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I think my favourite time in re-enactment is the end of the first day of an event, especially when it is sunny and you have had a good day when everything has gone to plan and both re-enactors and the public have enjoyed themselves.

Then you can look forward to a relaxing evening, maybe have a BBQ, sit round the camp fire and visit the beer tent later on. All lovely with the added prospect of another event day tomorrow.

These photos below were taken at the end of Saturday at the Caldicot show last weekend. Caldicot was my first ever large re-enactment event and that is where I fell in love with doing this.

We are so lucky to be able to do this and be in lovely places full of beauty and history.

The castle is a magical place, especially when the evening sun is shining on it and I was just wandering round taking pictures of people relaxing outside their tents, or in the case of the Battle of the Nations group doing a bit of sword training.

Caldicot 2015

Caldicot 2

Caldicot 3

Caldicot 4

Caldicot 5

Caldicot 6

Caldicot 8

Caldicot 9

Caldicot 10

The view from the top of the tower was brilliant, thanks to all of the groups who camped inside the castle with their living history displays, it really does bring the castle to life.

Caldicot 11

Caldicot 12

I have been helping to organise this event for the last few years and along with Ellie will be organising it again next year, this was our last show for this year and a great way to end the season.

It has been a very variable year in terms of weather, Caldicot being the only show where we have not come home with a wet tent, but still brilliant fun.

Our group, Swords of Mercia, have done more shows for English Heritage than previous years and got good feedback from all of them and hopefully we will get the chance to do those shows again next year.

We have had lots of sitting round campfires, discussing armour and kit, all the new things the boys have bought or want to, and all the things we have made or are going to make.

As usual we have promised to be more organised for next season and make sure that all kit is made well in advance. We shall see if that actually happens!

So I still have a couple of bits of tent to dry, it is raining here at the moment but I am hopefully it will dry up later. Am taking Ted for a walk in a bit and then will be sewing up the wedding jacket :-)

Hope that you have a lovely weekend planned and thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone and hope that you are well, I have had a lovely weekend away at our last event of the season in South Wales, another beautiful place to camp and I will share some pictures of that event later in the week.

We are so very lucky as re-enactors to camp in amazing places and this was the view I had from my tent the weekend before last at Lincoln Cathedral.

Lincoln Bishops' Palace show

Lincoln 3

The cathedral looked amazing lit up at night and the sky was beautiful as well, all very atmospheric and makes you realise what a powerful impact these magnificent buildings would have had in medieval times.

Lincoln 5

Lincoln 2

Lincoln 6

Lincoln 7

Here are some more pictures that I took of the interior of the cathedral.

Lincoln 11

Lincoln 12

Lincoln 13

Lincoln 14

Lincoln 15

This is my favourite because of the light coming through the windows – just beautiful!

Lincoln 16

Bishops’ Palace where we held the event, would have been very impressive as well, now sadly ruined, partly as a result of damage during the Civil War.

There were several Great Halls for entertaining, one of which we used for our camp and the other for our tournament arena. This one below was once used to entertain King Henry 8th and Katherine Howard.

Lincoln 10

Lincoln 4

Lincoln 8

It is brilliant to be able to camp in these places and help bring them to life once more!

I am busy this week with preparation for the new term, not long to go now. This weekend is set aside for making the wedding jacket so wish me luck ;-)

Have a good week ahead and thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone, hope that you all had a really nice Bank Holiday.

We had a lovely time at Lincoln, usual mix of sun and rain and I was drying the medieval tent out on the line until a few hours ago when it started thundering here :-(

This was our last event with the Swords of Mercia group so I need to get the canvas tent really dry before it gets put away.

The Lincoln Bishop’s Palace is unsurprisingly right next door to the magnificent Lincoln Cathedral and we spent quite a lot of time in there and the surrounding area, promoting our event.

Wendy, the partner of one of our knights, Luke, did a photoshoot in the cathedral for myself, Ellie and Luke and I thought that I would devote a post to the brilliant pictures that she took.

Ellie at Lincoln

Ellie in Lincoln Cathedral

Luke at Lincoln

Luke in Lincoln Cathedral

Alison at Lincoln

Alison at Lincoln - lighting candles

Alison at Lincoln - Luke and the Chapter House

Alison at Lincoln - praying red kneeler

Alison at Lincoln - praying

Alison at Lincoln Cathedral

Alison at Lincoln door 2

I absolutely love these photos, she has an amazing eye for what makes a good shot and the effects she has put on really emphasise the beauty of the cathedral.

It is funny as I don’t normally like pictures of myself but these are fantastic and will be printing several of me off to display at home, as well as lovely Ellie who always looks so beautiful in photos.

Will tell you more about our weekend in the next post as there was another event in Lincoln at the time that we all enjoyed.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Hello everyone and welcome to Yorkshire where I am pleased to tell you that time travel has indeed become possible!

We have whizzed through what was left of summer and have gone straight to November where the swideways misty rain is in full force. Hopefully the time travel will work the other way and we might get back to those few days in June that were sunny at some point.

We had a good weekend at Peveril Castle , we learnt from experience last year that taking all of your camping kit up the hill to the castle along with all the armour and weapons the boys feel they need, (and spares just in case), leads to some hot and bothered knights and ladies.

You can see from this picture just how high it is – a stunning location to do a show in.

Peveril castle

So we booked a campsite to stay at in the valley and so had a very pleasant two nights with food and drinks at the local hostelry and showers – a real luxury as we are normally on a quick freshen up with a bowl of water and a babywipe!

Saturday was perfect weather, the boys had set up on Friday night so we had a very lovely morning sat in the shade at the bottom of the castle doing our head dress talks then took a slow walk up for the afternoon tournament.

The view was spectacular as these pictures show – I think this is one of my all time favourite re-enactment pictures, really stunning!

Peveril - helms - small

The ladies looked beautiful as always, this is Ellie and Sadie, one of our newest members. The pictures were taken by one of the staff member’s mother who very kindly posted them on Facebook.

Peveril - ladies 2-small

Peveril - ladies 1-small

We also had a friend with us doing some posed shots, here we all are in the lovely Saturday sunshine!

Peveril - group - small

And I love this one of Ellie, Sadie and I – that backdrop is stunning, we are so very lucky being able to go to such lovely places.

Peveril - ladies and nun -small

Saturday night we discussed plans for Sunday in the pub, the forecast was bad so we spent the first hour of Sunday taking all of the equipment down from the castle in relays, in the brilliant sunshine which made us wonder if the rain would be arriving but it did by midday :-(

The afternoon was spent with all of us huddled under the porch at the back of the visitor centre trying not to leap on the brave people that came out that day and get them to try on head dresses and do some sword training.

It was a pity that we could not have done the full show but this is England and we have had a particularly rainy season this year, all of the events have been a bit wet at some point and I am still drying out tents from a couple of weeks ago as we have not had the sun during the week either.

Much as I love re-enactment I am very happy to have the next few weekends at home so can concentrate on some of the stuff for Sarah’s stall at Yarndale, the linen and Liberty pincushions are looking really cute so I am now working on matching needlebooks. Will post some pictures of finished items at the weekend.

Thanks very much for visiting and see you soon.

Sharon and I really enjoyed our recent trip to Spain, it was between 35 and 40 degrees while we were there, a little bit different to Yorkshire, so we did a lot of staying in the shade.

We did a couple of trips to Cartagena and to Elche, both cities I have been to before but there is always something new to see including the restored Roman amphitheatre and these beautiful Art Deco buildings in the side streets of Cartagena.

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 1

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 2

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 3

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 4

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 5

I went on my first ever Spanish train!

Spain July 2015 Train

Spain July 2015 Market

From the train I could see this lovely Art Deco market hall in one of the little towns that we passed, would love to go back and take some close up shots one day.

We also went on a catamaran trip around the bay, the sea was so gorgeously turquoise.

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 6

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 7

Spain July 2015 Cartgena 8

In Elche we found a new café with a lovely vertical garden and misters spraying out cool water from under the umbrellas – much appreciated!

Spain July 2015 Elche cafe

Spain July 2015 Elche apartment

Spain July 2015 Elche bench tiles

Spain July 2015 Elche cathedral 1

Spain July 2015 Elche cathedral 2

Spain July 2015 Elche door

Spain July 2015 Elche park bench

Spain July 2015 Elche roof

Spain July 2015 Elche square

Spain July 2015 Elche tiles

Spain July 2015 Elche window

One of the clothes shops in Elche, Zara, is built inside the old theatre and they have kept the stage and ceiling décor.

Spain July 2015 Elche Zara 1

Spain July 2015 Elche Zara 2

Sharon was very busy knitting the sample for Sarah, she knitted on the terrace, the beach, bus coach and train.

Spain  July 2015 Sharon knitting

We had lots of gorgeous tapas, tried a few new places out including a traditional bodega in the village where you can buy your wine and sherry on tap, plastic bottles supplied, for a couple of Euros a litre. I do love that country!

Spain July 2015

Sadly am not going back again until Jan as mu Mum is over in October for a family wedding and I am hopefully going to China for work later in October so will have to wait a while for more cheap wine ;-)

We are away this coming weekend at Peveril Castle, (the one with the very steep climb), for a show with our group. this time we have booked camping at a campsite in a nearby village to save having to take everything up the hill!

Looking forward to some lovely views and hoping for very good weather as it is a little exposed!

Take care, have a good weekend whatever you are doing and thanks for visiting.

We have just had a fantastic weekend at Tewkesbury Medieval Festival, camped not only with our group but also with friends from the Falchion re-enactment group so have had a great time with lovely boys to keep us company and make us laugh.

There was also some splendid new kit to show off. Paul had painted the most detailed surcoat for his 15th century armour, here he is in camp and walking onto battle with myself and James who were watercarrying.

Tewks - Paul's surcoat

Tewks 2015 - battle walk on

Jamie has recently taken delivery of a new set of armour and a brigandine from Armour Services Historical, this is so beautiful and I love the rivet patterns on the brig.

Tewks - new kit

Tewks - Jamie new armour 2

Tewks - Jamie new armour 3

Tewks - Jamie new armour 4

I was able to deliver the brais and shirts I had been making to their new owners and have lots of other people asking for kit so have a busy few months planned.

However I have got a poorly wrist at the moment, think it is carpal tunnel problems so am on light duties only and cannot knit at all :-(

I am going to be working on the quilted ornaments this weekend as that does not involve much wrist movement and hopefully with a bit of rest and some wearing of my support splint should be back to normal soon!

Sharon and I had a lovely time in Spain, it was very hot – up to 40 degrees – so we spent most of our time in the shade but she got lots of sample knitting done for Sarah and really enjoyed the visits we did, will post some pictures this weekend.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

I do love history – you may have guessed if you have been reading this blog for any length of time so I have had a wonderful weekend and little holiday being part of a re-enactment event and then spending three days visiting National Trust properties.

The event was in Templecombe in Somerset, a long trip down for us so we took advantage of being in a part of the country we haven’t spent much time in.

We always have living history encampments at shows and these pictures are of the lovely tents that were on display there this weekend.


Templecombe 2

Templecombe 6

There was also a new addition to the site, this beer barn has been built by the site owners and volunteers and the money for it has been raised by the re-enactors who use it, through auctions last year and on the Saturday night of the event this year and by an online donation appeal.

Templecombe 3

Templecombe 4

I pledged a custom – made shirt for the auction so am going to be making that this weekend for the re-enactor that won it.

It is a beautiful building and has been made with such attention to detail. The piece over the bar was carved by the owner of the site.

Templecombe 5

Driving around after the event we saw so many cute little villages as well as the amazing Trust properties. Lots of pictures of those to follow once I sort them out!

There was great excitement at one of the properties, Barrington Court, while we were on our way to visit the second-hand bookshop that we always love at these places, (yes I bought more books!), we discovered a patchwork shop in the artisan workshops. They have a website as well at Barrington Patchworks.

Templecombe 9 - Barrington Patchwork

Barrington patchwork

Templecombe 8 - Barrington patchwork

It had an amazing array of fabric but I was very restrained, Ellie persuaded me to buy this very cute print featuring a cross stitch alphabet motif which I thought would be good for the pincushions I will be making for craft fairs later in the year.

sampler fabric

sampler fabric

Now back to work for two days until the weekend, got lots of kit to make before the next event in 8 days time!

Thanks as always for visiting.

We had a great time at Ashby de la Zouche and amazingly apart from light drizzle on Sunday it didn’t rain! This was Sunday evening before we sat round the campfire – just beautiful.

Ashby May 2015

Ashby May 2015 Castle in sun 2

Ashby May 2015 Castle in sun 3

Jamie’s new surcoat was finished just in time on Friday – it took a lot longer than expected because of the lining which I had to do 3 times before I got it right. At least I have learnt from the experience and will not attempt to machine sew one in next time as it is too bulky.

I have had lots of compliments on it and a couple of requests for others so will be making more. I am going to update my, ‘Making a surcoat page’, when I get chance as I know that always gets lots of visitors.

I was especially pleased that not only did the individual squares match up the front and back did as well and the part squares at either side.

Ashby May 2015 Jamie 2

Ashby May 2015 Jamie 3

Ashby May 2015 Jamie 4

The boys did some action shots for me as well.

Ashby May 2015 Luke and Jamie 1

Ashby May 2015 Luke and Jamie 2

Ashby May 2015 Luke and Jamie 3

It never ceases to amaze me the attention to detail that the boys in our medieval group pay to their kit, even though they know it will get battered and worn they spend so much effort making it look lovely, they are real works of art.

Here are some more pictures of Luke with his new brigandine or coat of plates, behind the leather are metal plates for protection.

Ashby May 2015 Luke brig detail 1

Ashby May 2015 Luke detail 3

Ashby May 2015 Luke brig detail 2

Ashby May 2015 Luke brig detail 3

I love the decorated rivets and am going to try to get some of these for a belt for Ellen.

Ashby May 2015 Luke detail 1

Ashby May 2015 Luke detail 2

Ashby May 2015 Luke 1

Ashby May 2015 Luke with sword

Here is Shane’s beautiful arm armour and our King – Edward the second (or Clive in real life) whose costumes are always amazing, he has a new crowned helmet for this season which is very impressive.

Ashby May 2015 Shane detail

Ashby May 2015 King 1

Ashby May 2015 King detail 1

Ashby May 2015 King detail 2

Ashby May 2015 King detail 3

This week’s task is to make a shirt before the event next weekend – should be a simple job and at least I do have a very long car journey to finish the hand stitching!

Have fun and see you all again soon, thanks for visiting.

Well I hope that you all had a lovely weekend as we had an excellent time at our first show of the year at Bolsover Castle. The sun shone almost all the time apart from a very heaver shower on Saturday, luckily just as our slot finished, which allowed us to test the new waterproofing on the awning :-)

We were there doing a St George’s event with a number of other groups including the wonderful Atkinson’s Action Horses who we have seen before a couple of year’s ago doing their dressage display at Bolsover.

William Cavendish who built the castle was a very keen horseman and the riding stables have been restored and are used for a display of 17th century horsemanship by the group.

This weekend the group were displaying combat training and stunt riding and there were some brilliant flips and rides alongside the horse either horizontal or vertical while still holding on and the incredible riding of two horses at once.

They do stunt work for lots of TV shows and films and we saw the horse that has been used in Poldark which was very exciting! Go and have a look at their web site to see pictures of the stunts.

As well as all that there was us with the usual weapons and armour talks, head dress talks  and combat , this time with a difference as it was with dragons!

Sadly not Game of Thones standards but two of our members Jamie and Trevor did a brilliant job dressing in dragon costumes to thrill the crowd.

It was also an outing for the new costume we have been working on. I can’t take credit for Jamie’s new outfit apart from the material which I gave him as the gown was made by Jackie from Cloaked and Daggered   and he looks very lovely in it. Here he is on the left of this picture with Luke.

Bolsover St George

Bolsover St Gerge 2

And here are James, Trevor and Richard – looking not quite so fine and dandy but very happy in their peasants’ outfits.

Bolsover St Gerge 3

Ellie I can take some credit for, she has had this gown and coat for a number of years, we bought it from a friend who had it made by the genius that is Kat from Kats Hats. Ellie had outgrown the gown so I altered it, removing two of the coat panels to make new sleeves.

Bolsover St George - Ellie

Bolsover St Gerge 5

Bolsover St Gerge 6

Bolsover St Gerge 7
I am planning to make a matching torque head dress similar to the black one that she is wearing in the picture which was one of my earliest makes.

She had many compliments on the outfit and had her picture taken with lots of children who wanted to be with the ‘princess’! It is lovely to wear being made of silk velvet which is a very fine material and looks beautiful on her.

So back to reality this week with the start of teaching term and a few weekends at home to make more kit!
Take care and thanks as always for visiting.

As re-enactors we spend a lot of time trying to be as authentic as we can when it comes to costume, most of it we make ourselves and so we visit churches to see effigies, look at manuscripts and illustrated bibles to try and get clues about things.

The best source is always a portrait but sadly those are very rare for the early 1300s which is the era we do most of the time.

The Tudor period is luckily a different situation as it was very fashionable to have your portrait painted so there are lots of lovely examples and Mum and I really enjoyed the paintings saw at Frederiksborg Castle.

Although I don’t make Tudor costume myself my lovely friend Kat does and Ellie has her costumed volunteers at Hardwick Hall so I still like to look at these and take pictures for them to use.

One day when I have more time I would love to re-enact this period if only for the blackwork I can wear so all of this research will come in useful.

Just look at these wonderful examples of beaded headwear, lace and jewellery. All of these ladies lived from the mid 1500s to mid 1600s and are members or relatives of the Danish Royal family at that time.

Copenhagen Costume

Copenhagen Costume 11

Copenhagen Costume 12

Copenhagen Costume 13

Copenhagen Costume 14

Copenhagen Costume 15

Copenhagen Costume 16

Copenhagen Costume 17

Copenhagen Costume 18

What really struck me was just how similar the fashions were to our Tudor and Elizabethan fashions of the time, I had not expected there to be so much similarity across Europe in dress.

We were also very impressed with the way that costume had been used in the interpretation for the children. The whole of the old wine cellar was devoted to an exhibition of the life of Christian 4th of Denmark who was born in 1577 at Frederiksborg Castle.

The best thing about the exhibition was that portraits of the young prince and his family had been used to recreate costume that children could try on.

They were elaborate and very authentic reproductions from the front with splits and ties at the back which would be easy to try on but also in a range of sizes so every child could try on something.

There were boys’ as well as girls’ costume, plus mini armour and a photo area with drapes to make it look like a portrait background.

Copenhagen Costume

Copenhagen Costume 2

Copenhagen Costume 3

Copenhagen Costume 4

Copenhagen Costume 5

Copenhagen Costume 6

Copenhagen Costume 7

This one was our favourite – the portrait at the back shows the King’s family and there are four dresses to try on with head dresses as there were three daughters in the portrait.

This is a photo of the painting from the National Museum of Denmark’s website.

Christian's family

Copenhagen Costume 8

Genius idea and there were lots of children enjoying the displays which also included food displays and an area where they could practise writing with a quill pen and colour pictures of costume.

I showed all of this to Ellie as inspiration for her interpretation as although I have seen costume in properties I have visited in the UK nothing has been done on this scale.

We have our first re-enactment event of the season this weekend at Bolsover Castle in Derbyshire  so if you are in the area please come and say hello.

There is plenty to see and do and there may well be dragons involved at some point as the theme for the weekend is the celebration of St George’s Day. It has been beautiful weather here this week so we hope it will continue for the weekend :-)

Have a good weekend whatever you do and thanks for visiting.

November 2015
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