Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Living History

I love getting the chance to visit re-enactments or recreations of life in other eras, especially helpful for a historical novelist or non-fiction writer. So we headed down the coast to Largs at the weekend and I finally managed to go inside the recreated Viking Village which is built every year to commemorate the Battle of Largs in 1263. The modern day invasion is much friendlier and I got to explore some of the homes, workplaces and weaponry from the 13th century.

I was delighted to find an archer, as I had the chance to try archery at school many, many moons ago and always fancied the sport. So I paid my £1 for three shots and once the long-haired Swede reminded me how to hold the bow and when to let go (after a not so good practice shot), I finally managed to fire all three arrows straight down to the targets - even if they fell on the ground when they got there! I'd love to have had more practise but I contented myself with a photo of the archer.

Another year, I was overjoyed to visit a medieval day at Paisley Abbey and surrounds as I'm really keen on that period. I love the Abbey anyway and was glad of a an excuse to revisit it, this time enhanced by the addition of an apothecary and scribe within the building for the day. Then we watched the dancing, fighting and medieval musicians, as well as visiting the various stalls depicting skills and food and such like from the era.

This weekend, I'm off to the Romantic Novelists' Association first ever Afternoon Tea at York which is going to be held in the beautiful Guildhall. It's some years since I've visited York, so I can't wait to enjoy all the history again. No doubt I'll report back with photos afterwards.

Have you been to any interesting recreations of history?



Nicola said...

Great post, Rosemary. I smiled at the archer. I tried that once .... let's say no more. Super pictures! We are lucky to live by a medieval castle which is kept in superb condition and they often have medieval weekends. We haven't actually been there ourselves but we love to see the droves of people walking towards the castle dressed in their appropriate attire (I'm not even going to guess what it is all called:))Wishing you a lovely time at the RNA Afternoon tea.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post, Rosemary. It reminded me of our visit to the Chalke Valley History Festival a couple of years ago, which was just fabulous.

Hope to maybe bump into you in York on Saturday :)

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks for your comment, Nicola - you're very lucky living so close to a medieval castle!

Thanks, Helen - I haven't been to that valley. Should see you at some point on Saturday!

Vikki said...

Great to see the photos after hearing about your archery adventure! The bow looks pretty impressive!

Patsy said...

Wen I worked on HMS Victory we fired a broadside (with pyrotechnics, not real roundshot) and although I knew it wasn't quite like the real thing, it gave me a better understanding of what it would have been like.

Joanna said...

What a fantastic post, Rosemary, and well done with the archery! I have been to a similar event and particularly loved watching the dancing. I wished I could have joined in too! xxx

Becca McCallum said...

I love the Largs festival! I went last weekend and going again this weekend. Outside the 'official' viking village there was also a stall offering 'viking' hairstyling (inspired by the TV series, Vikings) and an apothecary with glass bottle necklaces and 'potion cuffs' (for dispensing in battle...!) Great fun.

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thanks Vikki - wish you'd been there too!

That must have been something, Patsy!

These events do have that effect, Joanna!

Wish I'd seen those extras, Becca!

Wendy's Writing said...

I went to Corfe Castle recently and there was reenactment going on during our stay. It made the place so atmospheric.

Carolb said...

Events like you went to, Rosemary, are always interesting and they're a wonderful way to experience the history without needing a time machine. :-)

Rosemary Gemmell said...

That sounds great, Wendy!

Absolutely, Carol!