There has been a major surge in the number of groups added to the Groups Billboard in January, I added at least half a dozen new entries. This also comes with the addition of an interactive map, pinning a location for each group so you can search the page by type of group, but you can also search the map for groups which are near to you! I have also added an events calendar page, which is a tool we can use to keep in touch with public demos, timeline events, immersion events, and other demonstrations or insular activities which we can attend with each other. Of course, this page is meant to be a receiving space for all the new events happening after we get on top of the pandemic, so it is a bit empty right now. But as events start scheduling again, it will fill up (just make sure you keep sending me those entries.)
The monthly link check is complete. One of the repairs was a typo on my part, and easily corrected. One of the dead links was for the International Reenactor’s Day Facebook page, which doesn’t seem to exist anymore. So much for that being an annual thing. Otherwise the site is in working order, everything you click should go to something as designed. No dead links!
I have not done as much upkeep as I would have liked this month. I did clean out the morgues. The blame for most of it is on a heavy workload at the day job and the holidays. I just spent less time fiddling online. However, I have not neglected my commitment to good links, and the entire site has been run through and checked for dead or broken links. Everything is up to date and functioning. Though I have some not-computer-based personal projects for winter, hopefully, I can use some of that overwintering time to get some of the projects here complete. For instance, yesterday I noticed the Groups Billboard is one of the most popular and frequently navigated parts of the website, followed by the tutorials page. Both of those pages are incomplete in some way based on standards I have set for myself. The tutorials deserve more elaboration on what you can expect to find at each link, in the way I have a synopsis listed for each of the books I recommend or an indication of the inventory for each entry in my merchant and artisan rolls. Likewise, not all the groups included on the billboard have pictures and details as they should. You deserve it, and I will continue to work on it.
2020. What a year. For many it’s one of the worst years of their lives… the year they lost their homes, or their business, or their family. For many students going into and out of school it was a year of lost opportunity and the loss of traditions afforded to everyone else in their community before them such as proms and graduations and varsity sports championships. People’s weddings were postponed or cancelled. Vacations people had been planning for months or years or a lifetime were waylaid. The world was turned on its ear. I was once told, and it has always resonated with me, enjoying life is about appreciating contrast. Not in a philosophical sense wherein bad must exist to for there to be good or for people to appreciate good, but in an entirely pragmatic sense: good and bad experiences exist and in this context it doesn’t matter so much why. Sometimes we’re out in the daylight, it’s clear and sunny and pleasant. But night always falls (and the night always ends with the rise of the sun.) But even at night stars shine in the sky, the moon reflects our absent sunlight as a reminder of the coming dawn. It is in this mindset we focus today on the stars and the moon and the bright highlights of all the good things which happened around Neep Manor during the long, bitter night of 2020.
So I thought I’d look at the last year in the form of some top lists.
I changed templates… again. The idea behind the other one was to give me the ability to make the home page a “news bulletin” style page. However, the upkeep was more work than the site was being used for the purpose. The template was also incapable of having pages without side bars, and I prefer when the informational pages on the site are less cluttered. So I switched templates again and scrapped the bulletin as I suspect most people get their news updates from Facebook anyway.
The medieval period is a vast swath of time covering a myriad of different cultures and fashions. However, just like how there are some common threads (puns) between the suits of the roaring 20s and the business dress of the Covid 20s, there are some must have necessary elements of medieval dress every living history or reenactment impression should consider incorporating to be considered complete.
Responding to the challenge of Matt Blazek, Executive Director of History Live North East and The Agincourt Soldier I talk about my favorite living history item, the one thing out of my collection which I love above all others. As part of the rules I have extended this challenge along to Ben and Reece of Pursuing the Knightly Arts!
My daughter and I adventure through making and trying a period medieval recipe for Barley Water. We caught it all on tape, plus our genuine reaction to the first taste of the final product. We used the recipe from Kiriel’s Kitchen, translated and interpreted from the 14th century book Le Ménagier de Paris, a home care and cooking guide for the medieval house wife. Barley water, or A Sweet Tisane as it is called in the book, is a restorative beverage designed to help convalesce the infirm.
My friend Matt over at The Agincourt Solider has been working to develop one of his newest of many projects, History Live! North East; “a 501c3 Non-Profit organization that provides high-fidelity, accurate, informative, interactive, and engaging Living History presentations and demonstrations to primary and secondary schools, free of charge.” During the school shutdown he has been working diligently to develop the site into a distance learning tool. As a fan of collaboration (Matt and I are working together on the Pilgrim Progress Challenge) I was eager to assist. However, my articles and videos to date are not aimed at the elementary school audience, and they are more meant to be resources for the reenactment and living history community than instructional on history itself. Still, I wanted to contribute something to help and Matt suggested I work on a video about what reenactors are.