm, argue (or even fight sometimes!) before each photo session – in short, preparing a new issue is a whole (bloody) process. Nobody does anything for us.  It is a hard job but we are very proud of everything we do.  We dedicate about 10 hours on average to write and post new blog.  Please treat this as an original work from start to finish. At the same time, we are humbled by your comments and  visits. Each opinion is highly valued so please don’t hesitate to write to us! Thanks in advance!

This is what happens when you are bored at work!

This is what happens when you are bored at work!

Kat-a-log Part 1:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-1
Kat-a-log Part 2:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-2/
Kat-a-log Part 3:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-3/
Kat-a-log Part 4:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-4/
Kat-a-log Part 5:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-5/
Kat-a-log Part 6:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/12/03/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-6/

The family is getting bigger and bigger. Say hello to three new members!

Kat-a-log Feline no. 25
Four sides of a cat: Looking in, Happy birthday kitten, Hanging at the telephone and Silver in the sun
Country of origin: USA,  made in 1992, bought around 1998 and given as a present in December 2012

This black and white cat has been sculpted in 1992 by a company or an artist named CBC. It was bought some 15 years ago by Rita’s boss and then spent long time living at the bottom of the drawer. Since learning of the Kat-a-log project, Angela decided to donate him in hopes he would be re-homed.  Rita took several pictures for this issue around her office: the kitty posed with her birthday card and tried to meow to the customers on the phone. We are absolutely delighted with him! After a bit of research online, we found out this vintage figurine is pretty expensive – you can buy one on Amazon and Ebay for 15-40 pounds!

Looking in

Looking in

Happy birthday kitten!

Happy birthday kitten!

Hanging at the telephone

Hanging at the telephone

Silver in the sun

Silver in the sun

Kat-a-log Feline no. 26
Four sides of a cat: Kitchen fun, The tea is being served, Part of the tea set and Kitty box
Country of origin: Australia, December 2012

A gift from a land Down Under, this white kitty has been brought to the UK by Rob (internationally known bowls player!!), one of Rita’s co-workers. It has been manufactured by Arton Giftware, a company specializing in home decorations, gifts and jewellery holders. The cat is really a ring holder/trinket box and is linked to the Aboriginal story of the Dreamland and the Creators. The curved lines on his body are known as the songlines – the path of the animal creators from old Australian lore.

You can learn more about the legend here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Songlines
The company’s official website: http://www.arton.com.au/HTML/index.php

Thanks for the present Rob! You are a true star!

Kitchen fun

Kitchen fun

The tea is being served

The tea is being served

Part of the tea set

Part of the tea set

The cat has been placed in an elegant box with company’s name on top:

Kitty box

Kitty box

Kat-a-log Feline no. 27
Three sides of a cat: Wrapped around the finger, Cats like technology (cause it’s warm) and Sunshine pillow
Country of origin: made in Tailand, bought in Worsester, Decembet 2012

While visiting the traditional Victorian Christmas fair in Worcester, Rita came across a very unique stand offering sculptures carved from horns of the water buffalos. The hand made sculptures made by Thai villagers and were sold by volunteer organization – The Thai Interiors, as part of the Fair Trade movement. Rita chose a small cat that was carved by 22 year old artist named Bee. Emma, the lady at the stand, allowed us to take few pictures of the other sculptures. A full review from the market will be published very soon.

You can visit the official website for the organization here: http://thai-interiors.com/

Wrapped around the finger

Wrapped around the finger

Cats like technology (cause it's warm!)

Cats like technology (cause it’s warm!)

Sunshine pillow

Sunshine pillow

Kat-a-log Christmas bonus no.1
Gift: catnip toys

Olympia is not only the proud owner of a huge collection of cat figurines. She is also a faithful servant to two spoilt rotten cats named Salem and Michael (aka the Silly Half-Persian). Because the cats are important family members, they need Christmas presents as well. Rita and Mal bought catnip toys: a cat cigar for the gentleman and a gorgeous mouse for the lady.

You can visit the Cosmic Cat website if you don’t know what to buy your pet:
http://www.cosmiccatnip.com/

Catnip toys

Catnip toys

We hope you have enjoyed the 7th edition of Kat-alog. The Christmas is coming soon, so happy holidays everybody!
Have a great time and hug your kittens and other animals as well.

Be merry everybody,xxxx
Best wishes from Rita, Malicia and Olympia Dabrowicz

The cat collector or Kat-a-log part 6

Meow to the world!

Hello cats lovers! Another Kat-a-log issue is here. Our first post in December and we are thrilled to show you the newest additions to the furry collection. If this is the first time you hear the name “Kat-a-log”, let us introduce the project in short. Our mom, Olympia Dabrowicz, has been a cat figurine collector for more than a decade now. She has gathered nearly 150 cat figurines made of glass, clay, metal, wood and any other medium you can think of. The felines come from different countries and continents and each of them has a great story to tell. So what Olympia decided to do was to take the cats outside, photograph them in various places (on the streets, rooftops, restaurants, gym etc.) and then post them on the Internet, turning the pictures into an art project. She has had a great success and many people we know brought new cats from their holidays and voyages, just to be featured here!

Click on the links below to see the previous entries . Happy browsing!

Kat-a-log Part 1:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-1
Kat-a-log Part 2:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/07/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-2/
Kat-a-log Part 3:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-3/
Kat-a-log Part 4:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-4/
Kat-a-log Part 5:
https://cocamidemea.wordpress.com/2012/11/16/the-cat-collector-or-kat-a-log-part-5/

Ladies and Gents please put your hands together and give a warm round of applause for the newest members of the family:

Kat-a-log Feline no. 21
Official name:
Nikiri
Three sides of a cat: Lady Luck, Shine like a diamond and Supernova

Country of origin: Moscow, Russia, November 2012

In Japanese Nikiri means “made of crystal” and you cannot think of a better name for this little shiny creature. Nikiri is 100% made of Swarovski crystal and has been ordered through a catalogue from the company’s main depot in Moscow. She is shaped like a traditional maneki-neko (Japenese lucky cat) with great details. This is second Swarovski cat figurine in Olympia`s collection. Nikiri represents absolutely everything that a lady can wish for Christmas: precious lucky charm that comes in a form of a kitten

Nikiri the Lady Luck

Nikiri the Lady Luck

Nikiri the Supernova

Nikiri the Supernova

Nikiri: Shine like a diamond

Nikiri: Shine like a diamond

Kat-a-log Feline no. 22
Three sides of a cat:
High and wired, Towering over and Winter over Pudget.
Country of origin: Oulu, Finland, November 2012

This clay and glass hand-made cat comes from the ends of the earth, literary. It has been bought in Oulu, Finland by Malicia’s colleague and presented as a Christmas gift to Olympia. Although, the Christmas market starts on December 7th each year, the town’s main square is populated by artisan stands since mid-November. Unfortunately, the friend didn’t take any particulars of the artist who made this figurine, but you can visit the market’s official webpage at http://www.oulunliikekeskus.fi/tiernatori

Towering over

Towering over

Winter over Pudget (yes that famous bay in Seattle :P)

Winter over Pudget (yes that famous bay in Seattle :P)

High and Wired

High and Wired

Kat-a-log Feline no. 23
Three sides of a cat: Where is my tea?, The house and The cat and The Black Fluff
Country of origin:
Devon, November 2012, UK

Green-eyed, black Persian cat is part of “Desk buddy” collection made by small toy making company called Lang & Son. It has been purchased in Devon by Rita’s friend on her business trip and brought back to Hereford. There are 11 other cats in the collection representing the most popular breeds. Rita’s friend is working for a flower company “Sarah Jane’s Joy of Flowers” and her travels take her all over the country. You can visit their website: http://www.sarah-jane-flowers.co.uk/

Where is my tea?

Where is my tea?

The house and the cat

The house and the cat

The Black Fluff

The Black Fluff

Kat-a-log Feline no. 24
Three sides of a cat: In the workshop, It is a dirty job (but someone’s gonna do it) and Somebody’s watching me
Country of  origin:
Portugal, December 2012

A friend bought this absolutely crazy-looking wooden cat from her holidays in Portugal. When she showed it in the office, everybody burst out laughing. The cat became a favourite among Rita’s co-workers who would borrow him and keep him at their own desks. The photo session for taken at store warehouse near Rita’s company and we have to admit it suits the cat perfectly!

In the workshop

In the workshop

It is a dirty job (but someone's gonna do it)

It is a dirty job (but someone’s gonna do it)

Somebody is watching me (IRS?)

Somebody is watching me (IRS?)

Sadly, another Kat-a-log issue has come to an end. We are expecting several new additions in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes open because the kats might be back just before the Christmas! One could be travelling from Australia soon, so it is worth waiting for!

For now paws and tails,
xxxx
Rita, Mal and Olympia Dabrowicz