Jul 11, 2015

Back Into Time

Eloise was if not agog or even quite breathless with anticipation she was at least quite excited about going to the Mediæval Festival up at the Abbey Museum this year.

It's a huge slugfest of historical re-enactment with interesting people of questionable vintage dressing up as questionable people of an interesting vintage.

The car park was brimming with cars but we soon left those behind, walking across a field to a fenced-off corridor which opened out into an area which appropriately enough contained the archetypal time-travel machine, next to which we posed after establishing that the doors were indeed locked.

The festival itself was still a way off so we wended our merry way there, laying out the usual ground rules: 1) be kind to your sort and 2) don't hassle us to buy everything you see.

When we negotiated our way past the ticketing staff and entered the Field of Glory we were of course greeted by a vista of caparisoned tents and marquees and a tree-pocked plain with a castle off to one side and a jousting arena in the distance.

Historical types walked amongst the 'tourists,' modern-day begarbed individuals who, like us, obviously weren't taking things nearly seriously enough.

Rule number 2 was broken almost instantly as flowered headgear was demanded, and as Nicole and Lyra went off to the bogs Eloise and I perused the wares on offer from the Flowered Headgear Cart before settling upon a piece of flowered headgear available for a price than certainly left a fragrance in my wake.

We spent the day meandering around swordplayers, jugglers, gypsies, knights, harlots, merchants, players, archers, damsels, dukes, princesses and pages with Rule 2 flagrantly disregarded and Rule 1 paid only lipservice.

We availed ourselves of coffee and food before queueing for literally an hour to ride on a camel, blissfully unaware that the first queue was just to pay and that there was then another queue to wait for the actual camel ride.

Still it was all taken in reasonably good humour, and as the dromadery was mounted Lyra and Eloise was reasonably delighted as we rode around a circuit for what seemed like literally minutes before returning to our starting point feeling slightly seasick.

Before long catapults, by which of course I mean mangonels were being let off in the castle area. The castle it seemed was actually made of plywood and was merely a facade - for shame - but the siege machinery was still mysteriously unable to breach the walls, necessitating a by-force storming by some shouting and yelling testosterone-pumped historical re-enactors who obviously had the educational value of their frenetic enterprise at the front of their minds.

However this mysteriously failed to hold our attention for long when there was serious wood-turning and textile work to be done, to which Eloise lent her full attention as the afternoon faded to evening. She chatted away as she fiddled around with a man's woody machinery and then fiddled about with a his wife's equipment turning wool into thread and doing some weaving.

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