Local Heart, Global Soul

November 8, 2014

Not Hanging Around, But Each Enjoying Our Own Treats…

Filed under: Cornwall,ENGLAND,Pendennis Castle,PHOTOGRAPHY,South Coast — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Sometimes you see something that makes you do a double take, even though you know that it can’t possibly be true.

When during our summer of 2013 visit, I first saw a figure hanging from a gallows I certainly caught my breath.

Then my brain kicked in and knew it couldn’t possibly be a real person, and of course it was a manikin.

The “executioner” that I saw nearby was however very real and looked suitably scary for the role.

In my last post from Pendennis Castle, I leave Himself, Little Mr and Kiwi Daughter in a large tent where for a fee you can decorate various objects.

Kiwi Daughter and Little Mr have chosen to decorate small wooden shields but aside from the queue to get in, the tent is packed and there is standing room only so I arrange to go somewhere quieter and meet them later.

This post is a compilation of my visit to the fort earlier in the day and my look around the large square building near the entrance. Outside there are some seats and refreshment stalls, I get some water and sit for a while talking a much needed rest. Then I go inside and discover a series of rooms filled with exhibition material, everything from medieval weaponry to models of the peninsular where the castle and fort are standing.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I love this kind of thing, and knowing that the other members of my family are less enamoured by historical stuff, I’m delighted that I’m here by myself and that they are doing something that they like better.

I take a slow look round and end up in the shop, where I buy a few souvenirs.The time when the others are supposed to join me elapses and I wonder where they have gotten to, luckily I can sit on the same steps near the entrance where I waited when we came in, and just as well because it was quite a wait.

It turns out that the tent was so packed with kids wanting to do the various activities that there was a queue for the use of the materials.

It might have been a better idea to have let less kids in at a time so that there were enough materials to go around, because patience was being tried, but other parents like Himself had already paid the fee for the activity and the kids were keen to be creating something so they joined the wait, and waited and waited and waited. (Some with more degrees of meltdown than others.) Our offspring survived and joined me near the entrance waving shields still glistening with wet paint, I will have to confess that about 10% of my brain was congratulating them on their efforts and about 90% of it was panicking about getting paint on the upholstery in the camper.

Luckily I found several old plastic shopping bags and used them as places to put the wet artworks on to dry and heaved a huge sigh of relief that we were are least not adding something extra to the list of already high insurance expenses for damage incurred this trip. We’ve all loved this event, but due to the pain I’m thinking that it might not have been wise to have done so much walking. Only later would I find out that this was not a case of ” doing more and getting better faster”, but rather of “over extending and doing damage.” Time to hit the ice-packs and painkillers. The kids however, still have enough energy to run on ahead…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 7, 2014

The Dragons Are Flying And The Fun Is Infectious…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The other jousting tournament that took place whilst we were visiting Pendennis Castle in Cornwall, England was of a sort that I hadn’t seen before.

Apparently all of the tournaments have their roots in  old medieval traditions, this one doesn’t involve full armour, just a helmet and the aim of each knight is to knock the red “dragon” off the top of his opponents helmet with a baton rather than with a long lance.

The thing that puts some extra excitement into the mix is that there can be lots of knights on the field at one time  so you might be busy focusing your attention attacking an opponent, but you have to watch your back as other knights come up behind you and try and attack you from behind.

There are always handshakes between the competing horsemen after each round,  this is a chivalrous sport after all. I get some action shots of stuffed dragons flying, and after each round the winner does a victory lap around the field, then all of the knights line up and ride a lap around the field to thank the supporters in the crowd. This tournament is full of energy and the horses and riders get closer to the crowd than with the jousting with the long lances so this event has a very different feel to the other tournament.

The crowd are as enthusiastic as the riders, there are plenty of “ohhh” and “aggggh” moments as the knights almost take tumbles and when one knight is within a hair’s breadth of toppling his opponents dragon but gets caught out when a different opponent comes up behind him and topples his instead.  There’s a lot of fun in this tournament and it’s infectious… and last summer when we visited, Family Kiwidutch also caught the bug.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

November 6, 2014

We Support A Winning Joust…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Of course if you are coming to a castle that has a jousting festival on the weekend that you are visiting, then of course this is going to be the highlight of the day.

The announcer tells us that jousting is an actual sport, and their horses are especially trained so that they are used to the sport and the crowds.

Regular tournaments take place  and the participants can win various titles over the jousting season.

There are specific rules as well,  from what I understood (I didn’t catch the entire explanation due to the crowd noise around us) there is a special tip on the lance, and with a “hit” this tip comes off so that the winner of each joust can be determined. There are more rules but I didn’t catch the rest.

In this series of photographs the knights are jousting in armour, racing their horses down each side of a low fence so that the horses do not come in contact with one another.

Spectators can buy little flags in the colours of the knight they are “supporting” (money raised from the flags goes to the cost of staging the event) , Little Mr and Kiwi Daughter were delighted because the knight in the yellow and green colours was the eventual winner and they were the ones in the family who had this flag and they were the supporters of this knight. We all cheered for “our” knights and the noise from the crowd was certainly at times deafeningly enthusiastic. Who needs electronic games when some medieval entertainment can be so much fun?… (Ok,  after a whole day my kids might have a different opinion on that one ha ha!)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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This horse may have lost this round…but he can still manage a big grin for the camera…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

The knight we are supporting end up being the winner!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

 

November 5, 2014

“Patches” Produces Aching Sides And Tears Of Laughter…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There are some days you could just kick yourself for not being organised.

In the summer of 2013 while visiting Cornwall in England was one of these occasions.

We had gone for a day trip to Pendennis Castle and I thought I’d charged the batteries of the pocket camera and the DSLR.

I was wrong about the pocket camera and it’s the camera where I’ve worked out how to use the movie function.

During the falconry display I discovered my error, but thought not too much of it, at least I had decent stills from the DSLR and I probably didn’t need the movie function.

A short time later I started to realise just how wrong I was. A man dressed as a court jester set up his pitch, gathered the crowd around him and began his show.

There was humour on every level imaginable, from slapstick to plays on words, kid jokes and innuendo for the adults, he soon had the entire crowd laughing so hard they were wiping the tears from their eyes. Indeed many of the adults were also holding their stomachs because it hurt to laugh so much. I’m not someone to laugh out loud at every little thing, and these days there is “humour” (and very often questionable as to what passes for such) and there is “comic genius” . This gentleman was certainly the latter. I so, so wish I had had the chance to video even a snippet of the show, to post here and share. I wish even more that I could have recorded his entire show.

His name is “Patch” and  he’s a court jester performer based in Crediton who’s performed for Queen Elizabeth II and became an English Heritage National Jester.  I’d highly recommend  stopping anywhere that he is performing to enjoy the show… if my reaction and that of the rest of the crowd is anything to go by, you will leave with aching sides from laughing so hard and huge smile on your face.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Link to a website that features Patches:

http://www.alivenetwork.com/bandpage.asp?bandname=Patch-%20A%20Right%20Royal%20Fool&style=Street%20Entertainers

 

 

 

November 4, 2014

Swooping In On A Crowd Pleaser…

Filed under: Cornwall,ENGLAND,Pendennis Castle,PHOTOGRAPHY,South Coast — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last summer we visited Pendennis Castle in Cornwall, England, and had the  good fortune to be there the weekend a medieval jousting tournament was taking place.

Just after we arrived, a falconry display began in the large cordoned off paddock and the crowd grew quickly as people gathered round.

At various times during the display, the falconer pulled volunteers out of the audience.

They started with a young boy in a red striped tee-shirt who looked excited, then nervous when the big leather glove engulfed his hand and lower arm, and then ecstatic when the bird glided in and landed on the glove.

A man in a red hat was chosen as the next volunteer and the falcon swooped in very photogenically, coming in in an almost slow motion landing that once again left me in awe of nature and how the “engineering” of birds and their mastery of flight works so beautifully. Then the call came for someone who could run really fast. (That’s me and my crutches out then.) A young lad in a yellow tee-shirt fitted the bill and after some instruction about what was going to happen next,  was handed a rope onto the trailing end of which was attached dummy bird.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

He started to sprint down the field, at the other of of the field the bird of prey was let loose and it didn’t take long for the moving target (the bird, not the boy!) was spotted and  the falcon swooped in for the “kill”.

I was lucky to get photos of the falcon within metres of the dummy bird and then on it.

In the last part of the display the falconer swung another , far smaller dummy bird around in huge arcs in the air, this time a different bird was set loose (I forget the name) but it was one that doesn’t catch prey on the ground, but prefers to intercept it’s meals mid-air.

The huge arcs that the dummy bird made were quickly scoped out by the bird of prey, who made large circles around it, keeping itself facing the sun so that the other “bird” would have difficulty spotting it.

It then semi folded itself up as it dropped from a height like a stone and seized the dummy mid-air. All of the birds of course earned  real food reward afterwards and the crowd certainly appreciated the display. We also enjoyed it very much and although our kids especially enjoyed the other children taking part, they were definitely not brave enough to volunteer themselves. Mind you, neither of them are very extrovert in this respect and are never keen to put themselves into the spotlight. They obviously inherited the “happier behind the scenes”gene that Himself and I share.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

November 3, 2014

Pendennis Castle, A Castle of Sorts, And A Fort That Really Is…

Filed under: Cornwall,ENGLAND,Pendennis Castle,PHOTOGRAPHY,South Coast — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags:
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Just past Falmouth on the south coast of England lies a peninsular which has a castle near it’s headland.

This is Pendennis Castle and it’s our pure good fortune that this weekend they are hosting some medieval jousting here.

We found out about it via the perfectionist at our camp site and we have the choice of visiting on either the Saturday or Sunday, and choose the Saturday because the weather report looks better.

Once again there are queues of cars on the narrow and winding roads leading along the coast, luckily we once again took the precaution of leaving early so we enjoy the view.

Eventually we come into sight of the Castle,  there are a few attendants directing traffic and they want to wave us towards a car park that is  long way away. Himself explains that I am on crutches and that my walking range is therefore limited, and whilst we are still not allowed to park closer, we are allowed to enter an access road so that he can let me off closer. I leave Himself to reverse the camper back out of the access road and make my way up to the entrance. There is a (now dry) moat around the castle and thick walls surrounding the main buildings. I find a step to sit on whilst I wait for Himself and the kids to catch up and I’m rather surprised once we are inside to not find a medieval style castle as the main building within the grounds.

Instead we find that the main building is a very square looking building with wings sticking out on either end at right angles, but as we look out on the large field in front of this building we discover a far more castle-shaped building on the far side, it’s the round fort dating from the time of Henry VIII , and far more fairy-tale and castle-like looking. During the course of the day I manage to go into the main section of the fort, but there are too many steps for me to go further so I make the most of the photographs I can get…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

 

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