Perille päästiin! Muu osa yhdeksän hengen seurueesta olikin tullut jo aiemmin päivällä lentokoneella edeltä, ja olivat jo asettuneet taloksi siinä vaiheessa kun itse päästiin paikalle. Suurin osa muusta Iloisen Joutsenen väestä olikin ollut Middelaldercentretissä jo aiemmin, tämä helpotti kun talon käytännöt olivat valmiina jo tiedossa eikä ihan joka asia tullut ainakaan koko porukalle uutena eteen. Kyseessähän on siis ulkoilmamuseo, jota 25 vuotta sitten lähdettiin rakentamaan lähtien paikalle tehdystä heittokoneesta ja siitä sitten pikkuhiljaa laajentaen rakennus kerrallaan (eikä se valmiiksi ole tullut vieläkään), keskiaikaisilla työvälineillä ja tekniikoilla, pyrkien mahdollisimman autenttiseen lopputulokseenkin. Paikan päällä sääntö oli, että keskuksen aukioloaikoina näkyvissä ei saanut olla mitään modernia, sulkemisajan jälkeen sai sitten ottaa esimerkiksi kuviakin.
And we arrived to our destination! The other part of our group, nine persons strong, came to Denmark with a plane and had already arrived to Middelaldercentret and were well settled by the time we came. Most of the Merry Swans had been to Middelaldercentret before, so they were quite able to explain us newcomers the ways and customs of our home for this week. Middelaldercentret is an outdoor museum center which started out 25 years ago when they constructed a catapult, and it's been growing ever since with new buildings. And it's still growing, with medieval techniques and tools, aiming for as authentic result as possible. During the opening hours all modern items had to be kept out of sight. After the village had closed for public it was permitted to, for example, take photos.
|Kynttiläntekijän talon takapiha, oikealla sepän paja. ~~~ The backyard of candlemaker's house, smithy on the right.|
Our temporary home was the wholesaler's house. The wholesaler wasn't apparently into big business, the house was quite simple (although it did have glass windows and a tiled floor at the living room). The house had a storage room for merchandise and one room for living, but there was all one could ask for. There was a bed, and a few persons more could've slept in the chest-benches by the walls. The house also had a table and a few chairs, shelf on the wall for plates and bowls, and two sizable chests. For cooking there was a stove, and although there was no chimney, the structure of the stove led the smoke nicely up, away from the room and people living there. Bigger and finer houses were furnished accordingly, and the workshops of course had all the tools necessary for the trade.
|Tukkukauppiaan talo ulkoa päin ~~~ Wholesaler's house|
|Tukkukauppiaan talon sisätilat ~~~ Insides of the wholesaler's house|
|Kauppiaan talon asuinpuolelta ~~~ Living area of the merchant's house|
|Maalarin työpiste ~~~ Painter's workshop|
So, we could easily fit all that we had to the house, and it was indeed delightful to notice that after a little more than a decade of packing to medieval events, I seem to have learned something! I did not have too many clothes or eating utensils, and I wasn't lacking anything either. Perhaps two woolen dresses would've been enough for a week's trip (I had three), and I had one spare underdress which I didn't use, but just in case of a disaster of some sort one spare underdress is pretty much needed. I didn't spot a place where one could've done laundry medieval style (edit: It would've been possible should we just have asked for the possibility!). Also us Finns noticed the absence of a bathhouse, but we did let the personnel know that we'll definitely come and build it when we get the permission to do so :D
|Illallinen kauppiaan talossa ~~~ Dinner at the merchant's house|
The schedule for the day was simple. After rising up, having some breakfast and having the morning meeting it was pretty much up to oneself to do what one pleased. There were a few mandatory jobs for the day, loading the catapults and securing the shooting area, and assisting at the tournament, which was left for the men of the group to do. And here was a lot of different jobs I did during the week, from feeding the chickens to weaving and candlemaking -and I had a chance to load the trebuchet too, two times! The catapults were used in throwing stones to sea, and with every single stone that was thrown some local swans were scared -but they said, that luckily not once they had actually hit a swan.
|Kynttilänvalua muottiin. Kolme mehiläisvahakynttilää kerralla! ~~~ Candlemaking with a mould. Three beeswax candles with one go! Photo M. Pulla.|
|Hiukan lavastettu, mutta tuolla sitä trebucheta ladattiin ja tuolla itsekin tuli käveltyä! ~~~ Slightly framed, but this is how the trebuchet was loaded and I walked in there too!|
|Kutojan talo ja kangaspuut joilla tuli myös hiukan kudottua. ~~~~ The weaver's house and the loom I too had a chance to use.|
|Virallisehko Iloisten Joutsenten ryhmäkuva, porukalla trebucheta halaillen :) ~~~ The officialish Merry Swans group photo, group hug for the trebuchet :)|
Paikalliset kanaset olivat kovin herttaisia, vaikka eivät sentään aivan paijauskanoja olleetkaan -lähelle kyllä päästivät, mutta eivät aivan silittämään kuten kuulemma viime vuonna paikalla asuneet kanat olivat tehneet. Enpä ollut aiemmin kovinkaan paljoa ollutkaan kanojen kanssa tekemisissä, ja näitä seuratessa oppi yhtä sun toista niiden elämästä -useitakin kertoja tuli naureskeltua kun paikalliset kanaset ottivat hiekkakylpyjä kasvimaan sipulipenkissä ja kiipesivät pähkinäpusikkoon kirjaimellisesti yöpuulle. Huolettomat oltavat näillä selvästi oli, eräs kananen ihan selvästi pilkki oikein antaumuksella kutojan talon edustalla, kun istuimme siinä tekemässä käsitöitä. Samat kanat myös munivat melko lailla minne sattuivat, onnistuin bongaamaan useampia munia puusepän pajan takaisesta ojasta :)
The local chickens were really cute, although they weren't as friendly as they had been last year, I was told. They weren't exactly afraid of humans but they didn't let themselves be touched. I haven't really been around with chickens before, so during this week I learned a thing or two of their lives - chickens taking sand baths at the kitchen garden, between onions, not once failed to make me smile, and they literally climbed to hazel shrubs to have their night's sleep. They certainly seemed to live a carefree life, one of them almost dozed off next to us by the weaver's house when we sat there crafting. They also laid their eggs in somewhat random places, I spotted several on the ditch behind the carpenter's house :)
|Paikalliset hanhet olivat kyllä tunnelmallisia mutta mieluummin niitä olisi katsellut kauempaa. ~~~ The local geese did add to the atmosphere, but co-existing with them was a bit difficult at times.|
And boy, was a finnish re-enactor struck with awe when coming to a land which is almost totally made of flint! The first few days were almost totally spent on checking out the ground and small stones lying around, and even after that the bits and pieces of flint most potential for fire-striking caught my eye. It's a great shame that my skills in fire-making with fire iron are so poor, although I have the equipment and I've been also practicing some -It just doesn't seem to work. But I'll get to it, eventually. At least now I have a flint stone of roughly three kilos at home, I can chop off small pieces when the old ones have become too used and round...
|Nämä seurasivat mukaan kotiin. ~~~ These followed me home.|
Keskuksen puutarha oli aivan ihana ja sitä hoitavat ihmiset kertoivat mieluusti ja pitkään siitä kun vaan kysyi -ja no, minähän kuuntelin. Suurin puutarha oli siis jaettu keittiöpuutarhaan, ruusutarhaan ja lääkekasvipuutarhaan ja lisäksi monella talolla oli omia maatilkkuja joissa kasvoi erinäisiä kasveja, esimerkiksi värjärin tilkulla morsinkoa jota kasvoi myös kynttilänvalajan talon takana. Siemenet olivat siellä nyt valmiita -Suomessahan tämä tapahtuu joskus heinäkuun lopulla... Nyt vaan kovasti alkoi harmittamaan, että en ottanut enempää kuvia, mutta tämä edisti taas omiakin puutarhasuunnitelmia...
The center's garden was more than lovely and the people taking care of it shared their knowledge eagerly -and I listened gladly! The largest garden was divided to the kitchen garden part, rose garden and the medicinal herbs part, and in addition almost all of the houses had a small garden of their own. For example the dyer's garden had woad, which also grew behind the candle maker's house. The seeds were ready now -in Finland they are ready sometime in late July... Too bad I didn't take more pictures, because this garden also inspired me greatly with my own garden-making plans.
Ja siis kyllä, tänne pitää päästä uudelleen! Matkaraportista tulossa vielä kolmas osa, sitä sitten seuraavaksi...
And yes, this is a place where we definitely must return to! There will be a third part to this travel report, our trip back home. That's coming up shortly :)