Many people have asked me to recall my many adventures over the years that I have been involved in re-enactment. 
These are my personal memories and may differ from those also present. I will add more when I have time. Sometimes I will change the names to protect the guilty!
These stories are in no particular order but if I ever get round to writing ‘the book’ ………….

Is the Euro my fault!
About 30 years ago, well before the Euro was invented, I was at a Viking show in Denmark. This was a large international event with people naturally having their own currency that they had not changed to Danish Kroner. All of the Scandinavians had their own Kroner (Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Iceland), we had French francs, German marks, Belgian francs, Dutch guilders, Irish punts, US dollars and our own GB pounds. People wanted to buy from each other and no one could wrap their mind around how much anything was worth or costs (not necessarily the same thing!). If they took a small amount of money from someone it would cost them almost all of it to have the bank change it, so not worth the trade. Then I, unwittingly, came to the rescue! I sold shield bosses, I was the only one selling shield bosses, everyone wanted shield bosses! Signs were going up saying axe for sale, price 3 shield bosses. Beer, 4 for a shield boss……. Traders would not take hard cash that would be hard to change but wanted shield bosses as they could sell these back home if they did not get rid of them at the show. I even took them back into stock for other items that I was selling. I sold out quite quickly, if only I could have had a press and done quantitive easing of shield bosses I may have been a millionaire!
Arrested as a Potential Rapist!?
In the early days of re-enactment we all took our swords and went to the pub in full kit after a show. It was considered good publicity for the following days show and also for recruitment. Today the general consensus is not to take weapons to the pub as it just takes one drunken nutter (probably not one of us but who knows) to grab a sword and hit someone and the press would have field day and try to get all these private armies, roaming the land terrorising the locals, to be banned. Anyway back to my story. We had just done a Viking show in Rochdale and I was one of the first to reach our designated pub. I parked over the road and was walking to the pub when I was confronted by a VERY young policeman. I think he must have just finished his training but been asleep during the bit about using common sense. “What have you got there sonny?” he said pointing to my sword. “It’s my sword, we use it for the show”, says I. “Right, I am arresting you for carrying an offensive weapon” says the boy in blue. My response was that no one had ever used one offensively, it was blunt so no more dangerous than a spade or a stick. He should consider it as a theatrical prop. He then said it was ‘potentially’ an offensive weapon as some people could take offense if they saw it. I acknowledged that this was possible but some people took offence at the sight of a uniform. He completely missed the irony of this statement. I said, “look we are just crossing the road and going straight into the pub so not to worry as we were not exactly wandering the streets” He said, “No, I am arresting you and if you do not come quietly, that is resisting arrest, a far more serious offence, anything you say will be taken down in writing and used in a court of law”. I was somewhat taken aback by this as it was about to seriously impinge on my drinking time. Then Loki came to my rescue, I thought of something to say for him to put in his book. “OK, I will make a statement” I said. He took out his little book and with pen posed waiting for my statement….. “ to make the paperwork more worthwhile when we get to the station, you might as well do me under rape laws”. His mouth dropped as he said, “why, what are you confessing to?” I replied, “nothing in particular but I am carrying the equipment, and I do not know if this makes it better or worse but in this case it is concealed so I must be a ‘potential’ rapist!”. By this time several more Vikings had arrived, all trying not to show their weapons. The poor hapless Plod refused to write my words, or any in his book. I asked why and he said that if he arrested me as a potential rapist ‘because I was carrying the equipment’ then his sergeant would make him a laughing stock. I said that this was not my problem and if he would not do his job correctly in taking down my statement, which was pertinent to my defence, even though probably not a very good one, then nothing would stand up in court and he would be a laughing stock anyway! He cast his eyes around to see that several dozen Vikings were already laughing at him. He shouted, “just get off the street, get in that pub, just go!” “Are you unarresting me officer?” I asked. “Yes, just go” he mumbled. So deciding to say no more as discretion is the better part of Valhalla, we headed for the bar.
Lancaster CID Murder Squad and the Skull. 
We were up in Lancaster one sunny bank holiday doing a Viking show. Yes I know I must be old to remember sunny bank holidays. No camping had been provided so we were billeted in various houses in the city. My group, Mercia, was staying in the Lancaster trades hall, where a friend and local member had his flat. This place had a reputation for strange people. The Labour party, trades union groups, gay liberation, and even the local Morris dancers met there so we fitted in well. The evening went off well with much carousing in the local hostelries. We retired in our sleeping bags in various rooms. The main door was left ajar as more people were expected through the night. Unbeknown to me, at about 3 am a large uniformed policeman entered and seeing all sorts of armaments strewn about assume the worst and asked one of my young warriors what was going on. In a rather slurred and dazed voice he explained that we were all up for the battle. “Right, we’ve had complaints about you lot. Someone has been running amok with a gas mask and rifle.”. Lad replies that it cannot be us as guns had not been invented. PC leaves. The first that I know of the visit is when at about 7.30 am someone calls out to me, still in my sleeping bag in the back room, that there are ‘a couple of guys’ to see me. I jump up expecting that it the Wessex lads finally arrived. But no, two large men in suits ask for me by name and produce police warrant cards and introduced themselves as inspector and sergeant Lancaster CID murder squad! They then ask if it is my car in the car park. I said that I hoped so but it was a company car, if that is what he meant. He then asked what was in it. “All sorts of things, what do you have in mind?” I replied. “What sort of things that could be thought of as unusual do you have, for instance?” he asked. “Swords, axes, shields” I listed only to be met with a shake of his head. I asked for a clue as he must have something in mind. He asked why we were in Lancaster so I explained it was for the battle. “We’ve had complaints you’ve been frightening people with a gas mask and rifle”. I explained that it could not be Vikings with such things. We later found out it was a multi-period show so it was probably some WW1 re-enactors to blame.
The inspector then came to the point. “What about a human skull?” he asked. “Oh yes, on the passenger seat of the car.” I said. The police looked incredulous at my rather casual confession and asked where I got it. Answering truthfully I explained that my brother bought it from some people he met on the number 16 bus on his way home from the centre of Birmingham on a Friday night some years ago. I do not know if it was due to my slurred, not quite awake speech or just my accent but the inspector thought I said my mother! I explained no, mother was in charge of the church newsletter and flowers and never got involved with skulls. Our church did not even have a grave yard. “Right, your brother. Are you seriously trying to tell me that there is a roaring trade in human remains on Birmingham buses?” “No not at all, it has only ever been on the number 16 route as far as I am aware and the trade seemed to die after a few weeks” I replied. The inspector asked if I did not think it irresponsible to have a skull on show in my car as if someone shone a torch through the window and stared in and was stared back by dead people it could give them a nasty turn. I naturally apologised for the increased heart rate induced in his beat officer.
Unbeknown to me, the police had broken into my car as, being a company car, it was not registered to me, in order to find out who was responsible for it. They found something with my home address and had already sent Birmingham CID round to my house where they found Mom & Dad getting ready for a church meeting. They asked for me and Dad said that I was away for the weekend. The police said that they had come about my company car that may have been stolen. When Dad explained that I was in Lancaster they said maybe it was not stolen after all but do they know where I was staying. Dad said, “come on police do not turn out quickly if a car is reported stolen, never mind if they think one has, what’s going on?” The police then say, “do you know anything about a human skull?” Mom says, “yes, he normally takes it to battles with him.” The police look flabbergasted and ask for more details. Mom tells them the same story about the number 16 bus. Always tell your parents the truth, you never know when they may need to back you up! The police leave saying that they were sure that there was a perfectly logical explanation but unfortunately Lancaster CID were panicking. The Irish terrorist/freedom fighter Bobby Sands was just about to die on hunger strike in N. Ireland and a big gangland murder trial was underway in Lancaster. This was known as the headless & handless corpse murder trial so the police had put 2 & 2 together and did not come up with Vikings!
Mom gave the Birmingham police the name and address of the Vikings society chieftain hoping that he might know where I was staying. So Blackpool CID turned up and he gave the same story. By the time the Lancaster police got to me they knew the answers but found it hard to believe. When I confirmed this they finally left. When we arrived at the show the whole society had heard from the chieftain and the now famous skull had pride of place in the show!
Body snatching at Tynemouth Abbey.
We were doing a Vik show at Tynemouth Abbey and asked the custodian for something to lift the fire off the ground so that it would not burn the grass. He gave us a plate with a rather small lip. I expressed my doubts that this would be high enough and suggested that we need to build a platform. He said it would be fine as ‘it is what I use with the Scouts’. As expected, at the end of the day the ground was burnt black. So early the following morning I dug up the turf and took it out side of the walls and cut a similar sized fresh turf to replace. Four of us were carrying the turf on a table top through the very atmospheric grave yard with the early morning sea mist rolling past. Some one shouted out ‘what are you doing Druid?’ I replied with a smile, ‘just looking for skulls’. We all laughed and thought nothing more of it until a couple of weeks later I received a letter on English heritage note paper saying that they took a dim view of re-enactors engaging in grave robbing! They went on about archaeological sensitivity and still consecrated ground. I could only think someone must have reported my witty retort. I naturally had to reply and explained what I was doing and explained that we southerners (someone south of Manchester) have this strange concept called humour. In case you dour northerners have never heard of this I explained that it can be detected by the twinkle in the eye and the up-turned edges of the lips. I further explained that there was a written form, called sarcasm, see above. I heard nothing more.
American lady cannot speak English!
I had a stall at the Battle of Hastings re-enactment some years ago. A lady asked me where the bathroom was. I said that English Heritage did not supply us one but she could use the hose pipe ‘over there’ if she had fell in something and needed to clean up. She looked shocked and looking around noticed the portaloos. ‘What are those?’ she asked. I told them that they were the portable toilets but as they were now rather smelly due to the hot weather I would not even let my backside touch down, never mind take a bath in one! She rapidly left looking confused. Well, re-enactment events are supposed to be educational!
The director who wanted to be the star.
A low budget film was been made about Paracelsus the alchemist and 16th cent. Medic. The director and money man (who had very little money) used re-enactors who would do it for food DRINK and laugh.
He said to re-enactors, ‘do you duel?’ ‘who would you like me to partner?’ ‘all those!’ says director. ‘but that would be a battle not a duel, duel means 2’ Director walks off. We are all lined up at the top of a hill. There are many groups from many periods, Romans, Dark Ages, Medieval and English Civil War. Cameras rolling, ‘charge spears’ shouts director. The earlier period folks run down the hill screaming whilst the Civil Warers just lower their spears to horizontal and stand there. ‘Why have you not charged down the hill? Leader replies, ‘ the spears are charged’. ‘What are they doing then?’ says director. ‘Advancing at speed’ is the reply. OK re-set the scene. Director says, ‘lower spears’. At this the Civil Warers raise their spears to the upright position. The Vikings point then down hill. ‘What are you doing?’ shouts the director. When the spears are up they are lowered, when they are down, they are charged!’ was the reply. Trying to get these people in the same mode he shouts at them, ‘bloody well charge spears then.’ at this the Vikings are half way down the hill again. Finally he does the authentic thing and explains to the unit commanders what he wants and gets them to translate.
After the filming was done to his liking with him in front leading the charge, someone asked him if he meant to be wearing his glasses. ‘Oh bugger’ he said, ‘we will have to do it again!’
The food was really good. I was dressed in my usual Druid costume with a human skull on a pole. I saved some plums for later by placing them in the eye sockets. We returned to set to film a tavern scene and the director shouted at me for ‘ruining the shot’ and I must extract my plums immediately. I plucked and ate them. His face was a picture, I thought he was about to pass out.
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