Back in the day

At the weekend we were invited by a friend to a local event. It wasn’t clear exactly what the purpose of the event was, but it had a distinctly Napoleonic flavour. The venue was a country house with an attached riding school, where small children in large helmets clutched at the saddles of short fat ponies.

When we arrived there was an evil icy wind blowing and I envied the soldiers their warm uniforms. Then came a shower of exceedingly cold rain, but luckily it was ousted fairly quickly by warm sunshine. It really was a delightful low-key event, old-fashioned and uncommercial, tucked away in a tiny hamlet that you wouldn’t find if you hadn’t expressly been looking for it. There was, naturally, a small tent dispensing red wine in plastic glasses, and some ladies selling biscuits made to an 18th century recipe, while two whole pigs with silver foil folded over their ears were turning on spits over open fires for a feast later in the evening.

There was much marching and drum beating, and a demonstration of decapitation by sabre. The ‘heads’ were plastic bags stuffed with straw, mounted on wooden posts, and the sabres were wielded by galloping horsemen. They were accompanied by a young lad on a pony, and although he had neither a uniform nor a sabre, he proudly galloped around the field to great applause and with a huge smile on his face.

I didn’t see one person with a mobile phone; neither were there any cans of fizzy drinks, and no disco, raffle tickets or fast food. What a pleasant, dreamy afternoon watching families and friends strolling around laughing and chatting. It felt very much like being back in the 1950s.

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12 thoughts on “Back in the day

  1. That sounds-and looks-such fun.
    Nothing like an afternoon of decapitation accompanied by wine and biscuits.
    Super photographs too…… I was reminded of the film The Duellists, which this accursed tablet’s spelling device turned into The Dwellings…

  2. The straw-filled plastic bags were poor substitutes for people whose heads I would be happy to have removed from their necks, but it was fun and enjoyed equally by spectators and participants.

    Those presumptuous spelling ‘corrections’ are SO annoying.

  3. That looks like real fun … the sabre thing has me in mind of that wonderfully erotic scene in Far from The Madding Crowd (the Julie Christie version) when the Terence Stamp as Troy showed off his horsemanship (sans horse) and swordsmanship to Bathsheba ending by slicing the ribbon on her boddice with is sabre …. how I loved it!

  4. Looks like some serious re-enacting going on there. They all look the part beautifully. My brother is into American Civil War re-enacting and has a lovely time doing the battles and firing his musket.

    There’s a mega re-enactment bonanza in August where groups from down the ages get together and fight (separately) in front of a bigger audience at Detling, Kent. Very enjoyable it is.

  5. They obviously enjoyed themselves so much, and even though it was such a small event – there weren’t more than 60 or 70 people there, and it was only advertised by word of mouth, they had put an enormous effort and enthusiasm into the whole thing just for their own pleasure.

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