Re-enacting Saint George's day at Wrest Park for me will always bring back memories of looking after a 5 month old Benjamin Services at his first event, trying to ensure his fair skin did not burn too badly in the heat. Unfortunately this was 4 years later, the same April weekend was bitterly cold and damp, I suppose that was good news for some of the traders there though, as there seemed to be a never ending line of re-enactors returning from the market carrying bundles of army surplus blankets, or animal skins to wrap up warm in.
The basic re-enactment outline was the same as last time. A drill and military games display in the morning, Two "Saint George and the dragon" pageants, and a parade to finish off the day, this made it quite a relaxing day, with plenty of time in camp to talk to the public and catch up with fellow re-enactors. Hill made a long awaited return, and we also welcome another brave new member to the Retinue, Nicola Stokes, who survived the cold, damp, a knock she took in the week before the event, and still left promising to attend another event some time soon.
Heath seems to be trying to inherit Master Hinsley's reputation of old, for always being the last one ready for action. Expected to arrive at about noon on Saturday, he finally arrived at close of play for the day and he was also the last one in for the drill on Sunday as he was still browsing around the market when everyone else was arming up.
On the Sunday it seemed a little warmer, and certainly more eventful. As I am probably a non combatant this year I took opportunity offered to brush up on my officer's skills by taking the block for a quick drill practice, and had great fun using the fountain as a turning point for to Stafford's formation bill drill. Later one of the 9 year old kids in Company of Palm Sunday decided try Clergy's armour out for size, and it fitted remarkably well, he them proceeded to launch "Stafford" style attacks on his dad with sword and bill. Eventually tiring of attacking he asked his Dad to loose some (blunt) arrows at him, so that he could feel see how the archer v bill man display went, his dad was actually a good shot putting all 3 strikes directly onto the Stafford knot on the livery.
The final St George pageant of the weekend was memorable, with what was probably the largest audience we had had all weekend; Saint George had saved the village from the marauding of the Turkish knight, then the "Its a knockout" style dragon had turned up and was demanding a maiden. St George reappeared, and as usually the thick (rubbery) hide of the dragon was impervious to his sword, so he rode off to fetch a lance. His mount however had already done this show 3 times over the weekend, and had had enough, so set off at full gallop back to the stables depositing St George off its back somewhere on route. Realising something was up, the rest of the cast improvised wildly, The villagers prances and danced around to distract the dragon, The Turkish knight returned to form an "axis of evil", the sheep miler around and performed stunts, and the commentator pulled it all together. Eventually St George returned on foot, with large sods of earth still stuck to his armour, to save the village. He said that he was not badly hurt, just bruised but that he was going to really feel it the morning.
The other notable theme for the weekend was the toilet doors. I'm not sure if there was a duff batch of portaloos on site, or if we were all just having that kind of weekend, but on a number of occasion's one re-enactor opened the cubical door, to find another still using the facilities. One of the main culprits seemed to be master Hadfield who was walked in on a couple of times most famously by Cleggy who alerted the entire camp to the situation with the scream "ARRGH!!! I've gone blind!"
Overall Wrest was a nice relaxing event, which was good for us as it was the first of 3 back to back events with Bodelwddan and Lincoln to follow.