Sunday, 15 July 2012

Tewkesbury Medieval Festival

Wow, what an excellent day out. For a start it didn't rain, and that's a miracle this summer. We went off to the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival, which stages a re-enactment of one of the battles that happened during the War of the Roses back in about 1471 or thereabouts. The Yorkists fought the Lancastrians and on this occasion the Lancastrians lost, although they won the greater war a few years later.
My family, together with Pal. Pal didn't like the cannons much, but the others did.

Donny and friend.
As well as the re-enactment of the battle, with over 2000 people taking part, all dressed in authentic gear, wielding big weapons, there was a medieval market packed full of traders selling everything from archery equipment to rabbit skins. There were games for the kids to play, juggling equipment, story-telling and a merry-go-round. Eartha made her own hobby-horse and they all got to try out firing a bow and arrow.

Morris, with excellent music, much yelling and clashing of sticks.
Mel plays big chess. This is what they mean when they refer to Grand Masters.
Donny and Saskia discover naughts and crosses.
A knight and his steed.
I had an additional reason for wanting to go. Some time back I'd been roped into becoming a contributor to I got given a voice recorder and it has taken me some time to find my voice. That is, I tried being the presenter, but found the sound of my own voice droning on to be both boring and embarrassing. I didn't want to feel so exposed to the world as I did when it was just my ideas and mind being recorded for posterity, so I started to interview other people. It is much easier to let them do the talking. 

The Lancastrians take aim.

Lining up for battle.

Battle standards.
 Today was fantastic for interviewing people. I got to chat to all sorts of stall-holders and the organisers of the festival, listening to how they created their products and the history behind them. I learnt loads of interesting things - far more than I ever would have done just looking round the stalls. I loved it. 
It's hot in here.

Parley before the battle.
Darn it! Another job I love, for which I don't get paid!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

The Wettest June on Record

It's raining, it's pouring, the old man in snoring.... It's been raining. Every day. Heavily. For months. The last time we had any sun was the end of May for a few days. I am mega fed up of doing Bikeability in the rain. Last week the alpha male I was working with refused to let the kids stand under the group of trees during a downpour so heavy, it appeared on the news that evening. Roads had been flooded, a school had been evacuated, an accident and emergency centre had been temporarily shut, and me and alpha male had been soaked to the skin. I mean totally soaked. I wrung my bra out, for crying out loud. 

I do appreciate alpha male's point of view, that you shouldn't stand under a tree in a thunder storm, but I think that applies to lone trees in fields. It isn't applicable to three trees in a housing estate full of satellite dishes and TV aerials, when the alternative is to stand in the open with a group of wringing wet kids clutching their metal bicycles and screaming after each flash of lightning. Is it me?

All hail Ra.
Anyway, we managed an afternoon of relative dryness for the summer solstice celebration at the Rollrights. The pictures are of the dancers, paying homage to Ra, the Egyptian sun-god. I took the photos on my phone, as my camera had gone off to be repaired. The screen had broken while I was on trek and the insurance had eventually payed out, so I was without camera. My phone takes good pictures, but getting the pictures off the phone and onto the computer is a complicated business. I really missed my camera. I am pleased to announce, it came back all well and better this week, so I feel I can blog again. It's funny how I seem to use pictures I've taken for writing inspiration.

Winged Dancers.
The rest of my family have been off on their travels. I suppose it is only fair, as I had my big trip this spring. Donny and Mel spent a week in Barcelona with their school. They went to see Gaudi's famous buildings and park, the football stadium, the beach, a craft village and a chocolate factory. I think they had a great time, although they came back totally pooped. 

Nick, Saskia and Eartha have gone off to Canada to visit the relatives, courtesy of some financial help from both grandmothers. They have had some stonkingly hot weather and I think the little ones have spent the week in the pool with their cousins. Jealous, much! I'm looking forward to seeing them when they come back in a few days time. It's very quiet here without them... and surprisingly tidy too!