Kentwell Initiation

We had hoped to all go to Kentwell for the May mini-recreation, but in the end J couldn’t get his act together about homework, so Katy had to stay behind with him and I took everyone else. The weather was unusually nice for a bank holiday, particularly so for a Kentwell mini (there has been snow at these before).

I popped up to the office on the way in to hand S’s form over – she’s officially in the system now. The vote for the first port of call was the still room to see if we could bump into KW and home ed friend A. On the way up the front sward we stopped at the decorated well, and I tried (and probably failed) to explain to S what a ha-ha was. More success explaining sun dials (from the one up by the house where you stand in the right place to be the gnomon yourself).

A quick go in the stocks (obligatory photos taken), back bridge sotlers, camera obscura (which worked well, despite it being a bit cloudy) and finally we were near. However, to honour the one-way system, you have to go in via the brew house first and then upstairs to the still room. We didn’t go directly in to the brew house as I wanted to show S the bake house first, a chat to the baker (who I didn’t know), then into the brew house to talk to an idle brewer teaching visitors games (who I did know), then finally up to the still room. I think this counts as fairly quick and direct in Kentwell terms!

Unfortunately A wasn’t there, but we had a look around, on to the seamstresses and I tied a favour to their trinity tree. Next vote was for the alchemists, but as we were heading back (via the camera obscura again), one of the back bridge sotlers advised us to go to the barn sward for a mini fayre, so a change of plan and direction. On the way we were overtaken by A who was running with some lads to get to the fayre, said hello to two lovely enormous horses, and arrived at the barn sward in time for the gentry and others to arrive for the fayre. I showed S the Cotte, where she’s likely to be, had a nice chat to some Kentwellies I knew, and then left the children at the barn sward while I sneaked to the Butts to talk to archers.

They were very busy – the new approach of letting the public shoot is very popular. Earlier in the weekend they had a queue of 40 people waiting to shoot. While this is great at experiencing archery, all the Kentwellies had time for was very rapid schooling of the next person so they could shoot their three or so arrows. So, no talking about bows, arrows, practicing, how rubbish muskets are and so on.

When I got back to the fayre it was still just about going. I had a nice chat with some visitors about the main event, and they had enjoyed themselves and were thinking about bringing their respective mums back in the summer.

By this time we were starting to flag, so while K continued to play with some Kentwellie friends, the girls and I went back to the car for something to eat. On the way back I tried to buy some ice cream from the gatehouse shop, but they had sold out (unsurprising as it was near the end of a hot day, and the last day of the event). They said they had also sold out at the stableyard cafe – cue unhappiness from A. After that the big girls went off to the alchemists, A and I picked K up, and then we headed off as it was closing time.

On the way home I stopped off at the first petrol station and bought ice cream lollies, so happiness was restored. I think that S enjoyed herself, and that she isn’t too scared by the prospect of being a Tudor over the summer.