Some people might remember that my daughter organised a medieval day in June at the vieux Château du Cros where she’s chef de project in charge of the restoration. There was going to be a medieval market in a clearing in an oak wood next to the château, carriage rides, tours around the château, entertainments from the group of medieval swordfighters she belongs to, and she’d had enough feedback to indicate that it was going to go pretty well.
The evening before it started to rain. And rained. They had to cancel. All credit to Diana, my daughter, who picked herself up from acute disappointment, said, ‘Right, we’ll reschedule for les journées du patrimoine,’ and got on with it.
It was by no means going to be a guarenteed success. The weather isn’t reliable in September (or June, for that matter), medieval days are a summertime affair, most of the orignal stallholders couldn’t do the new date so she had to look for a new lot who had interesting, different things that people like to look at and buy.
Diana got up at 6 on Saturday – the first day of the journées medival to start setting up… and it was raining. It had stopped by 6.30 so she decided she wouldn’t kill herself after all. I went along that afternoon and everyone was cautiously pleased. The weather was perfect, 24°, the oak wood is a lovely setting for a market, there was a really good range of stalls, everyone was in costume and looked great, and her sword fighting troupe was doing a brilliant job of entertaining people, showing children how to do archery, holding up the man who was giving carriage rides through the vines, fighting each other and parading around in costume. The next day when there were too many people about for it to be safe to roar through a crowd waving large swords they stormed the castle which was much enjoyed by everyone there.
I had a feeling on Sunday afternoon that it was going well, there was a buzz to the ambiance and everyone, visitors and stallholders, looked happy – something you don’t always see in France. When Diana got back after packing up I asked her how they’d done. A grin spread from ear to ear. ‘It was awesome.’
They’d had over 900 people, the most they’d ever had before was 350, they made a profit after all the expenses had been paid so that’s another small bit of restoration for the château paid for and she was told by several of the stallholders that they’d never enjoyed a medieval day so much. Everyone wants to come back again.
Yes, I’m one proud mother – my girl did really well. She’d be the first to admit though it was a group effort, the members of the Association (some of whom are not young, to put it mildly) chipped in handing out leaflets and manning stalls, the owner of the horse and carriage donated all the receipts to château, her friends helped make signs and went round putting them up, helped out during both days, organised the parking, and her group of medieval swordfighters performed for fun and good food (they are French after all).