Re-enacting the Past – Haibun – May 19, 2015


Our “Sergeant at Arms” resting

It’s a prevalent belief that vacations are a relaxing affair and glibly people go on and on in ambling monologues talking enviously about this or that person who’s recently been off to “rest and relax”.  However, some of those vacations can put you into a desperate morass of fatigue.

I am part of a Medieval Troupe and we pass our vacations putting up historical re-enactments.  Choking heat that shimmered across the Lombardy Plain two weeks ago as we arrived in the small town of San Giorgio in Piano.  Heat radiated off the asphalt and cement but we happily found that for once our campsite would not be in the middle of a field, but a quiet shaded public garden surrounded by a brick wall interspersed with wire mesh.

We began setting up camp pulling all our equipment (tents, tables, armour et al.)  down the gangway of the large van used for these occasions.  The organizer was all aquiver with anxiety, we’d arrived at 11:00 and the Medieval Fair opened at 3:00 and she wanted to be sure that all would be ready for the event but she needn’t have worried, the company has had years of experience setting up camp.

By 2:00 we only needed to put the finishing touches to our camp and it was amazing how the garden seemed to have shrunk as each large tent was set up.  We put on our clothes … rigorously bought or sown to the specifications of our period; 1400 – 1432. Then, just as though we were at court we set at our table, the Captain in his great chair, then toasted our new adventure with Radler beer (rigorously poured into earthen pitchers) and sandwiches with half an hour to spare.

The rest of day was long, we had two parades through the town in costume that day, a couple of duels, a play, re-enacting an imaginary but possible abuse of the local powers of the age. By 7:00 our “Sergeant at Arms” who is also the coordinator of our public shows was sagging with the efforts of his day and finally, before our last show, decided to rest for a few moments in one of the tents, which are open for people to see how the knights and their entourage would have slept back in that period.

I wondered what people thought as they saw his feet poke out of the tent … did they think this was a bit of medieval life put up for their benefit?  I was sure that no one realized that he’d arrived late at camp and had worked non-stop and under very stressful conditions coming straight from the hospital where he’d spent the whole evening before with his son who’d had a bad allergic reaction to a bee sting.  Such are vacations at times!

garbed in old linen
sonder the life of people
now long gone


1. Prevalent 2. Glib (readily fluent, often thoughtlessly, superficially, or insincerity so) 3. Amble 4. Choke 5. Morass (any confusing or troublesome situation, especially one from which it is difficult to free oneself; entanglement; a marsh or bog) 6. Cement 7. Mesh 8. Sonder (the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own.) 9. Aquiver 10. Gangway (a passageway, a narrow walkway) 11. Shrinkage 12. Court


I wrote this piece for Canadian TravelBugs who wished to know the story behind the above photograph using the Monday Wordle posted on Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

34 thoughts on “Re-enacting the Past – Haibun – May 19, 2015

  1. What ! No pics of you in medieval armour with jousting stick on a horse or other costume? Next time you must. We would all love to see it. Sounds like a lot of fun.I have to look up Radler beer. Glad the pitchers and goblets are earthern ware. Pewter is full of lead . So many Elizabethans died of lead poisoning.Very entertaining piece …seamless use of the words….
    The only time I have ever been stung by a bee was in the middle of Florence. I envy you your summer.


    • There’s a link in the post to Radler beer … and alas, I’m an old lady and they won’t let me put on their shining armour (which weighs a ton by the way – I did help one of our lads dress up and then I carried water them when we paraded under the hot sun though … they risk sunstroke in those darn things.

      No, we don’t use pewter the Italians remember the fall of Rome and their lead water pipes! For the record here I am at the reenactment … one can’t take photos and reenact at the same time … I was going to the store here 😉


  2. Love the story very much! Excellent use of words! As of vacation …I’d say this kind more looks/sounds like a work so and treat it accordingly…sure, the vacation is totally different thing…smiles


  3. Nicely done, Georgia! Oh yes. People have no idea how much stress, aggravation, bustle, and commotion goes on behind the scenes – even when the finished “scene” looks peaceful and/or fun! Hope you’ve been able to recharge your batteries 🙂



    • Actually yes, it’s a very intense experience and fun too .. but it really takes it out of you … this one was also rather small and only a one night affair (two days) the next one lasts for two nights (three days) and the August one I signed up for is 4 nights (five days) .. I hope I survive the summer. yesterday I took advantage of being forced not to write to sew myself a Brigitta’s Cap:

      Liked by 1 person

      • VERY cool! 🙂
        At least the Internet outage had one good side effect!
        That 4 night experience is going to be a doozy though — yikes!


        • Yes, Sluderno is one long baby … but it does have the advantage of being in a very cool place (in fact at night it’s down right cold!) … problem in these last two places is that there is little or now natural shade. It is a bit worrisome.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m fascinated particularly with the medieval period right now, so your story was the perfect compliment to my curiosity. And, you neatly worked in those wordle words.
    Thoroughly enjoyed your story!


    • Thanks Phylor … I’d promised to write before I left about the experience but have been kind of wiped out since I got back … glad you enjoyed the story!


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