Sunday, August 10, 2014

Happy birthday, NTB

English Civil War re-enactment.
That's Muggins, over there on the far, far left.

Photo from Sir Thomas Tyldesley's Regiment of Foote FB page, edited by me.
Well, I’m back. As discussed in my immediately previous post, the main reason for spending ten days in England was to attend an English Civil War re-enactment at Marlborough in Wiltshire. I wouldn’t normally have made the effort, but it was the Norfolke Trayned Bandes’ fortieth birthday party. We’ve been re-enacting the Civil war for rather longer than the actual seventeenth-century event.

Having arrived in Plymouth in the wee hours, courtesy of Qatar Airways and National Express coaches, I grabbed some sleep and then enjoyed the first of a series of hearty English breakfasts. Huzzah for Nanny Goat! That evening, it being Nephew #1’s eighteenth birthday, I took him down the pub and force-fed him beer. He’d obviously never drunk beer in a pub before. As I’d not had any ‘proper’ real ale since last October, my first pint unsurprisingly hardly touched the sides. For shame! Nephew #1 was to get his birthday present a few days later, wherein he’d hurl himself from a serviceable aircraft in a tandem skydive. I’ve seen the photos, but as they’ve STILL not been uploaded on to social media, my plan to post one here still sits firmly in the Pending tray.

At last. Over a year later I've finally got the pic.
Nanny Goat had very kindly offered the use of her new car. She disposed of her ten-year-old City Rover earlier this year and purchased a very clean 2011 Toyota Aygo. It burns about half the petrol that the Rover did, which means 44mpg around town and an excellent 55mpg under my rather heavy right hoof on a long run. For the ECW muster trip I had a passenger, and by dropping the back seats this minuscule car swallowed all of our kit, a birthday cake, and had room to spare.

I am, in fact, not left-handed!
Speaking of kit, I rummaged in the attic and have rescued some of my other re-enactment costumes and hardware. I decided not to import my spring-steel cup-hilt rapier into the UAE, and that’s still languishing in England. For the weekend, I borrowed a massive tent, an air mattress, sleeping bag, etc. Only afterwards did I discover my old tent in Nanny Goat’s attic, by which time it was too late.

The weekend weather in Marlborough was truly excellent, except for one squally downpour that hit the campsite while I was halfway through erecting my tent. It was up sufficiently to provide shelter for several campers. Having established camp, I and several many Norfolkes headed off to the small but perfectly-formed beer tent. I deployed my recorder, and there was much singing well into the night. I’m mildly surprised how many songs I could remember after a gap of over sixteen years.

Drill occurred on Saturday morning after an unhealthy breakfast at the burger van and a second breakfast back at the Norfolkes’ campsite. Drill is a practice for the afternoon’s battle. As a drum wasn’t available, I took the opportunity to take photos. I’d not be taking a camera on to the field during the actual battle. Anyway, I’d have a drum and therefore no free hands.

Norfolkes engage Blackwells and Tyldesleys.
There might be a certain amount of violence.

And after drill, a small group including myself wandered down the hill into Marlborough in search of provisions and refreshment. The Town Council who were sponsoring the event as part of commemoration of the real Siege of Marlborough (December 1642) wished members to go into town in full seventeenth-century kit. Several went armed with swords. 

At the Green Dragon Inn, there were real ales for sale, left over from a recent beer festival, at a splendid £2 a pint (which is nearly half-price for Dyne Sythe). I confessed that my tankard held slightly more than a pint; the landlord thanked me for my honesty and filled it to the brim anyway. As I was dressed like a Hobbit, I found it necessary to play music from Lord of the Rings in the bar (to applause) and then we retired to the beer garden for pipe-weed and more music. And more ale, I confess.

Birthday cakes.

The Norfolkes’ 40th birthday party was at the campsite after the battle, where much cake, booze, and food was consumed.

And then on Sunday, we did it all again, except that this time the Royalists won.

Back to Plymouth, and to my delight Nanny Goat had had her new internet delivered. She’s now decided to drag herself into the 21st century. “Old Mrs Brady is 86 and she uses Skype and Facebook. If she can do it…”

Plymouth Sound.

I unpacked the modem/router and plugged it in. It was ready to go after about five minutes. There was no computer in the house except for my telephone. After trips to the computer shops, Nanny Goat has decided she wants a tablet computer. Something that’ll do email, Skype, and a bit of web browsing. She’s taking lessons and advice from her tech-savvy grandson, my Nephew #2, and will probably pick up a Samsung Galaxy for a knock-down discount when the 2015 models start to appear. Incidentally, I’m astounded to see Nanny Goat gets over 12Mbps, and she pays a mere £5 per month more than for just the telephone landline. The router is free.

Speaking of Nephew #2, my sister suggested that he might like to spend some quality time with his uncle, so the two of us went karting. He’s about half my weight, so unsurprisingly quicker on the track. To my irritation, I only discovered that it was possible to do the tight chicane at full throttle during the third and final session on the track. Nanny Goat took pictures, politely declining the opportunity to demonstrate to us how karting should be done.

Nephew in Kart 9 gives chase to his XXL uncle in Kart 10

Kart 9 overtakes Kart 10.
All too soon, I was back in Dubai with a suitcase stuffed with liquorice from Tiger Treats of Looe, and historical costume and hardware but no sword. Beloved Wife, recently returned from nearly a month in the United States, would be off to Budapest in a day or so, and would I like to come?

And so it came to pass that I hardly had time to download my photos before the pair of us were off to Hungary for a few days. But that’s another story for another blog post.



Anonymous said...

Nanny Goat may care to look at the Asus T100TA ~ a notebook with a detachable tablet.

I bought one recently, and I'm impressed.

Eric the Boat

Grumpy Goat said...

Thanks for the tip, Eric. I'll mention it to her.

I might even consider one for myself for when I'm travelling. The 15" laptop I'm using at home isn't particularly portable.

Anonymous said...

It's the difference between portable and trans-portable. I decided after 12 years of transporting a laptop between boat and home that something lighter had to be considered.

Eric the Boat


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