Ah, the city of York. As described by some some as having architecture so lovely that you’ll be spending most of your time looking up and bumping into people, tangled cobbled streets that are really good for getting lost in and wandering around the fantastic tiny shops (just make sure there is some space on your credit card before you visit), a massive church where you’ll have to pay £5 if you want to see anything more than the entrance hall. Oh, and don’t worry about getting a (non-alcoholic) drink. There are so many cafes about – lets just all hope that they all have toilets…

Quite peaceful.

Then all of a sudden you come across these chaps walking down the street;

I love historical re-enactment groups. I think it comes from being taken to several re-enactments as a child. You see, Bosworth Battlefield was only down the road and they hold a massive weekend event in August with the battle re-enactment, birds of prey, little tent cities with people working away at their crafts in them. A significant memory happens to be the loud noises and the smoke and the shouting and the screaming.

They kinda make me thing of the EDL guys. Like this nationalist group the aggression is there, but in a much more polite, supressed way. The historical re-enactment people wouldn’t actually hurt each other or anyone else. If they did accidently hurt someone, then I’m very sure they would be extremely apologetic.

Some of the events are also run by people who might tell you that the best part about being a member of a historical re-enactment groups is going away at the weekend, pitching up a tent and cracking open the home brew. Probably an equal split between beer and cider, but I bet there isn’t much wine about – well maybe Mead? Is that wine? Oh, the joys of sitting round a camp fire and talking until the Sun comes up. The people running this Beard Competition seem to be really good friends, and it makes for an excellent show.

They select a judge from the audience to pick the winners (so it’s ok that the organisers seem to know the entrants – they’re not the ones who pick the winners). The first two sections of the competition consist of the ladies and children’s sections;

The next section allows the viking men to show of their hairy displays;

The event really suits York. It’s an historical event for a city where all the houses seem to be at least 350 years old. And it’s a great time to hold it. It’s in the middle of the winter and probably gives the businesses a much needed cash injection. And the re-enactment costumes look like they would be difficult to wear in the middle of a hot summer (oh, those poor guys in Bosworth!). This happened to be my first visit to the city and it kinda reminds me of Stratford-Upon-Avon (Shakespeare land), but without the Americans. Maybe the cold winter month had something to do with the lack of international tourists – but it was still very busy. Pretty much like Stratford-Upon-Avon, it’s probably a living hell to get around in the summer cause it would be so busy. But it’d still be worth it – York is a very magical surprising city.

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