Summerfest ’15



Summerfest ’15 began earlier this week. For the first couple of days the sim was full whenever I tried to teleport into it. I got in today, but it’s exceptionally busy and lag-hell, so I only looked at a few items. I’ll try it again when people have filled their boots.

What I did see is the gorgeous beach wrap photographed below. More expensive than I’d usually pay, at L$325, but it’s so true to life that I just had to have it.

ella beach wrap_001b ella beach wrap2_001b


As the breeze picks up in the afternoons here in Spain, it’s the sort of thing that would be ideal to wear until the wind mysteriously dies down later in the evening, and then it feels hot again.

And now: a gripe!

I don’t normally like to moan; if a place or thing doesn’t excite or interest us, we simply don’t blog it, and we try to keep the blog positive. But look closely and you’ll see that it’s not a perfect fit, and only comes in one size that is designed for a specific type of (mesh?) body. You can see this in the top photo in particular, with the back, shoulder and side seams not fitting correctly. This is the second time recently that I’ve bought stuff where it wasn’t made wholly clear that it was designed for a specific mesh body.

This is my shape, and one I’ll be keeping. I do not want to be railroaded down the route of mesh bodies yet because they’re too damned expensive and don’t have enough flexibility in how you can tweak them, in my opinion. I simply don’t like them. I don’t want to use them. Come to that, I’m not wholly enamoured with mesh clothing either, which often seems ill-fitting.

It’s designers’ prerogative to design for whatever mesh shapes they want, but for goodness sake we do need them to be clearer, upfront, that ‘this is designed specifically for x mesh body shape’. Not doing so it dishonest. Had I known, despite loving the design, I wouldn’t have spent my linden dollars on it because I want to look like me, not the shape body designers imagine I want to be.



blue string2_001b


blue string4_001b


One thing you will…not often but occasionally… witness at RL naturist beaches is a tell-tale string that informs us that the woman ‘wearing’ it is having her period. I confess that, were I to be, um, ‘stricken’ with my period during a holiday I would not be going nude on a beach while ‘wearing’ a tampon. The bikini briefs would go on for the time in which I was having my period. But that does not appear to be a bar to naturism for some women, who will readily sunbathe and swim (in the sea, I’ve never witnessed a woman having her period use a swimming pool while wearing that tell-tale string).

In SL tampons are available -see the photos above- but it’s not something that I’ve ever seen spoken of, in any circumstances.

It would appear that it’s something we don’t wish to even consider in real life…


‘People are perfectly happy to see women as sex objects, but the actual biology of our bodies is apparently gross and unmentionable.’

I wonder if it’s something that we, SL’s women, should be speaking about more openly.

Let’s face it: all women of child-bearing age menstruate each month. I reckon there must be a good 25-30%, minimum, of all SL avatars then suffering each month. If we can have avatars that urinate or ejaculate, why not women who menstruate? After all, we want to enhance the reality of SL at every turn. Or do we? Is it taboo for SL and something left back in RL?

For many women, ‘the time of the month’ is very much a time of mood change, almost invariably negatively. Again, I’ll confess it’s not something that has particularly ever laid me low, in terms of pain or mood, but I’m one of the lucky ones. Other women do experience a negative frame of mind, feel awful, or are consigned, if not to bed, then to the sofa with a hot water bottle pressed against themselves.

The worst symptoms of menstruation, for me, are a kind of….how can I explain it…’hanginess’, a listlessness, a feeling of physical tiredness and mental exhaustion by day’s end, plus a ‘dullness’ I can’t explain. Sometimes that would affect my desire to play SL. Yep, sometimes I just don’t feel like it.

We’re very often very upfront and open in SL about, well, everything! I’ve been in (local chat) situations where avatars will readily open up about all manner of intimate issues. Sometimes, you know these will have never been discussed with their significant other in RL. But despite this, I’ve never once heard an SL avatar say ‘I’m logging out because it’s that time of the month and I’m not in the mood to make my avatar dance, or chat, in SL’. Maybe we should. Maybe it’s time for SL’s male avatars to realise that, for some, that time of the month does affect our mood to play, does affect our desire to even be in a virtual social situation. Sometimes, maybe it should be OK to log in, listen to the music feed and watch others dance without feeling a need to participate.

I note that there’s a group which can indicate that it is that time of the month….


…but I can’t say I’ve ever seen anyone wear that group tag.

It’s something becoming less visible in SL, as if it’s a taboo. In the past, on my travels, I’ve picked up this…


…and this…



…and occasionally a ‘rest room’ would have a dispensing machine that dispensed them (usually free). I’ve not done a definitive sweep of all of SL, obviously, but a quick hop around the grid demonstrated it’s now seemingly nigh on impossible to obtain sanitary products. I tried the Marketplace…

talking tampon

Not any more gross than a talking tummy for a pregnant avatar

…and did find the product above, as well as similar ones to that I’ve picked up in the past (and are photographed above). But in all of SL, there appear to be maybe half a dozen products that reference something that affects the women controlling SL’s female avatars.

It would be interesting if someone was to wear a tampon, as in the photographs at the top of the page, and see how long it took for a male avatar to pick up on, or how they would react to it. I’m guessing the reaction would be similar to that experienced by the Village Voice’s readership twenty tears ago, a recoil of horror. Male avatars happy to treat females as sex objects, but a little less keen to acknowledge biology.


Summer Solstice with Pookes


On Saturday evening I joined a fairly diverse group of people who wished to celebrate this morning’s summer solstice, timed for 4.43am this Sunday morning! I have to say that there was no clear and obvious sunrise, with light beginning to creep into the sky a good hour beforehand.

We stayed overnight as the guests of one of England’s senior druids near Glastonbury in the county of Somerset. Glastonbury, home to one of the UK’s major music festivals is also very much associated with being the capital of England’s new-age community, and attracts all manner of folk with neopagan, Wiccan beliefs and druidry. The image forming in your head may be one of ‘crusties with a dog called Vomit on a string lead’ and while I certainly saw a few there, it’s an inaccurate depiction of the disparate group who assembled on the owner’s farm.



Druids perform a ceremony at Stonehenge

I’m not pagan, Wiccan or a druid, but Druidry is all about harmony with nature, and I was invited along to speak about naturism as part of wider discussion on how we -human beings- should interact with the world and our environment. I’m not an ‘expert’ on naturism (Ella as a naturist historian is probably much better placed to speak on it as a topic than I am) nor am I an expert on ancient belief systems. However I was delighted to accept the kind offer and to pop down to Somerset for the solstice.

I’ve no idea how the summer solstice plays out in your part of the world but in England it’s always newsworthy.

I was there at the invite of the farm’s owner. The gentleman in question part of a mystical old England and the area in which I was in has long been believed to be associated with King Arthur, Glastonbury Tor is assumed to be the site of Avalaon and, indeed Camelot may be in the area too. Please write in if you’re an authority on Arthurian legend. I’m not, so I may have jumbled some of these ‘facts’ about King Arthur up.

In the main, unlike Wicca witches and pagans who perform some ritual nude, most Druids aren’t generally associated with nude ritual (or so I’m led to believe: once again, I’m painting from memory, not having had a notebook with me to scribble down what some of the other speakers were saying). However our host was keen to underline that nudity in ritual enhances the experience, and encouraged all present to go ‘sky clad‘ for our ceremony if we felt the urge. We normally see Druids in their white robes in public ceremony, but I’m told that nudity can be part of Druidic ritual too. The writer Phillip Carr-Gomm certainly writes books which forms an association with Druidry, Wicca and nudity.

Nakedness means freedom, and although dancing on a sun-kissed hillside with shorts on seems pretty similar to dancing with shorts off, there is all the difference in the world. It is as if your clothes take on the weight of your worries and concerns – they come to embody your defences against the world, and if you can feel confident enough and safe enough, then taking them off evokes a powerful sense of liberation, of joy and freedom; and more than that – of innocence and of openness to the world.
Philip Carr-Gomm, ‘The Druid Way’

Each of us were encouraged to lose our clothes and wear a Druid’s white robe instead. A bonfire was lit in a ritualistic manner I didn’t remotely understand, before music (contemporary music, rock music -mostly in the style of, say, Afro-Celt Sound System) began to be played through speakers set up in a copse on the farmer’s land.


A copse, a thicket of trees, similar to the woodland where I spent last night and the early hours of this morning.

After that it was, well, a bit like a rave for a while. There was home-made wine and home-brewed beer to drink (potent things both!). Toilet facilities were no-existent. Just head out into the darkness of the field, hoist up your robe and do what you need too do!!!!

There were about 40 invitees and as I say it was an odd bunch. Some dreadlocked hippy types, some druids, a couple of Wiccan witches and so on, with an age-range from people in their 20s through those of pensionable age. I fell into conversation with a charming and demure woman who looked like a librarian. Well, she actually had been a librarian until retirement, and seated on blankets by the warmth of the fire she revealed she had been a Wiccan since her teens. She then spoke to the rest of us about what it meant, and how it was necessary to be attuned to nature, with each of us who were due to speak then giving short speeches on our own particular interest. By the time a few of us had spoken and fielded questions from others, it was evident that clothing was always optional for our communing with nature. I was asked a question about if I was naturist, would it not be right to be naked right there, right then. I responded that I had no fear, shame or embarrassment of going naked. In fact, near the fire and a bit drunk, the robe I was wearing, ostensibly to ward off the cold, was too much to wear. So off it came, and it seemed to be a cue for several others to disrobe too, including my retired librarian friend.





Not everyone went nude. One chap remained resolutely clothed throughout, although with inhibitions loosened on heady home brew, with the music and with the warmth of the fire, others threw caution to the wind as the night went on. And at dawn, 4.43am this morning, with most of the attendees now naked, we celebrated the sunrise with another ritual I again didn’t understand. After that we trooped down from the copse to the river to bathe naked. It was freezing cold, but it certainly helped shake off the fuzziness -from tiredness and alcohol- in our heads.

It was certainly an interesting experience, the rituals more to do with celebrating the earth (as far as I could tell) than with any form of ‘spells’ or ‘magic’. I headed home, grabbed a proper shower, and then fell exhausted into bed for a few hours.





In the photos below you’ll see I’m wearing ‘druidic costume’. It required some invention to come up with this outfit, and was spotted as a ‘galabya’ at an Arabic sim. A galabya (or galabeya) is a long, loose fitting outfit you’ll be familiar with from Arab lands.


A galabeya/galabya


I found this at The Dreaming Button, a sort of builders’ textures store that has one or two freebie things, including the above, and also a (free) white hijab, which paired together made for a reasonable facsimile of a Druidic outfit. What’s nice about the hijab part -the hood of my outfit- is that it could be stretched and allowed me to wear my hair underneath. As many of us know, hair and hats don’t generally make good SL bedfellows.

henge druid_001b


It was an interesting night, but I’ve come away with more questions than answers about all of what I witnessed and participated in. I know there is a Wiccan community within SL (I couldn’t find any Druids), so what I’d like to do is follow this post up with another, next time with an emphasis on how ‘sky clad’ fits into the whole belief system, and thus keeping within the boundaries of what SLN focuses on. I would have tried to include that in this post but after only a couple of hours sleep around lunchtime, I feel it’s time for another nap! 🙂



Postcards from Spain: Pushing the envelope

ella and sylvia_B001-001b_PES_20150621


I mentioned SL to Sylvia last night and all of a sudden our plans were dashed. She was fascinated by it and wanted to know all about it, so what was initially planned to be a meal in a restaurant turned into us ordering in pizza, opening a bottle of wine (ooh! my head this morning!) and me explaining SL, this blog, everything!

I find that there are two types of people in the world when introduced to SL. Those who immediately love the idea and those who are almost derisive about the concept (while simultaneously reaching for their iPhone to play Candy Crush).

I explained how I’d cast her as an avatar, and the only thing she didn’t really like was how she should be portrayed in SL. She wanted ownership of the avatar. So the avatar I invented some weeks back, Eve Bear, has now been given away to Sylvia and we spent most of the evening tweaking the avatar as to how she wishes to see herself portrayed in SL. I expect we shall see some further changes before we return home.

Before I’d revealed SL to her we’d been out in the car. I’d driven to the nearby town and we explored it a bit. Sylvia managed to spot a jewellery store where they were selling belly chains, so we each bought one. I’ve said before how I love these things, and it seems that Sylvia likes them too.

This morning, feeling delicate, we both woke before sunrise and I made tea, which seemed to help a lot and I said how I loved to go for a walk first thing in the morning, so we determined that we’d maintain my holiday tradition. Usually, when I’m here with my family, I walk alone first thing in the mornings. My routine is that I often have a T-shirt on and flip-flops and I just wander a short distance on the shoreline. Sylvia, being Sylvia, decided we should do things differently this holiday.

‘Naturist means naturist’, she said. So no flip flops, T-shirts or anything else, other than keys to let us back into the apartment.

We tip-toed across the road near our apartment and out onto the beach. The sun was just coming up, and it felt a little chilly to begin with. The naturist beach isn’t strictly defined as to where it starts and stops, but those of us who are regular holidaymakers here sort of know where the official beach ends. But not for Sylvia! When I reached the point where I thought we should turn, Sylvia marched on, so we ended up in uncharted naturist territory for me, pushing the envelope of what is the official naturist area. By now the sun had peeped out of the Mediterranean Sea, it was beginning to feel warmer, and it felt good to be out that early, making the most of the day. We ended up walking the full length of the naturist beach in both directions. Again, I would usually just walk a few hundred metres to the naturist hotel and back.

Just while we’re on the topic of belly chains…Fab Free has an item set out at the moment with free mesh jumpsuits (with a hud to change the colours)


Part of that package is a ‘belt’. By ditching the jumpsuit itself, and just wearing the ‘belt’, you have instant belly chain as modelled by Sylvia (below).

belly chain2_001b


I’ll be back with more postings later today, but should I forget, there won’t be any SLN postings from Spain tomorrow. We’ve signed up to a bus trip to the Alhambra Palace, which sets off early and returns late, so I won’t have the opportunity to blog on Monday. Tuesday is St. Juan’s night, so the beach bars will be offering entertainment and there will be bonfires on the beach, so no posting that night, although I’ll certainly try to post something during the day on Tuesday.