Friday 16th: Despite several hold-ups along the route we
arrived on site in the middle of the afternoon. As we waited to
go to our pitch I could not help noting that when the message went
to Griffin it appeared that there was another Grymm Tooms
out there. Whoever had given in our names earlier had, it seems,
disappeared leaving a whiff of mystery in their wake…
It was a very pleasant, sunny afternoon but we had checked the
weather and had a pretty good idea that we were in for another Kelmarsh
Ordeal by Weather over the weekend – we could hardly wait! We
were set up next to the Home
Front display, Harry and Andy had a little
for Victory garden going that had the potential of ending
up like Passchendaele
by Sunday. This was an excellent spot for us as we were tucked
up against a little woodland which would, hopefully, shelter us
from the persistent wind of these here parts.
In the evening we were joined by Paul and Debby.
They were camped about as far away from us as they could be without
leaving the site. Earlier we had communicated by phone while Debby
waved a shopping bag to get my attention, a yellow bag and a mobile
phone could have saved Hannibal
at Zama…well, it might have…trust me I’ve read Livy’s
‘War with Hannibal’!
Saturday 17th: We set up in the vain hope that the rain
would not arrive until later but within minutes of putting our exhibits
out the rain came and continued relentlessly throughout the morning.
I got a text from Paul ‘If it keeps up like this we won’t
be able to get the fire going’ my reply was ‘If it keeps up like
this my mermaid will be able to swim to freedom’ – luckily I kept
it under wraps and the lapping waters of the deluge did not reach
the table top.
As we chatted with Tony Mugridge, who works as a brick
maker at Iron
Bridge, I could feel my formal coat becoming heavier and
heavier. By the time I ambled off to the Viking camp to meet
up with Mike, Katie, Steven and Matt,
I had gained several pounds and was shedding water from my sleeves
like the Kwisatz
Hyderach…only there was no desert. Mike was going out as
a veteran brother of the Knights
Hospitalers and as he rested on his staff he looked more
like the Ancient
I can quite honestly say that by mid morning I would gladly have
gone home. The thought of standing around in wet clothing discussing
the finer points of mermaids and non-descripts just did not seem
that important when compared to a hot meal and a warm bath.
Around 1 o’clock the weather cleared and the sun came out – it
was time to work, at last. I took my coat off and worked in undress
mode to allow my heavy, soaked coat and clothes to air and dry.
Despite the horrid morning we had an excellent turn out and we were
in a good position next to an arena.
Debby had hoped to cook lunch for us but their fire drum
had turned into an elevated pond, so it was just as well that we
had ready to eat food, hopefully Paul and Debby also
had something to eat.
Mike returned and became, rather briefly, our valet, offering
choice morsels of what I referred to as quagga
biltong. I met a gent from Blackpool who is starting his
own curio museum and I passed on information on model making and
availability of originals. The rest of the day went very well, meeting
up with some previous visitors. I was glad when the show was over
– standing around in damp clothing had taken a lot out of me and
I needed to sit down.
In the evening we were joined by Paul & Debby, Milo
and Beth. Milo is possibly one of the tallest people I have
ever encountered and even the wide French
Foreign Legion sash did not detract from his tallosity!
We were joined also by the amazing Mike the Medic who is
so unique that if he did not exist he would have to be invented!
Mike had had about as dreary a journey as us getting to Kelmarsh
and by a twist of angwantibo
giblets had seen the same three grey guinea
fowl feeding along the motorway…What strange birds! We had a
great social with the usual tales of odd re-enactment moments and
spooky goings on in strange houses…but that, as they say, is another
Sunday 18th: Well, at least it was sunny, and the rain
seemed to have used itself up during Saturday. However we
were not to escape quite so lightly, where water had given up air
took over and we did our show in the most horrid gusting wind. Things
not meant to fly took wing in a random fashion; at some point during
the afternoon a sudden gust grabbed one of Dr Toomsesss framed
exhibits and slapped it against a barrier pole sending glass fragments
a couple of feet further on, fortunately no one was standing in
Debby had managed to get her fire going today and prepared
some food for us, it was supposed to have been brought over by our
new valet but he disappeared into L-Space
somewhere on the way, perhaps the wind had taken him to Kansas.
A couple who we had met in Zonnebekke last year came over
to see us and then I ambled over to see Chris and his fellow
Boers. I bumped into Elaine, Mike’s missus, on the
way and told her to tell him that he was sacked as a valet.
Regardless of flying frames and a collapsing tent we carried on
with the show and again met lots of interesting folks. I met a kid
who knew that pterosaurs were not dinosaurs, it never ceases to
amaze me just what kids know and what they are interested in.
After our last visit to Kelmarsh a couple of years ago,
we decided that if we got the chance to do this event again we would
stay over and chill out for the evening and, with a bit of luck
we would be packing dry canvas in the morning. We had another enjoyable
evening with Mike who was staying with us overnight.
Monday 19th: Having had a peaceful sleep I woke up to find
that Tooms had had a pretty miserable night. Granted it had
been a cold and damp one but the Pixies of Temporal Gateways
had somehow undone his tent ties so that the whole thing flapped
open during the night like a ruptured bat, so that he felt as though
he had slept under the stars. I found him sitting in his car with
the heating on, I suspect that if it had not been for us he would
have simply driven away and left everything! And so, having survived
another Kelmarsh, we sat down to bacon and a few of Mike’s
home produced Indian runner and bantam eggs, with
the proviso we broke the eggs into another container first since
one of them given to a friend had been more balut
than fry up!
This is Prof Grymm…Kelmarsh…it’s got ‘marsh’