LH – Living History characterisation tips for re-enactors

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LH – Living History characterisation tips for re-enactors

Living History is fun, it is exciting, it is valuable, the more we do it the more we want to be involved; to deepen the experience.

As a member of Vanaheim, the University of York Medieval Society Viking group, within the Great Britain-wide group The Vikings, I have gathered together ideas, particularly for Viking encampments. shoppingEncampments which in British groups and in UK attraction / museum work are generally referred to as Living History, and I guess, without properly realising this, I have written this for my mates! Not consciously, but with them in mind.

They say write about what you know, so hopefully I know enough to be of help.

There should be helpful ideas here for anybody making some sort of history come alive for any period, (anywhere and anywhen), so not just Vikings.

To keep everyone else reading this then I guess it will be a lot of fun.

Beside many of the followers of this blog read it cos they want to know the details of my complex life (again mainly for the fun of it).

There is a lot in here, but it breaks down into two or possibly three basic concepts – get a grip of them and you are on your way to being dynamic.

There is also a Golden Rule, well actually there are about six Golden Rules, each of which is the most important one!intent

As for what Living History is…

Well it’s a tent innit.

The front is open and we are in ‘fancy dress’ looking out being hopeful.

Fancy dress is actually a terrible insult and bodily coverings and adornments are generally referred to as KIT.

Bumper stickers are known to exist stating, re-enactors do it with their kit on.

I prefer to think of it as ‘becoming’.

In Norway they have the expression, ‘Naked’ (in Norwegian). Being a Viking in Scandinavia leans more towards being a life-style choice. There is a whole lot more living in their living history in my experience. To the degree that if they agree to meet up without their ‘kit’ they say they will be naked.

For me, if I am caught leaving anywhere in modern day clothing I say I am dressed up as a person.

Anyway…

That tent.

If you are setting up a Viking encampment at a generic festival or a museum event type thing, you tend to be there sort of nine to five. There are artefacts and they are discussed and interacted with. There can also be reconstructions of life-style, often with drama involved.

If you are away for a weekend at such as the Battle of Hastings you will be living in the tent and some will be life-style, some will be presentations of interesting stuff, some will demonstrate skills and some will be selling from a stall. A combination of the lot is also good.

Ah, the other thing one is often doing, is preparing for the battle or for a show.

All good.

Oooo I forgot one, making things. That happens too.staring

I do feeling that we do better at these things if we get there early. If there are a few days to set up and live there before the public come in their proper numbers we settle into it more. This, in fact, is my first proper bit of advice, the longer you have been settled in and striving to live as a Viking where others can see, the happier you feel. There is a feel for visitors when they arrive that this is ‘real’ and you are living there.

If you are living for a week at a time or even for a couple of weeks at one event, or even if you are doing the whole season and travelling from one thing to another, spring to late summer, then you are probably in Scandinavia.

There they have markets, not battles or festivals, but markets.

People live in tents, they run courses, they sell items, they foretell, they hang out, they trade, they cook, they serve, they tell, they train, they watch or take part in entertainments, shows, battles, skirmishes. They wrestle and they scream out Galda.

Ah, perhaps more importantly, they sleep.

I am more accustomed to this environment, as you probably know. Spending a week or two at a time mixing between my shows and activities. I cook for a dozen, I do readings, I mix and I laugh. We learn from each other as we go.

As an honorary member of Njardar Vikinglag (But not Njardar Vikingslag) and as a privileged accompaniment of Bjorgvin Marknad I have lived. But that is all history. Always. History I shall live again and again and again. We are our experiences and we echo through time.broth

I guess the more one can experience this, the better, the settling into it. Once you have been around a bit you can do that anywhere, for any length of time; with a cape and a hat or with an enclave of enticement.

We all learn from our experiences and our repeated experiences. As Skald to the Chieftain at Gudvangen Vikingby in Norway I find ideas can take a year to develop into a reality. I do the activities I did the time before but with subtle additions, adapting to the needs of the environment. Then when we are relaxing over mead new ideas spring from our sharing and the next year they come into being.

That happens to all of us. It happens from listening and chatting with visitors too.

There will of course be environments and activities which I have missed out, do please let me know of these.

leahAs with the ideas and suggestions below. You will no doubt bounce off and adapt – I want to know.

Now here is Golden Rule no. 1 the most important one: be brief.

The first major concept: They are going to want to ask a question.

Golden rule no. 2 the most vital of all: There will be a point to it.

The other major concept: The vast majority of things you are doing, thinking and chatty about are appropriate.

There is going to be a whole lot more on these below and no doubt I will think up a few more concepts and golden rules as I go along in my erratic way. For instance Golden Rule no. 3 the only one you need to know: People don’t buy anything until they have bought something.

Right let’s start with that one, but don’t let it put you off; because I got this idea at a car boot sale (so don’t talk about it loudly in camp!).  There are lots of things of interest, there are lots of things we would like, we are not sure we have enough money, there is a whole weekend ahead. We might come back on Sunday. Then we spot something that we really want and it is cheaper than we expected. The excitement of that purchase means that in the next ten minutes we are far more susceptible to purchases. There will be a bag full, and we will need to buy a proper bag.

Well that was a really bad start because it was digression for the proper topic, before we have even got started too and to make matters worse here is another one. There are a few things on your stall they like the look of but don’t really want. There is one thing they find out the price of and it is far cheaper than they expected. Suddenly all the things on that stall are wanted and we want to grab them. This is a bargain stall, grab stuff.

Right back to Vikings

And tents.

That Golden Rule no. 1 – yes this is numero uno. Be brief.

Yes there are lots of tents and events and loudspeakers. presenter-for-the-rockfestPeople are roaming and trying to get a taste of it all or just trying to find their pal. As well as moving on shortly they have something to say. They are wanting to chat. They are unlikely to join in with the characterisation.

If you say, “You look like the son of royalty, will you marry me?” They will laugh as they approach but they are unlikely to bend to one knee for you. They are more likely to ask about your pommel. (I am not sure what one of those is so I hope it makes sense.)

And that main concept; asking a question. They have one; mark my words. They are an early-retired professional who reads the Independent And they have been thinking long and hard about their question. They brought it with them – on the tip of the tongue. Some might have a few, but mainly they have one that is so good that everyone is going to want to be asked. So that’s where this dialogue is going. Swiftly away from drama. Swiftly away from the many things you want to talk about. Nowhere near all the things you are desperate to show. This is moving directly to The Question. They, of course, did a degree in history or the arts or something and never got to use it in their career so they are trying to make up for lost time by impressing you. So hence The Question.

And now look at you. You are trying to answer that question aren’t you. You are giving it a very good stab. You are honestly thinking that they want the benefit of your knowledge and are intrigued to hear. They are hardly listening. As soon as you finish, they have another question to fire at you – but this time it is a rhetorical question. “So how come they didn’t pick their berries with a…” “So why haven’t you converted to Christianity?” “Have you ever thought that they would have known each other well?” “You do realise they must have buried more in the area too don’t you?” Those sorts of things.

tradeThis is because. They have A Point. Yes the Golden Rule of pointed golden rules; they have a point. Point. And they are going to make it, At every tent.

This is clearly something that is definitely right, (‘It must be’), but nobody in the history of historical researchiness has ever thought of it. (I know this to be true because I do it all the time.)

They will point downwards towards you in a jiggerly way, ‘Ah ha hah hah hah hah hah, ah ha hah har har har.’ They will do this with a knowing look until you nod in forced agreement. You may even have to smile in admiration of their wisdom before they will move on.

So yes, when it comes to the being in character bit, be prepared to be brief.

Take that as a warning, before we move on to the bits that are actually useful at last. Well hopefully they will be.

That other major concept: you are appropriate.

You are there and you are doing it. I’ve been there I’ve seen you.

I was inspired by my pals in their pre battle mode. There was all the when will we meet, where, where are they. Look you can see the smoke from their encampment. It doesn’t take much. Do you see, do you see.

You are the timeless entity that is history and are living it.

Just a little switch.

I saw the sweat and the tension. To be really honest the battle parts of it are not really my thing. But I felt part of it especially the prep. They were tense.table-01

Then they were gone. We don’t know if they will come back. We don’t know if we will be safe. The children watch them go. No one looks back.

Well this is LH let’s not get too carried away.  We got to chatting and living and forgot about them. We were in a summer village in our ship-tent long away from the farm or the winter dwelling.

There was earlier we talked about that. We were calm and not worrying. Purposefully. There had been the panicers and the gossipers and the worriers. “What are we going to do about the wounded?” ”There will be prisoners?” “Who among us will be prisoners?” ”Some will be dragged out in front of the lines of enemy in tearful chains!” that sort of thing. Actually this was the planners an coordinators who make it all happen and look for volunteers. But it doesn’t take much. Does it.

We looked back in that way and busied ourselves. We cooked.

Reality was we are playing. They real cooking would be afterwards, when the dead returned. There would be slices of cured pig which we would grill on the fire, small loafs cut and filled with fat from milk another farmer had churned far far away from battle (hopefully). Right now we played.

The small celeriac we had procured were perfect for roasting, they were hunter – gather size. There was garlic, there were onions, there was Viking Rice. Sorry that is a modernism; it was pearl barley. It was cloggy, I nearly put the fire out by tipping the pan badly, and I needed much supervision. It was nearly ready. There was bread awaiting cutting. The fighters came back.

They were alive. No battle. They had mustered. They hadn’t skirmished or raided. But they were ready. They were tense. They didn’t have long.

They didn’t talk or acknowledge us. They ate. The fervour of battle was upon them and I will never forget. We were providing, fulfilling a timeless wild need. Then. They were gone.

And that. Is why. I am writing this.

It was real. We can take that reality and spread it across what we do. 90% . Maybe 95%, yes 95% of what we do is living history. You just have to realise that. Talk aloud, slightly louder than you normally. Bit of feeling there. And it is alive (until we die).

End of blog.

Ah no sorry, I got carried away, that moment lead to all sorts of ideas and, at last, we are there and I am just about to write a blog on how to bring more characterisation into your Living History experience.

It has started.pan

Well, I digress a little, for instance, what was the other 5% about? Metal.

So.

Moving on to section c, d or is it five, I forget how many there’s been.

These are the bits, the bits section. A breakdown.

The Overheard – The what we are doing part

You are being in yourself. Like what we just said about 95%. We are just doing it a little bit more louder. It only needs to be of short duration and occasional. A bit like throw away humour I suppose. We know they are there and we were going to say this any way so we might as well make it into a bit. (See Lenny Bruce below.)

These are the things that you do turned into statements and vocal displays slipped between things which are real any way if we choose to look at this way.

Start that way.

“I worry about you in your pink leather hat. With this helm I am far safer.”

Then build.

They arrived gleaming and now they are dead and a new foe arrives.

That bishop of St Albans started this, just because we are clean and popular with the women. He stirred them up to kill. Women in pits with dogs upon them, children in the gate hinge. We have to kill and we are here and ready.

Talk about the season, the ritual, the moment of the year.

Preparing for death.

Act drunk, or use other emotions or attitudes.

Be overheard.

Then turn round and smile and welcome them.

“When are we changing into our Berserker outfits?”simen

Activity – The things you are practicing or working on.

You will be training, so do a dialogue. (I hate the word but…) simples.

While cooking ask, “Have you got anything salty?”

Have you any honey from Manuka? No maybe not.

Turn things you do into drama in an understated way. “We shall try this again my son, if you do not react properly and yet again I have to hold back my blow I shall disown you.”

“Watch the way my grip changes as I move.”

“Be careful with those onion skins they don’t grow in the ground you know! Every little bit needs to go in that pot of pee.”

Calling out – just moments that can sometimes lead to an afternoon (or a life together)

Try introducing each other ie have back story.

If we talk about our back story we sound like ourselves.

If we introduce another it sounds more real.

Be sure to have something to say in response mind.

“Let me introduce our greatest fighter, you can tell by the cut of his ‘thingy’ he has travelled far. This bead here; Icelandic.”

Build them, back stories. Try and have items upon you support this. Or the way you do things. Me? I am Hiberno-Norse settled in Jorvik after much travelling as a teller.

“He says there are little people in the mountains” “No in the woods, the ones in the mountains are big.”eric-socks

You probably have one of these built in your imagination, imagine more and build. Then of course ‘share’, so your team know you. Pretty soon the passers-by will know you too.

Get them to sit down. A wonderful Viking woman in Gudvangen Market does this. It should perhaps be a golden rule for it is a very powerful tool if done right. Not as a big thing, almost throws away that invitation. She sits there as part of the scene she is living and being, (because she is enjoying it), she looks around slowly and smiles, for a little too long. Then she pats the stool. “Sit a while.” Thats it, she doesn’t say anything.

They do. They belong.

Try using a reason to get them to sit down, “We will have reason enough to stand against another soon enough.”

“Join us or be against us.”

Act as if passers-by are real! Ask them questions. “Who do you fight for today.”

“Are you the Glima wrestlers we are expecting?”

“We want to make a new hat how should we do it?”

“Come here and settle an argument…”

“What do you know of the situation in Norway?”ritual

Comment as they pass.

“Much strength to your arm.”

“Do you know any good Galda?”

We will take one of your children. You shall take one of ours. The peace and understanding will come from the way they learn. Bring them back though, when they are grown.

If they speak badly of you they will know all the ways into your home.

(They did it then, it was still happening (as a one way only trade) to Roma in the eighties in Norway.)

Quote lines. This is a trick. Think of a line from a movie, a book, a game, a wise person, a saga, one of the clichés you all repeat. Rework them. Vikingize them.

Betrothals. Seeking such agreements from those walking along.

“Today is a good day to die.”

Skol!

Prepare lines in other languages (not Klingon).

Complain about the next tents philosophy.

Set up dialogues with opposite encampments.

Have you got any salt?

Would your daughter be interested in my son?

Insult the person next to you to the passer by.

stage-01Where are you camped?

You have come on the wrong day, talk of what will happen tomorrow or yesterday.

We haven’t got a storyteller, do you know the one about the…. ?????

It is my matrimonial day tomorrow, (pause for congratulations) I just need a partner.

The witch told me that…….

What We Do – The 95%

Talking about what has happened; just slightly louder. You will get in the habit of it. Setting the scene, as if living life live, and remember that is real.

Be there longer than the battle come before. Feel you are living.

Yes Keep it brief, and as they are passing is a good time.

Just be a little louder and be over heard.

Mainly just be because you are actually living it.

And remember they really are only wanting to ask questions so that you will get to listen to their valuable point!

Demonstrate your skills – yes – but also try training a fellow in your skills in a slightly louder way and dramatise. “No! you will be banished if you fail to learn this time my son.”

Props in your pocket: walk forwards from the group as if it is a secret and show them something so only they see.

Remember, your authentics pouch doesn’t have to be fastened (unless there are sharps).

Conversational impressions; doing the other voice,

“I heard the bishop say…”simen-02

“It is lavely to have you all here, I know your king said you would be beheaded if you didn’t join us, and I know all your places of worship have been burnt down but it is still laverly that you decided to cam, laverly.” (The vicar out of Postman Pat gave me an idea for a voice.)

Describing what you are doing, ‘I am bringing forward the sack of gathered barley’. ‘I am cupping my hands into the barl…’

‘Do not invoke the old ways, do not speak in the old style. These are new and different times.’

Research – Go look at stuff. Go look at the stuff in your head.

Many of you will have seen my Hobb character; he is Hobb the Pigman and yet he has all sorts of adventures (see links below), he has done battle and had historic encounters but from his point of view, the view of an ordinary person, never forget it is a lot different than the important person’s record of events, a totally original perspective. You can view ‘your’ world that way.

I had an interesting insight into perspectives recently; German medieval societies mainly drink and fight, but because that is historically accurate. I am not suggesting you adapt this into early medieval living history, but it gives us ideas of ways to be from the known values and behaviour

Gift. Give a gift. This is an onerous responsibility for the recipient, for they must find a way to gift, a gift to you of equal value. If you give then a horse they will be trying to pay you back forever.

So rune readers say. Look at the runes generally for ideas of values.leah-left

Draw runes. Defence; “I give you this sign but I fear it will do you no good”.

Get thinking on this. Contemplation of the runes will bring you many inspirations. (or the bible.)

Magnar I hear spoken of; Far better to have ridden on the dark-side and then decided to ride into the light than to simple have been good all your life. Far better.

Not sure the four horsemen give the same sort of message.

Death, birth, blessings, belief, what are you going to next? – or would have been going if you hadn’t died?

Talk about your death and what will be said of you when you are gone.

Where are you going?

How do such topics of contemplation effect the way you live generally.

(These are the sort of powers which make me the storyteller I am btw.)

There are snippets you know that you can bring alive, like that thing about eating garlic and onion porridge so if you are stabbed it will leak out and smell…. (fill in the rest of the story yourselves.)

Talk about the past. Your forefathers gave you wisdom. They shared stories. Taught you.

Like a bird building a nest you have those inbuilt skills of you past.

Your journey here, give us details. Share and ask.

Look stuff up, traditions, customs, use them. They are the stuff of life which shapes the skull.

Ooooo make cards to hand out secretly to fellow members so it is a game…

Acts against Humanity, barrels of doom.

Talk to larp people and dnd people.

Think of lines from films, books, sagas, change them a little and quote them.

Stones. The power of stones. The Hiberno-Norse came here to Yorkshire and they brought a huge leap in creativity with them. They had mixed and shared and in the mix was the stone carving vision of the pasts that came through the Irish contingent. All that they had learnt they shared with their off spring; the Hiberno-Norse. They came here.

Jelling holds beautiful carving upon a stone, the stone carving these later visitors brought here shared the actual stone. The Kirklevington cross stones share stories and images. They are story Use images to ‘convert’ onlookers.

Think of ways belief, ritual, folklore may have affected the way people act and talk. Note that this bit is not specific; it could fit anywhere, anywhen.

So yes, talk about the season, the ritual, the moment of the year.

Think on them too.

Bits – Like what you have bubbling around inside too

Aim for half a dozen times a day you are doing characterisation.

Draw on your own experiences larp drama etc.

For me happenings in DnD spring to mind: They hated each other but the witch poured a love potion over his sword. He grabbed the sword to kill, he swung it over his head, he fell in love, he dropped the sword behind him, he leant forward to kiss his once enemy, the sword was no long in his hand, he hated him, he grabbed the sword, he swung it over hi… You get the idea.

A bit silly I know, but there are transferable models in everything, everywhere.

Hey, relax and have a laugh, much will spring from it, as ideas burst out of your gob.

I suppose I was a bit glib and critical when I desperately sought to drag humour out of all this and went on about visitors and the points they have to make. They are not all like that. Not by a long way. Many are totally different. They are complete idiots!!!!

Sorry no, the term for them is tourists.

They have very vivid imaginations.

That Viking woman in Norway I talked about. She went for a walk. Not far. Just out the gate of the camp and sat in the sun by the Fjord waters. You can see all the camp but there is a fence around it, this is to keep out the non-payer. Not all visitors realise this though, one of these walked up to her and asked in a concerned voice, “Do they treat you well?”

If visitors can believe you are encamped in a reservation then they can believe anything.

Play on that sense of imagination.enjoying-the-show-with-friends

If I can have ideas so can you. Sorry to sound pompous and patronising, of course you can, all you have to do is let them free. They roam around and pop about in thought and conversation, now there is a place for them.

I mention back story. Mine is Hiberno-Norse, and travelling storyteller, so my kit is eclectic.

I was inspired deep within my heart, (and in my roots?), by the idea of Norse venturing into Ireland, mixing, consorting, (finding and raiding monasteries together), planning, trading goods and power. They came here! (York that is, I live in York.)

They settled.

The other bit: by the gods I am a great storyteller so that is reflected in my back story and in my ‘kit’. – The pinks would have been very expensive, so obviously I told stories to Queens. Either they loved my tales and gave me a gift or they hated them and as I ran I stole them.

My back story was further empowered by a purchase from Swanhildas Sweets (on Ebay). Viking trade route jewellery. A total inspiration. A necklace of stones that reflected my life path.

I have since demonstrated this jewellery in Scandinavia with amazing results.

It makes people who they really are.

I told a Canadian guy that currently he felt he was a Canadian who dressed up to be in the company of his partner who was a ‘real’ Viking as a Norwegian. I pointed out that jasper had been found in digs off the coast of Canada and had proven to be the equivalent of flint and had been used by Vikings. If he bought the necklace he would become a Canadian Viking!!! He bought it and bought it.

A Norwegian lady whose father had been adopted from Thailand when tiny had become a Viking and was interested in materials from the silk routes to help her draw in her real heritage. She looked at the stuff and changed her mind, “I am going to be Irish.”

Real stuff comes out too, a guy told me how he hadn’t told anybody else, even his girlfriend yet, but he had been adopted at birth and given to a Christian family. He hadn’t discovered this till he was forty, when his real mother, (a Roma, found him and told him of the abduction policy of the Norwegian government. They were actively Christianising in this way right up to the late 90’s.)

Real stories come out when you inspire people.

So.

Go out and buy stuff.

Back story stuff.

Being in character may be a way to deal with awkward or critical people. Plan an All Ting.

“We are putting holes in the ground like they do in Iceland to get the same space next year.”

Grapes? Think routes for conversations.

Have you had quirky thoughts lately use them.

Open your mind to the idea of interaction bearing in mind your own interests and deeper thoughts.

There is something you can say that has great challenging depth.

My quirky thinking, I like to come up with possible new understandings of how things were from piecing things together. Recently I found myself wondering what Thor’s second name would be? Thor Odinsson!!!!steak.jpg

Developing Drama – chunks of this stuff could go together

Perhaps there can be plays come of this or a mini drama by piecing bits together.

The highly controversial comedian Lenny Bruce talked of putting bits together. His act would be different every time, as he made his mind up all along. Sometimes though all the old bits would come rolling out in a new order and people would say what a great new set, all highly original. I really identify with this idea of bits from my own stuff (even though I am not funny). Ho wofeyen hbv eyou heard me say, “And now you have an opportunity to see my great acting ability when I say they were…”

You already have snippets and bits like this. They will slot in anywhere. They will bolt to new ideas. They will intersect with another. They will join with the bits of others (“Steady now at the back!”), and they will become something bigger (“I said steady!”). The next thing you know -You have a piece to perform with (I said stop it at the back).

He also talked of the room, less useful here maybe, but interesting. Everywhere he performed was a ‘room’, TV studios (well they never asked him back), stadiums, anywhere. It is the room. The room shapes your material, the room has a personality. You have to know the room. You have to know where to put yourself in the room. The room –wait for it – wait for it – is a field with tents in it.

Be ready to sense and to adapt.

It could be simple – That thing what you do. A great guy I know told me of going to a Wild West ~Weekend. There was a guy booked, (and paid), to entertain and all he did was sit in a hut. A shack, the door was open and you could see him there sitting sipping Bourbon straight from a bottle. Bottle after bottle. All he wore was dark pink dirty all-in-ones, with one button missing at the back so you could see half his bum. He had something laid across his knee. My pal was curious and stepped forward to go towards him. The thing on his knee was a shot gun, it was up in my mates face and his life was being threatened, loudly! My pal ran. He ran to the others. They all came over, and then ran.

That man was a star, and here we are still talking about him.

Allting. Spell it how you like. There seems to be plenty of variants. From land to land. This is governance. We gather. We sit. We hold parliament. Hold one now.

From an unobtrusive circle around the gap between your tent and the one opposite, with a couple of seats missing at each ‘end’. When people walk through pull in stools. They are part of the circle which suddenly comes into being. Announce the topic of debate and let them know they are most important and are invited to join the discussion.

Land and folks will die upon you decision.

Golden rules – I missed a few out

Don’t enjoy it that much you turn clique I am sure you have in jokes.

It is not about costumes and fight skills – or points.

Almost everything you think and say and hear is a role play statement, it just needs reworking a little.

Make your friend laugh by turning things you know into a role play

Ie think about what you and your mates say, and make it of the time.

Hey, we are living it already.

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Living the Viking Way

My Performances at Gudvangen

The Battle of Hastings – this time we win

Hobb and the Normans

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Hobb’s Tale of the Time of the Normans – (some of it is a bit grizzly).

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Hobb’s Tale of the Time of the Normans – (some of it is a bit grizzly) – (Please share, like and add comments).

hood-02There I was sat in the centre of the park by the river in my Hobb outfit, (which is basically a dress and tights), with a huge black cloak with a huge black hood; waiting. I was waiting to suddenly start in a deep scary voice. ‘Long long ago!’

I could not see ahead of me because of the big hood, but eventually I heard a group approaching and saw their feet gathering around, ‘Long long ago!’hood-01

Luckily it was the right group!

Jules Montgomery of Barmby Moor School had asked me to be there to meet her group, or rather groups. They had teamed up with Garton on the Wold School for a trip to York to go around Cliffords Tower.two-towers-cut-to-one

There was only room for one of their groups at a time, so they were to split up and spend an hour in there and an hour with me.me-09d

Life with the Normans was Jules’ suggestion and, as they had been studying the topic, plus would be hearing the relative history of the tower, I thought I better be a bit different to all that. Jules suggested tales of the Normans from the local perspective.special-one-03

Hence Hobb’s view.me hood.jpg

Long long long

Long long long

Long long long ago (the hood was off)me-09i

There used to be a great tower here upon a hill.two towers cropped to wood.jpg

Do you know where it was?

“There!” “There!” There!” they all point.two-towers-cut-to-one

Oh, no, you’ve got a new one.

In my-a-days it was over there. I point to where the Eye of York is now.

This one wasn’t there in my-a-days. It must be from your-a-days. What do you call it? “Cliffords Tower.”two-towers-cut-to-one-flipped

Oh no, what did you call it that for?! You have called it after the enemy.clifford

Clifford was one of the nasty bad guys from that horrible place over the mountains; the place of the red rose.mountains

Ah, I think I know why it got called that. It is a joke.

When they caught him they hung him. They hung him from the tower and left him there.hung

For a long long long time, is that enough longs or should there be more?

“More!”

For a long long long long long long long time, is that enough longs, er, yes perhaps so.

A long long time he hung there, and people would look up as they passed and say, ‘Hello Clifford.’hung

Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ha ha ha. Ha…

Well perhaps it isn’t funny now-a-days, but it was then.

‘Hello Clifford!’hung

‘ Ha ha ha ha ha ha,’ is that enough ha ha’s or should there be more?

“No!” “No more!”

After years of folk saying, ‘Where are we going fishing?’ Down past Clifford’s tower ha ha ha ha ha – it all wore a bit thin, but the name stuck.

That is what I say about it and I should know because I am Hobb.

Hello. “Hello.”

Let me introduce myself I am Hobb, Hobb the pigman. pig hut.jpg

Not that I have got any pigs, but you know how you all have a pig in your house don’t you. “No.” “Yes.” “No.” Well some of you have. Everyone did in my-a-days. Not in your-a-days but in my-a-days. And you know how you would get fed up of them around your feet? And would push them out of the door, so they were all wandering about in the street. Well I felt sorry for them all and I have them all round at my house. I am always warm on a night, and I am never short of company. People don’t tend to like me very much, because of the smell, but the pigs like me, so that’s all right.

clipped faded.jpgThey was a tower here, a big castle on a hill you know, long long long before that-there William feller came here. The Saxons built it, or the Angles or both of them. That one was destroyed. The Vikings came and the Vikings destroyed it. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Is that enough Viking laughter? “No.” Everybody then; “Ha ha ha ha ha ha.“just-you-02-coloured

Well there I was in The Globe in Shambles having a glass of porter, and then I went across the street to a pub called The Globe and had a glass of porter. I like the Globe, but the porter isn’t as good, I don’t like The Globe but the porter is far better there and it is only across Shambles so I popped back into The Globe for another, while my pigs waited outside.globe

It wasn’t so bad. We all got nattering and chatting and we got onto the Vikings. There was Ragnar you see, long long long long, shall I? No, OK, just the one long then, long ago there was a Viking king called Ragnar. Ragnar Hairy-breeks; he of the hairy trousers. He stormed through Europe taking town after town, city after city. He came to Paris, oh, he took his army with him of course, he didn’t do it all on his own. Paris was a bit trickier. A big strong city. paris.jpgSo he put the place under siege. That’s where you don’t let anybody out and you don’t let anybody in. It tends to make you hungry does that, but more on that later. For now, let’s just say that they had a lot of food in there; they managed to survive for two years. Eventually they gave in because they were very very hungry, very.

They gave in, and they gave him all their treasure; gold, jewels, crepe recipes, everything.crepe.jpg

Trouble was, most of his Vikings said, ‘We quite like it here, we have got used to it, we think we’ll stay.’ camp 02 coloured.jpgThat left him with a smaller army when he came to Britain and it left France with a load of Vikings who would later turn into Normans, or their off-spring would many many years later. Many.away

So along here came Ragnar and died terribly at the hands of a Saxon king, but that is another story for another time.

Those ones he left behind though, many many years later their children’s children’s children’s ch, you get the idea. The king’s army, the king of France (as we call it now).king

Along came a Viking, well a few. The leader of this army was a big guy, you might call him Rolo, or Rolf, he said he was called Hrolfr. Ganger Hrolfr in fact. Ganger means walker.

ganger..jpgHe ran mainly, very fast, and right at you. He was so big that no horse would carry him; his feet trailed along the floor when he sat in the saddle. So he ran, with his army riding behind him. Well, not when they were on a ship, then they sailed. There were ships full of them. A hundred ships they say, with a hundred men in each one they say. How many is that? “A thousand?” “Ten thousand?” “A hundred thousand?” I will tell you how many and you will repeat it after me. How many? A lot! How many? “A lot.”100 ships.jpg

They went in by river and then they travelled the lands. Till presently they came again to the great river around a great bend far from their ships. saine.jpgThere across the waters was a huge army. The king at their head. His army was far larger. He was about to call for a charge to ride across the river and kill these invaders with their tall leader when he heard his own army talking behind him. ‘Those fellers over there are from the North.’ ‘They are Northmen.’ ‘That is where our forefathers were from.’ ‘We are kin.’ ‘Family.’ ‘We can’t fight them.’two armies.jpg

The king heard this and thought that he had better change his plan. ‘What is it that you want?’

Ganger Hrolfr replied, ‘All this. All the land at this side of the river.’

The king was not happy with this but felt he had no choice, ‘This you can have as long as you swear allegiance to me.’

‘How would I do this?’ called Ganger as he strode across the river with his strongest few.

‘You must bow down and kiss my foot.’

‘I will bow down to no man,’ cried Ganger. He turned to his mightiest warrior, ‘Would you do this duty for me my good friend?’

Tor Eric stepped forward with a wry grin, (that is a bit of a smirk if you didn’t know). He walked forward towards the king who was sat before him on his horse. Tor Eric took the king’s foot, he didn’t bend, he lifted the foot quickly to his mouth and kissed. The king flew off his horse. king-fallAs he crashed to the floor Hrolfr laughed loud, as did his warriors, their whole army behind them across the river could be heard to be laughing wildly. The king’s men were not laughing; his close knights were reaching for their weapons and stepping slowly forward. The king laughed. The king stood, and laughed and laughed. His knights looked, looked back at Tor Eric and Hrolfr, and then they laughed, a whole army behind them laughing and laughing. Both banks of the river were filled with wild loud hearty laughter.

Hobb laughs, the teachers laugh, the children laugh – a timeless hearty laugh.

So that is even more descendants of the Norsemen settled in France. No wonder the Norman invasion fought so well!normans

Anyway I went for a walk. To be more correct, I took my pigs for a walk (Oink, wheet wheet wheee), they were fed up of being in the house, well, the hovel actually. Anyway, we went for a walk.pigs-drawing

So there I was in the ale house on the street of stone, the pigs were in the front yard and I was sat with a glass in the inne: Yee Newe Starre Inne. You might know it better as Yee Olde Starre Inne, but this was a long time ago when the Starre Inne was newe.pint.jpg

Sipping away at my porter and listening to my friend who was a porter, lending a tanner to my friend the tanner, and… – that’s quite enough of that, let’s just say there were a few of us. Then I was asked what I thought of the news, I wasn’t able to think about the news, because I hadn’t heard the news. Then I heard the news; the king was dead. My friend the Crier was quite upset about it, yes he had been crying about it all over town. I didn’t know. The pigs are so noisy you see. Edward? The King? That Edward feller? I asked. Yes I was told. Well, I asked, did he confess anything in the end, but nobody knew.elf table.jpg

Anyway I wasn’t worried, he was from down there and it wouldn’t bother us up here I reckoned. Some of my friends agreed. The one who was a Wait said we would have to find out in the end. Mostly though they were worried, because, it turned out, there were many coming who thought they ought to be king and there would be trouble. There would be trouble mainly round here, fighting and that, they reckoned. (One of them-there would-be kings is buried under that great big church you have, a Viking feller.) They were all going to be coming over here they said.Copy of minster and seven.jpg

What did it matter I wondered, as a king is a king is a king is a king, but I was informed I was wrong. The one that worried everyone was coming over from France to conquer. What was he called? “William!” No. Guillaume. That is French for William or any rate maybe William is English for Guillaume. We maybe should end up calling him William but for now he was Guillaume I was told. One of my pals said he was called Guillaume le Rude-word. I wanted to know what the rude word was and it was whispered in my ear. Goodness me that’s a shock. We can’t call him that. We had better call him a conqueror. Yes that would do it; William the Conqueror. Any way there was going to be trouble.battle.jpg

It was true. In no time there was talk of a big battle raging over a bridge just a little way from here. I was told I had to go, not to fight, but because I had pigs and they might need pigs. I couldn’t guess what they might need my pigs for, but I went anyway.Copy of bridge 03.jpg

It took a while; these pigs of mine are slow to shift. I had a switch and I switched it, the new one wasn’t any better but I switched with it anyway. There was a lot of noise and a lot of wandering off but eventually we got there. It was too late. It was all over.scene.jpg

I made the mistake of looking around, I shouldn’t have done it, I looked around. It was terrible terrible. You can be sure that when we meet in person for me to tell you all this there will be a lot of stabbing and crying and groaning and dying going on. For now though, just imagine. I wish I hadn’t looked.at worst.jpg

Then suddenly there was an army running at me.

group-03They ran right past me, ‘Come on, come on.’ What? ‘Come on, come with us.’ ‘We are running all the way to a place called Hastings, it can’t be far.’ That was going to be their downfall I thought, but I didn’t say anything. What do you want me for? ‘We don’t need you, we need the pigs.’pig-man-drives

I had no idea why they might want my pigs but I set off anyway. It was a long slow journey. Oink, oink, oink – switch, switch, switch – wheeet wheeet wheeee. We got there. It was too late. It was terrible, terrible, terrible. Slashing, and stabbing and crying and groaning and dying. All that was over. Well except for the odd bit of groaning maybe. It was all over. Imagine my face as I look around for a very long time. Imagine. That is how horrible it was.burning dead.jpg

We all know what that battle was called. “The battle of Hastings!” No. The battle of Hastings which isn’t the battle of Hastings because it didn’t happen at Hastings did actually happen at Battle. So it is the battle of Battle. Except if the village of Battle is only called battle because it was where there was a battle then it was just a battle. Then again if battles before the battle of Battle weren’t called a battle and they only started being called battles after there was this one in Battle it isn’t even the battle of Battle. It is called          .

That’s where I was anyway           .

pigs drawing.jpgThere ahead of me was a huge army running right at me, this was a horrible terrible army and they were running right at me as I said. I hid. I hid behind my pigs. But because by now I was starting to get an idea of why they might want my pigs I hid the pigs. Once I had hid the pigs in the ditch I hid among the pigs. The horrible army hurried past.Copy of misty wood.jpg They were led by William somebody… “William the Conqueror!” No. The Malet. Him and all the knights and their retinues were a great army and they were being sent north.

falling flames 02 up painted 03.jpgIt is said they went and crushed York. Crushed it. Then they went back down a bit (which was rather a long way round to do things, but they were new to Britain) and they went to Nottingham.cracks

They went there to crush that place too but I don’t think they managed very well because Nottingham has another name. What is it? “We don’t know.” The City of Caves.oski halls 01.JPG

By I got there with my pigs people were starting to come up out of the caves blinking. I was glad they were alright. I was also glad they were blinking because they didn’t see my pigs.blinking

I did meet someone else, someone interesting; the Pig Woman, but that is another story for another time when you are older.tricked.jpg She did tell me something though. She said that Malet had been ordered back to York to take charge (See I told you they did things in a long way round sort of way).

So I went back to York.blurry walls.JPG It wasn’t so bad. There was plenty of work. Well there was mainly plenty of work because there weren’t that many people left.mum-n-dad-coloured The people who were left were very very cross. That Malet feller got us all working though. Well except for the one or two who ran off to send messages about the terrible horrible things that had happened.oski-away-version-one

There were walls and gates around the town, but not across the river. The river was surrounded by marshland as well. So we had to dig in it and get all the muck and mud and rocks and clay and pile it up. We didn’t know why. Well not until they started building on top of it. A castle, a great big castle. Now there was water all around it. That water would become known as Kings Fishpond in later years.harbour

There was a huge draw bridge to get in and they all lived up there looking out at us.draw bridge.jpg

Some of those quietly cross people who hadn’t stayed to dig mud had gone to meet other people and make them cross; livid might be a better way of putting it. They all came here for a fight. Out across the Vale of York they were steadily gathering. The farmers, the Northumbrians, the Scottish, the boy king, so that’s Saxons and maybe Angles too, maybe even three or four Jutes, and one or two Picts perhaps, some Celts or Irish anyway and at last – the Danes. And we, snigger, were all set to let them in.door knocker.jpg They all were in this together and they were far more than cross or even livid.

William was worried but it took them all so long to get together that he had time to send for William; the other William.

He turned up with a huge army and he saw them all off. We were all alone again (oink).

He was horribly cruel, torturous even, you can be sure that if ever you invite me to your group to tell this I will be torturous to be sure.

For now just imagine the screams.oski small.jpg

He built that tower over there at the other side of the river in eight days flat! “What tower?” It’s flat! Well it was over there back then in the back-then-i-days.two-towers

The Danes came back!wild creature.jpg

We all joined in!

3000 Normans died.

Hahahahahahahahatower.jpg

King William is said to have said something about God’s Splendour, but what he meant was he was going to kill us all. And he did. Well, no or I wouldn’t be here to tell you. That’s what he said though.

Next thing we know, we can’t get out and they are all around the place.

We got very hungry.Copy of apple side.jpg

This is the bit where I got to find out just how horrid children’s imaginations can be, because I asked them what they would have to eat. Yes there was sausages and chicken nuggets and Macdoodles (we only ate the box actually), and pigs – No, I hid the pigs on Barmby Moor just in timepig wall.jpg – we raided all the butchers on Shambles, we drank everything in all the innes and wayside places, birdwe caught birds out of the air and ate them whole cat(we won’t mention the puppies and kittens because we don’t like to talk about it). palet.jpgMud, leaves, grass, slime, there was nothing left.

I asked for volunteers and a few came forward. To be eaten. I crept up on them from behind all ready to kill them and eat them, well we had been hungry for like a year or something. I was baring my teeth and raising my claws to swoop and there was a shout.stupid guy.jpg It was coming from outside the walls. ‘If you surrender we will be nice.’ Well something like that. ‘We have lots of scrummy things to eat.’ ‘Come on out it is all alright really.’

surrender.jpgWe went out and it wasn’t alright. They were horrid, more horrid than you can imagine. Screams and mess and chopping and stabbing and burning and searching. I don’t think there was anybody left.door flames.jpg

That wasn’t enough for him.

He sent troops all over the place. Took all the food, broke all the farming things, burned all the farm houses; the land around here and as far up as Durham was a desert. Nothing grew, everyone starved. It all turned wild. Imagine if you will all the weeds and hedges and trees taking over and nobody anywhere. The Harrying of the north. A wilderness was all that was left and a wilderness is nothing.Copy of hockney tree.jpg

William built two new castles here, filled them with troops, and then left and never bothered to come back here again. There was nothing to come back to.

Everyone listening to this – lower your head – turn – and slowly quietly walk away.

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Hobb’s Tale of the Time of the Normans – by Adrian Spendlow

Footnotes:

This story follows research of history and folklore and is told as Hobb would understand it.

I hope to recreate the live atmosphere of dramatic storytelling, but of course a whole lot of the acting out, the facial expressions, the sound effects are a little lost – for instance, the moment of the child who volunteered to be eaten will be forever lost on you unless you see this live. Thank you to the child I hardly met.

There were, at one point, two inns on Shambles opposite each other and both called The Globe.

Porter was a strong dark beer.

Tor Eric is a popular Norwegian name rather than the actual name of the warrior. Pronounced approximately as Tour Eeirik, Tor is of course the root of what a British person would describe as Thor.

A Wait was a musician, they marked the hour and sometimes called the news in the way a Town Crier would.

To this day there is a whole network of caves under Nottingham and you can go on a tour. Perhaps they were a good place to hide even in the days of William.

My art work is intended to illustrate the story in an impressionistic way.

A more complete story in an historical format will shortly be available as a download, for now we do have a history download relating to York…

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Also try the Viking Comic Book  and History links at the top.

 

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Guy Fawkes – A History

Gosh! Gramey of GSmithMedia has just told me that it has cost £200 to set up the site that supplies this download for us. I better get on with promoting it!

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The Battle of Hastings Revisited – and this time we win!

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The Battle of Hastings Revisited – and this time we win!

Yes we were there. 950 years ago and last week too. This time we won!win-flipped

The course of the battle has been changed. We have a winning tactic. It might take a while for the victory to be definite but the story has begun and once a story starts it is very difficult to stop it.kurs-group – It is quite easy to change it of course. Stopping a story is a different matter altogether.

It didn’t quite happen this year, it might happen next year, it may take another 950 years, believe you me the sling shot is slung and the ball is rolling.sling-win-peep

Warning: for a true representation of what happened 950 years back you may wish to visit Jelling Dragon and buy the audio book Jorvik – York and the Vikings.exclaim.jpg

We won though!me-questioning

It started with an argument. argueWe are wondering now if it didn’t even happen. There was no battle. There was no Battle. There was no Battle before the battle and the battle happened in Battle. If you see where this is going.leah

Fact: There is no such thing as the Battle of Hastings (in my humble opinion). The battle took place at Battle. So perhaps it is the Battle of Battle. If, however, there was no such place as Battle before the battle, maybe it didn’t happen there either. welcome.jpgIf Battle was named after the battle, perhaps battles are named after Battle. So either all battles happened because of Battle or it could even be renamed ‘The battle over Battle’. story rc 07 j pic.jpg(You can see how this discussion lasted a few hours, but to summarise.). If Battle is only Battle because of the battle and the battle is only a battle because it was in Battle they kind of rule each other out and it should actually, technically, be called “                “.battle blank.jpg

And so it was from this silliness that the course of history was changed. An idea was born. A plan of great bravado was suggested.hatching.jpg With a ‘brave heart’ we would find allies among the enemy. This was the plan.two ask.jpg

(“We call upon the descendants of Ragnar and Ganger Hrolfr to remember who they are! Let those of the ancient Germanic tribes unite again as should be.”)unite-box

It works, we are sure.point.jpg

They will join us.normans

We will all be pals.bar.jpg

The war will be over.nothing.jpgNext year…next-year

Nothing.little man.jpgYes we would do it.two-peep

“If I can have your attention please.”excuse-meWe had a little trouble with delivery.excuse me one.jpg“You might like to hear what we have to say.”dying eye.jpg

“You are on our side.”dying-back

We needed to rethink.hideBe briefer.peep-left“Ragnar”peep right.jpg“And Ganger Hrolfr.”peep-left“Remember them.”two up flipped.jpgIt was too noisy.noisy.jpgIt didn’t happen.flat.jpg

Our plans had been heard however.listens

It will happen.barMaybe next year.girl-saysMaybe later.woman says.jpg

Or in another 950 years.win.jpg

Because that is the power of story.argue flipped cut.jpgAnd in a way…

It did.

Click here to view OldMan 01

Click here to view OldMan 02

Click here to view the Indoctrination poem

Click here to view Lives of Creatives

Click here to view OldMan 04 – Star Trek

Click here to view OldMan 05 – Missing Time

Click here to view OldMan 06 – Back When I Was Abducted

Click here to view OldMan 07 – Pickles from the Polish store

Click here to view OldMan 08 – of Socks and Slippers

Click here to view OldMan 09 – Fame at Last

Click to view OldMan 11 – This Time It’s Personal

Click to view OldMan 12 – Bob’s Life

Click to view OldMan 13 – Guadeloupe

Click to view OldMan 14 – Magazine Feature

Click to view Hobb and the Normans at Cliffords Tower

Click to buy The Guy Fawkes Audio Book

Click here for Viking Comics Inc.’s latest project – The Horned God

Click here for the completed Viking Comics Inc. graphic novel The Hammer Flies

Click here for Viking Comics Inc. graphic novel for older children Oski and the Amulet

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From York’s Medieval building Barley Hall I bring you – The Nosegay Blog (My first ever blog)

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We are safe here at Barley Hall, my nosegays will stop you turning purple, and my visitors will keep me informed. Fore-armed is fore-warned and I sought to defend my position with knowledge. There was little need, for every visitor had something to impart. lyndsey and bruniYes I did have plenty to say at the start of my summer holiday stint but this was nothing to the array of facts and anecdotes. Soon I was passing along the wisdom of one to another and I will gather here some of the best of this.wizard

Some of my newly gained knowledge is debatable; this does not mean it is necessarily untrue, just that there will be debate. The very room I am in has become a convoluted topic. Refer to the notice boards for what is perhaps the definitive answer even though many in the discussion would disagree. Even the name, “No, it is not a parlour” – A solar; sit in there in the sunlight and treat this place as a retreat. A place to craft for joy, a place to make all which is beautiful: here you can write and some say learn.

jewelsA few have disagreed that the parlour was a place to receive visitors. Although another interjected that one visitor would be invited in here among the family; the tutor – here we would learn our letters and our lessons. Rhetoric, logic and astronomy are among the topics which would be enabled by this. nasaBut nay, this was not the reception say many who contributed to this on-going discussion. The way in was the proving point of this camp of thought. You entered via the stairs; from there you would be in Lord Snawsell’s bed chamber. Here in, it has been read, was his office and softer furnishings.

candle
Me at Murton Park Viking Village, York (Photo by Andraea)

So therefore this is where he would meet with you. The logic of this is in the access and the fact you would feel you had been welcomed whilst at the same time you would be aware that by being in his realm he retained power. There is logic in the aspect of access too it is argued; from there to get to the parlour one would have to go through Lady Joan’s personal chambers and then get in the way of the busy journeyman all down the long hall.

Not cb 03everything I hear, as I say, is definitely right and some things I hear are definitely wrong.

Barley Hall is loved, many revisit, many discuss, many compliment and recommend, but not all feel this way it seems. A passing hen party definitely didn’t like the look. As I was returning from a visit to DIG my way into the alley was blocked. I stood back to allow the party-wear ladies to leave the alley and they stopped suddenly. Looking up the street, “Oh we’ve been this way” – “We’ve been here before” – “We’ve been up there” – “We’ve been up there” – “We don’t want to go that way again” – “We’ve been this way”. Eventually they turned back and I had a path ahead of me, a slow path.

Barley-Hall window view
The view in the window (minus the peacock)

As they noticed the large window into the hall for the first time there were sounds of disapproval from one of these revellers. “Oh dear, I wouldn’t want to go in there” – “And I wouldn’t want to eat that” – “No, it looks awful in there” – “Ancient!” – “It’s like a museum”

Although most people are entranced by the peacock upon the table, the hen party in search of a meal and another drink were not the only ones to not fancy eating a bird which had been cooked and then repacked in its raw skin. “Never do that” visitors inform me, “Never mix cooked and raw”. “They certainly hadn’t heard of health and safety!”

Nosegays keep us safe, or at least perfumed. Gay meaning ornament back in the day; they were about the smell. Many report on the vast amounts of information on the medicinal, spiritual and nutritional uses of herbs; that is not a major concern when it comes to nasal orientated ornaments. It is all about the smell, the logic I am instructed, is that if the smell carried the disease you didn’t want it up your nose. The miasma must be refused access and to follow logic, if your nose was full of sweet smells then how could the horrid miasma get in! So visitors tell me it was not just about masking the smell, it was about keeping you safe.

If you wanted to be really safe, what better than a plague doctor mask. Fill that with herbs and strap it on. While you were feeling ultra-safe as a result of this constant experience of the sweet and beautiful you might want to go all out and get yourself a job.

plague doc 01 close up
thats me that is

Plague doctors are in demand it seems. An explanation of this which was given to me was that all the doctors were gone – in one way or another. It was a well-paid job I am told – while it lasted.

Not much in the way of skills was needed, according to some, all you needed was a stick, a big stick. With your mask on off you go, and prod people. Then all you had to do was tell them whether they are going to live or die (if in doubt go for the die option). The strange thing is, whatever the answer, they would thank you. I considered these offerings and discussed with other visitors. It is not so strange when you think, as I was asked to do, on the history of medicine. Throughout Europe ‘knowing’ was often more important than helping. ‘How long will they be?’ – ‘Will it be quick?’ – ‘Have you anything to make it easier?’ Another suggested this was still the main focus in many tribal cultures around the world.

pegs 01
These ‘sticks’ are actually hand-made tent pegs found in the woodpile at Gudvangen, (Photo by Tove Gulbrandsen), put you could prod with them

I decided there and then, that once all my visitors had made a nosegay I was off to get a stick; the income would be most welcome – while it lasted.As not everyone wants a nosegay I will be here a while yet. Not that they are to be sniffed at, if you see what I mean. Much a sniffing and a pondering has there been.

me quirky
Thats me sniffing that is, honest

Deciding of what aroma, of what herb one is holding a bowl of. Lavender is spotted by most, thyme only by a few and lemon balm by only one chap. Rosemary is spotted on sight by most, although one or two, including a rosemary grower, thought it was pine. The one which is most evocative is actually a flower rather than a herb as such. Some love it, most are reminded, reminded of something. A Greek flower which is gathered as a healing tea, camomile, just flowers, childhood memories, the bottom cupboard next to the pans; we were taken places. I was put off this bowl for quite a while when a girl said it smelt of hamster bedding. This smell was removed for me a little later by the power of suggestion; a lady said it made her think of her grandfather’s pipe tobacco. Now, whenever I hold the marigold bowlMarigold_AAS_1989_Golden_Gate in front of me I am transported back to my childhood and the hint of sweetness within a heady aroma which would erupt into the room when granddad opened his pouch to stock up his pipe with baccie.

So far there are no reports of the plague coming to me from my visitors. No one has been spotted to be turning purple, well except for Mr Purple himself, but he is upon his bicycle platform out of the way anyway. bike theif 08 14The next edition will feature live frogs, alternative universes and elephants tusks among many other oddities of conversation. Remember when recalling this blog so far, it is all absolutely true – that people have told me these things.

Your tales and opinions can be added into the mix for discussion too. Be in touch.

Adrian

Here is the link to the exciting second half…. Nosegay Blog Too

For bookings and enquiries please visit www.adrianspendlow.co.uk

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