Sunday, September 02, 2007


Warwick Castle

Microsoft held it's summer picnic at Warwick Castle this year, ferrying in coach loads of people for the event. We had a big marquee full of food and beer to keep us going as we took in the sights. In fact, Sue and I (Samantha didn't want to come along) never got round to visiting the castle itself. Instead we had a go at the laser clays and noddy archery, watched the falconry and archery displays, saw the jousting and chatted to the re-enactment people in Pageant Field. Before we knew it, the time to leave for the coach had come around - sadly too early for us to see the trebuchet launch its flaming fireball.

We could have talked to the expert on food of the 1500s for hours - she loved her subject and was a full-time teacher during the week so was in her element.

The trebuchet was an imposing piece of siege machinery. Apparantly the device is wound up using people inside the "hamster wheels" at the side. In the past they used blind people because they did not get motion sickness - the Earl of Warwick was an equal opportunities employer.

The falconer had a great range of raptors on display in the Bird of Prey Mews - buzzards, eagles, an owl and a vulture - although I'm not sure how many he demonstrated with. The bird below is a young Bay-winged (or Harris) Hawk.

The archer was using a 50 pound draw bow, a small relative of the 150 pound longbow of old. He was a good storyteller and not too bad with a bow, considering the lack of modern inventions in the one he was using.

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