Monday, 7 June 2010

Suffolks at the Colchester Oyster Fayre

Last weekend was one of our favourite events of the year, the Colchester Oyster Fayre. Set in the Lower Castle Park in the middle of Colchester, Essex. This is one of the largest medieval fairs in the country and in all a very relaxed experience.

This year a small group of my medieval household decided not to join the rest of the MSS at the bash at the other end of the A12, at South Weald, instead we took our encampent to the Oyster Fayre as a favour to the organiser Ted (A long time friend from Kentwell Hall) We had a great pitch with plenty of space. As it was the half term holidays we were able to get there early and for once get set up with plenty of time to spare.

This event had other groups laying on scheduled displays, some of which were, questionable in authenticity, but entertaining nonetheless. So we were able just to do our thing. Saturday was damn hot, too hot for donning combat kit so we just went about our usual camp life. Bess (my goodwife) spent all day felting and drew huge crowds. It never ceases to amaze me that so many people are fascinated by the felting process. Lorna dyed (that's changed the colour of wool not expired at regular intervals, Lord Francis cooked and I wrote and talked medieval toss to all and any who showed an interest.

I had a great discussion with a young man who is in the cavalry and recently returned from Afghanistan, he was fascinated (as were his wife and two small children most of the time)by the weaponry, armour and the logistics of medieval warfare. He said to me he had respect for what we were doing! Blimey this was a guy who spent several months with a hidden enemy taking potshots at him and he respected us. I just get to interpret history and talk about what it must have been like wearing all this gear and having arrows raining down, and this guy, several years my junior, had really been there, made me feel quite humble.

So apart from the Living History what else made it a good weekend? Meeting loads of friends, most getting geared up for Kentwell; Some good medieval shopping. Great company around campfires in the evening; James from Fairbow and his late night fire poi; Having the opportunity to fight with Bendy,Francis and Dangerous Pete; People watching; there are loads of goths in Colchester, most amusing these days; A great German guy selling fab fruit wines and meads.

All in all a fantastic weekend, and not even the over night thunderstorm, which had me up at 04:00 rescuing our dining shelter or the pouring rain when we broke the camp down on Sunday could spoil it. Roll on next year we will definitely return.

Right at this point I ought to thank Bendy for his photos again and I might get round to writing about some toy soldier bits soon. I might get a game in this coming weekend as it is the only weekend in June/July where I am not at a reenactment. But between then and now I have combat training and a new tattoo to get through.

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