Wednesday, 6 May 2015
Out on a Limb
It's 876 AD and, with a battle cry, hundreds of Viking warriors run up the hillside towards Corfe Castle and the waiting Saxons.
Well OK, it's actually 2015 and my husband and I are having a weekend away (yes another!) to celebrate his 50th birthday. What we didn't know was that the bank holiday weekend was the annual re-enactment of the Siege of Wareham. When we arrived, and saw the village swarming with Vikings, we nearly turned back, but do you know, it actually made it a great experience.
For a start, where else are you likely to share a pub table with a couple of Saxons in full regalia and a guy who looks like he's come out of an Asterix comic?
On Saturday, we visited the castle itself. I haven't been to this part of Dorset for a long while and Corfe Castle really is quite spectacular, sitting on top of its hill, looking down upon the Purbeck village that shares its name. Because of the re-enactment, the castle grounds were strewn with siege tents and on the ridge below the castle, Saxon villagers were displaying their traditional crafts, cooking on camp fires and drinking from cow horns.
The mist hung above the encampment like a shroud and the whole scene was mystical and full of atmosphere.
The main event though was the 'big' birthday and we had packed the car with all my husband's birthday presents and brought them with us. The one that kept us entertained for the longest was the brilliant cryptic crossword puzzle that fellow womag writer Viv Brown had created for us as a prize in a competition on her blog. We're not particularly good at crosswords but we managed about three quarters of them without resorting to sneaking a look at the solutions. All the clues were linked to items, places and events that were special and meaningful to us and I'd like to thank Viv once again for a wonderful present.
While I was away, I was guest on 'A Woman's Wisdom' blog, talking about the ten things I have learnt since becoming a writer. Do pop over and have a look - you might be amused! You can read it here.
One of the things I wrote was that, rather than trying to fit in with a magazine's style, it can sometimes pay off to write something a little different in order to stand out from the crowd. 'Out on a Limb' is one such story. I confess I was surprised when I sold it to The People's Friend as it was very different to the usual stories they publish. It was bought a long time ago and I was wondering whether they had changed their minds about publishing it due to its quirkiness. But no... it is in this weeks magazine. Hurrah!