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torsdag 18 juni 2009

Happy days in Lund - arriving and setting up camp

It was time for our "own" regular event - Medeltidsdagarna i Lund ( It is a small, cozy event in the middle of the open air museum Kulturen in the south Swedish city of Lund. The site is special, as houses from different parts of Sweden have all been disassembled and reassembled in Lund. Some of the buildings are medieval, and some are from later days, but most of them look exactly as medieval farmsteads. They are built in the same way as during the 14th century and with the same techniques. It's beautiful and we like it there.

The boys and girls of Albrechts Bössor are invited each year, to have displays and to add to the general mood of the festival. This year, we had a fashion show, a display regarding medieval fire arms and to fighting displays.

We arrived on friday evening and started to put up camp. John and Hannah from The Company of Chivalry ( were waiting for us, along with Lunda and some of the others. We had a problem with putting up the tents, as we left the centre poles in Italy, to keep the weight down, but after some looking we managed to scrounge up enough poles of the right dimension to put up the tents. Next step was filling them with straw, to make beds. It turned out that the organizers hadn't brought enough straw for all to go around. We shared it amongst us, and we had kind of thin, but OK beds in the end.

It was growing dark, and it started to drizzle. Morale was kind of low, but Lunda and the Brits had been cooking potatoes and chopping chives to go with the massive amount of herring that I pickled. It's traditional summer food in Sweden, and as I use my grandmothers old recipe, it always turn out good. Thing was that 75% of the company just left the site to go for a falafel, because they didn't like the herring - before even tasting it!

I was bloody pissed. I had been working hard for this, and I was really disappointed that noone would eat it - except for John. He really loved it and ate a good part. Even Hannah, who doesn't like fish, tried it, and kind of liked it. But not too much though. To go with this we had bought a classic Swedish lager for the Brits, and a nice aquavit - a spiced vodka - both traditional additions to pickled herring. We sat up drinking in the Dean's House ("Dekanhuset" or "Dekanen"), a 15th century building furnished with some nice reproductions of chests, benches and tables. John stitched on his shoes, we told jokes and had a really good time. I went to check on Isolde, who (finally) slept sound under a sheep's fleece, while the rain and wind whipped the tents. When I finally went to bed, it was more early morning than late night. I was happy that our tents, both new and old, could stand the rain.

I slept well until morning, and stood up to face a grey, rainy morning. Most of our stuff was put under roof, but some lay scattered about the camp (it's always like that - in spite of my, and others, honest attempts to keep the camp tidy). I managed to get a fire going, and put our new cauldron on the fire; it was time to initiate it to the company. Breakfast was to be porridge, and as the food was slowly heating up, I tried to tidy up. The others came out from the tents. Johan seemed really tired (and later told me that he had fallen into some kind of diet-coma or coma-light, which ever expression fits).

As it was finally time for breakfast, it was also time for me to get groceries. Me, and a handful of the others, went for the store, where we bought a whole salmon, a couple of kilos of smoked pork, bread, flour, rolled oats for porridge, apples and other stuff we needed. As we got back to camp, the festival had started - and the rain had stopped. We immediately started too cook lunch - frumenty with fried, smoked pork - an old favourite! Then - lunch. I can't remember what we had, but it might have been frumenty, an old time favourite (boiled barley served with salted pork - it's a lot better than it sounds). It was good to use the new monster cauldron, but it really looked a lot like - iron. It was almost shiny. Simon fixed it up, with a load of grease and 10 minutes on the fire. It was black as sin when he was finished. As soon as the food was on the boil, the sun had begun to shine, and to dry our minds and clothes. Our humours rose, and it was time for the first display - the fashion show.

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