Sunday, 9 November 2008

Training Day

We bunked off church today to go to Chepstow Castle and a training day with the Freemen. I actually had a go at sword fighting which was quite exciting although I am prettybad at it. I keep on watching the blades which is a very bad habit to get into, but they are surprisingly mesmerising. Kerry was a very patient teacher even though I kept on blocking incorrectly - I was annoyed with myself about that. I found out that although swords are pretty awkward and heavy, they really are quite musical, in that they make a very pleasant sound. Weird eh?

I also found out that archery is more like golf than one might first imagine - all to do with shoulders and feet lining up in the right direction. Drawing the bow so that there was enough power in the string for the arrow to actually hit the target was pretty much beyond me. The bow was a 40lb draw if that means anything to anybody, it doesn't to me. I suppose it means that 40lb of pressure is needed to pull the string to its optimum stretch. It was very satisfactory when I got a red though - I can see the appeal and I would not be surprised if I got a little further into archery, only with a lighter bow!

There was pottage for tea and chocolate mini-rolls, the latter not very authentic but I needed chocolate by that time (and I am certain that if medieval folk had had chocolate they would have been eating it in barrel loads.)

On the way home, V and I were chatting about what we enjoyed best in the day and for me it was hearing the song of swords and the twang of a bowstring in a place that once rang to it. Castles always give me the shivers - in the nicest way - history shimmering all through the place, soaked into the stones: the way a step has eroded over the millenia under generations of passing feet; lives, stories, passions and sorrows lived out and suffered over now long since gone and unremembered by any but there none the less. I looked out from one of the castle windows and saw the broad sweep of the Severn River slinking past the castle walls and felt the breath of the past on me. Shiversome is what I call it.

My hands are aching from holding that sword. No sewing for me tomorrow I think. I may well dig out some sock yarn and work up some slippers for winter. Nothing like the feel of cashmere to sooth tired hands.
Have a warm and comfortable day won't you.


Kate quilts... said...

We don't have the history here for reenactment(?), though I think there are small scale clubs around. How fun to find new things to interest you.

Sa said...

there was me thinking you were all ill with flu! lol!! Many away from church last night only about 25 of us. Am off to London Thursday yay

Anonymous said...

Oh What a Knight!

There were three medieval kingdoms on the shores of a lake.
There was an island in the middle of the lake, which the
kingdoms had been fighting over for years. Finally, the three
kings decided that they would send their knights out to do
battle, and the winner would take the island.

The night before the battle, the knights and their squires
pitched camp and readied themselves for the fight. The first
kingdom had 12 knights, and each knight had five squires, all of
whom were busily polishing armor, brushing horses, and cooking

The second kingdom had 20 knights, and each knight had 10
squires. Everyone at that camp was also busy preparing for

At the camp of the third kingdom, there was only one
knight, with his squire. This squire took a large pot and hung
it from a looped rope in a tall tree. He busied himself
preparing the meal, while the knight polished his own armor.

When the hour of the battle came, the three kingdoms sent their
squires out to fight (this was too trivial a matter for the
knights to join in). The battle raged, and when the dust
cleared, the only person left was the lone squire from the third
kingdom, having defeated the squires from the other two kingdoms,
thus proving that the squire of the high pot and noose is equal
to the sum of the squires of the other two sides.
I know i know it's bad .

Lorraine said...

Sian- Bunking off church (wags finger)

Actually, it looks like alot of fun, and I would be dressing up right along with you.

Deborah Godin said...

I watched a movie last night, "King Arthur" starring Clive Owen (pant pant woof!) and Keira Knightly. It was listed as 2004, but I don't recall ever hearing of it before. They took a lot of liberties with the story, at least the story as many of us are familiar with it, but in a number of ways I thought it was probably more true to the times. Anyway, lots of hacking and thwacking (but not too much gratuitous gore) and some other interesting battle tricks. And the wardrobe and makeup crew must have had a lot of fun. It was pretty enjoyable to watch, really. The singing blades were really something - just on TV! I can't imagine them in person, must really be electrifying! I can see how you could get so intrigued with the pagentry.

Technodoll said...

Mmm warm feetsies in the wintertime is what life is all about :-)

Swords are indeed heavy, I hear you. I can't imagine how strong our ancestors had to be to wield those in a fight, laden down with armour, straddling a horse... no wonder they ate so much stew!

Kati said...

Awwww, I'm seriously jealous of all your reinactment activities. That's the sucky thing about living in America (esp. Alaska), there aren't the real historical (not for European descendents, anyway) opportunities.

And, a 40 lb draw is pretty heavy for a woman, from what I gather. Start with a lighter bow and work your way up. You couldn't be expected to start that heavy, but it may be that you could progress to that strong.

Nan and =^..^= said...

You paint such a wonderful impression of your experience with words!

When you mentioned golf and archery it brought back memories of my college days (many years ago!). We had to take a certain amount of physical ed so I chose archery and golf and was terrible at both! I lived in the oldest dorm on campus and the archery targets happened to be in the attic of my dorm. It was convenient but unfortunately most of my arrows ended up in the rafters or behind the targets. Paint brushes were more my cup of tea!

Pippa said...

What fun you had! Sword-fighting AND archery! I love castles too. Although, you're so much more poetic than I am in your descriptions. Ooo I want to visit a castle now!

Nicole said...

Whee! Looks like so much fun!