650+ years ago – or my Visby 2019

This is the first post at In deme Jare Cristi for almost 650 years (or two years – it’s almost the same). A lot has happened since then. Maria has moved on to Historic Textiles, where she indulges in textile nerdery galore, along with the equally talented Amica. If your main reason for following this blog is the textile bits, I will have to disappoint you, as I’m not very good at textiles. The Historic Textiles blog is, however, your go-to place when it comes to old textiles 🙂

For mostly private and family reasons, I haven’t had the strength or inclination to write anything anywhere, but some days ago I felt a tiny bit of an urge to write. Perhaps it won’t be much, but I’ll do my best.

This summer, the fourth Battle of Wisby was organized. Nine years ago, me, Maria and Thomas were in the middle of planning the first edition of the event (2011). I stayed on as instigator and organizer until the second edition in 2013, but decided to take a step back and to attend as a participant from there on.

This summer I was amazed by how much this event has evolved and grown. It is bigger and better in every aspect (and the organizers are not just three people working 24 hours a day, but a whole heap of people, which might have something to do with it). I had the great pleasure of meeting many a new friend (and also to meet some blog stars – you guys know who you are 😉 )

I believe that you as a participant have an obligation to step up to what ever the event demands, and as the event is growing ever better, so must I and my company.

Since my last post, I have completely upgraded my kit. Today, my clothes are completely hand sewn, hand woven and plant dyed (you can admire those rags in the pictures below. I’ll post something on that later on). My company is growing ever better and our standards keep getting higher. One example of that is our kitchen, which we have been working to improve for years. This Visby we really put it to the test, by sometimes cooking for 30 persons, with and average of circa 20 each meal. We learned that we probably can’t cook for more than 30 people with the gear we have, but I’m impressed by how functional everything is. We have really managed to set up a period and working field kitchen! I’m proud of having succeeded in pulling the whole project off; we cooked nearly 650 meals over open fire, during the course of eight days!

For the first time, I decided not to bring my war gear, but to concentrate at the cooking. By the way – I’m not sure I’ve mentioned it, but I’m no longer head chef for Albrechts Bössor. Maja is. This time, though, I planned the whole shebang and organized the workforce by assigning three head chefs: Maja (AB), Vera (Deventer Burgerscap, from the Netherlands) and Laela (Company of the Staple, from Australia). That’s right – we had a proper international camp! Maja, Vera and Laela each contributed with their unique skills and experiences, and I learned much from them, and their way to run a kitchen. I am indeed lucky to have such excellent friends!

We were each responsible for two days of duty. Each day, a new three person team, consisting of the camp dwellers, chopped, cooked, whisked, stirred, scrubbed and worked their asses off.It was very hard work, but all in all, it worked out splendidly. It is so far the most immersive cooking experience I have come across. We built a bread oven on site (which was excellently operated by Marijn from DB), so we always had fresh bread. Also, we had a micro brewery brew 200 litres of beer according to an early 17thC recipe.

Before and after each meal, we said grace according to Swedish medieval sources. We also had a strict table hierarchy, where the company commander was seated at he main end of the table (this is a part of our work with reenacting social differences, which we are continuously developing). I had a great time. Take a look at some pics from the event!

 

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