Wednesday, May 26, 2010


We've just had a loooooooooong bank holiday weekend and so clearly there were lots of 'things' going on in the area to keep people occupied (especially as all the shops don't open on bank holidays, except for the bakers that is, honestly bank holidays can be deader here than Sundays are, at least on Sundays the garden centres are open, but on a long bank holiday when you have the time and even the inclination to garden? Not a hope! I had of course forgotten this fact when I drove to the garden centre intent on buying some new summer plants for my sorry looking spring plant pots, ho hum, another job that has to wait for another (non bank holiday) weekend)

As we had visitors this weekend just gone (the outlaws) Simon felt we should make an effort and actually go somewhere and not just laze about in the sun (boo hiss) Ben refused point blank to accompany us and made other plans involving another 12/13 year old boy & scooters, Logan sensibly skulked off to the cellar and we remaining 5 went a Ritterfest.

Der Ritter = knight (medieval styleeee)
Der Fest = festival

Getting the idea?

This particular Ritterfest was held in the grounds of a schloss (castle - but a small scale one, don't go thinking Warwick or Winsdor, actually looking at it now, it reminds me more of a prison than a castle...)

This kind of thing I'm sure goes on the world over, it certainly does in the UK, the Sealed Knot people love a bit of dressing up and re-enacting of civil war skirmishes, the Germans seem to love the medieval era and when they like something they like it seriously. No playing at being a medieval maid/serf/lord with jeans and trainers on under a tunic for them. Oh no. These people had beautifully hand made oufits complete with hand made shoes, the truly serious ones had authentic (I'm guessing here) tents with not a sleeping bag or schlafsack in sight (think sheepskins & rugs instead) open fires abounded and much ale was being quaffed (can't trust that medieval water you know!)

After watching the end of the jousting/skirmish - whatever it was, we got there too late to see the beginning and I couldn't see over the heads of the crowd to actually see any action myself, hence me being a little unsure of what exactly was occuring to cause the cheering! When the fighting had finished we toured the grounds, stopping for Jas to waste 1 euro on betting which house the white mouse (which I'm convinced was a rat - it was huge, and as you know, I do have a good idea of what a rat looks like) would choose, she didn't win, as Ratty chose the house 3 doors down from the one Jas had put her/my money on.

Then onto another game, using miniature catapults that fired corks, Jas had to try and knock as many men on the castle ramparts down as possible, she was very please to win a 'lucky necklace' although I think the stall holder took pity on the girl with the broken arm who had to get her dad to hold the catapult in position while she fired (it's definitely a 2-handed job, firing a catapult!)

Pete (FIL) stopped at the longbow maker and must have started making comments in English to MIL (at least I hope that's how the conversation started, I hope he didn't try his German...) because when we walked back to find where they'd got to the 3 of them were deep in discussion about long bow usage, the musculature of the bowmen etc etc etc - Pete was well up for this conversation as he'd just finished the book Azincourt by Bernard Cornwell, a very, very good book that I thoroughly enjoyed.

We watched a very good juggler for some time, in fact I think we saw his whole show & we were certainly stationary long enough for Si to burn his face red. The juggler started off with 1 onion (I've never seen an onion so big - maybe that's what the mice eat?) and worked up to 4 or was it 5 onions?
Anyway, then he went onto the more traditional juggling baton thingies but made of wickerwork before the finale, the flaming torches. Again he managed to keep 5 fiery torches airbourne without setting fire to the dry grass or his clothing (I was going to type hair, but I've realised he didn't have any hair under his leather hat...I wonder why?)

By then we were thirsty and stopped at a small tavern for apple juice, diet coke and iced tea (weren't the medieval times advanced?) as we walked away from the tavern we noticed a large barrel at the side but under the canvas roof of the tavern, this barrel was maybe 4-5 feet high and at least that wide, it was not quite full of water and had two people (1 male, 1 female) sitting in it, a medieval hot tub come jacuzzi maybe...Jas of course was the one to get up close and peer down into the water and declare loudly (but in English)

"they're naked"

Germans - they're bonkers!

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