Wednesday, 24 November 2010


My friend The History Man is a keen reenactor whose day job involves visiting schools to teach history using his vast collection of reenactment kit. He tells the following story:

He was driving in his History Man Wagon to a school early one morning. His van is unmarked and he was stopped by the Police, as a large white unmarked van meandering through the countryside in the early hours is somewhat suspect. The Police pulled him over and asked, "What's in the back?"
"Two suits of armour, several swords, knives and some medieval torture instruments. Oh and a miniature canon." replied The History Man.
The Police paused and looked at one another. After some moments they asked, "May me have a look, Sir?"
"Of course!" was the answer, and The History Man led them to the back and eagerly showed them his collection.
The next question on their lips was, "Can we try it on, Sir?"
Thus The History Man made two friends as he suited them up in his armour by the roadside.

The History Man and I visited The Original Reenactors Market (TORM) last weekend. TORM is a twice-yearly fare where reeneactors go to buy their kit. Two large halls are full of stalls selling everything from fur to swords, wool, leather, bows, arrows, firearms and goodness-knows-what. The vendors cater for all periods up the the twentieth century. To the reenactor it is a Mecca that one must visit at least every year to stock up on materials for our projects, and to the interested passer-by it is a fascinating and bonkers collection of awesome things. It is one of those places where, no matter how many times you've walked down a row of stalls, the next time you always see something you had not spotted before.

I came away with wool for my ancient Persian outfit, a brooch and a book. The History Man got some linen which he'll no doubt be showing to a baffled Policeman very soon.

The back of the History Man's Wagon with a fraction of his kit.

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