Meppen, Germany

Monday, August 04, 2014

On the 2nd and 3rd of August, 2014, the three of us, Nijso, Reinier and I, Laurens, went to participate in the Museumsfest in Meppen, Westfalen. We had been invited by Thorsten Witschen, whom we knew from the Tohopesate, and whom I last saw at the Tohopi-meeting at the house of Ronnie and Tanja in 2009. He is more into portraying 18th century now but as this was a multi-period event, all sorts of groups were present, from Roman soldiers and gladiatrices, Germanic foederati and migrating Franks, through vikings, crusaders, 13th and 14th century craftsmen, Landsknechte, 16th century musicians to the 18th century hunting display.

The weather was hot, it must have been up to 28 degrees Celsius, so we lay low and tried to keep out of the sun as much as possible. Reinier had taken his field forge for blacksmithing and together with Nijso's help forged a daggerblade for Nijso which he had started in Wisby in 2011 and two small knives, and reworked some hammerheads to make them look more medievalish. Nijso tested his cool new leather apron with sexy cleavage.

In the meantime, I took apart my maille haubergeon which I ordered but which did not fit. I found out why: the arm-holes were too far to the back so that the torso became too wide and it did not close well at the neck, as well as that the armpits were very wide and just had been gathered together by a few rings which probably would not last long. The sleeves, instead of the desired elbow hinge, were far too wide and were made straight but baggy at the elbow, and the collar was too wide as well. I took off sleeves and collar and opened up the shoulders, so I can insert trangles into the old arm-openings and cut out new smaller ones more to the front. I'm not entirely pleased with the way the makers interpreted my wishes.

We made some new friends, for example Martina of Die Blidenbauer ( who makes trebuchets together with her husband Jürgen, and crafts everything she uses very close to the originals, with lots of documentation. We also spent the saturday evening with the foederati (1st-3rd c.) who were old friends of Reinier, and I socialized with their neighbouring Franks (4th-6th c.), a 13th century chap named J.P. (Jan-Philipp or something, who invited me to come axe-throwing the next day) some vikings who called me 'Der Lorenz' and used me as an example of wisdom and courage, but mostly to taunt a fellow groupmember who succeeded in remaining silent when he was on the toilet when the museum was closed, thus being locked in and having to call for help afterwards. The drinks were free so as you can understand, saturday evening was hilarious.

We were also very enthousiastic about the excellent warm buffet which was composed of several grilled meats and sausages, tremendous salads, baked potatoes and some sort of macaroni salad which I think was glutenfree because it was quite yellowish, so probably made of corn. It was delicious and very much, and of course our eyes were larger than our stomachs.


Next to the museum grounds and the field we were camping on was a little stream and then a youth hostel where we could get breakfast for a reduced tariff, which was pleasant, because we could get bread and coffee and eat that in all ease, and also use the clean toilets. This is quite agreeable for when next year, when we will try and go again, Machteld and the children want to come too but not sleep in a tent, for one could also sleep in the hostel if desired. All the people were so nice and friendly, and we noticed that many of the vistors (among whom quite a lot of Dutch people) were genuinely interested and knew things to talk about and to ask that weren't all too obvious. The reenactors too were all well informed and well read about their own period and others as well, and really tried their best to show history as close to reality as possible.

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