Sunday, 26 December 2010

Hoplite training weekend

A few weeks ago the Hoplite Association gathered in our secret underground venue (which looks suspiciously like a Scout Hut in Leighton Buzzard) for a training weekend. Reenactment is a seasonal activity with events only taking place in the summer. We gather on four occasions in the winter to drink, tell tales and "fettle" (work on our projects).

Our projects are many and varied, and standing in the main hall one morning I looked about me at the sea of craft tools and realised the room was a Maker's heaven. Tables were heaped with paraphernalia for leather working, wood carving, jewellery and clothes making. The sports hall had our tents laid out as we painted and stencilled bright pigments onto the canvas (although there is scant evidence to describe Ancient Greek tents, we know they had them and surmise they, like the Greek's architecture, would have been heavily decorated) and outside our members sanded down poles of ash wood to form dori (the distinctive spears carried by the hoplites, weighted at the back end to allow a long reach).

This training weekend was special because it marked the 10th anniversary of the society. We usually prepare a Greek feast for the Saturday night using authentic Ancient recipes. This was done again with even more gusto and specialities included a birthday cake (complete with a message in icing in Ancient Greek), and my vodka watermelon (I suspect the Greeks did not have either vodka or watermelons, but they were hedonists and so would have approved, I am sure). All told we had a fantastic time and our creations will mean the society's 2011 season will be one of our most resplendent.

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