I’ve been back home from Chalke Valley for a day now, and am attempting to adjust back to civilian life away from camp.
Friday was great, as I was able to get to camp with my tent fully pitched up and ready to move in to. I met some of the gentlemen who I would be spending the weekend with, before grabbing a bite to eat and a pint of cider, before turning in for the night.
Saturday involved me getting into costume for the first day of camp. The kettle was on the fire when I got out of the tent, and some of the other members of the regiment began to arrive, with the food for the weekend. We cooked bacon over the fire, prepared the tea, and got ready for the day ahead. I hadn’t expected for the weather to be so hot and sunny, to be honest, so I hadn’t packed suncream or after sun, so I was rather horrified at the sight of my rather red arms as the day progressed. I helped cook, clean and keep camp organised.
Then Ian Hislock and a camera crew from BBC Two showed up, and asked if they could film us sat around the fire whilst Ian did a piece to camera. Ten or so attempts later, whilst the fire blazed like mad, and the sun beamed down stronger, didn’t make things comfortable for us. But after the guys got back from drill, it was over. Apparently I will get an email to let me know when the documentary they were making will go on air, so I will let you all know about that. Ian even gave us a regimental autograph to thank us for helping the production out.
There was a skirmish between the British and French troops on Saturday, but it wasn’t as great as we would of liked, although the clear skys made for clear views of the event at hand.
I popped to the market that was selling all sorts of wonderful things, and I managed, with the little money I had left, to purchase a reticle, which is basically a little handbag on a string to hold basic little items, in my case, antibacterial gel and my debit card. Which was great when two of us went off to get some money out for spending. That was a story in itself, when the search for a cash machine nearly became an almighty adventure.
After a delicious three course meal, we popped over to the beer tent for a pint of ale, before turning in with a borrowed reindeer fur (it was rather odd to be sleeping on Rudolph!) for the night.
The next day involved a lot more shopping! I picked up a sponge suitable for the Barber Surgon’s handling table for work, as well as some naturally dyed wool and bone knitting needles. I sampled and purchased some horse and beef jerky, and found some herbal cream good for sun burn that is light enough to put onto your face. I then bought a canvas satchel for my reenactment kit ready for other events.
After a wonderful shopping spree, I bought some lemonade, and made my way back to camp ready for the reenactment of the Battle of Victoria 1813. It was wonderful to watch, all the smoke from the shot guns, the bangs from the firing Brown Bess muskets. Drums and flutes played as men went down on both sides, with commentary from historians peppering the action without distracting too much from the battle at hand.
After that, the camps closed to the public, so we could get on with breaking camp. I rang Josh to ask him about arrangements for after I got back into Portsmouth, and then discovered that we were off to a barbecue straight away. We left at around six o clock, and got home around quarter to eight. It sure felt odd to be back home, and I already began missing everyone in the regiment. Although I was looking forward to the nice shower and warm bed…
My next event is Kelmarsh, the biggest Living History Festival in the UK, run by English Heritage. Apparently it is the best event for shopping for reenactment equipment, and is also great for finding out more about historical reenactment! Also I will know more of what to look out for and what to pack!
Now I have a shopping list for next camp! But, for the meantime, here are some photos I took whilst in camp!
Dinner being cooked
The walkway from camp
Fred enjoying a quiet weekend
Inside my Tent (more spacious than a one person modern tent)
The guys at work!
Ian Hislock and production team
Camp being packed away
The after math…