It’s not every day that you stumble across a medieval festival…
Love Bedford, Bedford’s Business Improvement District, is hosting a series of events and entertainment this summer bringing a bit of culture and history to the town.
I discovered these cute little events one weekend when visiting my family and exploring the local area. We’re definitely the kind of family that embraces these weird and wonderfully entertaining pop-up events and yes, that’s me above holding a ferret – I’m about five going on six if you haven’t gathered by the way!
The ‘BID’ brand is great at doing these events, we have a very successful ‘BID’ effort in Winchester, not far from where I live.
Here’s what I discovered on my morning walk along the river…
A key landmark in central Bedford is the Mound, a hill that used to be home to a castle built by Henry I after 1100. It is now a grassy tribute to what once stood in the heart of the town centre.
It’s an excellent space to host events, especially ones steeped in history, it’s right by the River Ouse and is in the most quaint English setting.
Filling the green by the mound were lots of colourful tents full of characters living history right in front of you. There was plenty of hustle and bustle despite the drizzly weather including archery, crafts, ferret racing, a medieval feast and a medieval sword fighting tournament.
It was very peaceful watching the re-enactors pottering around their camps fixing things, cooking and speaking to the public. I even got collared by the King’s Executioner who told me gruesome stories of punishments of the middle ages. Witches were hung, heretics were burnt and a swift axe to the head was the privilege of the rich, it cost a lot of money to have a quick death!There were performers from so many different societies and groups, Heritage Bedford and the Bedford Association of Tour Guides ran guided tours of the Ice House and Lime Kiln.
“Bedford’s Castle Mound makes for a great setting for a Medieval Festival and the fact that is historically authentic has really helped persuade some great re-enactment groups and performers to come to Bedford for the weekend,” said organiser, David Smith.
We pottered around the tents, sampling mead and then we wandered around and that’s when I saw it. The sign that changed my weekend. A sign that said ‘Ferret cuddles £1’.
I mean it was meant to be! About five minutes later after shoving my way past the actual five year olds and I exchanged one shiny pound for a furry little ferret – what a deal.
I sat bemused as a tiny little creature was plopped into my hands. The owner had popped a little fish oil on her tummy, which she licked furiously and stopped her from wriggling around and scurrying off. It was hilarious as I swear it didn’t even know I was holding it because it was so obsessed with the fish oil.
A ferret is a lot lighter and softer than I thought it would be, and I felt so happy, like a kid again. Isn’t that a magical feeling. Something so simple can make you feel wonderful.
After a very entertaining morning we stood and watched some medieval sword fighting displays and then decided to go and get ice cream – it was a delightful way to spend a day!