Monday, August 21, 2006

Another Peasant Valley Sunday - Jousting at the Priory

Yesterday morning the weather had been so-so before the heavens opened up. I was expecting the same today, and thus more rusting than jousting.

Hopped on the Metro at West Jesmond and got to Tynemouth by 10.30am, our destination station hosting a busy bric-a-brac market. It was only a short walk to the Priory and we arrived with the early crowds. I was recognised (via Bondi) at the gate as having visited Housesteads Fort during our Wall walk last week. Later that day we had "saw you at Segedunum museum two weeks ago", "saw you at Dunstanburgh yesterday", "saw you on the train this morning"...

The morning's activities were mainly musical or hobby-horse jousting and jesting for the kiddies, followed by by the offical welcome, archery events and a falconry display.

While Bondi was sitting with me in the shade of some crumbling Priory wall, we were accosted by a pair of 4 year olds in Crusader outfits: "we're the nice knights ... well I'm nice and he's nasty". Young Daniel was particularly entertaining: "I'm going to be four again next year and after that I'm going to have lots and lots of birthdays".
[Pointing to Bondi] "I'm going to grow much bigger you know"
Me: "But how big will you get, you're already enormous!"
Daniel: "Well yes, but I will get much bigger than him"
Me: "And will you be as hairy?"
Daniel:" Oh yes I expect so".
The rain stayed away for the individual horseman events and one-on-one foot combats, plus further falconry displays showing off the eagle owl and peregrine.

There were a good few very big dogs around today - a St Bernard, an Irish wolfhound, and a pair of young deerhounds - but Bondi still got the lion's share of attention, finally switching off to all the outstretched hands.

As the time for jousting neared, the rain started again, thinning out the ranks of the audience. It's a fairly quick event with each knight from the four teams riding against the others, and one of my photos catches a lance shattering against a shield or breast-plate.

Bondi looked a bit worried that thunder might ensue, but we held out through the first few rounds and then bolted for the station before either the clouds or the crowds followed us.

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