Saturday, 12 September 2015

Hay History Weekend

What a wonderful day I've just had!
I've been up at the Castle all day, being medieval, and talking about spinning and weaving and dyeing (and a bit about arrows) in the main hall of the Castle.
Just up the corridor from me, near the kitchen, was a rather good calligrapher, who makes his own oak gall ink. He and his wife had come up from Tintern.
In the original entrance hall of the Castle, they were serving teas, and they were busy all day - the cakes were delicious, too.
Upstairs, there was a sword and shield decorating workshop for the kids - and there were a lot of children going round with shields, cardboard swords and crowns.
Down in the Honesty bookshop, there was sword fighting with rubber weapons, and in the afternoon the Foxwhelp Morris dancers performed there, followed by a local production of Henry V, starring Derek Addyman.
Out on the lawn at the other side of the Castle, the Freemen of Gwent had their tents, each displaying something different - a suit of plate armour, arrows, medieval board games, and a great wheel for spinning (oh, how envious I was - but I'd never get one in the house, let alone on a bus to an event!). I was also envious of the double beds they were sleeping in - each tent was dressed in sumptuous medieval style. The Turnham Green woodturner was there as well, with some of his lovely spoons, and letting people have a go on his pole lathe.
In the morning there were carriage rides around Hay, and in the afternoon a display of swordsmanship from two film stuntmen (they've worked on Arthur and Game of Thrones among other productions). So it wasn't medieval swordsmanship - they were quite up front about it being the sort of swordplay that is used for film - but they put on a good show, and later they led the parade around town on two beautiful horses, one dressed in the French fleur-de-lys and the other in the cross of St George for England.
Some people just turned up in costume - there were two bishops, one male and one female, wandering around, and there was a lovely lady from near Builth Wells who had come down on the bus in full kit. She keeps geese and had brought goose feathers to give to whoever wanted them. I had some (so that I can use them when talking about arrows) and the calligrapher had some too. She had also trimmed some of them into quill pens, and was giving children the chance to try writing with them, and then giving them to take home. Yesterday, she came down for the Castle Tour, again in full costume, and gave out quill pens to the other people on the tour.
Castle Tours were going on throughout the day as well, and attracted quite big crowds.
Half of Hay was there as well, some of whom admitted that they had never been inside the Castle before! I saw a lot of people I knew - I was talking non-stop all day!
I even had my photo taken by the photographer from the B&R, weaving on my backstrap loom.
This evening Professor Anne Curry is giving a talk about Agincourt, and tomorrow the Pop-Up Museum will be in the main hall of the Castle.
And everyone I spoke to has had such a fantastic time!
At the end of the day, I packed up my basket and went round to Beer Revolution, where they were serving mead. In fact, the chap behind the counter there said he wouldn't serve me anything else while I was in costume!

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