Two weeks ago*, one of our Saturday travels was to Hyde Park in Central London to see the encampment of a group of Anglo-Saxons, on their way to defend their land from Norman invaders on the south coast. They had marched all the way from York in the previous weeks, and had stopped over in London to show the rest of us how they lived, ate, worked and fought. Their journey would then continue for another week to take them on to Battle Abbey near Hastings in Sussex, where on Saturday 15 October they would re-enact the battle of 1066 at which Duke William of Normandy defeated King Harold of England. This corner of the park was dotted with their tents and awnings, and they were demonstrating* all aspects of their daily life, including weapons and armour, clothing, basket making, food, medicine and pottery, all in the interests of historical accuracy and educating us modern folk in a much more* direct and pleasant* way than books can do, at least* when it is not raining.
* Omission phrase "two wee(k)s ago" "much m(ore)"
* "demonstrating" this and its derivatives omit the R, in order to include the N hook
* "pleasant" Always insert the vowel in this and "pleasing" to prevent misreading
|Medical tools, no appointment necessary|
* "unharmed" Essential to always insert the Dot Hay, so it does not read as "unarmed"
We listened to detailed explanations of what we were looking at and the background information and history to put it all in context*, and there was an opportunity to have a go at the crafts, weaving a tiny basket from fresh willow branches, dipping a candle or making a pot. The only things absent were the grime on their clothes, the missing teeth and the pungent and unpleasant smells of the time, which might have added to realism but would end up sending the onlookers hurrying on their way, not the purpose of a living history demonstration. I tried to imagine that I was standing in a real past village, watching real folk of the time, and this had the effect of underlining the fact that* people then were exactly the same as us, although with entirely different lives, customs and traditions, but no less intelligent and resourceful, maybe more so as they had to be more self-reliant than some of us are in our soft and relatively comfortable times.
* "context" Always insert the Con Dot, not using proximity, to prevent misreading as "text" which is also likely to make sense most of the time
Spread out on the grass was a large white sheet, painted with the outline of Britain and France. The English were represented* by rows of apples, the Normans by rows of onions, and Norwegian invaders by other vegetables. The knowledgeable* and energetic narrator went through the entire history of the conflicts of that year, moving the fruit and veg around to show movements of the armies and their strategies. This made the whole train of events exciting and memorable, and we just had to stay and find out what happened next and why.
* "represented" Optional dash through the last stroke of a contraction to signify past tense
* "knowledgeable" This contraction is identical "enjoyable" and here needs differentiating, therefore vowel added although remaining on the line, although this is not dictionary or strict theory. It is advisable to always insert the diphthong sign in "enjoyable".
Duke William claimed the right of succession based on an oath given by King Edward The Confessor, whose death in January 1066 led to these battles over the throne of England. Although the claimants to kingships* have some fact, ancestry, agreement or oath to back their claim, it seems that a battle has always been the deciding factor in who actually ended up as ruler, with their attention firmly on others with the same ambition. The famous arrow that is supposed to have killed King Harold was part of medieval iconography to show an oath-breaker’s death. The Bayeux* Tapestry did not originally show this arrow but it was added in a much later repair (seventeen hundreds or later) covering empty needle holes in the cloth, although the original stitches may have shown a lance. Historians still disagree over these details.
* "kingships" This suffix can omit the P as long as there is no confusion with any other word
* "Bayeux" This sideways dash signifies this French vowel, and also the German "ö", similar to the one in "earl"
It was quite a culture shock to leave the park and get back into the modern world just a few minutes away, with nose to tail traffic, endless red buses and black taxis streaming past, neon-lighted pedestrian crossings, underground trains with recorded announcements at the stations, and every other passenger looking at their smartphone. Somewhere there is a Harold and a William sitting opposite each other on the tube train, with no thought of pursuing or defending their right to the throne of England and all thoughts of battle confined to the football field or computer game. (782 words)
www.conquestlivinghistory.co.uk Conquest, the society of Anglo-Norman living history
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayeux_Tapestry This includes a very long picture with sideways scrolling, so you can view the entire length of it