After a frantic week of shoe making, cloak hemming and costume tweaking we were more or less ready for our first whole family participation in a Huscarls camp. This was a paid gig for the group and our job was to come along, look authentic, talk to the public and have fun. I think we managed to meet all those criteria fairly well.
We arrived at about 8:00am after stopping off to pick up firewood at the servo. Helped with the last bits of setting up camp, fortified ourselves with bacon and egg rolls, mini Dutch pancakes, hot chocolates and coffee (yay! for food stalls that started up early) and waited for the fun to begin. We were set up on the far edge of the field well away from most of the heavy traffic areas so we were spared the quagmire that developed further up the field. On one side of us was Uppsala, “we fight because it’s FUN!”, and on the other side was Tony the falconer from Full-Flight Birds of Prey which meant we got plenty of chances to enjoy the gorgeousness of his 3 beautiful birds – a Little Falcon, a Peregrine falcon –
When the birds were being flown we had ring-side seats for the performance, the public were all gathered on the other side of the area in front of our display so we could sit back and watch. A couple of times we had the birds swooping right down low between the tents and right over our heads. Very cool. The eagle wasn’t flown as he’s apparently a little unpredictable but the other two put on a lovely show.
Here we see Adam digging the fire pit on Saturday morning. Note the severe lack of spade, next time we’ll be set though, as one group member spent most of Sunday sitting in front of his tent making a spade using replica tools.
Below is an Anglo-Saxon geteld, otherwise known as the Mouldy Mansion. The rope bed was made by Adam, Caitlin slept on it on Saturday night. The axe stuck in the firewood was left there because when an attempt was made to remove it there was a horrible cracking noise – oops, there goes the haft! Please overlook the authentic pink plastic Barbie travel case and teddy bear with knight’s tabard….
Next we have the Viking A-frame tent which was the primary focus of our display. Replica timber chests, weaponry, tools and bedding were laid out for the public to admire and play with (only under strict supervision mind!). The figure with its back to the camera, huddled up in a brown cloak and wearing a furry hat is Viking David, who was at first very reluctant to get dressed up and into character but ended up having a great time.
Viking Tom was in his element and took great delight in explaining to people how shield walls work in combat and how to make glass beads.
The Viking princess said the best part of the weekend was getting to beat up a couple of boys from her class at school with our collection of rubber weapons. She’s fierce when she gets going!
Soon after lunchtime on Saturday preparations for dinner began, on the menu was a dark ages style beef stew, bread and home brew. Tom was well pleased at being allowed to help by throwing all the food scraps in the fire, small boy + burning stuff = bliss.
I actually never saw the stew until I looked at Adam’s photos today, I’d gone home to look after the dog and cats before it was in the pot, and by the time I got back for dinner it was well and truly dark so I was eating food I couldn’t see. I knew it was safe to dig in though because I was greeted by Tom announcing “Mum, you have to try the stew, it’s AWESOME!!!”
I took David, who was recovering from a cold, home with me to sleep leaving Adam, Tom and Caitlin to camp overnight. We promised to return bright and early the next morning with honey for the porridge.
On Sunday morning Dave was up at the crack of dawn, all kitted up and ready to go. I dragged my aching butt out of bed (standing up all day in shoes with no arch support turned out to be a bad idea) and we headed off. First stop Woolworths. In costume. I was quite disappointed that no-one asked why we were dressed up. The porridge didn’t eventuate, too much like hard work when there was someone BBQing bacon and eggs just down the other end of the field. With another geteld tent, trestle table and benches added to our camp (brought by late arrivals on Saturday) I was able to set up my beadmaking kit and do a lampwork demonstration. The tripod in the foreground of this pic is made of all the really long spears which kept falling over when they were propped against the tents.
Sadly there was no proper archery range set up for the re-enactors to play with but someone had brought along a little portable target which they set up just behind our camp late on Sunday afternoon so I did get to fire off one round with my longbow. We were firing downhill and it was quite difficult to get the range right, I only managed to get 2 out of 14 shots on the target. I really need to get myself along to the archery club sooner rather than later.
And yes, there was a trebuchet. A mini trebuchet. Cute hey?