February 14th, 2006

Portrait as a Renaissance artist-enginee

SPAB - Mills Section Meeting

On Saturday, the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings (SPAB*) - Mills Section held one of their twice-yearly meetings, this one dedicated entirely to the subject of medieval mills!

The days featured authors whose work I've used extensively in my own. John Langdon, James Bond, Martin Watts, Michael Lewis, Lawrence Stevens, and a handful of society members gave presentations on a variety of topics concerning medieval mills. Highlights of the day included a lovely grey millstone cake (cut on the third attempt, when a knife was finally present); talking with lots of people, including featured speakers, who are very interested in the subject of mills in the Middle Ages - some of them even work on the subject professionally; and Martin Watts orchestrating a performance of the part of John Heywood's Play of the Wether where the windmiller and the watermiller argue with each other (except he used the cleaned up, abbreviated, and modernized edition; but it is my favorite play about mills).

At K'zoo, the usual default social question is "So, have you presented yet?" Here, the default question was "So, what mill are you associated with?"

* SPAB is such an awkward acronym. Now that I've been to one of their sections' meetings, I can report back that the acronym is spelled out, not pronounced. Their Mills subsection was founded 75 years ago. The society realized that there was such great interest in mills, enough for a group of its own, after sending out a call for information and photos of the barns of Great Britain. Had things gone differently, this could have been the 75th anniversary of the Barn section of the society.