From trainee gong-farmer to full-on knight, godson Alec (and younger sister Bettany) fully embraced the hands-on opportunities at this weekend's Medieval Fair at Tonbridge Castle.
Rachel, Alice, and I rendezvoused with Nick, Clare, and the kiddies around lunchtime, and, as last year, we found Alec and Bettany arms deep in the display of Medieval toilet facilities.
Once we could drag them away from playing with the fake poo, we toured the rest of the site, taking in the combat arena and the demonstrations of Medieval combat as a modern martial art.
I was, of course, particularly impressed by this - rather than the usual choreographed fights we see at these events - and later hearing that the group were looking to introduce this into schools as an extracurricular sport.
Alec tried on one of their hefty, metal, helmets before deciding to don the boffer helmet, take up a foam sword, and challenge his sister to a duel.
Bettany wasn't as in to it as Alec, so handed over her sword, shield, and helmet to her dad - so Nick and Alec could duel.
|Fight! Fight! Fight!|
|Alec getting ready to go to war...|
|Bettany wasn't as interested in duelling as Alec|
|Off With His Head! In case anyone's concerned, Alec did NOT have his head cut off...|
After the fair, we came down to the banks of the River Medway - beneath the walls of the castle - to watch some of the annual dragon boat racing.
Then we bid farewell to Nick, Clare, Alec, and Bettany, and saunted back to the car - via the town's only bookstore, which is now (thankfully) under new management.
The store turned out to be dog-friendly, which was good news, and it also sounds like they have a lot of plans to open themselves up to the community, including poetry nights, talks by local authors, as well as an interior redesign to make it more welcoming.
Rachel picked us up a couple of books, then it was time to go home.
Given that yesterday I was so ill that I could barely move off the sofa - and on a number of occasions Rachel was all for taking me to hospital (severe nausea topped off with sudden bursts of excruciating muscle pains) - I was very pleased to make it out to the Medieval Fair today.
While a fraction of the size of the Herstmonceux event, at least I got to do something Medieval this summer and the fact that it's on our doorstep is a massive added bonus.