We left home rather later than we had intended for our trip to Beorgwic, the annual event hosted by the Ancient Arts Fellowship at the Danelaw property in the Southern Highlands. As we drove south I tweeted my fear that we would be putting the tent up in the rain, what I didn’t quite anticipate was that it would also be be dark. Pitch black dark. We put the tent up in the rain and freezing cold by torchlight. I am so very glad that putting up a geteld is incredibly quick. (Many thanks to Talisien of Blue Draco for making us such a beautiful tent – it was perfect!)
You’d think that with a start like that I’d have been feeling utterly miserable but the truth is I was having fun. I scare myself sometimes. Unfortunately going to bed very cold with wet hair and wearing my furry hat left me with an ear infection that got slowly worse over the course of the weekend, the agony peaked on the drive home so it didn’t really spoil my weekend but it did leave me feeling not my best. (Turned out in the end to be a combination of external and middle ear infection, I’ve had that once before and I suspected it was heading that way. That part not so much fun.)
The kids were great dealing with the wet and cold and went to bed without any complaints being very careful not to let their sleeping bags soak up the puddles on the ground under their airbeds (does this sound like fun yet?). I was so very glad we’d decided to grab dinner of sorts when we’d stopped for petrol about 90 minutes before arriving at the camp.
We woke to drizzle and mist 1000 years in the past. It took Adam a very long time to get the fire going so we had cold breakfast – bread, cheese and fruit – before heading off to do crafting workshops. Adam did blacksmithing and made a cloak broach and I learned how to do Viking wire-weaving (more on that in a later post). Then we had porridge for lunch.
Our fireplace became a favoured gathering place during the day for many of the camp’s kids who had a great time alternately poking at the fire with sticks and at each other with rubber weapons. It was…noisy, but at least our fire didn’t go out!
Dinner for the kids was served early in the tavern, a huge improvement on last year when the kids ate at the same time as everyone else, whinged about the food and generally made dinner time rather stressful.
Dinner for the rest of us on Saturday and Sunday nights consisted of a four course feast of deliciousness provided by our hosts. Saturday was meatballs in a creamy sauce, then red wine beef and honey roasted vegetables followed by lamb cider stew and topped off with saffron custard and ginger biscuits. Sunday was lombard chicken pasties, then pork and honey roasted veg, lamb stew again and pears poached in red wine with cream for dessert. Top that off with a drinking horn or two full of beer and mead and all is well with the world!
I got a little bit of tablet weaving done, loosed a few arrows at some targets and generally hung around talking to people and not caring what the kids were up to. That particular approach came a little unstuck when Caitlin almost managed to get herself lost in the bush en route back from the Danelaw fort 700m up the road – she was set on the right path by others who were heading to the fort through the bush and came hurtling down the path to the village with tears streaming down her cheeks having given herself a huge fright and a useful lesson in the do not separate from your companions rule. The kids had all gone up to the fort together via the road and then some had headed off into the bush while the others had gone back via the road and then somehow Caitlin had ended up ahead of the bush bashing contingent who had then retraced their steps leaving her on her own. Or something, I never did quite work it out.
The archery range
The village green
The tavern, complete with beer garden out the back
View from our tent looking towards the village
When it came to pack up time on Monday the kids did not want to leave, I on the other hand was well and truly ready for a shower and clean dry clothes, it seems a long weekend is about my limit for living in the dark ages! We capped the weekend off by packing the tent away in the rain and crossing our fingers that we wouldn’t get bogged on the way out of the forest and then drove home through a hail storm. The tent is currently up in our backyard slowly drying out and I’m already looking forward to next year.