salvianus: (Default)
Comitatus Dateline 680's
Back to Jarrow. The Weather forecast was awful: no need to pack my straw hat, then. H came with me this time, remaining in civvies, but sleeping in the tent. We were able to put up an extra tent to add to the look of the tented village and it made a very convenient extra store house. I imagine we'll completely fill up the 13' tent I'm hoping to pick up in July.

As soon as I'd struggled into my last minute, unhemmed linen, wyningas it was of to the River Don for some sand & water play. I wasn't sure about having my first go in a Coracle, but Demetrios kindly lent me a reassuring life jacket and within minutes I was confidently splashing myself, spinning in circles and drifting downstream.

Given the chance to crew a Regia faering up the Don, I didn't hesitate. We merrily thrashed our way up to the Tyne, shipping water all the way and wrestling with rather notional rope rowlocks and found ourselves beneath the towering bows of the transport ship appropriately named City of Rome. Fortunately stationary. Turning across the slight waves seemed to threaten our few inches of freeboard & apparently Demetrios wanted his lifejacket back. I simply didn't hear him.

Our return was a lot faster with the tide & we nearly got a rhythm going. Back at the farm, I put out my humble display - an assortment of supposed trade items; tools, bowls, some tablet weave & spare leather - and we headed off for our scheduled arena display, 'Death & Fashion', were Victor lent me a rather nice spangenhelm with a sporty horsehair crest.

Missiles in the afternoon, a first outing for my padded javelins & Caius kindly let me shoot a few quivers - I just have to get a bow. Hanging a cabbage in front of the targets was inspired - the punters bayed whenever it was spitted. More lost arrow-hunting: must bring metal detector to see if it helps!

Trangia cooking was a tranquil way to unwind. The scary cows with the big horns got out & looked scary. I thought they were supposed to be vegetarian? Fuddle in the hall, with my shoes gently steaming away the river water, the farm cat Crighton (or is it Kryten?) getting pampered by Izabella and Caius holding forth in fine form.

Sunday came with glorious morning sunshine. Forget forecasts: Always take sunhat & raingear. A quick turn round the Museum, some more missile practice & archery, courtesy of Demetrios and a look at Izabela's flat-shooting longbow. Tom & Harry enjoyed being loud pirates in the coracle. Ellie walked about in the sunshine in her sunhat like some idyllic painting.

Unfortunately it was very wet putting tents away. Gambesons may not be quite waterproof, but they seem to keep you warm :-)
salvianus: (Default)
Comitatus, 627 AD, early Saxon.

Catherine kindly loaned me a canvas tent which really made for an authentic feel, as well as great convenience. I covered my modern gear inside with dust sheets & created my first re-enactor's picket fence with sticks and jute rope. It was quite a drive to get to Jarrow before going public at 10 am on Saturday - I'll have to look at Friday night journeys.

It's a great, great venue (see pics) - reconstructed farm, extensive museum and great hall with grubenhouser. The public was light, giving me a chance to work out all sorts of practical camping things & how to pin a cloak! I made friends with the farm cat (a complete tart), Victor lost his new bone headed bolt in the long grass & showed me how a staff sling worked. We practised with spear & javelins & I got some tips on dark age swordsmanship. The evening in the great hall was outstanding - firelight, braziers & candles, shields on the walls and the crack. On my way off to my futon (well, a pallet felt more authentic than a foam mat) I remembered a tip from Victor & walked up to the celtic cross monument that watched over this little artificial pocket of yesterday. The lights of the container docks of the Tyne before you and thatched roofs & woodsmoke behind. Unbelievable.

I slept in, sleeping off some overexcitment & conveniently missed the tidy up of the great hall. Sunday saw Fortunatus' great marching tent experiment with various configurations of a portable piece of canvas supported by standard patrol weapons, spiculum, veruta and shields. It was quiet enough for me to browse in the museum - although that meant I missed Victor's coracle voyage on the Tyne! I whittled the spoon blank Paulus had given me to look busy when the odd punters came by & envied folk's straw hats deeply - such a beautiful day. It seemed bizarre to go in to start the new school year the next day.


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February 2011



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