So here I am, back from the wilds of embattled York. We did not freeze, and much fun was had by all.

As many reenactors in our part of the country don’t own cars, it is not uncommon—so I’m told—for the organisers of an event to arrange for pick-ups from the train station. So it was that Friday night found NTS and me in northern England, climbing into a small car with a complete stranger.

My thoughts underwent an interesting transition over the course of the half-hour ride. At first it was, This is still too urban. I want to get out into the country for once! Please let this place be out in the country.

It was. We pulled in onto a dirt road between two massive barns and came to rest beside some well-loved farm equipment. Then it was, Oh God, I’ve walked into a Stephen King novel. Dammitdammitdammitdammitdammit.

Fortunately, that turned out not to be the case. I have learned nothing about climbing into cars with strangers.

A Frosty Morning in Insulae Draconis. FarOuterHebrides 2012

Saturday morning arose bright and chilly. I had thought a thick wool surcoat* (which, until last Thursday, had been a blanket) would be excessive over my silk long underwear, but that only proved to be the case during the sunniest hours of midday. NTS and I had just enough warm garb to stay comfortable all weekend. If I happened to throw my surcoat on over my houppelande at one point, well, you couldn’t see it under the cloak anyway.

NTS surveys his domain

I was entertained to discover that all of my garb is in Halloween colours. Getting ready for our surprise visit to Aberdour Castle, I grabbed the first bedspread I saw in the charity shop, which happened to be a shade of orange that suits me especially well. Then last weekend, a friend gave me a (three-time) hand-me-down dress she had outgrown in a shade only slightly darker. My surcoat is cream, my cloak pure black with (as if that wasn’t enough) dark purple ribbon at the neck seam. So in the two photos of us, you can tell I’m all ready for some trick-or-treating.

Proof that we really were there this time

This is not, incidentally, untrue; it’s just a funny coincidence that it’s reflected in my garb.

It’s a little-known fact that the British Isles mastered the art of the queue as early as the Middle Ages.

After breakfast Saturday, the fighters geared up for practise, followed by hearty battle. NTS and I were corralled, in the most friendly way possible, for our very first rapier lesson. I wasn’t sure I would like it, but thought it too good a chance to pass up. As it happens, the only thing I regret is not living nearer someone who does historical rapier fighting on a regular basis. It’s great fun. I even considered joining the [modern] fencing club at school to get some practise, but the beginner sessions both overlap with one of my classes. (Which is what happens when you hold both sessions back-to-back during the school day on the same day.) I shall have to get more tutelage during future reenactment events. Or from anyone I know when I get back to the states, as half of my friends have taken up historical rapier.

Full photos of the weekend can be viewed here (less the ones with people’s faces in them).

A Fiery Finish

* Americans: a floor-length jumper.  Brits: a floor-length apron dress. Not to be confused with the actual Viking apron dress, which is something else.