For this week’s Guest Post Day, I am playing host to the wonderful Becky at Single Mummy who is sharing her amazing experiences of a weekend in Arundel, and who has honoured me by agreeing to host my own piece on Driving on the Continent with Small People in return!
I hope you enjoy her post as much as I did and may find some inspiration from it for future family activities together – as observers or even participants.
Something for the weekend?
What did you get up to over the Bank Holiday weekend? Was it one of the main British hobbies of DIY, shopping or a trip to the beach? Or like me did you do something a bit more unusual?
I spent the weekend camped at Arundel Castle as part of a Medieval gunnery display by the Company of St Barbara. At this event I was accompanied by 14 adults and 6 children (all under the age of 7). Other groups were also on the site demonstrating medieval combat, living history and even a blacksmith.
We all got to spend several nights in our medieval tents, wearing full 15th Century costume and all our food was cooked over an open fire. It’s a lot more comfortable than you might think to sleep in a medieval style tent. As they are canvas they stay cool when it’s hot and are cosier when it’s cold. Most of us sleep on sheepskins – that makes a very snug bed.
Re-enactment is an increasingly popular hobby as people of all ages and from all walks of life like to find an escape from modern life at the weekends. You can find a group from the Iron Ages right the way through to the 1940s.
So why do we do it? For some it’s purely such a fascination with a particular period of history. We’ve read about it and want to know more about how life was like by living that way for short periods of time. Others just relish a chance to fight with weapons from a bygone era such as swords, longbows or guns.
As a family it is fantastic thing to be able to do together. My children have grown up taking part and they love the freedom that comes with outdoors for an entire weekend. They have a lot of space to roam in and love camping and playing with historical toys. From fairly early on they can learn archery and basic combat techniques. As they are around open fires and sharp knives on a regular basis they are a lot safer with them than children that are kept away from these dangerous items. They also learn a lot about the period of history that they are re-enacting and have the confidence to talk to the public about things.
So over this summer check out what is happening near you. There are groups all over the country covering all the eras so something may pique your interest. It’s not a hobby confined to the UK either as people from continental Europe, North America and Australia all take part both at home and abroad. If you like what you see then ask the people taking part how to get involved! I will be at Bodiam Castle and Herstmonceux Castle this August with my family having fun whilst entertaining the paying public.