Thursday, July 16, 2015

Stepping Back in Time (in which I am inspired to Geekdom) at the Abbey Medieval Festival


Of course my Extravaganza would run off with the gypsies in a heartbeat...

Last weekend we went to the Abbey Medieval Festival and I was inspired to new heights in geekdom. My beloved kinfolk will be suffering for some time to come. 

Wandering from place to place, open-mouthed at the beautiful, carefully researched, costumes, eavesdropping on conversations "of course I had the wool sent over from Northumbria and then spun it using..." witnessing viking war training, wolfhound not-so-training (the Extravaganza was ecstatic at getting to pat the dogs) I was entranced. I went green-faced with covetousness over sumptuous fur trimmed cloaks and beeswax candles, while the kids admired flower bands, wooden swords and cross bows. 

I was most taken with all the dioramas from the times - the tents set up 'in time', often with weaving, cooking or black-smithing displays. 

And it got me thinking... my next book-to-be worked-on is set partly in Iron Age Ireland, and in order to ensure my details are right I really should try some home-re-enactments. I've been looking online for my correct 'working costume' (I'm thinking a nettle dress over a pale pink - madder dye - linen tunic, although a blue-green tweedy overdress over a nettle tunic would also work..) and next week I'm putting my family on an Iron Age Diet... 

My sis-in-law asked me how an Iron Age diet differs from the paeleolithic diet to which I can happily answer - in all the best ways. Wheat, barley and oat were staples, while the heavily cattle-centric society ensured lashings of cream, butter, yoghurts  and cheese. The high dependence on smoking and salting for winter food (and the ease of smoking meats in the perpetually smoky houses) also means that bacon and eggs are a real possibility for breakfast. Of course... I'm going to have to replace all my sugar with honey... and I'm not quite sure how that's going to work. And so many fruits and veggies just weren't available, it's taking me an age to work out which ones we can have and which ones we can't... 

At least I can rest assured that salmon, hazelnuts and porridge are definitely on the agenda. (Meal one - ale stew, meal two - pear-cider roasted lamb...I am suspicioning a fair bit of meat and alcohol may be involved... ) 










Wolfhound training... reminded me of a certain puppy... This wolfhound was supposed to be on the other side of the rope, but decided he'd prefer to be in the audience... fortuitously right next to the Extravaganza...



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