Tuesday, August 28, 2007

War Of The Roses

Kenilworth Castle

With immaculate timing Karen and I both came down with a 24 hour stomach bug over the Bank Holiday weekend but despite this set-back determinedly set about enjoying ourselves. Karen is now heavily pregnant – 33/34 weeks – and our options for getting out and about are becoming more and more limited so it’s a case of doing what we can when we can.

As Kenilworth Castle was holding a mini War Of The Roses re-enactment event we decided to mooch along and have a gander. We all love Kenilworth – more so than Warwick though the latter is certainly one of the grandest castles in the UK. The trouble with Warwick, I find, is that Tussauds’ have eviscerated the entire place of atmosphere and have stuffed in its stead a money-spinning circus of hi-tech mechanics and theme park quackery. Kenilworth for the most part is a well-preserved ruin and as such retains so much romance and atmosphere that it’s a joy to walk around its walls and battlements just as they are and to let your mind drift back to what once might have occurred there. The boy certainly loves it and always takes a sword along to fight imaginary foes.

Yesterday however the foes were very real. Whatever re-enactment society were performing the honours (I know, I should have endeavoured to find out) certainly threw themselves into their respective roles with gusto and we had fantastic views as the Lancastrians and the Yorkists laid into each other with pike, sword and bill. Volleys of blunt tipped arrows also added to the overall melee though the boy seemed quite disappointed that we weren’t seeing any real bloodshed. However, his usual testosterone fuelled lust for fighting soon quailed when we suggested that he was welcome to engage some of the fully armoured warriors down on the battle field...!

Wise decision. They were an impressive bunch. The women were all magnificently buxom and the men were all mightily bearded.

In fact, Karen and I were consistently mistaken for being two of their number...

"Who spilt my mead?!"

The newly restored Gate House.


-eve- said...

It looks beautiful. A place I'd like to visit myself :-)

Steve said...

I can certainly recommend it. Make sure your halberd is nicely polished though!

The Poet Laura-eate said...

I know it well from my years in Coventry. Particularly worth going to when the Tudor group is out in force!

I agree that Warwick Castle is ridiculously overpriced and Disneyfied, but I do like Warwick town (and my actor friend Alan was a ghost in the castle tower for two years, which obliged me to visit a couple of times recently). He said it was a dream come true as he'd always wanted to make women scream for a living!

Steve said...

Make women scream for a living? Now that is a job and a half!

Actually I seem to recall a "pretend frozen" security guard at Madame Tussauds having a comparable job... he too seemed to get some sort of perverse delight out of suddenly moving and scaring the female punters half to death.

Unfortunately my day job often seems to involve toilets that would scare the living daylight out of everybody. High on fear. Low on glamour. It's hard to get your kicks wearing marigolds...

The Sagittarian said...

What a great place! I am envious of the amount of history you have over there. At one of our local parks (just across the road from the supermarket actually) every Sunday there is a group of knights who get into their armour and have sword fights. I am never sure who wins as the "dead" get up and start again. Must be a message in there somewhere!!

Steve said...

Hi Amanda, good to see you back from your work trip! Hope all went well at the meat factory!

Yes, there was a similar resurrection scene at the castle on Monday... if only real life dealt in such easy happy endings!