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It’s official! 2012 Abbey Medieval Festival a “huge success”

The 2012 Abbey Medieval Festival has been called a “huge success” after the release of the official attendance figures today.

The record-breaking attendance figure of 37,302 is an increase of over 10,000 visitors from last year.

“The Abbey Medieval Festival is an incredible success story and the whole region should be proud of what we have achieved,” said Marketing Manager Suesann Vos.

“We have proved once again it is one of Queensland’s best-loved festivals.

“There are many factors behind this success.

“The exciting television commercials by Oversea Films helped motivate people to come out to the Abbey Medieval Festival.

“We have a fabulous marketing team that has spread the word through the State-wide media, social media and our website.

“The Abbey Medieval Festival has established some really important partnerships with far-sighted supporters such as the North East Business Park, Morayfield Shopping Centre and PR Print.

“There was a strong growth in the popularity of Kids’ Medieval Fun Day on Tuesday 3 July.

“The Festival was boosted by fantastic publicity – we had Weekend Sunrise broadcasting from Abbeystowe on Saturday 7 July.

“Congratulations to Director Edith Cuffe and our dedicated band of 280 volunteers.

“We are now working on how to deliver an even better Abbey Medieval Festival in 2013,” Ms Vos said.

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More Medieval Carnivale Secrets Unveiled!

 

See Roaming Performers at The Medieval Carnivale! Photo: David De Groot.

Well time is approaching fast! The Abbey Medieval Festival is almost here, and you know what that means……

It means each and everyone one of our followers are starting to get excited about what this year is going to bring! If you have been following the blog posts you would have already heard about the Medieval Carnivale. You would already know that Abbeystowe is putting on a Medieval Carnivale  with “Horse Vaulting and Acrobats“, “Colourful Costumes and Dancing“, “Merry Medieval Music“, a “Dragon Fire Twirling Show” and of course The Carnivale will feature the real stars of the show… YOU! All ticket holders will be invited to enter the arena for the last half hour of the show to dance and join in on the merriment.

The wonderful wandering performers at the Carnivale!

See the debut of 'The Velvet Birdcage' only at The Medieval Carnivale! Photo: D. Duncan.

But just when you think you know all about The Medieval Carnivale, this final blog post is letting you in on a few more secrets… The gorgeous stilt walkers from Fire Phoenix Tribe will be at the Carnivale in a stunning costume, new to the Abbey Medieval Festival! Be sure to see the strikingly tall characters as they wander around the Carnivale for all to admire. Join in on the surprise and come dressed in your own costume or mask! We would love to see you dressed in your own Medieval Costume. The Carnivale Night will welcome all folk who wish to see how to celebrate in fabulous Medieval Fashion!

The cheerful folk from All Star Fish will delight the early bird crowd with their mischief and tomfoolery, be sure to keep an eye out for your favourite Medieval Street Performer!

Be prepared for a Carnivale, get your tickets before they are sold out!

If you are as excited as we all are about the Medieval Carnivale then you should be getting there at 5pm to make sure you have time to visit Friar’s Folly Tavern who will be operating from the Jousting Arena especially for this event! Be amused and delighted by the comical Lord Herald, Sir. Blair! This event will sell out. The grandstand will be filled so don’t miss out on your tickets.

Praxis at Friar's Folly Tavern

Medieval Musicians 'Praxis' at Friar's Folly Tavern. Photo: Andrew Cumberland.

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Calling our Abbey volunteers!

Join the wonderful volunteers at the Abbey Medieval Festival

Hooray for volunteers!

WE’VE JUST FINISHED our Kids’ Medieval Fun Day, and our volunteers are dragging off their medieval costumes, and cleaning up Abbeystowe.

Everyone is exhausted, but all our volunteers are smiling, feeling really pleased that we have helped build a very special experience for so many children.

The feeling of satisfaction you get from volunteering keeps many of us coming back and spending hour after hour, day after day, helping our community organisations.

Here at the Abbey Museum and Abbey Medieval Festival, we are blessed with over two hundred volunteers.

We want to make sure our volunteers are looked after, and have all the information and encouragement they need to keep on doing their wonderful job.

That’s why we’ve run our Volunteer Induction days. It is one of the best ways to invest in our volunteers.

To have a look at what we did at the last Volunteer Induction Day, have a look at the video footage taken on the day. See the video here for Volunteer Induction Day.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw2OoOTwiWc

If you are one of many new (and highly valued) volunteers, we hope you were able to make it.

If so, can you sport yourself in the video. If not, have a look at it. We hope you can make the next one.

In the meantime, we are now getting everything ready for the Abbey Medieval Tournament weekend.

Please leave a comment so we can be sure you have viewed the video.

 

Medieval Bras and Undies.

Our latest guest blogger was wondering whether to start her forthcoming series with the topic of ‘bras and knickers’ or just to jump in with Medieval Sanitary Customs (of the female kind.)

Medieval Under-Clothing.

Medieval clothing is a topic which is dear to any Lady’s heart, and why not?

With such fabulous gowns and sumptuous fabrics, why not dress in her finest every chance she gets? Talks such as these, are always enthusiastically attended, but after it’s all over, there’s a crowd that hangs back to ask the really, really pertinant questions.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fig_leaf.jpg

 

So, um, what DID they wear underneath?

Everyone knows that medieval women didn’t wear underwear. No pants- everyone knows that. And bras are a pretty modern invention, aren’t they? Aren’t they?

See a pair of Reproduction Medieval Underpants.

Actually, no. Medieval women did wear underwear, and not the corsets and chastity belts that Hollywood would have us believe. Thrilling archaeological finds in Europe have discovered underwear- women’s underwear- and Abbey Festival-goers will have a chance to hear about them and see a pair of reproduction medieval underpants at a lecture in the University Pavillion on both days.

 

Guest Blogger:  Rosalie Gilbert

{Rosalie Gilbert is a re-enactor and historical clothing enthusiast whose main interest is the lives of medieval women.

Rosemalie is a life member of FOTAM; has been re-enacting for 10 years with various groups of late is associated with Knights of Lion Rampant.  She wrote our first stringently-accurate costume guidelines for our stall-holders.  Rosalie has been a long-time volunteer at many Abbey Museum events including the Abbey Medieval Festival.  We are sure Rosalie’s lectures at this year’s Tournament will be as well attended as her previous ones.

Visit her website at http://rosaliegilbert.com for more information about the lives of medieval women.}

Food….surviving the test of time!

Life in medieval times was generally hungry.  There’s really no way to hide that.  There was however a big variety of food available and if you are lucky enough to attend the Abbey Medieval Banquet, you will have a chance to sample.  However, depending on your social class, food was either more available or less.  For some, the Gentleman’s or the Lady’s hounds, as related by Sir Justyn, ate better.

Taste life as it was for some in the middle ages

Taste the Lamb Shanks m'dear!

Meat was very available, just not to everyone.  People from the higher classes ate fowl, game, beef and lamb.  Spices and preserves became a fashionable way to show wealth (brag factor was always big in the higher social circles) and breads from milled flour, dairy products and fish were readily available, if you were lucky. If you were unlucky, your diet was a little less varied.  Perhaps the ‘Peasant’s Medieval Diet’ is something we should all partake in every now and then, as by all reports it was low in fat and high in fibre.  However, it was also low in nutrition, which for the people of that time was no joke.  Famine was always a reality and people constantly lived in fear of not having enough food.

In many fairytales, the wolf represented hunger!

In many fairytales, the wolf represented hunger!

The subject of food, or lack thereof, permeates through many fairy tales resonating the harsh realities of life as it was in the middle ages.  One of my favourites is the Grimm Brothers story of Hansel and Gretel.  Earlier versions of the story relate how both parents partake in the decision to abandon the children, rather than see them starve.  This was apparently a common occurrence at this time.  The evil witch, whose house is made of food, symbolises the pre-occupation of the time with food.  Little Red Riding hood also explores the subject of food…the wolf looming large!

Sickness and injury was a constant fear for both the rich and poor in the middle ages, but at least if you were rich, and well nourished, and were able to pay for a physician to attend, there was some chance of survival.  Our recent guest bloggers wrote about herbs and medieval surgery, giving us a vivid picture of what may have been.

So, much like today, food was available to some in the middle ages, and not so for others. And many of the foods eaten in the medieval era, have survived the test of time and appear on our tables today. Many of course have not, but we are happy to report that the Abbey Medieval banquet gives us an opportunity to experience the tastes of yesteryear in an ambience which is both authentic and tasteful.

Have fun on Saturday night!

 

 

 

 

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Medieval Medicinal Herbs : Wound Herbs

Following on from Monday’s Medieval Surgery post we are pleased to present an offering by our newest guest blogger who has presented us with a list of  3 really useful medieval herbs which are still found in many house-holds nowadays.

Medieval Medicinal Herbs : Wound Herbs

Comfrey; Symphyrum officinallis.

Comfrey has been used for millenia. Photo by Warwick Halse Jnr.

Comfrey, as early as the Dark Ages has been commonly known as “Knit bones”, is one of the most beneficial, of all the “Old Herbs“.

 

 

A Perennial, it  grows to a height of 600-900mm when in flower.
Displaying a beautiful Blue flower, it will ramble across you garden. If allowed to it will become a rampant pest. We accept that it’s country of origin was China, and that it was traded down the “Silk Road” maybe as early as Roman times.
Comfrey was most commonly used as a poultice or a herbal tea, for breaks, bruises, sprains, and internal hemorrhaging.   Young leaves can be added to a Medieval Salad, or fritters. It will thrive in most soil conditions, and is a valuable addition to any compost heap.

Lady’s Mantle; Alchemilla vulgaris.

Lady's Mantle graces many homes and gardens today. This was a popular and useful herb in Medieval times. 'Photo by Warwick Halse Jnr.

The French called it “Pied de Lion”.   A perennial – while this plant is small in stature at 300mm in height, it produces a ‘Major flower and plant of Alchemy’.  This herb is claimed by ‘Venus’ for all women, given that it benefits them most. It was widely used for its drying and binding virtues, and is an amazing wound herb.
Known to help women who have overcome ‘Flagging breasts’, making them smaller and firmer, both when taken internally and applied externally. Again we see the application of a known Medieval herb, as a herbal tea, and an ointment, or poultice.
One of the most endearing features of ‘Lady’s Mantle’ occurs when the dew alights upon it, staying for many hours in a most delicate way. This wonderful herb will grow in most soils and conditions, both in shade and full sun.

Yarrow; Achillea millefolium.

Yarrow is a herb oft used in medieval times. Photo by Warwick Halse Jnr.

Yarrow, with its botanical name,  is linked to one of legends’ greatest heroes. It is said of Achilles that he tended the wounds of his men.  Hence, most of its common names are linked back to war:  ‘Herbe  Militaris’; ‘Soldiers Woundwort’; and amusingly ‘Devil’s Plaything’.  During the Medieval period it was a herb connected with the casting out of witches, and at one time dedicated to the Devil.
Having strong antiseptic qualities, this herb is good for the stomach, kidneys, skin and heart, and as a salve, external wounds. This herb was also known to the Chinese, in ancient times. With 49 Yarrow stalks being a form of divination, connected to I Ching, or Book of Changes.
A perennial herb, growing to a height of 600-900mm. That likes a generally rich moist soil, and loves the full sun.

 

Guest Blogger:  Warwick Halse Jnr.

{I am a Re-enactor with many years of experience attending the Abbey Tournament. Over a long period I have enjoyed several incarnations in re-enacting. In ‘Saga Vikings’ I was a Skarld. During the same period, I was also ‘Lion Herald’ with Knights Order of Lion Rampant. After several good years there I have moved on to ‘Elite de Coups’ as Baron Christian Christiansonn, of the Danish court of King Valdmar IV Attadage (mid 14th century). I maintain a close relationship with ‘Traders of Freiol’ a great Viking period traders group and many other amazing re-enactors here in Queensland.

In my other life, I am the manager of “CREEC” nursery (a small community nursery), at 150 Rowley Rd, Burpengary, 4506. Phone; 07 3888 9285, e-mail; creec@bigpond.com . I have over 20 years within the Queensland Nursery Industry, and now have a strong commitment to the environment, and educating the general public in the many advantages of using Australian Native plants.
My close friendship with Justin Webb, also involves School Shows, and other public performances. Outside of re-enacting, I enjoy surfing, fishing, hunting, being a 5 day a week gym junkie.  My greatest pleasure comes from the people I meet, the ideas I am exposed to, and the wonderful friendship that are the “Silver” lining in my life.}

 

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Food….preserving the body and soul!

I believe that there’s an inner ‘Foodie’ in most of us, and in reality,  food is linked to survival, a basic instinct.  Personally I’m really happy to see that nowadays food is starting to regain the rightful and honoured place it deserves in our lives.  It’s as much about giving our bodies required nourishment (and let’s not undervalue that) as being a secret ingredient in our social lives enabling us to communicate and connect.

If you have ever visited European countires, particularly Spain, Italy, Greece, and elsewhere,  we see openly how food is loudly lauded in the home and community.  And in our own lives, we all know TV cooking shows and celebrity chefs; we have food festivals and gastronomic holidays, we are award of the role food plays in our health,  we learn about slow food and organic food and as conscientious parents we try to make more time in our lives to give home-cooked food to our children.  So, I think it would be neglectful if we didn’t address the question about how our ancestors ate in the Medieval era of 600AD – 1600AD.  What did they eat? and how did they cook and …….I wonder what it tasted like?

Experience a taste of Medieval times at the Abbey Medieval Banquets
Experience a taste of Medieval times at the Abbey Medieval Banquets

 Good news! For those attending the Medieval Banquets, you will have a fantastic opportunity to experience medieval food at it’s best.  The authenticity of the food available at the medieval banquet, right down to the medieval etiquette on show,  is indisputable and the ingredients and dishes on the menu are exactly as they would have been in that era.  You may be surprised to hear that basic staples of our daily diet today, such as potatoes and tomatoes had not yet reached Europe, so you can search but you won’t find them on the menu!

And outside of the noble classes, for a lot of people in the middle ages, having food meant survival.  And sadly, sometimes, people just didn’t.  A staple diet of the lower classes was ‘The Ploughman’s Lunch’, so it proves to us that a good dish lasts.  Meat was not available for many of the lower classes, untill ironically after the ‘Black Death’, which wiped out a third of the world’s population around about the 13C.

So, over the next few blog posts, I’m going to stay on the subject of food, so that you our readers can have a little ‘taste’ of what was available during the Middle Ages, and surprisingly is still available now.  This will be another opportunity for you to experience an additional dimension of preservation, which is at the heart of the Abbey Museum, in more ways than one!

Till next time.

Caroline

Abbey Medieval Banquet - a taste of the past!

Abbey Medieval Banquet - a taste of the past!

 

 

 

 

Abbey Museum teams up with OurBribie.com.au

The Abbey Museum and the OurBribie.com.au tourism and lifestyle website have joined forces to promote tourism in the region and increase promotion of the award-winning Abbey Medieval Festival.

Under the partnership, OurBribie.com.au will promote all Abbey Museum events including the annual Abbey Medieval Festival which attracted 27,000 visitors in 2011.

Owner of OurBribie.com.au Tim Pasqualone said the partnership with the Abbey Museum will drive up tourism to the region through promotions and campaigns via the OurBribie.com.au website and social media pages.

“OurBribie.com.au attracts over 25,000 hits a week.  Both island residents and visitors use the website for information on upcoming events, fishing reports, accommodation, local dining and lifestyle,” said Tim.

“We look forward to promoting all the great events offered by the Abbey Museum, and sharing these with all our readers.

“Our partnership reaffirms the importance of strong tourism alliances that are crucial to the strength of the Bribie Island tourism industry,” said Tim.

“The Abbey Museum has a wonderful record of creating unique tourism experiences,” said Abbey Medieval Festival Marketing Co-ordinator Suesann Vos.

“Now we can let even more people know about the Abbey Medieval Festival, the biggest and the best medieval festival in Australia.

“The partnership between OurBribie.com.au and the Abbey Museum will bring great benefits to many businesses and residents in our region,” said Suesann.

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Janissary Barracks and the Ottoman Empire.

A renowned era in history - Janissary Barracks of the Ottoman Empire. Photos by D Duncan

I made a mistake here in the hub of the Abbey Medieval Festival’s 21st Century operation-centre (known any other month of the year as ‘The Office’) the other day.
The first I knew about it was when I received a very polite email asking me to correct an images issue on our blog.  Specifically this post.  It was about our Carnivale and the gypsy influence.
Harriett, one of our bloggers, selected a really lovely image from our burgeoning files which caught her eye and posted it.
And then we received the email.
EEEEEEEKKKKKKKKKK!
The photo was actually one of our esteemed re-enacting groups – Janissary Barracks!!!!!!
This is Leeona Smith dancing in orange costume with white blouse and blue hip scarf and Lee-anne Martin drumming in the background.

Janissary Barracks is a group which focuses on the mid-15th Century Ottoman Empire where the Janissary Barracks itself held great renown.
The mistake was all mine.
I was the one tasked with the ‘photo-sorting’ task.  I was the one who mucked up.  I’m the one who enabled Harriett to access the wrong photo.
One of the reasons I’m passionate about all things ‘Abbey’ is their integrity when it comes to their accounts of history and their constant striving for accuracy and the truth in all of their work.  The Abbey Medieval Festival with its Banquet, Kids Medieval Fun Day and Tournament is an event staged for your pleasure and experience while all the while strict criteria of authenticity and accuracy on all levels are strived for.
So, Janissary Barracks – forgive me.  It was all my (Jo’s) fault.  I’m so sorry.
We all appreciate the re-enactors who present their living history lives at the Tournament for all of our enjoyment. We appreciate you Janissary Barracks.

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The Medieval Horse

Another guest blog post for your pleasure!

Horses were one of the most valued and convenient of commodities in the medieval period.

 The real value of a horse in Medieval Times.

The Medieval Horse filled many roles in life during the Middle Ages.

Look Harold! 16 Leagues to the stook, grinds his own grain, strong enough to carry everything I make and just the right height for me,”

We take horses for granted in our modern age but to the people of the Middle Ages they were as important as a car is to us today.  Of course like cars today, not everyone owned a horse in the Middle Ages.

Most of the common folk got about on foot and it was only the prestigious that owned a horse, important members of society such as but not limited to nobles, merchants, clergy, and servants of the wealthy and well established tradesmen or professionals.

Horses were animals of great importance not just for the use of transporting a rider but also for war, hunting, transporting goods, services and information. This could be done either by a rider on horseback, a man on foot leading a horse (or perhaps a mule) or by cart, wagon and for the very rich, by coach.

 So what kind of horses did they have?

Breeds as we know them today were non existent in the Middle Ages.

Horses were not classified by breed but function.

It was a very simple process of classification.

If you were to

  •  need a riding horse, you buy a riding horse,
  • you need a war horse, buy a war horse.
  • Need a cart horse? You guessed it, buy a cart horse.

There were of course specialised traders and breeders who would deal in a specific kind of horse but not so much specific breeds.

 Horse breeds of  1000 years ago.

Historians and horse enthusiasts are still debating today what breeds of horses were around in the medieval period.

What is almost certain is that none of the breeds that we have today were likely around 500-1000 years ago.

So what’s on the agenda today? The little battle down the road, or are we moving the caravan again?

Selective breeding has more or less made it impossible for us to ascertain, with the exception of some pony breeds such as the Icelandic pony and the Dartmoor pony, exactly what these horses would have been. Instead we see modern “reproductions” or likely suspects. Of all types of horses, the one which has perhaps received the most attention in academic and Living History circles is the war horse.

So important to a knight was his war horse that he could not be considered for knighthood without one and without showing adequate cavalry skills. In fact the word that was used to describe a knight in the languages of the day, were words which described a cavalryman. Chevalier, ritter, caballero; all were words that meant mounted warrior. A man without a horse or the skills needed to ride in battle was not a knight at all.

 

War Horses of the Middle Ages

There were two types of war horse in the Middle Ages, the prized and highly valued destrier and the less expensive, more expendable charger.

And ten more points in the War Games If I can get your Chin Too.

The destrier was the most expensive horse on the market. Vastly specialised and trained in war it was as much a weapon to the knight who rode it as was his lance and sword. These horses were always stallions and their natural aggression was harnessed and encouraged in acts of war. They were also used in tournaments and often knights jousted for the purpose of knocking an adversary from his saddle and claiming the horse for himself as rules oft times allowed. A destrier could cost in the realm of £20-30 which was the equivalent of a common mans earnings of 10 years or more!

Chargers were war horses that were not as highly prized and more commonly found on a battlefield than a destrier. Less costly at around less than half the price of the destrier, they were still very much trained for battle but were less prestigious than their great cousins. They too were stallions for the same reasons.

My great-grandfather said it, and my great-granchildren will say it in the 21st Century… ‘Hurry Up and Wait;

Many people automatically picture a heavy draft when they picture a medieval war horse but this is not the case at all. Most draft breeds did not come about until the renaissance and some not until the time of the industrial revolution and they were bred for pulling heavy loads not for swift and agile manoeuvres in war and combat. Instead the medieval war horse has much in common to it’s descendants of Iberian stock. Andalusian, Lipizzaner, Barb, Lusitano, Knapstrupper and Frederiksborger are all horses which are highly likely to be a good facsimile of a medieval war horse. Clydesdales were never medieval war horses the breed being first recorded in the 19th century and shires originated only a hundred years earlier during the 18thC. It is still debated wether or not the Percheron was around and used as a war horse and if it was it was certainly different to the breed today. Friesians are also subject to an identical debate.

Other types of horses were

  1. courser: a horse used specifically for hunting or for endurance and speed,
  2. rouncey: riding horse,
  3. ambler: another riding horse that could move more swiftly,
  4. sumpter: a pack animal and
  5. hobilar: a rugged and hardy pony which later descended into a “hobby” horse.

All of these horses especially the war horse breeds would have been very fit and strong horses because of the fact that they were in constant use. Today we exercise horses for our events and then transport them to the event whereas in the Middle Ages they were the transport and their exercise was more often than not all of their everyday  practical activities.

This is the way we go to work, go to work, tra lah…..

Modern jousting horses are similar to the medieval horse in that breed is not important (except for those with large bank accounts and a determined approach to authenticity) but the ability and willingness of the horse to take on the task, excel and enjoy it most certainly is of great importance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Blogger: Sir Justyn
{ Sir Justyn is a professional medieval educator, performer and fight instructor who attends events, schools and clubs, Australia-wide and internationally, bringing history to life wherever he goes.   You can see Sir Justyn’s Birds of Prey from the Full Flight Conservation Centre in the encampment of Eslite d’ Corps, the 14thC Living History group and household of Sir Justyn at the Abbey Medieval Festival.  Sir Justyn, Eslite d’ Corps (EdC) and Full Flight Conservation Centre can also be found on Facebook.  For more information on falconry and hawking visit EdC Medieval Falconry.}

 

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Accessories and Bling!

Hello again, readers.

Last week’s Dreadful Note of Preparation from Damien, reminded me that while my Project Gorgeous Garment may be nearing completion, my supply of knick-knacks and trinkets was a little sparse?  And even though dressing-up and getting into the spirit of the Abbey Medieval Festival is completely our own experience choice, I began to wonder where on earth I could get the right kind of bling?   So, this week, I want to write about attention to the final details of your medieval costume.

The final touches

Creative accessories will complete any outfit!

I know I’m not the only person that tends to leave things like this to the last moment, and one of my pet hates is not being a hundred percent happy with my choice and having to settle with something I don’t really like because of time.  And for me definitely one of those ninety-ninth hour things is accessories.  A lot of our customers have also been asking where to find something affordable to complete their medieval costumes.

Fear not readers! Medieval accessories – obviously not authentic – are easier to find than you think. And while I know I would love to have a falcon on my arm as a fashion statement, it’s really not that do-able for most.  So, last weekend, I went on a different type of hunt.  I visited Morayfield Shopping Centre in Caboolture, North Brisbane, with my three children (who were on a good behaviour bribe!) to see what was out there in the way of Medieval style jewellery. The kids pretended to be Birds of  Prey, hunting for shiny, old, things, which took their fancy!

Nothing completes your medieval costume like some bright accessories and a smile!

Historians, with the utmost of respect – I anticipate your alarm – but we found some great imitation bling in ……DIVA!

And like it or loathe it, I came home happy!  Part of what I want to do in the overall Medieval Festival is to bring a medieval entertainment experience to the masses.  So I left my authenticity eye at home and just wanted to see what the universe would put forward. Lo and behold! I found brooches, necklaces, rings, ear-rings, tiaras and bling galore.

Obviously, very modern, but let’s not underestimate the importance of having a fun experience! And let’s face it, if we had a pre-requisite to wear only authentic accessories, the Abbey Medieval Banquet and Carnivale would be a quiet party! If DIVA’s accessories enable your medieval transformation, then they get my vote! It’s all in the spirit of preparation for the Medieval Banquet, Abbey Tournament or Carnival!

Go forth and shop!

Till next time, Caroline

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Horse Play at the Medieval Carnivale!

What happens after an exciting day of jousting and sword fights have come to an end at The Abbey Tournament? After the Medieval Knights dismount their noble steeds and take off the heavy Steel Armour. The sun is almost gone as the horses are unsaddled and groomed. The horses look to each other and are feeling good in the cool air…. Will there be one last chance for the horses to show off? One last opportunity to kick up their hooves before it is time to retire to the warm stables?

See Horse Tricks and Vaulting at The Medieval Carnivale!

The Medieval Carnivale is the only night time event that will flaunt the extraordinary talents of trick horses and riders in a show that will have your eyes in disbelief. See riders vaulting on to moving horses and display extraordinary skills of balance and strength in an elaborate Medieval Carnivale style show. A Medieval Knight would practice jumping onto horses from the ground and rehearse other elegant exercises to improve their battle edge. Horses would be trained to fight with the knight in battle without the use of reigns to guide them… The Carnivale will blitz the art of Vaulting and riding horses without reigns beyond the Medieval Battle Field and into an unforgettable show of cantering horses and acrobatics.

Don’t miss out on the debut of The Medieval Carnivale!

The first Medieval Carnivale will be held on Saturday night, gates are opening at 5pm for a 5.30pm start. Come and enjoy a cider or ale before the show or grab your seat and be entertained by our special early bird performers. Our notorious Street Performers will be roaming around before the show and you will see giant stilt walkers in their special Medieval Carnivale themed costumes. This event will have something for everyone, young and old and in between. The Medieval Carnivale tickets are on sale now, you won’t want to miss this magnificent show!

Next Tuesday read about the Music and Dancing that will delight your ears and have your feet tapping at The Medieval Carnivale!

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Birds of Prey at the Abbey

Birds of Prey and Knights go together don’t they?

Marie and Sabrina ready for the Birds of Prey presentation at the Abbey Medieval Festival/The medieval knight  of popular media is usually dressed in shining armour, upon a fiery steed, jousting and riding off into war and gallant adventure or committing wicked atrocities to the defenceless common folk but not often is he pictured with a hawk on his glove.

Yet this was more common than the knight in shining armour.  Birds of prey were an important part of medieval aristocratic life and both lords and ladies often went about their daily duties with a hawk or falcon within arms reach.  These birds played an important role in a triumvirate of animals which also included horses and hounds. Primarily used for hunting, these birds were used as a fashion statement as well as a functioning part of the noble household’s food supply.

Falconry with Flair and Finesse

One is always kitted out in authentic Medieval Costume at the Abbey TournamentBirds of prey were very special to the noble class of medieval Europe. These birds were treated very well, housed, kept, groomed, fed and handled on a daily basis. Some nobles kept their favourite bird with them at all times; by their bed, in church, at tournaments or at feasts and formal occasions.  They were not just enamoured of their ability to hunt, their majestic, proud appearance or aesthetically pleasing design but also of their place in the natural world. Raptors soared above the ground free of terrestrial restraints coming to ground only when to suit their own purpose or when wounded or killed. To the mind of the battle born warrior these birds were their idealistic equal, a mirror image of themselves among the common folks.

Something else they felt was parallel between themselves and birds of prey was that they were unequalled in the art of slaying. That is to say, in the natural world the raptor was greatly feared and respected by other animals, birds and land dwelling prey who understood that a conflict with these creatures would lead to wounding or death, temporary escape if you were lucky.

Respect for the Predator

I was fortunate enough one day to witness this in great example as the following tale recounts:
I was observing three crows, scavenging a space for food when suddenly without warning a small bird, what looked to me a pigeon, fell from the sky, a lifeless mass.The three crows immediately moved to set upon this bird and just as suddenly, with an elegance and grace that spoke of its skill and power, a falcon landed on top of the bird and mantled it, spreading it’s wings over it’s prey and adopting a threatening posture to challenge and ready to defend that which it considered to be rightfully its own.
The pigeon was obviously its kill and as soon as it made eye contact with the three crows, all three scattered to give the falcon space and seeing that none dared intrude on its authority, took to the sky again with its prey. The crows did not for one second dare to rise to the falcons challenge; they understood their place in the natural order of things.

This too is how the medieval noble viewed himself among his social inferiors; dominant and unquestionable, through his social position, and his skill as a warrior.

Birds of Prey in Medieval Times

Birds of prey can be found in medieval manuscripts, carvings, sculpture, paintings and heraldic achievements such as shields, badges and crests. Take for example the heraldry of Sir Justyn Webbe, fictional knight of the 14thC who uses his legitimate family arms today. Upon his shield he bears four peregrine falcons which denote swiftness and loyalty, their gold colour (represented by yellow) denotes faith and obedience.  The falcon was also seen by the church as a symbol of true conversion from pagan beliefs. King Edward III of 14thC England favoured the use of a falcon as one of his primary badges of livery and favour. So as you might deduce, the falcon used as a heraldic device can tell a lot about a man’s character and history.
In the Middle Ages hunting with birds of prey was divided into two groups based on the type of bird being used.
Falconry was the art of flying falcons to hunt for game and hawking was the same art when using hawks or eagles. A falconer was the name given one who engaged in falconry and an austringer was the name of one who went hawking.  Owls were not used at all and rarely kept because of superstition associated with them .
The often-quoted Book of St Albans or Boke of St Albans 1486, has a list of birds and who may fly them as according to social rank. It has been dismissed by many historians as being idealistic at best. Indeed there is much evidence from the Middle Ages to suggest that the proposed list of birds restricted by social rank never existed or was enforced at all.

Authors note: The art of falconry, that is hunting game with birds of prey, is illegal in Australia. The author does not participate or endorse this illegal activity within Australia. The birds of prey used by Sir Justyn are from Full Flight Conservation Centre and are flown not to hunt but for rehabilitation and educational purposes.

Guest Blogger: Sir Justyn
{ Sir Justyn is a professional medieval educator, performer and fight instructor who attends events, schools and clubs, Australia-wide and internationally, bringing history to life wherever he goes.   You can see Sir Justyn’s Birds of Prey from the Full Flight Conservation Centre in the encampment of Eslite d’ Corps, the 14thC Living History group and household of Sir Justyn at the Abbey Medieval Festival.  Sir Justyn, Eslite d’ Corps (EdC) and Full Flight Conservation Centre can also be found on Facebook.  For more information on falconry and hawking visit EdC Medieval Falconry.}

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The big App!

A big hello and welcome back all!

In my last blog post, I wrote about how technology has the ability to invaluably connect and reconnect us with our friends and family.  On another occasion, I wrote about other technology used for the festival this year; the Big Scan and our Interstate Competition.  Technology and gadgets have been around for a long time,  man has always been coming up with inventions to make his life easier.

Man has been coming up with inventions to make his life easier since the dawn of time.

Medieval Gadgetry

This is  as true in the medieval era as it is today, and nome more so than today!  Technology is giving the festival a whole new exciting dimension, and giving our visitors even more to experience.  And this week, when I queried the urgent communications to-ing and fro-ing across the office, the explanation I got was ‘the festival App ‘.  Again technology!

So being someone who is constantly in awe of technology, I can’t resist delving a little deeper into our new and amazing iPhone App.

For those of us who live quietly and happily, oblivious to i-technology, the app (or application) is a software programme which can be downloaded onto an iphone (or android) mobile phone, allowing us to have instant and relevant information about the festival at our fingertips , literally. Yes, it’s indulging the inner geek in us all, even those of us that are normally not really ‘geeky’.   So if it’s not for you, that’s ok.  But just this once, I want to engage our ‘Teckies’!

For those of us who simply can’t live without a iphone; if from the moment you wake, to way past bed time, you’re on Facebook, Twitter, online banking, online shopping,  e-bay, amazon,  online anything possible, well this is for you!  We give you the Abbey Medieval Festival App!

The Abbey Medieval Festival App!

Advancing gadgetry......the Abbey Medieval Festival App!

 

Features of app? Briefly…..programme of events, map of the festival, news updates, information on the exhibitors.

Biggest and best’est’ feature? …….Customisation!

I know you’ll like this.  Whatever festival programmes you want to attend, the app will give you the information you need; the location, the time, the duration, whatever you need to know while you are on the move!

And exhibitors – you’re going to love it too!  Push notifications!  You know those little texts telling people that there’s only twenty more toffee apples left or the jousting is running late because of a Knight getting stuck in his armour, or our VIP’s have arrived,   whatever you need to tell people; the App’s got it covered.

And for visitors sticking around our wonderful corner of the world for a little while after the festival is over, we have included information on some of the other great things to see and do around our region.

The festival App will be freely available through the Iphone and Android App Stores at the end of this month.

The Big App is here to stay…..and besides….it’s cool……… it’s another experience from the Abbey Medieval Festival that we know you’ll love……and we already know how even-cooler it’s going to be next year!

Till next time,

Caroline

 

 

Will My Medieval Dress Fit Me?

The Abbey Medieval Festival is pleased to offer you this Costuming post by our special guest blogger who has a wealth of experience with differing costume and dress styles and fittings when attending Medieval Events.

What Medieval Dress Style will suit me?

Jean de Liège, Tomb effigy of Philippa of Hainault, alabaster (London, Westminster Abbey)  Image from the website ‘Richard II’s Treasure, the riches of a Medieval King’ on a page about Richard II’s Grandmother.You may think that all medieval women were tall and slender but this is not the case. Look at the C14th Queen of King Edward III, the gentle yet clever Philippa of Hainault. Loved and worshipped by her Husband, loved and adored by the people even after her death, she was no stick insect and yet was the epitome of elegance and bringing her and her unique styles from Valenciennes, Belgium (Valenciennes can be found today in Northern France), influencing the fashion at court with her native ladies and throughout English Noble and Middle Class society.
Hopefully this short post will cover the basics and give you an idea of what would suit your body shape best for you to feel and look totally fabulous at the festival this year.

Slender, “Willowy” and Athletic Figure Styles

This is the lady immediately after the bride.If you are of a slender build ( or athletic), you can pretty much wear almost anything in the medieval era, from a well cut C13th garment that is loose fitting, to a C14th Cote-hardie as pictured here. along with a well cut sideless surcote,  a C15th French Burgundian Gown or Kirtle.
Lady Margaret de Bois from Ingtham Church, Norfolk, English c.1365.What to avoid?

Too much fabric for starters! Be aware of hanging sleeves over narrow ones if part of the fashion of the era you portray. These will swamp your slender frame unless cut with care and thought, should you choose to have them.

The neckline on a C14th gown can be higher above the bust and can be off the shoulder to add some sensuality.

For the C15th keep to a high waist and belt, as it will give you the illusion of curves for your derrière.

Keep the style simple and elegant without too much fuss and your whole look will be a success!

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The Voluptuous, Curvy and Hourglass Fashions

Image from Alison Weirs book ‘Isabella, She-wolf of France, Queen of England.If you are curvaceous and have an hourglass figure, get yourself a well fitting bra and hang the cost. Those girls need to be contained but also on show!  Not authentic in reality but you want then to be secure and comfy under your gown.
Any C13th loose fitting gown will look ok, but will drape heavily according to your bust size, so be aware they may not be flattering and if wearing a sideless surcote, cut it wide at the shoulders and wide across bust.
 From the book ‘Making of a Tudor Dynasty’ “Alabaster effigy of Lady Goronwy ap Tudur d.1382 in Penmynydd Church, Anglesey, probably bought from the dissolved friary church at Llanfaes, not far away.”

Any C14th gown in the English, French or Spanish styles would suit as gowns in the C14th were cut to the figure for both sexes due to the new invention of buttons, making garments close fitting. Sideless Surcotes look great on this shape figure too as the cut away sides are flattering to the waistline. Necklines can be lower to show upper parts of the breasts and off the shoulder as of the C1350’s at court. The Hips in these style gowns will be covered and hide a multitude of sins for the modern woman, but they did enhance their derrière with fox tails under their gowns, so show off your lower curves in your gown with pride! (Ankles and wrists were extremely sexy and never shown! So show off your upper breasts and backside and be totally authentic!)
Queen Joan of Navarre, Canterbury Cathedral  An image of an illustration by "Stothard" in 1817.

Any C15th Gown would also suit the hourglass figure enhancing your breasts as the V neckline for the larger busted lady is very flattering, also if the neckline skims the tops of the shoulders too showing more of the curve of the neck under the dancing veil from the Hennin headdress but again be modest and have a neckerchief of transparent material, silk organza for example, tucked in ( although most modern men would disagree with this!)
What to avoid?
 Marie of Brabant on her wedding day to Phillip III of France.  “Grande Chroniques de France, c.1400: British library, Royal MS 20 C VII, vol. 2. F.1or, detail”With an hourglass figure your breasts will be the main problem, so trick the eye and enhance your slender waist. Not much can be done with this body shape in the C13th clothing as it’s so loose fitting even if tucked into a belt and pulled out under the ribcage. It makes you look frumpy. Keep to silks or linens if you do wear c13th clothing, in a simple cut, as they will drape heavier and flatter more with more fabric in the skirts of the gown about the legs and ankles to balance the eye.
  “Collected works of Christine de Pisan, Paris,des dames master and shop, c.1415: British Library Harley MS 4431, f.100r, detail”For the C14th, wear your belt lower than your waist, more towards your hips, this will elongate you from your bust making you look slimmer. Also avoid large hanging or excessively dagged sleeves of the French Style as these near your bust will make you look larger than you are. If you do choose to have hanging sleeves, have then hanging long from the elbow, as seen right pictured here
Keep your tippets narrow and neat if you choose to wear them. Make your gowns very full in the skirts, if you have enough fabric to direct the eye down and to balance your frame. If wearing a sideless surcote, avoid narrow fronts on them. Keep the front of your surcote wide (nipple width is a good indication of what would flatter your body shape best) along with the back being wide, as seen left here.

 From a C15th image  “a Bride lead to her wedding feast” from Bibliothéque de l’Arsenal, Paris, Ms.5073 fol.117v  This is the lady immediately after the brideFor the C15th the only difference would be to keep the cut of the gown simple once again and not to have it high waisted. Cut the gown’s waist low on your narrowest point to flatter your figure best and also have your belt at this point too or have a very wide belt. It does not look flattering if your bust over hangs though!

 

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The luckiest of all of the Body Shapes – the Pears

Minnesanger Ms.,c.1300 Heidelberg University (PH Mansell)With a Pear shape figure, consider yourself to be one of the lucky ones, as this was the shape that most fits medieval depictions of the female medieval form.
It is hard to determine if a pear shape figure was under the long loose fitting gowns of the c13th, but one from the Mannesse Codex pictured here would look good on your frame with a smaller neckline, with the folds falling from either a set neckline or cut to incorporate the fullness required to achieve this look

Princess Joan, on King Edward III tomb effigy, Westminster Abbey, London, England.  As would a fashionable C14th gown pictured here on the right.
A larger than normal derrière and belly was considered the perfect figure for birthing and considering it was the sole purpose of medieval Noble women to provide heirs, it stands to reason many images were depicted thus. A C14th Gown cut with a full skirt is most flattering and can have either a square neckline or a rounded one, hanging sleeves, dagged sleeves, narrow sleeves, you get the idea. A sideless surcote will flatter this shape figure well too.
 From ‘Les Tres Riches Heures’ a personal book of Duc de Berry. May’s Lady in Green on horseback.

The C15th Houpplande as well as the Burgundian and Spanish Gowns look good on the pear shaped figure too with the tiny waist and ribcage able to take the high waist level and belt.

What to avoid?
Image from ‘A mixed party’ on one of the ‘Medieval Woman’ Calendar’s from the shop Past Times

No much to be honest, like I said above, you are one of the lucky ones. Keep your necklines fitted to your shoulders and torso and then let the fabric fall into full skirts and the gowns of the medieval period flatter your body shape best, so relish in it and enjoy your body in a stunning gown.

 

 

Guest Blogger:  Kat Woods

“Let me introduce myself.
My Name is Katrina Wood, I belong to a small C14th group here in the UK called ‘Age of Chivalry’ and I have re-enacted for 26 years.
I have been approached by The Abbey Medieval Festival, which has a reputation second to none in the UK, to do a small blog on Female Medieval Costumes suiting and flattering body shapes.” Note from Jo – Kat’s really modest bio really should include her website which is:  http://www.katshats.co.uk/

 

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Connecting and reconnecting

Hello everyone,
Today in my blog post I want to talk about connecting with the special people in your life and how important those experiences and memories are to us.

I had a great week this week! I re-found two special people in my life that due to geography and being neglectful, I had lost connection with. It’s only afterwards that you realise how much you have missed out. And as soon as you hear that person’s voice again, the connection is instant and the time lapse dissappears. And thanks to Facebook and technology, we are in touch again. What a special feeling.

Reconnecting with family and friends

Spend a little extra one-on-one time with your family and friends at the Abbey Medieval Festival

Very often people drop in and out of our lives and sometimes we are left wondering why this person appeared and dissappeared. Sometimes, it takes a special occasion to nurture those people that mean so much to you but you don’t see that often. 

You cannot wonder, then, why we are so happy here in the festival marketing team to learn that more and more of our visitors use the Abbey Medieval Festival  and the Kids’ Medieval Fun Day as their occasion to reconnect and spend time with the special people in their lives. Thank you to all of those fabulous ‘connectors’ who do a much better job than I do and proactively look after the special relationships in their lives.  We are so honoured that you are choosing the Abbey Medieval Festival as your  venue for reunion.  What a compliment!

And because we know how difficult it is to organise friends and relatives who are interstate, we wanted to try and help out!  Have you heard about our competition?

Just click here and complete your details and you are in the running for a great prize worth $3,000.  The prize consists of flights for a family of four from either Sydney or Melbourne, a car to get around, a week’s accommodation in the luxurious Novotel Twin Waters in the Sunshine Coast, VIP tickets for the Abbey Medieval Festival and to top it off – three more fantastic Queensland experiences – free family passes for Australia Zoo, Aussie World and Bellingham Maze.

This is our way of helping all those connectors out there because we know it takes a lot of time and effort to make these occasions happen.  So if you are in Queensland trying your best to get interstate family and friends together this July holidays, tell them about this competition!

Connection with Family

The Abbey Medieval Festival is the perfect occasion to reconnect with your loved ones.

Don’t miss out on those special memories and experiences.

Till next time, my friends,

Caroline

Shuvani-Dancing-on-the-Village-Green-AMF2011
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Medieval Carnivale – Gypsy Dancing Special

A Gypsy encampment - Another happy day at The Abbey Medieval Festival! The wheels of the Gypsy Wagon come to rest at Abbeystowe for the Abbey Medieval Festival  weekend. Word has been received far and wide that there is an annual gathering here to share the wealth and knowledge of kingdoms, tribes, encampments and fellow people alike. The day has been rewarding for all with the sharing of music, dance and crafts that the gypsy people have cultured for so many years.

Travelling across the land opens the opportunity to meet new and unique people. As the gypsy tribe settle down, something is lingering in the air… So many new faces and souls have come together to share the occasion. The Medieval Carnivale is beginning and a crowd is starting to surround the settling encampment. What scene will Shuvani Romani showcase on this night of celebration?

What Will The Gypsies Share On The Medieval Carnivale Night?

The scent of wood burning and the soft glow of a warm fire set the scene for a night not to be forgotten.

The Gypsies are waiting to dance one last time for the night and for the people who have come to gather around. Faces in the crowd wait with an anxious grin, some sipping on mugs of cider, waiting for the fanfare blast that will signal the start of the Medieval Carnivale. An air of mystery surround the Gypsy people as they tend to their campsite, the crowd have all eyes on the dresses embellished with bells and chains so beautifully pleasing to the eyes.

 

Fall In Love At The Medieval Carnivale

One thing is certain, the gypsies will dance  and perform a rare show only to be seen at The Medieval Carnivale! A Love Story is in the air and the gypsies will dance with happy hearts and pounding feet.  Come and see for yourself at the Abbey Medieval Festival.

Love Is In The Air at The Abbey Medieval Festival

Next week, read about the stunning horses that will perform and dazzle you at the Medieval Carnivale Spectacular.

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Abbey Medieval Festival and Channel 9’s The Voice: transformations of a kind!

Hello, my friends, again.

I have been asked to  ‘please explain’ and realise that I have been dropping a distinct word in my last few posts, without clarifying it.

That word is ‘Transformation’ – not one that we as adults use a lot, but ask any eight year old what a ‘Transformer’ is!

So, it’s kind of the same – kind of different! Let me explain!

Let me introduce Joe and Jim! (aka Joseph Pine and James Gillmore).  These two writers are my ture heros on the subject of experiences and transformations.  They will tell you a transformation is in fact an economic offering, just like goods or services – which as it turns out, are yesterday’s news.  Transformations are what consumers want and demand today.  Joe and Jim have further explained a transformation as: “Guiding customers to gaining a deeper understanding to some part of themselves“. (2011-The Experience Economy)

Interesting…… I’m hoping I dont’ lose you here, but actually, you know…it’s not that deep.  We experience transformations everyday.

Last week, I brought my son to his karate lesson. I sat watching.  The children were intense, serious and  focussed.  I remembered my son on those first few lessons; he was giddy and skittish; his attention everywhere.  I wondered if he would ever get it.  Now, as I sat and watched him, I was able to see something new; a strong gaze in his eyes, a serious face; he was absorbed.  He was actively engaged and I had just realised that before my eyes, he had escaped. Yes…..NAPLAN and all the stuff-of-the-week were left far behind.  He had undergone his own little transformation. And was I happy about that?

Channel 9’s ‘The Voice’ – why are we all so hooked? One word: Transformation.  Each of these wonderfully talented contestants are being guided through a transformation; it’s life changing, a personal journey. Let me even use the word ‘walkabout’  here.  There’s no going back.

Everyday, people fall in love, we experience grief, we have children born to us, or….. maybe no baby comes.  Each of these are every-day, life-transformations that we as human beings experience; each bringing us to a deeper and ongoing understanding of something inside us.

Ok, so what’s this got to do with the Abbey Medieval Festival, you ask?

We are here to guide you through a medieval transformation.

Nowadays our free time is so precious.  People are working so hard for their families and to achieve their ambitions.  How recreation time is spent is selective and valuable.   The Abbey Medieval Festival acknowledges this!

I examined what I really wanted for my own free time?

I wanted a little ‘escapism’ if that was possible.

Well it is!  Very possible.  You can escape absolutely and wonderfully so… to another era.  You can transform yourself to a different century and live it, for a short time, as it was.  A real medieval experience.  It only depends on you.  Let’s take the Kids’ Medieval Fun Day!  You as a parent can witness your kids’ transformation or even partake in your own.  Watch your kids as their attention towards the activities on offer changes.  First reluctance leading to curiosity, then mild amusement……a little more interest is piqued, then their attention is grabbed.  This leads to physical involvement and then…excitement and elation as they become totally and utterly engaged.

Guiding this transformation is our job.

And guess what! We are aware that some of our readers and followers are already there!  In our recent competition we asked people to tell us what type of experience they would like to have at the Abbey Medieval Festival this year.  Steve Springhall from Queensland said he wanted ‘the feeling of travelling back in time’…..Steve, thank you for this!  That feeling is yours to have and we really would be honoured to guide your transformation.  That’s all we can do.  The rest is up to you.  So who else wants to join in?

So next time you watch The Voice, think of your own transformation. 

Yours to have at the Abbey Medieval Festival!  So have it!

 

 Till next time readers….Caroline