You have to wonder at grown men and women who spend their weekend dressed as mediaeval foot soldiers playing out a reenactment of The Battle of Hastings dressed in shapeless sacking and in need of a good haircut. Having said that , we wandered around the boot camp stroking the fur pelts and poking the arrow heads to test their sharpness for a good hour, after which I was more than ready to swap my jeans and crocs for a linen tunic and rustle up a simmering pot of rabbit stew with the rest of them. Whether it was the jolly cameraderie and the jocular banter or just a desire to escape the dreariness of the school run and the misery of the supermarket was difficult to discern. I have to hand it to them though . No nylon sleeping bags or plastic groundsheets for this lot . Proper carved wooden beds strewn with soft downy rabbit skins under oily canvas with a real fire belching out delicious woodsmoke - now that's camping in style.
The audience comprised mostly ambitious parents dragging along their key stage 2 children who'd just got to that bit in their history curriculum. The parents watched the battle with interest whilst their children pushed eachother into the horse pooh and beat the hell out of eachother with wooden swords happy for the opportunity to infict real damage on their siblings under the guise of a bit of living history.
A good day was had by all and I couldn't help thinking, as we pulled into the Wild Bean Cafe petrol station cum M&S food mini store just off the A21 to buy a plastic wrapped pizza for the kids tea, that the option of a night under the stars with a steaming wooden bowl of vegetable broth would have been a far better option.