Monday, 1 October 2012

Having fun with medievalists

September is a month of fetes et foires, festivals and fairs. I love learning about history and was keen to attend the Medieval Festival of Saint Mathew (Eure et Loir).

They put on a great effort. Many of the locals had dressed up for the part and looked reasonably authentic. The streets were decked our in bunting and heraldic symbols. I had to negotiate the narrow streets in order not to get spiked by a pikeman or pricked with a blunt sword.

The festival had been going on for two days and I was disappointed I'd had so many problems, still, with trying to sort out lack of service issues with my apartment that I only had a couple of hours to visit while things were winding down on the Sunday. I missed the banquet, the troubadours and a concert. At least the weather was fine.

Many of the colourful characters were itinerant (workshop vagabonds). They go from town to town re-enacting things and explaining their crafts. A camp had been set up near the bottom of the hill on which the church stands. Cool.
An expert in pointy arrowheads and other  killing tips was explaining what each design was supposed to do to inflict various horrid injuries and how tricky some were to extract form unfortunate bodies.

To keep the kids occupied there were various rides, an ancient form of skittles, and jugglers. There were things to suck and things to munch. At the end of it all was a brief parade which I couldn't capture as my camera battery gave out. Very colourful, these 'animations'. 

There were others who specialised in mock fights (the dogs of war). A musical celtic group Bagad Ruz A Gwenn had come from Brittany with their special type of bagpipes.

The mock fights were conducted with gusto and the warlike spirit continued after the match with one chap threatening to stab me in the back while I was having my photo opportunity. Delightful motley crew!


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