Andy and Sarah had recently arrived form their day out and the boys were watching a bit of television before bed.
A man I half recognised, dressed as a monk came up to me, he knew my name and introduced me to the organiser of the event for EnglishHeritage, Jon Hogan. I was grateful to Erling Rigsson (Russ) from the Midlands, for the introduction and that he had also taken me seriously in the face of real warriors all about to remember and use my chosen name.
Jon gave me every assistance with my questions regarding his organisations dealings with the Vikings here and many other organisations around the area he personally covers. He is also responsible for the Abbey where I got my membership from almost 2 months ago, and we chatted briefly about that project and the archaeological dig going on there by the people from Sheffield University, whom I had met previously.
Suddenly I was in the presence of royalty as Konungr (King) Hrothgar came over and presented himself to me again, me a humble scribe and travelling storyteller. It was great to chat to Roger in costume and he likewise presented me to several other warriors and people at the camp.
I got talking to two warriors who were about to give a story telling performance, but at the last minute it was postponed because of the clash with another performance in the main arena. Still I had a very long chat with Halldor Karrison, (Rock of Thor) from Aberdeen and Erik Herdebreid (The Broad shouldered) from York.
They introduced me to their leader, who was Thorstene Oxleg, also from York, Yarl of Volsung Vikings from Yorvic (York). It was fascinating and intriguing to listen to the depth of knowledge that so many of these people had about the subjects that I was presently trying to revisit with my own project Imagine. Thorstene reminded me of Hagrid a bit. The grounds keeper from the Harry Potter stories who always had something new to tell them.
I next found a friendly monk called Karsi. (I promise you this is not a joke about something) A.k.a Mark from Leeds a physics teacher in his current 21st century life, told me that the life he finds here in the Viking world to be a great way to relax and take stock of the real value of life and friendships and community, and he has little fears for his children at these functions because of the close knit framework of the whole group. Of course no one is saying that it is 100% safe anywhere in the world, but by his comparison it takes their family back to basics and good family life and values. A whole weekend without the trappings of modern technology and the stress of being at the beck and call of the present world fascination with gadgets and electricity and oil.
It also became apparent to me that each member has to be given a certain level of training, to be sure that the group as a whole can conduct themselves as a well organised symbiosis. Even things like learning how to make a fire for cooking and techniques and practices for moving dangerous objects around a busy and general public populated venue. Not just the safe handling of weapons during the displays, but more in depth living skills and participation in activities. You imaging that here children that are on holiday are everywhere, interested and curious and looking about are maybe not being properly or adequately monitored by their parents, suddenly one approaches an open fire or a workshop with sharp objects. So the various stall holders and responsible Vikings have to have eyes in the back of their heads, and make sure that the accidents are avoided at all costs.
Hilda told me about the way the Vikings organised their events and the hierarchy and other social gatherings and I learned more about the way you could come through the ranks of Thrall, Friehal, Drengal, and Jarl. Surprisingly there wasn't a ban on women being involved in the more aggressive sides of the events, Hilda was also a warrior, a craft and musical entertainer and a Jarl of her group. She had been coming along for well over 15 years and enjoyed the camaraderie at the events and the challenges of the old way of life. I asked her if she would consider living totally in this period, but she indicated although there were many advantages to this simple way of life, she couldn't ignore the advancements we have made and the comforts of modern life all together.