18th - 19th May 2002
y memories of Rockingham last year are a little indistinct, I just remember it being excellent at the pub on the Saturday night, and that I passed my musket test on the Sunday. With that in mind, I was looking forward to Rockingham Castle 2002. So much so I decided that we ought to drag a friend and Fudge's girlfriend with us to try out this re-enactment lark.
When we arrived, Phil was greeted with the not-so-pleasing news that he was in charge this weekend unless some of the officers turned up. Although both Steve Rabbitts and Bob were there, they were both going to be in the block and the only other people higher-ranked than Phil were Helen as Head Camp Follower and Sarah Pavely as Officer of the Sweeties. Since it was decided that a 12-year-old girl was probably better suited to command than Phil, Sarah got to be CO for the weekend and Phil was nominated 2IC. As there was only one member of the Pike block there on Saturday though this meant he just had to look after Musket.
Saturday's weather didn't promise much. We managed to get the tent up before it started raining (like Margam) but most of the regiment spent the time before the battle huddled in the damp. We were rather pleased to have to don doublets and buff coats since it kept most of the weather out. After having laughed at Phil's unwanted promotion, I found myself in a similar situation during the inevitable waiting before the battle since Neil went back to camp ill and someone decided I would make a good Corporal. I was surrounded by people with much more experience than myself, and they wanted to make me corporal? I'm not even a file leader! Anyway, it was an honour and I rather enjoyed it. I spent the battle trying not to die too much and running back up the hill to call the reform (yes, they decided once again that although we had a lovely Castle on a hill in an easily defensible position, they would send all the troops outside the castle and down the hill to make it a bit more fair for our enemies). I can't count the number of times I fell over when backing up that damn hill, once when I was yelling to the others to reform (but they couldn't see me because I'd fallen down and was probably hidden by the 3 foot high nettles that are the natives of that hill). A reasonable battle I thought. My main memory of the battle (apart from falling over) was finding ourselves facing about 3 pike blocks without another musket block in sight. An officer said he's find us a musket block to fight since we couldn't possibly fight the pike. I think we proved him wrong when we had a good couple of scuffles against them. Later we found ourselves facing the Scots - all of them seemed to have at least 3 weapons each, not sure what was going on there! We had a good few fights against them. Didn't envy them wading through the nettles in kilts though! After that we backed up into the castle and got a few shots off from the walls, before being invaded and killed. Good fun really.
After the battle it was back to the campsite and on to the pub. As last year, the pub had a bar set up outside and a fabulous barbeque. Fortunately the weather was now dry, and most people had been sensible enough to bring many layers so we didn't freeze whilst sitting outside. Some of the menfolk failed on this front however, and spent much of the evening trying to get warm by being snugly with their women - cheeky buggers! Halfway through the evening, Phil and Bob thought it was time for some initiations - there were definite echos of the depth-charges of last year. Pints of goo for Gerry and a newly transferred musketeer (apologies, I can't remember his name), half pints of gunk for Fudge's girlfriend Lol, someone else I can't remember, and Claire. Unfortunately Claire hadn't arrived yet, so the thing sat there for 15 minutes and solidified. When Claire arrived, the first thing she was faced with was this concoction, and I think she had trouble getting past the top layer of Baileys mulch - next time we'll mix her a fresh one!
Most people got very drunk, but fortunately I wasn't having to support both Claire and Phil back to our tent, which I had feared. But I did have to peel Claire off her car when she fell against it and didn't seemed inclined to move. Thanks Tessa for the lift, I don't think we would have made it home walking!!
Sunday dawned clear and bright and poor Lol was not a happy bunny. It's definitely worrying when even water won't stay down! Claire was OK though, I think due to the large amount of water she'd drunk when waking up at various points in the night. The regiment spent a large portion of the early morning debating whether or not to have drill. Sarah the CO voted for no drill, Phil didn't really want to take it either but decided perhaps he ought to. So we marched around for a bit in the sunshine, then decided that was quite enough of that nonsense. With the weather so lovely, I decided to convert from (part-time) Goth to pagan, and started sun-worshipping. By the time the battle came round we were all a bit pink, except Phil who'd decided to give a good example to Goths everywhere and had been curled in a ball in the teeny amount of shade offered by Steve and Margaret's caravan.
Sunday's battle was probably better than Saturday's, except that once again my gun refused to fire even though I had cleaned the previous evening. This time I was relieved of the position of corporal and was in the front rank for only about the second time ever. I didn't realise how used to being behind someone I was - I usually follow blindly and don't have to worry too much about where I'm going. There's a bit more to think about in the front. As I write this, the battle was only yesterday and already I don't really remember what happened. I think there was more standing around, and more firing off the battlements (or standing there catching the sun for us non-firers). Then we all died again and it was time to go home. A damn good weekend in all, and I've got a tan to show for it all too.