May 2011

28th May

Thanks to lashings of rain and an overworked husband, our tiny patch of lawn has grown into a little meadow full of buttercups, daisies and dandelions - which gave us a rare treat this morning, in the shape of a beautiful bullfinch with jet-black cap and bright rosy breast. They don't normally land in gardens as small as ours... but normally they're not as thin as this one. Mick said he looked tired out and drained from feeding his mate and brood, and he was certainly very hungry... we watched him for a good five minutes working the dandelion heads, snipping the seeds off with his beak and spitting out the fluff. I'd never seen that before, let alone at such close quarters - it made me very glad Mick hadn't had time to cut the grass or do the weeding.

sherburn 11
me at sherburn

My pic of the camp, showing Des's armoury and the company kitchen in the foreground Tall Mike's pic of me preparing lunch

Our new kitchen awning (bought from the Savile Household) is turning out to be a real Godsend - as well as looking great on camp, it gives plenty of shelter from the weather - and is high enough even for our tallest blokes to stand under comfortably! Must confess I spent most of the day there pottering about with the food, sewing and chatting to Alex and Fran (hurrah for medieval gender roles!) while the guys laboured out in the sun... although I did venture forth to drill 'Captain Cabbage-head' with a few arrows and (eventually) lend a hand with the have-a-go archery. So the day flew by most enjoyably - we even escaped the rain forecast for end of the afternoon/pack-down time.

Then we treated ourselves to dinner at the Crooked Billet - which I can wholeheartedly recommend. The new landlords Richard and Joanne have got off to a flying start - and their food is absolutely wonderful. I had a perfect home-made cheeseburger with yummy perfect golden home-made chips, onion rings and salad for a reasonable £8.95; Mick opted for a slab of melt-in-the-mouth belly pork with a crackling top, on a bed of mashed potatoes and apple sauce, served with a wine & mushroom sauce and a vegetable medley for £9.95. Just the thing after a long day eventing, and two of the best pub meals we've ever tasted... I can't wait till we eat there again!

Fran & Alex

Relaxing after the event - Tall Mike captures Fran & Alex sneaking a ride on 'Thomas the Tank Engine' - complete with ice-creams!

me at billet

A 14th century Clifford... an unfair fight with my husband! Me modelling new over-kirtle (finished after
  2 days of frantic sewing!)

So a great day all round - then it was back to the real world! Having at long last finished our end-of-year accounts (the great grind of the self-employed), I'm chained to the computer again. Not that I'm complaining - I've just submitted a short piece on the new Towton Battlefield Trail for next month's Military Times, and am now working on an article on the Battle of Wakefield for Skirmish magazine... as well as preparing to give a guided tour of Sandal and Pontefract Castles to Boston Spa Archaeology & Heritage group on Sunday.... and excitedly awaiting news from Chipmunka as to when the paperback edition of Gondarlan will be in print - shouldn't be long now!

bolling hall

2nd May

TBS had a lovely treat on Saturday... Peter Algar, a Director of the Bolling Family Association, led us on a guided tour of Bolling Hall in Bradford. Peter opened proceedings with an introduction to the Hall and the colourful history of his Bolling ancestors, who had fought for the Lancastrians at Towton. After the lecture, Peter guided us round this splendid building (left) whose oldest part is a 14th century defensive pele tower (apparently needed because the Bollings were unscrupulous land-grabbers, mightily unpopular with their neighbours!). The rest of the building dates to the 16th and 18th centuries - apart from a sad fragment of the medieval banqueting hall, once connected to the main Hall by a timber walkway. Unfortunately, in the 20th century the local Council demolished the whole thing, apart from one stretch of wall (see pic below right), as constituting a Health & Safety hazard!

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