Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Festival of History (Kelmarsh, or Kelswamp?)

In theory I was meant to have my stall at English Heritage's Festival of History at Kelmarsh Hall this weekend just gone.

Well, I was there, and my stall was there - unfortunately most of the stuff was never unpacked from the plastic boxes I left it in after unloading our van on Friday night.

For on Friday night, at around 11.30pm or 12am, an (unforecast) rain that I can only describe as 'Biblical' hit us.  I lay awake in bed listening to it pouring, and getting heavier, and heavier, and heavier,  And just when you thought it could get no heavier, it did.

As it turned out, almost a months worth of rain fell in a few hours.  We awoke to find the ground our tent was on to be sodden, but not too bad.  Then I got a 'knock' on the tent door from Mr Griffin, letting me know that the event was off, and that if we needed any help, to give them a shout, and if I wanted to open that was fine too.

I went off to see my friends (in my re-enactment group, Conquest), to find a large fast flowing stream running through half of the camp, and several friends' tents.  Fortunately, a sort of 'Blitz spirit' pervaded the whole site, and everybody pitched in and helped everybody else.  The weather improved, meaning that the exits that were at first flooded (trapping us onsite for a while) cleared, and the site was slowly cleared - we got off home at around 4pm.    Sadly, by the time we left it was warm and sunny, and the water was draining away at a rapid pace.

From my point of view, the weekend wasn't a total washout - I got a couple of nice orders, and handed out a load of hat-related business cards in the beer tent, and wandering round the assorted streams and lakes on Saturday.

The staff onsite, both English Heritage and event staff, and the site staff from the Estate were wonderful, and couldn't do enough to help anyone having problems (we played the new game of 'towed by the tractor' three times)!  And I'm now off to find some new wellies - although waders may have been more useful in some parts of the site at the weekend.  Waterproof boots are fab - till you wade into water deeper than them to help a friend, and it pours in over the top and gets trapped - because they're waterproof... 

There was no way anybody could have predicted it - just one of those things you have to allow for when doing events outdoors!