When we arrived at the jousting field of Hever Castle, the air of excitement and anticipation was palpable. It had both Greg and I caught up in the moment, grinning with delight.
Hundreds of adults sat outside the cordoned off area, on picnic blankets, their little ones strutting around or acting out scenes of heroic deeds, dressed in new tunics and helmets, wielding wooden swords and shields.
Whilst Greg took photographs, I sat down on the hillside where I could see both the spectators and the four horses in the field below.
I am a horse lover and if horses are involved, that's where my attention goes.
The 'chargers' were ready, decked out the colours of their respective knights. I felt quite nostalgic, a lump forming in my throat.
It suddenly struck me that many of us had probably been there in those times, whether as the knight, damsel or serf - possibly a few times over. How many of us still need to come to terms with and/or resolve a past life that may have been tragic? How often are we faced with a situation echoing that past in the present, sending off alarm bells within us causing us to react in the manner that we do?
Every place I visit or situation I'm in can evoke a memory and a reaction. I don't always note this but on occasion when I get my arse into gear, I find it interesting.
Glancing around I realised that not only were the children excited, but so were the adults. Can't say I blame them - what's not to love about the romance of a by-gone age filled with heroic knights fighting for King and country, rescuing a damsel in distress or jousting for the favour of a lady. Hell, we all know it wasn't all roses and champagne, but even so...
Once the king and his entourage had arrived and taken their places, the four knights and their chargers rode into the field at a gallop. My hair stood on end, shivers running up and down my spine from the thrill of watching them gallop up and down the field, the thump of those big hooves on the ground, pennants flying in the breeze.
What can I say - it was the horses that did it for me, not the knights - although they were spectacular too.
The knights lined up at the entrance to the arena for photographs, before thundering into the arena to much applause and cheering.
Yikes! talk about being caught up in the thrill of the moment.
How incredibly strong the horses must have been to carry all they did. What amazing strength (and multi-tasking abilities) the knights of old must have had - not only are they having to direct a horse, hold a shield, carry their pennants into battle, wield a sword and all of this wearing heavy chain-mail. The trusting work relationship between man and animal must have been rather awe inspiring to watch.
"King Henry" had a typically wry British sense of humour, and together with the knights heroics/antics and the knaves bumbling, we were in either in fits of laughter or gasping in amazement. They were divided into two groups - the red knights and their knave Mungo, whom everyone took the mick out of, and the blue knights whose knave was Big Bad Hairy Scary Bob (a young blonde girl).
One thing I can say about this re-enactment - they were definitely not amateurs, and clearly enjoyed every moment. They spent the afternoon charming and entertaining us.
Altogether a thoroughly enjoyable time was had by all.
|King and his entourage|