I had been booked to speak at a luncheon for the Abbey Museum of Art & Archaeology on the subject of Medieval Women and Literacy. Of course, with the current Covid climate, it couldn't be held in person, and it was decided to turn it into a Zoom presentation!
This was to be the first for the museum, so it was a little exciting! I made a background for the talks, and hoped it would all go well! April 20th is our date!
It's a well-known fact that re-enactors are a hardy bunch and take a lot of slowing down. If they get an idea into their heads, there's not much which will dissuade them for making it happen. Global pandemic? Pah! Certainly it won't stop us from having an Easter camping holiday together! Only, not together. Let me explain.
Obviously, the Covid crisis meant that no real camping could take place over the Easter break, and it's all fine and dandy to have a series of great online talks and presentations... but it's not really the same as camping. Actually camping and sitting around a fire under the stars.
At some point, someone decided that they would camp. Erect a tent. Make the bed. get out all their favourite medieval things and camp anyway. Actually camp at home under the stars. And as the movement grew, more and more people said, "Yeah, I'll join you, only at my house!" Quite frankly, I felt that going to all that effort and still being alone would be even more isolating than not doing it. To be without friends around the fire and think of what we were all missing. A good idea... but... I was feeling too alone and secretly felt that it was probably different for those camping in their family groups. Definitely worth the effort if there was more than one of you. For me?
As twilight fell on Easter Friday, medievalists, re-enactors and living historians raised their tents and lit their fires. On verandahs. On patios. In courtyards. On lawns amongst the shrubbery. People posted their photos to the Virtual Medieval Gathering and sent greetings from household to household and camp to camp. My heart lifted. We weren't camping alone. We shared the same sky and the same stars. We were sharing our passion and it was our way of saying that it takes more than a pandemic to stop us doing what we love.
On Saturday night, the Virtual Tavern kicked up with musicians and performers for those of us camping out. I, too, lit my fire and sent my greetings online to my fellow campers. How could I have thought that I would be alone just because we weren't together? Somehow, knowing that we were all doing it together made it okay.