7th December


A busy and great fun start to the festive season for Herstory! On Saturday 3rd, I got chance to swan about at the Recon wargaming convention in Pudsey, wearing the posh new outfit Mick bought me as an early birthday present: a linen damask gown with velvet trim, belt and stomacher, with a velvet kirtle and silk veil - you can see me there on the left, in front of a miniature Battle of Wakefield. That was an interesting outing; we met some nice people and I finally understand how war games work!


Then we were posh again on Monday night for the TBS Christmas feast where, though I say so myself, Hubcap stole the show... First he brought the house down with an unintentional Freudian slip during Dave Skillen's wonderful Monty Python parody sketch, 'Four Yorkist Men' (below left) - then had everyone in stitches again, scuttling about as 'Simon the Shrew' in Peter Algar's Shakespearean skit, 'The Taming of the Towton Shrew'. The latter earned him a lovely memento - a framed print of an original painting done by an artist friend of Peter's, and now hanging in our sitting room (below right)! So a good time was had by all - including Henry Wowler, who thoroughly enjoyed himself with the big sheet of bubble wrap the picture came home in!

me recon 4 yorkistmen

Three Yorkist men (and a woman!) performing: L - R, hubcap, Lynne Skillen, Dave Skillen, Peter Algar


Me & 'Simon', by Alma Trasker of Sherburn Historical Society

12th December


Yikes, how the month is wearing on... can't believe it's less than 2 weeks to Christmas... and only another 19 days left of 2011! Time has really been whizzing by for me and Alan Stringer, my co-author on Walk Towton 1461 - we're going all out to get the text finished and off to York Publishing Services before Christmas, and feel well satisfied with the way it's shaping up... just putting the final touches to it now.


Meanwhile Hubcap and I are being unusually organised with our festive arrangements this year! We had a big present-wrapping and card-writing session on Saturday afternoon, listening to carols and sipping port to get us in the Christmas spirit. To our surprise, it didn't do the same for Henry Wowler... He so loves that sheet of bubble-wrap Mick's 'Shrew' picture came in (it rustles! it pops! you can chase it, burrow into it and pounce on things through it - it's added a whole new dimension of fun to his scratchy post with the boingy jingle bell) that we thought he'd really enjoy playing with the wrapping paper. But no... instead he did a total Scrooge number, freaked out by the music and rustling disruption to his living space... and went off and sulked in his bubble-wrap tent (see right)!

henry tent

Oh dear, what a sad indictment of our skills as 'cat-parents'... poor Henry Wowler has to resort to protectively  packaging himself...

snug festive group brass band1

19th December

Festive fun at the Crooked Billet for (L-R) Fran,           TBS and Frei Co carollers outside St Mary's, Lead: L-R Judy & Des,             The Morrison family brass ensemble playing inside

Clare, Alex, Tony, Judith, Dave, Alan, Lynne &            Tony & Alex, David, me n' Hubcap, Neil , Hannah, Cathryn, Lynne, Bill,      St Mary's

 Bill                                                                                        Dawn, Liam, Stuart, Jill and Andrew

Yesterday was my favourite sort of winter day: sparkling frost, bright blue sky, cheek-tingling breeze and low, golden sun - and as you can see from the pictures above, we spent it in great style. A festive shoot at the Crooked Billet, followed by a slap-up lunch - Mick and I opted for the trio of pork n' leek sausages on a bed of creamy mash, with red onion chutney, red wine gravy and seasonal veg... a hearty plateful, although I still managed to squeeze in a sticky toffee pudding with ice-cream for dessert! Then at 2pm, Towton Battlefield Society and Frei Compagnie members turned out in force (there were at least a dozen more who didn't make it into the pic above) for the delightful carol service organised by the Friends of St Mary's and Churches Conservation Trust in the atmospheric little chapel at Lead. Just as well we were full of hot food, because the building isn't heated... but the Morrison family's rousing brass accompaniment soon made me forget about the chill and my bum going numb on the hard pew! So we all really enjoyed a good old singalong of traditional carols - and afterwards, I would have enjoyed the mulled wine and mince pies the Friends handed round, if I hadn't stuffed myself so full of pud that I had no room left.


So another lovely festive occasion with our mates... and we're looking forward to seeing some of them again at Sandal Castle on New Year's Eve for our show n' tell to mark the anniversary of the Battle of Wakefield (see the Events page for details). And I'm hoping for another fine day tomorrow - I have to bloke up in my archer's gear to do some publicity shots for it up at the castle!

29th December


Merry Christmas, everybody - I hope you had a good one! And thanks to Henry Wowler (left), I have a seasonal tale to warm your heart in these last chilly days of 2011:


Hearing our stories of Master Wowler somehow inspired our TBS chums Lynne and Dave Skillen with the desire to be cat-parents too. So off they went to the RSPCA and found this adorable girl-kitten, Ginny (right). What a result - the cat gets a great home, the hard-pressed shelter gets one less mouth to feed, two friends get to share the joy of  being cat-slaves... and it's all down to Henry Wowler mewing under a bush in next door's garden.


Which strikes me as a happy note on which to end December news and wish you all a very Happy New Year from Herstory - see you in 2012!

merry kit-mas ginny-kit