OK this is just a quick review of the Living History Weekend at Rufford Abbey this weekend. I was there yesterday but if your local or happy to go a bit further this could help prod you into do this today. Otherwise it may either be just a nice read or help you decide to go to this annual event next year.
|25Lb'er giving it large.|
This is a large scale event, with lots of programed events, many on at the same time (though a great deal of them are repeated) during the day. This being a Council driven event and as such being scared of any one minority group being offended buy totally acceptable events, good old Jerry was not invited (if you exclude the shot down Pilot). Frankly given it's Nottinghamshire County Council I am surprised the Union Flag was allowed to be flown! Certainly they are missed, especially in the set piece 'Battle' that has to be ran as a training mission. Yes they were missed but you could survive it.
One really humorous moment was when a trader (ex-para) saw a guy looking at some DVD's and especially one of a series of Hitlers speeches told the guy "in that one he bangs on a bit and unless your fluent in German or at least not bad it's had to follow" The guys response of I am German did not give the guy a pause as he replied "Well that's right up your street then" I really hope no Council official was within hearing as medical facilities were not as modern as they could be!
|I fear for the well beng of the Council Officials.|
Not only do you have regular activities but also a wealth of static exhibits and plenty of exhibitors wandering through the crowd as well as normal folk who join in the spirit and dress up for the occasion. Such is the popularity of joining in that I would hazard a guess that about 1 in 8 are in period get up, something I really approve of. Talking of stalls we were also treated to a mix of subjects and quality of vendors selling from traditional sweets (or not!) through to original and replica 1940's cloths and uniforms through to a mix of rubbish or must have depending on your view point. I bought a Hitler European Tour T-Shirt from the ex-Para though some of his T-shirts were rather offensive either promoting Hitler or rather bad taste regarding such as the Taliban (never been comfortable with dehumanising your enemy).
|Living Room in a tent, and a quick Jive.|
The picture above is of what a typical living room would have looked like in the 1940's with a couple actually in it most of the time. Here they fancied a little more action as the music played, though my highlight was when she was writing a text! The standard of most of the static displays was very good and the knowledge was far better than I was used to from the average member of the Sealed Knot. One guy though stumbled over the year WWII started and did not know what year it ended. He was one of many fat American Paratrooper reanactors which always makes me smile. As you would expect though the place was packed with characters who were extremely enthusiastic and knowledgeable. Trouble that I find with many of these people the tend to have a large slant of opinion in favour of their chosen subject and a narrow field of knowledge so can not relate it in conjunction to other related topics. Though enough do not fit this category so that you could spend a good long time chatting.
|Over Here, Over Paid.......|
Obviously I was most interested in the war side of things and got to hold plenty of guns, a mix of replica and the real deal. The most helpful and easy to get your hands on were the Russians who almost insisted you have a play with real WWII weapons ranging from the basic rifle through to the LMG and plenty between.
|See the weapons piled against the crate? I played with them all.|
Displays included a group of singers and dancers in the courtyard throughout the day and the limited space really made it feel personal and was a great location for them. Just enough sounds of the 40's was being piped out (or played for real) trough out the whole event that you were never far from one or another without them drowning each other or suffering over load. Excellently done in my mind. In fact if you were not at all switched on by war (such as my good lady) then you still have plenty to see. She for example went off to look at a load of old cars (why I am not sure ours is practically an antique!)
|Some old cars.|
Actually if this was your thing then the mix of War and Civilian was fantastic, though seeing about 15-20 jeeps becomes a little old. Though Nottinghamshire Fire Brigade brought a pair of old fire tenders. But I also so saw a totally rebuilt vehicle which is my own personal favourite British 1940's baby.
|The Quad was a wreck when it was bought and has been fully restored and is privately owned with the gun, limber and jeep.|
|For the fire engine geeks among us.|
The 25Ld'er had a display of it's own and then was used in the training session. The information regarding this gun was well presented and interesting and putout in such a way that the less interested was kept entertained.
|Coming into action.|
I have read about how fast these guns could be deployed and set to firing but to see it in action really brought it home. Here you can see the turntable being dropped that would allow the gun to be pointed in a 360 degree's that made it so useful.
|Now in position and ready to fire.|
|The ammo Limber and smoking rounds.|
After each of it's stint in the arena the gun was available for close inspection and fortunately these shots were taken.
|A Model Makers Dream|
This was the highlight of the show for me, though I expected it to be this.
|Three passers over the hall.|
This Spitfire had three events to attend to on that day alone! I now have seen a Spitfire twice this year and I also was at the Beach a couple of years ago for the day and one flew past unexpected and that was a real treat. From about 30 photos from two cameras only a couple of good shots, this being the best.
|The Infantry Training|
I will post another post at a later date with more shots of the infantry as they may be of interest to the painter and anyway it's another excuse for a post.
|Meteor Engine, it was loud!|
James has been telling me about this engine ever since he saw it last year. This is one of the last of this V12 engines ever produced and the original version was used to power such as the Spitfire, but this version was designed to go in a tank. I already had a headache, and being sat right in front of it did not do it any good, though it was a fitting end to the day.
Finally I leave you with two images, guess which one FINALLY got what he had wanted. Oh and the last word has to be thanks to both Cath my ever suffering wife and my BigLIttle Sister Marie for the pics, you did well gals.
|Me on a good day!|
|James on a better day.|