(this was written before xmas, in case any of it seems out of joint with the rest)
So today I am selling all of my Viking reenactment kit.
Yes, I used to spend my weekends dressed as a viking, running around with a sword, knife and bows and arrows and fight with people. I would like to point out that these were metal swords, but they were blunt. They still hurt if you got hit with them though. They hurt a hell of a lot.
I haven’t done reneactment for over 10 years now, I think it is ten years. My kit has spent a lot of time being moved from one place to another, or stored at my parent’s house.
And yet, there is a small part of me which is reluctant to sell it. When I opened up the bag of stuff last night a heady smell of wool and wood smoke came out and enveloped me in a cloud of memories.
I hand sewed, embroidered and other embellished all of these clothes – both male and female kit.
I took a great deal of pride in all of the accessories I made. Not to mention all of the jewellery and metal kit I had bought, this was when I was working in marketing and earning a great deal more than I am now. My status symbols were in my Viking kit, rather than in my every day life.
I also take a great deal of pride in knowing I can fight with a sword, axe, knife and longbow. It makes me feel like I could survive the zombie apocalypse if it comes(!). I can also light a fire with a flint and tinder, make tinder, cook for huge numbers of people on an open fire, spin wool, sew whole outfits by hand. That gives me a certain confidence in myself I have to say.
I was part of the Vikings group, and the level of authenticity in our work was high, we were sought by English Heritage and National Trust to put on fights and living history displays for the public. I have fought the Battle of Hastings more times than I can remember.
I am keeping a small brooch to remind me of all of the happy times I spent around campfires at night, fighting with friends and having fun.
I am also keeping my longbow as i am joining an archery club in the new year and all of these new fangled bows with sights and triggers seem like cheating to me, not to mention unnecessarily complicated. (sorry to my husband!) I love the simplicity of shooting with a longbow – it is, essentially, a stick with a string on. A very expensive stick with string, but still.
I am sad to be selling all of this kit, something which was my main hobby in my life for quite a long time, but I also have not liked having it in the loft. I have felt like it was tying me to the past in a way and I am ready to move on.