Category Archives: Live Interpretation
I’ve had a couple of days off at home. This has given me a chance to recover from four of my busiest days at the castle since I started working there in May.
The Grand Medieval Weekend was grand. The site was buzzing for the whole weekend. The jousting and the fighting were very popular. Perhaps we could rehabilitate some rioters by apprenticing them to historical battle re-enactment groups.
Monday and Tuesday were also busy with lots of families coming to visit.
Monday was a day to present and improve the Great Hall Feast demonstration. It involves two of us and I think we’re getting the hand overs working more slickly now. I think I prefer working in a team.
Tuesday saw me present the story of the paindemain loaf four times in a row. The energy level is now about right, but it needs a more disciplined performance’. It’s been too many years since I’ve ‘acted’ in anger – the technique is slow in coming back.
So it’s been a good few days, but I was glad to be off yesterday. Amongst other things it gave me the chance to have my first haircut in many years. The barber contrived to cut it in so that it looks like I’m wearing a bad toupee. I don’t think I’ll throw the clippers away just yet.
I’ve been working on a presentation about bread for use at Bodiam Castle. I’ve been rewriting it for weeks but can’t get the pitch of it right. It’s either research heavy, too flip, too pseudo-academic or too cr*p.
As I have to stand up and deliver this to a passing audience I am anxious to make it good (though at the moment I’d settle for ‘adequate’).
It’s years since I’ve had to perform like this. And I have bad memories of street theatre. I’ve got to get it right.
Luckily the deadline is not until 1st August… Oh.
Word cloud image created in wordle.
Sorry for the hiatus.
I am still researching castles and medieval bread.
Who would have thought that castles would be so controversial? The Battle of Bodiam Castle, it turns out, was not a medieval siege. It’s a contemporary academic quarrel that seems to crystallise the opposing camps’ points of view. Is Bodiam a military masterwork covering a strategic weakness in England’s defences or is it a symbolic architectural statement of status with little or no defensive worth? Discuss for 30 or more years.
It’s strange to be reading academic journal articles again. If you’re interested there’s an introductory guide to teaching medieval castles here (including a bit on the Bodiam battle) and there’s a Castle Studies Group.
On the whole bread seems a lot less contentious. Although I have found arguments over how effective medieval flour sieving was and there’s some argument over whether trenchers were square or round. Peter Brears’ Cooking and Dining in Medieval England has been a good and useful read. I’m currently reading Nicole Crossley-Holland’s Living and Dining in Medieval Paris which analyses the medieval text Le Ménagier de Paris.
I’m back in work on Thursday. Let’s see if those six years olds are ready to grapple with medieval architectural performance analysis.
Still no miles on the bike this week. I’m not riding today’s race either, despite it being a day off work. We had a long meeting at the Rye Writer Hub and I didn’t get back in time.
Bank Holiday Monday at Bodiam Castle was pretty busy. I enjoyed the French Castle builders from Guédelon. They’re building a medieval castle from scratch in Burgundy. Chapeau as we say in cycling.
I am currently reading as much as I can about Bodiam and its historical context. I’m also researching medieval cooking, baking and dining. It’s great talking to people who have a passion for the subject. I love this sort of work – immersing oneself in a strange world. There’s a strange energy in obsessive research. I just have to make sure that it doesn’t lock everything else out.
I’m just back from 1385. I’ve worked three days at the Castle now and I’m enjoying it very much. It’s mostly an outdoor job. I’ve been sunburnt, rained on, overheated and deep-chilled already. The building is, of course, superb and it’s great to see how people relate to it.
The bike has had to take a back seat this week. I’ll miss Sunday’s event because I’m working. I do hope to build up a commuting bike today though. Back in the saddle soon perhaps?
I went for a job interview yesterday. It seemed to go quite well and I’ve just heard that I got the job. I’m very pleased.
It’s a part-time role with lots of weekend working. Although it’s a permanent post, most of the hours are allocated to the months between Easter and September. I’m going to have to ration my racing and training around shifts, but c’est la vie. At least I should be able to ride to work some of the time – the ‘office’ is about 16 miles from home.
I’ll add more details as I get them, but here’s a picture of the new office to be going on with.
Tonight is another Eastbourne Rovers‘ Pevensey ’10’. It’s a nice day, so let’s hope I can get back into the short 27s.
No race this weekend – I’m not ready for a ’50’ yet and there was nothing else close.