Monday, June 17, 2013

History Alive 2013

It was a busy weekend, followed by a busy week. Last weekend, I attended History Alive at Fort Lytton in Brisbane. It’s an annual re-enactment event put on by the Queensland Living History Federation, of which both RIFF and EDAS are a part. It was one full day of baking and packing in preparation followed by two full days of re-enactment. I followed it all with a week starting a new job – YAY, but I am exhausted now that the weekend has rolled past again.
I was up before the sun on Saturday morning, with baked pears in the oven (yummo) while I popped on my Regency kit. I drove out to Fort Lytton (missing my exit from the motorway – wasn’t like that last year!) and got ready to set up. The tents were already in place and it was just up to me to get the shelter going. I thankfully had a lot of help from my fellow RIFF members and we were able to get it up pretty quickly. Then it was a matter of attaching the curtains (a pretty touch that helps keep out the sun when closed), the lanterns (for ambient light at dinner time), the floor coverings (still need more of these) and the table (the beautiful one my Dad made a few years ago for me). The public came on site around 9am, just as we were setting up for our gentry regency breakfast. It was a feast. The table was set with the lovely willow china (perfectly period), the teapot was full and there was a selection of food. From ham and eggs to bread and buckwheat pancakes and rounded out with some baked fruit. I was very proud of myself with my first attempt at baked fruit, so to share with you, my recipe for baked pears or apples. A perfect regency breakfast accompaniment.

  • 4 pears or apples
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup flaked almonds
  • ¼ cup dried cranberries or sultanas
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (for apples)
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup boiling water
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius (moderate). Core your fruit, making sure not to go all the way through to the bottom. It’s much easier if you use an actual corer, but it can be done with a very sharp paring knife, as I myself have proved. Place your fruit in a baking dish and put the kettle on to boil. Mix together in a bowl the brown sugar, almonds, dried fruit and spice. Press this into the cored section of your fruit. Put 1 teaspoon of butter on top of each piece of fruit. Pour your boiling water into the baking pan with your fruit. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes. I found that the pears only needed 30, but the apples needed the whole 40 minutes.
Serve your fruit with cream.
What followed was a day full of regency fun. I completely forgot to take my current in progress regency bonnet, so that was out of the picture for me, but after we cleaned up breakfast, we sat down to a morning of drawing and relaxing from our exhaustive breakfast. We followed up with some games of graces and boules before hitting the food again for a light lunch, or nuncheon as my research has informed me. I pulled out the gingerbread and scones that I had spent Friday baking. We rounded out our afternoon with a promenade as all good regency women would, chatting to our fellow re-enactors and mingling with the public. Once they were gone, it was time to set up for dinner. Our Saturday night at History Alive is a big event for RIFF. We organise a full 3 course sit down regency dinner – onion soup, followed by beef ragu with broccoli salad and finished it all up with trifle and pie (I made apple and peach this time, and my dad was happy to see the left-overs come home with me). Oh, that is me in the red and white ensemble with my grey silk hat. I unfortunately didn't get any shots of myself.
I called it a night after that, heading home to shower and fall into bed before I was up and at it again the next morning. Only this time, I would be with EDAS in a completely different timeline. As I am a member of both groups, I like to spend a day with each. Unfortunately it had rained overnight and we arrived to morning showers and damp tents. Thankfully the weather cleared up and was windy enough to dry off all our tents before we packed up for the day. This time though, I was kitted up in my 1901 gown. I completed my EDAS ensemble with a red sash – the colour this year. I spent the day with the fellow members of our Bartitsu club where we practiced cane fighting and sword fighting. We were all a little worn out to do any calisthenics or boxing. We rounded out the afternoon by heading up to the actual fort for some period appropriate background photos of our club. Of which, you get to see the results from my camera.
I was in quite a bit of pain by the afternoon, by pack-up time I was ready to get my wig and corset off. And low and behold, bruises from one of the bones on my corset. My weight has shifted around a bit of late and I guess it moved to my hips. They have been very red and sore this week, so I may need to look at a new Victorian corset for myself in the not too distant future. But, I did get to try out my new period correct padding. I whipped up a fencing jacket recently - it is made of linen and cotton with a few layers of heavy cotton batting and wool in the middle. The back comes to waist height and the front crosses over completely to provide protection. It also scoops down in the front a lot lower similar to extent ones that I found online. The buttons are an absolute pain to do up, but I love how it looks and it will provide me with a good deal of protection.

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