Thursday, 24 May 2012


In England in the last few years there has been a terrific event that has happened up and down the country called Museums At Night. In some cases people can stay overnight in some museums, but in most cases various museums are, as  the event name suggests, Open at night.

A couple of weeks ago I was contacted by my friends Ian and Kitty at Black Knight Historical and they asked me if I would like to do an evening for Museums At Night. It was in Great Yarmouth, 110 miles from here. Bit of a trek really, but the thing that swung it, was that it was to be a pirate for the evening. Winner!

So last Friday I found myself doing a 220 mile round trip to go and play at being a pirate at the Toll House Museum in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk. Apart from having to suffer what passes as A roads in Norfolk I had  a great evening. The Toll House museum is the oldest building in Yarmouth, a little gem of a place. Solid stone, heavy doors, shuttered and barred windows, brilliant.

We saw hundreds of folk, from little pirates to interested adults. And got to talk about all aspects of piracy and a whole lot more. Piracy as a reenactment period is a tricky one. The Golden Age of Piracy was only about 25 years and 'doing' pirates when you aren't on a ship is pretty tricky. The Toll House I think was probably the next best thing. I would love to do more piratey things, if I could get some more of my crowd into it, but we are soooo busy that might be a tad tricky. Still it would mean an excuse to buy new swords, shame:0)

My thanks must go to Black Knight for the invite; Ian Flint for the Dragoon pistol, might let you have it back if you are nice to me:0) The Toll House staff for making me most welcome and the brilliant public of Yarmouth and its environs who came out in force to hear tales of Edward England, Edward Teach, Calico Jack,  Mary Read and Anne Bonnie. I hope to be back next year:0)

Cheers Cap'n Swallowtail Timmy

Ohh and a nice man from the Norfolk Museum services took some great photos too...

 Scary aren't I?

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Wet Start to 2012

Well the season is underway and it is about to get busy. we started off with a wet Easter weekend. All of us at Kentwell Hall, and then Ned (my son) and I went to Kenilworth Castle in Warwickshire for a two day medieval event with the Suffolk Free Company.

This was the SFC's  first official outing as an independent group, and it went very well. We provided Living History for a tourney event. The Suffolks are made up from a nucleus of a dozen or so members then we have Suffolks' Family members who are part of our larger group when we go out independently, but are in their own households when we are back with the MSS. We were joined by a new member at this event, Diccon ( to be known from now as 'Turnabout Diccon')

I spent the weekend beating plates for my brigandine into shape. There are 180 plates in total and now I only have 45 to shape. We provided an interesting camp for those who braved the weather, with cooking, wool crafts, arming, fletching, leather work, tailoring, some traditional games and even some frame making for a medieval house. Very busy for a small group.

We also provided bodies for the tourney, a lord to host the whole thing, then 8 combatants to for the main melee at the end of the day. Lots of fun. The tourney chaps were Mark Vance's guys I went out and did the Tourney with last year. We got on spledidly and were quite happy for us to hit 'em pretty hard. Having been the Blue Knight last year I had to pick his side this year even though it meant dying several times.

Only down side to the weekend- The weather. God's teeth did it rain? So much so that on Easter Monday I let Ned stay in bed and read comics. It is on days like that, that I think  it is important to remember that the kids don't get a  say about going to events. It would have been miserable for him outside so we didn't bother.

Event finished and EH were most pleased.

Move onto Mayday - Pensthorpe in Norfolk. A SFC Elizabethan event for Black Knight Historical.

 We tried something new at Pensthorpe, our Alehouse, The Golden Lion. We had a good weekend in Elizabethan kit. We had the chance to try out our new cassacks which will help our Trained Band look. We wear the blue of Essex, rather than the red with white trim of Suffolk (we decided we would look too much like the Cardinal's Guards in red) The alehouse worked very well, and will be used at other events, it will provide a focal point for our camp at the Festival of History in July.

Me with musket parading in front of Good Queen Bess on the Saturday.

The Suffolks make a Royal Bow on the Bank Holiday Monday. Yes it was that wet.

We all like to try new things at events. The Green man above is made entirely from Marchpain (marzipan) by my very talented wife, Heidi/Bess decided that this weekend she would try Subtlety making. Bloody good job she made of it too:0)
So two events in: Common themes for the year so far: Good friends, Good fun, terrible weather. Hoping that the next events are heavy on the first two and very light on the third. We had a good weekend despite the weather, gained a new member and avoided another:0) Roll on Wool Weekend at Kentwell Hall in May.