Short version: Another English Civil War re-enactment weekend with the Norfolkes: Basically spent the weekend in a rainy field playing with a 16' stick and had lots of fun doing so.
This one was an English Heritage multi-period Festival of History event at Kelmarsh Hall, not too far from the site of the Battle of Naseby, a major turning point of the Civil War. It thus had lots of guys from various other periods of history too including Romans, Romano-British, Saxons, Vikings, Medieval, Napoleonics, Boer War and both World Wars.
Pretty interesting stuff. Had a fascinating chat with a guy at the Boer Commando display. He mentioned he was South African but, as he was on English-speaking descent, his ancestors would have been on the other side historically (Kate: "Bit like the Waffen SS re-enactors then..."). One of the Norfolkes also mentioned he used to be in a Roman group but was quite scathing about the one present because his group used to fight as well, rather than just drill and parade, and had a proper legion name, 2nd Legion Agusta, as opposed to "The Ermine Street Guard, my arse!" (Kate: "Do they really?").
One slightly irritating thing though was that English Heritage were being a tad anal about people in public areas being totally authentic - didn't want us being seen with any modern clothing or equipment on us, even asked us to eat and drink only in the camping areas. Bad enough but ECW kit doesn't appear to have an awful lot of pockets so a belt and pouch were one of the first things I bought! Now also have gloves, shirt and breeches and have been advised a jacket is probably next most important thing.
Well, that and that sudden feeling of realisation when I noticed the uncomprehending stares from the Norfolkes guys when I asked about the shower facilities...
The social interaction in the camp site was most enjoyable too, much inane conversation, several bottles of mead and port being passed round and so on. Another amusing incident, as we were walking past a tent, we could hear a mother, clearly getting impatient, snapping at a child, "There are no pirates out there!". Rather evilly, Kate immediately loudly shouted "Arrhhh, Jim Lad!". There's probably some terribly traumatised kid out there now...
The battles themselves (recreations of Naseby) were also a lot of fun, even on Saturday when it was, to put it bluntly, pissing it down. The pike clashes were a lot less physical than at West Acre, more display this time. On Sunday, as well as having much more pleasant weather, things finished off with a grand parade of all the groups present, with much saluting of each group by the others. Key learning: that gets tiring when one is doing so with a pike. Yep, arms are all stiff from handling a 16' long weapon all weekend. Fnar fnar.
Interesting thing is the membership secretary has been hinting that assistance will available if I want to start trying musket (ie with sorting out the required shotgun and gunpowder licenses). Of course, no big surprise that she's a musketeer! Also no big surprise, the mutterings about poaching from one of the pike guys... Well, could be fun. Make a change from the M-16, I suspect.
So, had a great time but I now have this terribly dilemma. August Bank Holiday weekend, I have a choice of a major ECW event at a castle in Powderham or going with the Rolling Thunder/Vietnam guys to another multi-period event at Detling. Decisions, decisions... Anyway, staggered back home and first thing I did wasn't unpacking but to start downloading Battlestar Galactica 2x05!
Return envelope has arrived from Orange. I am about to stick that PoS Motorola into it and take it up to the Post Office. I guess I am now one step closer towards the