If it weren't for my knee today I would be loading up my car with all the medieval stuff you can imagine - big canvas tent, canvas stool, coin die, clothes, knives, bowls, belts, pouches, boxes, shoe-making stuff and a token amount of 21C clothing - because this is the weekend of the first Company of Chivalry event of the 2009 season.
I would be stopping off to pick up my friend and tentmate Leggy before heading off across the River Severn into Wales and going to our favourite haunt, Caerphilly Castle.Unlike the general populace we are allowed to drive into the castle, in order to offload all our kit. So I would drive carefully up the path, hazard lights on and mindful of pedestrians, across the drawbridge and through the huge oak doors with the iron latches, parking in the outer bailey. First job would be to put the kettle on while we wait for people to arrive. When the van arrives we would all help unload the huge amount of company equipment from it.
I would unpack the tent and, with the help of a couple of the men, erect it to create our temporary home for the weekend. It's a very old tent, been through several hands, but is still doing sterling (if a little damp) service. We would empty the car into the tent and then try and make sense of the madness.
With the sun still shining, a fire would be lit, the local fish and chip shop will be raided and the alcohol will be fished out of various bags and boxes.
There will be laughter, teasing, and camaraderie, hugs and cuddles. Traditionally on the first event of the year new equipment and clothing is usually held up for general admiration and discussion. I know some of the smelly soldiers have new swords and mail, and there are a few new skills in the group to be debated - with the help of alcohol, of course!
But I am at home with a duff knee, dying material for new dresses, only dreaming of being there........and a bad case of the medieval grumps...
Update: They're all home happy after a dry, sunny and very successful weekend :-)cq