Thursday, 21 January 2016

Once more into the breeches dear friends

Nantwich this weekend, and a small Cheshire town opens it's doors and its heart to a rowdy bunch of well-meaning 17th Century re-enactors for Holly Holy day.  Signs saying SK OK will be in pub windows meaning that we can go into the pubs in kit (or our clothes as we call them!)

The Rosebowl tournament will be held outside the church - each regiment in turn will show their drill expertise, which changes year by year as more information is found out about the actual 17c drills, or for the sake of health and safety. So it will be practised, and the winner of the Rosebowl is chosen on turnout, expertise and not laughing or messing about. 

Very hard the last part! It's the first fight of the season and everyone is raring to go, some get the 'red mist' and forget it's a re-enactment and have to be dragged off, but everyone has a smile on their faces.

Old friends are met and bear hugged, new friends are made, and old soldiers remembered.

We will be wearing black arm bands this time for a young mum called Stacie Jordan who leaves a husband and three small children. Also for the loss of a young man called Andy Gillet. 

We will think of friends fighting other battles, Don and Jean Stitchbury as Jean ambles off  the battlefield for the final time. 

Della Aylett, who used to drum and fight with pole arms as a Pioneer (women's regiment), struggling with dealing with an operation that went badly wrong, and making her look as if she had escaped the hangman's noose.

Sconces will be passed, tankards raised, for everyone everywhere who were part of the Sealed Knot.

The Carousing starts in the restaurants and curry houses, and finishes with lock ins in the 
Pubs.  There will be snogging, humping, and good natured ribaldry.  Like the real civil war there will be people from all walks of life taking part.  

I think of the people we re-enact, for which the Battle of Nantwich meant life or death.
It really wasn't a party for them. It isn't always a party for all of us. But the cameraderie
and warmth and common interests keep us together and we support each other.

Looking forward to it, I'll let you know what happens after the weekend.

Yours in the cause.



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