Just a lovely weekend!
Audley End House, 3rd - 5th September 2004
Audley End House, if you have never been there, is a beautiful place; surrounded by landscaped parks, ornamental gardens and for this weekend at least, blessed with the kind of late summer weather that requires chilling out at its most horizontal.
Camping was in a large area of Oak studded parkland more often used for pheasant cover. Tranquility almost insisted itself on the vast area comfortably accommodating the large turnout of ECWS reenactors who with customary ease, translated the landscape into regimental encampments, colours amast and fires aburning. Within a short period of time, the surrounding woods were turned into dens and hideaways by the children accompanying the society. They must have been having fun, we didn't see them until teatime!
Displays on the two event days of Saturday and Sunday were nicely timed to allow everyone to relax inbetween and consisted of a trooping of the Parliamentarian side at 1pm, to welcome the return of Oliver Cromwell as leader, with Lord Fairfax to introduce him. This turned into an impromptu drill display for the Gentlemen of The Pike, who despite no warning, turned it on with aplomb. The main battle (Naseby scenario) was held at the end of the day and greatly enjoyed by all, particularly the pike of both sides on the Saturday, when as is usual on the first day, the script was slightly bent and modified to test it out. Suffice to say, lots of happy, knackered bods afterwards. Sunday provided a somewhat more tightly scripted battle, but hey, you take your opportunities where you can
The social was good, a beer tent was provided, serving good ale at sensible prices (Stoneleigh organisers take note!) and as a result was well attended. A few traders made it to provide some cash shedding opportunities and the house itself, free entry to participants of course, provided a relaxing and cool interlude in the heat.
A thoroughly pleasant weekend.Ashley Kitson